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Mercy

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Mercy - Chapter 1

 

Toni could hear the screams of death and knew she wouldn't make it in time to help, yet she continued to run toward them. She had to be sure. It just didn't occur to her to go in the opposite direction and save herself. She knew it was a dog eat dog world now with the dead walking around, but she still had morals and wasn't gonna let the world ending stop her from having compassion for others. As the screams started fading, she was beginning to see the paved road thru the trees and looked for the biggest one she could climb. Making sure she stayed down wind she climbed up and got out her binoculars.

Damn! She was too late! A couple, probably husband and wife...dead.....and now dinner for the dead. She made the sign of the cross and said a quick prayer for them. As she stood to make her descent, she spotted movement! Not of the dead kind! Oh, dear God children!! Two of them crawling out from under the SUV on the opposite side of where their parents were being eaten. On hands and knees they were crawling into the woods. Shit! Shit! Shit! She did the only thing she could think of and started barking like a dog. 13 of the dead turned her way and started across the road. 4 continued their feasting on the boys’ parents. She stopped barking when they reached the tree line and threw 2 stones from her pocket deep into the woods. The dead walked by without seeing her high up in the tree. As they moved deeper into the woods she began climbing down. She walked a good city block before coming out of the woods to cross the road. Then she walked across as the dead would. Arms down at her sides dragging her leg behind her looking nowhere. When she reached the tree line, she scanned the woods for the dead and made her way back to where she saw the boys disappear. She stopped and listened. She walked without making a sound. She heard a slight whimper and someone shushing. She found the boys in a hollowed tree. She put a finger to her lips and beckoned them out while scanning the area. They ran to her without hesitation. She quickly put a hand over each little mouth and whispered.

“Not yet! Not one word until we are safe or they will come and eat you! Do you both understand me? I will leave you here for them if I hear one sound!” Wide eyes looked up at her in mortal fear.

“Good, not one sound until I say.” Again, they nodded their little heads.

“Keep your eyes on me and I will show you what to do with my hands. Watch me okay? Not one sound!” They nodded again. She removed her hands from their little mouths praying that she scared them enough not to make a sound. She needed to get them to the cellar as soon as possible. They had just lost their parents after all, they needed to release their cries. She looked at the smaller of the two who looked to be about 4-5 and picked him up to carry.

Toni stopped and held up a hand when the little cabin came into sight. She watched and listened for 15 minutes before proceeding. She couldn't wait to get inside the cellar. Her heart was breaking for these little boys. A person walking by would never see the cellar doors with the brush Toni had attached to the door. She had the boys go down before her then closed the door. She used her flashlight to show the way. Then latched the chains to secure the door to the support beam at the bottom of the steps. After lighting the oil lamps, she took the children and sat with them on her pallet.

“What are your names?”

“I'm Landon and this is Lucas”

“Now we can talk, but quietly.” They both started talking at once as tears streamed down their little faces.

“We have to get Lisa!” Lucas cried.

“Our sister is still there!” Landon said.

“What?” Toni jumped up and turned on them. “Why didn't you say something?!”

“You said you would let them eat us!” Lucas being only 5 cried harder.

Awe Geez, she had said that! Damn! Damn! Damn!

“Listen to me. I'm gonna go back for her.” She grabbed one of each of their hands and gave them a squeeze.

“Don't move from here don't make a lot of noise. If you need to cry, or scream...do it in the pillows like this....” She grabbed a pillow and covered her face in it and let out a scream.

“Got it?” Both boys nodded.

“She's probably dead like our Mom and Dad. I couldn't wake her up.” 7 year old Landon predicted.

“No!” Lucas cried.

“I'm going to find out. Where did you see her last?”

“She was in the back with our suitcases. She hit her head and wouldn't wake up” Landon informed her.

 

As Toni reached the car, she saw no movement and started to fear the worst. She looked under it first. Nothing. She peered in the front seat, then the back. Nothing. As she walked slowly to the back of the SUV she caught a movement! She prayed it was Lisa and not the dead. With the tinted windows, she wasn't sure. Instead of opening the hatchback, she moved to the backseat door and opened it slowly. She heard a whispered prayer.

“Please God help me!...Please God help me!”

“Lisa?'” Toni called softly. A tear stained faced popped up. “Oh, please help me! My parents! I can't find my brothers! Please help me!”

“Shhhhhhh....I have your brothers. They're safe. Come on we need to get home before dark. I'm gonna come around and open the hatch. We'll take what we can carry.”

Toni emptied out the biggest backpack and filled it with all the food and water she could carry. She did the same with the second backpack for Lisa. Then they filled 3 suitcases with what was left of the food and clothes for the children. The electronics were left behind, for there was no need for them anymore.

“What about that one?” Lisa asked pointing to the 4th suitcase.

“The backpacks are heavy with the food and water. I don't think you can carry more than one suitcase with the pack.”

“I can! I can do it! I promise!” Toni looked at her. She had to be about 13-14 years old.

“Alright if you think you can,” Toni quickly filled the last suitcase. She even threw in a deck of cards and a board game. “If we run into the dead we will just drop them and come back later for them if we can.” Luckily, they made it home without incident.

Toni called softly through the door to Landon. “Landon it's me unchain the door.”

“Okay, it's unlocked,” He called up.

“The flashlight is on the top step,” Toni said to her.

“Landon, Lucas, come get a suitcase.”

It was a heartfelt reunion that brought tears to the eyes, and hugs to all, including Toni. Thanking her for saving them all. After they all settled down, Toni made the rules for their survival. Allowing them their say. She told them they all had a voice since they would be living together.

They settled into a routine of sorts. Toni teaching them everything she knew about surviving this new world. She'd read a lot of books and then taught herself. They made up a sign language to use outside so they didn't have to speak. She taught them how to walk without making a sound or leaving a trail that could be followed. They learned to make snares for catching small game and how to fish when they didn't have poles or bait. Climbing trees was a skill she demanded they learn how to do well, and fast, so that was practiced on a daily basis. She taught them how to throw a blade and hit their target, to use a homemade slingshot and to always, always have rocks in their pockets. There were many uses for rocks she couldn't stress enough. They learned how to use a reed to breathe under water if they ever needed a place to hide when doing a water run. She stressed the need to always be listening. If all sounds stopped, they needed to hear that, and know danger was there, and what to do.

Six months later....

Toni purposely led the children to a spot where she knew that there were two dead walking around. She hated to do it but she had to know if they'd remember their training when faced with the real thing. When all forest sounds stopped, she held up her left hand to signal stop. She turned to look at the children and saw them tilt their heads to listen. She held up her right hand with just her pinkie standing up then changed it to her pointer finger and made a twirling motion. Lucas disappeared up a huge tree. That's when they heard the snapping of a twig. The dead didn't walk without making a sound. She held up her right hand again with her pinkie and ring finger pointed up then switched to a flicking motion to the right Landon went right. With her left hand holding up pinkie, ring, and middle finger then changing to a fling motion to the left Lisa disappeared that way. That's when she saw the first one and it saw her. It tried moving faster. She had her blade ready. With the excited noise the first one was making now, it drew the second one's attention so it followed. Toni backed up and let the first one come to her and was surprised and pleased to see Landon and Lisa creeping up behind the second one blades drawn. They all knew it had to be through the brain. It gave Toni shivers to remember how long it had taken her to figure that out. Her blade hit its mark and it dropped to the ground, just in time for Toni to see the second one fall 2 blades in its brain. She knew she was smiling big and couldn't help herself, she was so very proud of them. That's when she saw a third one come out! Shit! She readied another blade for it was just 15 feet away from the children who were pulling their blades from the dead one. Before she let loose for her target a huge whole appeared in its temple and it dropped to the ground. Toni swung around and looked up in the tree to see Lucas holding his slingshot. Tears came to her eyes! She was so elated. She threw her head back and made the motions like she was howling like a wolf then like she was barking like a coyote. No sounds came out! Lucas' smile was the biggest she'd ever seen. His brother and sister mimicked Toni and they all praised him! It was a good day indeed.

Daryl lowered his crossbow. If anyone had been with him, they wouldn't have believed the smile on his face. He had run across this family of 4 kids a few weeks back. It was clear the young man in the stocking cap was the eldest and in charge. Daryl had to admit to himself that the young man was doing an excellent job teaching his siblings to survive. His first instinct was to go to them and invite them to come to Alexandria. But after watching them from afar for weeks now he saw how they went out of their way to avoid people and it amazed him how they could climb and become one with a tree so that people walked right under them without knowing they were there. If he hadn't seen it with his own eyes he wouldn't have believed it. The sign language was brilliant, he had yet to ever hear them speak. That took so much self control and he was duly impressed. As he turned to go check their traps he was still smiling. How he wished he could have seen the little one’s face when they were silently howling for him. He had wanted to cheer himself. He silently chuckled to himself. He did that a lot when watching them when he came through. For now, he had a spare rabbit and squirrel to put in their traps if they were empty.

And so, it went on for 6 more months. Daryl trying to make it by to check on them as often as he could. Which was about twice a month.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 2

6 months later......

The sound of a loud horn blowing rent the air. Toni and the children stopped and listened. Shit, that sound could only mean one thing! People! Toni cursed under her breath. They were so far away from home. They went out of their way to move away from the sound, which made their trek twice as long. It was dusk and they were still a mile from home. Toni tried to pick up the pace. She didn't want them out after dark and feared the worst. The sounds in the woods stopped. Toni immediately signed for the kids to get up in the trees off the ground. She always waited until last so if she had to be a distraction, she could do so, to keep the children safe. The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. She wanted so badly to turn around and make sure the children were secure up in the trees, but she didn't dare until she knew what threat she faced. She had a blade ready. Her eyes darted left and right. She took several steps before she saw him. He came from the right.

The children didn't know what to do. They stayed as still as possible. From their vantage point they could see 8 of them and knew Toni wouldn't be able to fight them all off.

 

“Oh! What do we have here?”

“Nice knife” Came a voice from the left.

She threw her backpack down and said “Here you can take everything I have.”

“Everything?” Another voice. Her heart started pounding. That's 3.

She ran several more feet before 3 more came out in front of her.

Someone yanked on her stocking cap and pulled it off. Her hair came tumbling down.

“Whoa! Would you look at this!” Oh fuck! 6 of them! She heard steps behind her now and whipped around. Her eyes darted to the trees for a split second before she focused on the other two men.

“Please God have mercy.” She didn't even realize she had spoken out loud until........she heard them laugh.

“Mercy? God? He can't help you now! Caleb! She wants mercy!” Ross said.

“I have her mercy right here!” Vince said grabbing himself. Rocco grabbed her by the hair while Denver and Marc grabbed her arms from behind. Chad and Collin moved in from the left and right.
Toni's mind screamed 8! Dear Mother of God she couldn't escape from eight. She felt her clothes being ripped off! She couldn't get away! She was terrified! She didn't want the children to see this! She started to sign....then, signed with both hands, and prayed the children would obey her. She tried not to cry out, she truly did!

Lisa had tears streaming down her face. She knew what was going to happen and didn't know what to do. They saw Toni signing, and her brothers looked to her for guidance. She shook her head no.

When Vince shoved himself inside her, the pain was intense.

“Shit look at these tits!” Rocco said as he bit one and drew blood. Chad started on the other. Toni screamed out in pain. Collin yelled….

“Stand her up and I'll take the back door.” Which got huge laughs as they did indeed stand her up so they could do just that.

“Holy shit she's tight!” Collin groaned. Toni could feel the blood running down her legs and felt her flesh tearing and still she tried to sign. She tried to fight, she truly did. Biting, scratching, kicking, but all that just brought on more pain. She screamed aloud, they were tearing her apart. They took turns. Over and over again. She felt like a rag doll. She could no longer move on her own. Her whole body was battered, bloodied, and bruised. Everything hurt, even her hair. Her eyes were swollen shut, mouth and nose bloodied.

Lisa could see the tears on her brothers faces. She wished she could erase the images that were now firmly ensconced in their brains. She prayed that Toni was still alive. She had stopped screaming and was now lifeless. Yet those filthy bastards were still taking turns with her. She knew she should be praying to God to have mercy and take her home to her maker, but she was selfish, she thought with disgust, she didn't want to be alone out here taking care of her brothers by herself. She wanted Toni back! Now she fully understood why Toni avoided people at all cost.

This new world was a horrible place. It made her wonder if she and her brothers would have been better off sharing the same demise as their parents. Her thoughts were interrupted by a shout.

“The biters are coming!!” The men started grabbing up their packs, taking Toni's with them also. Someone yelled…

“What about her?”
“Leave her, she'll distract them while we get out of here!” Then, they were gone. The children quickly climbed down from the trees. Landon who was now eight, and a remarkable tree climber, reached her first.

“Toni?” He whispered afraid to touch her for she was covered in blood. Lisa arrived followed by Lucas. They knew they were breaking the rules by speaking, but Toni couldn't see the signs with her eyes swollen shut.
“Toni?” Lisa whispered in her ear. No response. Lisa put her cheek in front of Toni's mouth and could feel small breaths. Thank you, Jesus, she thought to herself.

“Landon, sit her up and I'll hold her arms around my neck, then you and Lucas can each hold a leg hurry! We have to get out of here! She frantically whispered. The boys did as she said, they wanted Toni to live too. They carried her for about a half mile. Their breathing was labored, their steps were not silent. It was slow going and full dark now, but they knew the way.

“Stop.” It was barely a breath but Lisa heard it since Toni's mouth was right next to her ear.

“We can't, we have another half mile until we get home.” Lisa whispered back.

“Stop! I can walk.” Again, it was nearly inaudible.

“It's okay we got you.”

“Lisa! Stop!” Toni started to struggle. Lisa stopped.

“Put her legs down guys.” She whispered.

Toni kept an arm around Lisa's neck then put the other around Landon's. They wrapped their arms around her naked battered body and continued on. It was much easier on all, and they made quicker time. Still, when the cabin came into view, Toni made them watch and wait. When she felt it was safe, they proceeded. Once inside the cellar with the door secured. Toni collapsed onto her pallet.

“You all disobeyed me” is all she said before passing out. Lisa covered her naked body. Only then did the children sob into their pillows.

Lisa couldn't sleep. She paced in the cellar and every time she looked at Toni the tears fell. How could Toni recover from this? She knew that she wouldn't be able to. She'd read a lot of books and knew that this kind of brutality changes a woman. There were no doctors for the body or head now, and that terrified her. She would be 16 next month, it could have been her, and would have if it wasn't for Toni. She'd always dreamed of her sweet 16 birthday party. It would have been her first party with boys attending. Now she could care less if she ever saw another boy! They were vicious animals!

 

Toni could hear Lisa pacing. She knew it was her because she knew the sound of each of their footsteps. She still couldn't see and wondered if she ever would again. She wished she could fast forward. She was in for a long recovery. She had to recover. It was the only option...she had children to take care of. She wondered briefly if this was how a Mother felt. She wouldn't know. She grew up in the system. Her parents had been addicts. She was 12 when she was rescued from the dog cage she lived in, starved, beaten, and in her own filth. From there it was foster homes, one after another. Some good, most bad until she was 18. She never grew anymore after her life in the cage. Her doctors said her growth was stunted. So, she only stood at barely 4' 11” tall. They didn't think she would ever gain the muscle to run or to stand up straight, but didn't she prove them all wrong! She never had a boyfriend for obvious reasons. When she got out of the system, she worked her ass off to go to school working 2 and 3 jobs at a time which didn't leave time for boys. So, she'd never dated then either. What she did do was become a social worker for children, and a good one at that. Having been a child of abuse, she could see the signs where others didn't and saved many children from her fate. She had, however made a friend of a male co-worker who had joined her martial arts class. She was hoping it would go past the friendship stage to something more personal, when the world went to hell. So here she was, a 28 year old virgin......well not a virgin anymore, now she was just used goods. She wanted to cry too, just like she knew Lisa was doing. So, she did what she had always done...she put her imaginary big girl panties on and softly called to Lisa.

“Lisa? Come here sweetie.”

“I'm here Toni, what do you need!” She asked grabbing hold of her hand.

“I need you to just lay beside me for a bit.” Lisa immediately complied and Toni softly stroked her hair.

“Please don't die Toni.”

“Ah sweetie, I can't be broken, I'm too ornery, I refuse to do so.” Toni could feel her smile and wanted to as well, but her face was too swollen.

Meanwhile.........
.
In Alexandria, the wall had come down and now they were fighting for their very lives!

Back in the cellar.........

The next weeks were somber, but Toni was recovering. Landon had found a kiddie pool in the shed on the property and brought down to the cellar so Toni could actually take a bath. It made her cry happy tears, she was so touched by the thoughtfulness.

4 weeks later......

On the morning of Lisa's birthday, she was quiet and never brought it up. The boys and Toni shared secret smiles. Toni and the boys had been preparing for months, before the incident, trying to find the things they needed to make her sweet 16 extra special. They couldn't wait for the party to begin.

It was after dinner when the presents were brought out. Lisa was so surprised, she thought that with everything that had happened, they had forgotten. She opened the one from Lucas first. His 6 year old self was dancing in place he was so excited for her to see what he made her. She made a big production of unfolding the t-shirt that he had wrapped it in. It was an extremely long macaroni necklace. He had painted the macaroni all different colors then strung them together.

“It's a rainbow necklace Lisa! I know how much you love rainbows.” He said with his little chest all puffed out.

“Oh, it's the most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen Lucas!” She proudly put it over her head. It hung down to her thighs so she doubled it.

“Now it looks like I have a double rainbow! Did you do that on purpose?” She asked him with a huge smile. He hadn't, but he nodded his head yes. Lisa picked him up and gave him a loud kiss and some raspberries just for fun.

Next came Landon. His present wasn't wrapped but with a small bow tied out of a hair ribbon. It was a spear for fishing! Lisa had been nagging him for months that she wanted a spear of her own, but every attempt at making herself one didn't turn out, it just fell apart after the first throw. She tested the weight of it and squealed with delight. Then launched herself at her 8 year old brother who was almost as tall as she was. He feigned disgust but was truly pleased that she liked it. Now it was Toni's turn.

“You too? You didn't have to! But I'm so glad you did!” She said with excitement at the large package that was wrapped in a blanket. Lisa slowly opened the folds. She wanted to savor every minute of it.

“Geez Lisa! Hurry up already!” Landon complained. Lisa just laughed.

“It's my birthday and I can open it any way I want to brat!” She lifted the last fold and drew in her breath.

“Oh my God! It's beautiful!” She slowly reached out a hand to touch its softness. Then picked it up and unfolded it. It was the fur from all the game they had managed to trap for food, sewn together into a huge rectangle. There was a hole cut out in the middle.

“I know it's a practical gift. It's a poncho for wearing out in the cold but doubles for a blanket to keep you warm.......”

“Stop!” Lisa held up one hand.

“It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, besides my rainbow necklace and new spear!” She added quickly as she hugged Toni tight and whispered in her ear. “I love you.”

“This is the best birthday ever! Thank you all so much!!” She held out her arm to include Landon and Lucas in the now group hug.

“Well shoot! I forgot to get the water for the dishes!”

“I'll get it.” Lisa offered just as Toni knew she would do. As soon as they heard the hatch close, they clambered to get ready for the next surprise for Lisa.

Meanwhile........
In Alexandria, they were rebuilding.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 3

As Daryl was working on the repairs to Alexandria, his thoughts wandered again to the 4 children. It had been 3 months since he'd made his way to check on them. It was driving him crazy. He wished he could tell someone, but something made him keep it to himself.

 

Back in the cellar.......

“Landon can you come zip me up please?” Toni called from behind the hanging blanket where she had been changing. After zipping her up she turned around.

“Wow! You look really pretty Toni.”

“Oh! how handsome you look.” They both spoke at the same time and laughed together.

“I haven't had a pair of heels on in over 2 years. I hope I don't fall on my face and break anything! Here let me help you with that tie.” Lucas came running in behind the blanket.

“How do I look Toni?”

“You're simply dashing Lucas. Let me fix your tie for you.” Then Toni grabbed her plastic sparkly wand with a star on the end of it and looked around.

“I think we're ready.” She smiled at the boys as they heard the hatch being opened.

Lisa came down the steps and set the bucket of water down to secure the door. When she turned around, she blinked to make sure she wasn't dreaming. There stood Toni in a little black cocktail dress that barely reached midthigh with a pair of black spike heels! Gone was the stocking cap and her, long curly brown hair hung loose down her back past her butt. Did she have makeup on? She looked stunning! Her brothers weren't facing her but, she could see they were wearing suits! Her brothers!

“Wh.........what's going on?” She asked.

“Why isn't it obvious?” Toni asked in a grandmotherly voice. Lisa just looked at her. She really didn't know what to think.

“Well it's plain to see that I am your fairy Godmother. You have a Ball to go to my Dear, so we mustn't tarry.” Toni waved her magic wand first in front of herself.

“Bippity.” And from behind her back a diamond tiara appeared. Then Landon.

“Boppity.” Landon turned to face her holding a beautiful gold sequined cocktail dress that would go beautifully with her blonde hair. Then in front of Lucas.

“Boo.” And Lucas turned and was holding a gold pair of high heels.

“Come child we must hurry and get dressed! For when the clock strikes 12….”

She looked at her imaginary watch.

“All will go back to what was.” Toni grabbed the dress and shoes and ushered Lisa behind the changing blanket and helped her get ready.

“May I have your attention?” Toni said tapping her plastic wand on the side of a tin can.

“I like to introduce you all to.... The Princess Lisa!!!” She and the boys started clapping as Lisa pulled the blanket aside and stepped out.

“You look just like a princess Lisa! Oh, and you're wearing your rainbow!” Lucas clapped harder. Landon walked up to her and extended his hand and bowed. Lisa put her hand in his and he kissed the back of it, just like he'd seen in the movies. When he stood back up he saw she had tears running down her face.

“I'm.. I'm sorry Lisa we thought you would like it.” Lisa quickly explained.

“No! No! These are happy tears! You all are the best family ever!”

“Well then dearie, let’s get this Ball going.” Toni said and they all laughed. She walked over to the tape recorder and turned and said...

“Everyone say a quick little prayer that there is some life left in these batteries I found, and that this mixed tape has dancing songs on it. I didn't try it cause I wanted to save the batteries. Ready?” Everyone said yes! She pushed the button.

♫♪ I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world ♫♪

Toni put a hand over her heart, she loved this song. Lisa and Landon started slow dancing. Toni grabbed the big metal tub and turned it upside down in the middle of the floor and motioned for Lucas to jump up. They started to dance together Toni dancing around the tub holding on to Lucas.

 

♫♪ I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you ♫♪

 

After a minute or so, they changed partners. Both Toni and Lisa singing and swaying to the music.

 

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

They all clapped when the song ended. Then the next one started.....

Just take those old records off the shelf
I'll sit and listen to 'em by myself
Today's music ain't got the same soul
I like that old time rock 'n' roll
Don't try to take me to a disco
You'll never even get me out on the floor
In ten minutes I'll be late for the door
I like that old time rock 'n' roll

“Woohoo!” Toni said as loudly as she dared. The dancing began again. They were silly and laughed a lot. It was the most fun they'd had since the world as they had known it ended. They listened to Devil went down to Georgia and did air fiddle playing. Twice! And then.. then the next song started........

I remember every little thing
As if it happened only yesterday

Toni couldn't believe it! She grabbed a candle and started singing. But what really blew her mind is when Lisa grabbed one too. She knew the song!!!

Parking by the lake
And there was not another car in sight
And I never had a girl
Looking any better than you did
And all the kids at school
They were wishing they were me that night
And now our bodies are oh so close and tight
It never felt so good, it never felt so right
And we're glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife

She let Lisa take the girl part while she sang the boy part. The singing and dancing went on until the batteries finally died during 'The Twist!'

“Oh my gosh that was so much fun!” Lisa said breathlessly. Toni looked at her imaginary watch and said.....

“Oh dearie the clock is about to strike 12 quick! Get changed into your pajamas.” As Lisa disappeared behind the curtain Toni told the boys to hurry. She joined Lisa and got changed herself. Toni handed Lisa a pair of cute little shortie pajamas.

“Where did you guys get all this stuff?” Lisa asked. Lisa held up the pajamas Toni handed her.

“What are these?” She asked while holding them up.

“They're for the pajama party of course.” Toni said with a straight face.

“Pajama party?”

“Yep, hurry up.” Lisa hurried. This night was just getting better and better. As Lisa and Toni came around the blanket curtain, Lisa stopped short and starting laughing. She laughed so hard she doubled over with it. There stood her brothers wearing shortie girl pajamas and each sporting a wig on their head. Landon's was long red and curly while Lucas wore a long straight blonde one. The boys were laughing as hard as she was.

“Okay! Rainbows off.” Lisa took off her necklace while asking why.

“Because of this!” And Toni slammed her with a pillow.

“Can't have a pajama party without a pillow fight!” Then it was on! They chased each other around the room, laughing like they'd hadn't in so long.

“Okay! Landon, where are the cases?” Landon reached behind under the steps and came out with 2 makeup cases. They were full of nail polish, makeup, barrettes, foam curlers, brushes and combs, bobby pins everything you could think of for a girl’s slumber party. Lisa smiled big and said…

“Who's first?” They did fingernails, toenails, hair and makeup. They laughed and laughed. Then they looked into the hand mirror and laughed some more. It was the best Toni could do under the circumstances, but she was immensely pleased with the outcome. She hadn't seen the children this happy, ever! Toni made a mental note to search for more batteries so that they may be able to do it again.

3 weeks later.....

Rick noticed that Daryl was getting more and more restless. His temper was short. He knew he been depending a lot on Daryl's help. He'd tried sending him out on a few runs these past months, and Daryl seemed excited to go until he found out where they were going, then he'd become solemn and quiet. So, Rick decided maybe Daryl needed to get away for a while and go out recruiting.

“Daryl?” Rick called up to him on the ladder.

“What!” He snapped.

“Can you come down here for a minute?”

“Do you want this wall fixed or not?”

“I was thinking maybe it's time to go out and do some recruiting, but if you'd rather not.....”

“What? Wait!” Daryl practically slid down the ladder.

“When do you want me to go?'” He asked excitedly.

“Whenever you feel up to it.....”

“Okay I'll see you in a few weeks!” Daryl took off for the house. He had to pack. By the time Rick made it back to the house, Daryl was long gone.

Back at the cellar......

 

The day after Lisa's birthday, Toni decided she felt good enough to go out on a supply run. When she came out from dressing. Lucas started laughing.

“You look fat Toni.”

“Well it's just a little added protection. Men don't like fat girls.” Landon and Lisa looked at one another. They knew what she was referring too.

“Well I still like you Toni even if you are fat.” Lucas assured her.

“Thank you, sweetie, that's good to know because I would surely be sad if you didn't.”

“Whatcha got on under there Toni?” Landon asked.

Toni unbuttoned her shirt to show them. When she was out looking for the things for Lisa's birthday she found a velcro back brace in XXL and a bed pillow that fit perfectly underneath. She knew she looked like an Oompa Loompa, but she didn't care one bit! All that mattered is men didn't like fat girls. And so, life went on. Whenever they left home Toni wore her fat suit.

Daryl had been sitting for hours waiting to catch a glimpse of the kids. Nothing! He was starting to think that they had moved on and went somewhere else. The thought saddened him. He wished he had approached them months ago. What if they were dead? He tried to shake that thought away. The older boy was smart. He wouldn't let anything happen to his siblings. He been watching over them for more than a year now and he knew they were careful to the extreme. It was almost dark now, he'd go check it out in the morning, to be sure they were gone.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 4

 

Daryl woke up before daylight. He was in a foul mood. He'd barely slept. He was really mad at himself for staying away for so long. Normally he didn't care much for being around people, but
these were kids! They needed protection from this new world they lived in. Well, if he was honest with himself, they didn't seem to need him at all. Maybe that was the attraction they didn’t need or want anything from him. Hell, he shook his head, they didn't even know that he
existed! He packed his gear and waited for daylight. It was still predawn when he caught a movement. There! Someone carrying a bucket. Damn! They were still there! He smiled at no one. He couldn't tell which one it was because it was still pretty dark. But he didn't care, he was just glad he'd be able to see them again. He was really rethinking about asking them to come to
Alexandria for then, he wouldn’t have to worry over them and he could get on with his life. Yet he sat there waiting with a silly grin on his face. Life was good again. He'd needed to get away for a while. He'd been stuck in Alexandria for months.

Back in the cellar.........

“Okay guys, one last look. Anything we need that we forgot to put on the list?” Toni asked. The children thought and looked around the cellar.

“Just batteries.” Lucas mentioned the most important thing to him. Everyone laughed, but secretly they all hoped to find more batteries so they could have another party.

Daryl watched them all come out at first light.

“Whoa” he said low to himself. “Who is that?” He moved his binoculars back to the cellar door. No one else came out. It had only been about 4 months, but the oldest looked to have gained about 40 lbs. Unless he was still inside....but then who was this new guy? Daryl followed at a safe distance. All the mannerisms were the same. The walk was the same. This had to be the same guy only heavier. The extra weight certainly wasn't slowing him down any. Daryl had to jog at times to keep up. He followed them all day. Did they ever stop to rest? They went from house to house. They would come out with full backpacks, then transfer their findings into the duffel bags that had been hidden outside.

He was far enough away that he pulled out a smoke and lit it. He saw the two middle kids come running out of the house they were scavenging like their tails were on fire, and run into the one the oldest and young one, were in. He pulled out his binoculars and scanned the area. Shit! 3 men coming! Still at the opposite end of the street. He fleetingly wondered how the kids knew. He put out his smoke and gathered his gear to get closer. Then he stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the sight before him. What was that kid thinking! He watched as he threw a pillow and something else out the second floor, window. Surely, they weren't going to jump! His heart was thundering in is chest. He was too far away to do anything! He couldn't yell because the 3 men were almost halfway down the street already. The four backpacks followed the pillow. Then to his utter amazement, he saw the oldest climb out the window until he was hanging by his elbows from the sill. However, he didn't jump, just hung there.

Then one of the middle children climbed down his body and wrapped his arms around his elder’s feet. Then the other middle child came out next and climbs down his sibling’s bodies and again, wrapped his arms around their feet until finally the smallest climbed down all three bodies where his drop was only 3 feet. He quickly grabbed his pack and put it on. Then the next child made the 7, foot drop and grabbed his pack. Now it was the third child's turn. He watched in disbelief as the oldest dropped his arms down and was hanging by just his fingers. He knew he was trying the get the kid closer to the ground, but damn, he hoped they didn't break their fool necks. It had to be an 11, foot drop but he didn't hesitate, he dropped and rolled right to his feet and grabbed the last 2 packs. The eldest let go with one hand and held up 4 fingers then twirled one and the kids took off. One ran back and got the pillow and black cloth.

A human chain. Again, if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes he wouldn't have believed it. He watched as the oldest pulled himself back up into the window. His upper arm strength was incredible! The three guys were now right in front of the house. One pointed to the front door. Damn! The kids must have left the door opened when they ran inside. The three men started up to the porch guns drawn. Daryl's heart rate accelerated. He saw a guy stick his head out the open window that the kids climbed down from. Where the hell was he? 15 minutes later Daryl thought he saw a movement on the porch. There! The damn kid walked right out the front door! He jumped off the porch and into the bushes. It was ten minutes later when Daryl saw the kid four houses down carrying 3 duffel bags towards the woods before disappearing out of sight.

These kids were going to be the death of him, was what Daryl was thinking. He watched and waited to see movement from the house. Nothing! 30 minutes went by...still nothing. He decided to go check it out. They didn't need these three on their trail. He waited against the house where the open window was and listened intently. No sounds. In the stillness he should have been able to hear them talking. Nothing. He went around the front of the house crossbow ready. Opened the front door and scanned the room and listened. Nothing. He found the first body in the kitchen toward the back of the first floor. Throat slit, genitals mutilated. He found the second at the top of the stairs in the bathroom. The body was in the same condition. The last was found in the room with the open window where the kids had escaped. Same. What the hell? Daryl's mind was racing! How could this pintsized kid take out three grown men without anyone making a sound, and in 15 minutes? Daryl left to see if he could find their trail.

Toni searched the trees to see if she could see the kids. She found them all, but barely. They made her proud they were getting that good. She gave the signal to come down, then opened a bottle of water to wash her bloody hands before the children could see them. They reached her and stopped and just looked at her. She knew what they wanted to know, so she nodded her head and left it at that. After all, there were rules, and no one spoke when they were outside. There would be time for that tonight when they got home. She set a fast pace, she wanted to get home. She didn't know how long it would take the other 5 sick fuckers to find their dead comrades. She needed to process everything that had happened today herself, after running into 3 of the bastards who had so brutally raped her. The hair on the back of her neck had been standing most of the day. She didn't know if it was because of them or something else. She just felt like she was being watched. She valued her good instincts and never dismissed them. She just wanted to get home.

Daryl picked up their trail fairly easy. However, they were running so they weren't covering it up.

Toni and the kids were taking a different way home. Always cautious Daryl thought. They came across a small farmhouse with a barn, shed and chicken house. Toni signaled to stop. They listened. Then heard them before they saw them. Toni gave the signal. The children disappeared. She readied a blade. She had sent all the children to the trees because she didn't yet know the threat. Two dead ones came around the side of the house. She waited. No more followed. Two, she could easily handle two.

Daryl had finally caught up to them. He'd had to run the whole way. Damn but their stamina impressed him, course they were a lot younger than he was. He didn't see the children but spied the oldest just as two walkers came around the side of the house. After what he'd seen today, he had no doubt that the boy could take out the two walkers. Still he moved closer and readied his bow, just in case. The kid had kicked out the feet from the second walker and was plunging a blade into its brain when a third walker came around the house. He hadn't yet seen him! Daryl took off at a run crossbow raised and ready and yelled!

Toni looked up at the shout and saw a man running toward her with a crossbow ready to shoot her. As the man got into her range she let a blade fly, just as he shot his crossbow. She felt the arrow wiz past her face as she saw her blade sink in high on his thigh. He went straight down with a yell of pain. She readied another blade just in case. Something fell just behind her and she swung around blade in hand.
It was one of the dead, with an arrow through the head! Oh shit! He had not been trying to kill her. He had been trying to save her! What had she done? She jumped up and started to run toward him, only to see a rock hit him in the forehead, and another in the shoulder! She raised both hands a signed for the children to STOP! She got to his side. He wasn't moving. She signed for the children to come down.

“I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I thought you were trying to kill me!” She whispered to him. He didn't respond. The rock to the temple had knocked him out. At least she prayed he was only knocked out. She ripped her sleeves off to bandage his thigh and head, but first she needed to pull her blade out of his thigh. Wait! She thought to herself. She remembered reading that you should never remove an object until you got to the hospital so the bleeding could then be controlled. There were no hospitals anymore, but she did think it would be better to wait until they got home. She tied one sleeve around his head wound and the other around arm. Damn but he was handsome, and so big! He looked like a warrior!

The children came running up to her and were shocked to hear her break the rule of no speaking when outside. Even though she was whispering the instructions, she could see the shock on their faces.

“This is an emergency! We need to build a travois! We have to get him home and help him! He saved my life!” She told the children what to look for and they set about making quick work of it.

Toni wanted, needed to get home. She kind of felt like she was falling apart but knew she could not. It was slow going because he was so big, but they persevered, and made it home just after dark. How in the hell were they going to get him down the steps? Toni was exhausted, as were the children. They had alternated between everyone carrying him and Toni and Lisa pulling him, or Toni and Landon, pulling him all the way home.

“Warrior!” She whispered loudly in his ear.

“Wake up!” Daryl stirred slightly.

“Warrior!” She tried again.

“I need your help!” His eyes started to flutter. Daryl had been drifting in and out of consciousness during the trek back. His head was killing him, he didn't want to open his eyes. He passed out again. They ended up sliding the travois down the steps, which turned out to be easier than Toni thought it would. Lisa and Landon helped move him onto Toni's pallet, then they all went up to get all the backpacks and duffels. With the hatch finally secured everyone slumped with fatigue. Toni knew she couldn't rest yet. She still had the warriors knife wound to deal with. She figured the warrior would be pissed if they cut off his pants so they decided to put a rag around the knife and pull it out then slide his pants off. They took his boots off, then Toni unbuckled his belt. Crap she'd never undressed a man before and would never likely do it again, after all, she was now used goods. She pretended she was a nurse in one of the novels she'd read and unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. She didn't know for sure but assumed he would wake from the pain of having the blade removed, so she fashioned restraints for his arms and legs out of soft cloth and attached them to wall beams on both sides of the cellar. She couldn't risk the lives of her kids.

 

“Alright guys, are you ready? Hold him down as best you can.” Using her left hand holding a soft cloth she reached down inside his pants and wrapped it around the blade. She then used her right hand to pull it out. He arched up and yelled when she pulled the blade out but passed out again soon after. She held pressure on the wound as the kids pulled his pants off. He was wearing boxer briefs and they didn't leave much to the imagination. Damn he was big everywhere! She told the kids to go to bed. It had been a long, long day for them. They were happy to do so.

“Toni?” Lisa knelt down beside her, where she was applying pressure to the warrior’s knife wound.

“Can I help?”

“I got it sweetie, you can go to bed.”

“Well.....are you okay?” Toni looked under the rag. The bleeding appeared to be stopping.

“I'm fine honey, just tired like we all are.” She finally turned and looked at Lisa, then realized what Lisa needed to hear. She gently laid her hand on the side of Lisa's face and said…

“They're dead.... Fucking bastards never saw it coming.” She nearly spat out the last part. Lisa hugged her tight.

“Go, sleep, we'll talk more tomorrow.”

“What about him?”

“Say a prayer for him. A big strong warrior like him doesn't deserve to be taken out by me and my kids”

“We thought he was shooting at you too! I'll say a prayer tonight.”

“Thank you, sweetie.”

Lisa went to ready herself for bed, she said her prayers and was asleep instantly.

Daryl lay with his eyes closed listening. Damn! Two of the kids were girls!! God! His head hurt! But thinking it over, it was probably the little one who got him. He almost smiled at the thought. He'll never forget how he took out that walker. Thank God he had a hard head.

“Well shit.” Toni said under her breath. She'd forgotten she'd need the kids to pour the moon shine on his wounds. They needed to be disinfected before she could wrap them. She went to wake Lisa and Landon and explained what needed to be done.

Damn!! Daryl thought, that's gonna hurt like hell but he knew, it did indeed, need to be done.

“Alright wait until I get on him and I'll tell you when. Landon grabbed his legs and Toni sat on top of his chest. Lisa stood by with the pint of moonshine.

“Good grief he's big!” Toni said under her breath, but they all heard her. She held his head with both of her hands and whispered in his ear,

“Warrior! We have to disinfect the wounds please don't scream.” She moved her hands to his out stretched elbows since she'd never be able to reach his hands without sitting on his face. Truth be told, Daryl wasn't thinking about anything but the breasts skimming his face and the warmth of her tiny body lying on his chest.

“Okay Lisa.” Lisa poured the moonshine over his knife wound and he jerked up like a bucking bronc. However, Toni's breasts helped muffle the loud groan. Toni was so distracted by the hot breath on her breasts and the massive chest between her legs that Lisa had to call her name twice before she heard the question.

“Toni?.... Toni!? Do I need to do it again?”

“Sorry! Yes, sweetie just one more time!!”

Daryl was prepared this time and was better able to control his response. However, his breath was hot yet again with his low groan against Toni's breasts and she shivered at the goosebumps it caused.

“Thanks for the help guys, you can go back to bed now.”

“Night.” Landon said and quickly made his way back to bed.

“Can I help with anything else?” Lisa asked.

“No sweetie, I'm just gonna wrap him up and go to sleep as well.” Lisa went back to her own pallet and was asleep when her head hit the pillow. She was exhausted.

Daryl was trying to think of anything to keep his body from responding. It wasn't very often that he had perfectly formed breasts being shoved in his mouth. Well if he was honest, they weren't being shoved, but he could dream. Dammit stop it! He thought to himself. Think of Terminus, the governor, his childhood, anything! When the twin globes left his face, he felt the loss immediately. She scooted down until she was sitting on his stomach. He tried to catch a glimpse of her through his slitted lids. Why she was no bigger than a minute!! She leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead.

“No fever, thank God.” She whispered under her breath. Okay so she wasn't exactly kissing him but checking for a fever. Who, does that he wondered? His head injury must be worse than he thought, usually he was good at reading people. He felt her fingers gently going through his hair pushing it away from his face.

“I'm so sorry, warrior. Please forgive me.” She sounded like she was crying! It was confirmed when he felt the tears hit his face. She quickly wiped them away. She moved further down his torso until she was sitting on his groin. Oh hell, anywhere but there! The first feather light kiss on his chest took him by surprise. The second one made him nervous! What the hell was she doing? He was tied up for God’s sake! His hands turned to fists in their restraints.

“Toni? Why are you crying?” Lucas asked standing right beside her. Crying? Daryl wondered.

“Awe sweetie, did I wake you?”

“Nah, I didn't hear you. I just had a bad dream.”

“What about?”

“Nothing.” Toni didn't press him, she’d wait until he was ready to talk. Instead she gathered him into her arms and held him. Daryl fleetingly wondered if she even remembered that they were sitting on top of him. It almost made him smile.

“Why were you kissing him?”

“I wasn't kissing him, just his boo boo's see?” And she pointed to all the scars on his chest.

“But....why?”

“Because they must have hurt really bad and warriors don't cry.”

“So, you kissed him and cried for him?”

“Yes.”

“How do you think he got all those?” Lucas wondered.

“Warriors have many battle scars. They are very brave and fight to protect those who need it.”

“Like he did today for you?”

“Yes, exactly like that.”

“Do you think he will be mad at you?”

“I'm sure once I explain he will forgive me.”

“Maybe I should kiss the boo boo, I gave him.”

“I think that's a fine idea.” She hugged him tight. He turned around and crawled up his chest and kissed the bandage around his head and whispered to him...

“I'm sorry warrior, I thought you were trying to kill Toni and I love her and don't want her to die.”

Daryl swallowed the lump in his throat and hoped they wouldn't notice that he was awake.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 5

 

Toni was exhausted. She just remembered that no one had even had any supper. She made quick work of bandaging his thigh, and checking his head and shoulder wounds, before turning the oil lamp as low as it would go. She moved it to the table between her pallet and the pallets of her children as was her custom, in case any of them woke up. The kids already lived in a bleak world and she didn't want them waking up to pitch blackness.

Daryl now lay in the shadows with the lamp moved, so he took the opportunity to open his eyes and look around. He quickly realized that he was underground, in a cellar, as there were no windows. He could barely make out the shelving on the walls where, he was sure canned goods used to be stored. From what he could see in the dark it appeared to be very tidy for so small of a space with 4 kids living in it. He closed his eyes when he saw the shadow of Toni coming toward him. She stopped when she reached his feet, then squatted down and removed the restraints. She gently rubbed his ankles though he didn't know why for they had not been tied tight. She did the same with his wrists, again rubbing them as well. She put her lips on his forehead again, then she surprised him by lying down next to him. She must have taken off her stocking cap because he could smell and feel her soft hair against his side. There was a lot of it! Her head was resting beside his armpit and he could still feel her hair on his thighs. He felt her fingers grab the waist band of his underwear and thought what the hell! Then concluded that if her breathing was any indication that she was already asleep. She really was a mystery to him, not that he was an expert by any means. Her hair was so long that he chanced lifting some of it to his chest then to his nose. It didn't smell of perfume or flowers or fruit. It just smelled clean. He resigned himself to a sleepless night with having her so close to him and her holding on to him er.... his underwear.

It was hours later when he realized he had fallen asleep, because a thrashing Toni woke him up. Her head, arms, and legs were all moving like she was fighting something. However, she wasn't screaming, but whispering the word NO! over and over again! He grabbed the hand that kept pounding on his chest and discovered that she was signing. She was pointing with her index finger and then, pounding him with her fist. Over and over she repeated it. She suddenly sat up breathing like she had been running for a long time. Daryl released her hand and feigned sleep. He started to worry when it seemed like she couldn't catch her breath. Before he could make a decision whether to try to help her, Lisa and Landon were at her sides. Lisa handed her a brown paper lunch sack to breath in to, while Landon was slowly making circles on her back for comfort. After a minute or so her breathing started to calm. She reached for her pillow and buried her face in it and cried, cried like she was never gonna stop. Lisa and Landon cried too, silently, tears streaming down their faces. Daryl felt very uncomfortable he didn't know what to do for them. He wasn't the consoling type. He didn't even know what had brought all this on other than he knew Toni had had a nightmare, or more like a night terror.
It was the arrival of Lucas that brought all the tears to a halt, to Daryl's relief.
“Are we sleeping with the warrior tonight?” Lucas wanted to know, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“What?” Toni asked trying to dry her eyes on her pillow.

“Yes.” Lisa answered wiping her own eyes.

'We didn't want him to wake up and be afraid.” Landon added.

“How come no one told me?”

“We were just getting ready to come and get you squirt.” Landon ruffed his hair.

“I wanna sleep by his head where I hurt him so I can kiss it and make it better.”

“Of course, you do sweetheart, you're a warrior in the making.” Toni said hugging him.

Lucas climbed right over his body to get to the other side of him. Daryl almost smiled but caught himself.
As everyone fell back to sleep, Daryl laid there wide awake. He wondered how they got him there. He couldn't remember when the last time was that he slept next to another person. He preferred to sleep alone away from all the others. Now here he was surrounded by 4 small bodies so close that they were touching him. Oddly he felt content until Toni, in her sleep, grabbed his arm and turned her back to him and wrapped herself around it, with his hand between her legs. Well hell! He tried to think of anything other than the warmth surrounding his hand. He thought about her nightmare and what caused it. She had brutally killed 3 men that day all by herself apparently with ease. How? How could a young girl as small as she is, take out 3 big grown men without so much as a sound? He still couldn't believe that 2 of the kids were girls. It just made their surviving that much more impressive. He briefly wondered how they came to be without their parents, after all they had raised some very strong willed kids for them to have made it this long. His thoughts continued to race from subject to subject until he fell asleep once again.

When Daryl woke next, he was restrained once more. He looked up. Slip knots? Really? Clearly these kids didn't know the first thing about tying a person up. He looked around through slitted lids. There was no oil lamp lit on the side of the cellar where he lay, so he was able to watch them with ease. The first thing he realized was that Toni wasn't a young girl at all, she was a woman. However, the kids called her Toni, so he didn't think she was their Mother, yet she'd called them her kids. Her hair was once again up in that stocking cap. He was disappointed, he was secretly hoping he would be able to see it in the light. At least she wasn't wearing whatever it was that made her look 40 lbs heavier. It still amazed him that he was taken out by these 4 kids...er.... 3 kids and 1 woman. Damn, but she was good with her blades. His head started pounding. He groaned, he didn't realize he groaned out loud until he opened his eyes again and he was surrounded by all 4 of them.

“Why am I tied up?” he asked.

“You're not really.” Landon told him. Daryl yanked on his restraints.

“Listen Warrior, I need to know that you're not going to take retribution for your injuries against me and my children.”

“What?”

“We didn't mean to hurt you.” Lucas told him.

“I know you didn't.” Daryl said as he winced again. God, but his head was throbbing again.

“What's your name?” Toni asked him.

“Daryl, Daryl Dixon.”

“Mr. Dixon.......” Toni began.

“Daryl, my name is Daryl.”

“Mr. Dixon....I'm so sorry I sunk my blade in you. I thought you were trying to kill me.”

“It's alright.”

He felt his restraints being removed and tried to open his eyes against the pain in his head.
Next thing he knew he was being lifted up into a sitting position by Toni and Landon. His head started spinning and he knew he was going to be sick.

“Sick.” He whispered. He felt a bucket being pushed against his chest.

“Go ahead we've got you.” Toni whispered in his ear. She was behind him holding his forehead with one hand and his chest with the other. His head felt like it weighed 100 pounds. It was mostly bile that came up since he hadn't eaten since he left Alexandria 2 days ago. The bucket disappeared and a cool cloth was placed on his head. A water bottle was placed at his lips. He took a small sip. He didn't realize how thirsty he was until that first swallow.

“Slow down sweetie, slow down, I need you to try to take these pills. They will help with the headache.” Toni nodded to Lisa. Lisa held the pills up to Daryl's mouth and then gave him another drink. He felt the bucket return just in case, but he held the water and pills down. Toni gently laid him back down.

“Lucas....... would you be willing to give up a can of your chicken and stars?”

“For Daryl?”

“Yes, I don't think he's eaten for a few days and chicken soup......”

“Heals all!” He finished with a smile.

“You know....for a 6 year old you sure are smart!” She smiled back.

“Lisa, I'm gonna go upstairs and heat this up. Can you make breakfast for everyone?”

“Sure.”

They didn't normally heat up canned food. They were saving what gas was left for the stove for cooking the meat they got in their snares. Once that was gone they'd have to make a fire outside to cook. Toni wasn't looking forward to that day. She would have to think about it soon though, the propane tank was down to 30%. She was considering finding a new place to live, but this place had kept them safe for 2 years, she really didn't want to leave. She had some thoughts on the matter, but she'd have to make another trip to the library which was currently overrun by the dead.

Toni made her way back through the hidden floor door to the cellar. She added a generous amount of oyster crackers to the soup to soak up the broth and make it more filling. He was extremely big after all. Once again Landon and Toni lifted Daryl to a sitting position where he was leaning back against Toni. Lisa brought over a towel to drape across Daryl's chest, and handed her the soup bowl.

“Dixon, wake up.”

“Hmmmm.”

“Open your mouth it's time to eat something.”

Daryl opened his mouth and Toni gave him his first spoonful. Daryl hadn't eaten in days and couldn't believe how hungry he was. She couldn't feed him fast enough.

“Slow down Dixon, we don't want it coming straight back up.” He knew she was right but damn, he was starving. When he was finished she lay him back down and touched her lips to his forehead.

“I don't have a fever.” His voice was deep and rough like one that is rarely used. His eyes remained closed.

“No, you don't, thank God.”

“Thanks.” He whispered. She combed her fingers through his hair to get it out of his eyes. She felt him flinch. That was a red flag in her old position of the worst kind, abuse!
She set the bucket beside him just in case and went to eat something herself no one had, had dinner last night. The kids were sitting around the table finishing up their breakfast of corn beef hash with green beans and sliced pears. Toni's mouth watered, now she was hungry and had something else to think about. Why would a strong grown man flinch at a simple, caress?

Daryl lay there listening to them talk, trying to think of a way to tell her he needed to use the toilet. He'd held it as long as he could but now the matter was urgent. His headache was subsiding the pills were helping a lot, and his belly had stopped hurting and he no longer felt nauseous. He tried to sit up by himself and was immediately surrounded.

“Dixon! What are you doing?”

“I need to get up.”

“You're not strong enough yet! Lay back down!”

“I have to go.” He could feel his face burning with embarrassment.

“You're not going anywhere until you're healed!”

“I need.......” he just couldn't bring himself to say it. “I need …...”

“What?” She said looking into his eyes.
“Oh.” It was her turn to turn 3 shades of red.

“Landon, help me get him up.” It wasn't easy with him being so big but they managed to get him standing on his feet. They slowly made their way to behind the curtain where the toilet chair was. Toni had found it in a nursing home 2 years ago. It was a chair with a bucket built in used for the old people. It had worked out great for them. No more trying to squat over a bucket. She had even found that blue chemical used in portable pots to keep the smell down, in a RV sales place. They all stood there looking at the chair.

“Ahhhh, do you need me to help you?” She asked, not making eye contact.

“No.” He said a little too quickly.

“Umm can you go sitting down? I don't want you to fall down and hit your head and make matters worse.” Her face felt like it was on fire.

Daryl couldn't believe he was actually having this conversation.

“I'm fine.” He insisted.

“Do you want Landon to stay?”

“NO!” He said sharply.

“Sorry.” He added.

“Ok we'll be right outside here if you need us.” She removed his arm from around her shoulder and placed his hand on the arm of the potty chair. Landon did the same and they went behind the blanket and waited.

When he came out they headed toward the pallet but he had other ideas. He wanted to sit up and started for a chair at the table on the other side of the cellar.

“You need to lay down and rest.”

“I need to sit up for a while.”

“Mr. Dixon.”

“It's Daryl!” he insisted. Toni didn't respond. She did help him to the table and made sure he was sitting down before she let go of him. Daryl felt a lot better. The pills had kicked in and his throbbing headache was now just a dull ache. He felt Toni behind him pushing him forward a little to wrap a blanket around him.

“Don't want you getting cold.”

“Where are my clothes?”

“Soaking, I'll be washing them today.”

“You don't have to.” She raised a brow which he missed since she was still standing behind him.

“While you're up let’s get these bandages changed.”

“I can do it.”

“Ah.....no!”

“I'm not a kid that needs to be taken care of!” He said to her back for she was already walking away to get the supplies she needed.

“Dude! Give it up! You won't win.” Landon advised and Lisa laughed.

Daryl sat mute, pouting, while she cleaned and re-bandaged his wounds. Toni almost laughed out loud.

“Alright guys it's time to see what we found yesterday. Grab your bags.

“What are we doing first? Supplies or surprises?” Lisa asked.

“You guys pick.” Daryl watched as the 3 kids got in a huddle and started whispering. He looked over at Toni who was smiling ear to ear with unshed tears in her eyes. She looked like a proud Mother.

“They'll be a force to reckon with when they get older.....team work.” She whispered to him. He looked back at them and saw the older two letting the youngest have his say. As he watched, he couldn't figure out what was taking so long. It seemed a simple enough question. Supplies or surprises first. Hell, his brother Merle would have made the decision for them in 2 seconds. He wouldn't have had a say in the matter. Toni looked at Daryl and saw his brow furrow. She wondered what he was thinking.

3 days ago... back in Alexandria............

“He's gone already?” Rick asked Glen.

“Yes 15 minutes ago.” 15 minutes ago? That's when Rick saw him last. He must have had a bag already packed. Rick didn't know what to think about that.

“Was Aaron with him?”

“No, he was alone. Is everything alright?”

“I'm sure it is.”

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 6

 

The children came back over to the table.

“After careful consideration....we....” She put an arm around each of her brother’s shoulders.

“Have decided that we would like to do all our chores for the day and our lessons and save the surprises until after dinner tonight.

“Are you sure? Are all of you in agreement?”

“Yes.” They all said at the same time.

“An excellent choice and so very smart of you” The kids beamed at her praise.

“Okay all supplies on the table.” The kids grabbed their duffel's and backpacks and start unloading onto the table. Daryl was shocked at the amount of canned and boxed food being laid out on the table. There was so much that they had to start stacking it. Then came the medicines and bandages, after that came at least a dozen or more knives, rope, a fishing net, a hammer and nails, and a tire iron. Daryl wondered how they carried it all back. So, he asked them.

“Well, we normally hide some of the bags on the way home and go back for them the next day, but since we had to get you here, we just piled them all on and now we don't have to go back.” Landon answered him.

“Alright get ready.” Toni said to them. Daryl watched as the children walked over in front of the empty shelves and Toni lit an oil lamp on that side of the cellar. When she returned to the table, she said each child's name before throwing a can or box item at them. She did it fast and furiously. Throwing overhand to Lisa and Landon and underhand to Lucas. He noticed that she didn't always throw directly to them but made them reach for it, not 1 item was dropped! It didn't even take a minute.

“Well done!!” She praised them. Toni went behind the curtain and came back to the table with three cups, 4 tooth brushes and a tube of toothpaste and a bottle of mouth wash and placed them on the table. Daryl watched as she put just a little paste on each toothbrush and passed them out. He saw them dunk the tooth brush in the blue cup and brush their teeth. They then spit into the green cup and from the red cup they drank and then spit again into the green cup. Then laid their brushes beside the blue cup. Fascinating he thought. When Toni finished with hers, she rinsed the brush in the blue cup and added some paste and handed it to Daryl saying I'm sorry we don't have a spare. Daryl looked at the tooth brush like he didn't know what to do with it. Toni laughed, patted his back and told him not to worry that she had gotten her cootie shots and he would be safe. It made him laugh and he proceeded to brush his teeth. As Toni walked away from the table, she had a big smile on her face, because she was able to make him laugh.

“I'm gonna go get some water, lock up behind me Landon.”

“Yes ma'am.”

 

“Why is she getting more water when that wall is full of water?” Daryl asked after she left. He looked at the shelves that held water and there appeared to be over 50 gallons of it, and that didn't include all the gallons he saw behind the curtain.

“Once we had the dead out there for 2 weeks and couldn't leave. We ran out of water so Toni now makes sure we have enough to last a month at least.” Lisa informed him.

With the whole cellar lit by lamps now he took a good look around and was amazed how well stocked they really were. He thought they may even have as much as they did in Alexandria. These kids never ceased to amaze him. To think that all this time he thought they needed his help. He limped over to a small bookcase that was crammed with how to books and asked as he came across a book on knots.....

“Do you guys know how to tie a person up?”

“Of course, we do.” Landon laughed and nodded his head.

“Well.....tying a person up with slip knots is a stupid thing to do.” All the children stopped what they were doing and looked at him, then started to laugh.

“We didn't tie you up, we were only restraining you to give us enough time to kill you if you tried to kill Toni or us. It was just a precaution, after all we had just taken you down and didn't know if we could trust you.” Lisa told him in a matter of fact voice. Sweet Jesus! These kids talked about killing like it was nothing. As he looked at them, he noticed that they were all armed to the teeth with knives even now where they should feel safe. They were like a little army of 4, always prepared, always thinking ahead. It made him recall Toni taking out those 3 grown ass men without a sound in only 15 minutes.

“How long have you been here?” He asked them.

“About 2 years now I think” Lisa answered. Daryl perused through the how to books. How to hunt, how to fish, how to make and set traps, how to start fires in the wilderness, how to purify water, what plants and bugs were safe to eat, how to track game, the shelves were just full of information and he had no doubt that every one of them had been studied and tried.

“Is Toni your Mom?” Daryl asked.

“In our hearts she is.” Lucas said.

“Toni says we don't have to be blood to be family.” Daryl agreed with that, thinking of the people in Alexandria as his family.

“How did you all end up together?” No one answered. He thought no one was going to until Landon finally quietly spoke.

“Our Mom and Dad were fighting the dead when our car broke down and Toni rescued us.” It was said so sadly that Daryl didn't ask anymore.

They heard the hatch jiggle and Toni's urgent whisper. Landon quickly unchained it.

“Chain the hatch Landon! Lisa get the ropes. Quiet! No talking!” He watched the children spring into action without panic or making a sound. Landon chained the hatch down as Lisa put her tool belt on and threw one to Landon and Toni before helping Lucas put his on. They then clipped the ropes that were attached to the tool belt to the eye rings in the hatch. Daryl walked to the bottom of the steps and whispered...

“What is it? What can I do?”

“Get your ass back down there before I put another blade in you and be quiet!” Toni hissed at him. She could hear faint screaming.

“Lisa get the sound phones!” Lisa unbuckled her belt and ran behind the stairs and got the earphones, handing one to Landon and putting a set on Lucas before putting her own on.

Daryl noted that Toni didn't wear any. He watched as they all got into position. Toni's rope couldn't have been more than 2 and a half feet long she straddled the hatch putting her feet on the ceiling beams on each side of the hatch, so her full weight was holding the door down. Lisa, Landon and Lucas were on different steps leaning back until the rope grew taunt also using their full weight to keep the hatch from being pried open. He could hear screaming now and realized what the noise canceling head phones were for now. He fully understood the whole situation now. There were people running from walkers. Toni had 3 children to protect. She would not be trying to save anyone and put her kid’s life on the line. She would also spare her children from hearing the horror going on outside. Daryl had never felt so helpless as he did right now. His head was pounding again, his leg was throbbing. He was practically naked and had no weapons. He got up to search for his backpack. He found it and retrieved his 9mm and 3 clips, his bow and his machete and sat back down at the table where he could see them all on the steps and the hatch.

He could hear them trying to get into the cabin overhead. The doors must be sealed or blocked. He looked up and saw Toni signing something. He watched as Landon undid his belt and scrambled over to the wall by the hatch that led upstairs. Landon grabbed the 3 locks hanging there and climbed the ladder leading up to the hatch for the cabin. He put the 3 locks in place and ran back to take his position on the stairs. They were like a little well, oiled army of four. No one spoke, they had a job and just did it. They never ceased to amaze him. He thought of how much he'd worried over them during the past year or so and could only shake his head, which was a mistake because that caused the pain in his head to get much worse. The battle above was getting worse and the screams louder. No one moved from their positions. We eventually heard someone yell to keep moving. Then all that could be heard was the walkers banging on the cabin doors and windows. Toni waited another 30 minutes before signing to the children that they could remove the headphones, and 30 minutes after that she signed that they could get down but left their equipment attached to the hatch. By the time they all came down the stairs, Daryl had his head down on the table. The pain was just too much. Toni went and got some pain killers and a bottle of water for Daryl. Landon and Toni then helped him back to Toni's pallet to lie down. It wasn't long before he was sleeping soundly. Toni looked at his weapons on the table. How like a warrior to be injured and hurting yet making sure he was prepared to fight if needed.

They lived in total silence for 3 days only whispering to Daryl since he didn't know the sign language they had created.

Daryl opened his eyes to the now familiar sight of being surrounded by the children but Toni wasn't at his side. He had a brief moment of panic when he couldn't see her anywhere. Then he heard the hatch to the cabin open and reached under his pillow for his 9mm. When he saw her legs coming down the ladder he placed his weapon back under his pillow and watched as she locked the hatch back up and descended. He listened to the silence. Silence! The banging had stopped! Did that mean......... Toni saw that Daryl was awake and went and knelt down beside his head. She put her lips to his forehead as she did at least a dozen times a day. He no longer flinched at the gesture but still said every time....

“Jesus , I don't have a fever!” To which she always replied.

“Thank God.” And then smiled at him, and he would roll his eyes. It almost felt like a game to him. Which for some strange reason didn't bother him at all. However, the whispering in his ear did. It gave him goosebumps and made his body hum in ways it never had before and when he whispered in her ear she would slide her hand around to the back of his neck and thread her fingers thru his hair and it was driving him mad. He knew she had no idea what she was doing to him. It took him a second to actually register what she was whispering to him now.

“No!” He said out loud.

“Shhhhhh” she whispered looking to see if he woke the children, while placing her hand over his mouth. Too late! After 3 days of silence that was like someone screaming at the top of their lungs. Everyone woke up.

“What's wrong?” Echoed in the cellar by all 3 children. Daryl could have kicked himself. Toni gave him a dirty look and pinched him for good measure, Hard!

“I have to go outside and do some.......cleanup.” She said softly.

“Okay, we can be ready in 5 minutes.” Landon stated.

“No, it will be just me, all of you will stay here.”

“Noooooo.” They said in unison.

“You need us to help you.” Lisa was angry.

“You need someone to keep watch.” Landon practically yelled. Lucas took hold of Daryl's hand. He didn't like when they argued. Toni glared at Daryl.

Toni stood up and started to pace. Daryl felt sick to his stomach for causing all this.
Toni stopped and looked at them.

“Alright, I'll go dig the holes and get the bodies in them, then you can come out and help me bury them.”

“No, you'll be vulnerable.” Lisa insisted.

“We've already seen our parents being eaten by them we can handle it!” Landon pointed out.

“Just because you've seen it doesn't mean you should see it again!” Toni was getting angry now and threw a look that could kill to Daryl.

“Dammit!” Toni paced some more.

“Okay we'll compromise.... I go first and wrap the bodies in sheets then you come out and we all bury them.” They all agreed to that and went to get dressed.

“You're a lot like Rick.” Daryl said quietly.

“Rick?” Toni inquired.

“Yes, he's the leader of our group.”

“I would have thought you were a leader.”

“Naw, I don't have people skills.” That statement didn't sit well with Toni, another red flag, she didn't respond.

“I'm coming out too.” He informed her.

“No, you're not! You're healing and need to rest!”

“I'm a lot bigger than you and you can't stop me!” He smiled when she turned away and actually stomped her foot. He quickly dressed so he would be ready to go out with her to wrap the bodies. He downed some medicine for his head before it could start throbbing while she was busy gathering the things they would need.

“Why does he get to go?” Landon demanded.

“Because he's bigger than me.” Toni said in a pout not thinking.

“What? You could kill him easily!” Daryl was startled by his comment. It reminded him of a time when Carl, Ricks son was close to his age.

“Landon! He saved my life! Why would you say such a thing?”

“I didn't mean to actually do it....just that you could.” He back tracked quickly.

Daryl realized that Landon felt he was the man of the house and was feeling threatened.

“Landon come on.” He said while picking up the pile of sheets. They made their way to the stairs.

“What are you doing?” Toni yelled.

“We're going to wrap the bodies. We'll come get you all when we're done.” Daryl stared at her, imploring with his eyes while giving a slight nod toward Landon. It took everything within her power to allow this, but she realized she really didn't know anything about boys and Daryl being one himself probably knew more than she did. She just nodded. How did she lose control? They ran like clockwork. A well, oiled machine and now she was bowing down to Dixon who started this whole fiasco.

 

Back at Alexandria.........

“How long is Daryl gonna be gone?” Maggie asked Rick over coffee.

“A couple of weeks he said.”

“He went out alone this time?”

“Yes......I think he needed to get away for a while.”

“I thought he was doing better about being here.”

“So, did I, I sent him out on a few runs, he would get really excited about it until I'd mention the direction then, he would be withdrawn again.” Rick said with a frown.

“But when I mentioned going out to recruit....he was gone in a heartbeat.”

“Do you think he was going somewhere specific?”

“I won't lie, it has crossed my mind.”

“For what though? I wonder.”

“I don't have any idea.”

 

Back at the cellar.........

Everyone worked all morning and into early afternoon doing the cleanup. They were hot, tired and hungry. No one had eaten breakfast. Toni didn't think it would be a good idea and she hated the thought of wasted food, and the cleanup was indeed gross. As they made their way back into the cellar, the cooler air felt heavenly. As the sweat trickled down her back, Toni knew she couldn't go another day without bathing. She opened a large can of Ravioli, some peas, and lastly peaches in heavy syrup. It was all eaten cold but they were used to it and nobody seemed to mind. When Toni finished she got up and brought a coffee can to the table.

“Oh, thank God!” Lisa said.

“Yes!” Toni laughed.

“We stink to high heavens and I think it's safe enough now.”

“I don't think I stink.” Landon said lifting his arm to smell under it.

“Me either.” Lucas added.

“Well I'm a small, weak, woman with a very sensitive nose, so in this case I must insist.” All eyes went to her and the children broke out into laughter. It was so good to hear it after their 3 days of silence. When Daryl laughed too, Toni's heart skipped a beat.

“What is so funny?” She mock glared at them.

“Are you making fun of my weaknesses?”

“Well you are small Toni, by next year I'll probably be calling you shrimp!” Landon predicted while laughing harder.

“The day you call me shrimp, will be the day I knock you on your ass!” Toni winked at him.

“Well you are a shrimp compared to me.” Daryl added with a smile.

“Careful big guy, the mighty fall the hardest and have no doubt, I could take you down!” She gave him a wink as well. Toni stuck her hand in the coffee can and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

“Okay, who's next?” Lisa grabbed the coffee can and put her hand inside, while chanting.....

“Please let me be number 1, please let me be number 1........” She unfolded it and did a happy dance while showing everyone. She'd picked number 1. Landon and Lucas followed suit leaving the last one for Daryl. Landon picked 3, Lucas picked 4.

“Looks like you’re up next Dixon.” Toni smiled and gave his shoulder a squeeze as she and went to help Landon fill the pool with water.

Daryl frowned, he hadn't even opened his paper yet and neither had she, so how did she know he was number 2? He opened his and he was indeed number 2. He looked over at hers laying on the table and noticed it wasn't exactly laying, flat. He picked it up and saw one corner was folded back. This, let's be fair game, he now realized, was rigged!

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 7

 

When Lisa came out from behind the curtain, Toni said....

“Okay Dixon, you're up.” Then she went behind the curtain. Daryl slowly made his way back hoping she didn't think he needed any help. He was perfectly able to bathe himself. He stopped at the entrance to see her getting a towel, body wash and shampoo and some scrubby looking thing shaped like a ball.

“Well come on, I'm not gonna bathe you Dixon.........unless you want me too!” She wiggled her eyebrows at him and laughed.

“Nah! I'm good.” He said a little too quickly.

“Alright, no peeing in the pool! There are still 3 more of us!” She said as she was pulling the curtain into place. She hesitated a second to hear him laugh and walked away smiling.

Daryl came out with a towel wrapped low around his hips. Toni hoped she wasn't drooling and quickly looked away.

“Landon you're up! Don't forget to use soap. I'll be smelling you!” Toni called after him.

“Yeah, yeah.” Landon waved walking away.

Daryl saw the medical supplies on the table and sighed. He was fine! He didn't need to be checked and touched. He'd been shot before and not had this much attention for God's sake. As Toni went to get the antibiotic ointment, Lisa whispered to him....

“Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm lucky someone cares so much for me. I could be alone and have no one. It'll be okay.” She squeezed his shoulder and smiled.

Leave it to a kid to put things in perspective for him. Maybe that was why it made him so uncomfortable, it was something he'd never had. Even now, knowing that he had people who cared about him back in Alexandria. They weren't always talking and touching him. They gave him his space. If he really thought about it, he'd been closed up in this cellar for 5 days already with 4 other people. Yet he hadn't had even 1 panic attack. His brow furrowed, not even a small one. His thoughts were interrupted by Toni's return. First thing she did was put her lips to his forehead.

“Jesus, I don't have a fever!”

“Thank God.” She smiled. He rolled his eyes. However, the second part of this was getting harder for him. Literally. It was all he could do to keep his body from responding from having her small hands touching him so close to his cock.

“It's really healing well Dixon, we're definitely doing something right.” Cannibals, wolves, the governor, beatings from his Father is what he was trying to think about.

“All done stud, see that wasn't so bad now was it?” She said smiling up at him from her position on her knees in front of him. Well Fuck! That vision in front of him wasn't helping him at all.

“I ain't no stud.”

“Yes, you are.” She said in a sing song voice as she went to put the medical supplies away. As she passed Landon coming out from his bath she called for Lucas.

“I know, I know, you'll be smelling me.” He said before she could say it. Daryl laughed.

“Toni, would you comb me out please?” Lisa asked.

“Sure sweetie.” Daryl watched as Toni very gently worked on the tangles in Lisa's long curly hair. Lisa never once complained that she was hurting her. When Toni finished, she leaned down and kissed Lisa on the cheek. Lisa smiled and reached back and put her hand on Toni's cheek, then resumed skimming through her magazine.

“My turn.” Landon said sitting at the table. It amazed Daryl how good and kind she was with the kids. They weren't even hers yet she loved them like they were. He watched her comb through Landon's curly blonde hair which was below his shoulders. Landon sat there with his eyes closed just enjoying it. When she finished with him, she kissed the top of his head then, she moved behind Daryl.

“You don't have to.” Daryl said, but he secretly wanted to feel what it felt like.

“Of course, I don't, but it appears that all the men in my life have chosen to sport long hair, and we must keep up appearances. You never know when we might run into the Jones's.” They all laughed.

“That was a good one Toni.” Landon laughed.

“Alright, if it's that important to ya.” Daryl smiled.

“It is. Thank you.” She starting by just combing her fingers through his hair, and it only got better as she went on. He just closed his eyes and felt, praying it would never end. He fell asleep.

Toni loved running her fingers through his hair and was happy to do it until Lucas was done with his bath. Lisa watched Toni with Daryl and smiled to herself. She never thought to see a day when Toni would be in the same room with a man, let alone be running her fingers through his hair. She secretly hoped that Daryl would stay with them. She liked having him around, and he seemed to be helping Toni with her fear of men.

Lucas came running out from his bath stark naked.

“Lucas!” Lisa cried.” Where, are your clothes?” Daryl woke up with a start. Toni squeezed his shoulders as she leaned down and whispered in his ear. “All done.” And then she kissed the top of his head and went to wrangle Lucas into some clothes. Daryl just watched and listened to how they interacted.

“You do know what happens to naked babies, don't you?”

“No, no, no.” Lucas squealed with delight. “Not the...not the tickle monster.”

“I'm sorry, but it must be done!” And the chase ensued.

“I'll get you my pretty......and your little dog too. Ah hahahahahahahahaha.” Toni quoted in a perfect witch voice from the Wizard of Oz.

They ran from one end of the cellar to another. On the second time around the table, Toni scooped him up and tickled him unmercifully. He shrieked with laughter. Daryl had no memories like this from his childhood. If anyone in Alexandria could see the huge smile on his face, that he was trying to cover with his hand, they probably would faint dead away from shock.

“Alright buddy, time to get dressed before all my stink gets rubbed all over you.” After Lucas was dressed, it was finally Toni's turn and she couldn't wait.

Alright anyone need to use the bathroom, do it now, because I plan to soak and maybe even take a nap in there.”

“Wait!” Lisa said, making everyone look at her.

“We never got to open our surprise stuff, can we open them first? Pleaseeeeee.” She begged.

Toni thought for a second and knew without a doubt that Lisa must have found something for her that had to do with her bath. The boys started jumping up and down begging too. They had forgotten all about the surprises. How could she say no to those faces? She couldn't.

“Okay.... everyone, get your bags!” They all gathered around the table. The kids were bubbling with excitement.

“Me, first!” Lucas said excitedly. “I got us the best surprise ever! It's for all of us!” And with that statement he started pulling up batteries! Tons of batteries, all different sizes. He really hit the jackpot! There was resounding “Wow” around the table, and many pats on the back and hi-fives.

“Where did you find all those?” Landon asked.

“That last house before we left in a hurry, member Toni?”

“Yes, I remember, but where in the house did you find so many?”

“In the nightstand beside the bed with all the dog toys.”

“Dog toys?”

“Yeah, I think they were supposed to be vegetables you know, like cucumbers and pickles and corn of the cob.”

“Oh..... did you bring those too?” Did she just sound hopeful? She prayed not.

Daryl who was mid swallow of water choked and sprayed it everywhere. Toni was mortified! She'd completely forgotten that there was another adult in the room. Her face turned beet red and she quickly turned away.

“Nah, we don't have a dog so I didn't think we needed them.”

“And you are right.” She barely got out, she was so embarrassed. Daryl had laid his head down on his arms on the table but his shoulders shook with laughter. She reached over and smacked him which made him laugh harder.”

“Who's next?” Toni asked trying to ignore Daryl.

“Me!” Said Landon. He began pulling batteries out of his bag, not as many as Lucas but a good haul.

“And this is for Lucas.” He pulled out and an expensive looking slingshot.

“Oh cool! Thanks Landon.” And he hugged his brother.

“And these.....are for the ladies of the house!” He carefully pulled out two folded garments. One was pink and one was peach. The ladies unfolded them and held them up. They were beautiful cocktail dresses.

“You guys have to fight over who gets which one because I couldn't decide.”

All Daryl could think about was seeing Toni in either one he didn't care.
Lisa and Toni both hugged him and said thank you.

“I want us to have another party and girls seem to want a new dress for any occasion.”

“Right you are sweetheart! But I'm sorry to say we have to wait a couple more days …..just to be safe.”

“Aweeeeeeee.” Was the cry from the 3 of them.

“Sorry guys.” Toni said.

“Okay my turn.” Lisa said. And like her brothers she unloaded batteries first. Toni laughed.

“Looks like this family has a one, track mind.”

“Lisa's party was so much fun we just want to do it again.” Landon commented for them all.

“I know and we will, I promise. But...safety comes first.”

Daryl asked about Lisa's party and the children delighted in the retelling. Daryl had never been to a party in his life, but he was swept away with visions of a birthday to never forget. He'd never celebrated one of those either.

“Okay, Lucas, I got you this!” And she pulled out a pirate’s costume. With a hat, eye patch, hook, and even a parrot that would sit on his shoulder. Lucas immediately starting taking off his clothes to try it on.

“Here Landon, these are for you.” She handed him a pair of nun chucks.

“No way!!” He exclaimed! “This is so cool, Thanks Lisa!” And he picked her up and swung her around!

“Okay, sit down Toni.” Lisa said. Toni sat at the table and Lisa laid a rolled, up towel on the table in front of her. Toni slowly unrolled the towel to reveal a bottle of perfume. She picked it up and looked at it. Then while holding it with one hand the other covered her mouth. She looked up at Lisa her eyes glistening with unshed tears. Lisa went to her and hugged her tight.

“I finally found it.” Was all she said.

“Looks like perfume.” Daryl said wondering at the emotional Toni. The kids all started explaining at once.

“Toni doesn't like most perfumes.” Lisa started.

“She doesn't like to smell like flowers.” Landon added.

“Or fruit.” Lucas chimed in. “Or candy.”

“She likes a clean scent.” Lisa finished.

“And you found it?” Daryl asked.

“Yes!”

“What is it?”

“Sung.”

“Sung?”

“Yes, Alfred Sung.”

“Well that explains it.” Daryl laughed. Toni shook her head smiling.

“I'll put some on after my bath, just a smidge though, I have to make it last.”

“What surprises did you find Toni!” Lucas asked.

“Who me?” Toni teased.

“Yes!” Lucas said jumping up and down.

“Okay.....let me see what I have in here.” The first thing she pulled out was batteries, a lot of them, and they all laughed. They were indeed, all of the same mind. Next, she pulled out a pair of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat and handed them to Lucas.

“Now I can be a real cowboy!” He was already peeling off his pirate gear to put on his cowboy stuff. Next, she brought out toy horses, 4 of them, and they weren't the small ones but the 12” ones! Lucas was beside himself. He hugged her tight and kissed her on the cheek.

“Here you go sweetie.” She handed Landon a book of some kind.

“Beginners Guitar.” Landon read. He was flipping through it when she reached back in her bag and pulled out a Guitar.

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Thank you, Toni!” He picked her up and spun her around too.

“Landon! Put me down before you drop me!” Toni laughed. God, she loved these kids!

“And for my sweet Lisa......” Toni pulled out about half a dozen romance novels. To which Toni had to shush her from screeching. Then she pulled out about a dozen blank journals.

“And these are for you to start writing your own novel.” Lisa looked at all the spiral bound journals and exclaimed.....

“I'm 16! I'm 16 now!”

“We know Lisa we were there” Landon rolled his eyes.

“No, I'm 16! With the party I completely forgot! I get to read 'Mine'!”

“Read your what?” Landon asked confused.

“'Mine'! Toni, you said I could read it when I turned 16! I'm 16!” Toni couldn't believe that she remembered that. It was a promise made over 2 years ago.

“What is it?” Daryl asked seeing how excited Lisa was over being old enough now to read it.

“Toni's never, ending story. She loves to read but always hates when the book comes to the end, so she starting writing a story that would never end....” Daryl looked at Toni, who appeared to be wishing she'd never made that promise. Toni was thinking that, at that time she really didn't think they'd all still be alive for Lisa to even turn 16.

“It's really not that interesting Lisa.” Toni was trying to figure a way out of this.

“But you said it had knights and warriors, and castles.....and Kira and Grayson, I remember that I couldn't wait to be 16 so I could read it.” Daryl noted that Toni was rubbing her face. Clearly regretting making such a promise, but if that was the case, why make it he wondered. Then it hit him. She probably thought that Lisa wouldn't live to see her 16th birthday. Daryl watched as her shoulders slumped then straightened and knew she'd decided to keep her promise.

“Alright Lisa, a promise is a promise, just remember I warned you when you get bored. I'm not a writer, I'm a reader and there's huge difference between the two.” Toni went back behind the curtain and a couple minutes later emerged with a backpack. She put it on the table and slowly unzipped it. She looked to the boys and saw that were enjoying their new gifts, so she said quietly to Lisa.

“Do not let the boys read any of this, I probably should have said 18 instead of 16......” Lisa interrupted her.

“You can't go back on your promise Toni. You just can't.”

“I have no intention of doing so.” She said a little grumpily. It made Daryl wonder just what this story was about. Toni started taking out the journals.

“They are numbered, Book 1, book 2, book 3 and so on. There are no chapters, since it was only for my eyes, so you'll have to bookmark where you leave off. She continued pulling out journals until there were 7 on the table.

“Oh! Oh, you wrote more! There were only 4 of them 2 years ago and now you have seven! I can't wait to start.”

“Dammit!” Toni said under her breath and Daryl smiled knowing that she was thinking that she could have just given Lisa the first 4 and that's all. Lisa hugged Toni tight thanking her over and over again.

“Well I'm off to soak, don't look for me anytime soon.” Lisa threw up a wave, she was already opening book 1. Toni was still gathering clean clothes when Lisa turned around and said to her....

“How could you think I would be bored when you have someone dying on the first page?” Daryl raised an eyebrow. Toni dropped her chin to her chest and thought..... of course, she wouldn't be bored. Her never ending story was anything but boring. Daryl was sitting across the table from Lisa. He had a magazine in front of him that he was paging through but seeing nothing because he kept watching Lisa. Every emotion spread across her face as she read. She was turning page after page, her expressions changing. Right now, she was chewing on her thumbnail he wondered what she was reading.

“What's happening?” Daryl whispered to her.

“I hate these Blackburns! They're evil sick, vile bastards.” She angrily whispered back to him without looking up from the page. Well Daryl admitted it to himself that he wanted to read the story Toni wrote, and would just as soon as she finished with the first book. Now that he'd made the decision he just wished that Lisa would hurry up.

“Oh noooo, I can feel her embarrassment.”

“Oh! Her poor back and legs.” Lisa whispered to herself. Daryl got up to distract himself from watching Lisa, her emotions were all over the place. He was never one for reading, in fact, he couldn't ever even remember reading a whole book. He wandered back over to the bookcase and all the 'How to' books there. Toni on the other hand seems to read enough for 20 people. He found himself not being able to concentrate on the titles.

“Backbone! Of course, she has a backbone!” Lisa slammed a flat hand down on the table.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Lisa cried while holding the front of her shirt in a fisted hand, by her heart.

“No ...she can't! Don't let her do it, Grayson!”

“Yes! Practice kissing.” Daryl looked back at her. She just had a few pages left. Thank God.

“Ut oh.” Lisa said as she closed book 1 and reached for book 2. Daryl made his way back to the table and grabbed book 1. Lisa looked over at him and said …

“Well your definitely over 16, it's so good Daryl.”

He opened it up and started reading.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 8

 

Toni was thoroughly enjoying her soak in the pool. The fact that 4 people bathed ahead of her didn't bother her in this world, like it would have, before the world went to shit. Even the cold water didn't bother her anymore. However, she was feeling anxious. Having someone read her never ending story was like letting someone into her head and it was making her very uncomfortable. It was early evening and she really needed to prepare dinner, so she took the cowards way out and called to Landon.

“Landon?”

“Yes?”

“Would you mind making dinner tonight? Please.”

“Sure.” He said as he put his guitar to the side and went over to the shelves. The one thing about him making dinner is that he got to pick out what they were having so he didn't mind at all. He'd been so engrossed in learning how to play his new guitar that he hadn't even realized how hungry he was. Peaches was his first pick. He loved peaches. He grabbed a big can of spaghetti and meatballs, then perused the veggies. He wasn't a fan of veggies but knew Toni would be disappointed if he didn't choose one, after all, he was a growing boy and he needed them. Her words, not his. He chose green beans. He plated up the meal and began serving. Lisa was so engrossed in her reading that she didn't even look up at him. Daryl on the other hand had moved to a chair that faced the curtained off area to keep an eye out for Toni. He was into the story and wanted to read it, but, he didn't want to get caught reading it. So, when he noticed Landon approaching he quickly placed an opened magazine over top of the journal.

“Thanks buddy.” He said to Landon. As soon as he saw the spaghetti, he started shoveling it in. He loved spaghetti, it was his favorite. He didn't even care that it was the mushy kind from a can. Before Landon came back with the crackers he was finished.

“Wow dude, I've never seen anyone eat as fast as you do.” He was impressed. Daryl just smiled and told him he was a good cook. Landon was holding a plate.

“Is that for Toni?” Daryl asked.

“Yeah.”

“Here, I'll take it to her.” Landon handed him the plate and didn't think anything of him taking it back to Toni in her bath. After all, he was only ten.

Daryl stopped at the curtain and called to her.

“Toni?”

“Yeah?”

“I have your dinner here do you want it?”

“Ummmmm hold on, give me a sec.” he waited while he assumed she was covering herself.

“Ok, you can bring it in.” He pulled the curtain back and ducked through the opening. He expected her to be fully covered. She was not. She had put a washcloth over her privates and a hand towel covered her breasts. Daryl stared. He couldn't help himself. Her legs were outlined with muscle. Her hips had just enough curve. She had a 6 pack for a stomach. He'd never seen a woman as fit as her, most were soft. He'd never given muscles on a woman any thought, until right now and it was incredibly arousing. However, Toni didn't notice that he was staring, she was chewing on her thumbnail. He lowered the plate to in front of her face and pulled her out of her current thoughts.

“Thank you.......is Lisa still reading?” She asked anxiously.

“Yes, she seems to be enjoying it very much.” He knew he was.

“God, it's like letting someone into your head. I actually never thought this day would come. You know? Trying to survive and keep 3 children alive. When I made that promise, I never thought I'd have to keep it. It is, or was, a story for my eyes only. I never intended to share it with anyone. Makes me wish I didn't have such a good imagination. I was hoping she'd buy the boring thing. But no........”

“But it's not boring?”

“It's anything but boring, I went out of my way not to put any filler in it because I always hated that in the books I read. I wanted the meat, not the potatoes.” She laughed with no humor.

“Well thanks for this.” She said raising the plate a little.

“I think I'll just stay in here until I turn into a raisin.” She gave him a weak smile.

“Alright.” Daryl took one more, long look, because he couldn't help himself, and she was so very distracted and then left her. Daryl stopped on the other side of the blanket curtain and tried to collect himself. It had been, what, over 2 years since he'd been with a woman. He knew it was before the world ended as he knew it. His body seemed to have a mind of its own where Toni was concerned. He been around plenty of attractive women since then but never really gave it a thought. His hand worked just fine.

He made his way back to the table where Lisa was mumbling something about “A sneaky rat”
He smiled. He couldn't wait to get back to reading himself. It really was good and it would take his mind off a certain someone who was currently naked and close by. Daryl may not be showing it but he was feeling every emotion that Lisa expressed while reading.

 

Toni did in fact stay in there for another two hours. Daryl was reading book 3 and Lisa was working on book 4. He quickly marked his page and closed the book when he saw her feet under the hanging blanket. He pushed the journal to Lisa and put a finger to his lips asking her not to tell. She nodded her assent and went back to reading.

Toni came out and scooped up Lucas who was the closest to her.

 

“Smell me.” She lifted her chin for him.

“You smell good Toni.” Next she went to the chair Landon was occupying and sat on his lap.

“Smell me.”

“I like it too Toni.” She made her way to the table beside Lisa, but Lisa’s head was in the book. Toni rolled her eyes and moved on to Daryl. She spun in a circle her hair flying out and landed on his lap and presented her neck to him. With the momentum her hair was still moving and landed on his shoulder. To say Daryl was surprised would be an understatement. Her hair was so long it almost reached her knees. It was curly, thick and so soft, and he was getting so turned on. What the hell was wrong with him?

“Well?” She interrupted his thoughts.

“What?”

“Smell me.” She said again and threw her head back. He couldn't help himself. He bit her neck! She squealed with surprise.

“You bit me.” She laughed, but electricity was flowing through her veins. It was the last reaction she'd expected from him. He was so shy and quiet. To be honest he shocked himself as well. He had no idea what made him do that. Seeing the look of disbelief on his face, she did the only thing she could do. She bit him back!

“Take that!” She giggled. Lightning bolts shot straight through him.

Lisa had stopped reading and was just watching them. They were both smiling now and she noted that Toni was still on his lap. Interesting. She liked how things were progressing.

Toni got up and asked Lisa to brush her hair. Lisa thought for a moment and got an idea.

“Can someone else do it just tonight please. I'm at a good part and just want to finish it.” She looked over with pleading eyes.

“I'll do it.” Daryl volunteered.

“Are you sure you don't mind it's kind of a mop mess?” Toni asked smiling.

“Nah, I don't mind. You did mine.” He smiled back.

Toni sat on top of the table and turned her back to him. Her hair laid in his lap it was so long. Daryl started brushing it and never wanted to stop. It was so silky and soft and so fucking long he wondered if a man could have an orgasm by touching her hair alone. He thought he might be able to. Long after the tangles were gone he continued to brush it, run his fingers through it, play with it. Toni sat with her eyes closed just enjoying it. Her kids never spent this much time brushing her hair and it felt heavenly.

“God that feels good.” Toni said in a low erotic tone. At least to Daryl's ears.

Lisa was spending more time watching Daryl and Toni than she was reading.

“I think she's asleep.” She whispered to Daryl with a smile. Daryl took all that glorious hair and put it over her shoulder in front of her and picked her up and carried her to their pallet. He then told all the kids it was bedtime, got them settled turned all the lamps off but the one he turned down low, like he'd seen Toni do every night. The kids were still sleeping with them at Toni's insistence., after the scare they had. Daryl made sure that everyone was covered and crawled into the middle that was deemed 'his' spot. He had no idea what time it was since there were no windows and no one here had a watch. That perfume Toni was wearing was driving him crazy. He couldn't sleep. As soon as he was sure that everyone was asleep, he got up, took the oil lamp and books 3 and 4 and went behind the blanket curtain. He put the lid down on the portable pot and started reading. Hours later he crawled into bed thinking about Kira and Grayson in the story. It was really good. It was like watching a movie in his head. She wrote in such a way that you could actually see the images. He finally drifted off to sleep thinking about it.

When Daryl woke up he was alone. He sat up and saw Lisa at the table. He went to go pee and wrapped a towel around his hips. He wasn't comfortable walking around in his underwear and it took so long for clothes to dry in the cool cellar.

“Morning.” He said to Lisa.

“Good morning sleepy head.”

“Where is everyone?” He asked.

“Out on a run.” She answered.

“What?”

“Out on a run.” She answered again.

“Alone?” He asked in disbelief.

“No... they're all together.” Lisa had to admit that Toni called it. Daryl was not taking the news well. She held up the note for him. He read it.

“Son of a bitch! She took my pants and boots.” Lisa laughed, which got her a glare.

“Why are you here?”

“Because I volunteered.”

“What, to babysit?”

“We have rules Daryl.”

“Rules? What are you talking about?”

“If someone is injured they don't go out, and if someone is injured they are never left alone.” Daryl paced like a caged cat. To say he was pissed was an understatement.

“You do realize that we've lived here for over two years by ourselves, don't you?”

“Yeah well, I'm here now and you guys shouldn't be going out alone!”

“Seriously dude? Wow! Toni sure called this right!”

“What?”

“Nothing, Look at it this way.....we get to read!” she wiggled her eyebrows at him while holding up book 4. He finally smiled.

“I need book 5. I finished 3 and 4 last night after everyone went to bed.”

“That's why you slept late!” She laughed. They read silently for two hours before Lisa said........

“Oh my God! Kira is Toni, or Toni is Kira, I'm not sure which way it goes!”

“What?” Daryl asked.

“Daryl! Kira’s choice of weapons is blades. She has very long strawberry blond hair! She loves children that are not her own. She’s in love with a warrior! She's independent.......”

He stopped hearing her after she said that she was in love with a warrior. Toni had called him that over and over before she knew his name. Then he just as quickly dismissed it. He was listening to a 16 year old, after all. He wasn't the type that women loved.

“I think it's in your head Lisa.”

“Think what you want Daryl, I know what I see.” They resumed reading.

 

It was hours later when Toni and the boys returned. They had been gone all day. The minute they were in the door Daryl started.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me!” The children just stared, volleying their heads back and forth.

“We went on a run, not that's it's any of your business.”

“You took my pants and boots!” He yelled.

“Yes, I did! Because I knew how you would react! Like an adorable buffoon!” She yelled!

“I'm not adorable!” He yelled right back.

“Yes, you are!” She said in a sing song voice and went into the bathroom and closed the blanket curtain in his face.

“Don't you dare cut your hair! I forbid it!” He yelled after her. Toni poked her head around the blanket curtain.

“What did you say?” Oh shit. Daryl thought, what possessed him to say that?

“What?” He needed to come up with an excuse quick.

“Why would you say that Dixon?” Lisa's quick thinking got him off the hook.

“Probably because I mentioned how long Kira's hair is in the story, and that she cut it all off.” Daryl threw Lisa a look of gratitude. Lisa didn't want them fighting. She wanted them to fall in love like Grayson and Kira from Toni's story. Which she firmly believed was Toni.

“Dixon doesn't need to bothered with any of the story Lisa, it's for your eyes only, understand?”

“Yes Ma'am.”

“Tomorrow we get back to our routine before we all get fat and lazy.” Toni informed them.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 9

The next morning Daryl woke up with the headache from hell. Toni gave him some pain pills and put him back to bed. When he woke next, it was to a flurry of activity. Toni and the kids were, for lack of a better word, training, is what came to mind. Toni was hanging by her fingertips from a 2x4 that went across the unfinished cellar ceiling, doing pull ups with Lucas sitting on her dangling feet. She was wearing a sports bra and a pair of boy's boxer shorts with smiley faces all over them. She might as well have been wearing nothing in Daryl's mind. Landon and Lisa were doing one handed pull ups or trying to do them. Daryl had to give them points for how hard they were trying.

“Change arms.” Toni called to them.

“I think I'm old enough to do it too.” Lucas pouted. Toni sighed.

“Okay jump down.” Lucas jumped down and Toni dropped to the dirt floor.

“You have 2 minutes to see how many you can do. Impress me!”

“Yes” Lucas pumped his arm. Toni tapped her imaginary watch.

“Clocks ticking better get going.” Daryl watched as Toni slightly bent her knees and held her arms out like she was flexing her muscles. Then was totally surprised when Lucas backed up and ran putting a bare foot on her thigh and the next landed on her opposite hip. While he grabbed her head for support the foot on her thigh reached her bicep, then the foot on her hip went to her shoulder, where he stood and grabbed the 2x4. It took mere seconds for him to climb up her body.

“Alright, hands facing out, go!” Toni said to Lucas.

“But I want to do one handed!”

“Very well one hand fingers facing you, go!” The kid actually did it, twice! Daryl was impressed.

“Change hands.” Toni said to him. With his left he only managed 1 pull up.

“Well done Lucas!” Lucas grabbed the 2x4 with both hands and proceeded to do a set of 10 pull ups.

“Ok! Jump down.” Lucas dropped and fell back on his behind. Toni gave him a hand and pulled him up.

“Ok guys I have something new, jump down and shake it off.” Lisa and Landon dropped to the floor and started shaking their arms out.

“In light of what happened to Dixon....I realized that you may not always have use of both your legs to be able to climb a tree. So, we start some new training today.” She held up a rope. It had a loop at one end with a piece of a tree branch tied to it, about 6 inches long. Then showed them the knots that were spaced about a foot part all the way down to the other end.

“You're going to need a little piece of weight for throwing, nothing big enough that if you miss, is going to come down on your head and knock you out. I chose this because it's easier to find on the ground where ever trees are. You're going to lay on the floor and throw this up around the beam there and pull yourself up as if you have no use of your legs. Like this...” Toni threw the looped end over the beam, then lowered it down to where she could feed the other end into it, then pulled it until it was taunt. She then started to go arm over arm, pulling herself up without using her legs until she reached the ceiling beam, where she then pulled herself up to sit on the beam. She wasn't even out of breath, Daryl noted.

“Alright everyone, go make your ropes.” No one questioned her, as kids, even Carl would do. They just set themselves to their task.

“Morning.” Daryl said quietly.

“Good afternoon.” Toni laughed as she approached him and knelt down to put her lips on his forehead.

“I don't have a fever!”

“Thank God.” He rolled his eyes. Toni knew that the fever stage was long past, but she liked kissing him even if it was only on his forehead. She firmly believed that it would take a million kisses to make up for the lack there of, in his childhood. It was a start though, and he no longer flinched when she did it.

“What are you guys doing?” he asked.

“Training.”

“For what?”

“Survival. How do you feel?”

“Better, thanks.” Daryl got up and went into the makeshift bathroom. When he came out, Toni was waiting for him at the table with all the supplies for changing his bandage. He inwardly groaned but put on a brave face. If the kids could do it then he damned well could take the torment too. He sat down and started reciting to himself...... the governor, terminus, the wolves, his Father, until the sweet torment was over.

“See that wasn't so bad, was it?” She smiled on her knees again in front of him. Thank God his shirt was covering that part of him. He just didn't understand it. Maggie, Rosita, Tara, Michonne, Sasha, Carol, all beautiful women, yet they never got a rise out of him. Damn! He laughed out loud at his own pun.

“What's so funny?” Toni asked. Shit! He thought.

“Do you always wear boy’s underwear with smiley faces on them?” She blushed.

“Well working out makes me hot and I don't have any shorts.” She put her arms around her exposed middle trying to hide it. Daryl moved them back to her sides and said.

“I was just teasing you.” He smiled at her and all was forgiven. Daryl put the rest of his clothes on and just watched them train. All those months worrying over them while stuck in Alexandria. He just shook his head.

That night during dinner, Toni asked him about all his family back in Alexandria. Daryl described his friends and told stories. Both Toni and the children were enthralled and asked lots of questions. The boys wanted to see Michonne's sword, and Merle's blade that took the place of his missing hand. They all wanted to taste Carols cookies. They couldn't wait to ask Glenn what Korea was like and meet Abe a real, life soldier. Tara sounded fun and Maggie sounded too good to be true. Toni's heart broke for Carl who had lost his eye. She personally would love to pick Eugene's brain if he was indeed as smart as Daryl said he was, she really didn't want to move from their cellar, but needed to figure out how they could cook without making a fire outside. And Rick....he just sounded perfect. Clearly Daryl thought the sun rose and shined for Rick. The stories and questions went on and on until Toni called for bedtime.

They fell into a routine over the next few days. The children spent time after dinners teaching Daryl some of their sign language that they used outside. On the fourth day, it was decided to go on a quick run.

“I'm going!”

“No, you're not! You're not healed yet!” She stood with her hands on her hips.

“Jesus! I've been shot before and wasn't this mollycoddled. There's nothing wrong with me!”

“You were shot?” Her whole demeanor changed. Well hell.

“Look Toni, I'm fine and I'm bigger than you! Enough said!”

“Fine! Don't come crying to me when you have a relapse!”

“Fine!” Everyone got ready in silence. Before they were ready to go up the stairs Toni stopped and apologized to the children for fighting in front of them. Daryl agreed and said he was sorry too.

 

Daryl had to admit that it was good to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air. It still amazed him that he'd had no panic attacks in the time he'd been in the cellar with them. Maybe it was because they never sat idle. They were always doing something whether it be training, chores, cleaning and making weapons. Even when they just sat after dinner and talked, about Daryl's people or learning sign language. Hell, reading a book was even interesting, Toni's that is. The simple pleasure of having his hair brushed or brushing Toni's or just watching her with the kids made him content. Toni backhanded him in the stomach to bring him back to earth.

“Be alert Dixon! I've got my kids out here! I don't need to be watching out for you too!” She whispered. Daryl could have kicked himself. He'd watched them enough times from afar to know how demanding and cautious Toni was. Toni took the lead since she knew where they were going and Daryl brought up the rear. Now these were people he wouldn't mind hunting with. They never spoke out loud and barely made a sound when they walked. Toni signed for the children to stop and get down Daryl followed suite. They were in the tree line behind the library. She signaled for the kids to go up a tree and she and Daryl moved toward the library.

When they reached the back door, Toni produced a key to unlock the chain around the door handles. Daryl raised a brow. She quietly and slowly removed the chain to make the least amount of noise possible, and they quickly slipped inside.

“Your own personal library?” Daryl whispered in her ear causing gooseflesh to rise. She smiled at him and nodded her head yes.

“We need to do a quick sweep before I call the children.” She whispered to him with her hand threaded in the back of his hair, causing his body to hum. He nodded and they split up. Once deemed safe they went to the door and she signaled for the children. She ran back to the tree line to escort them in. Once back inside they signed and all went in different directions.

Daryl just walked around checking on everyone while they chose books to borrow or keep, he didn't know. Well he knew the “How to” books would be kept if her bookcase in the cellar was any indication. He spotted Toni in the Self help section. Then spied Lucas in the Children's section and strolled that way. He was looking at the selection of Goosebumps paperbacks. Why would a kid living in this world want to read something scary Daryl wondered? Next, he found Lisa in the Romance section. Typical, Daryl chuckled to himself and moved on. Landon, he found in the Martial arts section. He was perusing a book on how to learn to use nun chucks. He then wandered to the front of the Library and looked out the windows. Everything seemed quiet. He sat down on the window sill and lit a smoke.

Toni looked around to see if Daryl was close by. Not seeing him, she picked up a book on Alpha Males.
She opened it and read the table of contents.
Working with an alpha male
An alpha male boss
Foreplay with an alpha male
Sex with an alpha male

She quickly shut the book and looked around again before quickly putting it in her backpack and making her way over the science projects on electricity. She skimmed through it and decided to keep it. She also found one for car batteries and their uses, she grabbed that one as well. Then found a book on converting electrical items to battery operated. Then she glanced at a book on grills and just stared at the cover her heart racing. Sitting under the grill was a propane tank! Why hadn't she thought of it before! It's been right in front of her this whole time!! She went to the wood making project section and picked up a couple of books. She sat at one of the tables and started a list and copied it four times, just in case they didn't come across a wagon she knew she'd need the supplies. She was giddy with excitement. It would solve her biggest problem. She was fairly dancing when she found Daryl in front of the Library. He stood up when he saw her coming with the biggest smile on her face. She leaped up into his arms and wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed his cheek before pulling his head forward with both hands to whisper in his ear.

Lisa was headed toward the front when she saw Toni leap into Daryl's arms. She stopped and watched, she couldn't believe what she was seeing, it made her so happy. Daryl sure was good for her. Toni was really excited about something. She whispered for a long time then leaned back to get his reaction brushing his hair out of his eyes and then threaded her hands once again and whispered some more.

Daryl was as hard as a rock. Thank God for the long shirt he was wearing. He was holding on to her ass. He wished they could lose the pillow between them, but she insisted on wearing it. Why? He didn't know.

Landon and Lucas rounded the corner to see Daryl holding Toni. They looked over to Lisa and saw her smiling. Toni caught sight of the children out of her peripheral vision and released her leg lock from around Daryl's waist, to hold them close and share the good news with them. There were smiles, high fives, and the silent wolf howling. Daryl smiled at them, but secretly hoped he could get them to come to Alexandria to live.

 

Back in Alexandria..........

 

Rick and Glenn were in the watch tower scanning the terrain with binoculars. Abe climbed the ladder to join them.

“Still no sign of him?”

“No, nothing.” Rick answered. Rick looked worried.

“It's only, just now, been 2 weeks. How long did he say he'd be gone?” Glenn asked.

“He said a couple weeks.”

“That could mean two or three. I don't think there's need to worry just yet.” Abe consoled.

“Besides Daryl can hold his own and my ass ain't itching.” He put a cigar to his lips and lit it, smiling.
It made Rick laugh which was his intent. His job here was done.

 

Daryl, Toni and the kids made their way to the next stop after securing the doors on her Library. It was her favorite thrift shop. He laughed when again, she had a key to the lock on the chained doors. This store was in a strip mall so the children were with them. They quickly got inside and swept the place for 'walkers' as Daryl called them. Toni kept the children behind her until they cleared it. Then they shopped. Everyone pulled a duffel bag from their backpacks to load up with whatever they wanted.

Daryl walked around and was surprised when he found two pairs of pants, and some socks and underwear that were still in the packages. He then found some bandanas and put everything in his backpack. Lisa found 2 shirts that looked like something Daryl would wear and stuffed it in her duffel for a surprise. Landon got really excited when he spotted a crossbow with arrows in the glass case behind the counter. He quickly shoved it in his duffel. Lucas unlaced a pair of work boots and smiled in triumph. He had just this morning watched as Daryl was tying his boots and the laces broke. He unlaced two more so Daryl would have extras.

Toni smiled, it appeared her children were shopping for Daryl. Toni walked up and down the aisles and was thrilled to find a boombox that used batteries. She grabbed it and made her way to the CD section. She hadn't told them yet but they were going to have a party tonight. While washing Daryl's clothes she had made mental notes of the sizes and picked him up something for the party. It appears they were all of one mind again.

 

Toni was worried about Daryl being on his feet to long, after all, he was healing. So, she decided to cut the run short, saying it was time to head back home. When the children complained, she had no problem blaming Daryl for insisting on coming, which got her a glare. The walk home was somber and Toni was miffed that Daryl's insistence on coming had driven a wedge between her and the children. Usually when they went on runs, it was an all day, event. They didn't like having their time outside cut short. Although no one complained about all the time they had to stay in the cellar never seeing daylight, she knew it was hard on them and herself, but safety came first and foremost, in this horrible new world.

They were halfway home when Toni spied movement and not of the dead kind. She signaled for everyone to stop and get down. She signed for them to stay put and took off. That pissed Daryl off! He was the protector for his family back home and taking a backseat now wasn't sitting well with him at all. She'd left the children with him and he knew, just knew she did it on purpose! He was gonna have to make a stand on all this mollycoddling. There was nothing wrong with him and this time, she'd taken it too far.

Toni crouched in the underbrush, then her breath caught in her throat! It was one of THEM! Bile rose up inside her. She thought she may be sick. Then she started shaking with rage. She watched and waited to see if any of the other sick fuckers were around. He seemed to be alone, skinning something that he must have killed. She crept closer and pulled a blade.

The kids were literally chomping at the bit. He'd never seen them behave as they were now. They were signing so fast amongst themselves that there was no way he could possibly read it. They turned as one and signed for him to wait here. Then took off in the direction that Toni had disappeared. It took him half a second to register what just happened before he was running after them.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 10

 

Toni stood up in the underbrush, took aim, and released her blade. It landed exactly where she intended, into the back of his right calf. His leg buckled as he screamed out in pain and dropped to his knees. She was on him before he knew what was even happening. The second blade pinned his left hand to the ground. While screaming and reaching with his right hand to pull the blade out, another landed in his right forearm. She stood before him and stomped on his left kneecap hearing the bone break. She ripped off a sleeve and stuffed it into his mouth. She stood there heaving, heart racing, and let him see the hatred in her eyes. She unbuttoned her shirt and let it fall to the ground and then pulled off the velcro back brace. The pillow fell at her feet. She kicked it out of the way. His eyes bugged out when she pulled her stocking cap off and all that hair came tumbling down.

“Remember me?” She asked with another 2 blades, one in each hand.

The children had already climbed into the trees before the man first screamed. They knew who he was. They would never, in this lifetime, forget any of faces from that night.

Daryl finally saw Toni in a clearing standing over a man. He started to run toward her yelling...when a blade landed six inches in front of him, stopping him in his tracks.

“Back off Dixon! This is MY business! Do not interfere! I will not hesitate to put you down, right where you stand.” She said it without even looking at him. She was livid! He didn't move. He didn't even recognize her.

“You've made my children disobey me once again, you piece of shit! Slingshots up!” She yelled to the kids.

“Not in the head! I want him wide awake for this!” She took a step back and watched as he was pelted over and over again with the rocks. He cried out as loud as his muffled mouth would allow. She knew the children needed some kind of revenge and hoped this helped.

“Okay, is that enough?” She directed to the children.

“We need blood! Lots of blood!” Lisa yelled down. The kids wanted him to look like she had that night and many nights after that. Toni fully understood, she wanted him to die painfully, to hurt as much as she had that night and weeks after.

“Alright then, give me a second.”

Daryl was having a hard time grasping what he was seeing at this moment but had no doubt that if he moved she would indeed put him down. He thought that he could be ruthless! He had nothing on this little army. He watched as Toni cut the man’s shirt open and then cut the man himself. There was so much blood that it looked like she had skinned him, though he knew from seeing her make the cuts that she had not. She moved to his face and punched at one eye over and over, telling him that she was leaving his other eye so he could see what was yet to come.

“How's he looking now?” She said to the trees.

“Better, much better, cut off his dick!” Lisa demanded.

Daryl's head whipped toward to the trees. Had he heard her right?

“Oh, I will darling, just as soon as he feels my blade up his ass!”

“Do it! Do it!” Landon, Lucas and Lisa chanted.

What the fuck? Was all Daryl could think.

She started to cut off his pants. Every time he moved to stop her she stabbed him in the leg, until finally he lay still. She pulled the pants out from underneath him and threw them to the side. He lay naked and exposed. She moved his broken leg out to the left to spread his legs. She could only assume that he was begging for mercy since his mouth was full of her torn sleeve.

“How did you word it? Oh yes, I remember now.... Mercy? God? He can't help you now! I have your mercy right here!” And with that, she shoved her blade up his ass. Then pulled her sleeve out of his mouth and listened to him scream as she cut his cock off and shoved it in his mouth. She watched until the life left his one good eye. Then spat on him and removed all her blades. She put on her fat get up, picked up his rifle that he had foolishly laid to the side while skinning his rabbit, called to the children, and walked toward Daryl. She picked up her blade still stuck in the ground before his feet. She never made eye contact with him. He didn't even try to speak to her. When the children reached them, they hugged Toni like they were never gonna let her go. They then started walking home without a word being said, everyone was lost in their own thoughts.

 

As soon as the cellar door was secured, Toni asked.....

“Who wants to have a party tonight?” The kids literally jumped up and down throwing fist pumps in the air. Daryl's eyes shot to Toni in shock. A Party? What the fuck? He just watched a man die in a most brutal way and they were going to have a party?

“Are we going to talk about what happened out there?” He wanted to know. Toni walked over to where he sat at the table. She leaned in and kissed his forehead.

“Dammit! I don't have a fever!”

“Thank God.” He rolled his eyes.

“No.......we're not.” She said as she brushed the hair out of his face.

“It's our business Dixon, it doesn't concern you.” But his mind was going places....places he didn't want to go, so he shut it down.

“Okay, dinner, cleanup and bath in that order.” She reached for the coffee can and pulled her place in line. Then held it out for everyone else. She was last again. No surprise there. Toni and Landon went to fill the pool up for the baths, while Lisa and Lucas made a dinner of baked beans, canned spam and fruit cocktail. Dinner, clean up, and baths, would be done quickly. The children wanted the party. It was perfectly clear to Toni that Daryl wasn't going to enjoy the party after what he witnessed today unless he was given an explanation. Landon and Lucas decided to share the pool to get the baths over quicker and Lisa was doing the dishes, so Toni walked over to the table where Dixon was sitting staring off into space. He looked up when she approached. She sat down on his good leg, and took his face into her hands, and pulled him close to whisper in his ear. She slid her fingers through his hair and away from his ear. She whispered....

“I'm going to tell you something because we’re are going to have a party tonight for the children. You are going to participate and smile and laugh and enjoy it. You will not ruin it! After I tell you, we will not be discussing it any further. That is not up for debate. The man I killed today is one of eight who brutally raped me in front of my children and left me for dead. My children had to carry me home naked and bloody. I was bed ridden for a solid month if not longer. It took a week for the swelling to go down on my face for me to even be able to see. He got what he deserved. I just wish it could have been more. So, put a fucking smile on your face and don't ruin the party.” She kissed his forehead, released him and got up to walk away.

“I don't have a fever!” To which she replied with a smile. “Thank God.” She turned back to him in time to see him roll his eyes. She winked at him and went to help Lisa with the cleanup. Daryl felt sick to his stomach. He couldn't even imagine what she been through...and the poor kids...Jesus, to have had to watch. All of their behavior was now crystal clear to him. Going out of their way to avoid people, never speaking outside, the constant training. Why she was always so cautious, so careful in everything they did. It all made sense now. Yet he couldn't help wondering when it happened. Was it on his watch? Was it while he'd been stuck in Alexandria for all those months? Could he have prevented it? He knew no answers would be forthcoming. Well if she could put on a party face then so could he. Now he just needed to know what a party face looked like, because he'd never been to one. He decided to just follow their lead and act the way they did.

After baths were done, the ladies retreated behind the blanket to get ready for the party. Landon and Lucas started to undress. Daryl asked them what they were doing.

“We're getting dressed for the party. Your clothes are on the chair right there.” Daryl walked and picked up the pile of clothes and put them on the table. It was a suit! It was black, with a black shirt. He looked at the boys. They were putting suits on too.

“Hurry up Daryl! Toni and Lisa are putting on their new dresses.” Lucas encouraged. Daryl had never even owned a suit. He started to change. Toni had made it very clear about the party tonight.

“Are you boys ready?” Toni called out.

“Yes!” Lucas answered with excitement. Landon headed toward the blanket curtain and Lucas took hold of Daryl's hand and they followed. When the curtain slid back and the ladies stepped out, Daryl forgot to breathe. Lisa looked as pretty as a picture in the pink little cocktail dress Landon had got for her. But Toni......had him standing at attention, in more ways than one. She looked beautiful, stunning really, in that little peach number. Truth be told, her hair was going to be his downfall. He was so hard. God, he hoped he didn't make a fool out of himself. He watched Landon hold out his hand for Lisa to take, then bowed and kissed the back of her hand. Toni couldn't take her eyes off of Daryl. He looked like something out of one of her romance novels. All dressed in black. He was gorgeous! She prayed her mouth wasn't standing open with drool dripping out.

“Wow Dixon, you clean up nice. I do believe you're the most handsome man I've seen in years.”

“I'm the only man you've seen in years.” He laughed.

“Ha! I've seen plenty of men I just don't let them see me.”

“Guess that makes me special.”

“It most certainly does.” He held out his hand to her like he'd seen Landon do, and saw the surprise in her eyes. Toni's heart was beating so fast, she feared it may jump right out of her chest. She placed her hand in his and felt it to her very core. She was gonna be a puddle of goo any second now. He bowed down and kissed it. Toni wondered.....was she melting? Where did the air go?

“Let's start the music Toni!” Lucas pleaded. Lisa and Landon went over to the new boombox Toni had found in the thrift store.

“Everyone, cross your fingers that the boombox still works, and the CD's don't skip, and that the batteries, have a charge left inside them.” Lisa said. The music started playing. Springsteen! ' Born in the USA ' Lisa saw what appeared to be Toni and Daryl having a moment, so she danced with her brothers to keep them from interrupting.

“You look beautiful.” Daryl barely got out. They were standing so close face to face that they were almost touching.

“Thank you.” Toni who was never at a loss for words, suddenly couldn't find any. She was lost looking into his eyes. It was Lucas who broke the spell between them grabbing Daryl's hand and pulling him to the middle of the floor to dance with him. ' The Twist ' started playing which was one of his favorites. Toni watched as Daryl tried to imitate Lucas doing the twist and couldn't stop grinning. He had clearly never danced before by the look of concentration of his face and he looked adorable doing it. The rest joined in and they laughed and laughed, even Daryl, as he got the hang of it. Lisa picked the next song and couldn't stop giggling as she put it into the CD player. It was ' The chicken dance ' Toni and the kids got in a line laughing. Daryl stood to the side with a hand covering his mouth as he watched them, laughing so hard. Lisa pulled him into the line and he was forced to participate by the children. He realized though that he was having fun as he did indeed do the chicken dance. They were having a wonderful time. Lisa decided it was time for a slow dance and looked through all the mixed tapes for the perfect song. When she found it, she smiled with glee.

“Okay time for a slow one.” She positioned Daryl and Toni facing one another and pushed play. (Click here to play the song and listen while you read.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb2OweNMQvo

The widening of Toni's eyes was the only indication that she approved of Lisa's choice. She put one hand on Daryl's shoulder and the other snaked around his neck where he felt her fingers in his hair. He got goosebumps. Then she started to sing.....to him...looking into his eyes. She swayed to the music. Daryl tightened his hold on her. He realized she was actually singing it to him.... not just along with the music. He listened to the words.

‘I like dreamin'........... cause dreamin' can make you mine......’ His heart was thundering in his chest. She laid her head against him and sang. She had a beautiful voice. Her expressions were so heart felt. He'd never been the recipient of such tenderness. As she looked back up at him he saw a tear roll down her beautiful face. He brushed it away and felt himself begin to tear up, but he refused to let them fall.

He pulled her closer to him and held her tight and ran his hand through her hair. He just held on for dear life, as she poured her heart and soul out in the singing of the song. If he knew what love was, he'd bet that this feeling he had right now was it. He held her head to his chest so she wouldn't see his eyes that betrayed him and spilled over. He swayed with her as she sang. He's never felt so loved as he did it this moment. In his mind they were alone...only had each other. He didn't even give a single thought to the children who looked to be in a trance as they watched them. Lisa had tears running down her face. She wanted them to be together so bad.

Toni raised her face to look at Daryl while she was singing. She touched his tear streaked face and looked at him with such love in her eyes that he could barely stand it. He couldn't seem to be able to breathe. He knew that she knew that he had to go home. She knew his family would be starting to worry by now. After all she knew that she most certainly would be. He'd already been gone for 2 weeks. He had to find a way to convince her to come with him to Alexandria with the children because he realized he loved them all. He didn't want to just dream of her...he wanted her with him, next to him forever. He wanted.... needed, to hold her close and touch her skin as in the song. He'd never felt this way in his entire life. He wanted to make her his. For the first time in his life he thought about actually having children...but only with her. After all he already had 3 he thought, as he spied the children watching them. His feeling for her and the children were off the charts. It almost frightened him. Almost. It was overwhelming, but it felt right, more, right, than anything in his life ever. He smiled to himself. He had to find a way to make this happen. He just had to. As the song ended they didn't. They continued to rock back and forth, looking into each other’s eyes, each lost in their own thoughts.

Chapter Text

Mercy - Chapter 11

 

Daryl was the first to wake the next morning. He got up as carefully as he could without waking anyone. They'd had a hard time going to sleep after the party last night when Daryl told them he had to get back home. There was crying, begging and pleading for him to stay with them by the children. Toni just said that she understood but her eyes told him how she really felt. The decision made was that they would walk him home to make sure he arrived safely due to his recent injuries. He protested fiercely, but Toni was stubborn. Now he had a plan in mind. He would enlist his family to help talk her into staying with them. They could be very persuasive. If not, the only other option was to tie her up and hold her captive until she changed her mind. That thought almost made him smile...almost. He was hoping everyone slept late so they'd get a late start, but still make it to Alexandria before dark. That way she'd be forced to spend the night. She didn't like having the children out after dark. Always safe, always cautious, his Toni.

As he sat at the table sipping water, he looked at his fingernails; they looked like a rainbow, as Lucas put it last night while he was painting them. He had matching toenails as well. It made him smile. He'd had the best time ever last night with Toni and the kids. After the dance it was time for the pajama party. He didn't know what that entailed but he went along with it. The pillow fight was a blast. As he reflected, he realized that he had reverted into a big kid last night. He chuckled to himself. When everyone was changing out of their dance clothes he was handed his attire for the slumber party. He almost refused, but Toni words haunted him and he gave in and put the wig and grandma housecoat on. It was a night of so much laughter. He remembered looking into the hand mirror after Lisa did his makeup, seeing bright red lipstick, blue eye shadow to accent his eyes, her words not his, mascara and blush. He also adorned a long black curly wig. God how they had laughed. Damn, he'd never laughed so much since the world went to shit. Hell, he'd never laughed so much ever! They’d given him gifts. Him! They were so thoughtful. It was the last thing he ever expected, as he'd never received one before. As he sat there in the quiet he noticed a button on his shirt. The only reason he noticed it was because it was gold. He looked closer and realized that all the missing buttons had been replaced. He looked at his pants, there wasn't a hole or tear to be found. Toni or Lisa had mended his clothes. He opened his backpack and looked at the rest. All of his clothes had been mended. He walked over to the clothesline. Again, not a hole in any of his socks, shirts or pants. He glanced over at the 4 small bodies still sleeping. He didn't think he could let them go. They were his now.

 

Toni woke and silently padded her way to the table where Daryl was putting his clothes in his backpack she laid her hand on his back and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
“Dammit” He whispered. “I didn't even hear you.” She gave him a sad smile and sat at the table with a bottle of water.

“I'm gonna miss you, you know.” She said without looking at him. He put a finger under her chin and made her look up at him.

“We're not separated yet you know.” He said quietly.

“I know, but today is our last day to have you, and we won't be speaking. You know the rules.”

“Yes, I do.” He sat next to her and covered her hand with his much larger one. She laced their fingers together and gave him a squeeze. He smiled when he noticed that her fingernails matched his.
“Look! We match.” He said with a grin. That got him a true smile.

“We did have fun last night, didn't we?”

“I never in my entire life had as much fun as I did last night.”

“And, I bet you've never looked as pretty either.” She giggled.

“That is a safe assumption.” He laughed.

“The housecoat was really you, although it was a little short.”

“You're telling me! Every time I bent over I could feel a breeze.” Toni laughed aloud.

She hooked her arm with his and laid her head against his shoulder. He caressed her cheek. Lucas showed up on his right and climbed into his lap. Daryl kissed the top of his head without even thinking. It made him actually consider leaving his family in Alexandria. He didn't know what to do. For now, he'd pray that they could change her mind, and she and the kids would stay.

 

They got packed and ready to go and set out about 7 am he guessed since no one actually knew what time it was and it was a gray day so no sun to help. Which would get them there around 3 if everything went well. Once they were about half way there Toni took a detour to a small town to scavenge. Since their backpacks were full for their trip, they hid those and took their duffel bags and went through the small town. Toni had Daryl sit and rest to be their lookout, to his chagrin. She and the kids made quick work of it and came out with bags full. They continued on their journey. About 2 hours away from Alexandria they came across another small community. Daryl was thinking that Toni was stopping on purpose just so he could rest. Instead of getting angry he started thinking it would work to his favor of her having to stay the night. The bags were full. They amazed him with their scavenging skills. She made them stop again to make a travois. They now had 5 backpacks and 9 duffels full of stuff. She refused to let him carry anything, but his weapons. As the walls of Alexandria came into view. Toni signed to the children behind her back and walked up beside Daryl. As they got closer she could see the guards on duty and was glad she'd sent the kids to the trees. The big gate opened. Toni hesitated. There was a man running toward them. She readied a blade.

“Daryl!” The man hugged him. “I was getting worried that something happened to you.”

“It did. You must be Rick.” Toni said in a whisper. Rick looked at her. Then at Daryl.

“Rick, this is Toni and these are....” He turned to introduce the children and they were gone!

“Dammit Toni! Where are the kids? I told you they'd be safe here.” She glared at him and signed about speaking outside.

“We don't have to whisper here.” He said in exasperation. She reached up to pull his head down and whispered furiously in his ear.

“You don't have to here.” He whispered aloud to her. She stomped her foot and turned to Rick.

“He's still recuperating from his injuries will you stay with him until I get back please?” Rick looked to Daryl. She took off down the street.

“What's going on Daryl?” Daryl went back through the gate to see if he could spot the children in the trees. Rick was on his tail. He had questions, a lot of them.

“Daryl?”

“Rick help me look in the trees.”

“What?”

“The trees! Help me look for the kids!”

“What kids!”

“My kids!........... I mean Toni's kids! She sent them to the trees!” Daryl was panicking. He scanned the trees, then started shouting.

“Lisa! Landon! Lucas!” Rick grabbed his arm, Daryl jerked it away.

“Help me Rick!” Next thing Daryl knew, Toni was in front of him pulling his head down to whisper to him. Rick saw Daryl instantly calm down and turn around to see the kids inside the gate. He noticed the boys facing them but the girl was facing inside of the gate. They all had knives in their hands. Lucas came running up to him. Daryl scooped him up and held him tight, and he headed toward Landon and Lisa, who also hugged him.

“We didn't mean to scare you Daryl.”

“I know, it's okay now.” Toni came up and put her arm around his waist. Then whispered to Rick.

“Rick, where is your house? Dixon needs to rest, it's been a long walk today.”

“It's just up the street here. What happened?”

“I thought he was trying to kill me, so I sunk one of my blades into him and my children used their slingshots and he got a concussion. Oh, how much further? Dixon put him down, he can walk.” She whispered.

“No, I don't want to.” Daryl said out loud.

“I don't mind Toni.” Lucas whispered.

“Stupid adorable buffoon!” She hissed at Dixon.

“I'm not adorable!” He said out loud again.

“Hush! Yes, you are. Here comes Abe, right?”

“Yes.” Rick didn't know what to make of all this. How did she know Abe?

“There's Maggie and Glenn!” Landon whispered with excitement, Pointing to a porch. Rick cocked his head. What the fuck? How did they know them?

“Oh!” Lisa whispered. “That has to be Michonne!”

“There's Carol” Lucas whispered. Pointing up on the porch to the house they were walking up to. Rick was about to go crazy. What the hell was going on?

As they all entered the house. Toni guided Dixon to an overstuffed chair and practically pushed him down into it. She surveyed the room.

“Eugene, would you please bring me that stool?” She asked quietly.

The room was filled with people everyone had come in. Eugene brought the stool over wondering how she knew his name. Toni lifted Daryl's leg up and put it on the stool. Daryl rolled his eyes. All of his family noticed.

“Where's you room? We'll get your bed ready so you can rest for a while until I get dinner ready, then bath and bed.”

“I don't have a room.” Daryl told her. She whipped around so fast that Rick took an involuntary step back.

“You wouldn't give him a room in your house?” She pinned him with her eyes and asked with disbelief.

“I uhh....”

“Toni! You can't hurt any of my people!” She whipped back around to face him.

“You think I'd kill someone you love?” She couldn't believe that he would think such a thing. Everyone in the room noticed that Toni and the kids had him surrounded. Protecting him.

“No. I don't have a room because I never took one, not because it wasn't offered. I sleep outside.”

“Well tell me where so I can get our bed ready you need to rest.”

“You're not sleeping outside.”

“We're sleeping where ever you're sleeping.” She put her hands on her hips.

“Rick? Are there any rooms left?” Daryl asked.

“First room at the top of the stairs.” Rick had his hands on his hips. He didn't quite know what to make of all this.

“Okay we'll go get our stuff and get your room ready.” Daryl stood up.

“What do you think you're doing?” She said as she pushed him back down.

“There is nothing wrong with me. We need to go get the stuff.”

“You're not going anywhere! We'll go get it, it's not far.”

“You're not going outside of these walls without me!”

“Of course not! Our things are in here already.”

“What?” Rick asked. He was at the gate the whole time. Nothing came through there.

“Of course, they are.” Daryl rolled his eyes. “Where is it?”

“It's just down the street, a way’s. We'll be quick. Rick...do you think you can keep him in this chair until we get back?......or should I ask Abe? Better yet, I think between the two of you, you should be able to manage.

“Do you need help?” Glenn asked.

“Thank you, Glenn. We made a travois on the way so it shouldn't be hard.”

“Come on, I'd be happy to help.”

“Thank you...but no, we got it.” Toni and the children left.

“Michonne? Would you watch over them?” Daryl asked. “Toni doesn't trust men.”

“Sure.”

“Daryl?” Rick needed to talk.

“I'll tell you everything once we get them settled. But I can say that I need all of your help to get them to stay.”

“What? I thought that was why they were here?”

“No, they were just walking me home.”

“Walking you home? Where do they live?”

“It took us a little over 10 hours to get here.”

“You walked for 10 hours?”

“Well Toni doesn't like to be out after dark with the children.”

“10 hours?” Rick asked again.

“Rick they are amazing! They're like a little army! They live in a root cellar and I swear they have more food than we do here. They don't speak when outside. They use sign language to communicate........”

Rick was looking at Daryl. Really looking. He was clean. His clothes were clean. He normally came home from recruiting a little thinner, but not this time. His clothes didn't have any holes or rips in them. Was that nail polish on his fingernails?

“Is that nail polish on your fingernails?”

“Yeah....we had a dance and a slumber party last night.” He smiled again! He didn't even notice everyone's expressions. Who was this and what did they do with Daryl, Rick wondered. Daryl had said more in the last couple of minutes then he'd said in months. Toni, Michonne and the kids came walking in carrying backpacks and duffel bags. A lot of them.

“Where's your kitchen, Rick?” Toni asked. Rick pointed to the room adjoining the living room that they were in.

“May I have a moment of your time?” Toni asked.

“Sure.” He said following her into the kitchen.

“Lucas, go sit on Dixon, his right side be careful of his injuries.”

“I will Toni. I'll be real careful.”

“See if you can get his shoes and socks off. He won't go anywhere without those.”

“Okay Toni.” Rick stood with his hands on his hips and his head cocked. He looked adorable. She smiled at him.

“What?” He asked.

“You're adorable.” She surprised him. They started emptying the all the bags. He looked on in shock at the amount of food they were rapidly putting on the table.

“We stopped to pick a few things up for Daryl so he wouldn't have to go out right away. He needs to finish healing. Which means rest. He's stubborn about it so hopefully this will help. Lisa sweetie, would you grab the moonshine and medical supplies out of our packs please?”

“Sure Toni.” Lisa, started piling all the medical supplies at the other end of the table.

“Landon, get the weapons bag please.”

“Sure Toni.” He started piling all the guns and ammo on the table. Ricks mouth was hanging open. By the time they were done, the table that sat twelve was covered with supplies.

“Will this hold you for about 2 weeks?” She looked at Rick.

“Yes, and then some. Where did you get all this?”

“We stopped on a couple streets on our way here. I need Dixon to heal so I thought if we did his share you could keep him home for a bit.”

“I'm really sorry we hurt him Rick. We've done our best to heal him. I brought extra medical supplies, with the array of scars on him. I wanted to make sure he had stuff for future wounds. Is this enough? We can go back out tomorrow before we go home if you need more.” She was like a little tornado, he thought. Talking a mile a minute.

“Home? You're not staying here with us?”

“No, this is too open for us. It's not safe here. We were able to easily scale your walls without sounding an alarm. My children's safety comes first and foremost.”

“The walls are meant for the dead. They can't scale them.”

“The living, are more dangerous.” She said quietly.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 12

 

In the living room, everyone was silent listening to the conversation in the kitchen. It was Carol who broke the silence while watching Daryl holding Lucas.

“Nice fingernails Daryl.”

“I did them!” Lucas beamed. I did his toenails too want to see them?”

“Nah, they don't want to see them, Lucas.” Daryl told him.

“Oh, but we do.” Abe laughed. Daryl glared at him. Lucas got off his lap and started to untie his boots. Daryl pulled his foot away. Lucas looked heartbroken. Daryl moved it back. Lucas smiled again. Daryl threw an arm over his eyes as he laid his head back against the comfy chair in defeat. Everyone in the room was trying not to laugh. When Lucas finished removing his shoes and socks he said....

“Ta Da!” Everyone moved in for a closer look.

“See, I did them like rainbows.” He announced proudly.

“You did a fine job Lucas.” Daryl praised.

“Yes, they look lovely.” Maggie told him.

“I've been trying to get him to do that for years, he wouldn't do it for me.” Abe laughed.

“He likes me.” Lucas said proudly.

“That's right Buddy.” Daryl kissed the top of his head.

“I need to go check on Dixon. I'll be right back.” Toni told Rick and walked out. Rick followed her. He watched her go straight to him and lean down and kiss his forehead.

“Dammit! I don't have a fever!”

“Thank God.” She replied. He rolled his eyes.

“How do you feel? Are you cold?”

“I'm fine! There's nothing wrong with me.” She ignored him and reached for the afghan on the back of the couch.

“Here. Just in case.” She laid it on the arm of the chair.

“Let me get your bath ready, then while you relax and soak, I'll wrangle up some dinner for you. Okay. It might even be spaghetti, if your good.” His eyes lit up. She smiled at him. She turned back to Rick.

“May we borrow some buckets?”

“For what?”

“Dixon's bath, and don't worry we all share the bath so we won't use much of your water, and of course we will replace any that we use.”

“We have running water here Toni.” Daryl informed her. She swung around.

“You do?”

“Yes.” He smiled at her.

“Wow! Okay, let me run it for you, I'll come get you when it’s ready.”

“You're going to take a bath?” Rick asked in astonishment.

“Well of course he is! My boys know that I won't be sleeping with anyone who stinks.” She signed something to Lucas and Landon. He signed back. Toni and Lisa went upstairs.

“What was that?” Rick asked.

“Nothing bad sir, we have rules.”

“Rules?”

“Yes sir. The injured don't go out and are never left alone.” No one pointed out that Daryl wouldn't have been alone. It didn't seem to matter.

“If that's the case, why did you bring him home?”

“Because he didn't want you to worry, sir.” Rick looked at Daryl who was looking at the ceiling.

“Holy shit!” could be heard from the kitchen. It was Glenn. Everyone went into the kitchen except Rick, Daryl, Landon and Lucas.

“Could I talk to Daryl for a few minutes?” Rick asked the boys. Landon signed to Lucas who ran upstairs. When he came back down, Lucas signed and they went out on the porch.

“How long have you known them?” Rick didn't wait to cut to the chase
.
“A little over a year but they didn't know about me until 2 weeks ago. I would just check in on them when I passed through, maybe put some game in their snares if they were empty. I thought they were 4 brothers trying to survive alone. Imagine my surprise to find out two of the kids were girls. Well one anyway, Toni is so small, I was there two days before I found out she was a woman.”

“Why didn't you just approach them when you first saw them?”

“Because, as I watched them, I saw how they went out of their way to avoid people. I'd never heard them speak, and they were surviving. So, I'd just check in on them when I could.”

“And then the wall went down, and I kept you here.....” Daryl didn't respond.

“How hurt are you?” Rick asked.

“I'm fine! Jesus Rick, I've been shot before and didn't have this much attention.” His frustration clearly showed on his face.

“She's like a little General! If you'd seen the things I have, you'd understand.”

“What things?”

“One time, they were out scavenging..... And 3 men were coming down the street. I was too far away to warn them. Toni crawled out the second story window, hanging by her elbows, and the kids crawled down her body and made a human chain! A human chain! She sent the kids to the trees. The little ones must have left the front door open cause the 3 men walked right up and inside. 15 minutes later I see her walk right out the front door. I waited, then went in, I didn't want these men following them. And they were all dead. That little woman, who at the time I thought was a boy. Killed all 3 men without a sound.” Daryl shook his head. He still couldn't believe it.

“Have you asked her the 3 questions?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because.” Rick stared at Daryl.

“Because you're afraid of the answer, aren't you?” Daryl stayed mute. Rick rubbed a hand down his face. Toni and Lisa came down the stairs.

“Okay you're up handsome.” She went to his backpack and pulled out a pair of rolled up jeans.

“Shirt, t-shirt, socks and underwear are rolled up inside. Here’s your deodorant, we'll brush our teeth after dinner. The bed is ready for you, we'll be sleeping crosswise so we can all fit.”

“Alright.” Daryl got up and headed for the stairs. Toni followed him.

“I don't need any help.”

“I'm just making sure you don't fall, I'm not gonna wash you or anything.........unless you want me too.”

“Nah, I'm alright.”

“Call me before you get dressed so I can look at your thigh.”

“I'm totally healed Toni. You're not looking anymore!”

“How about Rick? Will you let him check it?”

“No!”

“Well don't come crying to me if you open it back up you stupid beautiful man!”

“I'm not beautiful!”

“Yes, you are.” she answered in her sing song voice. Daryl smiled behind the closed door. The people downstairs sat in shocked silence.

“Jesus! It's cold!” Daryl yelled.

“It's no colder than at home.” Toni could be heard saying.

“Why didn't you use the hot water?”

“You have hot water?”

“Yes!”

“Well, why didn't you tell me that?” Toni asked.

“I assumed when you found out we had running water....”

“Well that's what you get for assuming! Now you made an ass out of you and me!” Daryl laughed.

“That was a good one.” He told her. She smiled.

“Alright I'll come and run you a new one.”

“Nah...I got it.”

“Well don't waste all the water just let a little out and then add some hot.”

“We have plenty Toni.”

“And how many people live here?”

“I don't know.”

“You need to be considerate of others, Dixon.”

“Fine! Have it your way.”

“Thank you. If you don't lollygag...I can send the boys up to use your water.”

“Geez Toni! Let the kids have a warm bath for Pete's sake. We're not at home.”

More than one set of eyebrows went up downstairs.

 

“Carol? If you'd allow us we'd like to help put away all the supplies.”

“Sure.” Carol really did want to spend some time with Toni. She wasn't quite sure of her.” They moved to the kitchen. Toni spoke first. She was good at reading people.

“Carol, ask me anything you'd like. I'll try to be as honest as I can.”

“How did you meet?”

“Well, this is going to upset you so please remember that you just saw Dixon and he's fine.” Carol nodded.

“My kids and I were out on a run, when we ran into 3 men, bad men, so my adrenaline was already high. We were making our way back home when we came across a small farm. I heard noises of the dead kind so I sent my kids to the trees, so I could access the situation. There were only two of them so I took care of them. As I was just finishing with the second I heard a shout and looked up to see a man with a crossbow pointed at me. I thought he was going to kill me so I threw my blade. I just wanted to stop him so I could find out how many more were with him, after all I had my kids with me. That's when I heard a noise behind me and turned to see a dead one fall. I realized that Dixon wasn't trying to kill me but save me. So, we carried him the 5 miles back home and I've been taking care of him for you guys. He told us all about his family here. So, I wanted to make sure he got here in one piece since it was my fault he got hurt in the first. We will be leaving tomorrow. Does that answer all your questions?”

“It was my brothers and I that gave him the concussion, we thought he was trying to kill Toni too.”

“It wasn't your fault Lisa nor Landon's or Lucas.” Toni said.

“It was my fault, Toni!” Lucas cried. “I'm the one who hit him in the head with the rock.” Tears streamed down Lucas's face. Daryl walked into the kitchen. He saw Lucas crying.

“What the fuck!” He grabbed up Lucas to hold him.

“I'm so sorry Daryl....I...I....didn't mean to hurt you.” He cried harder.

“What did you say to him?” He accused of Carol.

“Dixon, she didn't say anything! She just asked how we met.” Toni answered.

“It's all right buddy, it's all right.” He turned and walked out holding a crying Lucas.

“Forgive me, I need to see if he's alright.” Toni followed them. Carol wondered if she was talking about Lucas or Daryl.

“Can you believe all this stuff?” Maggie said with wonder. Rick was checking out the weapons and ammo along with Abe.

“I wonder why she didn't keep the weapons for them?” Rick thought out loud.

“Because, guns are loud and draw attention both from the living and dead. We don't want attention from either. And......we've made it over 2 long years without them.” Lisa answered from behind Rick, who had forgotten that she was even there in the kitchen, she moved so quietly.

“Lisa....how many walkers have you killed?”

“2”

“How many people have you killed?” Lisa raised a brow.

“None.”

“Why?”

“Because I haven't yet had to.” She answered honestly. He nodded.

“Is it really okay to use some of your hot water?” She asked with a hopeful expression.

“It is and I would guess that if you went last you could stay under it for as long as you like.” She smiled at him.

“Thank you, sir, you're as awesome as Daryl described you.” Rick looked taken aback by her simple comment.

“Daryl talked about us” Abe asked.

“He loves you all so much. At dinner is when he would tell us all about his family. We feel like we already know you all. And you guys are certainly as beautiful as he said you were.” She directed toward Maggie, Michonne, and Carol, who one and all clearly seemed shocked at the compliment. You're so lucky to have him love you all so much. I was hoping he would stay with us.” She said a little sadly.

“Why can't you guys just stay here with us? There is safety in numbers.” Rick pointed out.

“Toni knows how to survive, she's kept me and my brothers alive since the beginning. If she doesn't feel it's safe here...then it's not. She loves us and we love her. We all love Daryl very much, but we understand that family comes first. We're just happy that he has a family who loves him. And...he did promise to come and visit us when he can. And we believe him, for he would never lie to us. I think he loves us too. So....it'll have to do. We've accepted that. Now I need to go tell Toni that I want to be last for once.” She smiled then explained.

“At home we draw numbers to see the order of the baths she's always last. She thinks we don't know, but we do. She rigged it. Before Daryl came she had to wait until the 3 of us bathed before her turn, then with Daryl 4 people bathed before her. We don't have running water so she pretty much bathes in dirty cold water every day. I hope she uses your precious hot water. Most likely she won't though. Sir? How much more stuff do think we need to get so that Daryl doesn't have to go out for a while on a run?”

“I think you guys brought plenty, Lisa, and you can call me Rick”

“Thank you, Rick, good Toni will feel so much better knowing that you will take care of him for us.” She turned and left the kitchen in search of Toni.

“I honestly can't believe that she and children have survived this long. I see why Daryl wants them to stay.”

“Do you Rick? I'm not sure that you get it yet.” Carol rolled her eyes and walked out of the kitchen.

“What the hell?” Rick murmured. Maggie smiled at Abe. They understood, none of them had ever seen Daryl take an interest in woman before, Rick would catch up eventually.

 

It was a couple hours later when Carol said that dinner was ready. Toni looked at Daryl who was napping peacefully in the chair and decided not to wake him. She covered him with the afghan and followed everyone to the long table in the kitchen. She put the boys on one side on both ends of the table, and Lisa in the middle on the other and she stood at the counter. She helped Carol plate the food and serve everyone. She remained standing with her plate at the counter as she ate. She was offered a chair but refused to take one of their seats. The men here were kind indeed. It wasn't even 10 minutes later before Daryl must have smelled the food and came sauntering into the kitchen. Toni put her plate down and made one for him. Abe who was getting ready for his shift got up and gave Daryl his seat. Daryl frowned seeing Toni standing at the counter with her plate.

“Toni? Why are you standing to eat? Here sit down.” He said standing up for her.

“Dixon, sit down and eat. I prefer to stand, it was my choice.” It was then that Daryl noticed what was in front of him. Tuna noodle casserole. He got angry and turned his anger toward Toni.

“This is tuna!” He raised his voice a little. “The kids hate tuna! Why are they eating tuna?” He demanded. Everyone stopped eating and looked from him to Toni.

“Dixon!” She was appalled at his outburst. One meal with tuna wasn't going to harm her kids.

“The kids are fine eating tuna.” She said between clenched teeth.

“No, it's not fine!” He got up so fast that the chair toppled and slammed to the floor. We brought God only knows how many bags of supplies here, and you make them eat tuna?!?”

“Dixon! Stop it right now!” She hissed.

But he wasn't done yet. He went to the cupboards and yanked open the doors grabbing a can of ravioli, a can of spaghetti, and a can of chicken and stars and slammed them down in front of each of the kids. He grabbed their plates and threw them in the sink.

“These kids don't have to eat tuna!” He was so mad, Toni didn't understand what was wrong with him.

“They have to eat cold food for every meal! They have to take ice cold baths every day! They don't get to even see sunlight for days at a time. While they are here, they will eat what they like and it will be warm! They will take a bath with hot water and they don't have to share the water! You don't have to take a cold bath in filthy water for God's sake. You guys scavenged all this food! You least you can do is eat something you like! Jesus Christ!” He threw up his hands.

Everyone sat in shock, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Abe, Eugene, Carol, and Rick. Toni gently set her plate on the counter.

“I apologize for Dixon's outburst on our behalf. We truly appreciated being welcomed to share a meal with you. We'll also clean up when everyone is finished. Please excuse me.” And she walked out of the house.

“Fuck!” Daryl said to no one. Lisa got up and went to stand beside Daryl. She leaned down to whisper to him.

“We love you Daryl....but you were wrong in this instance.”

In the now silent room everyone heard her. She kissed his cheek and gave his neck a hug, then went to the sink and retrieved their plates and put them back on the table in front of her brothers. She collected the cans and put them back into the cupboard. She covered Toni's plate. Then sat down to finish her dinner.

“The dinner is delicious Ma'am, we're happy to enjoy this warm meal with you, thank you for sharing it with us.”

“Yes Ma'am. Thank you.” Landon said.

“Thank you, Ma'am.” Lucas said.

“It's okay Daryl...Toni says we all make mistakes every now and then, but we still love you.”

Lucas told him as he reached for his fork to eat his tuna noodle casserole
.
Daryl felt like shit now.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 13

 

Toni was sitting on the porch swing in front of the open windows. She really didn't understand what had gotten into Dixon. Jesus, they were thankful for every morsel they put into their bellies. Tuna may not be a favorite with her kids but they'd eat it without complaining. She shook her head. The man could be impossible sometimes. It was 20 minutes later when she watched him come around the side of the house. He slowly walked up the front porch steps, with his hands in his pockets.

“I'm sorry.” He said with his head nearly touching his chest.

“Sit down Dixon.” She patted the space next to her on the swing. He hesitated then sat down beside her. The living room was full since everyone had finished eating. All were quiet, as the conversation on the porch could be heard through the open windows. Funny thing was, none of them felt the least bit guilty for eavesdropping. They were seeing a side of Daryl that they'd never seen before.

“How's Carol?”

“I don't know, why?”

“Did you tell her you're sorry?”

“Sorry for what?” She turned and just looked at him. He really didn't know.

“Dixon....she spent a good amount of time preparing dinner for all of you, her family,

“Yeah, she told me I was a jerk.”

“I knew I liked her!” Toni smiled, making Daryl smile in return.

“Well I've got kitchen detail.” Toni said getting up.

“Why?” Daryl asked.

“You know the rule.”

“Which one? God knows there are so many of them.”

“Geez, you make me sound bossy.” She laughed.

“If the shoe fits.........” He ducked the swat coming his way.

“If you cook....you don't have to clean up.”

“Oh.... that one. Okay I'll help ya.” They got up and went inside. As they walked through the living room, the kids got up and followed them to the kitchen. Rick went upstairs. He had a hot bath to run. Daryl asked for help for the first time ever, he was going to try to help. He knocked on Michonne's bedroom door.

 

“Do you have any bubble bath?” Rick asked. Michonne smiled.

“For Toni?”

“Yes, Daryl's never asked for help before.” She walked over to her dresser.

“This is the good stuff, and here....light these candles and dim the lights, never mind....I'll do it, sometimes you men can be dense.”

“Thanks.”

“She seems pretty set at going back home tomorrow.”

“I know, but we have to try. Thanks again.” They made their way to the bathroom.

 

Toni, Daryl and the kids were just about finished cleaning up the kitchen when Rick called Toni from the top of the stairs. They were so loud here and it was driving Toni crazy. She went upstairs to see what he needed. He was standing in front of the closed bathroom door. She knew her kids were downstairs so she frowned wondering what they could have possibly done in the bathroom to upset him. Then Rick smiled and opened the door. Toni looked inside to see candles burning. It smelled heavenly, like Christmas cookies. As she crossed the threshold she could see a bubble bath. Her brow furrowed. She looked back at Rick.

“Enjoy.” Was all he said as he backed out and closed the door.

Toni peeled off her clothes and stepped into the tub. The water was hot! Gloriously hot. She sank down and reveled in the first hot bath in over two years. She was overwhelmed by Rick's kindness. She would never have used their hot water for herself. Daryl's family had already given them a place to sleep and a wonderful warm meal. If she didn't feel that this place was so unsafe for her children she would consider staying here with them. She quickly washed herself and her hair so she could just lay back and enjoy her soak. As she soaked, she reflected back on tonight's dinner. Her initial reaction to Daryl's outburst was anger, but as she sat on the swing in the quiet, she realized how much he cared for her children and his outburst was on their behalf. Although the delivery was so wrong, she couldn't stay mad at him for defending her children and her anger melted away. When he came around the house, after sneaking out the back door, she was happy to see him. She laid there until the water got cold, before she got out. She wrapped a towel around her, gathered her dirty clothes and fat suit, and made her way to their room. She slipped into a pair of black panties with a black tank top to match. She was finger combing her hair to get the bulk of the tangles free, when she heard Lucas's high pitched scream. She snatched a blade off the bed and flew down the steps.

Glenn was playing with Lucas and Landon. They were mock wrestling. The boys were extremely quiet, never raising their voices. So, he started to tickle Lucas unmercifully, until he let out a scream. Everyone was sitting in the living room relaxing after dinner. Abe had just got back from his guard duty because someone had asked him to trade shifts. Carl had returned from a friends’ house and had just met Lisa and the boys. He sat on the floor pretending to read a magazine but couldn't take his eyes off of Lisa. Rick smiled. Too bad they would be leaving in the morning.

Toni came flying down the stairs armed with a knife! Although no one but Daryl and the children recognized her. There wasn't an ounce of fat on her and her hair, oh my God, her hair was almost down to her knees! She landed in a fighting stance, eyes darting to find the threat. Daryl quickly stood up.

“Toni! Everything is fine!” She looked at Lucas who looked like he had committed a mortal sin.

“I'm...I'm sorry Toni.” Lucas looked ready to cry.

“Why did you scream?” She demanded.

“They were just playing Toni.” Daryl interjected.

“This is your fault, Dixon” She said low.

“How is it my fault!” He wanted to know.

“The kids don't have to be quiet here.” She walked over until she was standing right in front of him and poked her finger in his chest with every word she spoke.

“We...have...rules...you ...know...the...rules!” Damn but he was hard yet again.

“You're not dressed.” He whispered to her, but all heard.

“What?” She had adrenaline racing through her veins.

“You're not dressed.” He repeated.

“Of course, I'm not dressed! I was getting dressed when I heard one of my children scream. On your watch I might add.” Her chest was heaving. She was shaking.

“You might want to go put some clothes on.” He worded it another way. He didn't like the guys staring at her body.

“Jesus, Dixon! My child screamed. What did you think was gonna happen?”

“You're not fat either, and your hair is down.” He saw the second she got it. Her eyes widened, and she quickly surveyed the room.

“Well fuck me.” She whispered. “If you can't handle your watch, carry your sweet ass on out the door!”

She turned and started up the stairs without making eye contact with anyone. As she hit the landing she heard Daryl say.

“I don't have a sweet ass!” She spun around and said with venom....

“Yes, you do!” And she ran the rest of the way up. Everyone looked at Daryl to see him smiling.

“Who was that girl?” Abe murmured. Carl was just about as wide eyed as he could get. Rick was having a hard time getting the image out of his head. He'd had no idea.........he finally got it. He looked at Daryl who was still smiling at the empty staircase.

“What are the rules?” Glenn wanted to know.

“You don't speak when outside, you don't raise your voices above ground.” Landon informed them. Lucas got up and ran upstairs.

“Dammit.” Daryl hissed through his teeth.

“It was your watch Daryl.” Lisa said sweetly and smiled.

“Shut up!” He aimed to her, and she laughed at him. He turned to go outside.

“Wait!” Lisa called to him. He turned back to her.

“Wait til Toni comes back down before you storm out,............ so she can watch your 'sweet ass’ leaving.” She giggled uncontrollably. He turned red faced and went outside on the porch. He knew better to leave her children alone even if they were with his family.

“You're incorrigible!” Rick smiled at her. She returned his smile. “I know.”

 

Toni came back downstairs fully dressed fat suit and all, hair back up hiding under that damn stocking cap, 20 minutes later, carrying Lucas. She kissed him and put him on his feet and went into the kitchen. There was coffee brewing and Rick was reading a book at the table. Maggie was getting down cups from the cupboard while Glenn was reaching for the sugar and dry creamer from the pantry.
Carol and Michonne were playing cards.

“We're making coffee if you'd like a cup.” Maggie said and smiled at her.

“Oh no, then I'd have to go through withdrawal all over again when I got back home. Coffee was one of my vices.” She smiled at them.

“If you stayed here with us........you wouldn't have to.” Glenn added.

Toni's only response was a brief smile. She set her backpack on a chair and unzipped it, removing 3 plastic cups, 4 tooth brushes, a tube of paste, and a small bottle of mouth wash. She filled 2 of the cups with water and brought all 3 back to the table, as the kids and Daryl came filing into the kitchen and sat down. Daryl's family had their interest peaked and watched while trying to make it look like they weren't.
She put a little ball of paste on each toothbrush and handed them to each of the children who then dunked their brush into the blue cup and started to brush their teeth. Toni did the same. They watched in fascination as they then spit into the green cup and drank from the red cup to spit again into the green cup. When they finished they rinsed their toothbrushes in the blue cup and laid their brushes in front of Toni and put a little mouth wash in their mouth to swish before spitting again into the green cup. When Toni was finished she rinsed her brush in the blue cup and then put more tooth paste on it and handed it to Daryl who proceeded to brush his teeth. By now, his family was openly watching because they couldn't believe what they were seeing. Daryl finally noticed and said....

“What? She said she had her Cootie shots and I would be safe.” Everyone burst out laughing. Toni smiled.

“Are you going to brush our hair Toni?” Lucas asked when everyone was done brushing their teeth.

“Yes, then bedtime. We've had a long day and have another long one tomorrow.” Daryl looked at her and then looked down at the table. If there was a God......he would find a way to make her stay. Daryl thought. But he knew there wasn't. She started with Lucas. By the time she was finished with him he was already yawning. She moved to Landon who delighted in telling them that they had to keep up with the Jones’ in the event they ever ran into them. Which had everyone laughing. Next was Lisa who started chatting about Toni's never ending story to Toni's horror. Daryl laughed as Toni kept trying to redirect the conversation, only to have Lisa bring it right back to the story. She hit him with her hip to make him stop which only made him laugh harder. When Lisa was finally finished, Toni quickly kissed them, told them she loved them and pushed them off to bed, but not before they kissed and hugged Daryl and told him they loved him. She looked at Daryl.

“Are you still mad at me?” He asked her.

“You, stupid beautiful man, how can I stay mad at you when you give me those puppy dog eyes.”

“I'm not beautiful.” He insisted.

“Yes, you are.” He smiled because she was behind him and couldn't see it. But everyone else did. She started by just running her fingers through it. Just the way he liked it. He closed his eyes and just relished in the feeling of it. She massaged his scalp, then took a brush through it. Then went back to using her fingers, because she loved the feel of it. She played with his hair for about 30 minutes before she leaned down and whispered to him that he was all done. He pouted. She laughed.

“Come on stud, it's bedtime.” She gave his shoulders a squeeze.

“I'm not a stud.” She smiled.

“Yes, you are.” She started to walk out of the kitchen.

“Wait!”

“What?”

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“I need to do you.”

“No, sweetie you don't.”

“But it's only fair.”

“Come on Dixon it's bedtime!”

“No! You hate sleeping with wet hair.”

“It's okay really!”

“Toni.....they've already seen it. Come here.”

He watched her shoulders slump in defeat, and he smiled.

“Come on....just a little further....” She laughed. How could she not. He grabbed her hips since she insisted on wearing her fat pillow and lifted her up onto the table.

“Dixon! What are you doing? They don't want my ass on their table.” She tried to get off. He held her in place.

“Rick?” Daryl asked. Rick smiled. He'd been doing that a lot tonight.

“I be happy to have your ass on my table.” He said it so seriously that Toni laughed and gave up fighting Daryl.

“I'll make sure I scrub it clean with bleach when I'm done.” She said smiling at him.

“Oh! And Rick.....”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for the lovely bath.”

“You could do that every night.” He said looking back at his book, which he hadn't read a single thing in since they all had entered the kitchen. She didn't respond. Daryl pulled off her stocking cap, and instantly got hard. He didn't care. He had to touch it. He needed to touch it. He breathed in the scent.

“God...it smells good.” Daryl hadn't realized that he'd said that out loud until she responded.........

“It's something new...it just came out in stores...it's called.......... SOAP!” And she starting laughing.

“Sometimes I just crack myself up!” She said to everyone's delight. Rick got up and walked up next to Daryl.

“New, you say?” He picked up a handful and brought it to his nose and breathed it in. Daryl pushed him away. Rick covered his mouth so he wouldn't laugh out loud.

“Don't touch it!” Daryl warned him. Rick put his hands up in surrender. But he was still smiling. Daryl brushed and played with her hair until it was dry. She was almost asleep. When she started to lean to one side, he knew then that she had nodded off. It was bedtime. He picked her up and carried her to their bed.

“Do you think he'll be back to scrub her ass off the table” Carol asked laughing. That had all of them laughing again. They talked for another half hour about how different Daryl was, and all the changes in his appearance, he was actually clean. His clothes were clean and free of rips and holes. He actually did know how to speak full sentences. The biggest thing was his smile. He done that more in the last couple hours than he'd done in over the entire two years. Maggie and Glenn went back home to their house. They tidied up the kitchen. Then they all headed to their bedrooms. As Rick reached the top of the stairs, he noticed that Daryl hadn't closed the bedroom door. The light from the hallway let him see the family of 5 sleeping crosswise on the full size bed. There was Daryl in the middle surrounded by 4 small bodies. If he wasn't seeing it with his own eyes he would never have believed it. The little one, Lucas, was actually sleeping on his chest. Toni had herself wrapped around his arm. Lisa was snuggled up against him and Landon was up against Toni with her arm thrown over him. It was the most beautiful, yet frightening sight he'd ever seen. He realized as he looked at them that he may lose Daryl. After seeing all he had today, he didn't know if Daryl could actually watch them walk away tomorrow morning. It gave him a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He took one last lingering look and stepped back to bump into Michonne and Abe who were coming up to their rooms. Michonne and Abe stared at the scene before them. Their faces mirrored his own. They all went to their own rooms. Sleep was a long time coming for Rick, and it was fitful.

It was 4:33am as Toni padded her way downstairs in her bare feet. She had a tank top and Landon's smiley face boxers on. She wanted to try to work out for about an hour before anyone got out of bed. She stopped in the kitchen to make coffee for everyone and dreamed of having a cup herself. But she remembered the headaches she'd gotten from her caffeine withdrawal over two years ago. She didn't want a repeat of that. She made her way to the front porch and breathed deeply in the crisp early morning air. She started stretching out. She walked down the steps and stood on the sidewalk and did her Tae Kwon do forms. She really was enjoying being able to do them outside in the morning air.

Rick jolted awake for what felt like the 100th time. He turned and looked at his clock on the nightstand. 4:53. He decided he'd just get up, he wasn't getting any sleep anyway. He pulled his jeans on to go downstairs and start the coffee. Then he'd dress while it was brewing. The first thing he noticed was that the front door was open. The second thing was he could smell coffee. But the house remained in darkness. He reached for his colt only to realize he wasn't yet dressed, so he didn't have it. He spotted a movement through the front door out in his yard. He crept closer, it was Toni. She was doing some kind of martial arts and was wearing practically nothing. She didn't have her fat suit on either. He watched her a few moments, then went into the kitchen and got a cup of coffee. He quietly opened the screen door and walked out on the porch. Her back was to him as she kicked and punched.

Forms he think they were called. Instead of yelling while kicking and punching she was whispering. Her skin was glistening with sweat. He wondered how long she'd been out here. He sat down in a chair and sipped his coffee in the darkness. She really was beautiful. He stopped that train of thought immediately. He watched as she stopped and put her hands in a prayer position and bowed. Then stepped into the dew laden grass. That's when he spied his coat rack. He hadn't even noticed that it was missing. Of course, his house was completely dark inside. He was wondering why she had it. He didn't have to wait long. She did a round house kick with her right leg only to follow it with her left leg to catch the coat rack before it hit the ground. Amazing. She did that with both her arms and legs with speeds he'd never seen and his coat rack never once hit the dewy grass. Unbeknownst to Toni and Rick she had quite an audience this early morn. Abe stood in the watch tower watching her through his binoculars. Maggie and Glenn were sitting on their front porch having a cup of coffee watching. Eugene was watching from his bedroom window which faced the front yard. Carol and Michonne were looking through the kitchen window and Daryl stood at the front door. No one was dressed and apparently no one could sleep. When Toni finished attacking the coat tree, she bowed to it and carried back to the sidewalk. She then took a running start and starting flipping and doing cartwheels. At one point she slipped in the wet grass and whispered her curses. He laughed silently as she got up and rubbed her sweet behind. She shook it off and headed back to the porch. Daryl backed out of sight. As she started up the stairs, she noticed Rick.

“Jesus Rick! How long have you been there?” He smiled at her.

“Long enough to watch you beat up my coat rack and fall on your ass.” He laughed. She smiled.

“I didn't fall, I never fall, I slipped in the wet grass.”

“Ha! So, you say!”

“Yes, I say.”

“Do you need me to rub it for you?” He winked.

“No...but you can kiss it!” He laughed out loud.

“Is that your way of telling me to kiss your ass.”

“Ding,ding,ding! Give that man a prize!” She whispered, then laughed.

“Wow! It never gets old.” She whispered looking at the door. Rick turned to see Daryl coming out with just his jeans on still unbuttoned and unzipped carrying a cup of coffee.

“Hey stud! You lose your shirt?” She said low.

“I'm not a stud!”

“Yes, you are!” She smiled at him.

“You lose your pants?” He asked.

“I didn't think anyone would be up this early.”

“You have an audience of at least 8.”

“What?” She looked around.

“Oh, there not gonna show themselves, except for our fearless leader here.”

“Well shit! I think I'll go get dressed now.”

“Good idea.” Toni went upstairs to get dressed.

“What are you gonna do?” Rick didn't waste any time asking the question that had kept him up all night.
“I don't know.” Daryl answered him honestly.

Chapter Text

Mercy – Chapter 14

 

Toni got dressed with a heavy heart. She was alone in the room so she let her tears fall freely. She wondered if she'd ever see him again, or if his visits would just be too painful for her and the children. This was a nice place, and she really liked his family that she'd met so far. But she just didn't feel that it was safe enough here for her children. If it was only her, she'd stay in a heartbeat. She knew she could take care of herself. But, it wasn't just her life she had to consider. Those kids, downstairs were her everything. They, and their safety took first priority. She was determined to see them grown with families of their own, and to be called Grandma. Her subconscious threw a question out to her. How would they ever have families of their own if they lived in a root cellar with her for the rest of their lives, avoiding the human race at all costs? She sat down on the bed and covered her face with her hands. She really didn't know if she was making the right decision. Her children could be hurt or even killed out on a run. They were no promised tomorrows for any of them. However, there were horrors in this new world that were worse than death. She already learned that lesson the hard way. She felt someone gently grab her wrists and pull her hands away from her face. There was Daryl on his knees in front of her. He took her face in his big strong hands and wiped her tears away. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on for dear life.

“I'm gonna miss you so much.” She cried. She felt more arms and lifted her face to see the children. It made her cry harder. Now they were all crying. And that's what Rick saw as he reached the top step. He turned and went back downstairs, praying his own eyes didn't betray him.

“Well?” Carol asked as soon as he walked into the kitchen.

“It doesn't look good.” His husky voice betrayed him.

“Dammit!” Carol turned with her arms folded and looked out the kitchen window.

Abe was scanning the terrain from his perch in the lookout tower when he spotted an approaching vehicle. He lifted his binoculars for a better look. He called down to Glenn.
“Glenn! Go get Rick! They're back! And they're coming fast!” Glenn took off. Abe looked again. Their car appeared to be covered in blood.

“Rick! They're back!” Glenn took off again. Rick went after him stopping to call up the stairs.

“Daryl! Meet me at the Gate!” Then he was gone.

Daryl got up and took off at Ricks shout. Toni and the kids followed. As the gate was opening Toni sent her kids to the trees. She saw what looked to be blood covering the car. As Aaron, Sasha, Rosita, and Tara exited the vehicle, Toni noted that they were also covered in blood.

“What happened?” Rick asked.

“Rick, there's a herd so massive that we almost didn't make it through to get back here.” Sasha told him.

“Where?”

“It's about 25 miles out, toward the east.” Aaron said.

“I don't know if they're migrating or what but it's huge.” Tara added.

“We couldn't even see the end.” Sasha stressed. She looked down at her clothes. “I need a shower.”

“Daryl!” Rosita exclaimed. “We were all worried about you.” All the new comers hugged him and started asking questions.

“Alright let's get home and get cleaned up then we'll meet in the kitchen and talk.” Aaron headed toward his house. Sasha, Tara and Rosita, went to Rick's where they lived.

Toni was worried. If what they were saying was true....how would she and the kids get home? She needed to go check it out for herself. First, she needed Dixon to agree to take care of her kids while she was gone. This was going to be hard. She collected her children and dragged her feet on the way back to the house.

“I'm going to have to go out for a while.”

“Okay, we can be ready in 10 minutes.” Lisa said.

“No, you're not going, any of you.” She reiterated looking at each of their beautiful faces. Those beautiful faces now looked mutinous.

“Our way home may be blocked by the dead.”

“So....we'll just go around them like we always do.” Lisa didn't see the problem.

“They say that there are so many of them that they can't even see to the end of them.”

“If there's that many then you shouldn't go Toni.” Landon said worriedly.

“I don't want you to die Toni.” Lucas cried. Toni crouched down to be level with him.

“I'm not going to die sweetie. You know how careful I am.”

“Please don't leave us.” He wrapped his little arms tight around her neck and cried.

“Dixon is going to take care of you until I get back.”

“But, whose gonna take care of you?”

“Don't you worry about that. I'll be fine.” She got up and started for the house again. No one spoke.

Daryl was in the kitchen with Rick when Toni and the kids came in. Lucas with his tear stained face crawled up in Daryl's lap, while Landon and Lisa took a seat on either side of him.

“What's wrong?” Daryl looked at all of them. Then looked at Toni.

“Dixon....I need you to look after the kids for a couple days for me.”

“What? Why?” Daryl asked. Rick who had been making another pot of coffee, turned to look at them.

“I need to go access the situation to see if we can get home, and I'd rather not have the children with me if it's as bad as Sasha and the others say it is.”

“No!” He answered quickly, too quickly in Toni's mind.

“Fine I'll take them with me.” She turned to leave.

“Toni! Wait!” She looked back and waited. All conversation in the living room had ceased. Sasha, Tara, Rosita, and Aaron, were in a huddle with Maggie trying to get caught up on who the new people were, and what was going on.

“Look....if you insist on going, I'll go with you and the kids can stay here with Rick.”

“That's not acceptable. I don't know him or any of your family Dixon. I trust you with my children! No offence, Rick, to you or your lovely family.”

“None taken.” Rick replied. He wondered if Daryl was seeing the bigger picture here. If she couldn't get home she’d have to stay.

“I can't allow you to go out there by yourself!”

“Allow?” Damn! He realized his mistake.

“That's not what I mean!” He said with frustration.

“What then, exactly, did you mean, Dixon?”

“I don't want you going alone. There were 4 of them out there and they barely made it back, Toni.”

“Will......you.......take.......care.......of…...my......children?” They just stared at each other. Neither willing to give.

“I'll go with her.” Rick interjected. 5 pair of eyes turned to him. Daryl had forgotten that he was even there. Toni was shocked that he would offer, after all he didn't even know her, she wasn't part of the family.

“Why would you do that?” Toni asked curiously.

“Because I also don't want you going out alone and it would give Daryl peace of mind.” She thought about that.

“Alright.......but, I have rules.” Daryl and the kids laughed. Toni turned to them.

“What?”

“Nothing.” They said as one.

Plans were made after talking to Sasha, Rosita, Tara and Aaron. Michonne, Maggie, Glenn, Abe, Carol, and Carl were all there to give their input. It was decided that they would leave in the morning.

“Carol?” Carol turned with surprise. She hadn't even heard her come in. Damn they walked without making a sound! It was unnerving. She pasted a smile on her face. Toni saw right through it.

“I'm sorry.... it's habit, I'll try to be noisier.” Carol just nodded.

“I was wondering if you would mind if a made dinner tonight. I'll be going out tomorrow and I'd like to make Dixon spaghetti tonight if you'd allow me to invade your kitchen. I would make enough for everyone of course.”

“Sure, it would be nice to have a night off.”

“Thank you, Carol.”

“I think I'm gonna take a nap. Haven't been able to that for a long time.” Carol gave her a true smile.

“Maybe a long soak in a hot bubble bath with your nap?”

“Ohhhhh, good idea, and a book!” Toni smiled. “Enjoy! Is there anything that's off limits?”

“Just the chocolate.” Carol laughed. “That's hard to find.”

“Got it.” She smiled in return. Toni set to work. She knew Dixon was having a hard time with her decision. She hoped this would take his mind off of things if only for an hour.

It was several hours later when Toni called everyone to dinner. When Daryl remained out on the porch, she made his plate and carried it out to him.

“Where's she going?” Rick asked, as he started to get up and serve himself.

“The strongest eat first.” Lucas informed him. “They may have to carry someone who is injured.” Rick sat back down. He wanted to see who she served next.

Daryl followed Toni back into the kitchen and took a seat. Toni made up plates and started serving. Rick, Abe, Glenn and then she started serving two at a time until everyone had a plate. She then put 3 baskets of garlic bread on the table. Everyone, even Carol raved over her spaghetti. But as she surveyed the table to see if anything was needed, she noted that Daryl wasn't eating. She studied his face then signed to Lisa and Landon. She walked up behind him and put her hands on his shoulders and began to massage the back of his neck. Lisa arrived on his right side and put a pill to his lips. He opened his mouth and took it as Landon stepped to his left and put a bottle of water in his hand. Daryl drank and swallowed the pill. Toni worked her way up the back of his head massaging his scalp. He closed his eyes. The children went back to their seats and resumed eating. Toni continued massaging his scalp then moved to his temples. Toni signed again to Lisa after about 10 minutes and she came around the table again and removed Daryl's plate and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and put in back in front of him. Toni ran her fingers through his hair and then squeezed his shoulders and kissed the top of his head. He murmured his thanks, then started to shovel the spaghetti in his mouth. He was done in record time, asking for seconds. She was happy to get him more. When he left to go smoke, the children followed him. She started to wash the dishes as people finished. She had the sauce on low, and boiled water on low to feed the family that were on guard duty when they came in. Many stayed for coffee after dinner. As Toni was doing the dishes...Rick asked....

“How did you know that Daryl had a headache?” Toni dried her hands and turned to face him.

“His favorite food is spaghetti, when he eats, he eats like he hasn't eaten in a week. He wasn't eating. The more important question is.... why, didn't you know?” And she walked out of the kitchen. Lisa who had come back in for a bottle of water said...

“She'll be back in 5-4-3-2-1 and as if on cue, Toni came back in and apologized.

“I'm sorry I said that. I'm kind of stressed, not that, that is an excuse. But you need to pay attention to Dixon, because he won't tell you when something is wrong. He's still getting the migraines from the concussion. I've brought plenty of medicine for him. Please just keep an eye on him for me. She turned to leave.

“Toni?” She looked back at him. “Thanks for taking such good care of him. He's means a lot to us.”

“I know he does and you all mean the world to him or I wouldn't be losing him.” Landon and Lucas came back into the kitchen.

“Aren't you going to eat?” Rick asked her.

“I ate first.” She said and left. Everyone stared at her retreating back. Lisa followed her out.

“I'm surprised she didn't feed the kids before us” Rick said out loud to himself.

“She didn't want to hurt your feelings.” Landon informed him. “We've had to carry her home before.” He said sadly.

“Why? What happened?” Rick asked.

“8 men almost killed her. We didn't know if she was gonna live or die. It took a long time for her to get better. Months.”

“Was she shot?”

“No it was worse.....we were out on a run, there was this loud horn going off so we had to change direction to get away from it......it took us further away from home........the woods went quiet, there were no sounds.......so Toni....she sent us to the trees. Being as high up that we were, we could see 8 men surrounding her. There was no way she could escape 8 big men. But we couldn't warn her......we have rules.....we don't speak when were outside.” He swallowed hard trying not to cry as the visions came back to him.

“What happened?” Maggie asked gently.

“She threw her backpack down and told them they could have it. But that's not what they wanted.” He wiped at his eyes with the heels of his hands. Little Lucas had tears streaming down his precious tiny face.

“They tore her clothes off. She fought them so hard, but there were just too many of them.” Maggie and Carol covered their mouths at the picture he was painting for them. Michonne's face looked to be made of stone. He continued as if in a trance.

“They kept hitting her.....and biting her....they wanted her to scream.......but she wouldn't.....we have rules. She was signing to us....” He pointed with his index finger. ”Go” and then pounded with his fist...”Home” He and Lucas began signing on the table as he spoke. “Go home! Go home! Go home! Go home! And we knew when she was yelling because she used both hands.” Then the boys started signing with both hands. “Go home! Go home! Go home! Go home! I think she knew what was going to happen and didn't want us to see it. But Lisa shook her head no. So, we stayed. They.......they did things......to her. They did really bad things to.........her.” The tears were freely flowing now down his face. “She had blood everywhere.......” He swallowed hard. “She did scream one time..... they kept taking turns......doing bad things to her.........over...and over.....and over. Then she stopped fighting.... we thought....we thought.....we thought she was dead.....but they still....kept hurting her.” He used his sleeve to wipe his tears away. “Then...someone yelled that the biters were coming and they ran off leaving her there.” He sniffed, his crying had his nose running too. He was handed a kleenex by Rick. We climbed down as fast as we could. She didn't even look like Toni....her face was so swollen she couldn't even open her eyes. We carried her almost all the way home. We had to break the rules....Toni couldn't see our signs. She wanted to walk.... we didn't want her to......but she made us....we held on to her real tight cause she was slippery...there was blood everywhere. She had bite marks all over her that were bleeding. When we got home she fell on her pallet and said we disobeyed her. We thought she died but Lisa said she was still breathing.”

Daryl stood just inside the back door in the kitchen with tears running down his face. He left as quietly as he arrived, unnoticed. Ricked grabbed the two boys and pulled them on his lap and held them tight as they sobbed onto his chest. There wasn't a dry eye in the kitchen. As their sobs died down, Rick wiped their faces with the cool cloth that Maggie handed them.

“We're sorry Sir, it's our business.” Landon said as he got off Ricks lap.

“Don't be sorry Landon, we're friends now, and friends share things. You can call me Rick. Both of you can.” He included Lucas.

“Please don't tell Toni we told you our business, we still have 4 more to kill.” Landon pleaded with those big blue eyes.

“4 more?” Rick croaked.

“Yes, we still have 4 left.

“I won't, your secret is safe with us.” Landon gave him a grateful smile, and then surprised him by hugging him. Lucas copied his brother and hugged Rick too.

“I need to go find Toni and hug her.”

 

“Me too.” Lucas said. They left the kitchen hand in hand. Everyone sat in silence. Rick was having a hard time processing what had happened to Toni. She was so damn small. He scrubbed a hand down his face. He briefly wondered if Daryl knew. Maggie needed to go home and have a good cry. She and Glenn left. Carol and Michonne....well their faces looked to be set in stone. The ladies went to bed and Rick sat at the table thinking.

When Daryl entered the kitchen, he found Rick making himself a cup of coffee. He frowned.
“Shouldn't you be in bed?” Rick turned and looked at Daryl, his eyebrows climbing up his forehead.

“What are you....my Mother?”

“You're going out with Toni tomorrow.......well..... she can be a little demanding.”

“Really? Toni? Say it isn't so.” Rick smiled, and made Daryl laugh.

“Yeah...well.....she's not going to allow you to talk, so anything you have to say, you need to whisper it in her ear.”

“Like sweet nothings?” Rick said seriously. Daryl lost all humor and it made Rick laugh. Boy he had it bad.

“Geez Daryl..... I was just kidding.”

“She's not going to like how heavy footed you are so try to be lighter on your feet. Walk on the balls of your feet.”

“I'm not heavy footed!”

“She's not going to want to stop and take breaks. She's got a lot of stamina.”

“Stamina you say?” He said it with a smile. He was really trying to get a rise out of him. Daryl wasn't falling for the bait.

“Try not to shoot anything! Or...she may just leave you.”

“She wouldn't leave me...she thinks I'm adorable.... she told me so.” That did it. Daryl got up in his face.

“Don't you dare think to touch her!”

“Why?” Rick asked, just as aggressively.

“Because! She's mine! That's why!”

“Alrighty then. Just making sure that you knew that.” Rick smiled. Daryl released his clenched fists.

“Dammit, Rick! She's just like you! I don't know that's this is a good idea at all.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I want you to like her!”

“I do like her!”

“But will you after you get to know her?........... She can be really bossy.” Rick laughed.

“Are you saying that I'm really bossy?” Daryl remained mute.

“Damn Daryl you got it bad! We'll be fine, and I'll bring her back safely to you.”

“Or she'll bring you back safely. I'm warning you Rick, she a force to be reckoned with.”

“I'll be fine, she'll be fine. Trust me.”

Daryl made his way up to crawl in bed with his family. If he held Toni a little closer to him.......well...

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 15

 

Everyone was gathered at the front gate to see Rick and Toni off. Rick was giving last minute instructions to his family, including Daryl, while Toni was giving last minute instructions to hers which included Daryl. She picked up Lucas who clung to her.

“Please don't leave us.” He begged.

“I'll be home in a few days. Dixon will be with you, he'll take good care of you just like I do.”

“But I want you!” He cried harder.

“Come on darling, I raised my kids to be brave, and you are one of the bravest. Show Dixon how brave you are.” She handed him to Daryl. Next, she hugged Landon, who was trying so hard to be brave and not cry like Lucas.

“I love you Toni.” He held on to her so tight, she could barely breathe.

“I love you more sweetie.” She squeezed him tight, then released him and stood before Lisa.

“You'll help Dixon with the boy’s right?” Lisa reached out for her hug.

“Of course, I will. Please be careful Toni...we don't know Rick, we don't know how he is out there. Besides he said I was incorrigible!”

“Honey, you ARE incorrigible!” She laughed and hugged her tighter. “Dixon trusts him with my life so I'm gonna try to trust him too. Look after Dixon for me, he doesn't say when somethings wrong.”

“I will. I promise.” Toni got into the passenger side of the car. Rick was already waiting for her. She got on her knees and leaned out the open window to blow kisses to the children.

“Catch them and put them in your pocket, and when you need it pull it out.” The children did indeed reach out for the blown kisses and put them in their pockets. She blew one to Daryl, who surprised her by reaching for it and putting it in his pocket. She smiled at him. He handed Lucas to Lisa as he watched Toni sit back down in the car. Then he headed for her door and leaned in the window and kissed her on the lips. It was soft, sweet and chaste. “Come home to me.” Was all he said as he turned and went back to the children. Toni couldn't breathe, she forgot how. She touched her fingers to her kissed lips as Rick pulled through the gate with the biggest smile that she never saw, so lost, she was as she relived that kiss. Rick kept stealing glances of her as he made his way down the street. She hadn't moved. Apparently, he just witnessed their first kiss if her reaction was any indication. He smiled bigger.

Daryl turned to walk back home, his heart was still racing, he couldn't believe he just kissed her in front of Rick and everybody and the kids! He been wanting to do that for a long time. He'd never really kissed a woman before. Oh, he'd fucked them, but never kissed them that was too personal, too intimate. Of course, the women he'd fucked were mainly prostitutes, or sloppy seconds from his brother Merle. Lisa stopped him.

“Can we wait just a minute, please?” He stopped with his brow furrowed. He hoped she wasn't going to start crying. He wasn't good with that stuff at all.

Rick glanced at Toni as she hugged herself and then she squealed and pounded her feet on the floor of the car.

“He kissed me! He kissed me! Oh my God! He kissed me! I've never been kissed!” She shook his arm.

“My first kiss!” Then she leaned out the window and broke her number 1 rule. She screamed it to the world! Rick got caught up in her happiness and laughed out loud.

 

As Daryl and the kids stood there quietly, a scream could be heard ' He kissed me WOOHOO! ' Lisa smiled as Daryl's head jerked up and he looked at the now closed gate. Then slowly his smile grew and grew, until he laughed out loud.

“You know.....you're the only one she breaks the rules for.” All heads turned toward Daryl who didn't even notice as smiles spread amongst his family.

 

They rode for a while each lost in their own thoughts, when Rick glanced at her again and said...

“You want me to wipe it off so you can concentrate on our trip?” He asked with a smile.

“You touch my kiss and I'll cut you!” She proclaimed. He laughed.

“I find it hard to believe that you've never been kissed.” He said seriously.

“What? Why? Do I look like a tramp or something?”

“No! No! That's not what I meant at all!”

“What did you mean then?”

“Well, you're beautiful. I can't believe that a man hasn't tried to steal a kiss at least once in your lifetime.”

“Well, they didn't. I didn't have time for boys or men. Then the world went to shit.”

“And then you spent all that time alone with Daryl..........”

“Dixon is shy, and he's a gentleman! Besides he was hurt. He needed me, and I was the one that hurt him.”

“He seems to like you well enough now.” She touched her lips as a dreamy expression overtook her face.

“I still can't believe he kissed me.” She said softly. “I wish I was good enough for him.” She said sadly.

“What???..........”

“Watch out!” She yelled. Rick looked up in time to see the walker flying over the hood of his car. It cracked the windshield. He slammed on the brakes and put the car in reverse and the walker rolled off.

“Well shit.” He drove around the corpse and he went on, looking in his rear view mirror. They drove in silence for a good ten miles.

“Are you okay?” Rick asked her.

“Yes, I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention.”

“Hey....this isn't on you. I was the one driving.”

“But I know better. I don't have a car or know how to drive. But I do know what it's like out here.”

He stopped the car and got out. Toni got out too, looking for the problem. She walked up to him and pulled his head down to whisper.

“What is it? I don't see anything.” he took her by the hand around to the driver’s seat and pushed her in and closed the door. He then walked around to the passenger door and got in and closed it.

“What are we doing?” She asked him.

“We...... aren't doing anything. You're going to learn how to drive.”

“What? No! I don't know the first thing about driving!”

“I'm going to teach you.”

“I can't even reach the pedals.” He looked down at her feet and laughed. He moved the seat forward as far as it would go. She could reach, barely. His knees were smashed against the dash.

“Okay, now turn the key to start it.” She'd seen that done enough times. She turned the key and the car roared to life.

“I did it!” She smiled.

“Okay now put the car in drive. Pull this lever until you’re on the D. Put your foot on the brake first. That's the left pedal.” She did as he said.

“Okay, now what?”

“Ease your foot off the brake.” The car slowly moved forward.

“I'm doing it!”

“Now.....put your foot on the gas pedal, the one on the right.” She pressed it and the car lurched forward.

 

“Oh shit!”

“Ease off the gas!” Rick said quickly.

“Now gently press the gas.” He buckled his seat belt to Toni's utter delight!

“You're scared!” She laughed.

“You terrify me.” He laughed. She eased down on the gas pedal and the car started moving slowly, a little more pressure and the car sped up. This is easy she thought.

“This is fun!” She yelled with glee. Rick had a death grip on the dash board.

“Toni...slow down a little.” He looked at her speed. She was going 90mph.

“Why? I love feeling the wind!”

“Toni! There’s a curve up ahead! Slow down!”

“Toni!” She slammed on the breaks and turned the wheel. The car spun round and round landed facing the opposite direction.

“That was awesome!” Rick grabbed the keys out of the ignition. Slowly unbuckled his belt, he wasn't sure he could walk yet.

“Can we do that again?”

“No!”

“Why not? That was so much fun!”

“For you!” He grumbled under his breath. He got out of the car and made his way to the driver’s side.

“Move over.” Toni slid across the seat pouting

“You're no fun.”

Back in Alexandria.............

Daryl couldn't find the kids and was starting to panic. He'd searched the whole house and asked everyone! No one had seen them. Toni was going to kill him! He’d been in charge for only a few hours and he'd already lost them. He was organizing a search for them, when Glenn and Maggie came through the door.

“Why are the kids up on the roof?” Glenn asked. Daryl flew up the stairs. When he reached their room, he went to the window and pulled back the curtain. There he saw the dangling rope. He sat on the bed to try to calm himself. Carol sat down beside him.

“You know....there was a time when you would have just acted without thinking.”

“Yeah...well I don't want to scare them and have them fall off the roof. Toni would kill me.” He smiled.

“I imagine she would.” She returned his smile. She got up and went to the window.

“Kids it's time to come down now.”

“Alright.” Lisa answered her. As Lisa's legs came through the window Daryl grabbed her and pulled her in which startled a screech out of her. He stood her on the floor and Landon called to her.

“Are you okay Lisa?”

“:Aaaaaa....yes, Daryl just scared me when he pulled me in.”

“Well shit.” Landon could be heard saying. It made Daryl laugh. God, he loved these kids. He watched as Lisa removed the rope from around her waist and sent it back up to the roof. He should have known. Of course, Toni would have trained them to be safe when they were doing foolish things. Lucas came down next. Daryl grabbed hold of him while leaning out of the window as soon as he could reach his tiny foot.

“He doesn't need help!” Lisa was trying to tell him then stopped. He wasn't listening to her anyway. Finally, Landon made his way in with Daryl guiding him. He gathered them in his arms and just hugged them. He didn't say a word, then turned and left the room. Carol, on the other hand.......let them have it.

“What the hell were you thinking! Do you have any idea how worried Daryl was when he couldn't find you?” She took a breath.

“We were just watching for To......”

“Shut up! I'm not finished! Your Mother put you in Daryl's care. You're not in a little one room root cellar where he can see where you are at all times! You are in a large community! He was organizing a search party to find you for God's sake! He was racked with worry! While you're here in his care, you will be respectful! You will let him know where you are at all times. You will not put him through this worry again! Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes Ma'am” They all said with their heads bowed.

“You owe him an apology.”

“Now! Go!” The kids took off downstairs.

 

“Look!” Toni said pointing out her window. Rick saw a subdivision through the trees.

“We should stop and get more supplies while we’re out here. He took the next right and slowly approached. It appeared to be deserted.

“If you back into that driveway we can hide the car in the garage.” he followed her suggestion. She reached into the back seat for one of the duffel bags she'd brought and unzipped it and pulled out 4 empty duffels. Daryl had told him she was always prepared.

As they entered the first house, Rick pulled his gun to Toni's horror. She grabbed it to his horror and put it back in his holster, retrieving his knife and handing it to him, just as a walker came into the room. It hit the floor before Rick could even react. Toni went over to it and yanked her blade out of its skull. Rick watched on in shock. He was standing right next to her and didn't see her throw it, it was just that fast. They cleared the rest of the house without incident. He watched as Toni searched for supplies and was astounded by how much she was finding. She searched closets and found false doors where food, medical, and weapons were hiding. She searched cedar chests and found more. She even searched in the heating/air vents and found more. She really was amazing at finding supplies. And he laughed silently over her excitement of finding unopened toothbrushes. 6 of them. They weren't even finished with this first house and they'd already filled the 4 duffels. They carried them to the car, where she produced 4 more empty duffel bags.

They went into the house beside them and began to clear it. Three walkers came shuffling down the hallway, while two more came through the adjoining room. Rick attacked the first one with his knife. Then pulled his revolver out only the see the second one fall. He turned and saw the three from the hallway lying dead on the floor. Jesus! She was good with those blades of hers. The 4 duffels were filled quickly. She had hit the jackpot when she found a hidden door under a rug in the kitchen. It was a small crawl space but it was full of supplies. They carried those to the car and she produced 4 more empty ones. He had to admit he was impressed. He could now believe that they probably did have more supplies in their root cellar than all of Alexandria. She held up a package of chocolate bars and mouthed to him, 'for Carol'. He smiled. As Rick was looking through the cupboards he happened upon a pasta maker and smiled with glee. When Toni raised a brow, he whispered to her that it was a request that they had been searching for, for over 6 months. She patted him on the back, as he continued to smile with success. Rick took the large box out to the car while Toni continued to search. He came running back in.

“Toni?” He called out. Toni grabbed her duffel and ran out to the living room ready to chastise him for speaking, when she saw the expression on his face.

“Come on! We've got to get out of here!” Toni followed him outside and couldn't believe what she saw.

It really looked like a herd of walkers. They jumped into the car and headed the opposite way. Rick slammed on the breaks when he saw another herd coming toward them.

“God dammit!” They were trapped. Toni looked behind them. There were just too many! There was no way they could drive through them.

“We need to block the windows!” She started by putting two duffles on the dash board. Then climbed into the back seat and stuffed two more in the rear window. Rick stood duffles on end to block the side windows. They no longer could see out. But that meant that the walkers couldn't see in either. She crawled back into the back seat and into Ricks lap and whispered in his ear.

“I don't want to die.” And she clung to him. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight as the car shook and rocked. Neither said a word as the car was being pounded on. The noise was deafening.

Tears rolled down Toni's face as she thought of Daryl and the children. She suddenly sat up on his lap. She wiped her eyes and her face was set in determination. She leaned into Rick and barely whispered.

“I promised my kids I wouldn't die and Dixon told me to come home to him. We are NOT going to die.”

 

Back in Alexandria........

Daryl was sitting out on the front porch steps. The children came out and sat on either side of him. Lucas who was in Lisa's lap climbed onto Daryl's.

“Daryl....we're so sorry we scared you. We forget that we now have someone else who cares about us as much as Toni does. We're not used to being around people. We've only had each other for so long. Please forgive us.” He wrapped his arms around them and held them.

“It's alright I know you're safe now.”

“We promise to tell you where we're going from now on.”

“Did Carol make you say that?”

“Yes...she was real mad at us Daryl.” Lucas confessed.

“Yeah she can be pretty scary.” Landon said, which made Daryl laugh.

“Yes, she can.” he agreed.

“What were you doing up there anyway?”

“We were watching for Toni.” Lisa replied.

“She said it would probably be a few days before she was back.”

“Can Rick take care of her...do you think?”

“I trust him with my own back, if anyone can, he can, so yes.” They sat together until they were called in for dinner, by none other than Carol.

Dinner was quiet without the chatter of the kids. The only thing heard in the somber kitchen was the sounds of silverware hitting the plates.

Toni felt something wet under her leg and spread her legs to see what it was. It was blood! She lifted herself up off Ricks lap and saw the large stain of blood that appeared to be getting larger! Her heart starting thundering in her chest! She tried turning around in the incredibly small space while the car rocked and shook. She pulled a blade and sliced his pants open on his thigh. He pushed at her hands until he felt her blade under his chin. She leaned in.

“What the hell happened?”

“Caught it on something in the garage.” She opened the now cut pants and saw a six inch gash that was pretty deep and still bleeding. She took off her shirt and applied pressure to the wound. Then grabbed Rick's hand to put on it and motioned for him to hold it while she reached for her backpack to get the supplies she'd need. Rick watched as she retrieved a mason jar of clear liquid. She opened it and rested it against his lips. He took a small sip and his eyes bugged out. It was moonshine. She took a swallow herself to calm her nerves, for she knew she was going to have to sew him up. She put the mason jar in his other hand and encouraged him to drink.

“I'm going to have to sew that up so, drink it!” She hissed in his ear.

Rick lifted the jar again and took another swallow while she rummaged through her backpack. When he saw the needle and thread, she no longer had to encourage him to drink. She pulled out rolls of gauze, nonstick gauze pads, and medical tape. She poured a little moonshine into the lid and put the needle and thread in it to soak.

“Are you ready?” She whispered, while taking off her back brace and handing him the pillow to yell into if needed.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 16

 

Toni pulled the needle and thread out of the lid, filled with moonshine, and drank what was in the lid. Liquid courage, she thought to herself. This man was like Daryl's Brother. She couldn't let anything happen to him. When she took off the back brace and pillow, her painter pants fell down around her ankles. She couldn't get them off over her boots. As she tried to get her boots off, her butt kept hitting the back of the front seat making it impossible. There just wasn't any room left to maneuver with all the duffels blocking the windows and Rick sitting in the middle. He saw her struggling and took her by the hips and pulled her down onto his good leg. Then covered her mouth when he thought she may protest. She leaned back and whispered her thanks to him, then leaned forward to get her boots off so she could remove the damn pants. She was wearing her black spandex leggings that went just below the knee with a black tank top.

He noted all he knives in sheaths. On her hips, on her thighs, on her ankles and on her waist, behind her back. She was a walking knife arsenal. When she finished, she got off his lap and turned around and straddled the hump on the back seat, floor, set up her flashlight, and set to work sewing up his thigh.

He took it like a champ and never made but a hissing sound between his teeth. He continued to sip the moonshine during every small break she gave him. It took time but she finally got him sewed up. She whispered to him that she was going to have to pour the moonshine on to it before she could wrap it up and handed him the pillow to put over his face again. He used it this time because he knew it was going to hurt like hell. And it did! She blew on it right after she did it hoping it would help. Rick looked down at her face between his legs blowing and groaned. What red blooded man wouldn't react to that sight he asked himself. Dammit, Daryl was his best friend and Brother. It had to be the drink! He shut his eyes to block out the image. It replayed in his mind. After wrapping his wound with the gauze pad and then the gauze rolls, she taped it and cut up her white painter’s pants and tied it around his thigh. Now he fully understood why Daryl didn't want her checking his knife wound. Jesus! It was a hard on waiting to happen.

When she finished she put everything back in her bag and searched for the antibiotics. She couldn't find them and cursed herself for not packing them. However, she did find a bottle of ibuprofen. She spilled 4 into her hand and put them to Ricks lips and handed him a bottle of water to take them. She then opened a can of ravioli and started to feed it to him. He was hungry. Halfway through the can, he noticed she wasn't eating any so he pushed every other bite to her mouth. Next came a can of pears. He made sure they shared those too. When she pulled out a can of green beans, he stopped her, saying he'd had enough. With his drink addled mind and the rocking of the car from the walkers, he was soon asleep. Toni kept guard, peeking out over the duffels every now and then. Several hours later, Rick woke up. He wasn't sure what woke him. He looked down to see Toni's head between his legs, her warm breath on his upper thigh. She was asleep, on that damn hump on the floor, her hands fisted in his shirt at his waist. He grabbed her under her arms and pulled her up on to his lap. She was shivering. He unbuttoned his shirt and wrapped it over her and closed his arms around her. Within 10 minutes she stopped shivering and wrapped her arms around his bare torso and slept soundly. However, it took him a lot longer with her up against his bare skin.

When Toni woke, it was morning or at least it was light outside. She wasn't really sure of the time. She felt warm and didn't really want to get up. She ran her hands up and down Daryl's torso and breathed in his scent. Her eyes popped open, he didn't smell like himself! She leaned back. She was mortified! It was Rick! She had no idea how she even got into this position. His face looked flush. She laid a hand to his forehead.

“No no no no no no!” She put her lips to his forehead.

“No no no no no no!” She reached for her backpack and started digging through it. Dammit! How could she have forgotten to pack the antibiotics! She pulled out the bottle of ibuprofen, shook 4 into her hand, and grabbed the water bottle. She leaned to whisper to him.

“Rick! Rick! Wake up! I need you to take these pills.” His glazed eyes fluttered open and he smiled at her. He reached for her and pulled her against his chest and tried to kiss her. Toni was able to easily pull free. He was weak, he had a fever, he didn't know what he was doing. Toni put the pills in his mouth and had him drink. He was thirsty. Satisfied that he swallowed the pills, she capped the bottle and put it beside him. He tried to grab her to him again.

“Rick! Stop it!”

“C’mere.” He slurred. He tried again.

“Rick!” She batted at is groping hands.

“One lil kiss.”

“No kisses, you have a fever Rick.” She tried to look out the rear window. She had straddled him to push down on the duffel to peer out. Walkers everywhere! He grabbed her hips and pulled her to his mouth. She jerked away, shocked at feeling his warm breath between her legs. A roving hand landed on her breast. She no sooner removed that when she felt a large hand sliding up the inside of her thigh. Jesus! Did the man have 3 hands she wondered as she tried to restrain those big wandering hands. She reminded herself that this was Rick to keep from panicking. She leaned over to try to see out of the left side and felt his hand caressing her behind. She grabbed hold of it and laced her fingers with his. He tried pulling her down on his lap. This was taking the morning woody, that she'd read about, to a whole new level. She'd felt Daryl's before on her behind, but he never tried to grope her. She had to release his hand to move to the right side. As she peeked over the top of the duffel another hand slid up between her legs. Dammit! She whipped around!

“Rick stop it or I'm gonna tie your hands!” He pouted with his hands in his lap. Then started to rub himself through his jeans. She didn't realize she was staring until she heard him say.......

“Want it?” He smiled. Sweet Jesus! What was wrong with her, staring at him like that? She climbed over the seat to peer out the windshield. They were everywhere. What was she gonna do? They were trapped. Rick had a fever and needed antibiotics. The first thing she needed to do was get some food into him. She'd just given him 4 pills on an empty stomach. She didn't know him well enough to know how his stomach would react. She climbed back into the back seat and braced herself for the onslaught of octopus hands. She pulled out a can of beef stew. Rick was already caressing her hip. She decided to ignore it, instead of fighting him. She just kept telling herself that it was him not them.

“Open.” she whispered to him and started to feed him. He ate every bite and touched her all over the whole time. She picked up the water bottle and one of his caressing hands and placed it around the bottle and lifted it to his lips. He licked them and stared at her breasts with glazed over eyes. She tilted the bottle. When he felt the water dribble down his chin he drank. She knew she wasn't gonna be able to have his hands all over her in the confined space so she decided to fill the water bottle that was now half empty with moonshine. After all, she couldn't kill him for touching her when he wasn't in his right mind, and Daryl loved him. She couldn't kill someone that Daryl loved. But she really needed him to sleep. She caught the bottle, as he starting falling asleep, and released it. She put her lips to his forehead. He wasn't quite as warm but he still had a fever. The pills were helping to reduce the fever.
She took a swig of the watered down moonshine to help calm her nerves. Now she had another problem to deal with. She had to pee. She took the empty stew can and climbed into the front seat. She looked back at Rick to make sure he was still sleeping and pulled down her pants and panties at the same time. She pulled a napkin from the console and placed the can between her legs and sighed as she finally released her bladder. She wiped herself and placed the napkin in the can, then set it on the passenger floor board. She pulled her pants back up and looked back at Rick to see him watching her. She turned 3 shades of red even believing that he hadn't seen a thing.

“Whatcha doing up there?” He smiled. She reached back for the water bottle and handed it to him.

“Drink!” She ordered.

“I can't, I gotta pee.” He tried to get up. Oh, sweet Jesus! She scrambled over the seat and held him in place.

“You can't get up Rick! We're surrounded by walkers! Do you understand me? We will die!” He just looked at her and she saw a glimpse of clarity. She looked down at his crotch. He wasn't hard anymore thank God. She searched for the empty ravioli can.

“Here you can go in this.” He looked at the can like it was a foreign object. Please God let him be able to do this himself, I don't think I can do that. She silently said a quick prayer.

“Rick can you pee in this can?”

“I can't pee sitting down.” He said confused. Well hell, shit, and damnation! It reminded her of that time with Daryl when she was afraid she'd have to help him. He had spared them both the embarrassment of having her help him. This time she wasn't feeling so lucky.

“Can you get up, turn around and get on your knees?” He tried but couldn't put any weight on his injured leg. He braced himself with his arms on the rear window ledge, keeping his weight off his leg.

Toni closed her eyes and told herself she could do this. She was so glad she was behind him and he couldn't see her burning face. She placed the can on the seat between his legs and reached around him to unbuckle his belt, unbutton his jeans, and pull the zipper down. There was no way she was going the reach inside that little pocket in his underwear and pull his cock out, so she slid is jeans and underwear down at the same time until he was free.

“If I hold you....do you think you can hold the can and do it yourself?” She whispered to him, praying he'd say yes.

“No, I can't.” Her head fell to her chest which was a huge mistake because now she was staring at his naked, perfect ass. She swallowed hard and closed her eyes until he spoke again....

“I really have to go.” Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! She'd never be able to look him in the eyes again. She reached around him and picked up the can, then peeked around the other side to place the can around his cock, which she got an, up close look at. Actually, it was the first time she'd ever seen one in person. She placed her hand partially over the top of the can so his cock wouldn't come out by accident if it even did things like that. She didn't know. She did know that they held it in place. There was no way she was doing that if she didn't have to.

“Okay you can go.” Rick looked down to see her holding the can around his dick with her other hand trying to cover it. He smiled. His addled mind thought it was funny.

“I thought you had to go? What are you doing?” She peeked around to look up at his face and found him smiling looking down at himself.

“Don't you dare get a hard on or I'll just let you pee all over yourself! Now go!” She demanded in her best Mom tone. He went. She tightened her grip on the can as it filled up. It got warm. He groaned low. She prayed he didn't over flow it. She took another peek to see if they need the pear can too. She couldn't tell.

“Tell me when you're done.”

“I'm done.” He said quietly. She slowly removed the can from in front of him and set it down on the floor board, which had her sitting back on the middle hump. As she turned back to him, there was that round, perfect, bare ass in front of her again. She got up to cover it so she could get her wits about her again. She started pulling up his underwear until they got hung up. She peeked around him and found the problem. She was forever gonna be red faced she thought. She slid her thumbs around his waist band until she felt his pubic hair then stretched them out in front of him and lifted it over. Next came his jeans. She didn't bother with closing those, she figured he could do that when he was sitting again himself. She helped him turn around and sit back. It seemed to take a lot out of him. She held the bottle to him and he drank. She really wanted him to go back to sleep and forget that this ever happened. She felt a finger lift her chin until she was looking into his eyes.

“I know that was hard for you, thank you.” He whispered sincerely.

“You'd have done the same for me if our situation was reversed.” She said without looking at him.

“Yes, I would have.” He closed his eyes and sighed. She took the full can to the floor board in the front so they wouldn't knock it over by accident. She got back into the backseat and found herself a can of spaghetti and meatballs. It reminded her of Daryl. She really hoped she'd see him again and her children, she'd promised them she wouldn't die. She tried to eat while the tears rolled down her cheeks. She needed to find a way out of this. They could survive in here for a very long time with the amount of supplies they savaged from the 2 houses. But it was Rick she was worried about. The fever scared her. She refused to let him die on her watch. How long could these dead corpses hang around here, she wondered and got up to peek outside. Dammit! She sat on the hump between Rick's legs and rested her elbows on her knees so she could hold her head in her hands. She stared at Rick, trying to come up with a solution. She fell asleep.

When Toni woke up she was in Ricks lap again, only this time he wasn't holding her, his arms lay lifeless at his sides. She jolted up to look at him. He was burning up. Her hands were shaking as she reached for her bag for the pills. She had no idea what time it was other than it was dark now because she could barely see. She grabbed a fresh bottle of water. Then opened his mouth and put the pills inside and poured a little water in. She rubbed his throat to make him swallow. He wasn't cooperating. She leaned in to him.

“Rick! Rick! You need to swallow your pills!” He turned his head away. She shook him.

“Rick! Rick! No no no no no!” She poured some water on a cut up piece of her painter’s pants and wiped his face with it. The cool water against his face seemed to revive him a little. She put the bottle back to his lips.

“Drink Rick! Drink this.” He took a swallow. She ran a finger inside his mouth to see if he swallowed the pills. He shocked her by sucking on it. She pulled it out quick. She hadn't felt anything in his mouth but tried to get him to take another drink. He did. She felt his arm snake around her back and was so relieved that she didn't pull away this time. Her dreaded tears made another appearance. He tightened his hold as he felt her silent sobs.

“Shhhhhh, it's gonna be okay Toni.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and begged him not to die.

“Shhhhhhhh.” As her head laid on him, she took comfort in the rise and fall of his chest, letting her know he was indeed still alive. Although she stayed in his lap with his arms around her, she didn't dare go to sleep. She needed to make sure he had his pills every 4-6 hours to keep the fever down. For the next 2 days Toni didn't sleep. She couldn't risk it. She needed to get Rick home. She bathed his face and chest with the cool water to help with the fever. The pills didn't seem to help much anymore. She tried to get him to eat and drink. It was hit and miss. She began to yearn for the times his hands would wander because then she knew he was still in there. He was asleep more than awake. She was starting to worry that he was becoming dehydrated. He hadn't gone pee in the last two days. They had to get out of there one way or another. Toni made her decision in the wee hours of the fourth night. Tomorrow she was going to take a chance and drive right through the herd. The dead were everywhere but they were no longer trying to get into the car.

On the fifth morning, she told an unconscious Rick what they were going to do.

“Just hold on a little longer sweetie. We're going home.” She kissed his forehead and felt the heat radiating off of him. She got in the driver’s seat and very slowly removed the duffels from her side of the windshield. There were still a lot of them but it looked thinner, or maybe that was just wishful thinking. She needed to do this fast. Ignition, brake, D, and gas. She recited it in her mind, there was no room for error. It had to be fast before they could surround them again. She took a deep breath.

 

Daryl and the kids were beside themselves. It had been 5 days and still no sight of them. They were barely eating or sleeping. Daryl tried to tell himself that they were two of the strongest people he knew and they were fine, but his gut still clenched.

“We need to go after them!” Lisa said at the breakfast table as she pushed her food around her plate.

“She said a couple days not 5 of them!” Maggie gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. Michonne and Carol sat down at the table. Glenn and Maggie joined them. They were all worried about Rick and Toni but had been trying to hide it from the kids. Daryl didn't hide it well at all. He was chomping at the bit.

“Daryl! Sit down, you're making me dizzy.” Carol demanded.

“We've waited long enough! We need to go find them. The kids are right.”

“And we will! We will. Not you and the kids.” Michonne said. Daryl and the kids started to protest.

“Do you really think that Toni wants her kids out there if it is as bad as we suspect? She put them in your care Daryl to keep them safe! Are you willing to risk their lives? What if she came back while you are gone. How would she feel?” It didn't sit well with him, but Daryl knew they were right.

 

Toni took a deep breath.

“Please God have Mercy on us and help us get out of here.” She turned the ignition, with her foot on the brake and pulled the lever to the D and pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The car lurched forward and was gaining speed fast! She mowed right through the walkers trying not to hit any on the driver’s side that would block her view.

She couldn't see anything on the right and was scraping parked cars! The sound of crunching metal was deafening! She tried easing the car to the left a little. The walkers were flying up over the car. Some hitting the windshield, mostly on the right side. She could barely see out the windshield, there was so much blood and gore. She slammed on her brakes to make the turn out of the subdivision. Then floored it once again. She glanced at the steering wheel knowing there had to be a wipers switch, when she hit another one, that flew up onto the hood of the car and its face smashed into the windshield. She closed her eyes and put her hands in front of her face, sure it was coming straight through the window.

Now she couldn't see so she did what Rick had done and slammed the gear to the R and gave it gas. The walker rolled off just as it had done for Rick. She ran over a couple more while backing up. She quickly moved the gear back to the D and stepped on the gas. She couldn't see where she was going. She reached for a can of pee and rolled her window down, stuck her arm out the window and splashed it on the windshield. She found the wiper switch and turned it on. At first it seemed to just smear the gore, but as she moved it to high, the window started to clear a little. She grabbed another can of pee and threw it onto the windshield. Her arm was covered in pee. She didn't have time to worry about it.

She zigged and zagged trying not to hit the walkers that were now beginning to thin out. She drove as fast as she could, avoiding the walkers if at all possible. She reached over and pulled the duffel down that was blocking the left side of the windshield. Then wished she hadn't when she saw the walkers face had come through and was stuck in the glass. She took her foot off the gas pedal long enough to kick at the chomping teeth. It rolled off the car. She let out the breath she'd been holding. While the car was moving slower she chanced a glance back at Rick. He was out. Face flushed and sweating. She pushed the gas pedal to the floor. She didn't notice the curve in the road and had to slam on the brakes then she jerked the wheel and spun the car several times. As the car came to a stop, she looked around quickly. Her side mirrors were the only way she could see behind her. There appeared to be no walkers around here. Still she didn't want to chance it. She put the gear back to D and pressed the gas pedal. She kept it around 70 so she could stop easier if she ran into another curve.

Abe sounded the alarm when he saw Ricks car flying toward Alexandria.

“Sweet Jesus, he's flying.” Something was wrong.

“Open the gate!” He yelled down to Rosita. Sasha was looking through her rifle sight, while Abe scanned the surroundings. There didn't appear to be anyone following Ricks car. Everyone ran to the gate from Ricks house. Daryl, the kids, Michonne, Carol, Maggie, Glenn, Carl, and Eugene.

As Alexandria came into view, Toni started to cry with relief. She heard the scraping of metal but didn't care. All she cared about was getting through that gate. She saw it opening and yelled back to Rick.

“We made it, Rick! We made it!” As soon as she was through the gate she slammed on the brakes and came to a screeching halt and laid her head on the steering wheel.

Everyone winced as they heard the car scraping against the cars outside the gate. Then everyone ran to the sides when it appeared the car was not going to stop. It screeched to a stop leaving tread marks and smoke. The car was covered in blood and guts. It was smashed and scraped. It was unrecognizable. Everyone rushed to the car. Daryl got there first. Toni reached out the window to him. He started to pull her out when the car began to move forward.
“Put it in park!” He yelled releasing her.

“How?” Toni asked pushing on the brake. He looked at her with a stunned expression. She looked at the letters on the gear shift.

“Is it the P?”

“Yes.” He said quietly.

“Rick needs antibiotics, right now. He's been running a fever for 4 days. Daryl tried to open the back door.

“Unlock it.”

“Okay....how?” He opened her door and pushed a button on the arm of the door. Then, opened the back door and started to pull out the duffel bags. He saw Rick sitting in the middle of the back seat. Between Daryl, Abe and Glenn they got Rick out and carried him to the infirmary. Michonne, Carol, and Maggie with the kids tried to get Toni out.

“Just give me a few minutes please, and she laid her head back down on the steering wheel. Her body gave out on her, she couldn't move. She closed her eyes, and her arms dropped to her sides.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 17

 

“Toni!” The children screamed. Daryl who was coming out the infirmary, heard the cry and came at a run.

“What happened?”

“I don't know! She just collapsed.” Maggie said. Daryl reached in and scooped her out, then headed to the infirmary with everyone in tow. When they got inside he laid her on a bed.

“Denise! She just collapsed!” Denise had just finished setting up Ricks IV filled with antibiotics, to get him hydrated and medicated. She quickly came over to Toni and took her vitals, checked her temp, and looked into her eyes.

“I'll thoroughly check her out but I think it's exhaustion. Judging from the bags under her eyes, I say she hasn't slept for a few days. Now let me do my job. Go home, I'll call for you when she's awake.”

“No!” Daryl and the kids said as one.

“Then go wait in the waiting room, while I check her out. Go!” She pointed. They reluctantly went out to wait.

Michonne and Carol came walking down the steps carrying blankets and pillows.

“Where are you going with those?” Abe asked.

“Do you really think that Daryl and the kids are going to come home tonight if Denise keeps Toni?”

“Right. I'll give you a hand we need to unload the car. Looks like they found a lot of stuff.” They headed out to infirmary. They walked in to see Daryl and the kids on the sofa. Lucas was on his lap, and Lisa and Landon sat on either side of him leaning against him. It was 2 in the afternoon. The kids were asleep.

“I'm going to check out the car, wanna come?” Abe asked Daryl. He nodded and extracted himself from the children. Then went to tell Denise where he would be. He stopped at Toni's bed. She was curled up on her side.

“She's fine Daryl or will be when she gets some rest. I'll let you take her home in a couple hours.” Daryl did something she'd never seen before. He smiled. Denise just stared at him.

“How's Rick?”

“He's on his second IV mixed with antibiotics. I'll know more in the morning. She did a really good job sewing him up.”

“Sewing him up?” Daryl asked.

“Yes, you didn't see it?” He shook his head. She lifted the blanket up so he could see the stitches in Ricks thigh. It looked to be about 7” long. Her stitches were small and neat. Rick opened his eyes.

“Hey.” He whispered.

“Hey!” Daryl said grabbing his outstretched hand.

“How'd you get us out?” Rick wanted to know.

“We didn't. Toni did.”

“But how? We were in the middle of the biggest herd I've ever seen.”

“I don't know yet. She collapsed as soon as she drove through the gate.”

“She drove? And we're alive? How is she? Can I see her?” Daryl took a step to his right and pointed to the next bed. First thing he noticed was the dark circles under her eyes.

“Denise says I can take her home tonight.”

“She's a remarkable woman Daryl.”

“I know.”

“I want to go home too.”

“Denise said maybe tomorrow. You're all hooked up.” He pointed to the IV hanging on the pole.

“I still can't believe we survived for two days in the middle of that herd. Daryl looked at him.

“You've been gone 5 days.” Ricks eyes snapped back to Daryl.

“5 days?”

“You've had a fever, and you're dehydrated. That's the juice you're getting. He said pointing again to the bag. “That's your second dose.”

“How did we get out?” He murmured to himself trying to think.

“By the looks of the car....it wasn't easy.”

“But she doesn't know how to drive, and we were at least 30 miles out.” He looked over to Toni again.

“For two days they tried to get into the car.......we put all the duffels up against the windows so they couldn't see in. I have a gash on my leg.....” His brows furrowed. “Toni sewed me up......I think she fed me too....I can't remember much.......pills! She kept giving me pills and water.....there was barely any room....” He was trying to concentrate so hard to remember. “Jesus 5 days....” He shook his head.

“Oh God! She had to help me go to the bathroom!” He ran a hand down his face. Other patches were coming back to him. He groaned and prayed it was just a dream. Him grabbing her and trying to kiss her. Jesus, he'd acted like some sex starved teenager. He shut his eyes and tried to block the memories.

“She's never going to speak to me again.” He whispered to himself.

“Daryl ….I may have....” He covered his face with his hands. He hated himself!

“Rick?” Toni was looking at him. “You're alright?”

“I.........ahhhhh.....”

“I was so scared I was gonna lose you.”

“He's fine.” Daryl said as he caressed her cheek.

“Hi.” She whispered to him.

“Hi.”

“I came home to you.” He leaned down and kissed her.

“Denise said you can come home tonight.”

“Can I come now? I want to see my kids.”

“If you want to come now, I'll take you now.”

“I do, I'm filthy, I need a bath.” She only had eyes for him. He picked her up off the bed and started to carry her out.

“Wait! Take me over to Rick please.” He walked back to Rick's bedside.

“You look so much better, I'm so happy you're okay.” She took his hand and gave it a squeeze.

“Thank you for taking care of me.” Rick rasped.

“You would have done the same for me.”

“I would.” She released his hand and Daryl carried her out and woke the children. They headed home.

 

Rick came home the following morning. He was limping but didn't need crutches. However, he was given instructions to stay off his leg for a couple more days, and to make sure he continued to take his antibiotics. His family fussed over him and Toni was happy to see that. She found herself alone with him after lunch. He had been avoiding her and she didn't like it. They needed to talk. She plopped down beside him on the couch making sure to touch him, trying to let him know she wasn't afraid of him. His surprise was visible.

“How are you feeling?” She asked him.

“I'm good.” he hesitantly said.

“Are you mad at me?'” She asked.

“What?....No!”

“Then why won't you look at me or talk to me?”

“I....I....I'm....” Toni laid her hand on his thigh. He acted like it burned him. She put her other hand on his chest. He pulled it off and tried to get up. She put her hand on his ass as he was trying to get up.

“What the hell are you doing?” He shouted.

“Making us even! So, you'll stop feeling guilty! You had a fever, Rick! You didn't know what you were doing!” He just looked at her and didn't know what to say.

“Do you want me right now? At this very minute?” She asked.

“No!” The lie, slid easily from his lips. He could be tortured and would never admit it. He cared for Daryl like a Brother and would never hurt him in that way. But he wanted her more than anything he'd ever wanted in his life.

“Alright! Then stop feeling guilty and be my friend again.” She got up and wrapped her arms around him. He hugged her back, how could he not, he wanted to so much. Daryl left the kitchen through the back door quietly like he was never there.

“I'm gonna go and take a nap. I'm still so tired. Can I get you anything before I go up?” She asked him.
“No, I'm good, but I am really sorry Toni.”

“And I'm really sorry I just put my hands all over you.” She winked at him and went upstairs.

Daryl walked around the house and came in the front door. Rick was standing in the living room. He hadn't moved in the few seconds that Toni had gone upstairs.

“Hey, have you seen Toni?”

“Yeah, she just went upstairs to take a nap.”

“Thanks.” Daryl took the steps 2 at a time. When he reached the bedroom, he saw Toni sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the rail, elbows on knees, head resting in her hands.

“Rick said you were taking a nap.”

“I wanted to but my body won't cooperate.” She smiled at him.

“What's wrong?” He asked sitting down beside her. She leaned into him. He was really surprised when she actually started telling him.

“Rick's been avoiding me, he hardly even looks at me.”

“Why would he avoid you?” he wondered if she would tell him.

“Because he's feeling guilty.”

“For what?”

“Because when his fever got bad and the ibuprofen wasn't helping anymore, his hands took on a life of their own.”

“What do you mean?” She felt him stiffen a little. She wrapped her arms around him.

“No! Don't do that! He had no idea who I was or what he was doing. At first it frightened me, but then I just looked at him and told myself that it was only Rick and not 'Them'. Then I threatened to tie him up.” She laughed at the memory. “But it was like he couldn't even hear me. So, I had him drink some moonshine to get him to sleep.”

“Good thinking.” He smiled down at her.

“I can be very resourceful when I need to be.” She giggled. The tension he'd been feeling inside eased a bit.

“But it wasn't just him....”

“What do you mean?”

“I fell asleep on the hump on the floor, we didn't have hardly any room in there. When I woke up, I felt warm and protected. I thought it was you, and you had opened your shirt and wrapped me in it with you. So, I wrapped my arms around you and breathed in your scent. But it wasn't you, and that's when I really woke up. I must have climbed onto his lap, sometime during the night. I don't remember. He was so very hot and I was getting so very afraid that he might die.”

He felt the tears sliding down her face.

“I was trying to get more pills into him, water, food....but he wouldn't cooperate. God, he was so hot. I started to pray that his hands would at least try to grope at me. But they didn't. That's when I made the decision to try to drive us out of there. We had enough supplies that we probably could have out waited them, but I didn't think Rick had the time, and I know how much you love him.” He squeezed her and lifted her onto his lap. She looked up at him to make her confession.

“I'm sorry about the car....I...I..don't know how to drive. I don't know how I'm gonna tell Rick that I ruined his pretty car.” He laughed at her, and he laughed hard.

“Stop it! This isn't funny Dixon! He feels guilty enough already. I was praying he wouldn't remember any of it. But I can't hide all the damage I did to his car. Do you think he'll be able to forgive me? How bad does it look? Is it fixable, you think?” Daryl was trying not to laugh, he really was, but leave it to her to worry about how Rick was gonna feel about his car, instead of Rick making advances toward her.

“You want to go see it?”

“Yes!”

Rick smiled as he turned around and went back downstairs She didn't hate him, and by the sounds of it neither did Daryl. He really couldn't believe that she got them home. Thank God he was passed out at the time, or he probably would have had a heart attack. He chuckled to himself at the thought. However, she'd peaked his interest and now he wanted to see the car.

Daryl and Toni came down the stairs. Rick was sitting on the couch, Abe was in the chair.

“I thought you were going to take a nap.” Rick said.

“Yes well.....I couldn't fall asleep.”

“Where are you guys going?”

“To look at the car....umph” Toni elbowed him in the ribs.

“I'll come with you.”

“NO! I mean no, you need to rest and stay off that leg.” She couldn't see Daryl smiling behind her.

“I'm feeling fine, a little walk will do me good.” He said getting up. Abe got up too.

“We still need to get all the supplies out. Someone got side tracked yesterday and we didn't get it done.” Abe said looking at Daryl, who didn't look the least bit guilty.

As they reached the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps, Toni could see the car down the street by the gate. She hesitated.........

“Well shit.” She said under her breath. Daryl put his hand into the small of her back and urged her forward. As they got closer, she saw Rick's hands go onto his hips and he cocked his head. She reached out to Daryl's hand for comfort. He laced her fingers with his, giving her, the support she needed. Rick walked all the way around the car. Toni leaned into Daryl, she felt like she might cry.

“I'm sorry.” She whispered as he came around the front looking at her. He reached for her and gathered her to his chest holding her so tight she could barely breathe.

“I don't know how you got us here. You must have been terrified.” He quietly said to her.

“Thank you for saving my life.” She looked up at him.

“You're not mad about your car?” She asked hesitantly.

“The car? No, it's not my car. Even if it was I couldn't care less about it. The only thing that matters is that we made it back here safely.” Now, she returned his embrace. Then walked around the car herself. From its appearance she wondered how it was even drivable.

“Whatever you do, don't look underneath.” Abe said knowing that they would all look.

Body parts hung from where ever they got tangled in. Arms, legs, and even a head could be seen. Neither passenger door would open. Daryl crawled into the back seat and sat where he found Rick. The duffels were still blocking the windows on the passenger side. His right leg was touching it. He looked at the hump where Toni said she fell asleep, his legs were straddling it, then imaged duffles on his left. There was absolutely no room in the car two for 2 people to be able to move around. There was no getting away from Ricks wandering hands in his fevered state. He grabbed the bags on his right and passed them out to Abe. Then reached behind him and passed those out too. Glenn grabbed the bags up in the front seat. Daryl hadn't seen him arrive.

“Hey”

“Hey, they got a lot of stuff here.” He backed out of the car with the bags.

“Where did you guys go to find so much stuff?” He asked Rick and Toni.

“We went to two houses. There's still more there, we had to leave in a hurry.”

“You got all this from two houses?” Glenn was shocked.

“Yes, she found stuff in places that I never would have looked. There's a pasta maker in there somewhere too.”

“No shit? You finally found one?” Rick smiled he had been just as surprised as Glenn is. Maggie showed up with the kids who went directly to Toni to hug her.

“Did you get some rest?” Lisa asked her.

“No, I can't seem to be able to sleep without all of you.” She smiled at them.

“What the hell is this?' Abe asked holding up a pee can.”

“Ummmmmm....that's the toilet.” Toni said with no emotion. He put it back, quick. When the car was empty Abe decided to drive it outside the gates, He tried to get into the driver’s seat and couldn't.

“Son of a dick! You are one tiny woman!” he said while adjusting the seat all the way back. She was tiny, Rick thought. He was glad her fat suit was in ruins. Lisa was taller than she was. Landon was almost as tall. They all made their way back to Ricks house to unload the supplies. There was talk of an upcoming run leaving in 2 days time. It was decided that Daryl, Aaron, Tara and Rosita would go. Toni remained mute. This wasn't her home or her family, but she wasn't happy.

Later that night in bed, Toni couldn't sleep. She tried to shake Daryl awake, to have her say in the matter.

“Dixon!” She shook him again. He put his arm around her and pulled her until she was flush against him. He never opened his eyes. She breathed in his scent and forgot what she was about. She caressed his bicep, and felt the goosebumps cover him. She ran her hand over his bare back, then she got daring and oh so slowly, she moved it over his jean clad butt. Daryl lay still and let her explore. He had a feeling she was waking him to argue about his going on the run, but this was so much better. Her touch was so tentative, and it was turning him on. Who was he kidding, everything she did turned him on. He moved his leg over hers trapping her. She stopped. When he remained still, she began exploring again. She moved her hand to his thigh and ran it up and down his length. She could feel the muscle in his thigh, her body was tingling, she felt an ache between her legs. She traveled back to his butt. He could feel her hot breath on his chest. It was coming in shorts pants now. He thought he'd die when he felt her tongue taste him. She slid her leg from under him and draped it over his, then she gently squeezed his leg between hers. She may be naive in the way of men but her body knew what it wanted and it wanted something between her legs. He pressed in at the apex of her thighs and she moaned. He knew this needed to stop. They had the kids in bed with them for God's sake. He rolled over on top of her and laid between her legs.

“Whatcha doing?” He whispered in her ear. She could feel is hardness pressed against her.

“Nothing.” She wrapped one leg around his waist and the other around the top of his thighs and squeezed him to her. To say she surprised him would be an understatement. She bit his neck, then sucked on it. He groaned his approval.

“What are you guys doing?” Lisa asked. It was like having ice water thrown on them.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 18

 

Lisa smiled in the dark. She knew what was going on, but damn, did they forget that they were there? She needed to see about a different place to sleep for her and her brothers. She frowned. How would she get Toni to agree? Toni got out of bed and went downstairs. Daryl threw an arm over his eyes. He wanted to curse his luck but didn't dare.

“Geez Daryl, did you forget we were here?”

“Shut up and go to sleep Lisa!” She laughed. “Well I was trying to!”

Toni sat out on the porch swing arms around her knees pulled up to her chest. What had gotten in to her? Her wanton behavior shocked her to her very core. She had used her legs to imprison him to her. She didn't want to stop and wouldn't have if Lisa hadn't woken up. What he must think of her! Her face burned in the cool night air. The screen door opened and Dixon came walking out bare footed, no shirt. She groaned, he wasn't helping matters at all.

“Must you walk around like that?” She asked irritated.

“Like what?”

“Half naked! Put some clothes on for God's sake!”

“It didn't seem to bother you so much 10 minutes ago.”

“Yeah, well...it's bothering me now.” She pouted. He smiled. “Look Dixon...I'm sorry for my wanton behavior.”

“Wanton? Who says that? I think you read too many books.”

“I like reading...you learn things.”

“Like?” She was thankful for the cover of darkness. Her face felt like it was on fire. If he only knew the stuff she’d read.

“Like....stuff ..... and.....things. Nothing for you to be concerned over.”

“May I?” He asked pointing to the seat next to her on the swing.

“Suit yourself.”

“I guess you didn't notice that I liked your 'wanton' behavior.”

“Oh God! Do we have to talk about it? I'm embarrassed enough as it is.” She covered her face with her hands and groaned.

“Why are you embarrassed? Don't you like me?”

“Oh please!” She said sarcastically. “I ran my hands all over you while you were sleeping! Sleeping Dixon! I bit you, I licked you...all while you were sleeping! I forced your body against mine and held you there! I behaved like a trollop!”

“Trollop?” He laughed he could help it. What was in all those romance novels she read? Clearly not present day, language.

“This is not a laughing matter, Dixon, I had no wits about me whatsoever!” Wits about me? He dared not laugh again but he smiled into the darkness.

“Toni?”

“What?” She wouldn't look at him.

“Toni?”

“I said what!” She said, as she turned to him.

“I wasn't asleep.”

“What?”

“You heard me.... I was NOT asleep through any of it.”

“Oh God! Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“Yes.”

“How is you being awake to witness my wanton behavior supposed to make me feel better?”

“Because....I didn't want it to stop and I'm still cursing Lisa in my head.” A thought occurred to him.

“Have you ever been with anyone before.”

“I already told you Dixon, 8, I also said we would not be discussing it.”

“I'm not talking about the 8 fuckers who raped you!” he said with venom.

“Then no.” She said quietly. He grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap.

“Well....since I'm the experienced one...I guess you're just gonna have to trust me when I tell you, that you did nothing wrong, and when we’re in bed together, which we will be, soon, if I have my say in the matter, that you can do nothing wrong with me. Now...stop talking and kiss me.”

“Wha..........” His lips came down on hers and this was not the sweet, soft, chaste kiss of 6 days ago.

 

Two days later...he left to go on the planned run. Toni tried to keep herself busy. She and the children got up before anyone else and trained. They were usually sweaty and dirty by the time everyone came down for breakfast she made for them, which was keeping warm in the oven, with a pot of coffee brewed and waiting.

She spent time with Eugene, picking his brain, about her propane gas idea. He informed her that Spencer had a sizable library and introduced her to him. The first time she went to his house he made her very uncomfortable when he made advances toward her. He stopped when she made it very clear she wasn't interested. Funny how men underestimated her until she introduced them to her blades. She didn't tell anyone because she had taken care of it herself. However, she made sure to have at least one of the children with her when she went to use his library from then on.

Eugene filled her head with ideas and she spent hours researching them. It was midafternoon on the third day when Daryl and the others returned. Daryl couldn't wait to see Toni and the kids. He'd missed them something awful. He was asking Eugene and Sasha if they knew where she was.

He was livid!

“Toni!” He roared.

 

Toni was headed to Spencer's when she heard her name.

 

“Toni!” Daryl roared. It was loud enough to turn heads. Toni, who as about a block away also turned and smiled. Daryl was back! She'd missed him so much. He had only been gone for 3 days, but it was 3 days too many for her. She started towards him and waved to Glenn and Maggie who were sitting on their porch. She slowed when she saw his face. His wide strides were eating up the pavement between them. He looked pissed! She stopped in front of Maggie and Glenn's house. He was still a good 15 feet away from her, when he let her have it.

“What the fuck have you been doing with Spencer these past 3 days?” Toni was taken aback, not only because she'd never heard him raise his voice like this, but at the question.

“What?” She truly didn't know what was wrong.

“I don't want you anywhere near him! Do you understand me?”

“What?”

“You heard me!”

“Why? How do you even know what the hell I was doing?” Now, she, was getting pissed! She turned around and headed back to the house.

“I know everything you do, right down to when you take a piss!” He shouted at her back as she opened the front door and slammed it in his face.

Glenn and Maggie had went into their house only to make a mad dash for the back door to get over to Rick's house. They came flying in through the back door of Rick's calling his name.

“Rick!” Rick and Michonne hurried into the kitchen, follow by Abe and Carol. Maggie quickly filled them in on Daryl's and Toni's arrival. The front door opened and slammed shut. They heard someone going up the stairs. The front door opened and slammed shut again.

Toni stopped and turned on the landing.

“Did they tell you who I fucked while you were gone too?”

Both Maggie and Carol covered their mouth's in shock and the guys mouths dropped open and eyebrows were raised. Michonne stood with wide eyes.

“Ha! …...You don't even know how to fuck!”

It happened so fast that Daryl wouldn't have been able to do anything even if he knew it was coming. Two blades were embedded in the door on either side of his head, and one landed between his legs just below his balls. She was flying back down the steps with two more blades in her hands, like a tornado. She was pissed.

She was magnificent.

She kicked a small wooden stool in front of Daryl, stepped on it and placed a blade at his throat.

“Don't you dare fucking move.” She said in a low sultry voice. Daryl couldn't have moved if he wanted to. He was still reeling over the blade that landed so close to his balls. He also personally knew just how sharp her blades really were. She put the flat side of her blades to his cheeks and slowly slid them down.

“Can you feel the coolness of the steel on your hot, hot skin.... Daryl?” Her hot breath was just as close as she could get to his lips without actually touching him. He noted that she called him Daryl for the very first time, and in that voice, he was getting so turned on. When she spoke, it was slow and drawn out.

“Do you read Daryl?...... I love to read ...... so many things to learn.” The second blade was caressing his collar bone.

Rick couldn't stand it! He needed to see what was going on so he moved over to the island that separated the kitchen from the living room and opened the mini blinds just a sliver so he could see. Everyone followed him and were now peering through the small opening.

Daryl watched as Toni held 1 blade between her teeth and sheathed the other. She pulled the top of his tee shirt away from his skin and sliced the hemmed neckline.

“I read that......sometimes.......... a man wants his woman to lose control..........do you want me to lose control, Daryl?” He swallowed hard. That fucking voice!
She then put that blade in the sheath on her hip and used both hands to rip open the black shirt and the tee shirt underneath. Buttons went flying. She pushed them off his shoulders and let it drop to the floor and grabbed her blade again.

“Put your hands up Daryl!...... hold on to my blades.” He didn't move fast enough for her.

“Do it now!” She demanded. He raised his hands to the blades that were on either side of his head and grabbed the handles. She grabbed her second blade from the sheath and slid the flat side slowly down the insides of his arms.

“Do not let go Daryl .... for any reason! Do you understand me?” He nodded.

“Don't speak unless I give you permission.”

“Do you have any fucking idea how long I've wanted to do this? …...to caress you with my blades. To see every inch of you. …..... to watch every fucking muscle jump as the cool metal slithers across your skin.” Daryl licked his lips. He was getting so hot. Who was this girl?

“But I didn't know how......so I went to the library........ and got a book.” Her blade lightly skimmed over his nipple. It got hard instantly.

“Now ....... I know exactly what to do to an alpha male such as yourself. …...you like that don't you Daryl....... I can tell.......... I see the goosebumps and look how hard your fucking nipples are ...... God ,..... I bet you'd like me to suck on them now, huh?” She licked her lips. She ran her blade over them again and he sucked in his breath.

“How bad do you fucking want me right now....... Daryl?” She leaned forward and breathed hot air over his nipples. He groaned deep, he couldn't help it.

“Do you remember when you breathed hot air onto my nipples? I was holding you down. You made me shiver down to my very core with need. A need …. I fucking think about every day. A need ….. I fucking dream about every night. A need ..... that only you.... can fucking fill Daryl.” Her eyes got greener if that was possible.

“Fuck me” Daryl demanded. She ignored him.

“Your heart is beating so fast, I can see it.” She slid her blades down his stomach. He sucked in his breath again.

“Dammit Toni!” He was so fucking hard. He was ready to explode!

“That's twice now that you've spoken without permission Daryl.”

He moaned as she pulled the stocking cap off her head and all that glorious hair came cascading down.

“Ahhhhh fuck.” He breathed. Not the hair, he loved the hair, she wasn't playing fair.

“Ohhhhhh you like that ..... don't you...Daryl” She put her blades away, and unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned his pants, then pulled the zipper down careful not to touch his skin, she let his pants fall down around the blade between his legs. His boxer briefs could barely contain him. Then she pulled a blade and ran the flat side of it over his erection and watched as the head popped up above his waistband and she slid her hair over his chest then slid it up the insides of his thighs. She could clearly see the tip glistening with cum.
Mother of God, where did the air go? He thought.

“Ahhhh Jesus Daryl ….. you are so fucking ready...... cum for me.”

It was just too much for him. It had been so long since he'd had a release. Fuck, he just let it happen. Toni put her blades away and just watched. It was a sight to behold. She watched every facial expression, every spasm. Felt every groan vibrate through her. His muscles jumping and twitching and that fucking huge cock with its head sticking out of the top of his boxer briefs, shooting out a creamy liquid. She tried squeezing her legs together to stop the ache. She felt so wet. Damn, but she really wished she'd read ahead so she'd know what to do next. Her breathing was just as labored as his. Contrary to her promise to herself about never allowing a man between her legs, in this instant, …....at this moment, …...if she knew what to do, she would have allowed Daryl. She shook her head and reminded herself that she was mad at him and teaching him a lesson.

“Fuck Daryl! That was hot as hell! My body is on fire after watching that. I've never seen your eyes so blue!”
Daryl was still trying to catch his breath.

“So....let's see what we learned today....... reading is good.”

“You learned that from a fucking book? What fucking Library do you go to? Jesus Christ!”
She smiled at him.

“That chapter was...... 'Foreplay for the Alpha Male'”

“Fuck me” he whispered aloud, but to himself.

“Well...... you were right about that...I don't know how to fuck, that was the only chapter I've read so far and my book is at home. So.....that's all I know.

The people in the kitchen just collapsed into the chairs. No one spoke, no one really could yet.

Toni turned to walk away, then stopped and faced him once again....

“One last thing Dixon..........don't ever try to tell me who I can talk to again. I have never had a father brother or husband. I make my own decisions. I've been on my own my entire life and I don't need a keeper.”

With that she turned and went upstairs.

Well hell.... he was back to being called Dixon. Daryl thought.

Toni entered into the bedroom and gently closed the door and leaned back against it. She was shaking. She didn't know she had it in her to do such a performance. She also didn't know it would backfire on her. She was supposed to be putting him in his place not stirring up all these incredible crazy feelings and sensations. The ache between her legs was palpable. She'd dreamed about touching him, but in her dream’s she'd always used her hands. Who knew that touching him with just her blades would be so erotic. She never in her life used such foul language like that. It scared her to death that she would have done anything, to feel him on her...... in her. She moved to the bathroom and locked the door. Turned on the shower and quickly undressed and got under the cold spray. She reached between her legs and groaned. What was he doing to her? In her 28 years, she'd never felt things like she did tonight. She closed her eyes, but the visions were etched on her lids. Her hand was the only solution now, she was just too far gone. She laid down in the tub under the cold spray and found her own release. Which didn't take long with all the images of Daryl swimming in her mind.

No longer shaking and feeling sated, she let her mind ponder over another issue. Who was it that watched? Her gut told her that someone else was there, but with so many people living there, she had no idea who. She dismissed the idea of Rick because he would have come in guns a blazing when he heard her blades sinking into the wood, ready to defend Daryl. She'd seen Maggie and Glenn at their house so knew it wasn't them. Abe was probably out on patrol .... Michonne didn't seem the type to get her rocks off watching. Carol was close to Daryl so she would think that Carol would have made her presence known and tried to stop it. Eugene??? A big possibility there.

 

Daryl stood there still holding unto Toni's blades. He knew she was naive and innocent of the ways of men. He still couldn't believe she read that in a book. He shook his head. He also knew she had been affected as well. Her eyes changed color to the deepest of greens. Between her eyes and her hair.......and that sultry voice he'd never heard from her before, he hadn't stood a chance in hell. And when she'd lick her lips and her hair came down ..... damn. He reached to the coffee table to grab some tissues to clean himself off and pulled his pants back up. Then picked his torn shirts off the floor. Thank God no one was at home. He briefly wondered if she knew that in advance, then dismissed it. She hadn't even known he was home yet before he lit into her. Wow, she had a temper! He entertained the thought of her reacting like that every time he got angry with her and smiled. If that was the case......he'd make sure they fought every day.

It took a lot of strength to pull her knives out of the wooden door. Damn, but she was good with those blades of hers. He couldn't believe that she hadn't cut him but knew without a doubt he wouldn't have moved if she had, probably wouldn't have even felt any pain with as turned on as he was. He headed upstairs to the bedroom they all shared. He quietly opened the door. He threw his shirts in the hamper and grabbed a clean one. The blades he laid on the dresser. He could hear the shower running. He left as quietly as he came in. He needed to go for a walk.

 

When the 6 people in the kitchen heard the door open and close, they filed out the back door to make their way 2 doors down to Maggie and Glenn’s. Once safely ensconced it their kitchen, they all just looked at one another. Maggie was the first to break the silence.

“I don't know what I was expecting, but I do know that, that was NOT it!”

“Daryl has a girlfriend.” Glenn smiled which got him elbowed by Maggie.

“I uhhhhh....” Rick started, then stopped running a hand down his face.

“It was enough to cause me a case of blue balls.” Abe informed them and made them laugh.

“She's just so small.......” Rick tried again and failed.

“I like her.” Carol added and had every face turn her way.

“Oh, come on...if Daryl didn't want it to happen he wouldn't have let it happen. She didn't have him tied up or handcuffed. He willingly did everything she asked.

“I've never seen anything like that in my life, and I was married.” Michonne stated. They all agreed.

“My dick grew 6 inches longer when she let her hair down.” Abe added.

“Yeahhhhh.” Glenn and Rick agreed. Which got Glenn another elbow to the gut from Maggie.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 19

 

Toni slowly made her way downstairs. She didn't see or hear anyone. She looked at her blade marks on the front door and hoped Rick wouldn't notice. She went over to the desk, remembering seeing a box of crayons. She pulled the brown one, grabbed the stool and ran it over the blade marks. It helped make them less noticeable. Bending to pick the stool up to put it back, she saw the buttons from Daryl's shirt. She picked them up and ran them upstairs to mend his shirts later. She came back down and walked into the kitchen and looked around. Someone had watched. She walked over to the mini blinds separating the kitchen from the living room and examined them. She got up on the stool and found the slit in the blinds. She looked through it. A perfect view of the front door. Son of a bitch! Who was it? She would find out and when she did............

 

Since no one was home, Toni took it upon herself to make dinner. She decided chili, with cornbread, and made chocolate pudding for dessert, since she'd found some powdered milk on her last run. She started a pot of coffee as people started to trickle in. But not Daryl. She cursed herself and her bad temper. Where was he? Did he hate her? Would he ever speak to her again.? Could she face him? Look him in the eyes after what she'd done? She told everyone to just help themselves, that dinner was ready, while she started cleaning up. As everyone was eating, Toni asked the table at large if anyone had seen Dixon. No one had.

“What's wrong?” Carol asked.

“Nothing...I just kind of lost my temper with him.”

“Did you hurt him?” Lisa wanted to know.

“You didn't kill him did you Toni?” Lucas asked worried.

“No! I didn't kill him! I...I....my hands never touched him!”

“What about your feet?” Landon asked.

“No! No part of my body touched him!”

“Why did you lose your temper?” Landon asked.

“Because he tried to tell me what to do.”

“Wow! And you let him live?” Lisa laughed.

“Of course, I let him live! I don't kill people for fun! Geez!”

“Sorry Toni, I was just teasing.” Lisa said seeing that Toni was really upset over whatever had happened. Toni left the kitchen and went out on the porch.

“Do any of you know what happened?” Lisa asked worried now. Everyone shook their heads, including the six peeping Toms. As the children finished their dinner, they did their dishes and went out onto the porch to sit with Toni, who took comfort in their presence.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Lisa asked.

“No sweetie, I'll be fine.” She couldn't tell anyone what happened. If anyone found out, she'd never be able to show her face again. She shivered at the thought!

“Did you guys get some of the chocolate pudding I made for dessert?”

“We have pudding?” Lucas squealed.

“Yes!” She tickled him. The boys took off.

“Are you okay Toni?”

“I'm fine sweetie, go.... have some pudding....it's your favorite......chocolate.” She winked at her and kissed her cheek.

“I'm going to go for a walk, I'll be back in a bit.”

“Do you want me to go with you?”

“No... I'd like to be alone, thanks though.”

“Okay.” Lisa went inside.

 

Toni was lost in her thoughts walking around the community, when she heard her name being called. She looked up to see Aaron walking toward her with another man that looked vaguely familiar. She stopped and waited for them to catch up. As they got closer she saw that the man had piercing blue eyes, that reminded her of someone, she just couldn't seem to place him. His hair was long and he had both beard and mustache.

“Toni, I'd like you to meet......”

“Toni?”

“Jesus?”

“You two know each other?” Aaron said surprised.

Toni couldn't believe it! She never thought to actually see someone from before the world went to shit again. He had short hair back then and no facial hair, but it was him!

Jesus couldn't believe his eyes! Toni! Wow, she had gained some weight. She used to be one of the best fighters in their club he'd ever seen. They hugged.

Toni was so excited. Someone to spar with! Someone who knew how to fight. She started to unbutton her shirt.

“Spar with me Jesus! I haven't had anyone to spar with since the end of the world.”

“What are you doing Toni?” Aaron tried to stop her hands from unbuttoning her shirt. She batted his hands away.

“Stop it! We have the same skill set.”

“Uh ..... maybe we shouldn't ........” Jesus began until she slid the shirt off and he saw the back brace and pillow around her middle.

“What the hell ....?”

“Oh! I'm not fat!” She laughed at their expressions.

“Men don't like fat girls.” She said as if that explained everything. After the brace and pillow hit the ground, her pants fell to her ankles. She sat down and took her boots off and removed the pants. The socks came next, then she stood and began to remove an arsenal of knives. Neither man spoke, as she chattered on about finally having someone to fight with to keep up her skills. She stood in a black tank top and below the knee spandex black pants, barefooted, and smiled.

“We need to stretch out, I don't want to hurt you.......too bad.” She laughed. He smiled and removed his boots and socks. He hadn't had a worthy opponent since the world went to shit either. As they stretched out, she chattered on.

“I didn't know you lived here. I can't believe we haven't run into one another.”

“I don't live here. How long have you been here?”

“Where do you live? Why don't you live here?”

“I live in a place called the Hilltop.” They continued questioning each other while they stretched. Aaron just watched. He still couldn't believe that Toni wasn't fat. She'd been here...what...almost 2 weeks? If you count the 5 days her and Rick were missing. They got up and bowed to one another and began their forms. They were in perfect sync. When they finished they bowed to one another again, and then the trash talk began.

 

Carol looked out the back door after putting her load of laundry into the dryer.

“Rick, Jesus is here. Oh my God, it looks like they're going to fight!”

“Who?” Rick asked as he made his way to the back door.

“Jesus and Toni!”

“What? Shit!” He went flying out the back door with everyone on his heels including the children who had already drawn their blades.

 

“Hope you're ready to get your ass kicked by a girl.” Toni taunted him.

“Yeah right ..... that'll be the day!”

“Yup! And today's that day!” She dropped to the ground and swept her foot out and to the right, connecting with his ankles. He went down, only to spring back up instantly. They both smiled. God it felt good to have someone who knew what they were doing!

“That's once!” She taunted. She moved right in with a roundhouse kick to the head. Which he caught in his left hand and twisted causing her to twist midair to keep from landing on her ass. She landed on her feet and laughed at him.

“I don't think so! You're so predictable!”

“Toni, stop!” Rick yelled.

She turned to see what was wrong just as Jesus hooked a leg behind her knees. She went down hard. She jumped back up only to have Rick grab her around the waist and lift her off the ground.

“Toni! You can't hurt him! He's a friend!” She didn't fight him as he expected her to. She began to laugh. Jesus started to laugh.

“What the hell?” Rick asked confused. Everyone from the house was there. Jesus put his hands up after feeling knives pointed in his back. He looked behind him. Children?

“Uhhhh....why are kids sticking knives into my back?”

“Kids! It's okay, he's a friend, we were just sparring.” The children released him but stood close. Jesus noted that Rick had yet to release Toni and put her down.

“Rick? Rick? Put me down!” Rick finally lowered her to the ground but kept his hands on her hips, like he thought she may attack or.........he needed to think about that.

Toni had never shown an interest in any men in all the years he had known her. Oh, plenty had, had an interest in her but between her job, schooling, the fight club, her martial arts classes and training for the Nina Warriors, she didn't have time for them. She didn't appear to be doing so now, but Rick hands almost seemed possessive.

“We were just sparring Rick. I wouldn't hurt any of your people, I already told you that.”

“We knew each other from before.” Jesus told him.

“Daryl!” One of the kids cried out and ran to him. Daryl picked him up and kissed his cheek and carried him back to the crowd that had gathered. Jesus noted that Rick released Toni and Toni only had eyes for Daryl. Interesting. In all the time he's known Daryl....he'd never shown an interest in a woman or man. He was the one, person Jesus could never get a read on. Though Daryl was as good at reading people as he was, and even better at concealing himself.

“What's going on?” Daryl asked, looking at Toni.

“Toni was fighting him Daryl.” Lucas explained. Daryl looked at Jesus.

“Why?”

“We were only sparring Dixon.” Toni said quietly not looking at him but looking down. Daryl looked at her. Stepped in front of her, put a finger under her chin and lifted it to look at him. A single tear fell.

“I'm sorry.” She whispered to him. His thumb caught the tear and wiped it away. He leaned down and kissed her. It was a sweet gentle kiss. He put his hands on her hips, picked her up, and guided her legs around his waist. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on to him whispering again that she was sorry.

Jesus could hardly believe what he was seeing. He knew both of them and neither had ever shown an interest in the opposite sex. He looked at Rick who was still watching them walk off. What was going on there? He noticed the 3 children gather Toni's belongings and follow them. He was only planning to stay a couple hours, but now he was planning to stay until he knew what the hell was going on.

 

Daryl walked past the house and signed to the kids to stay there. They stood and watched them disappear before going inside. When did Daryl learn to sign, Jesus thought. He went inside with the rest. They sat at the kitchen table.

“Okay tell me what's going on.” Jesus demanded. “Do you guys know who that is?” All eyes turned to him.

“That's Toni Sparks.” ' The American Ninja warrior '!

Everyone just looked at him like he was speaking Greek.

“Are you serious? You never heard of her? Never saw her on TV? She was a cage fighter too! Did you see that?”

“She's a cage fighter?” Abe was impressed.

“Yes an undefeated cage fighter, 3 years running until ..... well....all this. We studied together under Grand Master, Han Cha Kyo for 8 years until ..... again...” He raised his hands palms up.

“What form of martial arts?” Abe asked.

“Tae Kwon Do. When Toni started she was 17. She was weak, I don't know what was wrong with her, but it was like she had been ill her whole life. After the first couple weeks, she was like a sponge, sucking it up, she couldn't learn it fast enough. She excelled at it. Surpassed everyone, it was like she lived and breathed it. She got stronger and stronger. She earned her 1st black belt at 19.”

“1st?” Rick asked.

“Yes, now she's a 5th degree I believe. Hell, she could kill any of us.” He smiled.
“By day she was saving children as a social worker, and by night she was a martial artist, an extreme fighter, and an American Ninja Warrior.”

“No wonder she's like an army of one.” Rick said under his breath but was heard by all. Jesus laughed.

“Where did you find her?” Jesus asked.

“Daryl found her. Then she threw a blade into him and nursed him back to health. She walked him home and then got trapped here by a massive herd blocking her access home.” Glenn volunteered.

“So, she doesn't live here?”

“We're hoping by the time the herd moves on and her way home is clear that she'll want to stay. She doesn't trust people, for good reason. Maybe you could stay with us a while, since she knows and trusts you, and can help us get her and the kids to stay.”

“Those are her kids?” She didn't have any kids that he knew of......

“Well they are now, or at least for the last 2 years.”

“And what's going on between Toni and Daryl?” Everyone started talking at once, about all the changes in Daryl.

 

“Dixon, put me down. I said I was sorry.”

“No.”

“No?” She leaned back to look him in the eyes.

“No”

“Why not?”

“Cause, I want to hold you.”

“Are you mad at me for losing my temper?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Where are you taking me?”

“Somewhere, where we can be alone.”

“Why?”

“Cause, I want to piss you off.”

“What?” She stiffened in his arms.

“You don't have your blades....so this time you'll have to use your hands.”

“What? My hands, for what?”

“To teach me a lesson.”

“For what?” He was carrying her up the steps to a small cottage at the end of the street next to lake. He opened the door and crossed the entrance, closing it behind him. He set her down on the floor in front of him.

“I don't want you near Jesus! Stay away from him!”

“What? No!”

“I forbid it!” He said with more force than necessary. He watched as her spine straightened. She moved a hand to her hip, only then remembering, she didn't have her blades. He ducked the foot aimed for his head and grabbed her as she spun around with the momentum. He pressed his body against her into the door.

“Now what are you going to do?” He whispered in her ear.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 20

 

She went limp.

“Toni?” He whispered. He eased his weight off of her. She drew her legs up and pushed as hard as she could against the door, throwing them both back. Daryl lost his balance at the unexpected move and landed on his back with her on top of him. It knocked the wind out of him. She rolled over to sit on top of him and pinned his wrists to the floor.

“Men! Always underestimating me!” She said with disgust.

“Don't move!” Moving was the last thing he wanted to do. He laid there trying to catch his breath, waiting for her next move. He was as hard as a rock. She realized he wasn't even trying to move. She knew she could take a man down with her blades and even in hand to hand combat. But there was no way she could hold him down by his wrists, sitting on top of him. She was just too small. Her eyes got wide with the knowledge. He LIKED it! The book was right! Alpha males liked to be dominated! Her body started to tingle. A heat pooled in her belly. Wetness oozed between her legs. See looked into his passion filled blue eyes, and hers changed colors right before him. She slid down to his waist and ripped open his shirt! Buttons went flying. She didn't care.

“Lift up!” She demanded. She pulled his shirt down to his wrists, then unrolled the sleeves and buttoned the cuffs. He wouldn't be able to pull his arms through to release himself. She pushed him back down on his back, on top of the shirt. His wrists were as good as tied. She smiled at him.

“What are you smiling about?” He asked her.

“Did you really think I'd be defenseless without my blades?” She asked as she turned around and unbuckled his belt. She pulled it out through all the loops. She turned back to face him and poked the prong of his buckle through the t-shirt he was wearing to create a hole. He didn't answer her.

“I decided a long time ago that I would never be defenseless. I read Dixon, a lot, as you know. You might say I'm a modern day, MacGyver. You made a big mistake bringing me here.” She stuck her finger in the small hole to make it bigger.

“How's that?” He asked her. She wiggled her finger in the small hole until it was big enough to put two fingers through and ripped it open.

“Because ..... now you're at my mercy.....Daryl. I can do anything I want to you and there will be no witnesses …........and no one to hear.” Only the neckline and hem remained intact, the rest of his t-shirt was laying wide open revealing his chest. She turned around and tied his belt around his ankles. While her back was turned he tried to get his arms free. It wasn't happening. He was truly stuck.

“Struggle all you want Daryl, I know how to bind a person with whatever is available. See ..... big mistake.” She laughed. She turned back around and unbuttoned his pants and pulled the zipper down slowly.

“So, you think to try to tell me yet again, who I can see and talk to? ….........So here we are ............ Looks like it's me once more........ calling all the shots, doesn't it Daryl?” That damn voice! He could hardly hear straight with his heart pounding so hard in his chest. She moved up his body and leaned down to his lips.

“You want to forbid me now.... Daryl?” She was as close as she could get without actually touching her lips to his. Her hot breath nearly scorched his lips, or his mind tricked him into thinking so.

“I forbi..........” She bit his lip hard, then licked the sting away. He lifted his head to get more. She granted him small access so she could suck his tongue into her mouth, drawing a growl out of him. Her quick indrawn breath was the only indication to the affect it had on her. She took her mouth away and moved it to his neck.

“I'm sorry.... Daryl .....I didn't quite catch that....what were you saying?”

“I forb.........” She bit down and then sucked on his neck, leaving a dark red mark. His deep groan followed. She moved to his collarbone. Which had him sucking in his breath. He really liked that. It had him struggling to get his arms free.

“A sweet spot?......mmmmmm......” She grazed her teeth over the area, then licked it. He tasted so good she almost forgot what she was about. She sat up on his stomach.

“Did I interrupt again?........Please......Daryl continue......” She grazed her fingernails over his nipples. He hissed through his teeth as they pebbled up!

“What stud?......I can't understand what you want....” She licked her middle finger and circled his nipple. He sucked his breath in again. She blew on it, then took it into her mouth and sucked, and bit down on it. He bucked up and groaned.

“What were you saying? I'm sorry sweetie.....I got distracted.”

“I.....I......Fuck me!” He raised his hips again, pushing up against her hot center. She groaned and pushed back.

“Oh my God that feels so good.” She whispered to herself, rubbing against him.

“Ahhhhh fuck, fuck, fuck.” He groaned at her words and actions. He was so close. She lifted herself off him.

“Dammit! What are you doing to me!” She accused. She stood up and started to pace. He rolled to his side and struggled to free his arms.

“No! No no no no no no!” She pushed him back over and sat on him once again. On his thighs this time.

“We're not done yet!” She was trying to catch her breath. She was feeling all the crazy sensations she did earlier. She was playing with fire! She would not be defeated! She would win! She grabbed his pants and underwear and pulled them down at the same time. Then just stared at his massive erection. She hadn't seen it all the last time. It took her breath away! It would never fit! She knew it with her very being. Her eyes widened. She sucked in her breath. Daryl saw the change in her immediately.

“It'll never fit, you'll rip me in half.” She whispered to herself. She fell back on his ankles, shaking her head no.

“Toni?”

“Toni?”

“No! This won't work!” She continued to shake her head, never taking her eyes off it. She got up and started to back away.

“Toni! Untie me! Toni!” He saw the tears. Dammit!

“Toni! You can't leave me here like this! Toni! Look at me!” She looked at him, she looked devastated.

“I'm sorry Daryl, I thought maybe....” She shook her head and stared at it again.

“Toni! God Dammit! Untie me now! We need to talk about this!” She went over to him and kissed him. She unbuttoned one of his sleeves.

“No, no! I can't. I'm sorry Daryl, I thought I could, but I can't.” She turned and ran from the cottage.

 

“You shouldn't be talking about Toni and Daryl behind their backs.” Lisa admonished everyone in the kitchen.

“You can't have her!” Landon added.

“Only Daryl can have her! We love Daryl!” Lucas stated.

They'd been sitting on the front porch and heard them talking about Toni and Daryl. It wasn't sitting right with them. Even though they'd found out more about Toni's past. They weren't sure about Jesus knowing Toni before. They wanted Daryl and Toni to be together. Jesus needed to know that he couldn't have her.

“So you!” Landon pointed at Jesus. “Can't have her!”

And Lisa leaned down to whisper in Rick ear.

“Neither can you!” Rick's eyes shot up to Lisa's. “I'm young....but I'm not blind.” She whispered to him.

Jesus stood up and walked toward the kids. He watched as they pulled their blades. He put his hands up in surrender. “I'm just a friend of your Mom's, that's all.”

“So, you say!” Lisa answered. “I do say! And you can ask your Mom.”

“We will......you can be sure of that!” Jesus had to admit to himself that he was impressed with their loyalty to Toni......and Daryl if he was honest with himself. He couldn't be sure, but they appeared to be knowledgeable with those blades, and why chance it he thought.

 

Daryl finally freed himself of his shirt. He then removed the belt from around his ankles and threw it across the room. He got up cursing the whole time, pulling his pants back up. Son of a bitch! This did not go the way he'd planned. He went in search of Toni.

 

Toni walked into the house to see everybody still there. She turned around and went back outside. She didn't want to see anybody now.

“Toni? Can I come out?” Jesus asked. Shit! Shit! Shit! She paced on the porch. She hadn't seen Jesus in over two years, but she really needed to talk to someone, and he was the only person she really knew.

“Yes.”

“Well would you mind telling the children that it's okay?” He asked.

“What?” She opened the door and looked inside. Her kids.....Her Kids, were holding him at knife point!

“Lisa! Landon! Lucas! What do you think you're doing! Release him at once! Bring me my blades!”
She watched as they reluctantly released him. He came out onto the porch. Lisa handed her, her blades.

“I'm sorry Jesus. My children are very protective of me.” She started to strap them all into place.

“Yes.” He laughed. “They've already informed me that I can't have you.” She felt better being armed once again.

“Have me?”

“Yes, only Daryl can have you.” She started to cry.

“Hey? What's wrong? Did he hurt you?”

“Noooooo.” She cried “I wanted him to have me but he's too bigggg!” She cried harder. She wrapped her arms around him. He held her tight.

“What happened?” He asked.

Daryl stayed where he was, beside the porch hidden in the bushes.

“Nothing! Nothing is what happened! I had him all tied up, and I pulled his pants down...............”

“You had him tied up?”

“That's not important Jesus! Pay attention! I saw it! There no way it'll fit! It'll split me in two!” She cried harder.

“Noooo....it won't.......”

“Have you seen it?”

“No! I haven't seen it!” He wished he had, he been crushing on Daryl ever since he'd met him.

“Then how do you know?”

“How was it with the other guys?” She backed away from him.

“What other guys? What do you mean?”

“You have been with a man before.... haven't you?”

“Not that it's any of your business.....but no …..not willingly.”

“What?”

“Never mind!” She turned to leave. He grabbed her arm and turned her to face him.

“Wait! Toni! Don't go. I'm sorry, a woman as beautiful as you.... I just assumed..........”

“You assumed? Do I look like a trollop? A Whore? Someone who would just jump into bed with any Tom, Dick, or Harry?” She shook off his hand on her arm.

“No! That's not what I meant at all!”

“Let's fight! I need to fight!” She backed up and kicked out, hitting him in the hip. Then bounced in her fighting stance.

“You wanna fight? Alright! Let's go!” He took off down the steps and walked around the side of the house into the back yard. He got into his fighting stance.

“Know what I think, Toni?” He threw a punch which she easily blocked.

“I don't think I really care what you think! I think I'm just gonna kick your ass!”

“I think that you don't know anything about men!”

“Ha! I know they're stupid!” She lifted her right leg, then quickly changed it to her left and hit him with a roundhouse kick to the temple! “How's that feel, Jesus?”

“I think you're just scared, Toni! You've gone your whole life avoiding men.” He kicked out making contact with her rib cage, sending her down on her ass. She was back up in seconds.

“I didn't avoid men! I didn't have time for them! Always underestimating me! Thinking that I'm weak!”
She dropped and swiped out with her leg, knocking him off his feet. They were both back up instantly. Jesus, connected with her mouth drawing first blood.

“Ha! First blood! Ready to quit?”

“Ha! You'd like that, wouldn't you? Scared?”

“Of tiny little thing like you?”

She started to kick only to throw a punch instead hitting him square in the nose. It bled profusely and made his eyes water. She did another sweep with her leg and brought him down onto his back. She jumped on top of him.

“Say Mercy!”

“I don't think so.” He brought his legs up and around her throat flipping her back over his feet. He was on her, pinning her wrists above her head.

 

“Damn, she's good!” Abe said. They all cringed when Toni got him in the nose and had him flat on his back. Daryl was watching from the bedroom window. He gone in unnoticed, since everyone was glued to the windows of the back of the house to watch the fight. He'd packed a bag for overnight. They were going to talk about this, if it took them all night. He made his way downstairs and out the door. He threw the backpack over one shoulder. Now to go collect his woman. When he reached the back yard, it was to see Jesus on top of Toni pinning her down. He walked over to them. They both looked up at him.

“I'll take it from here.” Jesus rolled off to Toni's side and Daryl pulled her up only to throw her over his shoulder. He gave her ass a good smack.

“Ouch! Dixon! What are you doing? Put me down! Why did you hit me?”

“That's for leaving me tied up.”

“I unbuttoned one hand!”

“And I told you we needed to talk about it!” He smacked her ass again.

“Ouch! Stop that!” He started walking away with her around to the front of the house. Jesus followed. Everyone was on the porch. He signed something to the kids and left with his small burden pounding on his back. Lisa and her brothers smiled.

“What did he say?” Rick asked.

“Nothing that concerns you.” Lisa answered, and her and the boys went inside the house.

 

Toni kept pounding on his back. Not hard though he noticed. She wasn't really trying to hurt him. It made him smile and gave him hope. Then she grabbed his ass and squeezed it. So, he slid his hand between her legs until it reached the apex of her thighs. She drew in a quick breath and squeezed her legs together. However, that move only trapped his hand between her legs. He laughed, and wiggled his fingers making her squirm.

“Oh God! Please Daryl! What are you doing to me?”

“Nothing you haven't done to me.”

“I didn't put my hand between your legs!”

“No... I believe it was your soft hair, that you ran between my legs.” She swallowed hard. That had been so hot watching him.

“Please put me down. I can walk Dixon.”

“Nope! I don't trust you not to run, and I don't feel like chasing after you.”

“I won't. I promise.” He ran a hand over her butt, caressing it.

“What are you doing?” She squeaked.

“Touching you.”

“Why?”

“Cause you need to get used to it.”

“What? Why?”

“I'm going to be touching you a lot and you need to get used to it.”

“But why?”

“Cause you're mine.” She swallowed hard. He carried her into the cottage and locked the door, before he set her down.

“Take off your clothes.”

“Wh...What?” She croaked. Did she hear him right?

“Take off your clothes.”

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 21

 

He started peeling off his shirts and throwing them on the floor. She hadn't moved. Her eyes were glued to his now naked chest.

“Here, need help?” He lifted the bottom of her tank top up and over her head before she could respond. Her hands came up to shield her bra covered breasts by sheer instinct.

“No, don't hide from me. Look at me Toni.” He tipped her head up to look into his eyes.

“It's just me and you. No one else. Just me and you.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her palm. Then placed her hand on his chest. She reached up with her other hand and lightly skimmed over his nipples. He sucked in a breath. She looked up at him and he leaned down for a kiss. He unhooked her bra and took it off her. She didn't even notice, when it fell to the floor. He pulled her stocking cap off and groaned into her mouth when he felt her hair come cascading down.

“My turn.” He placed his hands on her breasts. She looked down, startled to see her breasts were bare. She tried to cover them but ended up with her hands on his, that were already covering them.

“No....you had your turn now it's mine.” They fit perfectly in his hands. He circled her nipples with his calloused thumbs. She both felt and saw her nipples harden. It felt like nothing she'd felt before. When he leaned down with his mouth, she held her breath and just watched. What was that noise? My God, it was her! Her hands were fisted in his hair holding him close. He licked, he sucked, he nibbled. She moaned, she groaned, she begged. Begged? Yes, that was her begging! She never knew when, or felt her pants and blades being removed. He stood up. She cried at the loss.

“No, don't stop.....” He unbuckled his belt and undid his pants and let them drop to the floor where he stepped out of them. They both stood in their underwear.

“Come on.” He took her by the hand and led her into the bathroom. He started filling the tub.

“What are you doing?” She asked him.

“Getting our bath ready.” As she stood staring at the running water trying to comprehend what was happening, he stood behind her, bit her neck and spanned her belly with his hand causing delicious shivers to pulse through her. She tilted her head to give him better access, and closed her eyes, while her senses went into overdrive. His smell, his touch, the sounds he made. Without thinking she placed her hand over his much larger one on her belly and moved it lower.

“What do you want, Toni?” He whispered.

“I need......you.......to........ touch me.” She breathed while spreading her legs and moving his fingers between them.

“Please Daryl.”

“I got you Toni.” He lightly rubbed his fingers against her panties. He could feel her desire coming through the thin fabric. For him!

“You have too many clothes on.” He told her as he, ever so lightly, touched her.

“Then..... take them off! Get rid of them!” He smiled like a Cheshire cat, as he did indeed get rid of the offending garment. He slipped his fingers between her legs and she was gloriously wet. It felt so unbearably good, that her hands reached behind him and made purchase around his thighs.

“More! Please!” She raised her feet to his knees and pushed her pelvis out. She needed more friction and knew, just knew she'd die without it.

“Harder Daryl!” He applied pressure with his thumb while sliding a single finger inside her. She was so tight. She cried out and convulsed around the lonely digit. She was so fucking responsive to his slightest touch that he ejaculated against his will.

“Ahhhhhh Fuck!” He was shaking with his release, she was shaking with hers. He felt the side of the big claw footed tub and sat down on its rim.

It took everything he had to hold on to Toni so she wouldn't fall to the floor. This was the first time in his life that he'd had an orgasm at the same time as his partner, of course most of his partners had been hookers. They were both trying to catch their breath when Toni turned and looked up at him.

“What have you done to me?” She asked with wonder in her voice. He stood up with her in his arms and lowered her into the tub. He pulled his boxer briefs down and discarded them and climbed in behind her, much to her surprise!

“What are you doing?” She squeaked out.

“Thought I'd wash your back for you and then maybe you'd wash mine for me.”

“Oh.”

“Maybe we should wash your hair first.”

“My hair?” She knew how much he loved her hair. The heat started to pool in her belly. Her nipples hardened with just the thought of him touching her again. She realized that she hadn't been afraid. That she had never even thought of THEM.

“We need to hurry!”

“We have all night, there's no need to hurry.” She turned around and straddled his lap. She framed his face in her hands and looked into his eyes.

“Daryl.....I wasn't afraid!”

“Well I hope not.” He smiled at her.

“No...you don't understand...I didn't think of THEM one time! You had your teeth on me and not for 1 second did I think you'd bite me and hurt me!”

“I'd never hurt you Toni!” He was so very sincere. God, she loved this man! What! Where did that thought come from? She shook it away.

“Come on! Let's hurry! I want your hands and mouth on me!” She was always so demanding. Did he really think that she would be submissive to him in bed? Did he care? Hell no! He laughed. She was about to get her first bath lesson. He reached for the bar of soap and slowly rolled it between his hands to lather them up. She watched him.

“Daryl! Hurry up, we only have all night!” He laughed again.

“What's the rule again?”

“What rule?” She asked impatiently.

“You know the one, where you won't be sleeping with anyone who stinks.” She leaned in and took in his scent. He smelled just the way she liked him.

“You smell great!”

“But you were the one out there fighting with Jesus and getting all sweaty, and dirty. Can't have that now, can we? It sucks when your own rules come back to bite you in the ass doesn't it?” He laughed.

“Dammit! Well let's get on with it! Hurry up Dixon!”

“Now these things take time.....” He let the soap slip from his hands into the water and placed his lathered hands on her neck and rubbed, then again over her shoulders, slowly. She sucked in a breath when he came back to her chest. She leaned into him when his hands roamed over her breasts and lingered to circle her nipples. She closed her eyes and released her breath only to suck it right back in when he pulled at them. He watched her face. She was so damn responsive to everything he did. He was starting to wonder if he'd ever even make it to cum inside her. At the rate he was going it wasn't looking good for him. He smiled to himself. He guessed he better keep trying, until he got it right. Surely, he would eventually......right? He stopped.

“Oh....please don't stop!” She begged. He smiled.

“I just need more soap.” He slipped his hand under the water between their bodies to retrieve the soap. His hand and arm slithered through her very core, which was spread open wide.

“Oh God!” She hissed through her teeth. He scooped up the bar of soap and made another path returning through the valley between her legs, raising his arm for a little more pressure. Holding two fingers out, he slowly caressed her.

“There!” She demanded.

“What?” He asked her.

“Right there! Dirty! So dirty!” He stopped to linger. He let the soap go.

“Here?” He asked as he began to insert 1 finger.

“Yes! Yes! Right there.”

“You're right, it's very dirty, it may require more than 1 finger for the job.”

“Do it Daryl! Do it!” Her nails were digging into his biceps where she was hanging on for dear life. He let the second finger follow the first. Then used his thumb to rub against her. That's all it took to take her over the edge.

“Holy shit Daryl!Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

“Dammit!” He cursed, as he felt himself following her over, when her contracting pussy tried to swallow his fingers. He grabbed his cock with his other hand. She collapsed against him, both of them heaving, hearts racing. When he was able to think a coherent thought, he reached behind her and pulled the plug.

“We need to move to the shower.” She looked up at him.

“Why?”

“Because I just spilt a load into our water.”

“What??” She looked down into the water between them. “....and I missed it???” She sounded so disappointed. “Do it again! I want to watch.” He laughed out loud.

“Later, come on.”

 

“Are they coming back tonight, do you think, Lisa?” Landon wanted to know.

“I hope not.” Lisa said under her breath. She'd been waiting for this forever it seemed. Hell, since the first night that she saw Toni wrapped around Daryl's arm in her sleep.

“They'll be back probably tomorrow. They need some time to get to know one another.

“But they already know each other Lisa.” Lucas informed her.

“They want some alone time Lucas, in case they want to kiss and stuff.”

“Ewwwww, why would they want to do that?”

“Because that's what's grownups like to do, and they don't want everyone watching them.”

Rick sat at the table to drink his coffee, listening to the kids as they talked about Toni and Daryl while doing the dishes.

“Is that why you and Carl were kissing?” Landon asked
.
“What? No, we weren't!” She stole a glance at Rick. He was looking right at her with those damn brows raised in question.

“Yes, you did, we saw you Lisa, on the porch, after Toni and Daryl left, and everyone came back inside.”

“We were just whispering, you're mistaken.”

“Sure looked like you were kissing to us.”

“Well we weren't.” She threw her dish towel on the counter. “I'm going to get my shower.” She took off running upstairs, heart racing with the lie she told.

 

Daryl stood in front of Toni, with her back to the spray, rinsing the shampoo from her hair. She held her head back and just enjoyed having someone wash it for her.

“I think I got all the shampoo out.” She handed him the conditioner. He used it liberally.

“Let me wash yours why we let the conditioner set for 5 minutes.” They changed places. He ended up having to do most of the work because she just wasn't tall enough. She pouted. He laughed.

“You're adorable when you pout.”

“I'm not adorable!” She grumbled.

“Yes, you are.” He mimicked her sing song voice that she used on him regularly. She looked up at him and smiled.

“That was a good one, Dixon!”

“Gimme.” She handed him her wide tooth comb. He started to comb her out while the conditioner was still in her hair, then moved her under the spray to rinse. They swapped places again, so he could wash himself while her hair dripped. After finishing his hair, he opened his eyes to find her hungry ones on him.

“You're eating me with your eyes.”

“Well....you look like a veritable feast.” He shut the water off and stepped out of the shower to grab a couple towels.

“Turn around.” She did what he asked. He began to twist her hair to wring it out. Then wrapped it in a towel up on her head. Next, he began to dry her off.

“What are you doing? I can dry myself.”

“Where's the fun in that?” he said as he tongued her belly button, while sliding the towel up the inside of her thighs. She closed her eyes and threw her head back as she was assaulted with a whole new set of sensations she'd never felt before. He lifted her into his arms.

“Where are we going?”

“To the bed.”

“But....I'm not tired.”

“Who said anything about sleeping?” he winked at her. He laid her crosswise on the queen, sized bed and took the towel off her head so her hair would flow over the edge. He knew she didn't like to sleep on wet hair. He figured by the time he was finished showing her how much he loved her......what? He shook his head. By the time he was finished with her, her hair would be dry. He walked around to the other side of the bed. Her eyes followed him. He grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her toward him until her butt was at the edge.

“What are you doing?” She whispered. He held on to her ankles and kissed the inside of her calves, never breaking eye contact with her. When he reached knee level he knelt down onto the floor and put a leg over each shoulder.

“Daryl?”

“Hmmm.” Goosebumps were popping out all over her. He licked up the insides of her thighs.

“Oh God! What are you doing?” She moaned.

“I'm hungry.” He said as he nipped the flesh on her thigh.

“Now? You're hungry now? Can't it wait till later?”

“Nope.” He spread her center open and kissed her there. She nearly bucked off the bed. He ran his tongue through her wet folds to taste her. He never done this to anyone before. It wasn't the kind of thing he even wanted to try with any of the whore's, after all, you didn't know where they'd been, or who they were with last. The shock of what he was doing to her lasted only a second, then desire like she'd never felt before took over. She gripped the sheets and hung on to keep from falling over the cliff she was teetering on. She never given herself as much pleasure as she was getting at this moment from Daryl. She read a lot of books, none of which, prepared her for the intense feelings that she was now experiencing. He circled her nub with his tongue and inserted two fingers inside her, then sucked on it. She screamed out his name and arched off the bed, digging her heels into his back.

“Daryl!” She couldn't breathe. She started to convulse around his fingers. He pulled them out, got up and placed the tip of his cock in her entrance and started to ease himself in. Feeling his thickness intensified her orgasm.

“Oh God! Daryl! Sweet Jesus!” He pushed himself all the way in, her muscles were clamping down on his cock.

“Fuck! Ah fuck! Ahhhhhhh!” He died! He was sure of it! He died and was actually in heaven. His heart was thundering in his chest. He was gasping for air. He fell on top of her. She wrapped her arms around him, trying to catch her breath. Her legs had him in a vice grip, holding him inside her.

“Am I dead?” She whispered to him.

“I will be if you don't let me breathe, your legs are squeezing the life out of me.” She eased the lock on her legs but didn't let him withdraw. She wanted him to stay there forever. He was happy to do so. He kissed her with all passion of a man in love. And he let go for the first time in his life.
“I love you Toni.” He whispered low in her ear, afraid to say it out loud. She lifted his head and looked into his eyes to verify his declaration. There, she saw it, he meant it. He had tears in his eyes. Her own tears fell as she kissed his lips and told him...... “I've loved you for some time now Daryl.” He smiled at her and wiped her tears.

“These are happy tears?” He asked just to be sure. She nodded and kissed him again. Holding on to him. When he tried to roll off of her, she said 'not yet.' So, he stayed where he was, perfectly content, as it seemed he always was, when he was with her.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 22

 

Abe lowered his binoculars and Sasha lowered her rifle. They were on the west wall tonight when they noticed that that lights were on in the little cottage by the pond. They knew no one lived there, so they thought it may be kids, and were going to investigate, when they saw Daryl and Toni. The lights were on and the sliding door curtains in the bedroom were open much to Abe's delight.
“I'll be damned....he's going for it!”

“Who?...what?” Sasha asked.

“Check out yonder cottage.” He chuckled, pointing to the one by the lake. He lit a cigar.

“This shift just got interesting.” He said as Sasha lifted her rifle and looked through the sight.

 

Rick's eye's shifted to the cottage by the lake but he couldn't see it from his position on the ground below the west wall where Sasha and Abe were keeping watch. He stayed close to the wall so as not to cause attention and slowly made his way toward the cottage, to stand behind the big sycamore in the back yard. He had a clear view to the inside of the bedroom.

 

Jesus froze up in the big sycamore tree as Rick walked beneath it and stopped. It appeared they both had the same idea. Though probably for different reasons.

 

Lisa and the boys crept around the side of the cottage. They were in the butterfly bushes, to the right of the sliding door, when Daryl with a towel hanging low on his hips carried a naked Toni into the bedroom and laid her on the bed. He walked around to the other side of the bed and grabbed her ankles and pulled her toward him. She covered her brother’s eyes and ushered them back home with a smile on her face.

 

Daryl woke hours later, to Toni sitting up beside him studying his body. She'd pulled the sheet off of him.
“Whatcha doing?” He smiled at her.

“Just looking.” She returned his smile and leaned down for a kiss. Daryl's body began to stir. After the night they had, Daryl knew she had to be sore.

“Well....I'm hungry.”

“Really?” She smiled.

“Yes.”

“Okay.” She flopped down beside him, raised her knees and spread her legs. She waved her hand out.
“Go ahead.” Daryl erupted with laughter! She delighted him to no end. He rolled on top of her and kissed her hard.

“I need food in my belly! Wanna come home with me and get something to eat?”

“I could eat.”

“Come on, get dressed.”

“Uggg....I don't want to put dirty clothes on.”

“There are some clean ones in my bag.” Toni got up to search for his backpack. She found it in the living room. Going through it, all she could find for herself was Landon's smiley face boxers and her black sports bra. She walked back into the bedroom.

“This is what you call clean clothes?”

“Yes, I like you in that outfit.” He smiled. How could she get mad when he says something like that? She put them on, then picked Daryl's t-shirt up off the floor from last night. She held it to her nose. It smelled just like him. She slipped it over her head and hugged herself. Daryl came walking out of the bathroom and stopped and looked at her in his shirt.

“That looks good on you too.” he winked at her. She picked up her blades and started to strap them on.

“Smells just like you. I don't need you at all.”

“Is that right?” He took a step toward her.

“Now Daryl, I was just teasing.” She laughed and took a step back.

“Don't want my kisses......” he took another step forward. She took one back still giggling.

“Don't want these hands on you......” Another step. She backed right into the side of the bed.

“Or my mouth.....and....tongue.....” She was as good as caught! She turned quickly to crawl across the bed. He lunged forward and grabbed an ankle, pulling her back to him. She squealed with delight as he flipped her over on her back and landed on top of her.

“Whatcha hungry for now, Dixon?” She whispered to him and locked her legs around him.

 

They got dressed for the second time an hour later..........

“Dammit! I don't have any shoes! Next time let me pack for us.”

“I packed exactly what I wanted you to wear.” He laughed.

“So let me see if I have this right.....you WANT me to walk back into the house, that a lot of other people live in, including Rick, Abe, and Eugene ….....wearing just my boxers and sports bra?” He looked up from tying his boots.

“Maybe I didn't think this through.”

“You think?” She laughed. He watched her as she put his dirty T-shirt back on and smelled it, then hugged herself. He finished tying his shoes and stood up.

“Ready? Hop up.”

“Huh.”

“Come on, you don't have shoes, I'll give you a piggyback ride.”

“I've never had a piggyback ride before.”

“Not even when you were little with your friends?”

“No, I didn't have any friends.” he frowned, but decided not to press just yet.

“Come on, hop up!” She did so laughing and locked her legs around him. They headed home, whispering and giggling all the way. They made their way into the house.

“I'm gonna go check on the kids.” Toni whispered to him and released her leg hold to slide down. Daryl grabbed her legs and held them in place and started up the stairs.

 

Rick lay in his bed facing the open door. He normally closed it at night while he slept, but tonight he'd left it open. With Toni and Daryl at the cottage, there was no one to keep an eye on Lisa and Carl. He didn't want them to be sneaking around in the dead of night, like her Mother and Daryl were tonight. He smiled to himself. She may be giving him wet dreams, but he was happy for Daryl. Daryl needed love in the worst way. He'd never had any, and the changes in him were incredible. He was like a different person. They all knew he loved them even though he didn't know how to show it, and they loved him too, though he had a devil of a time accepting it. Since his time recuperating in the tiny cellar, forced to spend weeks without being above ground, trapped with the little family, he had become part of it. He heard whispering and someone coming up the stairs. His hand automatically reached under his pillow for his revolver. The full moon lit up the hallway enough for him to clearly see Daryl and Toni. Toni slowly slid down Daryl's back to the floor raising the T-shirt as she went. Damn! He closed his eyes the images just kept stacking up. Now he had one of her in those tiny boxer shorts. He opened his eyes to see the T-shirt back in place coming down to the top of her thighs. He hoped he didn't groan out loud at the sight. His bedroom curtains were closed so he was blanketed in darkness. He sat up on the side of his bed to see what they were up to. He watched Toni jump on the bed where the kids were sleeping.

 

Toni hadn't been away from the kids in the 2 plus years that she'd had them until coming here. She'd barely seen them today with everything that had happened. From throwing her blades at Daryl early this afternoon to spending the rest of the day with him in the cottage, twice! She needed to see them. She jumped on the bed hoping to wake them up. She didn't care that it was the middle of the night. She needed to hear their voices and see their beautiful faces. The kids instantly woke up!
“Toni?” Lisa questioned.

“Oh, sorry sweetie did I wake you?”

“Toni!” Lucas cried out and wrapped his little arms around her.

“Is everything okay Toni?” Landon asked with a blade in his hand. Daryl just smiled.

“Yes, everything is fine. I tried not to wake you, but since you're all up....do you wanna have a picnic?”

“Yes!” They all said at once.

“Okay, come on! Grab a couple blankets for us.”

“Are we having it outside?” Lucas wanted to know.

“Yes, we are! Now be quiet, we don't want to wake everyone. Make sure you grab your shoes too.”

Daryl picked up Lucas who was holding onto his shoes and started out of the room, with Toni and the kids in tow. They went to the kitchen and heated up the chili, grabbed the cornbread, and the chocolate pudding for dessert. Toni was surprised that there were so many left overs until the children admitted that they hadn't eaten. So, none of them had eaten dinner last night. They carried their picnic out to the back yard and spread blankets down and talked and laughed while they ate.

 

Rick pulled his jeans on and went into the hallway to look out the big double window, overlooking the back yard. He watched as Toni fed Daryl while he had Lucas in his lap, holding his bowl of chili for him to eat. Lisa gave Landon a shove which sent him into fits of laughter. They were all smiling. They looked like a happy family. They were a happy family.

“Never thought I'd see the day when our Daryl was happy, truly happy.” Carol said from beside him, with a smile on her face.

“They really are good for each other.” Michonne added.

“I think they're gonna need their own place.” Abe speculated.

“I wonder if they........” Carol began.

“They did.” Rick and Abe said at the same time. They looked at each other....then smiled.

“What? You guys spied on them?” Michonne asked with disbelief.

“Spied on who?” Carl asked coming out of his room.

“No one.” Rick said.

“Why is everyone up? It's the middle of the night.” Carl looked to the right and noticed that Lisa and the boys were gone.

“They're gone! Where are Lisa and the boys?” Rick pointed out the window.

“What are they doing out there in the middle of the night?”

“Having a picnic.” Carol answered him laughing.

“Why?” He wondered.

“I imagine Toni missed them today, seeing how she jumped on the bed to wake them up.” Rick informed them. They stood there watching in silence for a couple minutes before returning to their rooms.

 

When Rick woke next it was nearly 6 am. Another sleepless night. It seemed these days he was lucky to get at least 3 hours. He went to the bathroom, on his way back to his room he looked out the window. There they all were, asleep outside. He walked into his room to finish dressing then backtracked. He looked out the window again to see Carl sleeping beside Lisa. He ran a hand down his face. He finished dressing and went down stairs to make coffee. As he approached the kitchen, he saw Toni reaching for the coffee cups up in the cupboard. However, she was just too short and her stretching made the T-shirt rise up over the tiny boxer shorts she wore. He continued to watch as Daryl stepped up behind her, picked her up and turned her around.

“Hi.” She whispered.

“Hi.” He whispered back. Then he leaned in and kissed her.

Rick hated that he was feeling the green, eyed monster, rise up inside him. He stamped it back down.

“Morning.” He greeted them without looking at them.

“Morning.” they said together. He reached around them for a coffee cup.

“You lose your pants?” He asked Toni. She looked down at herself completely forgetting that she wasn't wearing any.

“Shit!” She scrambled from the kitchen and ran up the stairs before anyone else got up.

“Something wrong?” Daryl asked him. Rick looked at him and realized that he was being a jerk. He schooled his features.

“Sorry Daryl, I didn't get much sleep last night, I'm just a little tired.”

“Yeah, me too.” He smiled at him. Rick saw how happy Daryl was and gave him a genuine smile and a smack on the back.

“You look happy Daryl.”

“I am.”

“What time are you going out today?”

“Huh?”

“Didn't you, Tara and Aaron have plans to hit that Veterinary College out on route 20 today?”

“Dammit! I forgot!”

“What did you forget?” Toni asked coming back into the kitchen fully dressed.

“I have a run today with Tara and Aaron.”

“But you just got back yesterday.”

“This is just a day run, I'll be home tonight.”

“Oh...okay. It'll give me some time with the kids and I need to go clean up and do some laundry.” She winked at him. He smiled.

“I better go get ready.” He left to go change.

“Jesus and I are going to run to a little subdivision he found on his way here. Do you want to go with us and show me more of those hiding places you seem to be able to find? It'll just take a couple of hours.”

“Sure, I’d be happy to.”

“So......how'd my son end up outside sleeping on a blanket with your daughter?”

“I carried him out last night. Won't he be surprised when he wakes up?” She watched him. He was in the process of raising his cup to his mouth. He stopped and cocked his head looking at her. She burst out laughing! Carl was like a head taller than she was. He laughed.

“We had a picnic last night and he came out to join us. We were star gazing, he must have fallen asleep with the rest of us.

“More like gazing into a pair of big blue eyes.” He said under his breath. She laughed again.

“Right you are!” She said and gave his shoulder a squeeze.

The children, including Carl, piled their way through the back door into the kitchen. Toni started getting out the cereal bowls, boxes of sugary cereal, and pulled the milk she'd made yesterday out of the frig. She put everything on the table for the kids to dig into. Then warmed of some left over, biscuits and cornbread and put jam on the table. Jesus and Daryl joined them, and within 15 minutes the kitchen was jammed pack full of people, when Carol, Abe, Michonne, and Eugene came down. When Tara and Aaron arrived, you could barely move. Toni started another pot of coffee then turned around and leaning up against the counter she just watched everyone. They were reaching across one another, asking for things to be passed, talking over each other, laughing, joking. Silverware clanking against glass bowls, chocolate quick being passed to mix with the milk. Toni didn't even realize that she had tears rolling down her cheeks as she smiled at the scene before her. But Daryl did.

“Toni, what's wrong?” He started to get up. The room went silent as everyone turned to look at her. She put a hand up and wiped her tears with the other one.

“I'm sorry.....you all are such a beautiful family. We've been away from people since the beginning. I just felt an overwhelming love for all of you just now watching you. Your kindness to me and my kids.......it just hit me being in here with all of you....you can barely move. Everyone is so happy to just be with each other.” She put a hand on her heart as she saw Maggie and Glenn standing inside the back door.

“There's so much love here, it's kind of over whelming me.” She laughed. Her kids jumped up to hug her. The tears kept falling, as eventually everyone hugged her. Daryl was last. He picked her up and sat her on the counter and settled himself between her legs. She wrapped her arms around his neck.

“You want me to make you some spaghetti tonight?” She asked him while he was wiping away her happy tears.

“Yes.” He answered and kissed her.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 23

 

As everyone finished up with breakfast, Toni put the kids on cleanup, including Carl. It still amazed the adults that Toni's kids never questioned her or complained about anything.

“It's not normal. Kids are supposed to complain about chores.” Carol said to Maggie and Michonne.

“Come on! Let's go ask them.” Maggie said.

“If you haven't noticed they aren't shy and have no problem speaking their mind. The ladies walked into the kitchen where the children were laughing and joking doing the dishes by hand, wiping the counters and the table down. Maggie asked.....

“Never in my life have I ever seen kids who don't complain about doing cleanup or chores of any kind. Are you guys for real?” They all stopped what they were doing at the question, then continued working while Lisa answered.

“We have no reason to complain.” When they just stared at her she continued.

“I guess you could say it all started when she saved my brothers from the dead. She didn't even know I existed then. When she got my brothers home they told her about me. She came back to look for me and saved me too. When she got all of us to the cellar where she lived, she sat down with us, I was barely 14 then, Landon was 8, and Lucas was only 4. We sat in a circle and she said that we were going to be a family now, so we were going to have to have rules. We tease her about the rules and her being bossy, but the truth is we all made the rules together. We talked them out, all of us, even 4 year old Lucas, she said, that he also had a say in everything.

“That's because Toni says I'm smart.” He was proud to inform them.

“Yes, you are.” Lisa agreed.

“We have a can that the chores are written down on little pieces of paper. To make it fair Toni told us. Same with the positions for our bath, cause at home we don't have running water or hot water, yet somehow she was always last for the bath, and always got the most hated chore.” Lisa smiled.

“She doesn't know that we know she rigged it. But we do. She always puts us first. Always. Even when Daryl was there she was still last. I think he figured it out too.” She laughed.

“She taught us how to survive. How to tie knots. Throw blades, use our slingshots, make traps, clean game, and to have each, others backs. She taught us how to go the library and solve our own problems by looking things up. We have how to books on just about everything. As something would happen, like when Daryl was hurt, she taught us how to climb a tree without using our legs. How to escape from a second story window............. The one and only time she almost died …...was because she made sure we were safe before herself. We've only ever been hungry 1 time in over 2 years. The dead had us trapped in the cellar and didn't move on for 2 weeks. But she showed us how to ration, made us drink the dirty bath water. When we were able to finally get out, she made sure we could last for months in a siege. She said things would always pop up and test us, we just need to use our brains and solve our problems. Look for the answers. Do you know what she did for my 16th birthday? This was after her being bedridden for like 6 weeks, and she'd never even ever had a birthday celebration of her own?”

“Can I tell them Lisa?” Lucas was fairly bursting. “Sure.”

“We had a surprise party for Lisa! We got suits for us and party dresses for the ladies.”

“And shoes.” Landon added.

“Yes! And shoes. We had music and we danced!”

“We had presents.” Landon added.

“Yes! We had a pillow fight and a slumber party.”

“It was the best birthday ever! The point is Toni puts all of us before her. She loves us like we're her own. She would kill for us and has.” She made a point to look at each of them.

“We would do anything for her....anything, and do it without complaining.”

“Just last night we got to have a picnic outside in the middle of the night.” Landon told them.
Toni came walking in the back door carrying all the blankets.

“You guys did a great job! Thanks for the help.” She put the blankets in the washer and started it.

“Dixon's gonna be leaving soon if you want to tell him goodbye and give him some love.” She said to the kids.

 

Everyone in the living room had heard Lisa's explanation, including Daryl, Rick and Jesus. Lucas came running out of the kitchen calling Daryl, and the man scooped him up.

“Toni said you're leaving and you need some love. I love you Daryl.”

“I love you too buddy.” Lucas hugged him and kissed his cheek. Lisa, Landon, and Carl came next. When Lisa hugged him, she gave him a reminder.

“Come home safe or Toni will kill you.” She kissed his cheek and winked at him. He laughed at her.

“I know she will, I'll be careful.” He whispered. Landon was next.

“Don't forget you promised to teach me to hunt. So, make sure you come back.” He hugged him.

“I never break a promise, I'll be back.” He said as he returned his hug. Aaron and Tara got up off the couch.

“Ready?” Aaron asked Daryl.

“Yeah, one sec.” He went into the kitchen in search of Toni. Her back was to him wiping down the coffee maker. He didn't even notice Maggie, Michonne, or Carol. He came up behind her and put his teeth on her neck, then sucked on it. She moaned and tilted her head, silently asking for more. He was happy to oblige. His hands slid under the front of her tank top to cover her breasts.

“Daryl! Let’s go!” Aaron called from the living room. He groaned, turned her around, and picked her up and set her on the counter. He laid his forehead up against hers.

“I gotta go.” He whispered.

“Come home to me.” She whispered back. He kissed her hard. Then gave her one last quick kiss and he straightened up and turned to leave. That's when he saw them! Carol, Maggie, and Michonne, all had their eyes closed and their lips puckered. He smiled big, and kissed each one, right on the lips and walked out. Toni laughed as their eyes popped open in shock and their jaws dropped. As she walked passed them she put a finger under their chins to close their mouths, laughing all the way. She stopped and turned.

“Isn't he beautiful?” She breathed. Then she walked out. She stepped out onto the porch as they were opening the car doors.

“Daryl” She called. He turned before getting into the passenger front seat. Aaron and Tara paused and looked back too, because she'd called him Daryl. Toni kissed her palm and blew it to him. He reached up and grabbed it and put it in his pocket smiling. Toni watched until they left the and the gate closed behind them.

 

Toni walked to the cottage to gather the dirty clothes and bedding. She changed the bed, cleaned the tub and wiped down the shower and sink. She wanted it to be clean in case they came again. When she got back to the house her first load was done so she started a second and hung the blankets out on the clothesline. Lisa and Carl were sitting on the porch swing, heads together sharing a pair of ear buds and listening to music. She slipped behind the swing, and put an arm around each of their shoulders, then nudged her head between theirs. They pulled out the ear buds and looked at her. She ran a hand down the side of Carl's head and said.......

“Your Daddy, Jesus and I …..”Then did the same to Lisa and said......

“Rick, Jesus and I are going out on a quick run to a small community Jesus passed through on his way here. He says it looked untouched. So, we're going to go check it out. I need you two to look after Landon and Lucas.

“Sure Toni, no problem.” Lisa agreed.

“Sure.” Carl agreed. Toni gave them each a kiss on the cheek and started for the door. She stopped and looked back over at them.

“Lisa would you finish the load of laundry that I put in the washer?”

“Sure.”

Rick sat on the couch and picked up a magazine. Toni went upstairs, not even looking Rick's way.

“Sorry...she's kind of a touchy, feely, kissy, person.” He heard Lisa say.

“That's okay, I don't mind.” Carl said, because he really didn't. They went back to their music, heads pressed together.

 

“Toni, Jesus and I are gonna go get the truck. We'll swing around and pick you up after we gas it up.”

“Okay, I'll be ready, by the time you get back.” Toni grabbed her backpack with the 12 duffels inside, then reached for her 'Just in Case' backpack. She packed food, water, medical supplies, moonshine, and a change of clothes. Then added extra blades, rope, stones and her slingshot, for good measure. As she made her way to the front porch, her kids were already waiting for her. She hugged and kissed them all, including Carl who seemed to always be there, or where ever Lisa was. She whispered to Carol to please keep an eye on Carl and Lisa, after all, she wasn't ready to become a Grandmother just yet. Rick and Jesus pulled up in front of the house. Toni gave one last 'Be Good' and headed down the steps. Jesus open the passenger door, but, before he could get out to let her in, she threw her bags in the truck bed and climbed over top of his lap to sit between them. Jesus laughed.

“I would have gotten out to let you in.”

“No worries! I'm in.” She smiled at him. Rick pulled away from the curb.

“Toni!” Lisa shouted.

“Wait! Stop!” Toni said to Rick. She climbed on Jesus's lap and hung out the window to see the kids blowing her kisses. She reached out into the air and caught them all, then returned them. She climbed back inside the window to sit between the 2 men again.

“Okay, we can go now.” Then she stuck her closed hand into the top of her tank and placed her kisses inside her bra since she didn't have any pockets. Jesus and Rick smiled as they watched her with her imaginary kisses. They road in silence for about 30 minutes each lost in their own thoughts. Toni's eyes were closed as she relived last night with Daryl. Oh, the things he'd done to her, with his hands, with his mouth, the way he made her feel. Rick and Jesus glanced at her from time to time thinking she was asleep. Boy, did they find out how wrong they were, when next she spoke.

“What can you guys tell me about blow jobs?” She asked them. Jesus choked on the water he was drinking. She slapped him on his back.

“What the hell kind of question is that?” Rick was sure he had to of heard her wrong.

“I mean I know what it is.... I've read about it!”

“Of course, you have.” Rick said under his breath.

“This is not something you should be talking to us about!” Jesus nearly shouted.

“Why not? You're both handsome men, surely you've gotten a blow job before.”

“That's none of your business!” Jesus couldn't believe she even asked.

“Well...I don't want to know who you got one from! I want to know what you liked about it!”

“Jesus Christ.” Rick still couldn't wrap his mind around her coming out and asking.

“Toni.......” Jesus started.......

“What I need to know is......... what exactly do I have to do for you to like it? I mean do I suck it hard or soft? Can I touch it with my teeth or no? Do I lick it? Kiss it? What is it that you guys like?”

“I, for one, am NOT going to tell you how to give a blow job! For Christs sake!” Jesus fairly hollered.

Toni turned and looked at Rick, expectantly. That man was rubbing a hand down his face, still in disbelief. There was no way in hell Rick was going to tell her how to give Daryl a blow job!

“I'm not telling you either!” Rick said without looking at her. Toni pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, put her head down and pouted.

“If you guys didn't know stuff...I would tell you.” She said grumpily. Rick and Jesus looked at each other and smiled, shaking their heads.

“Turn here.” Jesus said pointing right. Toni lifted her head, pout forgotten, they needed to pay attention for walkers and people. They backed up in a driveway where the garage door was open and parked inside it. They decided to stick together and do one house at a time. Neither man wanting to leave Toni alone. Though both thought that she was more than capable, it just didn't sit right with them. It had nothing to do with the fact that Daryl would kill them if anything happened to her. They filled 5 duffels in the first house. It amazed Rick to no end how she found secret stashes. They moved on to the second house, where it appeared that they were having a party, when the world went to shit. As soon as they were inside, bodies started rising up, before Jesus and Rick could attack anyone. They were falling to the floor. All six walkers hit the floor before Rick or Jesus reached them to take them out. Damn she was fast with those blades! They helped her retrieve her knives, then started to scavenge.

This house had a treasure trove of weapons. She'd never seen a smile so big on Rick's face, as he looked at the weapons she'd found in a closet, with a false wall, in the master bedroom. It took 3 trips for them to carry them out to the truck. After 3 houses the truck bed was full. They decided they'd come back tomorrow with more people and vehicles. They had started for home when Rick saw a library. He pulled around back. He remembered that Toni had told Daryl, she's left her book at home when she'd taught him all about 'Foreplay with the Alpha Male'. He smiled a secret smile to himself.

“What are we doing here?” Toni asked. Jesus looked at him too. He thought it would be smart to get this load home as quickly as possible.

“Daryl mentioned that you like going to the library for 'How to' books and books for the kids, so I thought we could make a quick stop on the way home.”

“Great! Thanks Rick. I’ll be quick.” They got out and went inside. It was clear of walkers. Rick pointed as he said to Toni........

“Self Help is right over there.” He was smiling as he walked away.

“Okay, thanks.” Toni said then stopped and slowly walked into the self help, section. Why did he point her to the self help section and not the 'How to” section?
She stood in the self help section and stewed. The longer she stewed the madder she got. This wasn't a coincidence at all. She knew someone was watching yesterday, her gut was never wrong, and now she knew who. So, he likes to watch. Let's see if he likes to participate, Toni thought with a smile.

After a few minutes Rick came over to her and asked if she was finding everything alright. With her right hand she pulled a blade and had it under his chin in the blink of an eye. Rick froze. With her left hand she removed his gun from his holster and moved around behind him. Holding her blade to his back she said, in the same low sultry tone that she had used yesterday on Daryl
.
“Arms up Rick, or should I call you Tom...as in peeping Tom?” Rick cringed and slowly raised his arms. He'd underestimated her intelligence. She brought the revolver up to his ear and slid it against the side of his face until the bullet chamber was right beside his ear, then she cocked it.

“Ohhhh...Fuck, now there's a sound to get the adrenaline pumping. An interesting choice of weapons, Rick. A python …..mmmmm......like a snake” She angled the nose under his chin as she moved back in front of him.

“Much heavier than my blades, but my blades are sneaky and quiet, like a fucking ninja.” She ran the nose of the gun down his throat and across his collarbone. Much like she'd done on Daryl.

“Now I could understand you just wanted to protect Daryl.” He cocked and nodded his head.

“But....within 15 seconds you would have known he was fine.” Rick started to shake his head no.

“You Fucking liar!” She said loudly. “You just wanted to watch!”

“You should have just taken this fucking python up to bed with you and laid it on your bare chest. It would have been cool,......... hard,......... and heavy. Maybe you would have slithered this python across your fucking nipples Rick, until they got so hard that you needed to pinch them yourself just to get relief.” She caressed his nipples with the barrel of his gun and watched them harden. Rick closed his eyes and sucked in his breath.

“This fucking Python is big, and long....just like the snake it's named after...” She slid it down to his stomach and put the tip into the waistband of his jeans.

“Does it get hot when it's fired?........ do you know what I do when things get hot..... Rick?” She said just a breath away from his chest so he could feel the heat. “I blow.”

“Fuck Rick, it's almost too much for my small hand to handle..so sleek and heavy, and long.” Rick groaned, between her tone and the play on words he was getting harder by the second.

“Toni.” It was barely a whisper.

“Don't you dare fucking speak to me!” She removed the gun from his waistband and flattened it against his cock.

“How's that feel....... Rick? Snake.... against..... snake. Fuck, watching you is turning me on!” She forced a little more pressure. He groaned out loud then sucked in his breath and held it. She moved his python to the inside of his knee and slowly slid it upward on the inside of his thigh.

“Just imagine Rick if you were fucking naked and feeling the cool steel sliding up your thighs. The fucking power this snake possesses.” She stopped when it rested snugly beneath his balls. She heard him hiss between his teeth.

“Close your eyes Rick, feel it caressing you?” She seesawed it back and forth under his balls. He was moaning now.

“Is the tip of your fucking cock wet....... Rick?”

“Are you almost there...... Rick? Are you close to cumming? I think you are.”

She removed the gun and uncocked it. Then twirled it like she'd seen them do in the old westerns and placed it back into his holster.

“No release for you ..Rick! Stay out of my business and consider yourself schooled!” She walked away mumbling. “God damn alpha males!”

Rick's chin fell to his chest. He was still trying to get his wits about him. He certainly fucked up this time. It took him a minute to realize his hands were still in the air. At least she let him keep his clothes on. Jesus walked over to him as soon as Toni was out of sight.

“Damn Rick! What did you do?”

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 24

 

“I underestimated her.” He rubbed a hand down his face.

“Come on. Let's get back home.” As soon as they got outside, they saw Toni fighting 3 walkers. Rick reached to pull his colt. Jesus laid a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Wait! Let her get it out.”

“Are you crazy! There's 3 of them!” Rick tried to shake off his hand.

“Rick! You were in the same room with me when she took out 6 walkers before we even got close! Toni doesn't fight walkers, unless by choice. Whatever you did sure has pissed her off. Let her work some of it off.”

Rick flashed back to another time Toni had taken out the walkers when they were in the house before they got trapped. He was right, her way was to take them out from a distance, not in hand to hand combat. He eased his revolver back into its holster. Then took it back out.

“Just in case.” He told Jesus. After all Daryl would kill him if he let something happen to her. As they watched it was clear she wasn't trying to kill them. She wanted to fight. No matter how many times she kicked them down, they got back up. She used front kicks, sidekicks, roundhouse kicks, and spinning kicks. It was very impressive to watch. After about 15 minutes, within a blink of an eye, they all lay dead with blades in their skulls. She retrieved her knives and wiped them on the dead's clothing, then headed for the truck, where she vaulted herself over the truck bed and sat on top of the duffels. Rick and Jesus made their way to the truck.

“Come on Toni, get inside.” Rick said.

“I'm good right here, I need some air.” She said without looking at him. He sighed and got inside the truck. He opened the little slide window in the back of the cab.

“Holler if you change your mind.” He said as he started the engine. They headed for home, in silence. Jesus sat sideways facing Rick so he could keep an eye on Toni. He watched as she pulled her kisses out of her top and put them to her lips. He couldn't imagine what Rick could have done to warrant the lesson she'd given him.

Toni sat on the heap of scavenged goods in a pout. She was miserable. Her misery didn't like company so she elected to sit in the back. However, she wanted company, so something had to give. So, she said so long to her misery and put her feet through the small back window and started to climb through. As her hips hit the window, she almost got stuck but made it just barely. Her shirt, on the other hand snagged on something coming through and rose up to her neck. She couldn't seem to pull the snag free. Rick and Jesus were getting quite the eyeful of her belly, abs that clearly defined a six pack and bra clad breasts. Rick brought the truck to a stop to see if he could help, but not before looking his fill. Jesus had one hand under her back and another on her belly, trying help support her.

“Shit!” They heard her muffled curse. Rick was enjoying the view. He was smiling. Jesus gave him a dirty look.

“See if you can see what's she's caught on.” Jesus said to him through gritted teeth.

“I can't maneuver with the steering wheel, here ...I'll hold her you see if you can get to it.” Rick put his hands on her back and belly while Jesus worked to find where she'd gotten snagged. Jesus freed her and her head and arms came through. Rick didn't let go until she was seated and trying to pull her tank top down.

“You can let go now.” Rick pulled his hands away like he'd been burned. Jesus raised a brow. Rick turned forward and started up the truck and began driving.

“I brought a present.” She said smiling. She started to open the chocolate bar with almonds. It was her favorite. She broke off a piece and put in up to Ricks lips. He opened his mouth and accepted the sweet treat. Jesus was next, who took it from her hand and ate it. Then she took a bite for herself.

“Oh my God! This is so good! I would do just about anything for this.” She said with her eyes closed savoring every melting piece of deliciousness. She broke off another piece for Rick and put it in his mouth. He watched her as she then licked her fingers. Then spied Jesus looking at him like he’d like to kill him. He faced forward. Jesus said he was good when she offered him another piece and told her to enjoy it. Which she did. The rest of the ride home was uneventful.

 

Rick parked in front of the house so they could unload. The kids came running down the steps to hug Toni. After hugs and hello's Toni asked them to help unload. Then went into the house to go to the bathroom. She was on the first landing of the stairs when she heard Daryl bellow.

“Where in the hell have you been?” She turned, hand on her blade.

“Geez Dixon, don't tell me you were worried about little old me!” The room was full of people.

“Ha! I was worried about all the criminals and walkers out there!” She smiled.

“As you should be, when I'm on the loose!” She laughed.

“You know...for the big silent type.....that was funny Dixon, there's hope for you yet!” And she continued up the steps laughing. He followed her.

“I'm going to pee Dixon. I don't need help” He continued up. When Toni came out of the bathroom, he was sitting on the edge of the bed. She walked over to him and stood between his legs. She rested her forehead against his.

“Hi.” she whispered.

“Hi.” He whispered back and pulled her in closer by her hips.

“You came home to me.” She hugged him.

“I told you I would.” He kissed her. He lifted his head and looked into her eyes.

“Why didn't you tell me you were going out today?”

“It just didn't cross my mind. I'm sorry, I'm not used to having someone other than my kids care.” He saw it for the truth. It wouldn't have occurred to her.

“Will you try, so I don't worry?”

“Yes, I will, but I don't think it's gonna matter. You get pretty upset when I go out.” He gave a humorless laugh. She was right.

“We're having a cookout tonight, so my spaghetti will have to wait til tomorrow.” He said it so sadly that she laughed.

“I could go ahead and make it up tonight and sneak you some and save the rest til tomorrow.” He hugged her for suggesting it.

“Nah, I can wait til tomorrow, but thank you for offering.”

“Why are we having a cookout instead of your promised spaghetti?”

“Maggie and Glenn's frig broke down sometime yesterday, and they didn't notice til this afternoon, since they been eating over here and taking extra shifts on the wall. So, the deer steaks and burgers have thawed and we don't want them to go to waste so we're cooking out on the grill.”

“Oh! I found like 10 boxes of mac and cheese today! I can make that up to go with it!”

“I like mac n cheese.”

“Daryl!” Rick called from downstairs.

“Coming!” They headed downstairs.

“Merle just got here.” Rick said in distress.

“Shit!” Daryl said under his breath and took off. Toni started to follow but was stopped by Rick.

“Toni, we have to talk.” He held her arm.

“What? What's wrong? Who's Merle?” She was getting scared. Everyone seemed a little nervous looking at her.

“Merle is Daryl's brother.......you can't kill him Toni!”

“What? I wouldn't kill Dixon's brother! What's wrong with you?” He wouldn't release her, and everyone started to come closer.

“Let go of me!”

“Toni...” Carol started......

“I wouldn't kill his brother! My God what's wrong with you people?”

“Toni!........” Maggie got in front of her face. “You're not going to like Merle at all. You're going to want to kill him, but you can't! Try to remember that he's Daryl's brother.” Everyone was trying to distract her from being anywhere near Merle. They were telling her stories that made her wonder, if they didn't want her to kill him, why were they telling her these awful things about him?

 

Toni wanted to kill him! She could do it with her bare hands! What a horrid man! If she heard him put Daryl down one more time. She'd cut his tongue out! Oh, she'd kept her distance all evening. She watched the change in Daryl when he was near. She'd watched everyone's reaction to Merle's big mouth. How could they be so different? As different as night and day! She couldn't even bring herself to feel sorry for him for losing his hand! Well she'd had enough! She snuck around to the front of the house and entered that way after seeing Merle go in the back door.

 

“So, you're Merle, Daryl's Brother.” Merle grabbed a beer, closed the frig, and slowly turned to see who the creature with the voice of an Angel was.

Rick was coming downstairs. He had changed his clothes, after trading with Toby to take his watch, so he could join the cookout. He heard voices in the kitchen and headed that way then stopped. Merle!

“Well, well, well, come to seek out ole Merle, I gotta tell ya, from a distance I thought you were one of the kids out there. But close up I can see that you are no child. That's a fine pair of tits you have there. You're a little small for my taste but, who can be choosy these days right.”

“May I?” Toni asked, motioning to the unopened cold bottle of beer in his hand.

“Sure, Darlin' I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” He opened it and handed it to her then grabbed another from the frig. Toni took a long slow drink.

“I'm Toni.”

Toni! Rick didn't move but stayed to listen.

“I just wanted to introduce myself...... to you and have a direct conversation with you before you drink too many of those. You need to be stone cold sober to hear what I have to say, so that if I have to kill you later, I can do it with a clear conscious.”

“Whoa, whoa! What's all this talk about killing when we could be making sweet love?” He said leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms and legs.

Clearly, he wasn't taking her serious. A blade landed in inch beside his left temple.

“What the fuck! Are you fucking crazy!” He raised his voice.

“Shhhhhh....this is a private conversation Merle, you don't want everyone running in here to see you about to pee your pants do you. See that's the thing with men. You look at me and see no threat. You see a tiny defenseless woman.”

Defenseless? Ha! Is what Rick was thinking. He'd learned that the hard way. He shivered at the memory.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“I want you...... to put on your listening ears and hear what I'm gonna say to you.” He stood and stared at her.

“Good, that's a good start. I look at you Merle and see the little boy who was abused by his Father.”

“Shut up! Shut the fuck up! You don't know jack shit!” Another blade was planted on the right side of his temple.

“I said you are to listen!”

“Who the fuck, are you?” He couldn't help but ask. He fleetingly wondered if he was indeed going to pee his pants.

“I'm the social worker, and I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you and Daryl, but I wasn't born yet at the time.”

“Social Worker?” he spit that out with pure hatred and laughed humorously.

“I can't even count how many of those came to our trailer and did nothing! Nothing!” She noted he didn't even refer to it as his home.

“I would have done something! I would have taken you guys out of the home. I would have seen the signs!”

“You would have done nothing! Poor white trailer trash, that's how all of you saw us!”

“Let me tell you about poor white trailer trash Merle. Look at me!” He looked up.

“For the first 12 years of my life I lived naked, beaten, and starved in a 2 ½ X 3 ½ foot long dog cage in a shed, where no social worker would ever find me. So, get your head out of your ass and don't for one minute think I don't understand abuse. Don't think for one minute think if had I been your social worker I would have left you there. I would have walked out of that trailer with two little boys. Merle and Daryl.”

Merle just looked at her. She continued....

“But you are a grown ass man now Merle, and you have a grownup mind. You can make choices. Unfortunately, you have no one to tell you that you are making the wrong choices. So that's why we’re here, right now. I'm here as someone who loves your Brother, to tell you that you are making the same choices that your Father made. You are verbally beating your Brother down. He literally shuts down when you walk into the room. He won't say a word to you because you are the only family he has left and he loves you. You make him feels like he's bad.... just like his Father and you, and he doesn't deserve love because he can't do anything right. Daryl does everything right, he wears his heart on his sleeve. He would die for you and every one of those people out there.” She pointed to the back door.

“Merle..... he's hurt himself because he feels so unworthy. He'd go sometimes days without eating to make sure everyone else had enough. For a long time, he carried the burden of not being able to hunt up enough game to feed everyone so he went without. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel like a man to hold so much power over your little Brother?”

“The hell you say!”

“It's the truth. If you'd take the time to stop running your mouth and just listen you be surprised on all the information you can gain from the people here. They love your Brother and have made him a part of their family and Daryl wants to be a part of it. I get it Merle, Daryl is getting the kind of love that you never had and think you never will. But he earned respect from all of them. I think it's driving you crazy. So, you choose to beat him down to keep him at your level. But wouldn't it be better to join him? To earn all of their love and respect, to be a part of this family?”

“When you said you love my Brother, what do you mean? Are in love with him? Are you sleeping with him, his girlfriend, what?”

“Don't worry Merle, I won't be joining the family.” She said with a sad smile.

“I'm not stupid, I know I'm not good enough for him.”

What the fuck? Rick couldn't believe what he was hearing.

“Now listen because this the most important part of our little talk..... I am a lovely person, but I can go psycho bitch at the drop of a hat. You will cease and desist with your verbal abuse of Daryl. I simply cannot tolerate it any longer. I'm very good with these lovely blades and I really don't want to kill you. Daryl would be very sad if I did. So please don't make me do it. I would like what little time I have with him to be happy. I hope we have an understanding now.”

He just stared at her.

“I'm going to hug you now since Daryl can't do so.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed. He just stood there and didn't respond.

“I would have rescued you, and I know that somewhere in this massive chest of yours that there is a heart.” She said then let go and backed up. She reached up and pulled her blades from the sheet rock in the wall and hoped Rick wouldn't notice the marks.

“You can go join the party now and have a good time. This is your warning Merle. If we have to talk again I won't be as I am now. I will be a full blown, psycho bitch.!” She handed him another beer and went back outside to join the party.

Rick realized that she wasn't afraid of any of them. Merle was like a hurricane, a force of nature, a storm to be reckoned with. But he had nothing on her. Even Rick liked to keep his distance so he wouldn't have to kill him. Toni was right he never wanted to hurt Daryl, he did think of him as a brother.

Merle downed his beer in the kitchen and grabbed another. He stopped before opening the back door and looked at his brother. Daryl was sitting with a small child on his lap and he was smiling at the child. He watched as Toni came up behind him and held a fresh beer out in front of him. Daryl looked up and then Toni kissed him on the forehead. Words were exchanged, then Daryl rolled his eyes at her and smiled. Merle opened the door and kept his eyes on his brother. When Daryl looked up and saw him, Merle watched him mentally shut down. The smile was gone in an instant like it had never even been there.

Toni had been smiling too until she saw his demeanor change. She looked over to where Daryl was looking and spied Merle coming out of the house. Merle was quiet for the rest of the evening, but then so was Daryl. He couldn't relax with his brother there.

Rick slipped quietly out the front door to walk around back. Lord knows he didn't want Toni to know that he'd been eavesdropping again. As he watched Merle emerge from the back door, he glanced at Daryl and saw the second he noticed Merle. Toni was right, Daryl completely shut down. He wondered why he'd never noticed it before. Rick didn't talk much either that night. He was thinking about what Toni said about her childhood or lack thereof. 12 years in a dog cage? He wondered if she had been telling Merle the truth. His gut kept telling him she had been truthful. His mind simply couldn't process it. It was too horrendous to even contemplate.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 25

 

Around 8 pm the cookout started to wind down. Toni and the kids, including the now always present, Carl, started carrying in the leftovers to put away and clean up. Toni was happy to get away from Merle. Even though he'd kept his mouth shut for the rest of the evening, she could feel his eyes on her, throughout the dinner. As Lisa and Carl started the dishes, Toni put a pot of coffee on. She knew how they loved coffee, morning, noon and night. After wiping down the table, she decided she could whip up a couple quick cobblers. She went to the cupboard and got two cans of crushed pineapple, two cans of blueberry pie filling, two boxes of yellow cake mix and the can of lard. Normally you needed a stick of butter per cobbler but ..... lard would have to do. However, knowing they were getting a milk cow from the Hilltop, she was going to find a book on how to make butter. Maybe tomorrow when they went back out to finish that community, they could stop at the library. She'd talk to Dixon about it tonight.

She turned the oven on to preheat, while she opened the cans of fruit. She mixed the pie filling and pineapple into the two 9X13 cake pans, then opened the cake mixes and poured the dry mixture on top of the fruit. Lastly, she put small bits of lard all over the top and put them in the oven. She sent Lucas and Landon up to get their baths. While the boys were bathing and Lisa and Carl were still cleaning up the dishes she grabbed another beer from the frig to take out to Dixon and see if all the food had been brought in. He was staring into the campfire they had made for the kids to roast marsh mellows.

“A beer for your thoughts.” She said as she held it out in front of him. He looked up at her and smiled.

“I think I ate too much. I can't seem to be able to move.”

“Then I guess you won't be wanting any of the cobbler that I have baking, as we speak, in the oven.”

“Cobbler, you say?”

“Yes, cobbler!” She laughed.

“I could eat some cobbler.” She leaned down and kissed his cheek. Then picked up a few more dishes that she saw underneath the lawn chairs and carried them inside to give to the kids to wash. She put dessert plates and silverware on the table, and two trivets to set the cobblers on when they were done. She put the powdered cream and sugar by the coffee maker along with cups and spoons. She looked around. Everything was ready. The timer went off for the oven. She grabbed the hot pads and placed the cobblers on the trivets. By the time everyone starts coming in, they should be cool enough to eat.
The boys came back down after their baths.

“You made a cobbler!” Lucas squealed.

“Yes, I did, but it has to cool.” She handed Landon a garbage bag and sent the boys out back to pick up all the drink cans and beer bottles and plastic cups that littered the yard.

“Only the empty ones! Don't take anyone's drink!” Landon threw a hand up in understanding, and they left.

“Okay Lisa, you're up.” Lisa started to leave the kitchen with Carl in tow. Toni laid a hand on Carl's shoulder.

“Not you sweetie. You stay here with me. She can manage her bath without you.”

“Oh! I wasn't.....” Toni laughed as his faced turned a pretty pink color.

“Humor me and stay here.” She kissed his cheek. Toni poured the finished pot of coffee into a thermal carafe to keep it hot and started brewing another pot. There were a lot of people here tonight.

When Lisa came back down, Toni decided she'd try to get a quick shower while everyone was still sitting outside enjoying each others company.

“I'm gonna go take a quick shower. There's food out so don't comb your hair out in here, go out on the porch, and if you can, brush out Landon and Lucas, please!”

“Okay, sure.” Toni went upstairs to shower. Daryl came walking into the kitchen about 5 minutes later.

“Where's Toni?”

“She just went up to get a shower.” Daryl smiled and headed upstairs.

“Why does he get to go up and help Toni with her bath?” Carl asked. Lisa laughed.

“Come on stud, you can help me comb out my hair.” She winked at him. Carl smiled at her use of the word ' stud '. Toni must be rubbing off on her.

 

Daryl quietly opened the bathroom door, stepped inside and closed it. He removed his clothes and opened the shower door to find Toni with a blade under his chin.

“Jesus Dixon! You scared the shit out of me!” She sheathed her knife and pulled him inside and wrapped her arms around his neck. He lifted her up and her vise like legs, locked around his waist. His lips came down on her, then moved to her neck. His hands cupped her breasts and she released a moan that egged him on. He slipped a hand around her and caressed her wet folds before slipping two fingers inside her
.
“Oh God!” She moaned. There was a banging on the bathroom door.

“What!” Daryl's gruff voice answered.

“There's a line of people waiting to use the bathroom!” Abe said trying not to laugh out loud. Sasha giggled beside him.

“Dammit!” Daryl said under his breath.

“To be continued.........” He set her down and they showered quickly and got out. They wrapped themselves in towels and Toni picked up their dirty clothes. He opened the bathroom door to nobody!

“Son of a bitch!” Daryl said loudly. He could hear everyone laughing downstairs. They went into the bedroom to dress.

“Just wait!” He shouted down to them, which had them laughing even harder. Daryl was just finishing up combing all the tangles out of Toni's hair, when she told him about her talk with Jesus and Rick today.

“What!” He roared at the top of lungs. “You asked Rick and Jesus how to give me a blow job?!!!”

“I don't think the people on Elm Street heard you, asshole, here let me help.” She yelled back and left the bedroom. He stayed put, still reeling with what she had done.

“Where the hell are you going? We're not done yet! Get back here!” He yelled. The kitchen, living room and back yard were still full of people from the cookout. Everyone was in silent shock over Daryl's outburst. Some covering their mouth's, some with their mouth's hanging open, Rick and Jesus the most shocked that Toni would even tell him. No one said a word as she silently, and calmly, came down the stairs, only to walk out the front door. A few seconds later all of Alexandria heard the news.

“For those of you on Elm Street who didn't quite hear Dixon ..... he said......You asked Rick and Jesus how to give me a blow job!” She yelled at the top of her lungs. She walked around to the back of the house to come in the back door.

“Jesus Christ! Son of a bitch!” Daryl came flying down the stairs and ran out the front door, calling her name. Toni came through the kitchen without saying a word and made her way back upstairs to her room, where she calmly closed the door. Daryl could be heard calling her name down the street. Jesus erupted with laughter!

“I'd forgotten how funny she can be! She always had a way with teaching someone a lesson!”

“Did she really ask you guys that?” Carol couldn't believe it.

“Yes, she did.” Rick answered shaking his head cause he still couldn't believe it.

“What's a blow job?” Landon asked.

“Yeah what's a blow job?” Lucas copied with a puzzled frown. It was all they could do to keep from laughing.

“You're going to have to ask Toni.” Maggie said. “I'm not sure.” The two boys went up to ask her. As soon as they were out of sight.... the laughter nearly lifted the roof off the house.

“To think.... this place used to be boring.” Abe said and started everyone laughing again. It was 15 minutes later when the boys came back down. Everyone had moved into the kitchen for cobbler and coffee.

“So....did Toni explain?” Maggie asked the boys.

“Yes, a blow job is like a blow dry, you know, when we used to be able to blow dry our hair. Toni forgot that there was electricity here and though that Eugene might have come up with a way to get the job done without it. So, a blow job is a blow dryer that you can use without electricity.”

“Oh my God!” Abe lost it! He had tears running down his face. They couldn't hold it in. Everyone laughed.

“She's good!!” He laughed harder.

“You guys want some cobbler?” Michonne asked them.

“Yes!” They said in unison.

 

It was after 11 before Daryl came back home. Rick and Jesus were the only two still up. Everyone else had gone home or went to bed
.
“I can't find her. I'm getting worried.” Daryl said sitting at the table with them.

“She upstairs in bed. She came in the back door as you ran out the front.” Rick informed him.

“Shit!” He said quietly.

“That's probably the tone you should have used earlier.” Jesus smiled.

“I still can't believe she asked you guys that.”

“Imagine our surprise!” Rick smiled.

“Although she never said it was for you.” Jesus laughed at his expression.

“There's cobbler if you want some. It's really good!” Rick said. Daryl helped himself to some. I was really good. They chatted for a bit and then went to bed. Daryl stripped down to his boxer briefs and climbed into the bed with Toni and the kids. He pulled her to him and just held her. He slept like a baby being surrounded by his family.

 

Toni was up at 4am. She’d gone to bed so early last night. She decided to just get up and go make the coffee and see what she could do about breakfast. She had forgotten how much she'd liked to cook before coming here. She eased out of Daryl's arms, but not before kissing his hand.

“Where are you going?” He whispered.

“Just to start the coffee. Go back to sleep, it's only 4. She kissed his forehead.

“I don't have a fever.”

“Thank God.”

She strapped her blades on and went downstairs. Rick stepped back into the shadows of his room as Toni passed by.

She started the coffee, then went to the cupboards to peruse what she could make. She pulled out a jar of Tang, a box of Bisquick, 3 cartons of powdered eggs, 3 boxes of hash brown potatoes and 3 cans of sausage gravy and got to work. She made the biscuits first and put them into the oven. Then made up 2 pitchers of Tang and put it the freezer to chill. She put 3 fry pans on with the hash browns cooking while she mixed the eggs, she dumped the sausage gravy into a microwave safe casserole dish and put in to heat up. Rick stood in the still darkened living room and watched Toni as she efficiently made breakfast for everyone. She hummed while she worked. While the hash browns and eggs cooked she set the table with plates, juice glasses, silverware, honey, jam, jelly and salt and pepper. The timer went off for the oven, she turned it to low, and pulled the biscuits out putting them in dish towel and placed them in two baskets one on each end of the table. As the eggs and hash browns finished, she made herself a plate, and she put them in cake pans and put them in the oven to keep warm. Then she did something she told herself she'd never do. She poured herself a cup of coffee. She added a little cream and sugar, then just smelled it. It smelled so good. She put the cup to her lips and took a sip.

“Oh my God! Hello lover!” She moaned. She closed her eyes and took another.

“I love you!” She said to her cup. “I've missed you so much. You and I, my sweet, are going to be lovers once again. I will never leave you!” And she downed the rest of the cup, and poured herself another, adding the cream and sugar.

“Come here lover! We'll take it slow this time.”

Jesus stood behind Rick watching Toni with a huge grin on his face. He remembered Toni's addiction to coffee. He hit Rick with the back of his hand while he passed by him to go into the kitchen.

“Good morning.” Jesus said smiling.

“Good morning! Don't mind me, I'm renewing an old love affair.” She laughed.

“I see that, I was sound asleep on the couch out there and heard you. I thought maybe you were cheating on Daryl I had to come find out who your new lover was.” He teased her.

“I am! Please don't tell him.” She laughed.

“Your secret is safe with me.” Rick came into the kitchen.

“Morning.”

“Oh! Please tell me my affair didn't reach your ears all the way upstairs.” She giggled.

“No, but it stopped me in my tracks out there.” He said throwing thumb toward the living room.

“I'm sorry, I'm not a quiet lover!” She laughed. He laughed too.

“That's for sure.” He said under his breath, as she bent over to take breakfast out of the oven. Jesus elbowed him and gave him dirty look. Daryl and the boys showed up next. 5 minutes later Lisa and Carl came in. Toni started another pot of coffee and put everything on the table. She quickly ate her breakfast so she could start cleaning up. The kitchen started to fill up quickly. Maggie and Glenn came through the back door.

“We saw lights.” Glenn said smiling.

“And we smelled food.” Maggie added laughing. Toni pulled the Tang out of the freezer and put a pitcher at each end of the long table. She poured the new coffee in the thermal carafe and started another.

“How are you doing today?” Maggie asked her. Toni held her cup up.

“Meet Maxwell, my new lover.” She giggled and took a sip closing her eyes and savoring it. Maggie giggled with her saying that she was gonna tell Daryl.

By 7 am the skies opened up with a huge thunder storm. They decided that the run could wait til tomorrow. Breakfast seemed to last for hours, with the storm raging outside. Everyone just hung out in the kitchen. Toni kept the coffee coming. Maybe a little bit more for her, rather than them. As everyone finished eating she started to clear the table. Lisa and Carl worked on dishes. Toni made a plate up and put it in the microwave covered with saran wrap. Daryl's brother, Merle, had not come in for breakfast.

She decided to get caught up on laundry since they weren't going on the run today. The rain had stopped and everyone went to get caught up on this or that. Some had guard duty. Other just wanted to relax and sit on their porches and say high to neighbors as they walked by. Toni was hanging clothes out on the line, when she heard someone arguing inside the house. She walked to the back door. She reached for the screen door then heard Daryl and stopped.

“Jesus Daryl! How long are you gonna suck Officer Friendly's dick, And what's with the bitch with all the kids? She your Mommy figure now? Got you on the teat? Changes your diapers?”

“Shut the fuck up Merle!” Daryl stormed out of the house. Toni saw red! She'd warned him! She was shaking with rage! She walked around to the front of the house and went inside and up the stairs to Carl's room, where she knew her kids were. She signed to them and started back down the stairs, with them behind her.

 

“I warned you Merle.” Merle turned with a start. His hands up, er… hand and blade. Toni stood before him with her 3 kids. All armed with those bloody blades they carried. She gave some sign and the little kid stood up on the kitchen table, replaced his blade and pulled out a slingshot and aimed it at him.

“Well, fuck me”

“You're about to be fucked for sure, let me introduce myself.......”

“Don't tell me..... psycho fucking bitch.”

“Ah ….. so you were listening, that's gonna make this so much easier....”

“Look,.. I'm sorry okay....it was just a slip, one little slip of the tongue.”

“And when I'm done with you...you'll no longer possess a tongue.”

“Are you fucking crazy!” He yelled hoping to attract attention to this situation.

“I need blood Merle.....you were warned....I made myself perfectly clear.” The front door opened and footsteps could be heard.

“Lisa, Landon, no one comes in. Lucas you're with me.”

“Stop.” Landon and Lisa said at the same time when they saw Rick and Daryl.

“What's going on?” Daryl asked, this didn't look good at all. Fuck! Merle!

“You couldn't just take it like a man could you Merle....Ya got up and put your little girl panties on and called for help like the pansy ass you really are.”

“Fuck you!” Merle felt better knowing his brother was there to talk some sense into her.

“Awwwww Marlene...I don't fuck little girls.” Toni said making Merle's face turn beet red.

“Daryl can't you control this psycho bitch?”

“Watch yer mouth Merle!” Daryl yelled. He took a step then backtracked when Lisa and Landon prepared to throw.

“Dammit Marlene! Now you've upset my kids!......... You see they love your brother very much, but.... they love me more, so they may not like it, but they will kill him for me if he tries to interfere!”

“Toni please.... he's, the only family I have left.”

“You’re so wrong Dixon.... right now, at this very moment I imagine Rick has his hand on his face.”

Everyone but Toni and Lucas looked to Rick. He did indeed have his hand scrubbing down his face. He cocked his head.

“He's stuck between a rock and a hard place right now......on one hand he'd love to see me rid you of this gangrene that's been eating you up your entire life ..... but on the other hand... his love for you and the pain you'd endure during the loss..... that keeps him hoping that I won't do it.”

“Shit” Rick said under his breath.

“Who else is here Landon?” Toni inquired.

“Maggie, Glenn, Abe, Sasha, Carol, Michonne, Tara, Jesus, and Eugene. That's all I can see Toni, there may be more.”

“That's your family Dixon, Them, standing by your side right now hoping that you don't get hurt by all this. They are the ones who love and respect you, who come to you for advice, who will have your back in any fight including this one right now. As we speak I imagine they are all plotting in their heads how they can somehow fix this for you. For you Dixon! Not for Marlene in his ruffle panties here. Why would you even want this low life pansy ass little girl who respects no one, cares for no one, including you? Why Dixon, tell me why. Rick treats you more like a brother than this shit ever has.”

Daryl needed to know if his brother even had a chance.

“What did you do Merle? Did you touch her?” He practically screamed. God if he touched her he would be dead for sure
.
“No, I didn't touch her you stupi.........”

“Ahhhhh!” He screamed as Toni sliced at his chest.

The front of his shirt was slashed to shreds yet not one drop of blood appeared. Merle looked down at his chest and let out the breath he was holding.

“I told you I was good with these...apparently you didn't believe me. However, I am gonna need some blood. I never break a promise. What do you suggest Dixon?”

Daryl realized she was asking him.
Rick realized she was putting the outcome of the situation in Daryl hands.

“I was thinking the tongue Dixon, what do you think? Yes!” She said hopefully.

“Nah, not the tongue”

“I know! How about his balls! He doesn't use those anyways! They don't go with pink ruffle panties!!”

Daryl's mouth twitched. At that moment, everyone felt the crisis was over, except for Merle of course who's eyes were bugging out at the mere thought.

“Nah... not his balls Toni.”

“I need blood Dixon, I never go back on my word.”

“How about I beat the shit out him Toni?”

“Hmmmmm shit and blood?” She asked seriously.

“Most definitely.” He assured her.

“Arm blade or no?” She asked about Merle's arm.

“I'm not afraid of it.”

“Would this make you happy Daryl?” his eyes went to Toni's back. She called him Daryl. She was letting Merle live for him to make him happy.

“It would.” He answered her softly.

“Today's your lucky day Merle...you get to live because of your brother, and it's our lucky day too...my children and I get to live because of your brother.” Merle looked up in confusion.

“You look confused.... I'm good but I'm not immortal. Your brother's family are armed to the teeth. They could have taken us out at any time. Your brother is very well loved here. You should thank your lucky stars that they were here, cause I probably would have killed you, cut you up, taken you out and buried you, and told everyone you just left.

“Jesus! You are psycho!”

“That I am, and you'd do well to remember that in the future. Heed my words. Next time there won't be any witnesses.

“Alright Daryl, come take your brother out back and kick the mother fucking shit out of him I want to see blood …..... and not yours!”

“Lisa, Landon.... to me.” As Daryl walked past her to get Merle, he stopped and whispered “Thank you.”

“I don't want to see your blood Daryl.” She whispered back.

“There might be a little ...these things happen during a knock down drag em out, fight.”

Rick stopped in front of her before going out back and said... “You never were gonna kill him, were you?”

“I couldn't kill someone Dixon loves. I was however debating on the tongue or balls I just couldn't decide which. I knew that I had to draw blood though after all, I had warned him.” Rick started to walk away.

“Aren't you wondering what he did Rick?” she cocked her head her gut was telling her he already knew or he would have asked her first thing.

Rick stopped, but didn't turn around he knew, that she knew. Shit! He should have asked. Damn, but he'd underestimated her intelligence again.

“Dammit! Never mind.....Tom!” So, he was back to being a peeping Tom. Well hell.

“Aren't you coming?” Rick turned around to ask.

“No, it wouldn't go well for Merle, if I saw him hit Dixon.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“You can ask, I can't promise an answer.”

“Fair enough, why do you call Daryl ,..... Dixon?”

“When it matters, I call him by his given name.” Rick turned to go outside.

“Oh hey?” Rick turned to face her once again.

“Thanks for letting us live.”

“I couldn't have killed you for the same reason you wouldn't have killed Merle. But you already knew that didn't you?”

“Yes, I just wanted to thank you anyway.” Rick walked back over to her and kissed her on the forehead.

“Jesus! I don't have a fever!” she told him

“Thank God” he replied. She rolled her eyes. They both smiled. Rick had been on to her little kissing game since the day they'd met.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 26

 

Toni didn't go out to see the fight, nor did she watch through the window. She knew herself well enough to know, that she couldn't watch Daryl get punched by Merle. She was also smart enough to realize that he wouldn't come back unscathed. However, the rest of his family, weren't gonna miss it. This was a long time coming in their opinion. They we're practically rubbing their hands together in anticipation.

Toni gathered her kids and decided to take them out on a run while everyone was occupied. She didn't want her kids watching the fight either, to their disappointment. They collected their packs and went over the west wall which was located in the back. As soon as they were out, the children got excited about going. They hadn't done this in a while. Toni kept them at a fast but steady pace. Not a word was spoken, their footsteps were nearly silent. Toni stopped abruptly and listened. They all heard it! She sent the kids to the trees, then climbed one herself. They waited. A few minutes later, they spotted Carl, gun in hand. Toni's chin dropped to her chest. Dammit! She said mentally to herself. She should have known. Carl and Lisa had been practically inseparable as of late. Toni climbed down and ran to Carl to whisper furiously in his ear. Lisa watched as he cringed with the tongue lashing, Toni was giving him, but she had to admit that she was glad it wasn't her. Toni had rules. She was very demanding when outside. Carl was about to wish he'd never followed them. She watched as he holstered his weapon and pulled out his knife. He nodded several times. By the time Toni was finished with him, he looked like he would rather be anywhere but there with them. Lisa kind of felt sorry for him. Toni didn't turn back. They moved forward, taking out any walkers they came across. They cleared and scavenged house after house, hiding the duffel's as they filled them to be picked up on the way back home. At first Carl didn't understand why they were scavenging houses that they had already done. He told them that his family had already been to these houses. He was surprised when Toni, Lisa, Landon, and Lucas found stuff and filled bag after bag. He paid close attention to what they looked for. Vents, loose floor boards, false walls, they found stuff in sheds, garages, basements, barns, and attics. He was amazed. They even found stuff packed in trunks of cars, RV's, and boats. They went out for about 3 hours before turning to head back home and pick up all their bags.

 

The fight lasted about 30 minutes. Both men were exhausted, bloodied and bruised. Merle more so than Daryl. Daryl knew that he had better come out as the clear winner or Toni may change her mind about killing him. They filed into the kitchen, all except Merle who took off somewhere. Daryl called out for Toni. There was no answer.

“Come on, let's get you cleaned up before she sees you.” Carol said to him.

“Yeah, she probably went for a walk, she didn't want to watch, was afraid if she saw Merle hit you, she'd have to kill him.” Rick informed him. Daryl smiled at that. That sounded just like something she would say. He let Carol and Michonne clean him up. They made a pot of coffee and sat at the table talking. After a couple hours, and still no Toni, Daryl started to get concerned. The first place he looked was the bedroom, after last night. Nothing. As he started to leave he noticed the backpacks missing. Their clothes were still there, but backpacks with all the duffel's were gone as was the 'In case' Pack. He took the stairs as fast as his battered body would allow him, shouting Ricks name. Rick met him at the bottom of the stairs.

“Their gone! They went out on a run!”

“How do you know that?”

“Because the backpacks are gone.” Now that Rick thought about it, he hadn't seen Carl either.

“I haven't seen Carl either.”

“Dammit!” Daryl cursed.

“Daryl, they've lived on their own for over 2 1/2 years. I'm sure they know what they're doing out there.” Carol tried reasoning with him.

“There is a massive herd out there! They haven't had to deal with that!” He argued. Rick started to organize a party to go out while Daryl tried to figure out which way they went. He found where they went out since the ropes were still secured at the top of the wall for re-entry.

They weren't hard to track. They just followed the bloody trail of walkers. After about the tenth dead walker that they came across Abe said........

“Why are we out here again?............. Oh, that's right, we're trying to save the walkers and criminals!”

Everyone laughed but Daryl. They continued on for another hour. The ground seemed littered with walkers, but only 2 or 3 at a time.

“Jesus! How far do they go out?” Glenn wondered.

“When they go, they go for the day. Most times jogging the whole way. We walked a good 25 miles to get back to Alexandria. That was nothing to them.”

“No shit?” They walked for another 2 miles or so when Daryl stopped.

“What's wrong?” Rick asked.

“Shit! We passed them.”

“What? How?”

“They're probably up in a damn tree!” He started looking up in the trees as he retraced his steps. He looked around til he spotted the pile of branches. He went over to it and started pulling the limbs off. There were 8 duffel bags hidden beneath the pile. He looked up.

Toni heard them, before she ever saw them. She and the kids quickly hid the duffel bags and made their way into the trees. Toni helped push Carl up. He didn't know how to climb a tree without low branches. She put a hand over Carl's mouth as soon as search party came into view and whispered in his ear.

“Don't move or say a word. Do you really want to hear what your Dad has to say, in front of Lisa?” She knew she didn't want to hear what Daryl had to say. He shook his head and they all just watched as they passed beneath them. Unfortunately, Toni and the kids didn't know that Daryl was a tracker. The search party only got about 25 feet away from them before Daryl stopped and looked up into the trees. He backtracked and uncovered their bags. Dammit! Toni thought to herself. Before she knew it, the whole party was searching the trees. Daryl found Carl first, because he didn't know how to hide. Then Carl looked back at her and gave away her position.

“Come on down.” Daryl called up. The children looked to Toni.

“Carl?” Rick called. He looked at his Dad then at Toni.

“How the hell did he get up there?” Rick said under his breath. Toni signed to the children. The search party stood in stunned silence as the children shimmied down the tall pines. They noticed that they each had a belt looped around their feet. It was fascinating to see. Genius really. Toni was fashioning a rope around Carl for his descent. She pulled a knotted rope from her pack and attached it to the limb they were on. She then tied the rope that was around him to her hips as she straddled the limb. Carl started his climb down gaining purchase on the knots with his feet and hands. It was slow going but he made it safely to the ground. She released the ropes and put them back into her pack and made her own descent as quickly as the children had. She signed to Lucas, who then smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand and ran back to the tree he was in. He looped the belt around his feet and climbed back up into the tree, retrieved his backpack and was back down in a flash.

“Damn.......” Abe said quietly.

Daryl stormed over to Toni. She put up her hand and signed furiously to him. It was much too fast for Daryl to be able to read.

“What the hell were you thinking!” He said out loud. Which had her in his face and covering his mouth. WE HAVE RULES! She signed to him slowly.

“I don't care about your damn rules!” He said out loud again. She gave him the finger and turned and walked away and ignored him. She signed to the kids who went to do her bidding. She whispered to Carl who also went to find what she said was needed. Toni started pulling ropes from the packs. The kids were coming back with everything they needed to make a travois. They had it put together in minutes, all four working together, much to the surprise of the onlookers. They loaded the duffel's on it. Daryl kept trying to talk to Toni, who acted like he didn't even exist. Rick put a hand on his shoulder.

“Daryl....you told me yourself she doesn't speak when outside. You need to calm down and talk about it after we get home.” He whispered. She put Carl on one of the back ends, Lisa took the other, the boys lifted in the middle and Toni grabbed the front end. Once they had it off the ground she started them jogging. It took a few seconds for the search party to respond, they were so surprised.

“Are you kidding me?” Maggie whispered as she took off to catch up. They never asked for help. It was like the party wasn't even there to them. Daryl cursed under his breath and took off after them. He stopped in front of them forcing them to stop. Toni glared at him. He signed to take her place. She allowed him to. Jesus took Lisa's place. Toni starting jogging again. No one spoke. After about 50 yards, Toni signed, Landon left the side and shimmied up a pine ahead of them. Daryl noted the one inch,red square piece of fabric pinned to the trunk about 12 feet up. Landon retrieved it and resumed his position on the side of the travois. Every 50 yards or so either Lucas or Landon would climb and pick up their markers. Everyone was impressed, including Daryl. As they reached the next house, Toni put up her hand for them to stop. She sent the kids off again, opened the packs for more rope, and they built another travois. She uncovered another 6 duffels and loaded them up. Before she and the children could pick it up, Abe, Sasha, Maggie and Carol picked up the ends of the travois. They started jogging again, much to everyone's dismay.

At the next house she stopped again to unearth more duffels and 6 rifles, 3 revolvers, and 8 boxes of ammo. They loaded them up and moved on again. When the next house came into view. Toni once again set the kids off to gather what was needed to make another travois. Rick shook his head. They had already scavenged all these houses. It truly amazed him how good she was at this. Again, they had it built in minutes. They carried it over to a pile of branches, where 7 duffels lay hidden and 2 five gallon, gas cans full. They talked quietly while Toni and the kids loaded the travois. Then she picked up 4 shot guns 2 flare guns, a .22 rifle, a .38 police special, and 6 boxes of ammo. Toni and the kids picked up that load and began jogging once more. When one of the boys needed to retrieve a marker, that was the only time they would slow to a walk. Toni suddenly stopped and put up a hand. She raised her pinkie and ring finger, then twirled her index finger and the boys disappeared into the trees. She signed to Lisa who took Carl by the hand and put him behind a tree. She motioned for the others to hide as well. Daryl had heard it as well. Toni stayed out in the open.

The walkers were coming from the front and the right. Toni threw 4 blades before anyone had time to react. A big hole appeared in another forehead and fell to the ground. Lisa threw 2 blades and hit both targets. An arrow took down another. Toni turned in a circle looking for any more. Finding none, she and Lisa retrieved their blades and Daryl did the same with his arrow. One last, look around and Toni signed for the boys to come down.

“When you said they were like a little army of four .... I didn't get it.....now I do.” Rick whispered to Daryl. Two more stops and they were so loaded down that they had to walk. The rest of the trip home was uneventful.

 

As they came through the front gate, they were greeted by a very surprised Rosita, and Spencer.

“I thought the run was postponed until tomorrow?”

“It is.” Rick said.

“Then where did all that come from?”

“It's from the houses just west from here.”

“But we already did those.”

“Apparently we missed a few things.” He said as he watched Toni and the children stop in front of the house where the Armory and the community pantry was. Rick and the party continued on to follow Toni. They began emptying the bags. There were 24 in all. Olivia couldn't believe her eyes.

“Wow Rick! You sure found a lot of stuff.” Toni and the kids continued to unpack bags. They were just going to allow him to take the credit.

“I was just a pack mule, I had nothing to do with it.”

“Who found all this?” Rick looked at Toni and the kids. Nothing. They didn't even raise their heads at the question. They were now gathering all the empty bags and rolling them up and stuffing them into their backpacks. They got up stacked the travois's on top of one another and started down the street toward home. The search party stood and stared at their retreating backs.

 

Daryl and Rick went around the house to the backyard where Toni and the kids, including Rick’s own son, were dismantling the travois, rolling up their ropes and putting into their packs. The wood was then laid beside the fire pit for future use. Rick spoke first.

“Why would you take my son out there?” Toni's head swung around to face him with a shocked expression.

“That you would think I would put your son in harms way.... tells me a lot.” She turned and walked away with her kids.

“Dad...” Carl said before he could say anything else.

“She didn't take me...I followed them.” Rick put his hands on his hips and cocked his head, looking at his first born, child. Dammit! He screwed up yet again. His eyes followed her as she entered the house.

“What were you thinking?” He then directed toward his son.

“Dad....I'm old enough to go out by myself. What's wrong with you?” He shook his head and he turned and went into the house. Rick looked at Daryl.

“Your girlfriend sure knows how to stir shit up around here.” Daryl laughed, he couldn't help it, he was right.

 

As Toni and the kids walked in the back door, she sent them to the two bathrooms to bathe the day away. Upon entering the kitchen, she saw Merle sitting at the table drinking a beer. As she looked at his face, a huge smiled formed.

“Go ahead and gloat.” He mumbled to her. She sat down beside him and linked her arm through his.

“Please tell me you shit your pants.” She laughed at his expression.

“I ain't telling you nothing!” He grumbled. She laughed again. She saw a small smile start to form on his lips.

“Nothing like a good ass whooping to put things into prospective.” She said happily.

“Unless you’re on the receiving end.” He smiled, then said....

“Ouch, ouch.... don't make me laugh.” She got up and started the hot water running while grabbing the first aid kit. She filled a pan, got a dish cloth and came back to the table.

Daryl and Rick stood at the screen door listening to the conversation.

 

“Tell me everything!” She begged, laughing.

“No!”

“Oh pleeaassseeee!”

She wrung out the cloth and started to clean him up.

“Ouch! Easy!”

“Oh, stop being a baby! I'm sure you've had worse!” He looked at her.

“Did you really live in a dog cage til you were 12?” He asked her seriously.

“I did, why do you think I'm so small. I was malnourished. I had no muscles, I couldn't even bear my own weigh by the time I was found. Took me years to get where I'm at today. They said I'd never be able to stand up straight, let alone walk. Look at me now!” She put some butterfly bandages where the cuts were deep. She finished cleaning his face, then moved to his hand where his knuckles needed a lot of attention.

“Yes, look at you now. You threaten to kill people just for fun.” She laughed.

“No not for fun, although it was kinda fun watching you squirm.” She giggled.

“For you!” He grumbled.

“Yes, for me.” She admitted. She finished wrapping his hand.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?”

“Fixing me up.”

“Cause you need fixing up. Daryl sure must love you.”

“What? Why?”

“Cause look at all this damage he did to save your life.”

“I let him win.” He said quietly. She stopped what she was doing and looked him.

“Why?” She asked.

“Because he deserved to.” He said quietly again.

“Yes, he did.” Then she hugged him and kissed his cheek.

“There's hope for you yet, Merle.”

“You know he was really worried when he couldn't find you. Where were you.”

“I took the kids out for a run, we hadn't gone out since coming here, and I didn't want to watch you two fight, and I didn't want the kids to see it either.”

“You went out alone!” He raised his voice. Toni raised an eyebrow at his tone.

“Don't use that tone with me, mister! My children and I have survived 2 and a half years out here on our own! We've managed just fine. See that's the problem with men, you look at me and see a small defenseless woman. Golly day, you men can be so stupid!” She said with disgust.

“Yeah, I guess we are.” He said looking at her.

“I'm making spaghetti for dinner tonight, it's Daryl's favorite.”

“Mine too.”

“Good! Then I'll expect you at 7.”

“Ah......nah.....that's okay I'll pass.”

“I'll save you a plate then.”

“Thanks.”

“Can I ask you something?” He said curiously.

“You can ask, I can't promise an answer.”

“Fair enough.”

“Did you really ask Rick and Jesus how to give my brother a blow job?” She laughed.

“Jeez, word spreads fast around here.”

“Well, both of you shouted it to the rooftops.”

“I guess we did, didn't we? We both seem to have tempers.”

“Did you?”

“Yes, but I never said it was for Daryl.”

“It was for someone else!?” He raised his voice and sat up straight.

“Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch! It was for him I just didn't say his name when I was asking.”

“What? Did you really think they wouldn't know who you were talking about?”

“I never gave that any thought, I'm new to all this.”

“All this?”

“Yes, you know sex and everything.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Jeez! Do I look like a whore or something? You're the second person to say something like that!”

“You're just hot as shit! I mean beautiful. It's hard to believe that you're......”

“Oh please! I'm hardly beautiful, I'm way too small, I don't have big boobs, and I have to have things my way, and we already know what kind of temper I have.”

“And she's clueless.” He said under his breath.

“What?” Toni asked.

“Nothing, so you want to know about blow jobs?” Merle smiled.

“Really? So, you've had one? Of course, you have, look at how old you are.”

“Oh thanks.” He said with a frown.

“No... I didn't mean.......”

“Never mind.”

“Tell me everything!” Landon and Lucas walked into the kitchen.

“Well hell.” Toni said. Merle laughed.

“To be continued another time .....” He winked at her.

“Drat!” She said. He laughed again.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 27

 

The first thing that the boys noticed upon entering the kitchen was that Toni was smiling at Merle and sitting right beside him.

“Do we like him now Toni?” Lucas asked a little confused.

“Do I like you, when you do something wrong and get punished for it?” She asked him.

“Yes, you said you love me conditionly?”

“Unconditionally.” She helped.

“Yeah, so do we?” He asked.

“Yes, we do, he was punished for his mistake, so now he gets to start over.”

“Do you want me to kiss your boo-boo's?” He asked Merle.

“Huh?” Merle asked confused.

“Lucas practically healed Dixon all by himself when I embedded one of my blades into him by kissing his boo-boo's.” Toni told him.

“You knifed my Brother?” Merle asked shocked.

“We thought he was trying to kill Toni.” Landon defended her.

“What?” Merle was having a hard time following the conversation.

“It was a misunderstanding, Merle. I thought your Brother was trying to shoot me with his crossbow and he was actually aiming for a walker behind me.”

“Yeah, so I hit him, with a rock, using my slingshot, right in the head. I thought he died.” Lucas said sadly.

“But we carried him home and took care of him until he was better. He wasn't mad at us.” Landon let him know. Merle didn't know what to make of this conversation.

“Then we walked him home cause his family was worried about him.” Lucas let him know.

“Yeah, and now were stuck here cause there's a big herd of dead people blocking our way home.”

Merle wondered if that meant that they weren't staying here, when the way was cleared, and wondered what that meant for his Brother. Lucas had climbed up in his lap, while they were talking. Merle didn't know how to respond, but he certainly didn't want Toni throwing a blade at him, so he sat still. Landon who was sitting in the other chair next to him, had leaned against him. Toni was starting the spaghetti sauce and wasn't paying attention to the boys.

“Daryl's is a lot of fun, he going to teach me how to hunt.” Landon said to him and yawned.

Toni peeked over at him with her two boys. He clearly had never had kids around him and didn't know what to do. Lucas was falling asleep on him and Landon was leaning on him ready to do the same. She turned back to her sauce to hide her smile.

“Yeah....well.... Daryl is a good hunter.”

“Daryl is good at everything.” Landon informed him.

“We love him.” It was said so simply. What could he say to that?

“Ha!” Toni added.

“He has a wicked temper and thinks we need him to take care of us! But...we don't.”

“So... you don't love him?” Merle was confused again.

“Of course, I love him........we love him. He just needs to learn that he's not the boss.” She started to fill a big pot full of water for the spaghetti. Then started a pot of coffee.

“He probably just wants to protect you.” Merle defended him.

“Of course, he does, that's how he's spent the last couple years...protecting and providing for his family.”

“Well why don't you want him to protect and provide for you?” Merle didn't understand.

“Because Merle....there are no guarantees for tomorrow, he could be taken from me at any time. I have to keep up my skills...I have my kids to take care of. I'm all they have. They need to learn how to provide for themselves, because I'm not promised any tomorrow’s they need to be prepared, to know what to do if they ever find themselves without me. No one in this world today should totally rely on another person. Because what if? Merle, what if?” When she put it like that .... hell, he understood her reasoning. It made perfect sense. He wondered if his brother knew how her thought process was.

Daryl and Rick had been sitting on the back steps listening. Several times Daryl almost got up to go in, only to have Rick stop him. He was learning a lot tonight about her and his Brother, as was Rick.

 

“My kids are only 16, 10, and 6. They have a long life to live in this unpredictable, awful world. It's my job to make them, self sufficient, strong and able to think for themselves. We train constantly, we find solutions to problems, and we love one another and have each others backs and survive.

“You’re not their real Mother though.” He looked at her curiously.

“I consider and love them as if they were mine, Merle. I'd do anything to protect them.”

 

“And she has.” Lisa said softly entering the kitchen with Carl. She walked up to Toni and hugged her.

“Hello sweet girl.” Toni said hugging her back. “And you, young man, who sneaks out to follow us...what say you?”

“I'm sorry for what my Dad said......I told him I followed you.” Toni kissed his cheek.

“As you should, that was the right thing to do. I'm proud of you.” Carl smiled at her praise. Toni turned to Merle who had a sleeping Lucas on his chest and an arm around a sleeping Landon leaning up against his left side.

“Do you want us to take them up to bed?” Lisa asked.

“No, dinner will be ready shortly. They're fine for now. I want them to eat before bed. We had a long run.”

“I know, I'm starving!” Lisa said and Carl agreed.

“Go ahead and start setting the table for me please.” Lisa and Carl set to doing just that, much to Merle's surprise. Toni dropped the spaghetti into the pot and checked on the garlic monkey bread she had in the oven. The kitchen smelled heavenly and had mouth's watering. Unbeknownst to Toni, the living room was full of people who had listened to everything. After the coffee was done, she poured it into the thermal carafe, and started to brew tea, to make iced tea. When it finished she added sugar, put it in a pitcher and put it in the freezer to chill. She made another pot of tea, then coffee as they chatted. As the noodles cooked, she opened 3 cans of green beans and put them in the microwave to warm up. She drained the noodles, filled the pan with more water to boil. She scooped some sauce on the noodles and mixed them. She hated white pasta. She pulled the two pans of garlic monkey bread out of the oven, and placed it in baskets, then sprinkled some parmesan cheese on it. Toni got an idea. She was about to try to trick Merle into eating dinner with everyone, and she didn't feel the least bit guilty over it. She smiled to herself while fixing a plate for him. She carried the plate and the parmesan cheese and set it down in front of him.

“So where do you live Merle?” She asked him, while picking Lucas up off his lap. When Lisa started for Landon, Toni shook her head no. Merle looked down at the now sleeping Landon, then at the plate full of spaghetti. He sprinkled some cheese on while answering her.

“I don't live anywhere.” She moved the basket of bread close to his plate. He grabbed some and put it on his plate. While carrying Lucas, she got him a cold bottle of beer and removed the cap for him.

“Where do you sleep?” She asked while placing it on the table near his plate. He thanked her and started shoveling the food in.

“Daryl and I sleep where ever we feel like it. Or we did.” He frowned.

“Daryl sleeps with us now.” She informed him. He hesitated before taking his next bite.

“Us?” He asked. Then continued eating.

“Yes, me and the kids.” She carried a big bowl of Spaghetti and put it on the table. Lisa brought another one and Carl brought a big bowl of sauce then went back for the green beans. Rick and Daryl came walking in the back door.

“Smells good.” Daryl said taking Lucas from Toni.

“You're just in time.” She pointed to the seat beside Merle and Daryl sat down.

“Are you gonna go on that run with us tomorrow, Merle?” He asked his brother.

“Where are you going?” He asked in between bites. Toni made Daryl a plate and set it before him. Then made one for Lucas. Rick answered Merle's question.

“Jesus ran across a subdivision that is untouched. We filled a pickup truck full of stuff with just 3 of the houses, thanks to Toni and her way of sniffing things out.” He started to fill his plate with food.

“Jeez....now you make me sound like a dog!” They all laughed including Merle. People started coming in to eat.

“Wake up buddy?” Daryl said to Lucas.

“It's time to eat.” Lucas rubbed at his eyes then saw Daryl holding him and wrapped his little arms around his neck.

“I guess if you need my help.” Merle said continuing to eat. Lisa sat on the other side of Landon and gently woke him up. She fixed him a plate. Toni set out the coffee and iced tea and brought milk for the kids. The conversation continued about tomorrows run. Toni stood there smiling. Everyone was together. She was sure this was the first meal that Merle had ever sat down to with them. Both Daryl and Rick watched Toni. Oh ..... she was a sneaky one. They both thought. No one said word about Merle being there and she was happy for that. Though she didn't know that they had been listening to their conversation either. Toni picked up Merle's now empty plate, only to set before him another plate of spaghetti. Merle thanked her then stopped. He had been wanting some more but wasn't about to make a fool of himself trying to serve himself one handed and making a mess. It was like she'd read his mind. He looked at her retreating back. She brought out the second pitcher of tea then put more noodles into the now boiling water. Maggie and Glenn arrived through the back door and got caught up on the plan for tomorrows run. If they wondered why Merle was there they didn't say a word.

Toni whipped up 4 boxes of instant banana pudding. She lined 2 cake pans with a box of stale vanilla wafers. Poured the pudding on top and put them into the freezer to set up quicker. She then drained the noodles. Put more sauce on them and brought another bowl full to the table. It was quickly consumed. She filled the pot with water once more for those who were on watch and wouldn't be home until later. She put together another batch of garlic monkey bread for that crew as well and started another pot of coffee. Merle was halfway finished when he looked around the room, really looked. All 12 chairs were occupied and a few people were standing at the counters. Toni continued waiting on everyone and never ceased cooking and preparing food. He'd yet to see her take a bite of anything. Another round of beers, were put on the table. More bread went into the oven. Noodles were dropped into the pot. Dishwater was running. Everyone was saying how good the meal was. Merle leaned toward Daryl.

“You're one lucky bastard.” He whispered. Daryl looked at Toni who was too busy to notice.

“Yep, I know.” He answered. When Lisa finished eating, she got up with her plate and announced her seat was available. Carl followed suit and they started on the dishes. Toni finished preparing everything then wrapped it all up and put it back in the oven on warm. Landon got up next and gave his seat up and went to help.

“You have some good kids there.” Merle said to Toni.

“Ha!” Lisa laughed. “It's a rule.”

“What's a rule?” Merle asked. All 3 kids said at the same time.

“If you cook.... you, don't have to clean up.” Everyone laughed.

“Well it's only fair!” Toni said in a pout.

“Jeez all of you make me sound so bossy!” Everyone laughed again. Even Merle. Toni sat down to eat. She was across from Merle, Daryl and Rick. She was eating like Daryl eats! Like it had been a week since she last ate. Daryl had a huge grin on his face while he watched her. He didn't know how anyone so tiny could eat so much.

“Hungry Toni?” He asked, trying not to laugh.

“Starving! This is so good!” She said with her mouth full, which caught Landon's attention, since he was always being corrected for that.

“I sure am glad the Jones's aren't here!” He directed at Toni. She looked up at him, while taking another huge mouthful.

“Whys that?” She asked him, again with a mouthful of spaghetti.

“Because....it would be embarrassing to have Mrs. Jones see my Mom, talking with her mouth full.” He said smiling at correcting her, for a change. Toni stopped mid chew and swallowed as tears formed in her eyes. Her hand covered her mouth. Landon didn't think she’d cry over his correcting her. He felt horrible.

“I'm sorry Toni! I didn't mean to make you cry.” He said as he ran to her to hug her.

“I was just teasing you. Toni was shaking her head no. But she couldn't speak with the lump in her throat. The tears spilled over and she covered her face with her hands. Lisa suddenly understood. She knelt down in front of Landon and turned him to face her.

“Those are happy tears.” Toni nodded her head, still unable to speak.

“Why?” He asked still afraid he'd hurt her feelings.

“Because you just called Toni …... Mom.” Landon looked up at Lisa then over to Toni. He went to her and wrapped his arms around her.

“You are our Mom, Toni.” Lucas wiggled his way off Daryl’s lap to go hug her too. Lisa went to her and squatted down beside her chair.

“We thought you knew that Toni. We may call you Toni....but you are our Mom!” Toni cried harder. She kissed all their faces and excused herself.

“I just need a minute, excuse me.” And she got up and went out onto the porch and sat on the swing. She was overwhelmed. She had no idea that they felt the same way she did. She hugged the pillow to her and cried harder. She lifted her head and looked out at the stars in the sky.

“Thank you, Sara and Don for giving me this time with your children. I don't know if you chose me or a higher power did, but I'm so grateful to be a part of their lives. I love them so very much. You can be proud of them. They're wonderful children, but you probably already knew that, didn't you?” She wiped at the steady stream of tears. Daryl sat down beside her and held out a box of tissues. She smiled, took one and said thank you. She blew her nose and dried her eyes.

“We have the best kids.” She said looping her arm with his and laying her head against his shoulder. If she had been looking at him, she would have seen the surprise on his face at her calling the kids theirs.

“Yes....we do.” He answered.

 

When they went back inside, the kitchen was clean. Toni kissed and hugged each of the children. She sat down to eat her now cold supper. She picked up her fork, only to have Lisa take her plate.

“Hey! I want that!” Toni told her. Lisa put it in the microwave.

“Just warming it back up for you!” Toni got up while her food was warming and took the two banana puddings out of the freezer. She put them on the table and got bowls and spoons out for everyone. Then she started another pot of coffee. Lisa put her plate down in front of her.

“We're going up to Carl's room to listen to music.”

“Take your brothers with you.” Lisa rolled her eyes and called Landon and Lucas to follow them. She knew Toni made her take them so she couldn't be alone with Carl. She didn't have to be happy about it though.

Toni looked across the table at Merle. She was surprised to still see him there but was pleased that he had stayed. The boys ran back into the kitchen.

“Do we get some pudding Toni?” She smiled.

“But of course, who do you think I made it for?” Everyone answered.

“Daryl.” She laughed.

“No! I didn't make it for Daryl!” She got them each a bowl, with instructions to bring the bowls back down when they were done. As soon as the boys were gone, she went around to Daryl and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Yes, I did.” He laughed. She made a bowl for Merle and put it in front of him.

“Merle, you're welcome to stay with us in our room. It's the first door, top of the stairs, on the left.”

“What? Ah.... no.”

“Okay, but I'll fix you a spot in case you change your mind. It's gotta be better than sleeping out in the storms we've had lately.”

“I'm fine.... really ....no need.”

 

Later that night after everyone was in bed. The sky's opened up! It was one hell of a thunderstorm, like this morning. Daryl Toni and the kids, were sleeping right through it.

Merle was sitting in his truck, cursing the storm. The wind gusts were rocking the vehicle. His threadbare army blanket wasn't helping to keep him warm. He was smoking a cigarette since he couldn't sleep anyway, wondering what time they were going tomorrow. He realized that he had no idea. He knew Daryl would still be up, because he didn't like storms, so he decided to go in and talk to him for a while. The front door was locked, so he made his way around to the back door. Finding it open, he went inside. He grabbed a beer from the frig and sat at the table to drink it, while he warmed up. When he finished his beer, he quietly crept up the stairs to find Daryl so they could talk while the storm raged outside. When he reached the top landing. He got out his small flashlight, since it was so dark out without a visible moon. The first room on the left, had the door wide open. He moved closer.

 

Rick had his colt in his hand. He heard someone coming up the stairs, and knew they were trying to be quiet. As soon as they turned on the flashlight, Rick could see it was Merle. He waited to see why he was here. He watched as he shined the light into Daryl and Toni's room.

 

Merle shined is flashlight into the room and was shocked by what he saw. His Brother, Toni and the three kids were all in the same bed, and.......sound asleep! Since when did Daryl sleep during storms? He just stood there and looked at them. In his wildest dreams, he'd never expected this. He was having a hard time wrapping his mind around the image before him. It was beautiful. They looked like a loving family. The little one was sleeping on his brother chest. Toni had her back to him but was wrapped around his arm. The girl slept with her back to him on the other side, and the older boy slept on the other side of Toni. In his whole life, he'd never seen the likes. He started to back out of the room...when he spied a twin mattress laying in the corner of the room, all made up. For him? She had said she was going to make him a place in their room. He flashed the light from the family to the bed on the floor. Had the kids just got into the bed with them because of the storm? Or was that bed for him? He wasn't sure.

“Quit shining the light on us and just get into your bed.” Daryl grumbled.

“And don't sleep in the nude. We have kids in here.” There was flash of lightning and a big boom of thunder. Merle stripped off his wet wife beater and his wet pants, leaving his boxers on, he climbed into the first bed he'd been in, in years. He laid his head on the soft pillow and covered up with the sheet and 3 blankets and thought he died and went to heaven. Toni squeezed Daryl's arm and turned over and kissed him, quietly. Daryl smiled to himself. When Toni had made him bring in the twin mattress, he had told her Merle would never use it. He was glad he'd been wrong.

 

Rick was shocked. He didn't think Merle would ever take Toni up on her offer and had sided with Daryl, that it was all for nothing.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 28

 

The next morning after breakfast, everyone was preparing to leave for the run. All the vehicles were lined up and ready to roll out the gate. They were taking 10 in all. Four of them trucks. They were hopeful that they would fill them all. Toni was still at the house, gathering the extra duffel bags, Lisa and Carl had collected from the people in Alexandria.

 

As Lisa and her brothers were putting their bags in the SUV that they were riding in, the gate opened and Aaron came driving through. He had a passenger in the car with him. As they passed by, Lisa and her brothers got a look at the passenger. They knew that face! They'd never forget any of those faces from that night. Lisa signed to the boys and they all took off for home. Carl yelled after them. They ignored him. Rick called out. They ignored him. Daryl looked up from the vehicle ahead and saw the kids running for home

“What happened?” He asked Rick and Carl.

“I don't know, Lisa just started signing to the boys and they took off.” Carl answered.

“Shit!” Daryl cursed, and took off running for the house. He didn't know what was wrong, but he knew something was, for the kids to take off like that without a word to anyone.

 

Aaron got out of the car with his passenger. He lived 3 doors down from Ricks. They were standing in his back yard by the garage where he'd parked the car.

“As you can see, the wall goes completely around all of Alexandria.” Aaron was telling him.

 

Lisa ran into the house and up to the bedroom where she knew Toni was. As soon as Toni saw her face, she knew something was very wrong.

“What is it?” For a brief second, she thought something had happened to one of the boys, until they also came racing into the room. Then she knew!

“Where?”

“He just drove in with Aaron, they're parking the car now.”

“Where is everyone?” She asked as she started down the steps.

“Still up at the gate.”

“Good.” She said as she headed for the back door. They walked through the back yards to reach Aaron's house.

 

“Toni!” Daryl called out as he ran inside the house with Rick and Carl on his heels. No answer. He tried again before running upstairs to check the bedroom. The bags lay on the bed, half packed and now, abandoned.

 

“Aaron!” Toni called out before he walked around to the front of his house.

“Hey Toni!” Aaron greeted her with a smile. Toni placed a fake smile on her face.

“Rick asked me to get you. He needs to talk to you before he leaves, he said it was important.”

“Alright.” He turned to the man. “Come on, I'll introduce you to the leader of our community.”

“No! That's why I'm here. He said he needs to speak to you privately. I'll show him around until you get back.”

“Okay, are you sure? Aren't you going out with them?”

“Yes, we still have 20 minutes before we leave, you'll be back by then.” She lied with ease. The bile was trying to work its way out of her stomach. She forced it back down. Her heart was thundering in her chest. She took a deep breath to calm it. It didn't help. She watched as Aaron walked around the house to the front.

 

Aaron saw Rick, Daryl, and Carl come out of the house. He jogged over to them.

“Hey, what's up?” He said as he reached them.

“Have you seen Toni and the kids?” Daryl interrupted.

“Yes, she said you needed to see me alone.”

“Where is she?” Daryl asked quickly.

“Behind my house with the guy I just brought in. Why?” But he was talking to their backs, because they were already headed to his house.

 

“So.....do you remember me?” Toni asked the man as he was checking everything out around him. He looked at her. He'd never seen her before. Toni felt herself start to shake with the rage inside her. How do you almost kill a person and leave them for dead and not remember them?

 

Jesus looked up and saw Rick, Daryl, Carl, and Aaron, running down the street. He took off in their direction, which caused Abe, Glenn and Maggie to take note and they followed. It was like a domino effect and soon everyone was running toward Aaron's house.

 

Daryl stopped at the corner of Aaron's house and cursed. He put his arm up to stop Rick and Carl.

“Fuck! Son of a bitch!” He said quietly.

“What is it?” Rick asked watching Toni talk to the new guy. Was Daryl jealous? He wondered.

“I think she just found another one.”

“Another one who?” Rick asked. Daryl turned Rick to face him.

“Take Carl and leave. He doesn't need to see this and neither do you. Go and keep everyone away.”

“What the hell are you talking about Daryl?” Rick looked back toward Toni and that's when he spotted the kids. They were in a triangle about 20 feet out from the pair. Hands on their blades. Everyone had reached them by now. They were all looking trying to figure out what was going on. Merle made his way up to the front to stand beside his brother. The newcomer spoke…

 

“What? No, should I know you?” The man half smiled.

“Let me refresh your memory.” She started to unbutton her shirt.

“What the hell?” He said seeing her unbutton her shirt. He didn't know her, he was sure of it. He'd have remembered this fat girl, had he ever seen her before.

“Look! I don't do fat girls.....you have me mistaken for someone else.”

“Yes...I found that out the hard way!” Ricks eyes grew wide with comprehension. He looked at Daryl.

“Is he....?.”

“Yes.” Was all Daryl said. Rick pulled his revolver. Daryl stopped him.

“Don't! She will kill you, or they will, if you interfere.”

She kicked off her shoes next.

“Toni? We have company.” Lisa called out.

“What are you talking about?” The man asked her. His eyes started darting around and he became fidgety.

“You guys go on without us! We have some personal business to take care of. No need for you to see this.” She never looked away from the man. She had no idea who was even there.

“Dixon, you know how this is going to go.......get everyone out of here.” No one moved. She dropped her shirt, which exposed her back brace and pillow.

“Anything ringing a bell yet?” She asked him.

“What is this? What's going on? I don't know you!” He shouted. He didn't understand why people were just standing there doing nothing. She released the velcro and the belt and pillow dropped to the ground, causing her pants to fall down. She kicked them to the side, never taking her eyes off him. She stood in her tank top and workout pants and of course, her arsenal of blades.

“How about now? Collin!”

“Jesus! How do you know my name?” He started to slowly back up. She followed just as slowly. He looked left and right. There was a kid in each direction. He looked behind him. There was a young girl back there. They were taking the same small steps as he was.

“Still don't remember? Collin! Get ready! Here comes your memory!” She pulled off her cap and all her glorious hair came falling down.

His eyes bugged out.

“Ah! There it is! You've remembered!”

“It wasn't me!” He screamed.

“What do you mean....... it wasn't you?” Too late he realized his mistake.

“They made me!” He screamed as he backed up.

“Made you? You mean, like had a gun to your head? Or something?”

“Yes!!!!” He cried out.

“Shall we ask the witnesses? Collin?”

“What witnesses? There were no witnesses!” She smiled at him. An evil smile.

“Kids? Did Collin here, have a gun pointed at his head as he raped me?”

“No!” All 3 answered at once.

“She's lying! Those kids weren't even there!” He screamed at the group of people just standing there doing nothing to help him.

“He's the one that said...'Stand her up and I'll take the back door!'” Lisa told Toni.

“So...that was you? Huh?”

“Help me!” He screamed at the onlookers.

“What's the matter, Collin? Don't think you can take me on without your seven sick fuck friends?”

“What?”

“It's just me and you, come on, you're twice as big as me. Let's see if you can rape me now, while you're by yourself.”

“What and have them shoot me? I'm not crazy!”

“Oh, don't worry Collin....they know I will kill them, if they interfere. It's just me and you!”

“You're crazy!” He said to her.

“Oh! I'm more than crazy! Tell him what I am Merle!” She called out.

“Psycho fucking bitch!” Merle shouted out.

“And he would know! He got it first, hand!” He rushed her. She ducked and swiped his legs right out from under him with her leg. He landed on his back, hard.

“Get up!” She ordered.

“Fuck you bitch! We should have killed you!”

“That was indeed a huge mistake on your part.” He slowly got up to his feet.

“Take off your clothes.”

“What? No!” She kicked him in the side of his face with the roundhouse. He hit the ground again.

“Get up!” She said again. He was on his hands and knees, making no effort to stand. She grabbed him by the back of his hair and lifted his head and palmed him in the nose. He screamed out and it bled profusely. But it did what she wanted, it pissed him off. He jumped to his feet and went on the attack. He threw a punch which she easily ducked, then followed with a side kick to the gut.

“Look at you getting all beat up by a girl.” He lunged at her. She dropped to the ground and punched his knee cap. He screamed out again as he went down to the ground. She signed to the kids, then reached down and grabbed him by the balls and squeezed.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”

“Put your hands above your head!” He didn't move fast enough for her. She squeezed harder and started to twist. He screamed and pleaded. He raised his hands above his head on the ground. She nodded. Lucas and Landon threw their blades pinning his hands to the ground. Lisa's blade landed in his thigh. An inch away from Toni. Toni looked up at her.

“He laughed the whole time.” Lisa told her. Toni nodded and Lisa threw another into the other thigh. The screams stopped when the man passed out. Toni signed to Landon. He turned and ran to the house.

“While we wait...let's cut these clothes off of him.” They set to work, until he lay there naked as the day he was born.

 

The onlookers were shocked to say the least. Toni looked over at them.

“Go on home, there nothing you want to see here. This is not going to end pretty, and it will end when I'm ready for it to end.” She pulled her hair up and stuffed it back under her cap.

“He's going to suffer...... the way I suffered......... he going to feel.....everything I felt. I promise you.....you don't want to be here.” No one moved.

“You don't seem surprised by any of this.” Rick said to Daryl quietly.

“This is number five, three more to go.”

“How is this gonna go?” Rick asked him.

“Remember when Carl was attacked out on the road....what you did?” Daryl looked at him. Rick nodded.

“This is going to be worse.”

“Jesus.”

“It was eight men Rick, eight men on her.” Everyone looked up when they saw Landon coming back carrying 2 buckets of water with what appeared to be a branch sticking out of one of the buckets. Toni took the buckets from him and set them about 10 feet away. She picked one up and threw half of the contents on her rapist. He sputtered awake...crying out in pain.

“What? Are you feeling a little pain? Oh, Collin, we've only just begun.” He realized he couldn't move his hands and looked up at them to see the knives that staked them to the ground. The searing pain in his thighs made him lift his head to look. He cried out at seeing not only the two knives still in them, but that he was naked....exposed. He turned his head to see all the people were still there just watching.

“What is wrong with you people! How can you let this happen? Are you all gonna just stand there and do nothing?” He screamed at them. Carol and Michonne were turning away and sending home any Alexandrians who tried to come and see what was going on. Only Rick's group, Jesus, and Aaron were allowed to stay, and some were wondering if they might regret it, but couldn't bring themselves to leave.

“I wonder how many tooth mark scars I have on my body.” She said aloud while holding out her tank top to look inside, even though they were all over her body.

“117” Daryl said. Which had every head in the group turn to look at him. Lisa was standing about 15 feet away from the group and heard Daryl.

“Daryl says 117.” Daryl's head jerked up in surprise. He hadn't realized he'd said it loud enough for anyone to hear.

“Really? 117?” Toni said. “What, did he count them? When?” There was no answer forthcoming.

“Well let's get to it!” She pulled a blade.

“Wh....What are you doing?”

“Well I'm certainly NOT going to put my mouth on you, that would be just gross! So......my blade will have to do. How many toothmarks do I need to make again?”

“117...Daryl said 117.”

“Well...he'd have no reason to lie...so we'll go with that number.” She stabbed him around his nipple about 10 times with the tip of her blade. He screamed out, as he lay there bleeding.

“Damn! Did I scream that loud?”

“No..you never made a sound.”

“Well only 107 to go.” She stabbed around the other nipple, then continued over his ribs and down to his stomach. He screamed the whole time.

“You're giving me a headache!” She cut the sleeve off his shirt and stuffed it in his mouth.

 

The 3 men outside the walls of Alexandria, stayed hidden in the woods listening to the screaming. They had no idea who was screaming and prayed it wasn't their comrade. They were rethinking their plan on sneaking in, in the dead of night.

Toni stabbed around his cock. The group of onlookers cringed. She moved to the insides of his thighs. He lifted a leg and tried to kick her. Well, that only pissed her off, so she locked an arm around his calf, and brought her elbow down on his knee and broke it. He screamed and passed out again. She picked up the bucket and threw the rest of the water on his face. It brought him back to life. She walked over to the other bucket of water and pulled the tree branch out of it. She went back over to him and kicked his legs apart.

“What do you think, Collin? Think it'll hurt or feel good?” His eyes nearly bugged out of his head with the comprehension of what was about to happen.

“You took something from me that can't be replaced, something that I was saving to give away, freely. You took it and turned me into used goods. What was it you said when I begged for Mercy?”

“He said...' I got your mercy right here!'” Lisa reminded her. Toni signed to the children. She pointed with her index finger then pounded down with her fist. Everyone knew what that sign was. They'd never forget the telling of that night by the children. The children shook their heads no. She signed it again. Their answer was the same. She used both hands. The answer remained no. She signed something else. Lisa moved forward.

“I need to see blood, Collin.” She rammed the branch up his ass as Lisa pulled the sleeve out of his mouth so they could hear him scream.

“That one was for my virginity! This one is for raping me!” And she grabbed his dick and cut it off and shoved it in his mouth. Toni and the kids stood over him until his screams stopped and the life left his eyes.

“Was I that bloody?” She asked the kids as they all looked down at him.

“You were bloodier.” Landon told her.

“Dammit!” Toni sighed.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 29

 

“Let's find a wheel barrel or something to take this trash out. Then we'll pack our things and go home.”

“We have to leave here now Toni?” Lucas asked.

“Yes darling, we killed one of their own. They won't be able to trust us now.”

“But we can just tell them what he did Toni.”

“I'm afraid it's just our word against his. We don't have any proof.” She ran her hand down the side of Lisa's face.

“I'm sorry sweetheart, I know how much you liked Carl.”

“I love you, Toni. What about Daryl?” Lisa asked her, knowing how she felt about that man.

“Maybe he'll be able to visit from time to time.”

“We don't need them then! You all have me! I'll take care of you!” Landon said with bravery that a 10 year old shouldn't have to have. It brought tears to Toni's eyes that he had to act so much older than his years. She leaned down to hug him.

“We'll take care of each other.” They all moved in to join the hug. Toni stood back up.

“Come on, let go pack.” She smiled at her children, she loved them so much. As they turned to walk back to the house. Toni stopped. They were all there! Standing there looking at them. She couldn't read their faces. She took a step out in front of her kids. Within a blink of an eye, she was holding 2 blades out in front of her. She spread her arms wide as if to shield the children from them. As the group looked at them, Toni's hands and arms were covered in blood. She had blood spatters on her face and chest. She was ready to do whatever it takes to protect those children.

“You'll not harm a hair on their heads. Let us pass and we'll be gone within 10 minutes. Have no doubts, I WILL fight you to the death if you try.” They watched in awe as the children came around her spread arms to stand beside her.

“WE will fight you!” Lisa stated with her blades drawn. The boys had their blades out too.

“He deserved to die!” Landon’s eyes looked like those of a man, a man willing to die for what he believed in.

“Nobody's gonna hurt our Mom again!” Little Lucas puffed out his chest. He looked way to brave for a six year old.

Rick took a step forward. Damn! But this little family had the spirit of true warriors of days long gone by. Toni assumed her fighting stance. Rick stopped.

“I was just going to say....that...... we'll take the trash out for you, and we'll cancel the run until tomorrow, if you think you'll be up to it.” Toni looked at him. Then Daryl spoke for the first time.

“Are we having a party tonight?” Her arms dropped to her sides. Tears dropped from her eyes. She dropped to her knees. It was the last reaction she thought they'd get. She was so relieved she felt like she was going to fall apart. She bowed her head to her chest so they couldn't see her face. Her shoulders start to shake. She laid her forehead against the ground, and let herself grieve. Silently. She made not a sound. Her children gathered around her and cried with her. Daryl was the first to move. He went to them and hugged them all. They clung to him. It was sight that had many tears flowing from Daryl's family. What they had witnessed today was brutal indeed. But they all understood. Rick, Abe, and Glenn disposed of the body. Daryl and Merle took Toni and the kids back to the house. Merle picked up Lucas and took Landon by the hand. Daryl picked Toni up to carry her. He needed to hold her as much as she needed him. Carl walked with his arm around Lisa, who laid her head against him, with her own arm around his waist. The blades were retrieved and the blood washed off of them. The buckets were put away and the hose was brought out to wash away the huge blood stain on the grass where Collin had laid. Toni's fat getup and shoes were carried home. By the time they finished, you would have never known that a brutal death had even occurred in Aaron's back yard.

As they entered the house, Daryl told the kids he was taking Toni upstairs to clean her up. Merle, Carl and the kids went into the kitchen. As more people came in, Lisa started a pot of coffee, because she knew that's what Toni would have done. She turned around and everyone was sitting at the table. She signed to her brother who then came to stand beside her.

“We killed one of yours, why are you letting us stay here?” She looked to Rick.

“He wasn't one of ours, he had only just arrived. If we had known........” He trailed off.

“We still have 3 left.” She wanted to make sure that they fully understood that this would most likely happen again.

“We'll handle it if and when we come across them.” Rick looked her in the eye and stated.

“No.....we'll handle our own business. We don't need any help.” Rick opened his mouth to speak, but she continued before he could.

“This is something that only we can do. It has to be us, and only us. She's our Mom! It was us, that were there. It's us, that knows what has to be done. Only us, know what was done to her. It was us, that had to watch. It was us, that had to carry her home. It was us, that prayed she would live. It was us, that tended to her broken body. It was US! The punishment has to be dealt out by only US! Just US!”

“And that's the way it will be.” Daryl said. He was standing in the kitchen doorway. He walked in.

“Your Mom wants a beer. Does she always drink this early in the morning?” He smiled at her.

“Only on Judgment day.” She returned his smile. She sure did love him. He grabbed 2 beers from the frig and gave Lisa and the boys a quick kiss before leaving the kitchen.

“He's so good for her.” Lisa said to no one. But everyone was thinking how good she was for Daryl.

“But Toni never drinks.” Landon looked up at her puzzled. “She always said she couldn't, cause she has to keep her wits about her, to keep us safe.”

“Well.....she needs to get drunk. We'll keep our wits about us and keep her safe for a change. We need to have a drinking party. Or the adults do. We'll keep everyone safe and let them cut loose.” The boys clapped their hands. They were always up for a party! Lisa ruffled their hair and opened the frig.

“We're gonna need that beer we got when we went out on that run. Let's go get it and start chilling it.” And they were off to the pantry with Carl in tow. Rick got up.

“Guess I need to go to the pantry. Olivia is never gonna turn over all that beer to those kids.” He laughed. Merle, Glenn and Abe got up to go with him, after all they were gonna need a lot of beer.

 

Daryl carried the 2 beers up to their room. Toni hadn't moved from where he'd placed her on the side of the bed. He opened them, handed her one and sat down beside her. They drank in silence for a moment.

“Lisa is downstairs telling everyone how things are gonna be.” He was so proud of her. She was so much like Toni.

“What?” Toni started to get up.

“No, sit back down and enjoy your beer. She just making sure they know that this will probably happen again sometime in the future, because there are still 3 more.” Toni sighed.

“She's right.”

“We're also having a party tonight with lots of beer and I imagine other adult beverages. The kids are gonna keep their wits about them and watch over you for a change.” He laughed.

“You even have them talking like you! 'wits about you'.” He shook his head and laughed some more. She back handed him in the belly but smiled at his teasing of some of the things she says.

“Just because I read......”

“Toni...no one ever says…. 'I have to keep my wits about me' No one says that!” He made her laugh.

“That's not true because I say it all the time.” She looked up at him. He kissed her, he had to.

“Oh my gosh! If, we're having a party we need to find party clothes! We need to go on that run! I have things to find! Come on!”

“Wait! You need to get a shower. We don't need things to have a party.”

“Yes, we do! My kids need stuff! You've been to our party! You know this Daryl! We have rules!”

“Calm down. I'll go talk to Rick and you get your shower. We'll meet back here.” Toni took off for the shower, and Daryl went in search of Rick. He didn't have far to go. Rick was walking in the front door with the kids, Merle, Abe and Glenn and a shitload of beer.

“How's she doing?” Rick asked Daryl as they went into the kitchen.

“She wants to go on the run...... now.”

“What?”

“She said she needs to find stuff for the party.”

“Yes!! We do!” Lisa agreed.

“We need lots of stuff.” Landon said.

“We have the best parties!” Lucas told them.

“I can take them out if you want to wait on the run.” Daryl offered.

“Do you have a thrift store, Daryl?” Landon wanted to know.

“Or a Good Will store.” Lucas added.

“I could come and help, Daryl.” Carl volunteered.

“We could just go out and look for houses, if you don't Daryl. We're pretty good at finding stuff.” Lisa assured him.

“Wait! Does this mean I have to wear a suit again?” Daryl asked, afraid he already knew the answer.

“Yeah we have to wear suits, but it means Toni and Lisa will be in pretty dresses again.” Landon said.

“Daryl wore a suit?” Carol asked.

“Oh, he was so handsome.” Lisa told her and made Daryl blush.

“And Toni sang to him.” Lucas told all.

“I'd like to see you in a dress Lisa.” Carl smiled at her.

“Well...you have to wear a suit too.” Lisa told him.

“Everybody has to dress up, those are the rules.” Lucas said.

“We have to dress up to come to the party?” Maggie asked.

“Yep! Those are the rules.” Lucas said.

“Then I'm going too. I want to pick out my own dress.” She looked at Glenn.

“I guess that means....I'm going suit shopping?” Glenn asked.

“You guessed right.” Maggie laughed at his expression.

“Lord, I haven't had a dress on in years.” Michonne said. “It might be fun for one night.

“Do you have a boom box and batteries, ours are at home.” Lucas asked.

“We do, and we have electricity so we don't need batteries.” Carl reminded him.

“Oh, that's right! I forgot.” Lucas laughed.

“We could pick the outfits up for anyone who doesn't want to go, or can't if they're on watch duty.” Lisa let them know.

“Well, if we're having a party, I guess I need to stay here and cook some stuff up for it. Michonne you can find me something to wear.”

“I've never worn a suit in my entire life.” Merle said to himself, but aloud.

“If I have to wear one....so do you.” Daryl laughed at his expression.

“Well I know I clean up real nice! Especially if it's Military uniform.” Abe boasted. Sasha smiled at him. He winked at her.

“I’d do it.... too, just to see you in a dress.” He directed to her.

“Then I'm in too.” Sasha said.

“We need to make a list.” Lisa said going into the living room for pen and paper.

“I'll ride along, maybe we can find some booze for this shing ding.” Merle offered.

“Oh yeah, like Margarita's! I haven't had one of those since college.” Maggie said. Lisa started the list, as everyone shouted out things they wanted. She got sizes for those who had guard duty and preferences on clothing attire, with shoe sizes.

Carol took deer burgers out and started to defrost them in the microwave. Then rummaged through the pantry to see what else she could whip up for the party. Everyone seemed to be excited about it. Daryl noted. He had brought it up as a joke really because Toni had, had a party after killing the last guy. He'd never admit it.....but he was looking forward to the party. Especially seeing Toni in a dress again. It was worth dressing up in a suit just for that. Well that and seeing how happy it made her and the kids. He looked around the room. It seemed his family here were looking forward to it too. Who would of thought. Toni came bursting into the kitchen!

“Dixon! Do you guys have a thrift store or a Good Will store? Or we can just do houses, we're pretty good at finding stuff! Oh, and the library! I need to go to the library if we have time. I need books on chickens and their care and some for cows too, so we can learn to make butter. Lisa, we need to start a list! Get sizes and requests! We need a boombox, music, and batteries. Sweetie? Write this down! We need to figure out food and drinks so get requests for those too.”

“Like two peas in a pod.” Carol murmured with a smile.

“Want me to drive?” She asked.

“No!” was said by Rick, Daryl, Abe, Glenn and Jesus, at the same time.

Rick realized he wasn't even part of the conversation now. All the other adults were smiling at the look on Ricks face.

“We'll all go out together.” Rick said. Everyone’s face turned to him.

“I can't wait to see you in a suit.” Toni said to Rick.

“Ummmm....I don't th.......”

“Those are the rules Rick, we dress up for parties.” Everyone laughed. Toni just looked at them all. She didn't know what was funny about it.

“Yep!” Daryl said, agreeing with Toni, smiling behind her back at him. Ricked cocked his head and ran a hand down his face. He knew when he was outgunned, and it appeared this was one of those times. When had he lost control? He just shook his head. What else could he do. Looked like he was going shopping for a suit.

Father Gabriel came walking through the back door. He was greeted by all.

“We're having a party tonight. You have to dress up for it.” Landon told him.

“A party?” Father Gabriel was confused. He stopped by to offer his help to deal with what had happened. He looked around the room.

“Yes! We're going out now to pick things up for the party. Is there anything special that you want for tonight?” Lisa asked him. “I'm making a list for all the requests.” She smiled at him.

“No......I came by to see if any of you wanted to talk. To let you know that I'm available anytime you want to talk.”

“About what?” Toni asked him.

“About this morning.....what happened.........this morning.”

“It's done! I don't think we need to talk about it.” She said it like he wanted to talk about an argument, not a brutal killing.

“Killing a man couldn't have been easy for you.......and to have your children present.......”

“I didn't kill a man, Father. I was raped and left for dead by 8 fucking sick animals. I just put one down. I couldn't leave it alive to hurt someone else, could I?” Father Gabriel was taken aback by her rendition of this morning’s event.

“We need to go get our blades. Come on Landon and Lucas. Lisa you continue to make the list and don't forget to make copies to pass out. It was nice to see you Father. Hope you can come tonight.”

“Your blades are upstairs on the dresser. We brought them back.” Glenn told her.

“Thank you.” She and the boys headed upstairs.

“Are all of you okay with this.........Rick?” Father Gabriel raised his voice a little.” He still couldn't believe that she seemed not to care that she'd taken a life this morning.

“Father.......” Rick began, before being interrupted by Lisa.

“Father? Have you ever been raped?” Lisa asked him.

“No, but....”

“Imagine for a moment if you will........being surrounded by 8 men out there where normally you only have to worry about the dead eating you at every moment. You have your children with you when all the forest sounds stop. You're expecting.... walkers as you like to call them, so you send your kids to hide where they will be safe. You prepare to defend them from the walkers only it isn't walkers at all. It's men. 8 of them and they have you surrounded. You offer them your belongings. You ask for Mercy when you see their faces and know, just know, what's going to happen next. Imagine knowing that your kids are watching and they're about to see something that even adults would have a hard time viewing. Now imagine that you're a virgin, and there is no escape from this vile act that's about to become your reality, and not by just 1 man, but by 8 of them, at the same time. Imagine being tiny, and having those men be 2 and 3 times bigger than you. Imagine having them shoving their cocks inside you, there's no lube, nothing to ease the way. Well maybe all the blood helped later. Have you ever had a cock shoved up your ass? Imagine being ripped and torn apart. Imagine being bitten until you’re so bloody no one would actually know where your injuries are. Imagine being punched until your face is so swollen that you can no longer see. Imagine being raped not 1 time by each of them, but over and over, and over again. Then imagine knowing your children are watching so you can't even scream out, you know it's bad enough that they have to be witness to it all, so you'll spare them your screams of pain. Imagine then being left for dead. Imagine how your children feel when they reach you and think you're dead. Imagine them trying to carry your lifeless body home in the dark that's miles away. Imagine the days going by when they still didn't know if you would even live, for there are no doctors. Before you pass judgment on us......sit down.... close your eyes.....and imagine if it was you and your children. Those were just the highlights of our evening, there was much, much more.” Lisa walked out of the room. Father Gabriel had tears running down his face. He couldn't imagine any of it, but she'd painted the picture for him. He turned and walked out of the kitchen.

“Damn! He's gonna need therapy now.” Abe said low.

“Hell, I need therapy now.” Maggie said. There were many nods to that statement.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 30

 

If everyone in the kitchen had been talking instead of reflecting on Lisa's account of events to Father Gabriel, they would have missed the conversation between Lisa and Toni coming down the stairs.

“Sweetheart, it's my job to protect you, not the other way around.”

“But, who's going to protect you? He was judging you! Us. He needed to be put in his place.”

“He's a preacher. It's his job to tend to his flock. He probably wasn't judging me or us, it just sounded that way to you.”

“Oh! He was judging alright.” She grumbled.

“Here sit down.”

“We need to go they're waiting for us.”

“They can wait. You're more important.”

“See! That's how you are! You always put us first! What about you?!”

“Listen to me! You're 16, 16 Lisa, I'm an old lady!” Lisa snorted, but smiled.

“I'm the adult in this family, I'm the one who's supposed to take care of you and your brothers. It's not your job to try to take care of me. To defend me. I can take care of myself. Your job is to try to sneak kisses with Carl, praying I don't catch you and beat him up. To be taking a can of beer out of the frig, praying I didn't count them, to try a cigarette and pray I don't smell it on you. Your job is to play spin the bottle or strip poker and pray you don't get caught and grounded. Those are the things you need to be worrying over. What I'm trying to tell you is, your job is to fear me. To be afraid that I'll catch you doing any or all these things!” Lisa laughed out loud.

“How do you know? You never even had a childhood or parents?”

“Oh, sweetheart when are you all going to get it? I read! I read everything!” Lisa laughed again.

“I love you so much, Toni!” She hugged her Mom tight!

“I love you more!” They stood up, and continued down the stairs.

“Sooooo....if you get drunk tonight.... I can try some of those things you mentioned, and you'll never be the wiser?”

“Oh sweetie, you can try, but know that I have eyes in the back of my head. I count everything, my nose has a great sniffer, puffy lips and blushing gives away kisses every time, and long absences like playing spin the bottle or strip poker would make me suspicious and come searching for you. Did I forget to mention that at 16 you're really supposed to hate me.” Lisa laughed again.

“Okay if you say so, I'll try to hate you.”

“That's my girl! Ready to go find dresses for the party?”

“Yes.”

“Come on boys! Our chariots await!” She called up the steps.

“It sucks they won't let me drive. I kinda liked it.”

“You smashed up their car!” Lisa laughed.

“Oh picky, picky.”

As they entered the kitchen, Lisa went straight to Carl, which caused Toni to point to her eyes with her index and middle finger, then pointed them at Carl. Letting him know that she was watching. Smiles were hidden by hands all around the table. Toni went to Daryl who was smiling at her.

“What are you smiling about?” She asked him.

“I was just thinking about getting you drunk tonight.” He whispered in her ear.

“Oh yeah.....and then what?” She asked him.

“I hope that you're so drunk that you'll let me take advantage of you.”

“I'm already wet, don't need alcohol for that.” He groaned. She winked at him. The boys came into the kitchen carrying the bags and the 'In Case' pack.

“Come on stud. Don't you know, the way to a girl’s heart is shopping!” Daryl laughed and followed her out. They all made their way to the vehicles that were still parked at the gate from earlier.

Their first stop was the Good Will store. They cleared it quickly. All went inside except for Merle and Abe, who decided to keep watch. They were like kids in a candy store. Daryl was the first to make it back to the evening wear, prom dresses, and wedding bridesmaids dresses. He perused the selection. He came across something he would kill to see her in. She'd never agree to it he was sure. But......maybe if he begged? Maggie waked over to him looking at the dress selection.

“Really? Do you really think she'd wear that?” Maggie laughed.

“What's wrong with it?”

“If you're a hooker, then nothing’s wrong with it.”

“Who’s a hooker?” Rick asked coming back to join them. Daryl showed him the dress.

“Good luck man! That dress is every man’s dream, which means...she'll never wear it.”

“That's hot!” Glenn said walking up. Maggie elbowed him.

“What? It is! Would you wear that, for me, please?”

“No!”

“Typical! You men are all the same!” Michonne said looking at the dress, after hearing the comments.

Daryl's face fell a little and he put it back. He walked away from the dresses. Apparently, he had bad taste in dresses. Toni and Lisa watched from 2 rows over and had heard everything. She waited til everyone went off to look at other things and then went over to examine the dress that Daryl liked. Holy shit! She wouldn't even be able to wear underwear with that dress. She would have never chosen something so… risque! Is this what men really wanted? Well of course is was! The less clothes the better. That was their motto.

Toni saw Daryl up front looking in the glass cases. She slipped behind the counter like she was a sales associate.

“May I help you sir?” She asked him. He looked up surprised. He smiled at her. Her heart skipped a beat.

“My girlfriend is here looking at dresses.”

“Shouldn't you be back there helping her chose then.”

“Nah....I don't know anything about dresses. She’d never wear what I picked anyway.”

“How do you know, if you’re not back there helping her?”

“I just do. Can I see those glasses there?” He asked pointing to a pair in the case. She slid the glass door open and handed him the glasses. He put them on and she about creamed her jeans! Well if she was wearing jeans she would have.

“Those are so hot!” She breathed not realizing she'd said it a loud. But he did notice. Her eyes changed colors. He smiled at her.

“Toni!” Lisa called to her. She looked away.

“Can you come here?”

“I'll be right back.” She said to him. She walked back to the dresses where Lisa was. Lisa had found a beautiful little hunter green cocktail dress. She tried it on and she looked beautiful in it. Lucas and Landon both found suits that they liked. They went and checked out the CD'S and found music. It appeared that everyone was finding things that they either liked or just wanted. The Good Will stop was a huge success. As they were leaving Abe and Merle pointed to a men's suit shop in the same strip mall. Before leaving and heading over there Toni stopped and put a chain on the doors and locked it.

“What's she doing?” Rick asked Daryl. Daryl looked over and laughed.

“You just got your very own Good Will store!” He laughed some more as they headed for the suit shop. Maggie said she and Michonne would pick up the suits needed for the men at home so she went in to help Daryl. She picked the black with black because she really liked him in that at home. He was happy to let her pick. He had no taste he told her. As the rest of the men made their selections, Toni stepped outside and looked around. There was a Piggly Wiggly and an Ace liquor store.

“Hey.” Jesus said.

“Hey.”

“How are you?”

“I'm fine.... how are you?” She asked, wondering why this was so awkward.

“I didn't know.”

“Know what?”

“What happened to you.....I'm so sorry.” He grabbed her to him and held her tight. She didn't need it, but allowed him to, because he did. She wrapped her own arms around his waist. She could feel his body shaking. He was crying. She leaned back and took his face into her hands. She gently wiped his tears away.

“I'm okay, really. It was like 6 months ago.”

“I wish I could have been there for you.”

“You're here now. That's all that matters.” She stood up on her tip toes and kissed him on his lips. He leaned his head against hers.

“So.....do you have a boyfriend I need to check out, threaten, or beat up?” He laughed. Leave it to her to try to make him laugh when he was trying to be there for her.

“No, no boyfriend......you got the best looking one.”

“Daryl? You had your eyes on Daryl? My Daryl?”

“I was just looking, he didn't have anyone, so I was waiting to see if anything was there. Then he shows up with you.”

“He's not gay, Jesus.” She laughed.

“Well I know that, but he's really hard to read.......I was hoping maybe he was bi.”

“What are you talking about? He wears his heart on his sleeve.”

“Before you, he barely strung two words together, now he speaks full sentences.” She laughed.

“I'm not kidding Toni. We would get the occasional grunt. He never hung out with the group, he slept outside, hell he was always gone.”

“Well I spent over two weeks with him.”

“He's been with these people for 2 and a half years.”

“Come on, there’s a Piggly Wiggly and a liquor store here. Let's check them out.”

“So....what are you going to do with that little black number I saw you put in your bag, when you thought no one was looking?”

“I'm going to wear it tonight of course.” She laughed.

“You do know, you will give a boner to every man in Alexandria tonight if you do.”

“I'm only concerned with one boner.” She laughed again. “I can think of 3 who won't.”

“Who's that?”

“Why, you, Aaron and Eric, of course.”

“Aaron's cute. But alas, he's taken too.”

“We really need to find you someone!” She linked arms with him as they walked down the sidewalk toward the liquor store.

“So, what made you decide to wear that rather risque little number?”

“Well....first of all Daryl picked it out and he really liked it. Second....his family shot him down, with no regards to his feelings. They said it looked like something a hooker would wear and I'd never put it on. So, you know, I have to now, right?”

“Of course, you do.” He rolled his eyes and laughed.

“No one, not even his beloved family is going to dictate what I do. If he wants me in that dress.... I'm gonna be in that dress. If he wants a hooker tonight......well I'll be that too. Now if I only knew how to give a good blow job.” He stopped. He looked at her. He laughed and shook his head no.

“That's okay, I found someone else who’s willing to tell me.”

“Who?”

“That's for me to know...and none of you to find out.”

“Jesus Toni! Why don't you just ask Daryl, for God’s sake?”

“Cause I wanted to surprise him, he's already taught me so much stuff. Like.....”

“Stop! I don't want to hear about the things he's taught you! Jeez...haven't you ever heard of the saying...'I don't kiss and tell'?”

“I read that people who are best friends tell each other everything.” He was honored that, that's how she felt about him, but he didn't think that, that would be a good idea.

“You're straight.... I'm gay....I have a crush on your boyfriend. I don't think we should be talking about what the two of you do. I mean what if it was me and Daryl and you had a crush on him? Would you want to know what we do?”

“Yes! Every single detail!” He laughed at her serious expression.

“I don't kiss and tell.”

“One of these days, I'm gonna find me some boy on boy porn and lock myself in a room and watch it all.”

“Jeez....what happened to that shy young woman who had no time for boys, only training and working?”

“She got laid!” He erupted with laughter.

“Does Daryl know he's created a little sex kitten?”

“He will tonight when I turn into a tigress.” She gave him a huge smile.

“You are a little Minx!” He gave her a shove. She shoved him back. They both were laughing.

 

Daryl had been watching Jesus and Toni since she'd left the suit shop. At first, he felt an all, consuming jealousy, and wanted to run out there and punch Jesus in the face. Then saw when they embraced and it appeared Jesus was crying. He watched as Toni comforted him. That's when he realized they had a close friendship. She did know he was gay, didn't she? He wondered. He watched as they walked along the sidewalk in front of the stores arm in arm and made each other laugh. Rick joined Daryl at the door.

“What's up with them?” He asked.

“I don't know, Jesus was upset.”

“Yeah, he looked like he was going to lose it when Lisa told Father Gabriel about Toni's.....”

“Lisa told Father Gabriel?”

“She painted a picture of that night that none of us wanted to hear. I don't think Jesus knew about it.”

They watched as Jesus pounded on the liquor store door and waited. They went inside.

“Come on they might need back up.” Daryl said. They left the suit shop and headed toward the liquor store.

“The kids say that Jesus was Toni's best friend before the world ended.”

“Well I'm just glad she had someone.”

Jesus and Toni came out of the liquor store as Daryl and Rick arrived.

“It's virtually untouched. I can't believe it.” Jesus said.

“I'm gonna run down and check the Piggly Wiggly.” Toni said and took off. Daryl, Rick and Jesus ran after her. When they reached it, they could see through the window. It appeared to be untouched as well. Toni turned and smiled at the men as they approached.

“It must have been the middle of the night when things happened here, otherwise we’d be finding employees in these stores and we're not.”

“Well let's wait for the others before going in so we have plenty of back up. Just to be safe.” Rick said.

“Who'd a thought that you having a rule to dress up for parties would have brought us to all of this.” Rick smiled at Toni.

“Do we need to cancel the party, so we can make several trips. We really need to get this stuff home before someone else finds it.”

“No, it's been here untouched for 2 and a half years and no one been here yet. We should be alright.”

“I think that we should load 2 vehicles at a time and send them home to unload and come back. See if anyone else can drive out here to help and keep rotating until like 6 so that everyone has time to get ready for the party. That way we get more stuff home today and no one will be alone on the road either. I can drive one too, if you want me too.”

“No!” the men said together.

“But, yes to your idea. That's a great idea.” Rick told her.

“I have them now and then.” Toni mumbled.

“I'll go tell the others.” Rick said. Jesus went with him.

 

“The whole store is untouched?” Carol asked.

“It appears so, as is the liquor store.”

“Well shit! Looks like we're really gonna party tonight!” Abe smiled. Rick told them all the plan for the day. Everyone agreed.

“Wow! Daryl was right!” Lisa said impressed.

“About what?” Rick asked.

“He said you and Toni were so alike. That sounds exactly like something she would come up with.” Rick smiled.

“That's because it was her plan.”

They loaded and unloaded the rest of the day. They used 16 vehicles in all. All of Alexandria worked to together. They would unload to the curb, to get the vehicles in and out as fast as they could. There was so much food that they had to use an empty house to store more. It was a great stroke of luck, finding this strip mall. At 5:30, as they sent the vehicles back to Alexandria, Rick told them to stay home and start to get ready for the party. Everyone needed showers, so it only made sense to stagger them. As Aaron and Eric were getting ready to leave for home he told Toni and the kids that they could come to his and Eric's place to shower, since there were so many people that lived at Rick's. Toni accepted and said thank you. Maggie and Glenn offered the same to anyone else who needed it. Everyone was excited for the party tonight. Before leaving the strip mall, Toni produced more chains and locks for the store doors much to Rick and Daryl's delight. She was something else.

 

Toni and the kids were at Aaron and Eric's to get showered and dressed for the party. Lisa was in the upstairs bathroom, and the boys were in the one downstairs. Aaron and Eric were already showered and dressed. Toni was with them in the kitchen, waiting for the children to finish, to get her turn. She was having a beer or 3 while Aaron and Eric were drinking wine. They were talking about their day and the success they'd had. Lisa called for Toni, who went up to help her with her hair and makeup, and to get dressed. She looked beautiful in her hunter green party dress, her hair was worn down and to the side, her makeup was minimal. Toni walked downstairs with her, where Aaron, Eric, and her Brothers were all dressed and ready. She was told by all how lovely she looked, and that Carl had better mind his manners or else. She told her Brothers how handsome they looked. Aaron and Eric said they would walk them over to the party and come back for her. She told them that it wasn't necessary, but they insisted.

Toni showered and shaved, she wished she had her perfume to wear. She put a little bit of eyeshadow and mascara on, and piled her hair up on top of her head. Then she put the dress on that Daryl had picked out.....and turned 50 shades of red. It had to be the sexiest little dress she'd ever seen. She wasn't sure she could actually go out in it. She was naked beneath it because...well.... you had to be, to wear it. It was like wearing a second skin. She put her pumps on and she really didn't recognize herself. She looked sexy as hell! The more she turned in the mirror and looked at herself.... the more she starting owning it.

“Toni!” It sounded like Jesus calling up to her. She took one last look and headed for the stairs. As she started down, Jesus looked up. His eyes about popped out of his head. She slowly came down the steps. Jesus never looked away. When she reached the halfway point, he found his voice.

“Holy shit! I'm gay, and I'd do you!” Toni laughed.

“You can't wear that!” Toni stopped and frowned.

“Why not?”

“Have you seen yourself?”

“Yes.”

“You're gonna give them all a heart attack!” Toni's frown turned upside down. When she reached the bottom. She asked about Aaron and Eric.

“I told them I'd come and get you cause I wanted to see this.” He said waving a hand up and down her body.

“You look beautiful, and sexy as hell.” She blushed, she couldn't help it, she'd never in her life been called sexy.

“Shall we go?” He said holding out his arm for her. She took it and smiled.

“Lead on.”

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 31

 

As Toni and Jesus walked to Ricks, Jesus felt the need to warn her. He knew she'd never worn anything like this.

“Be prepared to be the center of attention tonight.” He told her. Her steps faltered. Then she stopped and looked at him.

“I don't want to be the center of attention. I only wore this for Daryl.”

“Well your intentions may have been just to please Daryl, but you're gonna have all the attention tonight”

“Maybe I should change. Should I change?”

“So, you picked up a backup dress for tonight?”

“No! Oh God no I didn't! I don't have anything else to put on.”

“Calm down. Here's what you need to do.” Aaron called out to them. They looked forward. Aaron and Eric were coming toward them.

“WOW!” Aaron said as they approached.

“WOW!” He said again as he scanned her from head to toe. Eric had yet to speak. He could only stare with his mouth open.

“And these are the reactions from the 3 gay guys.” Jesus laughed.

“Spin.” Aaron said twirling his finger. Toni slowly turned.

“Wow!” It seemed that was all he could say.

“I thought the rest of the ladies looked like movie stars all dolled up. You, my dear, are a show stopper!”

“But, I don't want to be a show stopper! I only wore this for Daryl! What am I gonna do?”

“Calm down, Toni. We'll tell you what you need to do.” She was ringing her hands.

“First of all .... you look amazing, so own it.....like you were doing in the house when you came down the stairs. Keep your head high. Speak to Maggie, Carol, Michonne, or any of the ladies in the house. Give the guys time to …...adjust to the surprise. Don't look at them, right off.”

“What do you mean......adjust?” She asked. Aaron spoke up.

“Right now, you're every man’s dream girl. The whole package so to speak.”

“This seemed like such a good idea back in the Good Will...........”

“That's what you have to remember. You're doing this for Daryl. I'm sorry that I made you doubt yourself......it was just such a surprise. Hey we're gay what do we know anyway? They'll probably just see a pretty girl in a pretty dress.” Aaron and Eric raised their brows at the lie she was being told. But Jesus knew it was his fault she was rethinking this whole matter, and he needed her to be confident. Damn he mucked up her sweet plan for Daryl. As they reached the porch steps, she hesitated.

“Wish me luck.” She smiled at them. They were right, she was doing this for Daryl. She reached for the screen door handle.

*******************

 

Aaron and Eric walked in ricks house with Lisa and the boys. Carl and Rick were in the kitchen with Maggie, Glenn, Carol, and Michonne. As they entered Carl's mouth fell open. Lisa looked like a fairy princess. Rick reached over and put a finger under his chin to help him close it.

“Don't you boys look handsome tonight!” Maggie directed to the boys.

“Yes! Toni already told us.” Lucas answered her. They all smiled. Lisa only had eyes for Carl, who looked so hot in his black tux. Standing side by side, they looked like they were going to prom.

“You look really nice.” Lisa said shyly.

“You're beautiful.” Carl whispered. She smiled at the compliment. They walked out back hand and hand. No one else existed. Rick asked the boys where their Mom was. It was Aaron who answered for them, letting them all know that she was in the shower and would be there soon. Rick took the boys into the back yard.

*************

“I didn't see which dress Toni picked did you?” Maggie asked the little group. Everyone said no. Jesus walked in from the back yard.

“Where's Toni he asked looking around.”

“She showering, we're going back after her.” Aaron told him.

“I'll go wait on her. I wanted to talk to her anyway.” Jesus said. He was dying to see her in that little black dress. Jesus left. A short time later Aaron and Eric followed.

 

In the back yard, Daryl saw Lisa and the boys arrive. He looked at the back door but Toni didn't come out.

“Where's your Mom?” He asked Lisa. Lisa smiled at him.

“She's in the shower, she'll be here when she's ready. You look very handsome Daryl, Toni's gonna love it.” She told him because it was true. Daryl started to walk towards the door. Lisa put a hand on his arm. He turned.

“Just wait here for her Daryl. If you go to her, then she's gonna miss the party.” He blushed when he realized what she was insinuating and nodded. Lisa turned her attention back to Carl.

 

Toni straightened to her grand height of 5'2” with the 3” heels she was wearing, held her head high, and put a smile on her face as she opened the screen door to Rick's house and went inside. Thankfully, no one was in the living room. She heard voices in the kitchen and only hesitated for a second before heading that way, with the 3 gay men on her heels. Upon entering she spied Maggie, Sasha, Carol and Michonne. Maggie was the first to look up.

“Whoa!”

“You guys look great!” Toni said with a smile. They all looked so different, so beautiful. She started to feel better about Jesus, Aaron, and Eric's reaction to her. It was just the change from the normal day to day appearance that they were reacting to, not the dress. She immediately started to relax.

“You all look like movie stars! Aaron was right!”

“Girl! You know how to rock a dress!” Sasha said to her.

“What? This ole thing?” Toni laughed.

“Isn't that the dress Daryl picked out?” Michonne asked, already knowing the answer.

“It's the same, the one you told him I'd never wear. So....I had to wear it........ for him. Do you think he'll like it?”

“There no doubt in my mind.” Carol said. Toni needed another minute before going outside to see Daryl so she grabbed a beer from the frig. Jesus took it from her and opened it, handing it back.

“Thank you.” She barely said. “I'm a little nervous. What if he doesn't like it.?”

“Trust us, he'll like it.” She tilted the bottle and took a long drink.

“Sweetie, what we have to worry about, is him having a heart attack once he sees you.” Maggie said.

“Along with all the other guys.” Michonne mumbled. She finished her beer in record time and grabbed another. Jesus opened it, and handed it to her.

“Wait!” Maggie said. “Let me go out first, I want to see his reaction.” The kitchen cleared and Toni was left standing there alone. She laughed at loud, gave them a minute and headed to the back door. She opened it and slowly made her way down the steps, after all she was in 3” heels and didn't want to tumble down them. No one took notice right away other than the group from the kitchen. The party was in full swing and people were in small clusters enjoying each other’s company. Toni scanned the area for Daryl. She spotted him out by the fire pit, with Rick, Glenn, Maggie, Jesus, and Abe. As she passed the first picnic table she stopped to say hello to Tara, Denise, Olivia, and Spencer, who couldn't seem to find any words at the moment. The ladies, however, talked to her about all the supplies they'd gotten today and how excited they were about it. She told them how lovely they all looked and moved on. She looked at Daryl again but his back was still to her. She was stopped by Eugene and Rosita, who commented on her dress, well Rosita did, Eugene just stared. They exchanged pleasantries and she straightened his tie and moved on. It seemed everyone wanted to say hello, even people she didn't know.

Abe was trying to light his cigar. He turned away from the small breeze to strike his match. As he did he glanced around and spotted Toni.

“Holy Mother of God...there is a Santa Claus.” He said and made all their heads turn to look. Toni was standing with Rosita and, an openmouthed Eugene. She was smiling at something Rosita had said. She reached up and adjusted Eugene's crooked tie. She looked stunning. Sexy as hell. Daryl couldn't breathe, she was in the dress he had picked out, hoping she would wear. But how? She didn't know anything about it. He had put it back. They all said she'd never wear it. But there she was and he couldn't move. He was paralyzed. She turned when Lucas ran up to her and put his little arms around her. He watched in fascination as Lucas ran his fingers on the exposed skin through the slits going up the sides of that skin tight little black dress. She leaned down to give him a kiss and ruffled his hair and he was off and running. She straightened and he scanned her from head to toe. The dress just barely covered her thighs, and her legs.... he needed them wrapped around him, right now. Why couldn't he move? His eyes traveled slowly back up.

Toni kissed Lucas and ruffled his hair, and he took off. She smiled and turned her head to where she knew Daryl was. He was looking at her, well not her face. His eyes devoured her as they roamed all the way down to her high heels and then slowly made their way back up. She stood still to let him look his fill. When they reached her own eyes......his intense blue eyes scorched her, setting her body on fire. The want, that she saw in them, had the heat pooling in her belly, her heart thundering in her chest and a wetness she was afraid would run down her legs without the protection of panties, of which, she had none. She let her own eyes eat him up as she advanced toward him. He watched her hips, which were clearly defined in that dress, move with every slow step she took.

Rick turned to look too, when Abe made his comment. He spotted her right away, then couldn't bring himself to look away. Hell, he could have had a gun pointed at his head and he wouldn't have looked away. His eyes memorized every inch of her. He could look all he wanted because she only had eyes for Daryl. He loved Daryl and would never do anything to hurt him. But he couldn't figure out, for the life of him, why she picked Daryl.

 

When Toni reached Daryl, she stopped in front of him and looked up at him. He'd never taken his eyes off her from the moment he spotted her.

“Hi.” She breathed.

“Hi.” He answered.

Ricks eyes nearly crossed. The red solo cup in his hand was crushed. When they did that damn 'Hi' thing, it drove him mad. He wanted that so bad. He'd lay in bed at night fantasizing that it was him. How something so simple, that seemed meaningless, was such a huge desire of his, he didn't understand. He forced himself to turn away before he embarrassed himself in front of everyone. He walked around the house and went in the front door and up to his room. He needed a few minutes to take care of himself.

 

“Let's go inside and get a couple beers.” Daryl said to Toni. She raised the full one she was holding. He knocked it out of her hand. It hit the ground.

“Oops, sorry.” He said, and grabbed her hand and made a beeline for the back door. She giggled. All eyes were on them as they traversed the backyard to the door.
The guys just watched as they disappeared into the house
.
“Her in that dress, puts a damn wet dream to shame.” Abe said. They all agreed.

 

Daryl walked Toni through the kitchen and into the living room.

“I thought we were getting beers.”

“We are......in a few minutes.” He guided her to the stairs.

“Where are we going?”

“To our room.”

“Why, what about the party? I just got here.”

“We won't be long. Would you mind going up in front of me?”

“Sure.” She started up. He groaned. She looked back. He was looking at her ass. She smiled and slowed down. He put his hand on her ass and squeezed it. She pushed against his hand. Next, she felt his hand on the inside of her thigh. She moaned. He went higher. She stopped and spread her legs. He felt how wet she was already, and thought he died and went to heaven, as he slipped a finger inside her. She grabbed hold of the bannister to keep herself from falling, his thumb circled her nub, and her muscles clenched around his finger as her first orgasm hit.

“Oh God! Daryl!” She cried as he bit the side of her neck. Fuck! There was no way he was gonna cum without being inside of her this time. He grabbed her around the waist and took the steps two at a time.

“Are we gonna have a quickie?” She asked breathlessly.

“I read about those.”

“Yes!” He laughed.

“You and your damn books!” he stepped into the bedroom and closed their door. Rick stood at his cracked door. Something banged against their door.

“No! Don't take anything off!” He heard Daryl say. Toni laughed.

“I only have 2 things on.”

“I love both of them, leave them on.” He knelt down on the floor in front of her, and lifted one of her legs up and onto his shoulder, and slid his hands slowly up her thighs to move her dress over her hips.

“Daryl?” He nipped the inside of her thigh. Then his mouth moved to her very core and she moaned with pleasure and grabbed hold of the doorknob for balance. Rick saw the doorknob moving and heard the moaning. Someone banged against the door again.

“Ahhhh fuck! Right there! Daryl right there! Suck on it right there!” Rick undid his pants and let them drop to the floor. He leaned against his door and took his cock into his hand.

“This might be a, two finger job.” He heard Daryl say.

“Two.....three....just do it! Please Daryl!”

“Cum for me again, Toni!” He sucked while sliding 2 fingers in and out of her.

“Oh yes! Oh God! Yes! Shittttttttt!” While she was climaxing, Daryl stood and let his pants fall around his ankles. He lowered her down to his cock and slammed himself inside, and sent her into a double orgasm.

“Oh, holy shit!” Toni yelled.

“Harder! Faster! Oh God more! You're killing me!!!”

And at those words Rick went over the edge himself and slumped to the floor, leaning against the door, trying to catch his breath with his heart beating out of his chest. He heard Daryl moaning and groaning and knew he'd gone over too. He just sat there. He couldn't move, he was drained. He hadn't cum that hard in a long time.

Toni had her legs locked around Daryl. As their breathing and heart rates lowered, Toni was finally able to speak.

“I like quickies Daryl.” She smiled at him. He kissed her and returned her smile. She tasted herself on him.

“To be continued, tonight after the party. Let's get cleaned up, before people notice that we were gone. And by the way.....you look so fucking sexy tonight.”

“You don't look half bad yourself.” She told him then kissed him again. He cracked the bedroom door to peek out, then opened it and shuffled carrying her, with his pants around his ankles, into the bathroom, with her giggling the whole way. They closed themselves inside to clean up.

 

When Rick heard Toni and Daryl go downstairs, he carefully cracked his door and looked out. Lord knows he didn't want either of them to find out he'd been up here, listening and.............well.
He went into the bathroom and cleaned up, made his way downstairs and out the front door, to walk around the house, back to the party.

“Where have you been man?” Abe slapped him on the back.

“Took a quick walk around town.” Rick said looking around to see where Daryl and Toni were.

“Damn, Rick! Take a night off for God's sake. Did you see what Toni is wearing tonight?”

“Yeah. It ought to be a crime!” He smiled.

“I can hear it now....'Toni Sparks, you are hereby sentenced to wearing granny panties, turtlenecks, and baggy sweat pants, for causing the community of Alexandria a severe case of blue balls. On the night of said party, you arrived wearing nothing but a little black dress, that barely covered anything, and high heels, causing distress and extreme erections, that at times made walking, sitting, and clothing very uncomfortable.' Go get her sheriff! Cuff her! Arrest her and make her pay!” Abe said then erupted with laughter followed by Glenn, Merle and Spencer. Rick joined in.

Toni and Daryl rejoined the party after their little tryst. Separating once they got outside. Toni went to visit with the women, while Daryl headed over to the fire pit with the guys. Lisa watched them come out and go their separate ways, which surprised her because of Toni's attire. She walked over to where Maggie, Sasha, Carol, Michonne, Toni, Tara, Rosita, and Denise were chatting and looked at Toni.

“Hmmmmmm.......puffy lips, rosy cheeks..........looks like someone has been stealing kisses.” Toni blushed to everyone's delight. They were all laughing as Lisa turned and walked back to Carl with a grin on her face. Toni was right, you could tell. Lisa thought to herself.

 

The ladies started warming the food for the party. They sat in the kitchen, drinking and laughing having a great time while the oven and the microwave did their jobs. She was introduced to Sloe Gin and tang. It was a sweet drink which went down with ease. She drank several glasses before she tried, Rum and Coke. Which she equally liked. The ladies were also doing what they called jello shots. They were a tasty treat indeed. They started playing truth or dare.

“I've always wanted to play that!” Toni said.

“You've never played truth or dare?” Maggie asked in disbelief.

“Nope! But I've read about it. Let's play!” She was handed another drink. She took a sip. It was really good.

“What is this? It's yummy!” She asked. Michonne laughed.

“It's a fuzzy naval. Good stuff huh?”

“Yea! What a funny name!” She giggled.

“Okay...I'll start.....Carol, truth or dare?” Michonne asked.

“Truth.”

Jesus came through the back door and grabbed a beer from the frig. It was clear, the ladies were getting shit faced. He leaned against the counter and sipped his beer while they played truth or dare.

“Have you ever kissed another woman?” Michonne asked her. Carol laughed.

“Well yes, this one time in college, I was at a party and pretty drunk. I did it on a dare.” Now it was Carols turn.

“Maggie....truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?” Maggie thought for a moment.

“I know, in a drug store in the middle of the day.” She smiled at everyone.

“Okay....Toni.... truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Who's your crush?” Toni concentrated for a second then smiled.

“Rick.” Jesus spit out the sip of beer he'd just taken and the ladies stopped and stared at her in disbelief. No one was smiling.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 32

 

“What? What's wrong? Did I say something wrong? I've only read about this game, I don't really know what the rules are.”

“Toni?” Jesus said. She turned to him.

“Please tell me what I did wrong.” Daryl and Rick walked in the back door. Rick took in the scene. Toni looked like she was going to cry. He spoke first.

“What's wrong?” But Toni only had eyes for Daryl, she went into his arms and looked at him when she answered.

“I've done or said something wrong, I don't know this game. I don't want to play it anymore.”

“What game?” Daryl asked.

“Truth or Dare.”

“I asked her who her crush was.” Maggie said quietly.

“I said Rick.” Daryl stiffened. She leaned away from him.

“You're upset, why? What did I say wrong?” Daryl looked down at her. She really didn't know. He didn't know what to do.

“Toni?” Jesus began again. She looked his way.

“We all thought you would say Daryl.”

“But she didn't say love, she said crush. I don't understand.”

“Why did you say Rick?” Rick was standing as still as a statue. He was still shocked and confused by her answer.

“Because of what you told me.”

“Me? What did I tell you?” Jesus asked.

“When we were teenagers, you said you had a crush on Master Cho, remember? I asked you what a crush was. You said that he was a great instructor, fighter, champion, someone you looked up to and that he was cute.” Jesus blushed.

“So when I thought about it.....Rick is a great leader...Daryl told me so, Daryl says he's a good fighter so that makes him a champion, someone to look up to, don't you think, and he's cute.”

It all made sense now.

“Jeez Toni, for someone who reads so many books, you sure have a lot to learn.” Daryl said holding her.

“I still don't know why what I said was wrong. You have a crush on him too.” Daryl laughed

“Yes, I have a crush on him too. Although I don't think he's cute at all.”

“Really? Have you looked at him?” Everyone laughed.

“Why isn't anyone mad at me anymore?” She asked with a frown.

“I'll tell you later.” Maggie whispered to her hugging her. Toni looked over at Rick who was still just standing there like a statue. She stepped over to him and wrapped her arms around him and said.....

“Don't listen to him, you are cute.” Rick smiled and hugged her back. Daryl unwrapped her arms and said....

“But, I'm so much cuter.” To which Toni wholeheartedly agreed. Crisis averted, drinks were passed out once again and the party resumed, without Truth or Dare.

The guys helped carry the food out to the tables. With everything Carol had made and all the covered dishes that were brought to party, there was more than enough food. Everyone sat at the picnic tables, that had been carried over from all the backyards. A bar was set up outside at one of the tables, and there was music on another. Christmas lights had been strung, it looked so festive, it was a good time for all. The dancing and music, was to start at 8. As people finished eating, Toni started the cleanup. She didn't want to wake up to it in the morning. She kicked her shoes off to run in and out collecting dishes, glasses, silverware, and empty casserole dishes. They used all the paper plates and plastic cups they had and still had to break out the real stuff. She didn't mind doing the cleanup at all. She was having a great time.

Daryl sat in a lawn chair drinking a Jack and coke around the fire pit. He was joined by Merle, Rick, Abe, Jesus, Glenn, Aaron, and Eric. He watched as Toni came in and out of the house. She'd go from table to table visiting, laughing and picking up whatever needed cleaning or thrown away. On one of her trips he saw Carol start to get up. Toni had smiled, shook her head no, pushed her back down, kissed her cheek, and left with her arms full.

“Ever notice how she never stops?” Daryl said to no one in particular.

“She was like that at home too.” He said to no one. Rick looked at him.

“This is your home Daryl.” Daryl blinked and looked at Rick.

“I know that.” Daryl said. Rick realized that Daryl didn't even know that he referred to the cellar as home.

The conversation turned to going back to the strip mall to finish clearing it out, and getting all the goods home. As plans were made, Daryl continued to watch Toni, whenever she came back outside. He watched her now as she scanned the yard. She found Landon and Lucas and spoke to them. He saw them shake their heads, no. She looked around the east side of the house, then headed that way. Daryl got up to follow her.

“Where you going?” Rick asked him.

“Not sure, Toni just went around the house. Just gonna check it out.” Rick got up too.

“I'll back you up.” As they rounded the corner, Toni was nowhere to be seen. They walked to the front of the house, looked both ways, Nothing. They heard a whispered curse. They looked up. There she was, looking into Carl's bedroom window. She'd climbed the antenna that went up and over the house but beside his window. She was coming down fast. When she was within reach, Daryl grabbed hold of her. She hung on with one hand and twisted with a blade in the other. She came so close to striking Daryl, but saw it was him right before impact and stopped.

“Jesus Daryl! I could have killed you! Don't ever grab me like that again!” Her heart was pounding. She noticed Rick and hit him.

“Ouch! What was that for.”

“Because your son is up there all over my daughter! That's why!” She took off for the front door. Daryl grabbed her and lifted her off her feet.

“Let go of me Dixon!” She hissed.

“Wait!”

“You want his kid all over your kid?”

“No! But we have to be calm. This is what kids do! We have to talk to them about it, not go in knives ablazing!!” Toni stopped struggling.

“Just today you told her that she should be trying to steal kisses, hoping not to get caught.” Rick reminded her.

“Well she's caught! I'm gonna beat the shit out of him!”

“What about her?” Rick asked.

“You're blaming her!”

“No! It takes two to tango Toni!”

“Stop it!” Daryl hissed to both of them. If you two can't control yourselves I'll go by myself!

“Not in this lifetime! That's my daughter up there!”

“Stop it! Or I'll knock you on your ass!” Toni stopped and looked at him. She took a deep breath.

“Okay, I'm calm, let's go.” Toni started up the steps, walking all the way to the left so as not to step on a creaky step. She motioned for Rick and Daryl to do the same. Daryl and Ricks attention was only on her ass. Daryl started to reach out then caught himself. He looked at Rick who was looking at Toni's ass, he hit him and gave him a dirty look. Rick just smiled at him and showed no remorse.

“Stop looking at her! Toni get behind us!” He whispered.

“Damn Daryl! He's got two kids! I'm sure he's seen an ass before!” She tugged on the bottom of her dress and pulled it down, to no avail.

“Not yours!”

“Focus! Both of you! Or take it outside!” They reached the top of the stairs. Rick started to pass her. She put an arm out and pointed to the floor. She moved forward and lifted the rug that hadn't been there before. There, the two men saw bubble wrap, with the big bubbles too.

“I taught her that.” She whispered.

“The little shit! Good thing I didn't leave it to you two.” They could hear the music through the door. Toni slowly turned the knob. Then gently opened the door. There they were, laying on his bed, Carl practically on top of her, kissing. Open mouth kissing. While Toni and Rick stood in stunned silence, each having different thoughts running though their heads.......Rick thinking...that's my boy! Happy for his son and proud. Toni's thinking was a little different........he's taking advantage of my sheltered daughter who hasn't been around boys. She saw a wolf in sheep's clothing. Daryl cleared his throat, which had the two lovebirds springing apart. The first thing that Toni noticed was that they fought to be the protector of one another. That simple act calmed her as nothing else could have.

“Toni!”

“Toni!”

They both said at once. The men in the room realized that the kids weren't even concerned about their presence.

“I guess you didn't believe me, when I told you, I'd come looking.”

“But.....”

“Oh! The old bubble wrap under the rug trick that I taught you.......”

“Shit!” Lisa said under her breath.

“Shit? You're gonna hate your life for the next 2 weeks.”

“We were just kissing!”

“On a bed. Lying down. Him on top of you! With an alert system rigged right outside the door? I know now what happens when lying down, on a bed, with a man on top of you.”

“Oh God! No! I don't want to hear it! I already saw it!”

“What?” Toni gasped! Lisa realized her mistake and cringed. She clammed up quick, with her hand over her mouth.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing.”

“She didn't see anything.” Carl said. When Toni's eyes turned on him, he wanted nothing more than to disappear. Lisa groaned. Toni pinned her with her eyes.

“We were just taking a walk and happened to see through the window.........”

“Where....... on the stairs?” Toni asked thinking they saw her and Daryl earlier.

“Stairs? No! What happened on the stairs?” Lisa asked. Toni frowned. If not the stairs.....then where? She wondered.

“Nothing happened on the stairs!” Toni spouted out.

“Oh...something happened on the stairs.” Lisa disagreed.

“What window?” Toni asked her.

“It was the door actually.”

“The bedroom up here tonight?”

“No! What happened in the bedroom tonight?”

“Nothing happened! Was it the bathroom?”

“Oh my God! You did it in the bathroom?” Lisa couldn't believe it!

“What door or window are you talking about?”

“How many places do you guys do it, anyway?!”

“That is none of your business!”

“Then why are you telling me about it, the stairs, the bedroom, the bathroom, what are you rabbits?”

“We're not talking about me! We're talking about you!”

“We'll you brought it up! I can't believe you did it on the steps?”

“GO!” She pointed out the door.

“In the back yard and stay there where I can see you!” Lisa and Carl didn't have to be told twice. They left as if their tails were on fire. The popping of the bubble wrap echoing in the hallway. Toni turned to Daryl.

“Where do you think they saw us?”

“Probably the cottage.” Rick said. Both pair of eyes landed on him. Shit! Fuck! Son of a bitch! He did it again.

“I'm gonna go have a talk with Carl.” Rick made haste getting out of there.

“This isn't over! TOM!!!!!” Toni yelled after him.

“Tom?” Daryl questioned, with a brow raised.

“Your fearless leader is nothing but a peeping Tom! I no longer have a crush on him!” Daryl smiled, as she passed him and headed for the stairs.

 

The first thing Toni did when she stepped out the back door was to scan the yard for Lisa. She found her easily. She was with Carl and the peeping Tom. Tom had his hands on his hips and his head was cocked, as he listened to whatever Carl was saying. Lisa and Carl had the good sense to be standing a least a foot apart. Lisa's hands were clasped in front of her. Daryl headed toward them. She'd let them have their say. But she'd be talking to them herself, later. A beer was dangled in front of her. She turned to see Merle behind her. She turned to him as she took the beer and smiled.

“You clean up nice Merle.” She told him and meant it.

“I like the hat. It's a nice touch.”

“I can't believe my brother allowed you to wear that dress.”

“Allowed?” She'd asked. He chuckled.

“Don't get your panties in a bunch! I just mea.......”

“I'm not wearing any panties.”

“Yes.....well.........”

“I do what I want, when I want, Merle, it would be in your best interest to remember that.”

“Can we start over?” He asked her.

“We can try.” He took the beer from her, turned in a circle, and handed it to her.

“You look amazing tonight in that dress.” Merle said.

“Thank you, Merle, you clean up real nice yourself, I love the hat.”

“It appears that you've lost your high heels.”

“Yes...well.... the air was getting a little thin at that great height.” She said it with a straight face, so it took him a second to get her humor. He burst out laughing, which in turn, made her smile.

“I'm surprised my brother hasn't tried to cover you up......or has he....... and you threatened him with bodily harm?”

“Why would he cover me up? He picked it out.”

“He picked out that dress for you to wear here, in front of all these men..er...people?”

“Yes, and these men...er.......people said I wouldn't do it....soooo.........” He smiled with understanding.

“Soooo....you had to wear it.”

“But of course.” She smiled at him.

“We all thank you.” He bowed to her. She laughed and curtsied in return.

“I'm glad we ran into each other, we need to talk.” She said to him.

“Talk?”

“Yes, you said you would explain to me, how to give a blow job, remember?”

Eugene who happened to be coming out of the back door stopped in his tracks and listened, while pretending to look for someone.

“I haven't forgotten. But I don't think we should talk about it out here.”

“When I bring you a beer, drink it then meet me in the kitchen, to get another.”

“You need to figure out how much you can take before your gag reflex kicks in.”

“How do I do that?”

“Find something to stick in your mouth as far back as you can until it makes you gag.”

“Like what?”

“Look in the frig, try a pickle, or a cucumber, or a carrot, whatever you have that's long like a cock, then see how far you can put it in your mouth.”

Eugene left the steps to make his way to Daryl. He stood directly in front of him before speaking.

 

“I have information that may be of importance to you, in regards to a vertically challenged person whom you may, or may not, be having coitus with. Said individual is requesting the knowledge to perform fellatio. The information is being obtained from a maybe, unreliable source, whom you may or may not trust. The aforementioned instructions will be delivered in the kitchen within the hour. Currently, the discussion of choice, is the pharyngeal reflex.

“What?” Daryl just looked at him. Abe started to laugh and laugh hard. Daryl turned and looked at him.

“Do you speak this language?” Daryl asked him.

“He said....... well the gist of it is........Toni asked Merle how to give a blow job and they're gonna meet in the kitchen soon, but right now they're talking about gag reflexes.” He laughed some more.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 33

 

 

Daryl looked back to Eugene

“Why didn't you just say that?” Eugene frowned.

“I did.”

“Damn Daryl!” Abe said while pounding him on the back. “You've got your hands full with that one!”

Daryl looked for and spotted Toni and Merle in front of the steps. He watched as they clinked their beers together and separated each going their own way. Merle moved to a table full of ladies. Toni went inside the house.

 

“I think we should go in now, while she's alone, and get this over with.” Lisa said.

“Maybe we should wait, you know, til my Dad or Daryl or, better yet, both of them, are there too.” Carl reasoned.

“Why?”

“Because......I really don't want to die tonight.”

“Jeez Carl, Toni isn't going to kill you, it was a kiss, you weren't trying to kill me.”

“Toni can be pretty scary, hell Lisa, even you were scary this morning.”

“And yet you still took a chance and kissed me. Look …...Toni respects brave people and she knows I really like you. She may be mad ...but she'd never hurt you, cause she knows that you wouldn’t hurt me.”

“I hope I don't end up regretting this.” They walked hand and hand to the back door, paused...then went into the kitchen, to face the wrath of Toni.

As they entered the kitchen, Toni was at the sink doing the dishes. Toni turned the water off and picked up the dish towel to dry her hands.

“Are you still mad at us?” Lisa asked. Toni sighed.

“Sit down.”

 

Daryl and Rick watched the kids go into the house.

“They wouldn't, would they?” Rick wondered.

“Nah.” Daryl said. “They're not that stupid.” Both men got up and headed around the house. Carl's bedroom light was on.

“Dammit.” Rick said. They hurried around to the front door. They slowly opened the screen door and stepped inside. They were headed for the steps until they heard voices in the kitchen.

“Sit down.” Toni went to the frig and grabbed a beer.

“We're really sorry Toni.....” Lisa began.

“Sorry cause you got caught or sorry for being on a bed trying to swallow each others, tonsils.”
Lisa sighed.

“Sorry cause we got caught.” She admitted, to Carl's shock.

“And what would have happened had I not come up, when I did?”

“I don't know.....we didn't plan anything.”

“No?”

“No”

“Carl?”

“We didn't plan anything.”

“Would you stand up for me please.” Toni asked Carl. He hesitated but stood up.

“Now.....empty your pockets for me please.”

“Huh?”

“Your pockets.” She said gesturing to them. “Please.” he put his hands in his pockets and pulled out some breath mints, chap stick, a sheriffs star, a pocket knife, and 3 bullets. Then he pulled his pockets inside out, to show her.

“Thank you, now the breast pockets, please.” His eyes widened. He felt himself start to sweat. He stood frozen.

“Carl?” Lisa questioned.

“Maybe my Dad should be here.”

Rick looked at Daryl. Head cocked, hands on his hips. Daryl shook his head no.

“Why Carl?” Toni asked him.

“Because I don't want you to kill me.”

“Did you rape Lisa?”

“NO!”

“Then you have nothing to worry about. I don't kill people when I'm angry at them, look at Merle...I was so pissed at him, and he's still alive. Look at your father, he pissed me off and he's still alive. I was even pissed at Daryl and he's still alive. The only people I've killed besides the dead, are rapists.”

Carl reached into his breast pocket and laid the 3 foil packets on the table with the other items.

“What are those?” Toni asked. Carl's head jerked up to look at her. Was she kidding? He didn't know. She looked pointedly at him, waiting for an answer.

“Condoms.” he said quickly.

“May I?” She asked starting to reach for one. He nodded.

“What are they for?”

“What?”

“Yes What?” Carl swallowed hard. Surely, she knew! Didn't she? Rick, looked at Daryl. He shrugged his shoulders.

“They're for.....they're for.............safe sex.”

“Safe sex?”

“Yes.”

“What's safe sex?”

“What?”

“That's what I'm asking.” Carl looked at Lisa whose head was bowed, staring down at her folded hands, that were resting on the table.

“It's so....so.......so that you don't get pregnant.”

“This little square packet keeps a girl from getting pregnant?”

“Yes.”

“How?” Carl looked at Lisa again. She wouldn't even look at him, just kept staring at her hands.
Rick had a hand over his mouth, to keep from laughing. Daryl's shoulders were shaking with silent laughter.

“You.....you......you put it on.”

“Put it on? Put it on what? This is so tiny.” She turned the little foil packet over and over in her hand examining it.

“Maybe I should get my Dad or Daryl.”

“You mean you don't know?”

“No!....I mean yes I know.” She looked up at him expectantly. He was so uncomfortable, he felt sick to his stomach.

“Well?”

“You put it on your........your........privates.” There he said it. Please God let that be the end of it. She made a point of looking at his crotch, then the foil packet, then back to his crotch. He clasped his hands in front of his crotch, she was making him so uncomfortable.

“This tiny little thing goes on your cock?” She asked him. He nodded.

“So, do they come in adult sizes too?” She asked him. Still staring at the small packet.

“They're all for adults.”

“That can't be right. This tiny little thing would never fit Daryl.”

“It unrolls.”

“What?”

“It's all rolled up in the package.”

“Can you open it, please.” Carl scrubbed a hand down his face, just like his Father. He opened the foil packet and pulled the condom out and handed it to her. She turned it over and over. Then handed it back to him.

“Show me how it works.”

“What!”

“Show me how it works.”

“No, I can't.”

“Why not?”

“I can't undress and do that in front of you.” He was starting to panic. Would she kill him after all?

“So.....you can undress and do that in front of my daughter, but not me?”

“Yes....I mean NO!”

“Which is it?”

“I don't know!! I'm sorry okay!”

“If you can't show me, then tell me.”

“What?” He wanted to run and run far away from here. Why did he listen to Lisa?

“Tell me how it works.”

“You roll it on and.........”

“Show me on your fingers.” He looked at her. He'd never been so embarrassed in his entire life, as he felt right now. He held up 2 fingers and rolled the condom over them.

“So, it's on your cock, now what?”

“Now when you......”

“When you what?”

“When you have.......sex she can't get pregnant.”

“So....let me see if I have this straight. You get naked, you roll that thing on, wait! Do you do it, or does she do it?”

“It doesn't matter who does it.”

“How do you know? Have you done this before?”

“No!”

“Then how do you know?”

“I....I....I saw it in a movie.”

“A movie. What movie? Maybe I should watch this movie with you, better yet the 3 of us should watch it and learn together.”

“NO!” Lisa and Carl said at the same time.

“Okay, so now it's rolled on. What happens next?” Was she serious? Where was his Dad when he needed him?

“You.....you.....do it.”

“Do what?”

“Have....... sex. Toni, I really think that maybe my Dad should be here. He could help you understand.”

“We don't need him. We have you. So, what does that do, when you're having sex? So far, I don't see it doing anything.” Oh my God, She, can't be serious!

“It catches everything when you.....when you......when you finish.” He let out a breath.

“Finish? Finish what?” He groaned. Lisa covered her face with her hands. He couldn't believe he was having to explain this to an adult. Lisa's Mother of all people! She just stared him waiting for an answer.

“The semen or sperm. It keeps it from going in.”

“In what?” His hand rubbed down his face again.

“In the girl!” He practically shouted. He couldn't take much more of this. He thought he just might have to take his chances and make a run for it. Suddenly death didn't seem so scary after all.

“I think I need to make another trip to the library. Maybe I can find books, oh maybe they have pictures!”

“Oh God!” Carl and Lisa groaned.

“Yes! Let's do that! I'll talk to your Dad and Daryl tomorrow about it. None of us had a childhood we'll learn together. I can't wait! Hell......maybe they'll wanna watch it with us.” She thought the kids might cry.

“Alright I have cleanup to do, stay where I can see you in the back yard. Lisa, I'll let you know what your punishment will be. Carl, next time I find you on a bed or in a laying position with my daughter.... you'll be demonstrating how to use a condom for me. Now go.” They took off.

Toni sat at the table and sipped her beer. Rick and Daryl came into the kitchen.

“I can't believe that you didn't know what a condom was.” Daryl said to her.

“Oh please! I used to hand those out like candy when I was a social worker. I just wanted to make Carl squirm and feel miserable.”

“You have a mean streak in you Toni!” Rick laughed. Jesus said you had an unusual way of teaching people lessons.

“Maybe, but I bet he thinks twice about trying it again any time soon.”

Lisa came storming back into the kitchen.

“Toni! Was that necessary? I think that was even beneath you!”

“On the contrary my Dear, where you and your brothers are concerned...there isn't anything beneath me!”

“You embarrassed him! And me!”

“Good! Maybe you'll think twice next time!”

“There probably won't be a next time, thanks to you!”

“Then my job is done here!”

“Argggg! I hate you!”

“Then I must be doing something right!” Toni yelled at her. Lisa stormed back out, slamming the door behind her.

Toni slumped down into her chair and tilted her beer for a long pull.

“She's 16, she's supposed to hate you.” She reminded herself. She lifted her beer again and drained the bottle, slamming it down on the table. Daryl put a fresh one down in front of her.

“Thanks.” She said dejectedly. He put his hand on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. She reached up and put her hand over his, accepting the comfort.
Merle came through the back door, talking before he could see her.

“I didn't think those damn kids would ever leave. Did you find something to practice with?” Toni groaned and put her face in her hands. Merle came through the mudroom door and stopped in his tracks.

“This looks like a bad time, I'll come back later.” He turned to leave.

“Merle!” Daryl's voice wasn't the least bit pleasant, and brooked no argument.

“Hey little Brother! What's up?” Merle asked while dipping into the frig for another beer.

“Why are you here?”

“Just getting a beer, great party huh?”

“What's she supposed to be practicing?” His voice was deadly calm.

“Damn little brother! You've ruined the surprise!” Daryl raised a brow.

“Dancing!” Merle blurted out, grabbing Toni's arm and pulling her up out of the chair and into his arms, up against his body, all in one fluid movement. He put his arms around her, holding her flush against him and started swaying to the music, they could hear from the back yard. Toni put her arms around his neck and started laughing into his chest. All Daryl saw, was his hands sliding down her lower back too close to her ass for his comfort. He snatched Toni out of Merle's arms glaring at him.

“Keep your hands off her Merle!”

“Oh, stop it Dixon!” Toni demanded. “He's not here to teach me how to dance.”

“Then why?”

“He's helping me.”

“With what?”

“I'd rather not say.”

“Oh........but I think you should.” She looked at Merle who had his hands in his pockets avoiding Daryl's gaze. Then at Rick whose hand was covering his mouth to keep from laughing. Then back to Daryl who was waiting for her answer.

“I think you already know.... who told you?”

“I'm still waiting for you to tell me.”

“You're gonna be waiting a long time then.” Toni said and made a dash for the back door.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 34

 

“Toni!” Daryl took off after her.

“Daryl!” Both Rick and Merle shouted running after him.

As Toni came flying out the back door, her name could be heard as Daryl hollered after her. Daryl knew without a doubt that he'd never catch her with all these tables, as she zigged and he zagged, it was a fruitless endeavor.

“Stop! Or you're going to be sorry!” Daryl threatened her. She stopped, two tables away.

“Did you just threaten me?” She yelled at him.

“Damn right I did! You're going to answer me! Grab her!” He yelled. No one moved to do so. To be honest .... they were all a little bit afraid of her.

“Daryl? ..... Daryl?...... You need to calm down. This doesn't work with her.” Rick said quietly beside him. But Daryl wasn't listening. He also wasn't accustomed to someone not being afraid of him. It wasn't sitting right with him. She should be at least a little bit afraid of him! But she wasn't and that pissed him off.

“You just wait til I get my hands on you!” He threatened again.

“Ha! You'd have to catch me first and we can both see, that's not gonna happen! You're, way to slow!” She goaded him. Landon and Lucas made their way to Lisa. They were afraid. Lisa didn't think that Daryl would really ever hurt Toni, but she couldn't take the chance. She sent Landon to get the 'In Case Pack' and told him to hurry. Then as an afterthought, she sent Lucas to tell Landon to put Toni's blades inside the pack. When they took off into the house, she quickly removed her shoes, just in case she needed to run.

“Dammit! I'm gonna beat your ass!”

“You can try! If you have a death wish!” The chase ensued. However, there were just too many obstacles. Toni realized she didn't even have any of her blades on her. Hell, all she had on was the stupid dress! She didn't even have panties on. However, she was able to easily outrun him. He may be bigger and stronger, but she was faster. Daryl got tired of the chase and went over the table, to Toni's surprise. She took off around the next table, but Daryl was tired of this nonsense, and went over top of the next table too. So, Toni did the only thing she could do for her own self, preservation. She ran up the beam holding the wall up, and jumped down the other side, to everyone horror.

There was a collective gasp from all at the party except for Lisa. As Daryl, Rick, and many others took off for the gate.......Lisa grabbed the pack Landon had brought out and ran up the beam holding the wall up. She stopped at the top and howled like a wolf. When she saw Toni run up to the wall below, she threw the pack down to her. Toni blew her a kiss and signed something to her then took off. As Lisa turned to come down the beam, Merle was standing there waiting for her. When she was within reach, he grabbed her by the waist and lifted her down.

“What did you give her?” He asked out of curiosity.

“Our 'In Case Pack'”

“In case pack?”

“Yes, it's a survival pack just in case.”

“Always prepared.” He murmured.

“Yes, we are.”

“Do you guys need to go meet her somewhere?”

“No.”

“Where's she gonna go?”

“I don't know, she'll let us know.”

“Aren't you worried that they'll find her out there?”

“Pffft! No!” She laughed.

“Daryl is a really good tracker.”

“Toni's really good at covering her tracks.”

“Do you like my brother?”

“I love your brother very much and he loves us, he’s good for Toni.”

“I thought you hated her.” He said quietly.

“No.....I could never hate her. I'm just mad at her at the moment.”

“Yet you come running to take care of her.”

“Of course, she my family, my Mom, I love her more than anything, that comes first always.” That was something Merle could understand. Him and Daryl rarely saw eye to eye but they were family and would fight to the death for each other.

“You're a good kid.” He said putting an arm around her shoulder and hugging her.

“I think you'll make a good uncle too.” She said, which made him smile.

 

“Daryl, can you even track her in the dark?” Rick asked.

“Hell, I can barely track her during the day, if she's hiding them.” Daryl admitted.

“She's probably back inside already.” Jesus predicted.

“Dammit!” Daryl cursed his frustration.

“What do you want to do?” Rick asked.

“Here! Here's her trail!” He started to follow it with everyone trailing him.

 

About an hour later Toni came walking into the back yard like nothing ever happened. When asked where Daryl and the party that went with him were, her answer was.........

“Oh, they'll be along shortly.” The boys came running up to her. She hugged and kissed them, then made her way to where Lisa and Carl were sitting. She hugged Lisa from behind and kissed her cheek thanking her. Then shocked Carl, when she hugged him and kissed his cheek too. She gathered up more dishes and went inside to work on the cleanup.

She got another load going in the dishwasher and did the rest by hand. She went back outside and fixed herself a plate of food, after realizing that she hadn't eaten anything all night. She sat with Maggie, Glenn, Carol, Michonne, and Sasha.

“Will you tell me why having my crush be Rick, which he's not anymore by the way, was bad?”

“He's not? Why?” Carol wanted to know.

“Cause he's a peeping Tom.” While the ladies told Toni what their version of 'A Crush” was, Daryl, Abe, Rick, Jesus, and Aaron were on a wild goose chase. Compliments of Toni.

 

“Son of a bitch!” Daryl cursed. They been following her trail for about an hour now. Her trail would stop at a tree, making them think she was hiding in it, only to be picked back up 50 yards away. They were at least 3 miles out and they were headed to the swamp, before Daryl realized they'd been played.

Toni decided to change her clothes. After all Daryl wasn't here and the dress was for him. She wasn't exactly sure what his mood would be when he figured out that she'd led him on a merry chase. And....she knew without a doubt, that he would figure it out. She grabbed her pack and went up to their room. It actually felt good to be covered again, and wearing her blades. She didn't bother with her fat suit. No reason to now, everyone had seen her in that dress. Lisa and the boys came up.

“Is the party over, Toni?” Lucas asked her.

“No sweetheart, I just wanted to change out of my dress.”

“Cause you might have to run from Daryl again?”

'That's a good possibility.” She laughed

“You're not scared?” He asked her.

“No! Daryl would never hurt me!” She got down to his level so he could see that she was speaking the truth.

“Should we change too? We didn't get to dance yet.” He looked sad about that.

“Absolutely not! I need handsome men to dance with! I'm ready to start dancing now.” He smiled at her and wrapped his little arms around her neck. She picked him up and carried him downstairs, followed by Lisa and Landon. When they got outside Lisa picked out some music and hit play. The dancing began. Others joined in. It was a great time for all. Carl brought out a microphone for anyone who wanted to sing. Surprisingly, a lot of people wanted to sing. Some were good, others, not so much, but everyone was having a wonderful time. The drinks flowed freely thanks to the liquor store they'd found. Toni danced with Merle, Spencer, Eric and a lot of the Alexandria men, even Eugene. Carl walked up to her and asked her for a dance.

“Did Lisa put you up to this?” Toni smiled. He blushed. “You don't have to.” She told him, patting him on his chest. She turned to walk away. He stopped her.

“But I want to.” She looked back at him.

“Afraid Lisa will beat you up?” He laughed.

“Yeah.”

“Well then, let's get to it, don't want to see your pretty face all bruised up.” He laughed again. She took him by the hand and led him to the area cleared for dancing. Unchained Melody started playing on the boombox. Slow dance it is. Toni thought to herself. She had a feeling that this was Lisa’s doing. Her way to make her like Carl again. She smiled. She never disliked Carl. She placed Carl's right hand on her waist and took his left into her right. He was over a head taller than her, almost as tall as his Father. He had clearly never danced before because he kept stepping on her feet. She never said a word, instead she moved in closer, placing one of her feet between his.

“Just rock back and forth for now.” She whispered to him and her feet thanked her. She felt safe enough with him to lay her head against his chest. He was just a boy after all. Safe. She hadn't been able to feel that way with any of the men she had danced with. She made sure there was space between their bodies. She'd had to lift hands up to her waist a number of times when they'd traveled, a little too close for comfort, towards her behind. Although she wasn't worried about Daryl and the others who went after her, she wished they were back. She wanted to be in Daryl's arms dancing. She wanted him holding her close. She wanted to rest her head on his chest. She closed her eyes and hummed to the song. Carl's hand stayed on her waist. Safe. She was finally able to enjoy a dance.

 

As Daryl and the others returned, they scanned the tables for Toni and the kids. Glenn walked over to them. Daryl spotted Lisa and the boys.

“What took you guys so long?” Glenn asked.

“We still haven't found her.” Abe said.

“She's here, been here for over an hour now.”

“Of course, she is!” Abe grumbled. Jesus gave him an 'I told you so' look.

“Where is she?” Daryl asked trying to find her amongst all the party goers.

“She's right there, dancing with Carl.” Glenn pointed her out. The first thing he noticed was she was no longer wearing the dress. He hoped to get her back into it sometime in the near future.

 

“They're back aren't they?” Toni asked without opening her eyes. The yard had gone quiet except for the song playing.

“Yes.”

“How do they look?”

“They're all looking this way.”

“Of course, they are.” She sighed heavily.

“Here comes Daryl.” She made no attempt to move away from him or open her eyes. Carl didn't know what to do. He tensed up.

“Relax, Carl, he’s not mad at you. You didn't take them on a wild goose chase.”

“No Carl, I'm not mad at you for that, but.....we will be talking later about Lisa. I'll take it from here.”

He took her hand out of Carl's arm’s and pulled her to him. She willingly allowed the exchange, much to Carl's relief. Carl couldn't get away fast enough. Toni's hands reached up to go wrap themselves around Daryl's neck. He lifted her by her waist and folded her legs around him. She laid her head on his shoulder with her face in his neck where she sighed, when she took in his scent. She'd yet, to open her eyes.

“Can you look at me?” He asked softly.

“I don't know....are you still mad at me?” She whispered even though everyone had starting talking again.

“Why did you run from me?” He really wanted to know.

“Because you said you were gonna beat me.” She tightened her arms around his neck.

“You know I would never hurt you.....don't you?”

“I think I do, but....I'm a small, weak, defenseless, woman and I couldn't take the chance.” He started to laugh, and to laugh loud and hard. He was shaking with it. Toni finally opened her eyes and leaned back to look at him.

“What's so funny?” She asked him. He laughed harder because she was serious.

“You may be small, but you're neither weak nor defenseless.” He stopped laughing and looked at her beautiful face.

“Hi.” He said to her.

“Hi.” She said back and hugged him tight.

“You took off your party dress.”

“Well, you weren't here, and I only wore it for you.”

“Maybe you'll wear it for me again, sometime when were alone?”

“Most definitely.”

 

“I thought he told her, he was going to beat her ass when he got his hands on her?” Abe said while sipping on a scotch and water.

“Well his hands are on her ass.” Rick said, watching them barely move to the music. Although his hands were moving all over her ass. He sat back in the lawn chair to drink his beer.

“Her skill set is very impressive.” Jesus added while watching them pretend to dance.

“Daryl says she has a bookcase filled with 'How To' books.” Rick informed him.

“I like to see where's she's lived since the world died.” Jesus murmured.

“That won't be anytime soon. Even if the way clears we won't be letting her know that.”

“Why?”

“Because if she left....I don't know what it would do to Daryl.”

“Sooner or later she's gonna want to go check it out.”

“We're hoping for later......much, much later.”

Daryl and Toni went inside to get a couple beers. As they came back outside, Maggie, Carol and Michonne got her attention over at the music table. Daryl moved on to go sit with the guys around the fire. He'd have all night with her he hoped, when the party was over.

“I guess you showed her!” Abe grumbled. She looks scared shitless.

“Shut up! She's a small, weak, defenseless woman.” The guys erupted with laughter. The same as he had when she said to him. He smiled. “Well.....that's what she told me.” He laughed again.

 

“Lisa told us that you can sing.” Maggie said. They looked at her expectantly.

“And ......” Toni asked.

“And....we want to hear you.” They all smiled at her.

“Now that the guys are back and you're alive and well.” Carol smiled.

“How do you get yourself out of these situations?” Michonne asked.

“I just told him the truth.....that I'm a small, weak, defenseless woman.” It took a second, while they were waiting for the punchline of the joke, but when nothing further came, they burst into laughter.

Toni smiled and began looking through all the CD's from the Good Will that they'd procured. She came across and old one, she turned it over to look for the song. It was on there. She went over the lyrics in her mind. Perfect. She waited for the current song to end for the couples that were dancing. When the song ended she removed the CD and replaced it with the one she wanted. She found the correct track and poised her finger over the play button, then searched for Daryl. She found him sitting around the fire pit with the guys. ( Please click here for song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X79Jko9bBI ) She pushed play and slowly made her way toward Daryl. Maggie tried handing her the mike, Toni just shook her head. She listened to the lead-in then started to sing.

“♪♫ I cried a tear....you wiped it dry...... ♪♫

♫♪ I was confused.....you cleared my mind....... ♫ ♪

♪♫ I sold my soul...you bought it back for me....... ♪ ♫

♫♪ And held me up.......and gave me dignity.......♫ ♪

♪ ♫ Some how you needed me. ♪♫........”

The yard had gone silent from the first word out of her mouth. She and Daryl had locked eyes. He listened to every word. He knew without a doubt that this song meant something to her........and him. She'd sang to him one other time, in the cellar. She'd poured out her soul to him then....and she was doing it again. The song was about them! These things had happened between them. Her voice was loud and clear and oh so beautiful!

♫♪ And I can't believe it's you.....I can't believe it's true..... ♫♪.

♪♫ I needed you......and you were there.....♪♫”

♫♪ And I'll never leave... why should I leave....I’d be a fool..... ♫ ♪

♪♫ Cause I finally found someone....who really cares...♪♫”

Did she mean it he wondered.....was she staying there with him for good? He was having a hard time breathing. His heart was racing with the implications of what she may be saying.

♫♪ You held my hand.....when it was cold....♫♪

♪♫ When I was lost......you took me home....♪♫

She spread her hands to encompass Alexandria when she sang 'took me home'. His stomach felt like it was on a roller coaster. She was telling him she was staying here with him! He felt it with every fiber of his being.

♫♪ You gave me hope.....when I was at the end....♫♪

♪♫ And turned my lies......back into truth again.....♪♫

♫♪ You even called me friend....♫♪

He wanted to run to her and snatch her off her feet and take her to yonder cottage and not come out for 3 days. He loved her so much. He never thought he could really love someone this much, but he was finding that he could and did.

♪♫ You gave me strength.....to stand alone again.....♪♫

♫♪ To face the world........out on my own again......♫♪

He totally got it. He needed her and she needed him. He swiped at a tear that would not stay put. He'd never been so happy as he was right now.

♪♫ You needed me........you needed me......♪♫
By the time the song ended she'd made her way to standing between his legs. She got down on her knees so he wouldn't have to look up at her. She had eyes for no one but him. She'd never looked away from him the whole time she was singing.

“Did you mean it?” He whispered just to be sure.

“I wouldn't have said it if I didn't. I love you Daryl.”

 

While the ladies and even some of the men were wiping their eyes. Rick realized that he'd never even had a sliver of a chance. Toni wore her heart on her sleeve or in her voice tonight. That had to be one of the most beautiful things that he'd ever witnessed.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 35

 

Daryl took her beautiful face into his hands and leaned in to kiss her. She may have been firmly planted with her knees, on the ground.... but...she felt like she was high upon a pedestal. Only he...had ever made her feel that way. Like she was the only thing that mattered to him in this crazy world. She would give up her life to protect him, and before now, she could only say that about her children. She was actually becoming very fond of all his family.

She made him feel like the warrior she'd once called him, before she knew his name. She made him forget all the ugly in his past. She'd built him back up, to show himself, his true colors. That he was a man of honor, that he could love and be loved. Her kids loved him, and he loved them. She helped him find his self, worth without him even knowing what she was doing. She'd even gotten through to his brother. That in itself was a miracle indeed. Jesus approached them.

“I took a long walk in the woods tonight, I'm afraid I missed our dance.” He smiled at her.

“Ah jeez! Don't remind him! He's not mad at me right now.!” That drew chuckles from the guys sitting around the fire.

“Yes, we'll get back to that later.” Daryl promised her. Which got Jesus smacked, by Toni, as they walked to the area cleared for dancing. The song started. 'Lean on me' Toni didn't dance with him as she did the other men in town. She wrapped her arms around his neck and was flush with his body as they swayed to the music. He had been her best friend since they were teens. They'd met in Master Cho academy of martial arts. He also traveled the fight circuit with her, in the men's division. He partook in the games of The American Ninja Warriors with her. They'd spent so much time together that they were seen as a couple by those who didn't know that Jesus was gay, which was fine by her, because she didn't have the want or the time for men.

“You really love him.” It was a statement not a question.

“I do.”

“And he loves you.”

“He does.”

“I'm happy for you, I worried you'd be alone and look at you! 3 kids and a man!”

“I feel very lucky, and all I had to do was sink my blade into him.” They both laughed.

“Not many men would take kindly to that.”

“Nope! Only a true warrior would understand, and forgive.”

“You and your books........but it seems like you got your knight in shining armor.”

“I did! But I still love you too.” He hugged her.

“And I love you.” The song ended but before they could walk away, Abe was standing there for his dance.

“I believe I'm next, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was also detained when the dancing started and missed my dance.” Toni smiled at him.

“Damn work! Always detaining people from their parties! Someone really needs to do something about that!” Abe laughed and swung her around before the music started. The music started. He held her close.

“You took us on a merry chase tonight.”

“So, you enjoyed it?”

“What?”

“You said it was merry.” She said and he smiled.

“You're a smart ass.”

“I really didn't think that you guys would come after me.” He realized she was serious.

“Why wouldn't we come after you?”

“Because you don't even know me and I've been on my own with just my kids since the beginning.”

“You're part of our family now.” She tilted her head back to look at him. Trying to see if he was speaking the truth.

“You think of me as part of your family?” She asked while looking into his eyes. He realized she didn't know. That she was gauging him for his truthfulness.

“Yes, we do.” He watched as a tear slid down her face.

“I've never had a family, until my kids.” He gently wiped it away and hugged her.

“Now you do.” He whispered. He was tapped on the shoulder.

“May I cut in?” Rick asked as the song ended. Abe released her into Ricks arms. Maybe hearing it from that man would help her to believe. Rick frowned at her tears and looked at Abe.

“She didn't know that she was family.” He answered Ricks unasked question. Rick wrapped her in his arms.

“You are family.”

“Even though I'm not yours?” She asked. He hesitated. She leaned back to look at him. She knew? He wondered. He didn't know what to say.

“A man when drinking tends to speak the truth, as does a man who's racked with fever. You were all over me those 5 days we were trapped in the car. Until then.....you hid it well. He swallowed. He was embarrassed.

“I'm sorry.”

“Don't be sorry Rick. You couldn't help wanting me anymore than I could help wanting Dixon.....Daryl. The simple thought of you considering me family after knowing that I love Daryl, shows me your true character. You're a good man Rick. Daryl is a good judge of character, and chose well, when choosing you for a best friend. He's lucky to have you, and so am I.”

“No......we're the lucky ones.” Rick said quietly, hugging her to him.

Daryl watched as the guys danced with Toni. He realized that he was calm. He felt no jealousy whatsoever. He was loved, unconditionally. He knew it with every beat of his heart now. She had such a big heart and could love many....but....he knew without a doubt, that he was her man, the only man that she loved intimately.

“Damn! Little Brother, you're eye fucking her!” Merle said to him. Daryl didn't take offense because.....he was. He just smiled at his big brother, which actually caught Merle off guard. Merle couldn't believe how much his brother had changed since the last time he's seen him. Or since Toni wanted to cut his balls off. He shivered at the memory. Damn, but she was a feisty one. He smiled to himself. She was a Ninja, one he didn't want to tangle with, that's for sure. But she forgave him and invited him in. That had never happened in his entire life. Even her kids had accepted him. Told him he'd make a great Uncle, and he damn sure was gonna be exactly that!

Daryl got up and walked over to where Lisa and Carl were sitting. Carl stiffened, afraid Daryl was coming for him.

“Lisa, may I have this dance?” He held out his had to her. She only hesitated for a split second before putting her hand in his, and getting up. The first thing he noticed was that she was bare footed.

“Where's your shoes?”

“Under the table.”

“Why.”

“My feet hurt?”

“Or.......you felt you might have to run?”

“Just in case.” she told him truthfully.

“Good thinking....and the boys?”

“I didn't think it would go that far.”

“But they're armed?” She laughed.

“But, of course.” He smiled again. Do you want to put your shoes on?”

“What I'd like to do is......stand on your feet like I used to do with my Daddy.” She looked down at the ground as she said it.

“Thank God.”

“What?”

“I'm so glad you brought it up....cause I didn't know how to ask you.”

“Ask me?” He picked her up and made his way to the dance area. When he set her down....he told her to climb on. She looked up at him.

“Well ...come on! I've wanted to do this since the party at home.” She stepped on his booted feet.

“Why didn't you just tell me?”

“Cause I was afraid you'd think you were too big.” She threw her arms around his waist and hugged him.

“I'm not! I'm not too big!”

 

Toni watched Daryl and Lisa with tears of happiness, glistening in her eyes.

“He's perfect.” She said to Rick. Rick looked over at them too.

“Well, I don't know that I'd go that far......after all he doesn't think I'm cute.” Toni barked out a laugh! She looked up at him and pulled his face down and kissed him on his cheek.

“I think you're cute....Tom.” He groaned.

“You're never gonna let me forget that are you?”

“Nope.”

Michonne approached them.

“Can I cut in?” she asked. Toni smiled at her.

“You certainly can, I have a need to go hug my man” She headed toward Lisa and Daryl.
Daryl felt a pair of small hands go under his suit coat and around his waist. Next thing he knew Lucas and Landon were on either side of him. He was surrounded by his little family, and wanted to stay like this for the rest of his life.

“They make a beautiful family.” Michonne said to Rick while looking at them.
“Yes.” Was all he could get out with the lump in his throat.

Toni was tired. It had been a long day. She gathered her kids and told Daryl she was gonna put them to bed. She helped the boys change out of their suits and hung them in the closet. They didn't want her to leave so she thought she'd just lay with them until they fell asleep. An hour later, that's where Daryl found her sound asleep. He took a moment just to look at them all. His heart swelled with love for them. But his dick swelled for an entirely different reason. He shook her shoulder. Her eyes slowly opened. She smiled at him.

“Good, you're awake.” He said to her with devilish smile. She laughed, she could have swore she’d been asleep. He grabbed her by the hand and pulled her to her feet.

“You couldn't sleep either?” He asked her. He bent down to retrieve her dress and heels.

“I guess not.” She giggled. He starting to pull her out of the room and down the steps.

“Where are we going?”

“Where you can put that dress back on for me, and me only.” They headed out the front door. She was wide awake now as her body filled with, the now familiar heat of arousal. She could hear the party still going on in the back yard and wondered what time it was. When they reached the cottage, he guided her around the back to come through the sliding glass door to the bedroom. He stopped and remembered to close the curtain this time. He left her standing in the middle of the room while he turned the lamps on that were on either side of the bed.

He slowly took his suit jacket off and laid in on the dresser. It was followed by his tie......then he took forever to unbutton his shirt. She was shaking with desire as she watched him undress. He never said a word, he just watched her, watching him. She didn't dare move. She didn't want to miss anything. He oh, so slowly tugged his shirttails out of his slacks. Then moved to his sleeves cuffs to undo those buttons. She thought her legs might give out as he opened his shirt to slide it off those muscular shoulders. She blew out an audible breath. She wasn't sure she could take much more and swallowed hard. He carefully placed the shirt on his coat and tie. She never looked away from his chest. He smiled, but she missed it so mesmerized by his now naked chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. She was having a little trouble breathing. When he began to unbuckle his belt, she held her breath. He pulled it off through all the loops and put it on the dresser with the rest. The button came next, he put his fingers on the zipper pull and slowly slid it down. She heard a sound in the silent room and realized it was her. She quickly covered her mouth to prevent further interruptions. Daryl took 2 steps and sat down in a straight, backed chair. Where had that chair come from she fleetingly thought. She hadn't remembered ever seeing it. Her thoughts were interrupted.

“Would you help me with my boots?” That deep gravelly voice sent chills up her spine. She willed her feet to move and take the 4 steps to get to him. She stopped in front of him and he lifted his booted foot. She grabbed it by the toe and heel and pulled, easing it off of him. She let it drop to the floor. Then slid his sock off. She repeated the act with his other foot. She even found his feet sexy, if feet could be called sexy.

“Your turn, take off your top.” She started to slide it up and over her head when he barked out.

“Stop!” Her arms and head were still under the fabric. She could breathe just fine but couldn't see a thing. He felt for her arms under the top and moved them to rest on top of her head.

“Stay, just like that.”

“Daryl?” Her heart began to race. She felt vulnerable in this position.

“Just feel.” He whispered. A calloused finger ran down each of her sides, giving her goosebumps. Only to come back up and outline her bra clad breasts. Next, she felt his tongue swirl in her bellybutton. She sucked in a surprised breath. Her bra was somehow opened up and was moved to the side. She'd never felt the front closure being opened. She was breathing heavy now with anticipation of where he would touch her next. She moaned when her nipple was sucked into his mouth, then felt it pebble up as he flicked his tongue all around it. She groaned at the loss when he released it, only to feel his teeth gently clamp down on the other one and pull. As it was released his tongue made its way up the valley between her breast, all the way up to her neck where he bit hard enough for her to gasp, only to have it soothed by his tongue and sweet kisses. He unbuckled her belt around her waist that held the 2 sheaths for her hip blades and the 1 in the small of her back. Next came the leather from around her thighs, for those 2 blades. When she felt his fingers go into the waistband of her spandex pants and start to slide them down, she thought she may die if she didn't feel him inside her. He moved them all the way down to her ankles. However, she couldn't kick them off because she still had her socks and boots on. He did take the blades out, but made no move to remove her boots. She stood still, waiting.......and waiting. Daryl was taking his time to drink in the sight of her. He couldn't seem to get enough.

“Daryl....please....” She whispered. Yes, she heard herself begging and didn't care at this point She was too far gone and needed him. Now. His hand ran up the inside of the her thigh, the closer he got....the more she begged.

“Please touch me Daryl.” He barely touched her and she was so wet he thought he might cum. But not yet, and she couldn’t either, not yet. He guided her to his right and bent her over down on his lap. He placed his left arm firmly over her back to keep her in place, while his right hand ran over her rock, hard ass. He gave it a squeeze.

“You've run from me one too many times Toni.”

“What?” she started to squirm a little.

“Now you knew I wouldn't beat you, you're too smart for your own breeches! However, what I can, and am, going to do, is spank you!”

“No Daryl? No, don't, please Daryl.” His hand came down with a resounding SMACK!

“Ow!” she cried out in surprise. She started to struggle in earnest now. He rubbed the red hand print left behind, lovingly, then slid his fingers between her legs. She moaned.

“Please Daryl I need it bad.” Another SMACK came down.

“Ouch! I won't run again, I promise! Please Daryl! I need you to touch me!” She wasn't sure how much of this pleasure/pain she could take. But if he didn't do something about it, she was gonna kill him! He let his fingers glide through her glistening folds and rewarded her with two fingers inserted inside her, but he quickly removed them. That just pissed her off.

“DARYL DIXON! You put those back!” SMACK! His hand came down again. But before she could cry out, 3 fingers slammed into her throwing her over. Her muscles contracted around his fingers.

“Oh Godddddddd........” She squirted, and it rained all over his hand and lap. He couldn't hold out and he went over with her.

“Ah FUCKKKKKKKK!” He pushed his cock against her side, and gripped her side so hard he was sure to leave bruises. He pulled his fingers out of her and grabbed her by her thigh to ride it out. They were both gasping for air, hearts thundering in their chests. When he could move again he flipped her over and cradled her in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on for dear life.

“Wh.....what.....just happened?” She barely croaked out. He couldn't speak yet. He'd heard of it, but never had seen it and surely never had been the cause of it. And then he smiled, and held her tight.

“You left my boots on, on purpose.”

“Yes, well you're not the only one who can be like Macgyver.” He smiled at her and winked.

“You planned this!” she accused.

“You ran from me and I can't have that. The herd out there is too big. And you made me miss 3 hours of the party, of you in that dress. It would be in your best interest to stay on my good side. He winked at her again. She laughed at him and kissed him.

“I'm sorry for running, but I really didn't think you guys would come after me.”

“Of course, I would come after you! I love you.” She tightened her hold.

“I love you too.”

“Come on, we need to get a shower and get ready for your lesson.”

“Lesson? What lesson?”

“A little bird told me that you're asking around about blow jobs.”

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 36

 

Daryl stepped out of the shower to dry off while Toni rinsed the soap from her body. He wrapped the towel around his slim hips, put the toilet lid down and sat waiting for her. When the water was shut off, he reached for her towel that was hanging on the bar. She opened the shower door and stepped out on the mat. He crooked a finger at her. She walked over and stood between his legs. He began to dry her off. She was quiet, because she was a little nervous about the lesson to come. She wished she could have talked to Merle first. She really wanted to know what it entailed. She knew from her many romance novels, what she needed to do, but she wanted to know how to do it right, and not make a fool of herself. This was for Daryl, she didn't want to mess it up, and appear ignorant. Her mind preoccupied with her thoughts, she didn't notice when Daryl turned her to dry back backside. Until she felt his lips on her buttocks.

Daryl was drying Toni off, but he felt she was somewhere else, lost in thought. He looked at the angry red hand prints on her ass and felt remorse. Oh, she needed the spanking, but he wished it hadn't left marks. He leaned in to kiss the hurt away. She didn't respond. She always responded to his every touch. He turned her back around.

“What's wrong?” She looked at his beautiful face.

“Maybe I should go to the library before..... yes! I need to go to the library.... can we go now?”

“What? In the middle of the night? What in tarnation for?”

“I need a book.” She pleaded with her eyes
.
“We’ll go tomorrow.... come on” He got up and took her by the hand and started leading her back to the bedroom. She pulled back and dug in her heels. He turned and questioned her with his eyes.

“I don't want to.” She barely whispered. He took a hard look at her. She was serious.

“You don't have to do anything you don't want to.” He said softly.

“I want to......but........”

“But what?” He didn't understand. She looked at the floor when answering him.

“Daryl.....I don't know how exactly.......I haven't.....don't have the knowledge...... I just can't.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yes...I told you don't have to do anything you don't want to.”

“But.....”

“No buts, come on.” She let him lead her this time. They went into the bedroom and stopped by the side of the bed, then Daryl walked over to the dresser where his pants were and took something out of the back pocket. It was a bandana. He moved back to the bed and sat down on the edge. He folded the bandana and tied it around his head covering his eyes. He laid down with his head on the pillow, moving to the middle of the bed, leaving her access to climb on if she wanted too. He grabbed hold of the limbs on the headboard. His legs were slightly parted. He was gloriously naked.

“Wha.......what are you doing?” She asked, drinking in the sight of him from head to toe.

“I'm yours to do whatever you want with me.” She swallowed.

“What do you want me to do?” She croaked.

“I don't care ..... anything you want. Touch me, lick me, kiss me, anything you want to do.”

“But....” She began.

“I already told you, you can't do anything wrong when were in bed together. I'm just gonna lay here and feel.” Her head jerked to look at his face, realizing then, that he couldn't see her reaction, she thought about how it had felt when she didn't know when or where he was going to touch her. All her insecurities melted away. She was in control this time. It was his turn to wait, and wonder, when he would be touched. Desire started to hum through her body. Her eyes ate him up mapping out a plan on where to touch him first. She brought her knees up to the bed and sat back on her heels, still looking but not yet touching. His cock lay flaccid in the dark nest of pubic hair. Still large, but now she knew the difference.

Daryl felt her gently climb on to the bed. He almost smiled, but caught himself, after all he couldn't see her and didn't know if she was looking at his face. Though he highly doubted that was where her eyes were glued. He waited patiently for her first touch. This was new to her, after all. The couple times that she had, been aggressive, had been only when her temper had flared. He wanted her to be comfortable with him and in control. He felt the lightest touch on the top of his foot and felt it slide up through the hair on his leg, then to his much smoother thighs, making his toes curl. Then over his hip it went, and up his side stopping at his armpit. He heard her exhale a breath and take another in. He felt her body weight shift and then hissed in his own breath when she boldly put her mouth over his nipple swirling her tongue around its now, pebbled head. He moaned when she tugged it with her teeth, and sucked on it. She looked up to his face and saw his lips parted as he drew in a breath. She caught a small movement and turned to see his cock growing before her eyes. She leaned down and nipped at his hip and her tongue made a trail to his naval. She dipped her tongue inside and watched with fascination as his cock jumped and grew some more. He moaned out loud.

“You like that?” She whispered.

“You have no fucking idea.” His raspy voice answered. She hadn't even touched him where he wanted to be touched and he was close. Maybe this wasn't his best idea, but there was no going back now. His father, the governor, the wolves, he chanted in his head. He wanted this to last, he needed this to last. Why couldn't he control himself where she was concerned? Toni noticed the fluid seeping out of the tip of his cock. She looked back to make sure he wasn't looking and slowly leaned down and licked it with her tongue. He bucked up with and loud groan. She pulled away startled that she may have done something wrong.

“Oh God, please don't stop.” He begged. She looked at him. Normally, it was her doing the begging. She smiled and grew bold with confidence. She took the head of his cock into her mouth and swirled her tongue around it, and sucked on it. His heels dug into the bed as his lifted his ass up to go deeper into her mouth.

“Fuck! That feels so fucking good.” She placed a hand on his belly to hold him down, and wrapped her fingers around the base of his cock and she moved her mouth up and down. He wasn't gonna make it, her unpracticed mouth and tentative touch was going to be his undoing. Son of a bitch! He thought to himself was he a man or an untried boy!

“Toni! I'm gonna cum! I can't hold bac..........” She released him from her mouth but, held on to his cock with her hand and watched as his semen came pumping out all over her hand and his belly. She watched as his muscles bunched, and spasms ran through his body. His face contorted with his release. She slowly moved her hand up and down. His moaning and groaning was turning her on, so much. She squeezed her legs together, there was no relief there for her. Knowing that she was the one to bring him to this state was very empowering to her. As she watched him trying to collect his breath she realized that her own was labored.

When Daryl was able to move again he let go of the limbs on the headboard and remove his blindfold. Toni was still literally eating him with her eyes, still sitting on her heels. Daryl grabbed his towel that he'd thrown on the nightstand and started to clean himself off.

“Here, give me your hand.” He said softly. Without looking at him she reached out with the hand that had held his belly down.

“No... the other one.” He chuckled. She looked at him then, then looked down at her hand with his cum on it. She slowly raised it to her lips. Looking into his eyes, she smiled and used her tongue to taste him. He groaned and closed his eyes to save the image for future use. She never ceased to amaze him.

“It's salty, but sweet too.” She said mainly to herself a little surprised. He pulled her on top of him and rolled over on top of her.

“It's my turn now.” He said smiling down at her, before his mouth came down to possess hers. When she was breathless, he moved down her body, raining kisses, teeth and tongue the whole way until he reached the apex of her thighs. There she was drenched, as he knew without a doubt, that she would be. He still found it hard to believe that she loved him. Only him. He was a gruff, scarred, redneck with an awful past, but she didn't seem to care and loved him in spite of it all. He spanned her belly with his hand because he knew what was coming next. As soon as his tongue touched her, she arched up into his mouth for more.

“Oh God....more..... more Daryl.....please.” He easily slid two fingers inside. She bucked up again and clutched the sheets in her hands. She was already on the edge before he touched her, from touching him, and she went over calling out his name. He watched her much the same way as she had watched him. When she recovered enough to open her eyes, she looked down at him for he had not moved. They made eye contact and he slid his fingers into his mouth tasting her as she watched. Then to her surprise, and delight, his face disappeared again.
It was just before dawn when they finally, exhausted, fell into a peaceful deep sleep in each, others arms.

 

It was 10am and still no sign of Toni or Daryl. The kids were getting worried. Toni was always the first one up, and it was always, before daylight. All the adults told them, there was nothing to worry about, that they were probably just sleeping in late after the party last night. They sat on the swing on the porch waiting and watching for any sign of them. Another 30 minutes passed and they couldn't take it anymore. They snuck off when no one was watching to make their way to the little cottage by the pond. As they reached the little cottage, they walked completely around it for any signs of distress.

None found, Lisa signed for them to take off their shoes. She slowly turned the knob. It was unlocked to her relief. She wasn't exactly confident in her lock picking skills as of yet. It was a work in progress. They stepped inside and closed the door. They stood still and just listened for any sign that were here. Nothing. The living room and kitchen showed no signs of them being here. Lisa’s worry grew. Walking past the bathroom, she stopped. There were clothes strewn about. They went inside. Landon picked up Daryl's pants off the floor, then frowned at the stain on the front of them. He tapped Lisa who was holding up Toni's pants and panties still attached and inside out. She looked at Landon and the pants he was holding up for her. She dropped Toni's back to the floor and signed for Landon to do the same with Daryl's. Lucas tapped her and signed .... asking, why everything such a mess. After all, they had rules and throwing your clothes on the floor was a big no no.

Lisa had a feeling that she knew why, but had to make sure that nothing bad had happened. It was so unlike Toni to not have her clothes near her in case she needed to get dressed in a hurry. Next, they walked down the short hallway that led to the bedroom. The door was open. Lisa signed to her brothers to stay behind her. She wasn't positive of what she would see and wanted to spare them if it was bad. The first and only thing she noticed was Daryl lying naked, the full length of his whole backside on display before her. She couldn't see Toni. She signed for her brothers to stay back as she stepped into the room to look for Toni. Her feet didn't make a sound as she made her way around to the other side of the bed, where she did indeed find Toni. She was wrapped in Daryl's arms, with him spooning her. She was also naked as the day she was born. Seeing them brought happy tears to Lisa's eyes. They loved each other. It was plain to see. Landon and Lucas on the other hand saw the tears on Lisa's face and came into the room to see what she was looking at. Before Lisa knew what he was about ..... Lucas climbed up on the bed to see if he could feel Toni breathing. So, worried he was that they were dead. Toni and Daryl woke up at the same time both startled.

“Lucas! What's wrong! Has something happened.?”

“Sorry....” Lisa said lowering her eyes.

“I thought you guys were dead.” Lucas cried. Toni gathered him into his arms.

“No sweetie....we’re fine, why would you think that?”

“It's lunchtime.” Landon chimed in irritated. “Why aren't you wearing any clothes?” he demanded. It was then that they remembered they were naked. Daryl quickly pulled the sheet up and over them.

“Your clothes are thrown everywhere! You know the rules!”

“I sure am glad that you're not dead.” Lucas piped up and kissed her and then got on his knees to do the same with Daryl.

“I'm sorry.” Lisa said again. “We got worried when we didn't know where you were and it was getting so late.” However, Toni's eyes were on Landon. He was really upset about finding them naked.

“Come....sit up here with us.” She patted the bed.

“Don't you think you should be getting dressed?” He looked her straight in the eye.

“Mind your tongue young man!”

“He's trying to take you away from us! You're our Mom.” He yelled as tears streamed down his face.

“Landon!........” Toni began.

“You didn't even stay with us last night! Don't you care about us anymore?” He accused.

“Of course, I do.............” She was cut off by Daryl who had grabbed the dirty towel off the floor and now got up and wrapped it around his waist.

“Landon! Outside now!” His voice brooked no argument as he pointed to the sliding glass door.

Landon, with a look of hatred that Daryl never expected to see on his faced, stomped out the door, arms crossed leaving it wide open. Daryl closed it behind him and sat at the little patio table. He pointed to a chair.

“Sit!” Landon stared at him and made no move to do so.

“Now!” He yelled louder and Landon sat, but wouldn't look at him. Arms crossed staring at the ground. Everyone in the bedroom jumped at Daryl's bark, that could be heard through the closed door.

 

Jesus walked into the kitchen where everyone seemed to be gathered. He looked around.

“Where are the kids?” He asked.

“They were just here.” Rick said looking around starting to feel a little sick to his stomach. Sweet Jesus if they were lost on his watch.....Toni would have his hide.

“They're out on the porch.” Maggie stated. “Went out to sit on the swing about 30 minutes ago.

“I just came in the front door. No one was on the porch.”

“I'll check upstairs.” Carol said.

“I'll look out back.” Glenn volunteered.

“I'll check the roof.” Maggie said remembering that time.

Jesus took off for the cottage where everyone thought Toni and Daryl spent the night. Dammit! All these damn people here and they couldn't keep track of three kids? This was not going to go well with Toni. Hell, she'd never trust them all again.

The first thing he saw as he reached the cottage was their shoes. He breathed a sigh of relief. He started up the steps when he heard Daryl's voice.

“Sit!”

“Now!” He changed directions and headed to the back yard. He stopped at the edge of the house. He listened.

“Alright, now tell me what's wrong. I thought you liked me being with you guys.” He asked softly.

“I did.” Landon said looking anywhere but at Daryl.

“What's changed? Let's talk about it.”

“I'm afraid she's gonna love you more than she loves us.”

“Did your Mom love your Dad more than she loved you kids?” He thought about it.

“I guess not.”

“Then why do you think Toni is gonna like me more?”

“Cause......she's not our real blood, maybe she'll get tired of us. She didn't even sleep with us last night and wasn't home this morning either. She was with you.....naked.” He crossed his arms again.

“Do you know why she was with me........naked.?”

“No.”

“Do you want to know why?”

“Not if it's cause she loves you more.” His voiced wobbled and tears came to his eyes.

“No, that's not why.......she was with me ….. naked ........ because sometimes Mom's and Dad's want to be alone together to love one another. That doesn't mean we love you any less.” Landon's little head jerked up to look at him.

“You......love us?”

“Landon....I love you all, like you are my very own.” Landon jumped up and launched himself at Daryl. The man caught him easily.

“I'm sorry Daryl......I didn't know that you loved us too. I thought you were gonna take Toni away from us.” Daryl hugged the boy to him.

“One day, you're going to grow up and want to spend time alone with a girl. Without all of us around.”

“Like Lisa and Carl?”

“Exactly like that. It doesn't mean that Lisa doesn't love you.”

“I'm sorry I was mad at you, Daryl.”

“I understand it was scary not knowing. But....you need to go tell Toni you're sorry.”

“I will.” He sniffed. “I love you Daryl.”

“I love you too.”

Jesus turned around and headed to Rick's house with a smile on his face.

Daryl and Toni waved at the kids as they took off to join Carl who was down the block. They came into the house through the back door. The kitchen was full of people.

“Oh....the walk of shame.....” Abe drawled out shaking his head. Toni stopped.

“I don't have anything to be ashamed of......people give blow jobs every day.” She held her head high and marched upstairs. There was a lot of choking in the kitchen. And a red, faced Daryl who followed Toni, shaking his head. The things that came out of her mouth. He wasn't sure if he should tell her or not.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 37

 

It was a unanimous decision to wait a couple days to go back the strip mall for more scavenging. After the party and all the drinking. No one was at 100% today. Today would be for relaxing, and recuperating for some. However, instead, the main core, were going to make a quick run to the Hilltop. Toni was invited to go, but declined. She was just getting used to all these people here, she wasn't ready to meet anymore. And from what she'd heard about Gregory......well.....let's just say that, that man may be hurt if she were to tag along. As she hugged everyone goodbye, because you just never knew if it would be the last time you'd see them, she was in a now empty house. She sat at the table with a cup of coffee and reflected on her night with Daryl. She had a dreamy smile on her face when the kids stopped in to get a cold drink.

“And here I thought you'd be pining away for Daryl being gone until tomorrow.” Lisa teased her.

“I am....I was thinking about something else.” Toni smiled at her.

“I bet you were.” She laughed.

“What are you guys up to today?”

“Gonna hang out with Ron, Enid, Sam, not sure who else is gonna be there. Do you want us to stay here with you and keep you company? I don't want you to be all alone.” She frowned thinking about it.

“No....I'm fine....gonna enjoy my bit of quiet time. You kids go have some fun, but keep an eye on your brothers, always.”

“That goes without saying.” Lisa assured her.

They kid’s hugged and kissed her including Carl, and left. Toni sighed. She drummed her fingers on the table. She fidgeted in her chair. She just couldn't sit idle. Laundry! She hadn't done laundry in days. She headed up stairs to their room and grabbed the overflowing hamper, stopped and looked at Merle's 2 bags sitting in the corner of the room by his makeshift bed. She set the heavy hamper down and went to Merle's bags to look inside. His clothes were in worse shape than Daryl's were when she first met him. She found her sewing kit and sewed 2 stitches into the tags of all his clothes, with yellow thread so as not to mix them up with Daryl's. First, she would wash them, then make all the repairs. She stripped the beds to wash the bedding, then headed into the bathroom for all the dirty towels. She picked up a large armful of laundry to carry down the kitchen, and stopped looking straight into Rick's room. His door was wide open and she could see his laundry basket was full, with another large pile on the floor beside that. She went down to start her first load, and came back upstairs and pulled a red spool of thread out and got to work on all Ricks clothes and bedding. Choosing a different color for everyone in the house she marked all their clothing and bedding, then made piles down the hallway. Whites, mediums, dark's, delicate's, etc. Then did the same to the rooms downstairs, Sasha's, Rosita, and Tara's. The family room, sun room and office had all been converted into bedrooms, downstairs. Nine bedrooms in all with the 6 upstairs. Thank goodness she had enough thread colors to do the job. The piles of clothes, towels and bedding were huge. Just as well....she didn't think she'd be sleeping tonight anyway, with everyone gone. She had made a list of what color went the which person, just in case she forgot. With the first load going, she got the child's wagon she'd seen in the backyard and went to the pantry for more laundry supplies, and while she was there she picked up cleaning supplies to clean the whole house.

 

While shopping she ran into Jessie. She told her the kids wanted to have a party of their own tonight and were trying to talk her into allowing it. Jessie told Toni that she was okay with it, if Toni would allow the kids to spend the night. After assuring Toni that Enid and Lisa would be sleeping in a separate room from the boys and she would be checking on them all night, Toni relented and said the kids could stay.

The washer and dryer ran nonstop all day, and into the night, as well as the clothesline outside. She used bleach on all the whites, which were currently gray. She sprayed stain remover on every piece of clothing it seemed. As she folded the clothes, she made a separate pile for mending, to work on in between. It was a huge task she'd taken on for 13 people, as an afterthought, she went to Glenn and Maggie's to take care of their house and laundry as well. So, 15 people and 2 houses that should keep her more than busy enough until her family returned safe and sound. She worked through the night even taking some of the bedding over to Maggie and Glenn's house once their clothes and bedding were finished, to use their washer and dryer.

Once she got bedrooms cleaned and fresh linens on the beds she started carrying up their clothes and laying them on their beds. She didn't want to go into anyone's dresser draws or closets. She felt that would be invading their privacy, so only gathered items she could easily see through the open doors. She used Murphy's oil soap to clean all the furniture in both houses and bleach galore in the kitchen's and bathroom's. She cleaned out the refrigerators in both houses as well as the ovens. She sprinkled carpet fresh on all the carpets and vacuumed them. Cleaned all the ceiling fans. Washed all the curtains. Basically, she did a spring cleaning on both houses.

The mending of the clothes was putting her to sleep about 4am so she went for a run around Alexandria to wake up. It was cold tonight so it did the trick and by the time she finished, her loads were ready to be changed and she was wide awake. She had however, made a detour to Jessie's house to check on things. All seemed well, so she went home and got back to her mending. She was sure that no one here knew how to mend clothes with the amount she had to deal with. At the rate she was using her supplies up, she’d need to go find more buttons, zippers, and patches soon. She'd used both fabric softener and dryer sheets for their clothes, and bedding, she had a feeling that they had never used it. Because of the grocery store find, she even had Woolite, for all the delicate items, like bras and panties.

There was a knock at the door at 4:30 am that startled Toni. At first, she thought, the kids, but then realized they wouldn't knock, so she cautiously went to the front door, blade in hand.

“Hey Toni, I couldn't sleep and I saw all the lights on. Then remembered you were alone for the night and thought maybe you'd like some company.” Spencer said smiling at her. Toni sheathed her blade and let him in. After all she'd already warned him, when she'd first arrived and he put the moves on her. He held up an eight pack of Sloe Gin Fizz, whatever that was. He opened one and handed it to her. It was really good. So, she sipped on it while changing her loads and folding clothes. He had brought whiskey sours for himself. He just sat and watched her as she worked, because he had asked her several times to just sit down and have a drink with him, to no avail. As she finished her mending, she started cooking to his dismay. He'd had his eyes on her since the first day he'd seen her. His first attempt didn't quite go his way. She'd pulled one of her blades on him. He was hoping that lack of sleep, with Daryl with the rest of the group gone, and alcohol would work in his favor. He drank all his whiskey sours in record time, then switched to beer, started to hammer those down as well. Toni was still sipping on her second sloe gin fizz.

“Maybe you should slow down a little.” Toni said when he began to slur his words. He just smiled at her and tipped his beer, and downed it. The dryer buzzer went off. He ogled her as she bent over pulling the clothes out of the dryer and into a basket. He got up quickly and moved toward her. Then made the mistake, he wouldn't soon forget about.

As Toni was pulling the laundry out of the dryer, Spencer put both of his hands on her ass, shocking her. She jumped and hit her head in the dryer opening, only to be pulled out and up. She turned to have Spencer's lips come crashing down on hers. He leaned his whole body up against her, trying to trap her. He had her wrists in his hands, holding them above her head. She bit his lip hard, drawing blood which made him pull away enough for her to then headbutt him hard. He released her to grab his head as he yelled out in pain from the double assault. She then kicked him in the groin. As he doubled over holding his family jewels, she clasped her hands together and swinging her arms up smashed them into his nose. Blood strayed the air, the hit was so hard. She followed it up with a punch to his eye, then a roundhouse kick to the side of his head. He dropped to the floor unconscious. She went and got her pack, then proceeded to hogtie and gag him. She slid his body toward the back door. She'd wait for Daryl to come home and dispose of this trash however he saw fit. He was lucky, after all, she hadn't killed him. But he was gonna hurt like hell when he woke up. Damn boy thought himself a man. She just shook her head. He was the perfect example of a 23 year old acting like he was 16. She rubbed the back of her head. Damn she had quite a goose egg back there. She threw a dirty look toward Spencer's unconscious form. Shit! Now she had to clean up all this damn blood. She threw another glare at Spencer.

Grabbing the bucket and bleach, she turned on the faucet for hot water. While she stood there with a hand under the stream waiting for the right temperature, she noticed her wrist was already bruising, she lifted her other hand and the same was happening there. Perfect hand prints turning black and blue. This wasn't going to go well with Daryl to be sure. She shook her head. Damn you Spencer! After mopping the kitchen floor for the second time, she wiped her brow with the back of her hand, only to find yet, another nice sized lump. Shit! She took a few Ibuprofen hoping to take some of the swelling down on now, the front and back of her head.

She put her three pots of white chili on low to simmer and started the water for a huge pot of brown rice that the chili could be spooned over for added filler. She went back to her laundry while she waited for the water to boil. Toni made 6 trips upstairs to drop off more clothing into their rooms. She went out to garage thinking she'd seen a small dresser out there. She needed something for Merle's things. While looking, she spotted something that may work even better since their room was pretty crowded with the six of them sharing it. It was almost as tall as she was but only about two feet wide. It had six drawers. Perfect for Merle's things. She pulled all the drawers out and carried them upstairs in two trips. Next, she tilted the, now shell, onto her back and carried that in. She reassembled the dresser and filled it with all his mended clothes. Then went back to his bags and set his bottles of whiskey on top. She noticed he didn't appear to have a tooth brush or deodorant. Looking at the time, it was still too early to go to the pantry so she made a list of the items she felt Merle needed. His condoms, she put in his sock and underwear drawer. She added razor to her list, as well as brush and comb.

Back in the kitchen she added the rice to the water and shut it off covering it to finish cooking, and gave the three pots of chili a stir. After changing loads, she decided to head over to the pantry. She looked down at Spencer, knelt down and made sure he was still breathing and securely tied. Then left through the back door.

“Good morning Olivia.” Toni said brightly. Olivia turned smiling and stopped.

“What happened?” she asked looking at the lump on Toni's forehead, that was also turning a pretty shade of bruise. She also noticed the dark circles under her eyes. Toni reached up to the lump. That's when Olivia saw the black and blue hand prints on her wrists.

“Oh! It's nothing, I was putting dishes away in the cupboards and turned to grab some more, forgetting I had left the door open and hit my head when I turned back around.”

“And your wrists?” Olivia asked.

“That's nothing too.” she chuckled. The kids and I were training and I had them hanging on, perhaps a little too long.” She laughed it off.

“You don't look like you've slept either.” She voiced another concern. Damn! Toni thought. Apparently, she hadn't thought this though. She never thought anyone would even notice anything wrong with her, other than her family and the people who lived in the house. She decided she'd better hurry before she ran into anyone else.

“I'm getting ready to go to bed now. Been doing laundry, couldn't sleep with Dixon gone. But....I'm ready for a nap now, since they'll be home today.” She assured her.

She quickly picked up the things on her list and left. She walked through the back yards for a better chance of making it home without anyone seeing her. She slipped in the back door of Maggie and Glenn's house to leave them a note that dinner was ready at Rick's when they get home. She made it home without running into anyone, thank God. She changed loads then went upstairs. She pulled a small tray out of her bag with 2 whiskey glasses and 2 shot glasses, and set them next to his bottles of whiskey. Next came a comb, brush, deodorant, nail clipper, razor, shaving cream, tooth brush and paste. She smiled to herself, happy to have fixed him his own little spot. She tucked his now empty bags, folded, between the wall and his new dresser.

Once back in the kitchen, she started brewing some tea. While waiting, she continued with her mending, only a few items left, praise the Lord. Her fingers were sore from all the sewing she'd already done. When the tea was done, she poured it into a pitcher and added sugar, and moved it to the frig, then started another pot of tea. When the dryer went off, she changed the loads realizing that this was her second to last one. Yay! Looks like she'd be finished before everyone got home. She went up to take a shower while the load washed. She showered, washed her hair and shaved. She put on Landon's smiley face boxers and a tank top without a bra. With her chores nearly finished, she dressed to sit down and relax, maybe do some writing on her never, ending story. She combed her hair out best she could alone and left it down to dry. She made her way down to the kitchen again with her dirty clothes and towels and checked on Spencer. Still out, but breathing fine. She guessed it was all the alcohol that he'd drank. He was sleeping it off. Fine by her. She didn't want to have to listen to all his moaning and groaning that she was sure he'd be doing once he woke up.

She made up the second pot of tea and put it in the frig and started the final pot. She changed the loads again putting the last load in the washer. She folded the load she'd just taken out and carried the clothes upstairs to distribute. She had to admit, she was really starting to tire. She'd rest soon, she told herself.

Back downstairs, she made a gallon of powered milk or the kids, for dinner and put it in the frig. She also put beer in the drawers to chill for anyone who may be up for one. She made up the last pot of tea and started brewing coffee. Dessert! She opened the pantry door to find something she could make. She took out three brownie mixes and a can of applesauce. She set the oven to preheat, and mixed the batter adding the apple sauce in place of the eggs. She oiled three cake pans and poured even amounts of batter in each one. She put them in the oven and set the timer. Then poured the pot of coffee into the thermal carafe and started another. Her dryer went off and she put her final load into it. She smiled, so close to being done. She folded the load she'd just taken out and carried the piles upstairs. She heard the timer go off for her brownies and raced downstairs. She put the three pans on hot pads on the counters to cool since the stove top was full. She finished repairing the last pair of jeans while she waited for the dryer to go off. Her fingers were so sore she could hardly push the needle through the heavy denim material. She folded the last load and carried everything upstairs. She paused as she left each room to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Satisfied, that the upstairs was complete she went back to the kitchen. She found three cans of Betty Crocker frosting, chocolate, cherry, and vanilla to frost the brownies. She spun around when she heard a moan. Spencer tried to move and couldn't.

“Go back to sleep.” Toni said quietly. She waited until he stopped moving and was still, then started to set the table. When finished, she looked around. She was done! Everything that she had set out to do was done. She grabbed the egg timer off the counter and headed upstairs. She needed a 30 minute nap. She was beat. She set the timer for 30 minutes, and laid it beside her head. She didn't even bother with getting under the covers. She was asleep instantly. She jumped when the timer went off. She felt like she'd only just, closed her eyes. Coffee! She needed her second lover, coffee. She went to the bathroom, then headed downstairs stretching. As she hit the landing, the front door opened and her beautiful man walked through the door with Rick, Merle, Abe and she assumed everyone else was behind them. Daryl looked up in time to see her launch herself, from the fifth stair up, at him. He caught her easily. She wrapped herself around him, squeezing him tight. She leaned back to kiss his handsome face. He looked tired and sweaty and dirty, and oh so sexy.

“What the fuck!” Merle swore and had all heads turning toward him. He, on the other hand was looking at Daryl's back.

“What the hell happened to you?” Rick exclaimed. Toni had no idea what they were talking about, but they were looking at Daryl's back. She was pushing away from Daryl, trying to get down so she could see for herself. But, that man was having none of that. He'd been away from her for almost 30 hours. He needed to hold her.

“Dixon! Put me down!” She demanded.

“No!” Daryl said and meant it. Merle grabbed her arm at the same time that Rick took hold of her chin. Both men spoke at the same time.

“What the hell happened to you?”

“Who the fuck did this?” And that's when Daryl looked, really looked. He saw the bruised forehead, and the hand imprints on her wrists. She pulled her arm from Merle's grasp and put her hands between hers and Daryl's bodies and tucked her face into Daryl's neck. She didn't want to talk about what happened just yet. She just wanted to breath in his scent and hold him, and love him, and go upstairs and fuck him. Rosita came running through the front door.

“Spencer's missing! Eugene said he never showed up for his shift! They said he's not at home and they've searched everywhere.” Toni sighed. I guess it's going to have to be now, she thought.

“He got tied up.” She said without raising her head from the crook of Daryl's neck. Daryl took hold of her waist and tried to lift her away to set her down. However, her legs were locked around his waist.

“Let......go!” That was his voice that brooked no argument. She released her vice like grip, and he set down on her bare feet, which he just now noticed.

“What happened to your head?”

“The front or the back?” she asked with her hands now behind her back, looking at the floor. He slowly walked around her. She brought her hands around to the front and folded them across her chest hiding her wrists. He gently ran his hand over the back of her head when he couldn't see with his eyes, anything wrong. He felt the knot. She flinched and moved away from his touch.

“Explain.” He said softly.

“I hit my head on the dryer opening.”

“How?” he was so deadly calm.

“Well he grabbed my ass!” She tried to defend herself. Had she not been so tired, she'd have seen his hands fold into fists. He walked back around to the front of her.

“And this one?” All eyes were on her and no one said a word. This was the Daryl that no one messed with.

“Well.....he pinned me against the pantry door and smashed his lips against mine.........so I …..bit him and then head butted him.

“Where is he?” Deadly calm....too calm.

“Well.... jeez Daryl....I didn't kill him! If that's what your worried about! He was drunk for God's sake! He'd have never done it otherwise...I'd already warned him the first time.”

“The...... first..... time?” He asked, so calmly.

“Daryl, he was drunk......it just pissed me off, I really didn't mean to hurt him so bad.......well....maybe at the time I did....but I already told you that I wouldn't kill any of your people....and....and.....I didn't. I swear!”

“Where......is....he?”

“Can't we just let Rick and Merle take him home? Then they can tell you he'll be just fine. He'll heal, I promise, it just looks bad. I don't want you to be mad at me right now........I'm so tired.” Was she serious? Did she really think he was mad at her? He lifted her chin, and saw the dark circles under her eyes, she looked pale now. He lifted her hands and looked at the dark imprints marring her wrists. She looked ready to cry.

“Shit Toni....I ain't mad at you!”

“You're not?....Thank you Daryl.” She said hugging him.

“Where is he?” He asked again.

“He's not going to be able to walk Daryl......he's been tied up since 5:30. I really think you should let someone else take him home so you don't get upset.” He just looked at her.

“He tried to rape you! And you, think I'm upset at you??” He asked her in disbelief.

“Oh! Daryl, he was drunk! I don't think he was gonna try to rape me....and I know the difference.......”

“Why was he here at 5:30?”

“He came over around 4:30 cause all the lights were on, so he knew I was up and he said he couldn't sleep either. So he brought drinks and started drinking.....when that was all gone he switched to beer, so he had a lot to drink.”

“Why were you up? Why did you let him in? Where were the kids? Where was Eugene?” he fired off the questions.

“I was up because I was all alone and couldn't sleep. I let him in because I'd already warned him, Daryl and most people heed my warnings. The kids stayed over at Jessie's, they had a party, and she assured me that Lisa and Carl would be staying in separate rooms.” She directed to both Daryl and Rick. “I thought Eugene was with you....I haven't seen him, since you left.”

“Where is he?” He asked again.

“You say you're not going to be mad at me, but I did kind of hurt him. I'm sorry.”

“Where!” He demanded. He had enough talk.

“In the kitchen.” she said quietly. Everyone started for the kitchen. Toni started for the front door. Daryl turned and saw her.

“Remember what happened the last time you ran from me?” He thought for a split second she was gonna run again, so he added......

“There will be no pleasure the next time.” And he watched her stop in her tracks and sit down on the bottom step. He actually smiled, when all he wanted to do was kill Spencer.

Everyone was looking down at a hogtied Spencer, face down, lying in a pool of his own blood. The table was set, dinner was on the stove and dessert sat on the counter tops. It was almost comical. Almost. Merle was the first to speak.

“I wonder why she didn't just beat the shit out of me herself?” he murmured.

“Because you're my brother.” Daryl told him as he squatted down to untie Spencer. The man groaned and cried out as the blood started to rush to his now numb limbs. Daryl lifted his head by his hair and looked at his face that he wanted to punch so bad. One eye was swollen shut, both eyes were black, lip was busted or bitten open, nose looked broke. That's my girl....was all he could think. He smiled again.

“Damn! She sure has a way of teaching lessons... doesn't she?” Abe asked with a huge grin on his face.

“Kinda rains on a man's parade though, doesn't it?” he added. Abe and Glenn picked Spencer up. When he couldn't walk, Jesus grabbed his legs and they took him to the infirmary. Rick tagged along to handcuff him to the bed. They'd deal with him tomorrow. Right now, they needed food, showers, and a bed, in that order. Daryl had pushed them to get home.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 38

 

Toni walked into the kitchen, when she heard the men leaving. She was surprised to see Daryl, and Merle still there. She went to the cupboard and pulled out 4 large serving casserole bowls. She filled 2 with the brown rice and 2 with the white chili. She filled a large soup bowl with a serving for Merle. Then carried them to the table, for everyone to help themselves. She then put Merle's down in front of him, taking the empty place setting from the table. Merle quietly thanked her. She leaned down and kissed his cheek telling him how glad she was that he was back. She gave his shoulder a squeeze. She opened the frig and pulled out 2 of the pitchers of tea, and then went back for the milk. She asked if anyone wanted a beer and served those too. Crackers were poured into a basket and set on the table. She touched and kissed everyone at the table at some point of serving them. Telling each and every one how happy she was that they were home. Rick and the guys, came walking in the back door with the kids in tow. Lisa ran to her Mother with tears in her eyes, hugging her.

“I'm so sorry Toni! I should have been here with you. We never should have left you alone!”

“Hey!” Toni hugged her back.

“What's all this about?”

“You're hurt because we weren't here for you!” Lisa cried. The boys were hugging her too.

“Stop it!” Toni said sternly.

“Number 1.....I'm not hurt....number 2.....I don't need you kids to protect me! I handled it badly, but my temper got the best of me. I'm gonna have to try to work on that. We've already had this conversation.”

“No one is ever there for you!” Lisa insisted.

“Listen to me.” She took Lisa's sweet face in her hands and made her look into her eyes.

“I'm here for me, I didn't need you or anyone else, it was just Spencer. He's harmless! He was just drunk and not thinking clearly. Unfortunately, I got mad and I hurt him.” Toni wiped her tears away.

“Come on...sit down and eat.” She kissed each one and sent them to the table. Lisa sat beside Daryl cause she needed a hug from that man. Toni didn't understand how she was feeling, but she knew, without a doubt that Daryl did. He stopped eating and held her.

Lucas crawled up into Merle's lap so he could be held too. Merle was happy to do so and had a lump in his throat, because the kid wanted comfort from HIM! HIM! Landon took a seat between Rick and Abe. He wanted some comfort but he was trying to be a man about the whole situation. He wanted to rip Spencer apart. He pushed his food around. Where he was starved ten minutes ago, now he couldn't eat. Toni zeroed in on him immediately. She walked over to him and sat down on his lap and whispered to him.

“I do need a hug from you. I've been trying to be brave. You always make me feel better.” He wrapped his arms around her and held on for dear life. No one saw his tears because his face was in Toni's neck. She stayed right there until his shoulders stopped shaking, and she felt him relax.

“Thank you Landon..... I feel much better now.” She leaned just a bit away so he could use the neckline of his shirt to dry his eyes without anyone seeing. He nodded his head and hugged her again. Toni got up and leaned in the other direction and kissed Ricks cheek and told him how happy she was that he was back. She asked Abe if he wanted a beer, and he got the same when she brought it to him. Glenn was next, he had a silly grin on his face when Toni kissed his cheek and told him how happy she was that he was back. Jesus sat at the other end of the table wondering why she'd forgotten about him.

“What am I, chopped liver?” He said in a pout. Toni laughed and went to him and straddled his legs facing him. She took his pretty face in her hands.

“I always save the prettiest one for last!” And she kissed him smack on the lips and hugged him tight.

“I'm so happy you're here.” She told him. Rick looked at Daryl who was just smiling and shaking his head.

“I'm not pretty!” Jesus insisted. The whole table, said at the same time in a sing song voice..........

“Yes, you are!” And everyone laughed including Jesus himself. Toni moved to start on the dishes.

“I still can't believe he touched you.” Glenn said, as if, trying to puzzle it out.

“He was just drunk, he wouldn't have done it otherwise. I mean everyone knows I don't like to be touched.” All eyes went to her back as she stood at the sink washing some pans.

“Really?” Maggie said with a smile.

“Yes, you all know that. Right from the start you all knew I didn't like to be touched.”

“Do we have anymore tea?” Maggie asked her. Toni got it from the frig and brought it over to her saying.....

“Hell, everyone here knows that.” She added as Maggie hugged her waist and said thank you.

“Me too please, Rick said. Toni moved next to him and he put his hand on her back as she poured.

“Spencer knows it too, especially after the first time.” Rick hugged her to him for a brief second, and said thank you. Lisa giggled, then covered her mouth.

“Can I trouble you for a beer?” Abe asked and Merle said, me too. Both men touched her with an arm around her waist giving her a squeeze to say thank you.

“The first time?” Merle asked.

“Never mind....I don't want Daryl to get upset. Just trust me......everyone knows not to touch me, she said standing between Michonne and Carol who each gave her a little hug.

“We will be talking about it......later.” Daryl informed her. She walked over to her man and wrapped her arms around his neck from behind. He gently took those arms and kissed her bruised wrists. She moved to Merle and leaned down asking him if he was ready for more. He turned to face her and kissed her cheek.

“Yes please.” He said. She brought him another bowl, then decided she needed to finish cleaning up the blood. She was out of bleach.

“I'll be right back.” She told them.

“Where are you going?” Daryl asked. He didn't want her out of his sight.

“Just to the garage, I need more bleach.” She went out the back door.

“Daryl.....you need to do something about her affliction to being touched. Clearly she hates it.” Abe said. Everyone burst out laughing and couldn't seem to stop. Maggie stood up and mimicked Toni going from person to person, touching, kissing, holding. All the while explaining that she didn't like to be touched. They had tears running down their faces. Toni came back to everyone laughing.

“What's so funny?” Maggie went to her and hugged her.

“We were just talking about how we don't like to be touched either.”

“See.....it's not just me. I try not to do that, you know, invade people’s spaces.”

“So, you don't like to be touched or touch people, right?” Abe asked.

“Right! I try to keep my hands to myself. I respect people’s personal space and I expect them to respect mine.” It was all they could do, to keep from laughing.

She started to clear away the dishes as they finished. Touching them on their hair, on their back, a squeeze here, a hug there. She mopped up the blood and cleaned the bucket and rinsed the mop and put them up. Dishes were next. She loaded the dishwasher and started it. The rest would be done by hand. As soon as Lisa finished, she got up and told Toni she would finish the cleanup.

“You look so tired.” She said quietly to Toni.

“I am.” Toni laid her head on Lisa's shoulder, and wrapped an arm around her waist.

“If you're taking over, I think I'm going to go sit for a minute. Can you put dessert on the table and get plates and forks for me?”

“Sure.....go relax! Scoot! I got this.” She bumped Toni with her hip. Toni smiled and went upstairs. She sat on the edge of the bed and just listened. She couldn't really make out what they were saying, but she laid back and just closed her eyes to listen to their laughter and their voices. She was asleep within a minute.

Lisa finished clearing the table and set out the brownies, plates and forks. She put the carafe of coffee on the table and got the cups, sugar, and powdered cream.

“Toni sure musta been tired.” Lucas announced.

“Whys that?” Merle asked him.

“Cause she forgot to make a vegetable, and we always have to have a vegetable.” The table went quiet.

“Check the microwave, maybe she just forgot to take it out.” Daryl said. Lisa looked. Nothing.

“The circles under eyes tells me she probably didn't sleep at all while we were gone.” Carol predicted.

“Where is she?” Rick asked.

“I told her to go relax, she looked so tired.” Lisa told them.

“I'm beat too, I'm gonna go get a shower and crawl into bed. If anyone needs to use my shower when I'm done, you're welcome to it. I'm so tired I'll sleep right through it.” He got up and headed for the stairs.

“I hope I can find a clean t-shirt to wear tonight. I have a ton of laundry to do tomorrow.” Maggie stated. She and Glenn got up to leave. They were tired too.

When Rick reached the top of the stairs, he paused seeing Toni asleep legs hanging off the bed, like she'd sat down and then just fell back asleep. He smiled, she really must have been tired if she couldn't even make it, all the way up into the bed. He'd grab a quick shower so someone else could use it, then he'd get Daryl to put her to bed proper like. He turned a stepped into his room and stopped. The first thing that hit him was the smell. It smelled like it had just been cleaned. He hadn't smelled that smell since before the world went to shit. His eyes were closed so he could take it all in. When he opened them....that's when he saw all of his clothes folded and on his bed, in neat little piles. He glanced toward his hamper, it was empty and the mountain that was on the floor beside it was gone too. He could see the vacuum lines on the carpet. He walked into his bathroom. It was spotless. No more dirty rings in the toilet, sink, or tub. Fresh towels hung from the bars. His razor, brush, comb, toothbrush, and paste all neat and tidy. He pulled open the shower curtain, no more mildew on the shower curtain, or tiles. He left his room and went to his son's. As he passed all the open doorways, he saw piles of neatly folded clothes on all the beds. Every room had been cleaned. He came back through the hallway and stopped to look at Toni again. She'd never said a word. She cleaned the whole fucking house and did everyone's laundry, then made dinner and dessert. She couldn't have slept.

He went downstairs. Before going into the kitchen, he peeked in the three bedrooms down there. All spotless, with their clothes folded in neat little piles on their bed. He walked into the kitchen.

“Daryl, you need to put your wife to bed. She exhausted. She cleaned this whole fucking house and did all the laundry.... everyone’s. Then made dinner and dessert. And........ beat the shit out of Spencer, and hog tied him. She couldn't have slept at all while we were gone. I haven't smelled that clean smell since the world ended. As everyone got up. Maggie and Glenn came back through the back door.

“Where's Toni?”

“She fell asleep, why?”

“She cleaned our whole house, including the oven and frig, and did all our laundry. It's spotless over there. I just wanted to thank her.”

“She did the same here.” Rick told them.

“I wonder why she didn't say anything?”

“Cause, she wouldn't.” Jesus told them and the kids agreed. “She didn't do it for recognition.......”

“She can't sit idle, and no one was here.” Daryl added. He headed for the stairs. When he reached the bedroom doorway, he stopped and just looked, for a second. He walked over to her and leaned down and kissed her. She didn't respond. She was out. Daryl lifted her legs up to bed. He’d wait until he showered to put her in it. His clothes were filthy and he didn't want to crawl on the clean bed. He sat on the top step waiting to get a turn in the bathroom. Merle came up the steps.

“What are you doing?”

“Waiting to take a shower.”

“Why are you waiting on the steps?”

“Beds are clean, don't wanna mess it up when I'm all dirty.” Rick poked his head out.

“Shower's open Daryl.”

“Thanks.” Daryl said getting up, with his clean underwear, and t-shirt. He disappeared into Rick's bathroom. Merle went into the bedroom to get some clothes out of his bag. Surely, he had some that weren't, too dirty. He stopped and looked at Toni. She looked so small lying there. She did have dark circles under her eyes. He turned to his corner to look for something to wear and stopped.......and just stared. Rick poked his head in the room.

“Merle, when Daryl's done, you can use my shower if you want.” He left.

“Thanks.....hey?” Rick's head returned.

“Do you know where this came from?” He asked waving an arm toward the corner. Rick stepped into the room to look.

“It's a dresser.”

“I know what it is, how did it get here?”

“You'll have to ask Toni, we were all together, remember.” Merle pulled open the top draw. It had his socks and boxers in it, as well as all his condoms. The second held his wife beaters and t-shirts, the third was his over shirts and flannel shirts, the fourth held his pants, the fifth had his warmer clothes, and the sixth had his jackets. On the top was his whiskey, with glasses and a couple shots. A razor and shave cream, toothbrush and paste, comb, and brush, nail clippers, deodorant. He looked over at the bed again. He now believed with all his heart, that if she had been his social worker, she would have walked out with two little boys, one being him and the other being Daryl. He had another lump in his throat. He opened the whiskey bottle and poured a shot and offered it to Rick. The man surprised him by accepting it. He poured another for himself. Daryl walked in the room.

“Shot, before bed brother?” Daryl nodded. Merle poured a finger in one the glasses and handed it to him.

“Where'd that come from?” Daryl asked, motioning to the dresser.

“I think a little fairy brought it.” Merle said looking at the bed again. He grabbed a wife beater and his boxers and went to take his shower in Rick's bathroom. Who'd a thought that he'd ever step foot in officer friendly's bedroom, hell, he just shared a drink with the man! He shook his head as he turned the shower on.

“How do you suppose she got this up here?” Rick asked Daryl.

“Man, I've seen her hanging by her fingers, with all three kids hanging onto her. There isn't anything that she can't fuckin do!”

“I still can't believe she got Merle in here.” Rick said. Daryl smiled.

“Maybe she's a witch.” Daryl laughed out loud.

“Could be.....your brother has done a 360 for sure.”

“You called her my wife.” Daryl said quietly.

“That's exactly what she is Daryl, and you have 3 kids, well....4 if you count Merle.” He slapped him on the back.

“Do you think Father Gabriel could like says the words or something to make it real?”

“I think you need to ask her first.” Rick smiled pointing to Toni.

“No! I can't! What if she says no?” Rick laughed at the real fear he saw on his face. Daryl Dixon, the man who wasn't afraid of anything, was afraid of a little pint, sized lady.

“I suppose you could hog tie her, and force her.”

“Do you think Father Gabriel would be okay with that?” Daryl asked so seriously, that Rick erupted with laughter.

Six showers were taken before the water ran cold, round 2 would have to wait a bit. Daryl was tired, but he wasn't going to bed until all of his family were in bed with him. He knew that's what Toni would do. He slipped a pair of jeans on and went downstairs. Maggie and Glenn had left, but told them their shower could be used by anyone who wanted to come over. Carol, Michonne, and Sasha headed to their house to take them up on their offer, otherwise it would be hours before they got theirs. Daryl sat at the kitchen table and had a brownie. He loved chocolate, and they were good too. Rick surprised him by coming down and sitting with him.

“Thought you were going to bed?” Daryl asked.

“Shower woke me up, and I didn't get dessert yet.” He cut himself a big piece.

“Well we're gonna go get a shower.” Lisa told them.

“Hot water is used up, you'll have to wait a bit. Lisa just looked at him and laughed.

“Really Daryl? You forget that for the last two and a half years every bath was cold.” She was shaking her head as she left the kitchen. She sent Landon and Lucas to shower together in the downstairs bathroom.

Jesus joined Rick and Daryl at the table.

“She did all my clothes too.” He said in wonder. “She mended them all as well.”

“Did you think she would forget you?” Daryl asked him.

“Well, I don't live here, sooooo........”

“I wouldn't be surprised if the next time you came for a visit, that there isn't a bed for you in their room.” Rick told him. Daryl laughed, but agreed.

“Guess I should keep an eye out for bunk beds, it's getting a little crowded in there.” Daryl announced.

“She does like to keep everyone close.” Rick stated.

“As long as there's no touching.” Jesus reminded them. They all laughed.

Lisa padded into the kitchen on bare feet, brush in hand. She laid it in front of Daryl and sat down. Without a word, he got to his feet and brushed her hair out. The men talked about the upcoming run that had been put off. When Landon and Lucas came in Daryl moved to comb them out. A freshly showered Carl came strolling in next.

“I don't like cold showers.” He said to no one in particular. Rick raised a brow.

“Better get used to them.” Daryl said with a grin. Rick and Jesus laughed, looking at Lisa in her short shorts and t-shirt that Carl's eyes seemed to be glued to. Daryl handed Lisa the brush. She got up and stood behind Carl to brush his hair out. Carl closed his eyes and just enjoyed the experience.

That night as everyone crawled into their beds, the soothing, calming scent of lavender filled their nostrils. They never slept better.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 39

 

At 3:34 am Toni woke up, with her man wrapped around her. She felt warm, safe and horny as hell.

“Dixon.” She whispered. Nothing, but his deep breathing. She turned to face him, which wasn't easy with him wrapped around her. His scent wasn't helping her current condition.

“Dixon?” She whispered again kissing his chest and taking a small taste of his neck. Nothing. She slid her hand down between their bodies, and into his boxer briefs. He was already hard. She went further down to give his balls a gentle squeeze. He moaned in his sleep. She raised up on her elbow to whisper in his ear.

“Dixon.......wanna fuck?” She took his earlobe between her teeth, then sucked on it.

“I want your tongue on my body........to lick your way slowly......ever so slowly........making me beg........” She found herself flipped on her back, with a hand over her mouth to stifle her startled shriek.

“So.......you wanna fuck huh?” He whispered in her ear, biting down on her neck. He slipped his hand down her boxers.

“Ohhhhhh.......I can feel that you do.” She moaned into the hand covering her mouth, and arched into the hand sliding through her drenched nether lips. He knew they couldn't do this here, in bed, with the kids and his brother not 6 feet away. He pulled his hand out of her shorts, and put those two exploring fingers into his mouth. Toni gave a whimper at the loss. He removed the hand over her mouth.

“Good, you're up, wanna go to the cottage real, quick before everyone gets up?” She whispered hopefully. He smiled down at her beautiful face. How the hell did he get so lucky? He got up and reached a hand out to her. She took it and was standing on the bed. He grabbed her and folded her legs around his waist, and headed for the steps.

“Wait!” She said a little too loudly.

“Shhhhhhhhhh!” He reminded her. She giggled.

“Don't forget your pants.” He backtracked into the bedroom and she pulled them from the top of the dresser. They started out again with her nibbling on his collarbone.

“God, you taste so good. I missed you so much when you were gone. Sorry I fell asleep last night.”

“Nothing to be sorry for, you were tired.”

“I couldn't sleep with you gone, all of you were gone, I was alone.”

“That won't happen again.” He assured her.

Rick laid in his bed smiling. The bedside clock said 3:58. he'd give them a few minutes to leave for the cottage, then he'd get up and start the coffee. The thing about going to bed so early, is that you wake up in the middle of the night. Damn, but they were all so tired last night. He could still hear Toni giggling downstairs. What the hell were they doing down there? Daryl was smarter than that. After a couple more minutes, he heard the front door close. He got up and put his pants on and made his way down to the kitchen to start the coffee. He could smell it, before he saw it. He shook his head as he walked into the kitchen, to see the coffee already brewing. He just turned on, the over the stove light, so as not to wake Jesus, who was sleeping on the couch. As he reached for a cup, the overhead light turned on. He turned to see Jesus coming in.

“Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you.”

“You didn't, it was Daryl and Toni playing grab ass in the kitchen.” He said smiling. Rick laughed.

“I was wondering what was taking them so long to leave.......so like her to start the coffee before they left.” Rick poured two cups, then poured the rest into the thermal carafe, like he'd seen Toni do so many times, and started another pot. He handed one to Jesus, then fetched the cream and sugar and put it on the table.

“So.....are you still in love with her?” Rick's startled eyes looked at him. He didn't ask who, Jesus was like Daryl, he could read people.

“How did I know?” Jesus asked. Rick just stared at him. He wasn't about to admit it to anyone.

“You look at her the same way Daryl does. Like you're devouring her with your eyes.” Rick looked into his coffee cup.

“It was the song, wasn't it? When she sang to Daryl. The night of the party. That's when you realized you didn't stand a chance.” Jesus stated.

“Can't say I blame you.....she's beautiful, kind to a fault, tough as nails, and loves unconditionally. Just don't confuse her love for you.....because, yes.....she does love you, don't confuse it with being In love with you. Which she is NOT.” Rick got up to get the carafe of coffee and brought it to the table. Merle came sauntering in.

“Mornin.” Merle said to the two men, and got himself a cup.

“Did Toni and my brother wake you guys up too?” The three men shared a smile.

“Yeah, but I was ready to get up. I can't remember the last time I got almost 8 hours of sleep.” Rick said. The other two men agreed.

 

In the cottage.........

Daryl lifted his face from between Toni's thighs to watch her orgasm. He loved watching her. Her hands fisted in the sheets. Her head thrown back. Her breath caught in her throat. Before she finished her ride, he flipped her over on her stomach and raised her hips, and entered her from behind.

“Oh...oh....God!” Toni cried out. He felt deeper than he'd ever been before. Her inner walls were clenching him. She felt so tight. He hit the wave that sent him over the edge, and rode it out, taking her with him again. He laid his head against her back, heaving, while her muscles milked him dry.
She was insatiable today. From the time they walked in the cottage, She'd, had her clothes off within 30 seconds and attacked him. She couldn't seem to get enough of him. She wanted it fast and hard, and would accept nothing less. This was a side of her that he hadn't yet seen. Not that he was complaining.

“Again.” She demanded before they'd even caught their breath. He slipped his hand between her legs to begin again, while trying to catch his breath.

 

Maggie and Glenn came through the back door as Carol and Michonne came in the kitchen. Everyone got coffee, and Carol started another pot.

“Where's Toni? She's usually the first one up.” Maggie asked.

“Cottage.” Rick answered. Merle got up to go have a smoke outside, Jesus tagged along. He wasn't sure if Merle was gonna go to the cottage.

“Daryl's a beast!” Glenn said with a huge grin on his face. The men laughed. The women rolled their eyes and Maggie elbowed him.

“Rick, don't you think it's time you gave them their own house?” Carol asked. Rick knew he should, but he didn't want to. He liked having all of his family together. He wanted to scream no, even though he knew, she was right. There were 6 people in the small room across from him. They needed their own house so the kids could have their own rooms, so Merle could have his own room, so probably, Jesus, would have his own room. Hell, he'd probably never see Carl again if they had their own house. He hated this idea. He hated it when Glenn and Maggie had moved out, but that was when Deanna was alive and in charge. If it were up to him, they would be back living here as well. He liked all the noise, he liked it crowded, he like them eating together, he liked all of them sitting in the kitchen like they were right now. Abe walked into the kitchen, followed by Sasha. Lisa and the boys came in next. This is what he wanted........right here.....all of them, together.

“Where's Toni?” Lisa asked grabbing a cup of coffee.

“They're at the cottage, since when did you start drinking coffee?” Rick asked her.

“Oh, so they're having mommy and daddy alone time.” Landon said.

“I drink cof.........” She stopped speaking cause Carl came walking in and she got distracted. No.....Rick didn't want them to have their own place.....he wanted them to stay right here. Damn, he was feeling a little overwhelmed, like the time Toni did, when she had just stopped and watched all of them. He got it now, knew exactly how she felt in that moment when her tears fell. Carol could see that Rick didn't want them to leave. That's why she and the others were still there, they all wanted to stay together. Maybe someday, but not now. However, Daryl, now had a family, 7 of them if you count Merle and Jesus. They needed a house of their own. She knew she'd have to give him a nudge.

 

The back door opened and Toni and Daryl came inside to a packed kitchen. They hugged and kissed the kids. Daryl didn't have a shirt or shoes on, and had to take a lot of ribbing for it. Making him blush, which was just, so darn cute. Toni's tank top was on inside out. However, she didn't embarrass easy and just said that she had to dress in a hurry to get back before they all got up, which apparently, didn't work and she could have taken her time. The one thing about a full house was there was never a dull moment, especially since Toni and the kids had gotten there.

“Rick has something to tell you.” Carol said. Rick felt sick to his stomach. He didn't want them leave. He swallowed.

“Yes.....well......” He looked at her smiling face as she leaned back against Daryl, who was leaning against the sink with his hands on her belly.

“There's a 5, bedroom house on Peach Tree St. that would be perfect for you guys.” Daryl felt Toni stiffen in his arms.

“Oh....... okay.....”

“You want us to move out?” Landon asked, what Toni was thinking.

“Kids go pack your things, I'll be back shortly and we'll leave.” She ran out the back door.

“What the fuck!” Daryl yelled. Rick could see the hurt in his eyes.

“No!. …....” Rick started but was interrupted by Merle.

“Man, if it's cause of me....I'll leave! Don't take it out on them! I'll be out in five minutes.” He got up preparing to leave. Rick slammed his fist down on the table. Everyone jumped.

“I don't want anyone to leave! I want everyone to stay here! Sit the fuck down Merle! Daryl! Sit!” that man looked ready to defy him.

“I swear to God Daryl.....sit the fuck down! Or I'll sit your ass down for you!” He still looked ready to fight. Carol finally spoke, regaining her senses after seeing how badly, she'd made a muck of things.

“This is my fault! I'm sorry.” All eyes went to her.

“I told Rick he needed to give you guys a house. You have 6 people crammed into that small room. You have to sneak away to that damn cottage just to be alone with one another. I thought you needed a house so you all could have your own rooms. So, you could have some privacy.”

“Toni would never allow that.” Lisa told her. “She has to have us all close, and we like it that way too.”

“Well, that's perfectly clear now! Rick wanted you all to stay here, he feels the same way, which is why we all live together. I just thought, that now that you have a family Daryl, that you would want your own house. I'm sorry.” Daryl put a hand on Carol shoulder and gave it a squeeze. He looked at Rick.

“What do you want, Rick?”

“Since the moment that she accused me of not giving you a room in my house........I liked her. I don't want any of you to leave. Daryl....we just talked about getting the bunk beds last night for Merle and Jesus.”
“I get bottom!” Merle called, which made everyone laugh.

“I need to go find her.” Daryl said getting up.

“No, Daryl, let me. She needs to hear it from me.” Rick said. As he passed Maggie and Glenn, he stopped and said...

“I wish Deanna hadn't talked you guys out of living here. I didn't want you guys to go either. He walked out of the back door in search of Toni.

“Yeah.......we miss being here a lot.....that's why we're always here.” Maggie said quietly.

“Carl could move in with us, and you could have his room.” Lisa said, and Carl nodded his head in agreement.

“You'll have to talk to your Mother about that.” Daryl said, but thought that she'd probably agree just to get Maggie and Glenn back in the house. He smiled, even though he didn't feel like it, cause it was true.

Rick found her on Peach Tree Street. She was standing in front of the house looking at it, wiping tears off her face, with angry motions.

Toni couldn't believe that they wanted her and the kids to move out of the house. She thought they all liked them. What was she crying for? Why couldn't she get these damn tears to stop? The more she wiped them away, the more they came.

“Toni?” She nearly jumped out of her skin. Jesus! Now she wasn't even aware of her surroundings. Get a grip girl! She said to herself. She turned to Rick. Her instinct was to run and get away from him. She didn't want to see him right now. Her wounds were too fresh. He must have read her face because he grabbed her by the waist and lifted her off the ground.

“No! No running! You need to listen to me.” She didn't bother to struggle. The decision had been made. She just wanted to get it over with, so he would leave her alone. She stayed mute, and closed her eyes. She refused to cry in front of him. She was stronger than that.

“Look at me.” She kept her eyes closed.

“Toni, please look at me so you'll know that I am telling you the truth.” Nothing.

“I don't want you to leave!” He said with anger. He shook her. She opened her eyes.

“I don't want you to leave.” He said softly now.

“It was brought to my attention that I needed to give you guys a house, because you all were crammed into that tiny room. That you and Daryl had to go to the cottage just to be alone once in a while. It made me feel that I was basically, being selfish for making you all stay in the house with me. Why do you think the house is so full, when there are plenty of empty ones here for the taking? I want my family to be together. Having Maggie and Glenn move out was really hard on me. That decision was made by the previous leader of this community. I don't want you to move out. I want you close to me, I want you all in my house.” She looked into his eyes and saw he was telling her the truth.

“We don't want a house, we want to stay in your house with all of you. We don't mind staying in our little room, we're together and close, just the way we like it. Daryl and I don't mind sneaking off to the cottage. We like that too.” She smiled at him.

“I'm so happy you don't want us to leave.” She hugged him.

“Hell, because of you I finally got Daryl to move in.” Rick told her, returning her hug.

“And......you performed a miracle with Merle and Daryl. I can actually tolerate the man now.” He laughed.

When Rick walked through the back door, with a smiling Toni, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Another crisis averted. It was almost day break the sun was coming up. Carol had whipped up some Jiffy mixes. Banana nut, blueberry, and cinnamon muffins were coming hot out of the oven. Toni went to Daryl and let him know that they were staying. As everyone was sitting, once again, around the table, enjoying oven warm muffins and coffee, Rick looked at each and every one of them, and thought of a solution, to give Daryl's family a little extra room.

“Daryl, when we get back tonight, we're going to switch rooms.” When Daryl opened his mouth to protest, Rick giving up his room, Rick held up a hand to stop him.

“I am only one man, I have the master bedroom. It's twice as big as your room, and it has a bathroom. We could easily fit two sets of bunk beds in there and a day bed. The bunk beds for Merle, Jesus, and the boys and the day bed for Lisa. Then you and Toni will have the bed to yourselves and everyone will still be close. I've already made the decision.” He smiled at them.

“And......” Lisa started, waiting to gain Toni's attention.

“We could move Merle's mattress in and Carl could stay with us, so that Maggie and Glenn could move back in, and take Carl's room.” Toni eyes zeroed in on Maggie and Glenn.

“You guys would move back?” She asked them. Maggie smiled.

“We never wanted to leave in the first place, Deanna talked us into it. Why do you think we're always over here?”

“Carl can move into our room.” Toni said without hesitation. After all Carl knew better than to start any hanky panky with Lisa now. All eyes moved to Rick. That man ran a hand down his face, then rolled his eyes. Damn, that woman would move all of us in there if she could.

“Carl can move into my room, with me. I only use it for sleeping so he could still hang out in it during the day to listen to music or play video games with his friends.” Lisa and Carl's faces fell. That made everyone laugh. Plans were made for today's runs. Rick, Toni, Merle, and Jesus would go to a furniture store about 2 hours out, to looks for the beds and everyone else would be going back to the strip mall. They'd start moving things around tonight if everyone felt up it. Rick was on cloud nine. His whole family, and his new additions, would all be under the same roof. His. With the day planned out, everyone returned to their rooms to get ready for their outings. Toni made sure that the kids packs had every 'in case' item that she felt they needed. She made one up for Merle and Rick and doublechecked Daryl's. As an afterthought, she made one for Carl too. Satisfied with her work, she made her way downstairs. Maggie and Glenn were already back from their house. They were so excited at the prospect of moving back in, that they couldn't wait for tonight to get here.

There were 16 vehicles lined up, ready to roll out. Rick, Toni, Merle and Jesus were taking the Ford F150, for a 1995 model it was in great shape and ran well. It also had a full, size bed, which they would need if they were lucky enough to find bunk beds that met with their approval, and a day bed for Lisa. It had a bench seat that comfortably sat the 3 men. However, Toni would have to sit on someone's lap, which wasn't a problem really, since they said she was no bigger than a minute. Their words not hers. She figured since Rick was driving and gave her a vehement no, when she asked if she could drive, she'd be alternating between Merle and Jesus's laps for the duration of the trip.

As the convoy drove through the gates, 15 vehicles turned toward the east, while just the 1 went west. Toni was so excited about the changes being made that she chattered a mile a minute, causing the men to shake their heads and just smile. Jesus opened the glove box and found a couple old CD's, one being Hotel California by the Eagles. He slipped it into the player, and they all began to sing. Everyone trying to outdo one another. They were laughing and singing, they never saw the tow truck barreling toward them, when they were T-boned hard, causing the truck to flip over and over, landing upside down in a wooded area slammed up against a tree. Rick tried to open his eyes. Both Jesus and Merle were unconscious and bloodied. He turned his head, it hurt like hell. He couldn't see Toni. Where was Toni? Right before he lost consciousness, he saw the booted feet of about a dozen men, surrounding the truck. Everything went black.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 40

 

Jared looked down at the 3 unconscious men, bound at the ankles and wrists, lying on the ground in front of him.

“Where's the kid?” he asked.

“They were the only 3 in the cab.”

“Well spread out and find him, he was probably thrown during the crash.” The men fanned out looking.

“Over here.” Someone yelled out. Jared walked over to the ditch, to take a look. Surprise clearly showing in his eyes. The kid wasn't a kid at all, but a woman. His hungry eyes feasted on her unconscious form. He wished he was alone. He'd take her right here, right now, awake or not, made no difference to him. Damn, just his luck to come across this little morsel, and have all these fuckers with him. Negan, had rules, you don't rape women. Like he gave a shit about that assholes rules. If he was alone....no rules apply, but with his luck one of these fuckers would spill it to the wrong person, and Negan would find out. He hated the man, but he'd been witness to the punishments that followed the breaking of the rules. He wanted no part of that. He may hate him.... but, he certainly didn't want to tangle with him. Her ankles were tied as were her wrists behind her back. She was unceremoniously dumped into the back of the U-haul truck with the others. All four bodies lay motionless, divested of all weapons.

The party consisted of two pickups, a tow truck, the U-haul, and two motorcycles. As they made their way to their assigned outpost, Jared's devious mind, was planning his entertainment for tonight. They'd found a good deal of street drugs today in an area, that in the previous world would have been called project housing, for the lowest of life, which is why he insisted on stopping and scavenging the place. Between those, and the drugs they'd found at the pharmacy, his mind was putting together quite the show. He mentally rubbed his hands together. He hated being stuck way out here. He'd planned on getting high as shit tonight, watching porn and drinking. Why watch it on TV when you could have the real thing play out before your eyes? He smiled to himself. It was going to be a good night indeed. The first night that he was actually looking forward to, since being sent out here, to this God forsaken place, 3 months ago.

 

Daryl slammed the locked against the metal frame of the Piggly Wiggly door. He'd forgotten to get the keys from Toni, and Rick had the spare set.

“I need the bolt cutters.” He yelled in frustration. Lisa appeared beside him smiling, dangling the keys in front of him. He snatched the keys.

“Thanks.” He said, still in a pique. Lisa laughed. She knew he hated being separated from Toni.

“Toni said that's it was good thing you had her now, you'd be out here with no keys, throwing a fit, like a two year old. Guess she was right.” She giggled at his dark look.

“We sure do love you, Daryl.” His sour mood melted away, at her words. He bumped her shoulder with his and smiled, a true smile.

The vehicles were already lined up and waiting. They would do it the same as last time, fill two at a time and send them home to be unloaded, while the next two were being loaded.

 

Rick's head hurt like hell. He tried opening his eyes. He couldn't move his arms or legs. He could see Merle and Jesus the men were in the same condition as himself. Toni! Where was Toni? He rolled on to his other side. There she was. He scooted himself toward her, hitting both Jesus and Merle who groaned.

“Are you alright?” He asked quietly.

“What the hell happened?” Jesus asked.

“Truck came out of the woods.” Rick answered.

“Where's Toni?” Merle asked.

“Over here.”

“Is she alright?” Jesus asked.

“I don't know.” Rick got as close as he could, and used his nose and lips to try to move the hair off of her face. Her stocking cap was gone and her hair concealed her.

“Toni? Toni?” He put his cheek to her lips and felt her breath. Thank God. He began to nudge her with his face. Softly calling her name, over and over. He rubbed noses with her, then felt her lips on his.....

Toni was waking up the best way possible. Daryl was giving her Eskimo kisses. She leaned in to capture his lips, and granted him a small moan, so as not to wake Merle and the kids.

“Let me go Dixon and let's go fuck.” She whispered him.

“Toni! Wake up!” Jesus said more loudly than he should have. He'd heard what she said. It would have been funny if not for the dire situation they were in.

“Jesus? What are doing in here?” She asked in confusion. She opened her eyes and looked into Ricks.

“Rick? Why are you in bed with me?” She asked while leaning away from him. She could feel she was in a moving vehicle.

“Where are we? What's happened?” She was awake but realized she couldn't move. She was tied up. What the hell?

“Toni?” Rick tried to gain her attention.

“We were hit by a truck. I don't know who these men are or where they are taking us.”

She was wide awake now. She moved to the wall of the truck sat up then shocked the guys as she proceeded to slide her butt through her tied hands, pulling her legs through and now her tied hands were in front of her. She used her teeth to loosen the ropes. Then untied her feet. She had them all untied within minutes.

“How many?” She asked Rick.

“Not sure, saw about a dozen I think before I blacked out.” They were all up now trying to see if there was a way to escape. The roll down door was latched from the outside. Of course, there weren't any windows. She stood on Ricks shoulders looking for any weakness in the ceiling, while Jesus and Merle checked the floor. They were royally screwed, there was no way out. Looked like they were going to have to fight as soon as that door was opened. They sat down to come up with the best plan.

 

It had been over 6 hours and still no word from Toni, Rick, Jesus, or Merle. Daryl had been hoping that they would meet him out here when they got back. Six hours wasn't really a reason to start worrying, after all it was a two hour, drive one way. Toni did like to shop when they went out. He smiled to himself at that thought. Hell, she probably found a library to go to. That made him actually laugh out loud. Nah........no need to worry yet, he knew his girl, and the guys were probably rolling their eyes at her right now, as he thought about it.

“What are you smiling about?” Carol asked him.

“Toni out shopping and finding a library and making them stop.” He grinned at her. She returned his grin.

“I'm so happy for you pookie.” She told him and meant it. “And I'm really sorry about this morning.”

“Don't worry about it. It's all good.”

“You know ..... I never thought I'd see you happy, I mean really happy like you are now.”

“I never thought I would be either.”

“Now ..... the kids ..... I knew you'd be awesome with kids.”

“I like kids.... they're honest and speak their mind.”

Jared and his group pulled up to the post. They unloaded the haul they'd scavenged today. They'd have had more but their human cargo prevented them from further searching. The U-haul was left locked and parked until Jared could set things up the way he wanted them. He had tools to gather, drugs to be readied, cameras that needed film. Oh, and cages for his porn stars. After all, he wouldn't want any to escape while he was ..... well you know ..... enjoying himself. He needed to get his beer on ice, and the shock collars would be perfect for his needs. He passed a cattle prod and licked his lips. Perfect for any unruly participants, in his games for tonight.

He got the men to work to set up his stage. He had them bring in the recliners, and chairs and put partitions between them for privacy. He had them set up video cameras at different angles for later viewings. They brought in exam tables to put in the cage. He had chains connected to the high girders in the warehouse roof. He looked around for anything else he might need. He made sure the generators were full of gas and full gas cans were on standby. He prepared he drug cart. It was on wheels for his convenience, to be rolled. He had viagra, ecstasy, liquor, pot, meth, cocaine, muscle relaxers, valium, and needles. He had hoses connected and brought in the warehouse to keep his porn stars clean. He wanted his videos to be perfect. He wasn't sure exactly how long he'd keep them. Negan had just made a visit so he should be free of him for a while. Stupid fuck! As an afterthought he had another cage brought in for sleeping quarters and put some blankets in it, after all he didn't want his stars to get sick from the cold.

The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to keep them there for a while. He smiled to himself. Life just got better for him here out in the middle of nowhere. Or at least more entertaining. First order of business will be to rid them of their clothes. No need for them here. What he really wanted first, is a blow job from that sweet little morsel with the forever hair. It wouldn't be rape if she willingly did it, right? And he had the drugs to make that happen. He grabbed himself in anticipation, and groaned. Last order of business, before the show started was dinner. He'd make it a light dinner since he had drinking to do. A quick spam sandwich, and a stale bag of chips was his choice, with a cold beer to wash it down and get started.

 

It was almost dark and Daryl was getting ready to head home. He locked up the Piggly Wiggly, because after 8 hours it still wasn't finished. What a great find. One more day and they would have it done. He still hadn't heard anything from Toni, Rick, Jesus or Merle. Now he was starting to get worried. He was quiet on the ride home, hoping they would be there waiting for them. They weren't, and now it was full dark.

“They may have just had to hold up for the night somewhere. You know how it is out there, Daryl. We'll wait til tomorrow, before we worry. She has three of the strongest men with her, and you know how strong she is.” Maggie tried to alleviate his fears.

He only nodded. He couldn't speak, because he couldn't stop worrying. It didn't help when the kids came to him with their worries either. He said all the right things to calm them, but Lisa was on to him. She saw his worry and fear and it scared her.

 

“Why haven't they come for us? They should have come for us by now, right?” Toni paced as she asked.

“Maybe they are on a run and are scavenging.” Jesus said.

“Or maybe they have stopped for the night, I don't know how long we were out for.” Rick added.

“Fuck this! We need to get out of here!” Merle demanded.

“Merle, calm down.” Rick hissed at him.

“He's right! We need to get out of here! Daryl and the kids must be worried sick by now!”

She went to try to figure out the roll door latch. She sighed in frustration. She found a small piece of twine on the floor. She reached back and pulled all her hair over her shoulder and started to braid it. She needed to be able to fight and didn't need the distraction of her hair getting into her face. Once finished, she used the twine to tie it off.

“Shhhhhh....I hear voices coming, get ready.” Rick and Toni stood against one side, while Jesus and Merle took the other.

“I think the fucker is losing it. We should have taken them straight to Negan.”

“It was the girl. Did you see his face when he saw that the kid was actually a woman?”

“Do you think he's gonna rape her?”

“I wouldn't put it past him, he got a fucking screw loose. If he does, and Negan finds out........” The voices trailed off as they passed the truck.

Everyone looked at Toni, who was wide eyed.

“Oh God....not again. I don't think I can go through that again.” She dropped to her knees, her legs were shaking too bad to hold her up. She shook her head back and forth.

“No no no no no..... I can't.... I can't.”

“They'll have to go through us to get to you Toni.”

“We're outnumbered. We have no weapons........I can't........” Jesus knelt down in front of her and took her face into his hands.

“You can! You're strong! You're the strongest person I've ever met.” He didn't want to make any promises he couldn't keep. So, he decided to be as honest as he could.

“If the worst happens.........” She started shaking her head no.

“If ..... the worst happens....you can leave your body.........” The tears rained down her face.

“You can! You know how! You were top of the class! You probably had been doing it your whole life! You were out of your body long before any of us could do it!”

“But I couldn't do it the last time.......”

“That's because you had the children with you. You couldn't leave them. They're home safe now with Daryl. You can do it if you need to.”

“I can't leave you!”

“You can and you will...... IF....it comes to that! You go to a different place! Go to the cottage with Daryl! You go! Pick a place and go! Promise me!.........Promise me!” He shook her.

“I....I.....I promise.”

 

Daryl had an uneasy feeling that he just couldn't shake. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. He tried to put on a happy face for the kids, but felt he was failing miserably, if Carol's looks were any indication. Sitting on his ass, not doing anything, was the worst part. The waiting was killing him. Dammit! He should have gone with her today!

 

Rick heard voices coming. He signaled to the others. Toni's head whipped up to look at him. Her demeanor changed right before their eyes. Jesus let a smile slip, in his relief. There she was, a warrior, ready to fight. Gone was look of terror that had just been on her face. Pure hatred and determination radiated from her now. She was ready to fight or die trying. She reached for her blades out of instinct and came up empty. They heard the key enter the lock. Heard the hook latch being turned. They had their rope ready. As soon as the door raised Rick was on the guy standing on the bumper. They went crashing to the ground. A shot went off. Merle, Jesus and Toni, jumped out of the truck and went on the attack.

 

Jared was taking a sip of his ice, cold beer, when he heard a shot.

“Get out there!” He shouted. That shot could only mean one thing. His prisoners were trying to escape. He took off at a run.

“Do not shoot them!” He yelled. “Get them! But do not kill them!” Now he was pissed. They were not going to ruin his night! Oh! He'd teach them a lesson they'd never forget! They were going to wish that they were never born, by the time he was done with them.

 

Rick felt the barrel of a gun against the back of his head. He raised his hands. He heard Merle.

“Son of a bitch!” He looked to his right to see Jesus on the ground with a gun pointed in his back. He turned around keeping his hands up to look for Toni. She was fighting 3 of them and winning. It was clear to see that she was a 5th degree black belt. This fighting was so different from the sparring she was doing with Jesus. She was fighting for her life. He screamed, when he heard the shot, and watched her fall to the ground.

“What the fuck! I said not to kill them!” Jared was livid. He was ready to kill. He turned to see who fired off the shot.

“She's not dead! I just grazed her.”

Toni heard the shot, then found herself on the ground. She put a hand to her head, it came back bloody. Funny how she felt no pain. Her adrenaline was running on overload. She was already on her hands and knees, ready to get up and continue the fight, when everything went black.

Jared made his way toward the girl before he killed the stupid fuck for shooting her. If she was dead.......he was dead. He watched in disbelief as she started to get back up. He raised the butt of his rifle and hit her in the back of the head. She dropped like a hot potato.

“Get them inside!” he ordered.

 

Rick, Jesus and Merle were in an 8X8 dog pen, with chain link also covering the top. They had been stripped of all their clothes and now had dog shock collars around their necks. Toni was sitting in a chair about 6 feet away from them, tied and unconscious. They were terrified for her. There was no way they could help her right now. The guy they called Jared, came into the warehouse and went over to Toni.

“You touch her and I'm gonna kill you.” Rick threatened.

Jared pushed a button on a remote that he was carrying, causing electric shocks to go through Ricks body. He cried out in pain and was brought down to his knees. Jared looked over at them.

“Anyone else have anything to say?” He laughed. “I didn't think so.”

He put the remote in his shirt pocket and pulled a pair of scissors out of his back pocket. He began to cut Toni's clothes off of her. They looked on in horror, fearing what was about to happen in front of them, and prayed that she could take herself to another place. When her clothes were gone and thrown to the side in pieces, he knelt down in front of her and removed her shoes and socks. Then he sat back on his heels and looked at her. He put his hands on her breasts and squeezed them. Then moved to her knees and spread her legs to look at her. Jesus, Rick and Merle, couldn't keep silent when his hand went between her legs and he inserted a finger inside. They shouted their promises of his death. Jared stopped and reached for his remote and all 3 men were on the floor with electric currents running through their bodies.

“Get me a bucket of water.” He shouted to someone they couldn't see.

When the guy brought it out, Jared told him that he would call them when it was show time. The man left after taking a moment, to look his fill, at Toni's naked form. Jared pulled her head back by grabbing a handful of her hair, and poured some of the cold water on her. It had her bolt awake and struggling to free herself from her restraints. He slapped her across the face, drawing blood from her lips. Toni realized she was naked. Her ankles were bound to the chair rung, hands were tied once again behind her back. Looking left she saw her family naked and cried out for them. She felt electricity shoot through her body, and cried out in pain. Saliva was dripping down her chin, as her head hung forward toward her chest. When she regained her faculties, she lifted her hate filled eyes to stare at him.

“Well look at you being all defiant.” He laughed at her.

“I'm going to kill you.” She said it so calmly.

“Really? You think so? You don't appear to be in a position to make that happen.”

“I know so, count on it.” He just laughed at her threat.

“Well seeing how that isn't going to happen any time soon......ever. I was thinking we'd have a little private party before the show starts tonight.” She just stared at him.

He unbuckled his belt, then unbuttoned is pants. Her heart rate accelerated with fear. His zipper came down next. Rick, Jesus and Merle were beside themselves, trying to find a way to get the shock collars off. Toni was showing no fear, and Rick wondered if she went to the other place that Jesus had talked to her about. He hoped so, because he was having a really hard time with this, he couldn't imagine what she must be going through. She never broke eye contact with him. He reached inside his boxers and pulled out his cock. It was already hard.

“See, I haven't had a good blow job in a long time..........”

“That's quite brave of you, I didn't think a man who had to tie up a woman had any brave in him.”

“What do you mean brave?” He took a step forward.

“Oh nothing......go ahead ..... put it in my mouth.....I dare you.” She proceeded to open her mouth.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 41

 

He stopped. Eyes wide. She wouldn't, would she? That would mean certain death, surely, she knew that. He looked into her eyes. She was daring him, she chomped her teeth together, and opened her mouth wide. Was she laughing at him? He backhanded her across the face, hard. Her eyes came right back to him and she opened her mouth again. She actually laughed! Stupid bitch!! He pushed the button on the remote and held it for a couple seconds. She convulsed in the chair and wet herself. Drool ran down her chin. Those fucking friends of hers were going ape shit! He pushed all the buttons. This was not going according to plan. He put himself back in his pants and zipped and buttoned up. He couldn't take the chance on himself.

He smiled. But he could on one of them. He looked over at the naked men. Who to pick.......who to pick....... the loud mouth.....he seemed like the leader of their little band. She brought his attention back to her.

“I know a man.” She laughed a humorless laugh. “A real warrior.......who is going to fuck....... you...... up!” She was pissing him off. Who the fuck did she think she was? She should be begging him! Pleading with him! Doing anything he wanted! Who the fuck did she think she was? Who the fuck was she? She didn't seem to be afraid of him at all. He simply could not wrap his mind around the thought, that she wasn't paralyzed with fear.

 

Toni was almost paralyzed with fear. She couldn't allow him to see it. Wouldn't. She had Rick, Jesus, and Merle to think about and protect. They were Daryl's family. She would do whatever she had to, to get them through this alive. It's just my body....it's just my body.....it's not me......it's not me, just my body. She chanted in her head. She could go through this again, she could, for them. But she would make this fucker pay, and any of his sick friends who touched her! It's just my body....it's just my body.....

 

“Frank! Bud! Get in here!” Jared yelled out. Toni's heart skipped a beat. So, now it begins. It's just my body...it's just my body. They can't break me. The two men came in.

“Get me the one in the red collar.” No no no no no.....please don't hurt Rick. Her heart felt like it was going to jump out of her chest. Jared watched her face. No reaction. Nothing. She still wore that 'I dare you’ expression.

The two men brought Rick over. Jared positioned him in front of Toni. He stood behind him and kicked his legs apart and pushed him forward until he was straddling Toni's lap. His cock now mere inches away from her face. She glanced up at Rick's terrified face. She knew what he was thinking, because now she knew what was about to happen. What a sick fuck.

“Suck on it.” He smiled an evil smile. When Toni didn't respond. He grabbed her by her hair and shoved her face up against Daryl's best friend’s cock. Rick struggled to free himself from the two guys holding him in place. Jared pushed his little button.

“Stop!” Toni said, eyes filled with hatred directed at Jared. They pulled Rick back up to a standing position. He had fallen on her lap when the electricity went through his body.

“Suck on it!” Jared demanded loudly. Toni leaned forward and took his cock into her mouth. Rick tried to pull out. He felt a gun digging into his tailbone.

“I'm sorry.” He whispered to her since she'd closed her eyes. She released him and looked up at him.

“It's not your fault.” She whispered back.

“This is all very touching” Jared sneered.

“Put him back and bring me another.” He gave her that smile of triumph. She could do this. She would do this to keep them safe. Now Jesus stood before her. She didn't wait for Jared to hurt him. She leaned forward and sucked on his dick. Jared laughed. She was finally getting it. He was in control and she would be doing his bidding. Once Jesus was hard, Jared had him taken away and Merle brought to her. When Merle was hard, he too was put back. Toni looked him in the eye and smiled.

“Still waiting..........scared?...........Or are you just embarrassed about how teeny tiny your dick is?” That got her back handed again. Oh, she could take the hits, to keep them safe. She'd been hit a lot harder than this fuck hits, just when sparring. She really just wanted to get this rape over with, so she could put it behind her until she killed him.

“You're nothing but a coward rapist, who gets his kicks hitting defenseless women.” She spat out at him. He laughed at her description. He couldn't wait to tell her. He couldn't wait for her reaction.

“Me........I'm not going to rape you...........” His smile got wider, if that was even possible. He pointed to Rick, Jesus, and Merle.

“They are!”

 

Daryl laid down with the boys until they fell asleep. There would be no sleeping for him this night. Now, he knew how Toni felt, went he was gone. His head told him that she was with the 3 men who would protect her at all costs, who'd give up their lives for her. His best friend, his brother, and her best friend. However, his heart was freaking out. He should be out there with her, protecting her. He made his way downstairs and went out on the porch to have a smoke or 8.

 

Toni never took her eyes off Jared. If he thought to shock her with his announcement, to make her cry, and beg, and plead. He was in for a rude awakening. His words brought her comfort, not despair. It's not rape if it's someone who loves you, being forced. She'd rather it be them, then this sick fuck and his fucker friends. It would be hard, for her and them, but they loved her, and she loved them. They could get through it together. She just gave him her look of disdain. He hated that she didn't react as he expected.

“Yep, got all my camera's set up, for all the different angles. Oh! And look at all those big screen TV’s. So, you can watch it as it happens. The three of them at the same time, over and over, and over again. Oh! That reminds me.........Frank! Bud! Gonna need their help to get this party started.” He walked over to a cart. He was looking at pill bottles. Was he going the drug her?

“Bring them out, one at a time.” Jared ordered. He hoped the pills worked, cause he really wanted to keep the big drugs for himself. He opened the cabinet beneath and pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels and some red solo cups. Rick was brought before him.

“What do you want from us? We don't even know you.” Rick asked him.

“What I want....is for you to shut your fucking mouth, and do what I say.” He filled a cup up with whiskey.

“Take these and drink all this.” He held two pills and the cup of booze out to him. When Rick didn't immediately take them. Jared reached for is remote. Rick held out a hand for the pills and reached for the cup with his other hand. Rick took the pills with the whiskey. The amber liquid burned his throat.

“Finish the whole cup.” He demanded. It took a few minutes for him to get it all down.

“Next!” He called out. He made Jesus and Merle do the same.

“Drink.” He held a cup up to her lips she could smell the whiskey. Toni took a small sip and started to cough. She'd never had it before. He laughed without mirth. Grabbed her by the hair yet again, and forced her to drink it down. It burned all the way down to her empty stomach.

“Hose her down. She pissed herself. Make sure you spread her legs.” He sat down and watched. He was disappointed when she didn't react. God....he hated this bitch.

“Throw her in there with them. Showtime in 30 minutes.”

“He gave me Viagra and Ecstasy.” Merle told them.

“Me too.” Rick said. They both looked at Jesus.

“I have no idea what I took. I've never taken anything. I've spent my life training, same as Toni. What are we going to do?”

“Get back.” Frank or Bud said to them. They had no idea who was who. They moved to the back fencing, while the cage door was opened and Toni was pushed inside. She fell to the floor. After being tied up for so long, her feet and hands weren't working. All 3 men rushed to her as soon as the cage gate was closed. Rick picked her up and put her up on one of the two exam tables in the cage. Between all 3 of them they rubbed her ankles and wrists to get the blood flowing.

“I want you guys to do whatever they tell you to do to me.” Toni said softly to them. They all stopped and looked at her.

“I’d rather it be you guys who love me, than them. It's not your fault, I won't kill you for it, I promise.”

“Toni....” Rick began.

“Do you think Daryl will still love me after this?” She was trying so hard to be strong and not let her tears betray her.

“You think he'll forgive us for what we're gonna have to do?”

“Would you be able to forgive him?” Jesus asked.

“Of course, it wouldn't be his fault.”

“There's your answer.”

“Toni, he gave us Viagra and Ecstasy.” Rick told her. Her eyes went straight to their cocks. He raised her chin up to look her in the eyes.

“Do you know what that means?” He asked her.

“I know it means I'm fucked.” Literally, she thought to herself. I can do this....I can do this......Daryl please come find me.

“I'm so sorry Toni.....we're so sorry.”

“Don't.” She stopped him. “Daryl will come for us, and then we'll kill him and them.” The guys knew he may not come. No one knew where they were. They wouldn't even start to worry about them until tomorrow or the next day. By then they may not even still be alive. They needed to find a way out.....soon.

“I know you've been drugged.....I won't hold anything against you. Just.......try not to hurt me too bad, if you are able to.” She said it to the floor.

“Do you know how long the drugs will last?” She needed to know.

“It's about 3 hours.” Merle answered. Toni's head shot up.

“3 hours? 3 whole hours?” Toni wasn't sure she could go through it for 3 hours. Rick put a hand on her shoulder. She jerked away.

“Don't touch me! You'll be touching me soon enough, for 3 hours.” She laid on her side and curled up into a fetal position. She tried not to think about it. She was feeling sick to her stomach, whether from the things to come, or the whiskey, she wasn't sure.

 

Daryl walked Alexandria. He couldn't just sit his brain simply would not turn off. Why did he have such a bad feeling? They were all very capable fighters. Everyone was right, they probably just stopped for the night. Safer that way.

“You want to head out at first light?” He was so lost in thought, that Abe actually startled him, with the question.

“Yeah.”

“Okay, I'll let the others know. Try to get some sleep.”

“Yeah.”

 

Toni felt a hand caressing her ass. She wanted to scream out at the injustice of it all. She loved them, but now they were going to rape her. NO! NO! It's not, rape! They're drugged. They can't help themselves. She couldn't control the tears any more than she could stop them. She tried to make herself relax. She felt fingers making their way between her legs. She stiffened and clamped her legs together to stop the progress. She heard the groan, as those fingers forced their way to her sex. She took a deep breath. Daryl, please come find me. Another hand, between her knees, trying to open her legs. Oh God! A third hand, sliding up her belly, up and up so slowly as to savor the journey to her breasts. A small cry escaped her lips. She bit her lip to stop it and allowed them to turn her onto her back. She opened her eyes to see to blue eyes so dark with lust, that she wouldn't have known it was them, if she couldn't see their bodies. She squeezed her eyes shut tight. She didn't want to see them looking at her like this.

Their hands were everywhere. She turned her head to the side. She didn't want to know who was inserting their fingers inside her dry center. They were trying to be gentle. It was uncomfortable, but didn't cause pain. She heard someone whisper to 'wait'. She opened her eyes to see Jesus with his head thrown back, eyes closed, jacking off beside the table, one hip propped against it. She watched him and felt her body start to betray her. She was getting aroused just by watching him, like she did when she watched Daryl. The fingers inside her didn't feel as uncomfortable now, as her body reacted to the scene before her. The hands on her breasts were firm yet not bruising. She moaned when she felt her breast being sucked into someone's mouth. As Jesus climaxed, she watched as he caught the milky substance, in his other hand. He turned toward her, when he finished, only to put his hand with his cum between her legs. The fingers were removed as Jesus rubbed his semen on her sex and up inside it. She realized he did that for her, to make things easier, to help with the pain, and she loved him more for it.

She closed her eyes and thought of Daryl, as the hands seemed to be getting a little more desperate now. She felt her body being pulled down to the edge of the table. She knew what that meant now. Daryl had done that to her. She braced herself for the entry. Someone took her hand and held it. She held on for dear life waiting for the impact. Then lips came down upon hers. Soft, gentle,........ asking for entrance. She parted her lips to allow it. She knew it was either Rick or Jesus, because she could feel the full facial hair. However, she didn't open her eyes to see who was doing what. She couldn't. She wanted Daryl to come crashing in. She could feel a cock now rubbing against her entrance. The head inched its way inside slowly, nothing like the first time that she was raped. There was no pain, just a full feeling, of being stretched, until they were one. Slowly it was eased out only to come back in quicker. Another moan escaped her lips. She started to kiss back, using her tongue to mimic the movements between her legs. The pleasure started to build. Her hips arched to meet his thrusts. She broke the kiss to catch her breath. The lips moved to her neck.

“Daryl.” she whispered out.

 

“Faster.” She encouraged.

A couple more, quick thrusts and he spilled his seed inside her. His head rested on her belly, where he placed soft kisses. A tongue swirled inside her naval. He was no sooner gone when another replaced him. Sliding easily inside her all the way to the hilt. This one wasn't slow and easy, this one was like a piston, pounding in and out, there was no pain, just a build up of nerve ending wanting to explode! She matched him thrust for thrust until she went over the edge, clamping down on his cock milking him for all he was worth. With a shout, he also fell on top of her. Still, she didn't open her eyes. She didn't have time to ponder the guilt she was feeling for responding, when another took his place.

She was flipped onto her stomach, with her legs dangling over the edge of the table. She felt fingers searching and then the head, another hand spanned her belly then moved to her clit and circled it. She gasped when in one swift movement he was inside her. He stood still savoring the tight cocoon surrounding his cock. She was squeezing his dick with her inner muscles as he manipulated her clit. She was so close to cuming again.

“Please.” She begged to be taken over the cliff. Two rapid thrusts and she tumbled right over.

“Oh God! Oh God!” She panted trying to catch her breath. She knew all three men had taken her. She had three different experiences. One was soft, slow, and gentle. One was so very sensuous making you want more. And one was like a piston driving you over the edge with record speed. She didn't want to know who was who.

She wanted this night to end. She could hear the sick fucks in the background getting off. The last thing she wanted to see were the big screen TV's all around the cage, showing everything that was happening to her. She'd keep her eyes shut until it was all over. Tonight, they would have to find a way to escape. She wanted to go home, she wanted Daryl, if he would have her after all this.

It seemed to go on and on. Although they never hurt her, she was so very sore. As soon as one would leave, there was another to replace him. She had no sense of time, had no idea how long they'd been at it, but no one replaced the one who just left her body. She waited. Nothing. She opened her eyes and looked around. They were all on the floor, eyes closed as if in slumber. She released a silent sigh. Finally. She didn't move but listened for the sick fucks who had been watching all night. No noise coming from them either. She rolled to her side and drew her knees up. She was so sore. That's when she let her tears fall. She made not a sound, but she shook with her silent sobs. Daryl...........where are you? Daryl.....I need you........Daryl.

Toni woke to someone picking her up. She jerked in panic until she heard Rick's voice. “It's okay....it's just me.” He sat down with her against the chain link. He settled her in his lap.

“Sleep Toni....rest.......I'll take first watch.” He tightened his hold on her small body. When he was sure that she was asleep, he let his own tears fall. The guilt he had was palpable.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 42

 

 

Toni knew from experience that Rick was crying. He made not a sound, but she felt every movement, every shudder and every tear as it fell on to her body. He may have been drugged and couldn't stop his actions, but she knew without a doubt that he loved her. As he sniffed and wiped at his eyes with his bare arm, it was all she could do to keep herself in check and not cry with him.

“Rick? Here....I'll take her.” She heard Jesus say.

“I'm good, I got her.” Was Ricks response.

“I need to hold her too. Please.” Rick understood, he really did. They didn't know how much time they had. But....he didn't want to release her. It took every bit of strength he had to hand her over to him. He kissed her temple, and held her tight, before giving her to Jesus. Jesus gently held his burden in his arms and he also started to cry, no one heard a sound coming from him, but Toni knew. She could feel him same as when Rick was holding her. He also kissed her temple and caressed her as he held her. She was so small and been through so much. Oh, how she must hate them.

He couldn't bear the thought. She was sticky and smelled of sex, all because of them, and he'd been part of it, him, her gay best friend. He’d taken her like the others did. He'd wanted too. He'd been so horny. He'd flipped her on to her stomach. She must have been very afraid, that he'd take her in a different way. He never told her that he wouldn't. He couldn't imagine what fear she'd felt before he took her as a man took a woman. At the time the thought never occurred to him. He regretted that now. He held her a little tighter. Toni felt his struggle. She snuggled against him. That seemed to help calm him. He held her to him as his tears fell.
“Give her to me.” Merle demanded. Jesus just looked at him
.
“She's my Brothers wife! I should be holding her.” Any other time Jesus would have fought, but he knew Merle was feeling the same as them. He kissed her cheek and handed her over even though he didn't want too. As Toni was passed once again, she realized how much she was loved. What she had went through tonight, was nothing compared to how she felt right now when none of them were under the influence. She gave Merle a few minutes to hold her because he needed it. She knew how hard this had been for them.

 

Jared was pissed. He'd forgotten they had to go meet Negan today with his share of the drugs they'd scavenged. He'd had other plans today with his little porn stars. Now it would have to wait until tonight. Dammit. As all his men readied the trucks, he got an idea. It made him smile. He’d give them something to think about all day. He went to prepare the cart. He couldn't wait to see the little bitch’s reaction. He smiled with glee.

 

Toni sat up on Merle lap, his hold tightened.
“We have to get out of here. Daryl's not going to be able to find us until it's too late. We need to find a way ourselves.” She got up and started to examine every inch of the cage they were in.

“We've already done this Toni.” Rick said sadly. She spun around so fast, it reminded him of when they'd first met.

“We look again! We don't give up. Ever.” The men knew it was fruitless, but got up to look again.

 

“Good morning my porn stars! I hope you all slept well, and are ready for another fun filled evening.” Jared came into the warehouse pushing a covered cart. He came within 2 feet of the cage and stopped.

“What? Not morning people? No worries. I'll just leave this here for you, so you can have something to look forward to for tonight. Tonight, it's all about you.” He said pointing to Toni.

“You get to do all the fucking. I know...I know.....you want to thank me. The guys had their turn last night so it's only fair right?” He whipped the cover off the cart with a flourish, and took a bow.

“Here's all your toys, in an array of fucking colors for your fucking pleasure, hope you use each and every one of them on the boys here. Got you a big bottle of lube, and just look at this variety, we have long ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones, oh...here's a favorite....look at this one with the big ridges.”

Toni felt sick to her stomach, she wasn't sure she could hold the bile in until he left. The cart was covered with dildo's and stuff that she didn't even know what it was. She took an involuntary step back. He laughed with glee. He'd finally, gotten a reaction out of her. He rubbed his hands together.

“So, start thinking about who you're gonna fuck first, which toy you want to use, and don't worry we have plenty of video left to commemorate the evening. Oh, and here......since your eyes were closed with passion most of the night, I'll turn these on so you can review.” He pushed a button on another remote and the TV's came to life playing all the recordings from last night. He cackled all the way out the door. Toni ran to the bucket sitting in the corner and threw up. No.....there was no way she could do this. He was going to have to kill her. She couldn't, wouldn't, do this. When her dry heaves stopped, she turned and looked at them.

“We have to get out of here!” Rick reached out to her, her eyes were wild, he could actually see her heart beating in her chest, she was trying to catch her breath. She looked terrified.

“NO!” She pushed him away from her. “NO....I will not do it! He's going to have to kill me! I won't...I won't.......” She began the climb the cage wall, when she reached the top she made her way to the door up there. She looked like she was on monkey bars moving swiftly across the top. Her muscles were well defined as she hung by her finger tips.

“Toni....” Jesus began.

“No!” She wasn't talking about it.

“You told us last night, to do it and we'd get through it. You have to do it.” She released one hand to point a finger at them.

“I can't” she cried “I just can't.” She was sobbing now. She couldn't even think about it without an all, consuming terror rushing through her body.

They were men, they wouldn't be able to cope with the memories. Men couldn't deal with the aftermath of rape. She'd seen it time and time again when she was a social worker. Men could take a beating and lose and they would be okay, but anything sexual done to them........ they usually ended up committing suicide. They rarely came back from the humiliation. Women were so much stronger when it came to rape. She could not let this happen, she just couldn't. She had to find a way. She let go of the fence and dropped to the ground.

“Look at me, and hear me.” She waited until she had their attention.

“I'm only going to say this once and it will not be up for discussion. You are all very strong, willed men. Capable fighters, smart alpha men. That makes you so much more vulnerable when it comes to rape. Men like you who experience being raped.......well it eats you up from the inside out. Only one out of fifty men raped, survive. The others end up committing suicide. First it's the drinking to cope, then drugs to forget, but it always ends the same....with suicide. I saw it every day when I was a social worker. I WON'T do it! I WON'T! Now help me figure a way out of here.”

 

Daryl, Abe, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Carol, Sasha, Aaron, Tara, and Rosita headed out the gate at first light. They had a caravan of five vehicles, so they could cover more areas. They had food, water, and fully charged, long range, walkie talkies with extra batteries. They each had a mini arsenal with them and plenty of ammo. Aaron had been with Rick when he saw the furniture store, so maps were drawn and routes to take were selected. They would be split up taking the only two roads out. They would check in every hour on the hour on channel 22, to save the batteries. They gave a wave when they hit the turnoff, going in different directions.

 

No matter which way Toni looked, there was a big screen TV playing the video from last night. It was bad enough seeing it every time she moved, but hearing it was somehow worse for her. Time and time again she placed her hands over her ears. They searched for any weakness in the fencing. She found something.

“Come here!” She called to them. On one of the side panels, the pole that had the fencing connected to it was put up backwards. The pole was on the inside instead of the outside.

“Look.” she pointed to the pole.

“What are you seeing that we aren't?” Merle asked.

“The pole, it's on the inside. If Jesus and I kick at the same time on either side of the pole, we may be able to break the fencing free. Then we can just lift it enough to crawl under.” She smiled. They just may have a chance now.

When Rick and Merle wanted to discuss that one of them should be the one to kick, she simply asked them, how many boards had they broken with their bare feet. End of discussion. Toni and Jesus positioned themselves on either side of the pole. Rick and Merle sat on the floor behind them back to back for extra leverage.

“On three.” Jesus said. Toni nodded.

“One, two, three!” And they both kicked out. One clasp holding the fencing to the bottom broke free. They had to stand for the middle one.

“Ms. Sparks?” Four heads turned as one. A boy smoking a cigarette was walking towards them. He couldn't be any older than 9 years.

“Is that really you, Ms. Sparks?”

“Jason?” Toni's eyes were as big as saucers.

“What are you doing here?” Toni asked shocked at seeing him here. He looked down at the floor.

“My Dad is here.”

“How did you get back to your Dad?”

“I ran away.” He said still looking at the floor.

“But why? I got you out of there.”

“I had to go back to protect my brothers and sister.”

“What brothers and sister?”

“He hid them to make me do those bad things.”

“Oh Jason.....I'm so sorry. Where are they now? Do you know?”

“They're here.”

“Here? Jason, can you get us out of here? I'll take all of you with me. I'll keep you safe.”

“You would?” He asked with hope.

“Of course, I would! Do you have bolt cutters here?” Jason went to look.

“Where is everyone Jason?”

“They went to meet Negan, they won't be back until late this afternoon.”

“Who else is here honey?”

“No one, just me and my brothers and sister.”

“Hurry sweetie! We have to get out of here.”

“I found some tin snips, would that help?”

“Bring them here we'll try while you look some more.” He tried to push them through the fence but they were just too big.

“Bring them over here to the door.” She had him slide them through the small gap where the hinges were. She passed them off to one of the guys.

“Keep looking sweetie just in case.”

“Yes Ma'am.”

 

It was Daryl, Carol, Abe Sasha, Michonne and Rosita who rolled up on the accident. They jumped from their vehicles to go search. Abe contacted the others, they turned around and headed that way. They didn't find any bodies to their relief. They searched the immediate area, and found nothing. Daryl looked for tracks. When the others arrived, they expanded their search. It was Daryl who found the truck tread marks on the overgrown dirt road coming out of the woods. Between all of them they surmised that they had been hit intentionally. The blood inside the overturned truck was worrisome, but didn't appear to be life threatening. Now to figure out which way they went.

 

“I'm getting it.” Rick said already cutting through 4 links of the chain link fence. Jesus and Merle went to him and tried prying the fence up. Jesus was able to slip under. Toni went next followed by Rick and Merle. They ran to their clothes which were still in a pile on the floor where they'd made them disrobe.

“Jason!” Toni called out.

“Yes Ma'am?”

“Go get your brothers and sister we're leaving.”

“Yes Ma'am.” He smiled at her and took off.

“Toni.......” Rick began.

“They're children! They're going with us. End of discussion.”

“I was going to say ….here, put my shirt on.” Toni took the shirt and gave him a quick hug. Her clothes were shredded. Jesus came and wrapped his button, down shirt around her waist, and Merle threw her his to wrap around the other way. She didn't have shoes but that was okay, she had tough feet.

Jason came running back in carrying the prettiest little girl she'd ever seen, follow by 3 other boys. The first appearing older than Jason with the sweetest smile and happy disposition. The second was clinging to a teddy bear, his eyes so fearful and the last hid behind his brother and wouldn't look at them. Toni's heart was breaking for them. That would have to come later right now they needed to get out of here.

“Jason? Do you know what they did with our weapons?” Toni asked. He held up a bag anticipating her question. She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek.

“Come on! Let get out of here.” Rick said. Rick and Merle picked up the smaller boys, and Jesus took the little girl from Jason. Toni grabbed the hand of the older boy who smiled at her. They took off through the woods wanting to put as much distance between them and this place as possible. Thank God the sun was out. They headed in the direction of home. After 30 minutes of running, Toni noticed that Rick and Merle were starting to slow, so she stopped. They weren't used to constant running, let alone carrying someone while doing it. They noticed that she wasn't even breathing hard, and neither was Jesus.

“I'll take the two little ones and Jesus can take the third one. Jason are you two still good?” She asked him of his brother. Jason signed to his brother and he signed back.

“Yes, we can keep going.”

“Okay, I need you two to hold their hands okay?”

“Yes ma'am.” Toni took off carrying the two children. The rest ran to catch up. After another 30 minutes Rick called out to her.

“Toni, we need to stop for a minute.” She stopped and waited for them to catch up. Merle and Rick were breathing hard.

“I think were far enough away that we can slow down a little.” Rick said.

“I need to get this off Rick. We don't know the range. They could just ride around looking for us and push buttons.” She was right, Rick thought.

“I can go ahead and bring help back, you just keep going east. I can make good time alone.”

“I really don't want us to split up.” Jesus and Merle agreed.

“I understand that, but I can be home long before you, I really need to get this off.” She said again pulling on the collar. They heard a noise. A vehicle.

“Stay here.” She said, before she disappeared, taking off at a run. Jesus put the child down that he was carrying and went after her, leaving Rick and Merle with the five children. Four when Jason took off after her too.

 

Half of Daryl's party, walked the road sides, while the other half drove slowly along. Daryl scissored the road looking for any tracks.

“Daryl!” His head shot up. He knew that voice.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 43

 

Then he saw her running down the street toward him. Legs and feet bare, wearing a man’s shirt and a skirt? He took off toward her. Thank God! She was alive and alright. The vehicles had turned around, and Abe, Glenn, Aaron, Michonne and Tara came running back at the shout. She flew into his arms crying, tears running down her beautiful face.

“I knew you'd come! I knew we just needed to stay strong and do anything we had to, to survive. And here you are.” She kissed his handsome face. Hugging him tight. She suddenly pushed away from him and tried to get down.

“Put me down! I need you to get this collar off me!” Daryl set her down and looked at the collar. He knew exactly what that was! It was a dog’s shock collar.

“Cut it off me Daryl, hurry! Before he's close enough to push the button.” Jesus came running up to them bare chested. He was wearing a collar too.

“Who?” Daryl asked.

“Abe!” Toni called out.

“Hurry and cut that collar off Jesus! Please hurry!”

“Jason! Go back and get Rick and Merle and the kids! Glenn please go with him! Cut off their collars first thing! Please hurry!” Glenn and Aaron took off behind Jason.

Daryl finally got the collar cut off of her, only to have her snatch it from him and throw it to the ground and start stomping on it with her bare heel. Jesus grabbed her off her feet and handed her to Daryl and crushed the collar, with his now booted feet. He then did the same with his.

“What the fuck happened to you guys?” Abe asked, looking at the now smashed shock collars.

“We survived.” Toni said to them, then spied Rick, Merle and the kids coming out of the woods. She took off toward them. She needed to make sure their collars were off. Everyone followed, seeing 5 children, a bare, chested Rick and Merle just in his wife beater. Daryl realized that Toni was wearing all of their shirts. He needed answers, and he wanted them now. He turned to Jesus.

“What happened?” He asked quietly.

“It's not good Daryl.” Daryl noticed he wasn't looking at him. He got a sick feeling in his gut.

“Aaron can I talk to you?” Toni called to him. He walked over to her.

“Do you think that you and Eric could take care of these kids for me, for at least a few days?”

“Sure, where did they come from?”

“It's a long story Aaron, but I promise to talk with you soon. Right now, we need to get them home where they will be safe.”

“Okay.”

“Jason.” she called out again.

“Ma'am?”

“I need you to gather your brothers and sister and ride with Aaron and Eric. They're going to take you to their house and care for you until I can come get you okay?” Jason eyed Aaron.

“I trust them with my life, Jason.”

“Okay.” Toni kissed his little cheek then reached and pulled Aaron's head down to kiss his.

“Go! Quickly! I don't know when they'll be coming back.” Jason gathered his siblings and followed Aaron to his car. They drove off and Toni could breathe a little easier knowing that they were safe. Toni went back over to Daryl.

“We need to get these cars off the road. We don't know when they're coming back.”

“Who?” Daryl asked again.

“Daryl....there's a group of evil men about an hour’s run from here. They've gone out to meet someone called Negan. I don't know when they will be coming back. We need to hide, better yet just go home.”
She took him by the hand and tried to pull him to the car.

“I'm not going back home.” Rick said. “I want to kill this bastard, I'm going back to wait for them.”

“No! Rick....don't go back there...please!” Toni begged him.

“I'm going too.” Merle said.

“Me too.” Jesus said.

“No! Please don't go back there! We just got out! Let's go home...please!” Daryl looked at them.

“Someone needs to tell me what happened back there.” Toni looked at him. She really hadn't wanted to talk to him about it yet. She wanted to wait until they got home.

“They were drugged and were forced to have sex with me! Happy now! I just wanted to go home! I just needed you to hold me.” She started to walk away. Daryl moved fast and stepped in her path. She tried to walk around him. He wasn't having it. He picked her up and walked toward one of the cars, leaving the group speechless at her outburst. He set her down on the passenger front seat and squatted down in front of her.

“Daryl, I'm so worried that their minds aren't clear right now. Mines not, I can't go with you. They want revenge for what he made us do. The things he did to us. They could be hurt if they don't have clear heads, and they don't, they can't get their minds around what they had to do to me. Men just aren't as strong as women when it comes to these things. Can't you make them wait?” He was using his best poker face right now, trying to wrap his own mind around the words coming out of her mouth.

“I'm afraid Daryl....I'm afraid this is going to destroy them. Their guilt is so strong already, like it doesn't matter that we did, what we did, to survive. I just wanted to go home and have you hold me.” She said again as tears streamed down her face. He pulled her to him and wrapped his strong arms around her. He turned them so he was sitting on the seat and she was on his lap. He looked at his brother, his best friend, and her best friend.

“Oh God! Daryl, do you forgive us? Do you still love us? I think I'm gonna be sick.” She moved from his lap and started to heave, bile was all that was coming up, since they'd had nothing to eat since yesterday morning. He knelt down beside her rubbing her back. She was full out crying now.

“I think they're afraid that you will hate them. Will you? Do you hate me?”

“No.” But he really needed to kill someone right now.

“No what?”

“I don't hate you or them.” He simply couldn't wrap his mind around it yet. He knew how evil some people could be in this new world. He needed to dispose of this new threat and then maybe he could process what she was telling him. He picked her back up and put her in the car.

“I want to go home.” She said against his chest.

“Tara.” He called out.

“You're not coming with me, are you?”

“No.”

“Will you look after them? They tried so hard to protect me.”

“I will.” Tara approached.

“Tara will you drive Toni home, for me.”

“Sure.”

“Daryl?........” Toni began. Daryl looked at her and waited.

“Jared has long straight sandy blond hair, slim build, facial hair.....would you.....could you......torture him for me, before you kill his evil black heart?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you.” He kissed her forehead, since she'd just thrown up and went to join the others. Tara climbed into the driver’s seat. “Ready?”

“Yes.”

Tara started the car and they were home bound.

“Maybe if you can drive fast enough, you can make it back here in time to help. I'm so worried about Rick, Jesus, and Merle.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, not yet, I need to tell Daryl everything first. I need a bath and some food and water. I'm so tired. I need sleep too.” She pulled her knees up to her chest and laid her head on her knees. Tara didn't know what to do for her other than give her a bottle of water, and a baggie of snacks. Within 15 minutes she appeared to be sleeping.

 

The group surrounded the buildings once confirmed by Rick, Merle and Jesus that they were at the right place. As Daryl, Abe and Carol made their way around the back side of the post, Daryl saw a metal building, he motioned for Abe and Carol, and they headed that way. They could hear noise, like a moaning or groaning. Carol and Abe stood on either side of the door and Daryl kicked it in. They stormed in, weapons raised and ready. It appeared to be empty. There were big screen TV's everywhere. That's where the moaning and groaning was coming from.

“Oh...Jesus......H.........Christ.....” Abe said low. Daryl turned to see what he was looking at. Toni was on the screen tied up in a chair. She seemed to be unconscious. A man....a long haired man with a slim build was cutting off her clothes. He threw water on her to wake her up. Daryl was standing beside the chair on the TV. Toni's clothes lay shredded on the floor. He watched as the man told Toni he wanted a blow job. He watched as she dared the man to put his dick in her mouth, opening her mouth wide only to chomp her teeth together. He watched him hit her time and time again and pushing the button on the remote he kept in his shirt pocket. He had to look away when she was convulsing in the chair. Only to have his eyes drawn to another TV where he saw Rick, Jesus, and Merle being shocked and dropping to the floor in a cage. He turned to see the cage in the center of the building, where more TV's were mounted and cameras were everywhere. Every TV was playing a different recording, though all were of Toni, Rick, Jesus, and his brother. Carol stood with her hand covering her mouth, tears streaming down her cheeks, looking from TV monitor to TV monitor. Most of the TV's were showing them having sex with Toni. One TV caught his attention, Toni was lying in a fetal position, on one of the tables. He watched as Rick picked her up and sat down with her on his lap. He was holding her close and crying, he continued to watch as she was passed to Jesus and Merle. It was clear to him that whatever they had been drugged with had worn off because all three men had been crying while they held her. On all the monitors, Toni eyes were closed as they were having sex except one. He watched as she watched Jesus jack off, then closed her eyes once again as his hand went between her legs rubbing his cum on her. He closed his eyes for a few seconds. When he opened them next, it was to see, Jesus take her hand and lean down to kiss her, as his brother was between her legs. He didn't even feel the tears rolling down is face.

“Daryl” He turned his head to see Rick standing beside him. Rick dropped his eyes to the floor seeing the tears on his best friend’s face. Daryl’s eye was caught by another screen over Ricks shoulder. He watched as the long, haired fuck grabbed Toni head by her hair and shoved her face at Rick's dick. When Rick tried to fight and back away the mother fucker pushed the damn button and brought Rick down on top of Toni. Toni cried out for him to stop and took Rick's cock into her mouth. The look on Rick's face told him how helpless he felt.

“Daryl? Don't.......don't watch it, please don't.” Rick pleaded. Rick had no idea how long Daryl had been in here, but he did know that he didn't want Daryl to be witness to the things they were made to do to Toni. Daryl didn't want to see it, but couldn't look away. It was like coming across a fatal car accident, you knew you didn't want to see it, but you slowed way down and rubber necked to see everything you could. Daryl pulled the radio off his belt as he saw Jesus pushed before Toni and her taking his dick into her mouth.

“Tara? Do you copy?” Rick tried to step in front of Daryl to block his view.

“I'm here.” Daryl moved Rick out of his view, in time to see his brother forced in front of her waiting mouth.

“Where are you?”

“Just got Toni home, getting ready to head back out.”

“Bring Eugene back with you.”

“Did you say Eugene?”

“Yes. Bring Eugene and some truck batteries and wire. Bring Aaron back too.”

“Copy that.” She answered him. Daryl hooked the radio back on his belt.

“Daryl? What are you doing?” Rick asked softly.

“I want him alive, I made a promise to Toni.”

 

Toni stood in the empty kitchen. She realized that she was alone. She didn't want to be alone. She'd sent her children back to Jessie's to stay until tomorrow. She'd told them that she was sore and tired, from the accident and just wanted to be alone to rest. Her misery didn't like company, and right now, she was drowning deep in misery. She just wanted Daryl to hold her, was that asking too much? She wished that they had made it home before the search party set out looking for them. She could be in his arms right now, instead of standing in an empty kitchen. She went to the fridge and opened it. She decided she really didn't want food, she'd eaten the snacks that Tara had given her in the car, along with 3 bottles of water. She didn't want to be here alone and just think. She didn't want to relive the awful night. She grabbed a beer and popped the top and drank it down. She took the bucket from beneath the sink and filled it with ice and a little water, then added 8 bottles of beer.

She locked all the doors and went upstairs to take a much, needed bath. She made it as hot as she could stand it. She'd soak and relax and drink and forget. She got in and washed quickly, then laid back to soak, she closed her eyes but there was no sleep forthcoming. After the 8 beers were gone, she stepped out of the tub not bothering, to pull the plug or cleanup her clothes, or the empty beer bottles strewn over the floor and bucket. She went to their room to get dressed. She just stood there naked as if in a trance, with tears making tracks down her cheeks. She moved to the dirty clothes hamper and took Daryl's t-shirt that was on top, and brought it up to her nose. She breathed in his scent, it gave her comfort, so she put it on and hugged herself. It was the closest she'd have from him tonight. Looking down she reached for the dirty sleep pants in the hamper and slid them on, only to have them fall down around her ankles. She pulled them back up and untied the drawstring and pulled it tight to hold them up. She felt surrounded by Daryl now, safe. She made her way back downstairs.

She grabbed a beer from the fridge, then looked under the sink for the bucket, it was gone. She drank her beer while trying to remember where the bucket would be. She moved to the laundry closet and found it there. She filled it with ice and a little water, then piled some beer in it. She set her empty on the counter and moved to the living room. Images of Jared kept running through her head. Oh, how she hated him. She opened another beer and searched the desk for paper and pen, maybe she could write to take her mind off him. She came across a box of chalk and got a better idea. Moving to the front door with chalk in hand, she started to draw. Head, shoulders, arms, with hands up, torso, legs spread apart and feet. As an afterthought, she added long hair, then a cock and a set of balls, between his legs. She made a trip upstairs for her blades. After stumbling on the too long sleep pants for the third time, Toni sat down on the steps and rolled them up to her knees. Sitting there, sipping her beer, she let a blade fly down the staircase and sunk it in Jared’s palm.

“How's that feel fucker?” She let another go, it hit its mark in the other palm. In her mind pinning him to the door.

“Now what are you gonna do asshole?” she asked him. She threw the empty bottle behind her onto the landing, and grabbed another from the bucket on the steps. Her next blade hit him where she knew it would hurt the most. Right on the end of his dick. She pictured in her head, him screaming out in pain. She smiled at him.

“Oh!......I bet that hurt!” And she laughed at his pain. She continued to throw her blades taunting him with every hit she made, which happened to be all of them. When she was out of blades, she opened another beer and stared at Jared hanging on the door. He was dead now her last blade was through the forehead so he couldn't turn and hurt anyone else.

As Daryl looked around he noticed his whole family was now in there. He could see the horror on their faces and the tears falling down their cheeks. It slowly changed before his eyes, into an all, consuming rage. It was revenge they were looking for now. He hugged Rick, whispering to him....

“Thanks for trying to take care of my girl.” Ricks look was one of surprise. He walked over to his brother and hugged him too.

“Thank you, brother for trying to protect Toni.” Merle was so caught off guard that he grabbed Daryl to him and hugged and he cried. Daryl looked for Jesus next. He didn't see him. He slowly walked around the building, he found him outside. He walked over to him. Jesus spoke first.

“I'm so sorry Daryl.” His tears were free falling and had been, for a while, by the looks of him. Daryl hugged him and held him tight. He knew how much this man loved Toni. Knew that he'd known her for the longest of them all. Jesus openly cried out loud and took the comfort that Daryl offered. Toni was his best friend and what he had to do to her was unthinkable. He just couldn't deal with it.

“You did what you had to do Jesus, and you're all alive. I'm thankful for that.”

The walkie talkie came to life on Daryl's hip. They went back inside.

“Here they come. A U-haul, four pickup trucks and 2 motorcycles.”

“We're ready!” Everyone got into position and waited.

“Remember! I want him alive!” Daryl shouted out. Rick, Jesus, and Merle agreed. His plan was a good one. It was a massacre pretty much the attack was so unexpected. It seemed over before it even started. As Daryl, Rick, Jesus, Merle, and Eugene went back into the metal building, the rest of the group cleared out everything they could use in Alexandria, and loaded it in the trucks.

Toni stood up to go down the steps to retrieve her blades to play, kill Jared, again. But.....in her inebriated state, she lost her balance and tumbled down the eight steps, landing on her back at the bottom. She started to laugh and then couldn't stop or get to her feet, without falling over. It made her laugh harder. She crawled on hands and knees to the couch, to hold on to it to help her get up. She zig zagged holding onto whatever was available as she made her way to the fridge for another beer.

 

Jared groaned as he tried to open his eyes. He felt like he'd been hit by a Mac truck. Only one eye opened for him. The other was swollen shut. He couldn't move his arms. As he tried to lift his head, he could feel the collar around his neck. He was naked. He was in the cage. His heart started racing. His nipples had wire wrapped around them, like someone had pulled them up and tightly wrapped them in copper. His one eye followed the wire, it was connected to a truck battery. His knees were drawn up and tied to the poles on either side of the cage. What terrified him the most was the raw copper wire wrapped around his cock. A man he'd never seen before came into the cage rolling a covered cart.

“Ah, good you're awake.....I'm Daryl........... I see that you had my wife here last night.”

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 44

 

Jared, a man who didn't scare easy, was suddenly terrified. That bitch’s husband was here? Where were his men? He looked again at the copper wire around his nipples and dick, and started to struggle with everything he had.

“Well, well, well........” He heard the voice that vaguely sounded familiar. When the man came into his view...he knew for sure that he was dead. Dead would be better than the thoughts racing through his mind right now. The man whipped the cover off the cart with a flourish!

“Let's see what we got here..... that's right ….an array of fucking colors, for your fucking pleasure....isn't that what you said?”

“I wasn't really gonna make her do it! I'm a man for god's sake! I was gonna let you do it to her.” He started convulsing on the table. Daryl released the button even though he didn't want to.

“Eugene! Are you done yet?” Daryl was chomping at the bit. The shock collar wasn't enough for the words that had just come out of this fucker’s mouth. He wanted him to feel pain! Excruciating pain.

“Almost.” Eugene answered.

“Hurry up!” Daryl demanded.

“Look! Here's your favorite.” Merle said as he held up the dildo with the big ridges. Without warning Merle shoved it in his ass.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!” Jared screamed. Merle pulled it out and shoved it back in 3 times while Jared screamed out in pain.

“Oh....does that hurt?” Merle asked him. Daryl went out to see Eugene and hurry him along.

“How much longer?” Daryl asked him. Before he could respond Daryl saw Tara.

“How was Toni when you dropped her off?” He asked her.

“She was tired.”

“Who's with her?”

“No one, she sent the kids back to Jessie's.”

“You left her alone? After everything that has happened to her!”

“Daryl.....”

“Son of a bitch! We have to get home!........... Rick!!” He hollered. Rick came running over.

“What's wrong?”

“Toni's all alone at home. We need to get back there! Load this asshole up, we'll take him with us. I'm nowhere near done with him.”

 

Merle threw Jared into the back seat of the car he'd be riding in with Jesus. He grabbed the remote and put it in his shirt pocket. That asshole wouldn't be resting on the way home. Daryl led the convoy of 5 vehicles, and made it home in record time. Abe and Aaron helped Merle get Jared into the Jail cell. When they entered, they were surprised to see Spencer there. With everything that had just happened, they'd completely forgotten about him. Spencer's eyes grew wide at seeing the naked tied up man, wearing a shock collar.

“What the hell?” Spencer said.

“He touched Toni.” Merle said with malice. Then pushed the button. Jared arched up, as the volts ran through his body.

“I'll never even go near her again. I swear.” Spencer said with a look of terror in his eyes.

“Get out of here and go home, if I see you within 20 feet of Toni.....this will be you.” And he pushed the button again. Spencer didn't have to be told twice. He high tailed it out of there like his tail was on fire.

 

Daryl reached the front door only to find it locked.

“It's locked. Where's the key?” He asked anxiously.

“We never lock it. I don't know.” Michonne answered him.

“Rick might have it.” Carol said.

“I'll run and see.” Glenn told them and took off for the front gate, where Rick had stopped to see Carl. Daryl knocked on the door.

“Daryl, just wait. She's probably sleeping, she was exhausted.”

“She shouldn't have been left alone! I told her it wouldn't happen again after the last time.”

Rick, Carl, Abe, Merle, Jesus, Glenn and Aaron came walking up to the house.

“You got a key? It's locked.”

“Not on me, it's on my dresser.”

“Dammit!” Daryl pounded on the door again. “Toni!” he yelled.

They all started going around the house and checking all the windows, and the back door. Rick climbed up the antenna outside of Carl's room, like Toni had done the night of the party. His window was open. He climbed in. As he passed the bathroom, he stopped. The floor was littered with Toni's clothes and a bucket filled with water and empty beer bottles. He looked in their room. Two towels lay on the floor and more scattered beer bottles. As he made his way downstairs he found another bucket of water and more beer bottles on the steps and landing. Jesus..... how much had she drunk? He wondered. He stopped on the steps when he noticed the front door. There he saw a chalk picture of, it had to be, Jared. There must have been 30 blades stuck into the wood. Mostly in the genitals, and the heart, but the hands and feet and the head also held a blade. Daryl's pounding and yelling, hurried him down the stairs to let them in. He unlocked the door and told Daryl what he'd seen so far. They all searched for her. They checked every room and still couldn't find her.

“Where the hell would she go?” Merle voiced the question. It was Carol who reasoned it out.

“She's here, somewhere, everything was locked from the inside.....right? She doesn't have a key.....she'd just been through a horrible ordeal. She's hiding here somewhere. Probably passed out, with the amount of beer bottles scattered everywhere.”

Rick ran to his room to see if the house key was still on his dresser. It was. Everyone went to their rooms and checked closets, under the bed, and behind furniture. They all seemed to meet in the living room. They checked behind the couch, and the recliners, even in the fireplace, since they were now starting to worry. Jesus went as far as to check inside the washer and dryer. The pantry was checked, the laundry closet, even under the long table. It was Maggie who found her and totally by accident. She'd collected the buckets and emptied them and opened the cupboard under the sink to put them away and there she was, with the pillow and afghan from the couch.
“Daryl! I found her.” Everyone came running in. He carefully extracted her and carried her up to their room, where he imprisoned her in his arms and they slept.

 

Toni was done. It had already been 2 days. She didn't think she could take much more of this. It was affecting the children for God's sake. She'd had enough, she was tired of them avoiding her, tip toeing around her. Refusing to talk about what had happened. This kitchen wasn't a happy place anymore. They were letting it eat them from the inside out. Alpha men were the worst! No one was talking, they were barely eating. 16 people in here and not one conversation to be had. Toni stood up.

“I can't take this anymore! Rick why did you keep hitting me? Was it because I didn't want to suck your dick?”

“What? I never hit you!” He was appalled at the accusation. “I never wanted you to suck my dick!”

“Now that's a lie Rick. I clearly remember being slapped time and time again!”

“That wasn't me! That was J.....”

“Who Merle? Jesus?” She pinned them with her eyes. “Why? Why would you do that?” She yelled at them.

“We never slapped you Toni!” Merle yelled.

“You did! You shoved my face right into your dick to get me to suck on it and when I wouldn't you slapped me!”

“No! It was the sick fucker! He tried to make you give him a blow job! You dared him to put his dick in your mouth. He knew that you would bite it off and that pissed him off.......”

“God dammit Toni! That wasn't us! That was that sick fuck that crashed into us and took us!” She put her hand to her throat.

“Oh my God …...and you kept pushing that fucking button and shocking me!” She said with wide, accusing, disbelieving eyes.

“What the hell Toni! That wasn't us! It was that God damned mother fucker Jared!” The guys were getting pissed at her accusations. Good, she thought to herself and continued.

“It's all coming back to me.....you held me down and raped me! All of you!”

“Jesus Christ Toni! We did not!” Merle couldn't believe the words coming out of her mouth.

“You told us to do whatever he said! That we had to make it til Daryl came! You made us!!”

“What? So, you're saying that I'm a whore? That I wanted you to fuck me? I can't believe that you expect anyone here to believe that! I love Daryl!” She fisted her hands in her hair.

“Stop trying to put words in our mouth's!” Rick raged. “You're not a damn whore! We were trying to survive! We did what we had to do!” He was shaking with his rage from the things coming out of her mouth. She was pacing back and forth as if willing the memories to surface. She spun to face them once again.

“You guys held my hand down so I couldn't move .......and smashed my lips.....Oh God! You guys bit me over and over......”

“No!” Jesus jumped up so fast his chair slammed to the floor.

“I didn't hold you down! I just held your hand to try to comfort you! I kissed you because you wouldn't open your eyes! I wanted you to remember that it was us and not him! Rapists don't kiss! They rape! We never bit you! Toni, your confusing the rape from before with what just happened.” She pulled on her hair like she didn't believe them then turned to them with wide eyes.

“You...you drugged me so I wouldn't remember!” She pointed her finger at them. Rick pounded the table with his fist.

“You weren't drugged! We were!” He hit the table again. “We did what we had to do! All of us including you! We had to survive. When the drugs wore off we held you through the night!”

“I don't believe you! I'm remembering! I don't remember anyone holding me! I remember being held down.....having my legs being pried apart ….you hurting me...pushing yourselves inside me.....”

“That isn't how it happened!!!! You were asleep when we held you!” They were all yelling now! They were all pissed that she couldn't remember what happened.

“No? Then you guys tell me what happened! Make me believe you! Cause right now I'm remembering otherwise.” Rick tried to calm himself, it wasn't easy.

“Toni......” He began slowly.

“We were going to look for beds......” her brow furrowed like she was trying to remember.

“A tow truck crashed into us. We were all knocked out. When we woke up we were stripped …..”

“I remember you cutting off my clothes!”

“That wasn't us Toni! It was him!” Jesus said as calmly as he could. He hated that she thought they could do such things to her. Rick continued.

“Do you want to hear this or not?” Rick snapped at her.

“Only if it's the truth!” She snapped right back.

“It is! He had put shock collars on us while we were unconscious. That's how he controlled us. Whenever we wouldn't do what he said he pushed the God damn button! He was trying to make you do things and you pissed him off and he slapped you several times. We were in the cage and tried to get out to help you.” His head dropped to his chest as if he couldn't stomach not being able to help her. Jesus began where he left off.

“He repeatedly shocked us until we were on the floor. We couldn't get to you. Then he shocked you! So much longer than necessary. “He spit it out with hatred, and tears as he recalled it. Merle started to speak.

“It was him that cut your clothes off, and we couldn't stop him. He just kept pushing that fucking button. He knew if he put his dick into your mouth you'd bite it off.......”

“That does sound like something I would do......” She said to herself seeming confused. Rick let an involuntary smile escape at her words.

“Yes it does......anyway he thought to punish you by bringing us out and forcing you to......to.....”

“Suck your dicks?” She asked.

“Jesus.” Merle said under his breath.

“That's when he shoved your face into me....”

“Your cock?” she asked again.

“Yes, and when you did it ...I pulled back and he pushed the button, causing me to fall on you. He brought each of us out for you to......”

“What? So, you're saying I sucked your dicks to keep us all from being shocked to death?” Jeez they didn't like hearing it spoken out loud. But nodded their heads.

“Then he brought us out one by one and made us take a couple pills and drink whiskey.”

“I thought you said that I wasn't drugged?” She accused.

“You weren't! We were!” Rick raised his voice in exasperation.

“So, what your saying is that I had all my faculties? That my mind was clear?”

“Yes! No!”

“Which is it Rick?”

“You weren't drugged but he did make you drink some whiskey.”

“I've never drank whiskey in my life!”

“Well you did that night!” Merle interrupted.

“Then what?” Her face was clearly showing her doubt of their story.

“Dammit Toni! He threw you in the cage with us....and......”

“You attacked me?”

“Stop saying that!! That isn't what happened!!” Rick was rubbing a hand down his face.

“Toni it's takes 30 minutes for the drugs to start working.....”

“What were the drugs?”

“Viagra and Ecstacy.”

“Then what?”

“That's when we all talked about it.”

“It?”

“Yes....you said we needed to do whatever he said....that you'd rather it was us then them......”

“That sounds like something I would say, if I was in that position.”

“We were!” Jesus said rubbing a hand through his hair. “You're a girl for God’s sake! I don't do girls!”

“I hadn't thought of that.......that's true.....” She paced while she thought.

“Then what?” She watched as they all had their hands on their faces trying to figure out how to put it into words.

“Then we ah.....ah.....” She waited staring at them and watching them squirm.

“Then we made love to you!” Rick said it a rush.

“Not that we wanted to!” Merle added quickly.

“Why? Am I ugly?” She asked with hurt in her voice.

“No!” The three men said at once

“Then why?”

“We just did what we had to do, dammit. We wanted live to come back and fight another day.” Rick said.

“We were in survival mode Toni.” Jesus added.

“So, let me see if I have this straight.......we were ambushed by a sick mother fucker, who took us prisoner, stripped us of our clothing, put shock collars on us to control us, and make us do things we didn't want to do. So, when I defied him he hurt us to get us back in line, then punished me by forcing me to suck your dicks. Then did the unspeakable by forcing you to have sex with me. Drugging you so you wouldn't be able to control yourselves or he would basically shock us to death. So, you tried to be as loving as you could to make it easier on me and you comforted me the whole time even after you thought I was asleep. You held me and cried for me because you were forced to have sex with me. Is that what you're trying to say happened?”

“Yes!” All 3 men said again.

“Damn....” She said shaking her head. “We are fucking amazing! We survived and are here to fight another day! We really are family! We do what we have to do to survive. We're a force to reckon with!
I don't know that I could have done it alone. You guys have made me so strong. Thank you for everything! For keeping me alive and taking such good care of me. I'm sorry........ I must have mixed the two incidents up. Thanks for clearing it up for me. Good talk.”

She walked out of the room still shaking her head, and walked out the front door, wearing the biggest grin. She waited until she was outside before she laughed out loud. She'd made them talk about and defend their actions, made them see that it wasn't their fault. They had to survive. As she walked around the house she was doing a happy dance.

 

“I can't believe she said all those things!” Rick said still a little angry.

“Blaming us when we were just trying to survive!” Merle added.

“Is she doing a happy dance? Carol asked Michonne.

“I believe she is.” Carol laughed. Abe burst out laughing. He had to hold that in for much too long.

“What is so fucking funny?” Rick glared at him.

“She.....she played you guys like a fiddle!” He laughed harder.

“Son of a bitch!” Jesus said with wide eyes. “She fucking schooled me!......... Us!” he said to the group.

“To think I felt sorry for her!” Merle said to no one! Everyone in the kitchen was laughing except for Rick, Merle, and Jesus. The 3 of them ran for the front door.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 45

 

Toni came walking in the back door. She peeked around the corner of the laundry room.

“Are they gone?” She whispered.

“Yes, they just ran out the front door.” Maggie whispered back. She came in and sat down to eat. She'd hardly eaten anything since coming home. Now that she gotten the guys to talk about what happened, she was starved.

“I'm starving!” She said shoveling food in her mouth like Daryl does. Everyone stared at her smiling. It was good to see her eating again. Daryl picked up his half, eaten plate and handed it to her.

“Oh, thank you, sure you're done?” She asked while taking it and starting to eat it. He smiled. A bottle of water was placed in front of her. Biscuits were passed down to her.

“When was the last time you ate?” Abe asked her.

“Huh?” She responded with her mouth full.

“Not since we went on the run.” Daryl answered quietly.

“Sure, I have.” Toni absently replied. Everyone just looked her. Abe handed her what was left on his plate.

“Mmmmm......thanks.” She continued to eat. Rick had come in the back door quietly, to try to sneak up on her, and heard the exchange. He realized he hadn't seen her eat at all since they'd returned. He remained silent. Jesus and Merle did the same in the living room.

“You sure played them.” Abe smiled at her.

“What? Played them? Nooooo...... All I wanted was for them to love me again. They wouldn't talk to me. They just kept avoiding me.” She stood up and put a hand on her stomach.

“Do you think that they're mad at me? Do you think, they think that?” She grabbed for the trash can and started to throw up everything she'd just eaten. Abe felt like shit. She did what she did, for all the right reasons, and he'd opened his stupid mouth, forgetting how tender hearted she was when it came to people she loved. She could be so ruthless with her enemies, it was easy to forget sometimes.

“I'm sorry Toni, that's not what I thought.”

“It's okay, I don't feel so good, I think I'm gonna go to bed.” Daryl gave him a look that could kill. Well shit.....Abe thought. Toni leaned over the sink and rinsed her mouth. She turned to leave and Rick was standing right there in front of her. He opened his arms, and she went right in.

“I wasn't..... I didn't.......”

“Shut up, and hug me.”

“Okay...that's enough, Daryl looks like he wants to hit me.”

“What?” She released him to look at her man, who had already schooled his expression.

“No, he doesn't.” She said. Rick leaned down and kissed her on the forehead.

“I'm not mad at you.” He assured her. She looked behind him and saw Jesus in the thresh hold dividing the living room and kitchen. She ran to him, her best friend. He took her face into his hands and kissed her forehead, her nose, her cheeks, her chin and even her closed eyes.

“I'm not mad at you either.” He told her, then hugged her. Merle appeared at their side and he reached for her and wrapped her into his big ole bear hug. He rocked with her and kissed the top of her head.

“I ain't mad atcha.” She leaned back to smile at him, and there was Daryl, standing with a frown on his face. She immediately went to him.

“What's wrong?” She asked anxiously. He tried to relax his features. He didn't blame any of them for what had happened, after all he'd seen the videos. But did they have to put their hands all over her? Kissing her? Hugging her? Hadn't they done enough of that already? Shit! He hated feeling this way. He knew he shouldn't. He knew they didn't mean anything by it, but to comfort her. It didn't bother him before, why now? Because they had been intimate with her! His brain screamed at him.

 

“Nothing.” he said and turned and went upstairs. Toni slowly started up the stairs wondering what was wrong, because something, was wrong with Daryl. Her stomach was churning with worry. She'd just been through all this worry with the others. She didn't think she could go through it with Daryl. She needed to get him to talk to her. She'd waste away to nothing if she continued to let her worries keep her from being able to eat.

Life sure seemed easier when it was just her and the kids. She shook her head at that thought. Who was she kidding.....she loved all of these people and wouldn't change a thing. She walked into their bedroom. Daryl was laying back on the bed, feet still on the floor. She laid down beside him.

“Ask me anything, and I'll tell you the truth, I have no secrets to hide from you. Do you want to know everything that happened back there? You haven't asked me anything.”

“I already know everything that happened.”

“Do you? Did the guys tell you?”

“No.”

“Then how could you possibly know?”

“I saw the video's.” She turned her head to look at him. She leaned up and turned on her side, holding her head in her hand, her elbow resting on the bed. She studied his face, then looked at his hands that were linked across his stomach. That wasn't bothering him. It was something else.

“Is there anything you want to ask me about?” His faced remained blank but she noticed his knuckles turning white on his linked hands.

“I promise I'll answer you with the truth.”

“I know you would, that's why.....” She waited to see if he would continue. He didn't.

“That's why you don't want to ask me? Are you afraid of what my answer might be?” She frowned as she asked him. He briefly glanced over at her. She'd hit the nail on the head.

“Daryl..........do you still love me? Or do you want me to leave?” She asked in a whisper afraid to actually say it out loud. His eyes shot to hers.

“No! I don't want you to leave! Yes, I still love you!”

“What is it then? Something is eating at you. Do you think I'm too.......... used?”

“No! Stop talking like that! None of it was your fault! Not this time or the last time!” He was getting frustrated. He hated that she was doubting herself all because of his insecurities.

“Then what?” She asked as a single tear escaped. He sat up fast.

“None of it seems to bother you!” There! He said it.

“What?”

“You go without eating and get sick because you think Rick, Jesus and Merle are upset with you or mad at you! But it doesn't even phase you that they had sex with you.” God, he wished he could take it back. He looked at the floor.

“You're right.” His head whipped up to look at her. She saw the hurt in his eyes before he shut them.

“Daryl......please look at me.” She waited. He didn't want to look at her right now. He couldn't.

“Daryl.....I was terrified inside, when I woke up in that awful place. Just the thought that I was going to be raped again...........and by those horrible men.........I wanted to die. I wasn't sure I was strong enough to go through something like that again. Then I pissed him off, I wanted him to kill me.” Daryl finally looked at her.

“I'm sorry, but I did. He'd already hit me and shocked me and put his fingers inside me. I wanted to piss him off. I wanted him so mad at me that he would just kill me. But he didn't, instead he thought to punish me, and I wasn't dead. I was going to have to go through it again. That's when he told me that he wasn't going to rape me that they were, and he pointed to Rick, Jesus, and Merle. I felt so much relief! I was so happy!” Tears were streaming down her face.

“You wouldn't understand............but knowing it was going to be men that loved me and that I loved.......I knew everything was going to be okay. All we had to do was wait for you to come and get us. He drugged them and then threw me in with them. The drugs hadn't yet had time to take effect. They looked so scared. Here I was so happy it was going to be them.........and they were miserable. They must have thought I didn't understand what was about to happen, because they explained it to me. But I knew better than all of them, I'd been raped. This wasn't rape, this was a walk in the park compared to rape. Then it hit me.......I thought they were afraid that I would kill them at the first opportunity that I had. I kind of have a track record now.” She let out a small laugh. He actually smiled.

“Anyway, I told them to do whatever he said. I was fine with all of it, because they loved me, and it wasn't going to be those mother fuckers. But as much as I loved them...when they started to touch me.....my body just didn't respond....so I knew it would be uncomfortable. I didn't quite understand at first.......when you just look at me, I get wet, like right now....the way you're staring at me.....my body is reacting, it,...... I,....... want you to touch me and they were being so gentle and sweet, but nothing happened. I closed my eyes. It was uncomfortable but it wasn't rape Daryl. Then Jesus whispered for Rick to wait. I opened my eyes and he was touching himself right beside my head. It made me think of you.....you know how much I like to watch y.........”

“Yeah” Daryl interrupted. “Well thinking about you helped a lot.....my body started to respond while watching you.....I mean him, I was thinking of you.” She shook her head as if to clear it. After he finished, he rubbed it on me, using it like a lubricant. I closed my eyes cause I didn't want to see them doing stuff to me......but it didn't hurt at all after that, except that I got so sore from it being nonstop for I don't know how long. I'm sorry it didn't bother me Daryl. I just didn't want it to be those monsters. So, I reacted wrong? How should I feel? Please tell me. I'll feel any way you want me to, so that you'll feel better. I love you Daryl, I'll do anything for you. You just tell me what to do.”

“I want you to jump off a cliff.” He said to her.

“What? NO!” He burst out laughing and grabbed her to him.

“I thought you said you'd do anything?” He asked still laughing.

“Jeez Daryl only if I want to.” God, he loved this woman. They sat quiet for a few minutes before she asked.....

“Did you torture him for me, Daryl?”

“He's here, he's being tortured daily.” She pushed away from him.

“What? Here? In Alexandria? Where?”

“We have a cell built in the house beside the pantry.”

“Let's go!” She got off his lap and pulled him up. He knew this was coming. He couldn't believe it took this long for her to find out. But with the distraction of Rick, Jesus, and Merle..........

They started down the steps.

“Why isn't he dead?” She asked him.

“Because I found out that you were alone here, and I told you that wouldn't happen again. So …... we packed him up to bring him with us, because I also promised you he would be tortured. She laced her fingers with his and leaned against his arm.

“Do you think you'll ever want to touch me again?” She said in a sad little voice. He stopped in his tracks and looked at her.

“What?”

“You haven't touched me since I got home.” She said looking at the ground.

“I was just giving you time......”

“Time for what?”

“To recover.”

“From what?”

“When we're done here.....I'm so gonna touch you.” He said under his breath, shaking his head, but she heard him and smiled.

When they reached the house, he looked at her.

“You sure you want to see him?”

“Yes, but I'll leave the killing of him up to you guys.” Now that did surprise him. He thought that, that's why they were here.

She stared at him. He was either unconscious or sleeping, she wasn't sure. He was naked and wearing a shock collar. His hands were tied down, legs spread wide apart. Bare copper wires wrapped around his dick and nipples. Her eyes followed he wire to a truck battery. Good. Son of a bitch deserved everything he got. She jumped when he started to convulse on the table. Daryl told her that Rick, Jesus and Merle had remotes as he himself had, that would work anywhere inside Alexandria's walls. So, someone had pushed the button. How very clever, she thought. Toni memorized the room and where everything was. She wasn't going to kill him, she’d leave that to the guys.

 

As they walked back home, Daryl didn't stop at the house but kept going. Neither spoke as he led her to the cottage. He started rocking her world in the shower and ended it in the bed. Although she loved every second of it. She waited patiently for his breathing to get deep, before she slid from the bed and dressed. She made not a sound as she left the cottage. No one heard a thing as she went into the garage to get what she needed. She took her shoes off to go into the house for her 'In Case' pack. Jesus never stirred. She left as quietly as she arrived. She stayed in the shadows as she made her way to her destination. She fleetingly thought about her kids and no matter what anyone said, she wanted them back home tomorrow. When she returned to the cottage two hours later, she stripped out in the living room and stuffed her clothes in her pack. She went into the bathroom and started the shower. If he woke now, she'd just tell him she couldn't sleep or had a bad dream. He never woke. She slipped back into bed. He turned toward her and pulled her to him. She felt safe and warm in his arms. She finally slept, and it was a deep sleep like she hadn't had since she'd been back. Daryl opened his eyes. He held her a little tighter. He’d wait until morning to go see what she'd done. Right now.....she was finally sleeping, really sleeping, and she felt too good to let go of. And....personally......he could care less whether the fucker was dead or alive.

 

Rick was up before dawn, which was his habit. He slipped his jeans on and padded barefoot down to start the coffee. Daryl and Toni still weren't home. The kids weren't here including his own. He shook his head. He needed to get everyone home and under his roof again. Maggie and Glenn had yet to move back in. As he got the coffee brewing he made mental plans for the day. They needed to swap rooms, get Carl moved into his, and help Maggie and Glenn move onto Carl's old room. That was priority. He wanted things to get back to normal. If, anyone could call this packed house normal. It made him smile. It's exactly what he wanted, noise, chaos, waiting for the bathroom, bickering, breakfast, lunch and dinner with standing room only. That's what he wanted and he was gonna make it happen today. He crept into the living room so as not to wake Jesus to get the laptop off the desk. Eugene had hooked up some of the camera's in the cell so he could check on that sick fuck. He plugged it in and got a cup of coffee while it powered up. He brought up the live feed. It was still a little too dark to see anything but an outline of his body on the table. He made himself a bowl of cereal while he waited for daybreak.

The overhead light came on signaling Jesus was up.

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

“What’s he doing?” Jesus asked motioning to the laptop.

“Still too dark in there, waiting for the sun to come up.”

“I can run over there if you like.”

“No....it'll be light soon enough. Coffee's ready.”

“When are the kids coming home? Daryl and Toni never came home last night neither.” Merle grumpily asked entering the kitchen. Rick smiled. Even Merle seemed to like the overcrowding.

“They're coming home today. Everyone will be in this house by nightfall. Rick told them of his plans for the day. He put the last of the hot coffee in the carafe and started another pot. Carol walked into the kitchen followed by Abe not five minutes later. Rick got up and put all the boxes of cereal on the table, a stack of bowls, and plenty of spoons.

“What the hell is that?” Jesus said to himself looking at the screen of the computer. Rick sat down to look at the screen. It wasn't exactly light out yet so it was hard to see. But, something was on his mouth.

“I'm getting dressed.” Rick, Abe and Merle ran up the steps. Jesus dressed in the living room. When they met downstairs, they headed over to the cell.

 

They walked into the house that held the cell and hit the light switch. Jared eyes were nearly bugging out of his sockets. As the men looked at him, they could hardly believe what they were seeing, but each of them, were thinking the same thing. Toni had been there, or was it Toni and Daryl? Clearly, whoever had done this, had the sick fuck thinking that they had returned to do more. He looked terrified.

“I'm gonna go watch the tape.” Rick told them and turned and left. The others followed, they wanted to see it too.

When the men returned to the kitchen, Michonne, Maggie and Glenn were all sitting at the table.

“Good morning.” Maggie greeted them.

“You're moving in today.” Rick told them, as he opened the laptop and began rewinding the video feed. The other 3 men were standing behind him.

“What are you guys doing?” Glenn asked. Rick used a split screen to show them what Jared looked like right now.

“Looking to see who did that.” He turned it toward them.

 

Daryl walked through the front door. He'd come home to get Toni some clothes. She was still asleep but he's looked in her pack and saw the bloody clothes.

“Daryl” Rick called to him before he hit the stairs. He stopped and headed for the kitchen.

“Did you or Toni go to the cell last night?”

“Yeah, I took her to see him. She didn't know that he was even here.”

“Did you do this?” Rick asked him as he turned the screen toward him.

“No.....but, she was gone for a couple hours last night.”

 

Eugene came downstairs. He been listening to everything.

“Here, I'll find it and hook it up the big screen out here.” Rick handed him the laptop and grabbed another cup of coffee. Daryl ran upstairs to get some clothes for Toni. But he wanted to watch the tape before he went back to the cottage.

“It's ready.” Eugene called to everyone. They all filed into the living room, some sitting, some standing. Daryl was sitting on the steps, clothes for Toni in his lap. Eugene clicked play and turned up the volume.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 46

 

 

The light came on in the dark cell. They watched as Toni tacked a blanket over the window so the light wouldn't be seen from the outside. Jared had instantly, woke up.

“What do you want, bitch!” He shouted at her. She turned back away from the window to look at him. Her face was expressionless. She started to rummage through her pack pulling things out and setting them on the table as she spoke.

“Would you like to know where you went wrong? Jared....isn't it?”

“Fuck you!” He said to her.

“You didn't get to do that though, did you? See.....when you snatch people off the street.....you really should know everything about the people you're grabbing.” She pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and held them up for him to see.

“I don't want your cooties.” She said and he spit at her.

“Now you really shouldn't have done that......... dammit........... where is my sewing kit? Oh! Here it is!” She smiled at him. Holding it up for him to see.

“Hmmmmmm....simple thread simply will not do.........” She looked through her pack again, and found a small spool of cord for making necklaces.

“This will do nicely....I picked this up for Lucas to make Lisa a rainbow necklace. Oh....those are my children, by the way, who were very worried during my absence, and my family just got so much bigger, recently. You had them all worried. Now, I knew it was only a matter of time before my Daryl and the rest of them came and got us. But apparently you didn't know who you were fucking with.”

“Fuck you bitch! I should have killed you!”

“Well that's the first smart thing you've said. I agree wholeheartedly, that's what you should have done, cause if you had.......we wouldn't be here right now would we? See what I mean about knowing who you're fucking with?”

“You are so fucking dead!”

“Really? I don't feel dead....wait!......am I dreaming?” She pinched herself.

“Nope, not dreaming.....but you know what I do know? ♫You're gonna wish you were dead. ♪” She said in a sing song voice. He spit at her again and some reached her arm. She sighed.

“Well I was hoping not to have to do this.....but you've left me no choice.” She pulled the remote out of her pack and pushed and held the button. When she released it he was passed out.

Everyone in the living room watched as she put the gloves on and threaded a large needle with the cord. She stuffed a piece of material or something in his mouth. She started at the left corner of his mouth and sewed his lips together. The stitches were neat and evenly spaced. When she was done, she sat at the small table and drank a bottle of water and munched on some microwave popcorn that she'd found in a bowl, in the kitchen when she retrieved her pack.

He started to stir.

“Oh good! You're awake. Don't worry.......I didn't start without you. I had a little snack while you were resting.” She watched as he realized what she had done to him. He tried to scream but it came out as a small muffle.

“Didn't your Mama teach you that it's not nice to spit on people?” He shook his head back and forth, tears leaking out of his eyes, only to run into his hairline.

“I do wonder though what made you so evil........guess I'll never know now....you know, seeing how you can't talk anymore.” He tried screaming some more to get the attention of anyone.

“No one can hear you, you know, but if you feel the need, go right ahead.” She put a new pair of gloves on and went back to digging through her pack.

“Anyone ever tell you Jared that you have hurting hands?” She paused in her search to look at him, when she posed the question to him, her head cocked to the side.

“I was raped before you know........by 8 mother fuckers that were just like you.......they made the mistake of not killing me too. Want to know what happened to them? Well 5 of them actually....I still have 3 more to go.....but don't worry, I'll get them. I killed them, wanna know how?” She laughed at how big is eyes got.

“I can see that you do.” She smiled as she pulled a hammer and 2 jars of nails out of her pack and set them down on the table after holding them up for Jared to see.

“No....I didn't use this stuff on them....I mean, after all they did rape me and left me for dead. And can you believe they did it in front of my children? Bastards!” She looked over at him.

“You should know that you did me a favor by making my family do what they did, because I would have just had you, kill me. See it's not rape when they love you. You didn't think about that, did you? They didn't hurt me at all, but.....you did. Like I said........ you have hurting hands and I'm gonna make sure they don't hurt anyone else.”

She opened one of the jars of nails, they were slim long paneling nails. She took one out then put it back and rummaged some more in her pack until she found the small box she was looking for. They were 1” fencing staples. She picked up her hammer and the staples and walked over to his right hand that was tied down. His eyes looked like they were gonna pop right out of his head.

 

“What's in that box?” Carol wondered out loud.

“I can't get a good look at it.” Rick answered. They continued to watch.

 

“Now....I need you to open your hand and lay it flat, palm side down on the table......please.” She said pleasantly. He held it in a tight fist. She watched his hand, then looked at his face.

“Are you gonna make me count?” He tried screaming again.

“Okay.....” She shrugged her shoulders. “One......two.......” She looked at his hand and raised the hammer. “Three!” She twisted around and smashed the hammer into his kneecap. He screamed, well it was really muffled.....but he tried. She looked at his face.

“Shall we try this again?” She asked him like she was helping him with homework.

“I'd like you to open your hand, palm down.....please.” He opened his hand. She took one of the fencing staples from the box and placed it over the first knuckle below the tip and hammered it into the table.

“See that didn't hurt at all.......” She smiled at him as she did it to all his fingers on both hands. She put her box of staples back into her pack and picked up the small jar of paneling nails.

“Now.....as I saying before.....Jared, you have hurting hands....now, I'm not going to kill you, so don't you worry about that. I'm leaving that to the guys, you hurt them so much more than me. See, they are honorable men.........” She placed a nail tip just under is index fingernail then pick her hammer back up and tapped it in ever so slowly to make sure he felt every centimeter as it was going in. He tried to scream but....... the tears were coming fast now.

“Where was I? Oh yes.....they are honorable men and wouldn't have done anything like you did, even if they had a woman of yours. She would have been treated with respect.” She took another nail from the jar. His head was shaking back and forth as if begging 'No more please'.

“Hurting hands Jared........” And she tapped a nail under his ring finger nail. She reached for another nail and under the middle finger nail she tapped. He was shaking with his sobs now. He had peed all over the table.

“I think I took my punishment quite well, don't you? I didn't scream at all.” She positioned another under his pinkie nail, and tap, tap, tap. His hand was lying in a pool of his own blood
.
“You're right handed....right? Let me think.....” She closed her eyes as if thinking back.

“Yes, you are! I clearly remember it now. That right there is a bad, bad, hurting thumb.....hold on.....let me get something special for that.” She walked back to her pack and dug through it again.

“Do you read, Jared?” She asked while looking through her pack.

“I love to read....so much information to gain.” She looked over at him.

“I was reading this story once, and it took me to the Korean war and how they tortured their prisoners.......that's how I thought of this justice for your hurting hands. Don't you find it fitting? Your hurting hands are being hurt.” She smiled at him.

“Be thankful that you didn't rape me.....those poor fuckers.......hell they ended up eating their own dicks.” His eyes grew wide again. His hair was wet from the tears rolling down into it.

“Anyway.....back to you......in the book I read,....... it talked about them shoving bamboo up under the fingernails.” She shivered just thinking about it. Then pulled out a 3” nail from her pack.

“This should do it! Don't you think?” She walked back to his hand.

“This thumb right here....” She said while holding it.

“Loved to push that fucking button.....we....on the other hand didn't like it at all.

“This is for Rick, Jesus, and Merle.” She pounded the nail through the center of his thumb nail. His back arched off the table.

“Oh! Did that hurt?” She laid her hammer on his chest and walked around to the other side of the table, after all, he did have two hands.

“Damn!” She said to herself because he had passed out. She walked back to the table and retrieved her water bottle. She poured a little on his face. He shook his head as he woke up.

“You really can't handle pain, very well can you? Or....maybe I just have a high thresh hold for it.” She said with her thumb and index fingers on her chin.

“Anyway......let's get back to it!” He groaned out his plea while shaking his head.

 

“I'm so glad she's on our side.” Glenn said to everyone including himself.

“She's probably read the Bible and believes in 'an eye for an eye'.” Maggie added.

“Nooooo......it must be done, hurting hands, for hurting hands. Now try to be a man. Oh wait.....you're not a man, but a monster.” And in went the first nail. His Adams apple bobbed up and down as he tried to scream out.

“I imagine you're regretting your decision to crash into us right about now or maybe an hour ago.” She laughed at her own funny. And another nail was tapped into place. His shoulders shook with his silent sobs.

“Which one hurts the worst, going in?” She hesitated with her hammer and nail above his ring finger.

No answer was forthcoming.

“You're right of course, it really doesn't matter, does it? Just as long as it hurts.” Tap, tap, tap.......She plucked another nail from the jar.

“Oh, hey! Do you know what happened to all your friends?.......Hmmmmm......me either, I’ll have to ask, I may have more visits to make.”

“And this little paneling nail went wee, wee, wee, all the way home. Get it? It was your pinkie.” She laughed at her joke. She picked up another 3” nail and moved to his thumb.

“Now this one is for my Daryl, now I know........ he wasn't there......but.....you made him worry and he was very upset at what you made them do to me. You should probably know, while you're waiting for this huge nail to be hammered into your thumb, that Rick is Daryl's best friend, and.....and......no....no..... don't shake your head.....Merle is his brother......and Jesus is a good friend of his and my best friend. You'd have known that, had you done your homework.” She raised the hammer and slammed it down. He arched off the table again.

“You know.....maybe I should have just cut them off.....nah......you would have probably bled to death, and where's the fun in that, right?” She picked up 5 more long nails.

“Hmmmmmmm......it's an odd number.....these......” she held up the 5 nails for him to see.

“These are for the children you had at your place. Oh, did I forget to tell you? We have them now, but don't you worry. We'll take good care of them. We will love them as if they were our own, cause we're not like you. We don't have hurting hands. Yeah...yeah....yeah..... I know what you're thinking, that I'm hurting you right now. But remember I wouldn't be if you hadn't hurt us. Have you ever read the Bible? An eye for an eye. That's what it says. Anyway....where was I? Oh yes, the 5 children.....which hand would you like 3 nails in?” She waited for his response.

“Would you rather I choose? Okay, I pick.........the right hand, cause that's your button pushing hand.” She moved to the other side of the table and picked her hammer up off his chest.

“Ready? Think of the children and every wrong thing that you did to them.” She started pounding away.

“Oops! Did that one hit the bone?” She continued until all 3 nails were thru his hand, and moved to the other side.

“Ready?” His eyes were slammed shut against the pain, his body writhed in it. She waited him out hammer raised, nail poised just above his hand. She didn't move or make a sound. As soon as he opened his eyes...........Slam! The nail went straight through to the wood. She slowly hammered the last one in.

“There! All done.” She looked at her handy work. Those hands wouldn't hurt anyone ever again.

“Sorry.....I can't.......I can't stand that it's not even.” She grabbed another nail.

“Now I'm sure that you've done something to deserve this. I know you didn't become your sick self when you crashed into us. Last one.....promise.” She hammered it home and started putting all her things away.

“You know.....I'm really proud of myself.......I'm leaving and your dick is still attached to your body. I am learning restraint.” She smiled at him, and gave the room one last look to make sure she packed all her things
.
“I'm gonna go crawl back into bed with my wolf. Shhhhhh......don't tell anyone I said that. He was a lone wolf when I met him. But I read......and wolves’ mate for life. He's mine now and I'm his. So, mums the word. Oh! How silly of me....you can't talk anymore can you?” She laughed.

The blanket over the window she thought. She snatched it off and turned the light off.

“Sweet dreams Jared. I'm gonna go crawl in bed with my man.” She went through the cell door and locked it behind her, hanging the key back up where's she'd found it.

 

Everyone sat silent in the living room. What does one say after witnessing something like that? Some looked over at Daryl. He was smiling at no one. He got up and headed out the door. He needed to crawl back into bed with his She-wolf. His long strides ate up the pavement on the way back to the cottage.

Chapter Text

Mercy Chapter 47

 

 

Toni came walking through the back door wrapped in a sheet, carrying her backpack. When she'd woke up and Daryl was gone, there was no going back to sleep for her. So.....she went home to find him, via through the back yards so as not to garner attention. She snuck through the empty kitchen, only to find herself in a very crowded living room. She stopped for a millisecond, before holding her head high while wearing nothing but a sheet and saying good morning to everyone, then making her way up to their room.

 

When Daryl entered the cottage, he was already unbuttoning his shirt. He had it off as he walked through the bedroom door. He stopped short and retraced his steps to the bathroom. Where was she? He went into the living room and noticed her pack was gone. Dammit! He'd been gone too long, she'd woke up alone and left. He grabbed his shirt and put it on as he was walking out the front door.

 

When Daryl walked through the front door, all fingers pointed upstairs. He shook his head while smiling, and took the stairs two at a time.

“Why'd you leave me Dixon?” Toni asked with her back to the door, so she didn't see the surprise on Daryl's face.

“How'd you know it was me?” She didn't tell him only he would take the stairs two at a time to get to her and she'd heard him, instead she said....

“It's was your scent.” He cocked a brow which she also missed with her back to him. He came up behind her and bit the back of her neck. Shivers ran down her spine. He took her tank by the hem and lifted up and off of her.

“I just put that on.”

“And I just took it off.”

“I don't think I'm in the mood anymore.”

“If you weren't.....you'd still have your shirt on.” He had her there. She smiled. He missed it, being behind her. She turned to face him and saw his shirt. It was misbuttoned like he'd been in a hurry. She grabbed the front tails of it and ripped it apart. Buttons went flying. Pushing it off his shoulders, she licked at his puckered nipple.

“Thought you weren't in the mood.” He stated. She nipped at it, then sucked on it. His shirt fell to the floor.

“I'm not.” She agreed, while starting on his belt. He picked her up and threw her on the bed.

“Well I am.” He said as he pulled her shoes off, and fell on top of her. Their lips met and fought for control. Both hungry, trying to devour the other. When they came up for air, they were forehead to forehead.

“Hi.” Toni whispered, with her arms around his neck.

“Hi.” Daryl replied with a wicked smile, that promised so much.

“You left me alone in bed.”

“You left me alone in bed”

“I came home to get you some clothes.”

“I went to pay Jared a visit.”

“Did you do what you needed to do?”

“I did....he has hurting hands....so I hurt those hands so he couldn't hurt anyone else. But I have a feeling that you already knew that.”

“I do.”

“I left him for you guys to dispose of.”

“And with his dick still attached, I'm so proud of you.”

“I know right! Wait! How do you know that?” She asked with her hands on his chest, pushing at him.

“Camera.”

“Camera?”

“Yes, Eugene installed one of those cameras from the warehouse so we could keep an eye on him.”

“But I went in the middle of the night.”

“Just had to rewind the tape.”

“So. everyone knows?”

“Yes.”

“Well shit.”

“I love you.” She moved her hands up to his face and saw it as the truth, in his eyes.

“I love you more.” He stood up and slipped his fingers into the waistband of her pants and pulled them off in one swoop, dropping them to the floor. He then pushed his own off and kicked them to the side.

“As your wolf... I'm ready to claim my mate.” Her eyes widened, and she drew in a breath. He knew! He'd heard her. She sat up slowly. Then she surprised him by turning over onto all fours and looking back at him.

“Then sink your teeth into me and mount me, my wolf.” The desire in her eyes said it all. She didn't have to tell him twice. He slid his fingers between her legs to make sure she was ready for him. He needn't have bothered for she was always ready for him whenever he was near. He slowly entered her.

“Slow is nice, but my wolf would take what he wants.” She felt his teeth on her neck, holding her in place, while he quickened the pace, animalistic sounds were coming from deep within her, urging him to go faster, harder. He pulled her up to him on her knees with his teeth on her throat, his hands squeezing her breasts. Her head thrown back, and to the right to ensure he had better access. He was growling as he pumped into her. And that's what Abe and Glenn saw as they reached the top step. They stood shocked and watched for a few seconds before turning and going back down the stairs.

“Damn, that's an image I won't soon forget.” Abe said. Glenn just nodded. When they reached the bottom, Glenn sat down on the last step. Maggie came over and sat down beside him.

“Well?”

“Well what?” Glenn asked absentmindedly.

“Which room do we want?”

“Ah.....we didn't get to look yet.” Maggie got up to go upstairs.

“No! You can't go up there!”

“Why not?”

“Because Daryl and Toni are.....well.... they didn't close the door......” Maggie looked up the steps as if she could see them.

“Yeah.......let's just say.....he's definitely her wolf.” Maggie cocked her head and looked at him.

“I'll tell you later............... Or......maybe I'll show you........” He promised her.

 

“We need to get ready, if we're gonna go get the beds so we can change the rooms and get everyone moved in tonight.” Rick came out of the kitchen saying.

“We can't just yet.” Glenn told him.

“What? Why not?”

“Cause Daryl and Toni are ahhh............” Glenn began.

“Because Daryl dipped his stick, and decided the oil needed changing. And....he's really sinking his teeth into it, with the hood wide open.” Abe told them laughing.

Abe waited and watched as confused faces turned to smiling ones. Rick looked up the steps. Maggie and Glenn were still blocking the way.

“Daryl! Toni! We're leaving in 20 minutes!” Rick yelled up the stairs. Everyone tried to pretend they didn't hear the cries of orgasms coming from upstairs in the silent living room.

 

The 16 vehicles were lined up at the gate when Toni and Daryl came out of the house. They weren't taking any chances this time. They were armed to the teeth. They would be a force to reckon with if trouble emerged. The kids ran up to them. Toni was so happy to see them. It had been almost 2 days since she'd seen them.

“Are you ready to pick out your beds?” Toni asked them.

“I want the top bunk!” Both boys said at the same time.

Daryl, Rick, Toni and the kids, including Carl were riding in the Van. There was no way Daryl was going to let Toni and the kids, out of his sight, this trip. As the convoy left Alexandria, there was no singing and enjoying the ride. Everyone was on watch, keeping alert for any trouble. They'd learned their lesson the hard way. They arrived at the furniture store almost two hours later without incident.

The store was untouched, after all no one needed furniture when they were constantly on the go. The store was apparently closed when the world went to shit because there were no walkers inside. For the next 3 hours they shopped and took beds apart and loaded the trucks. But that wasn't all they got. They got refrigerators, freezers to store meat for when they got lucky, dressers, extra stoves, lamps and tables of all kinds. They packed every truck, van, and car with as much as they could fit. As Daryl and Rick were tying down a truck load, Toni let him know that she and the kids were going to the woods to use the bathroom before the long trip home. Daryl hollered at Tara and Sasha to go with them too. Toni didn't mind, she really liked them, and as they've all learned there is safety in numbers. Daryl watched as they disappeared into the woods, then went back to tying down the furniture in the back of the truck.

Maggie and Glenn had pulled their car around to the side door of the building to load up. Glenn was leaning into the car, stacking boxes, when Maggie stopped talking midsentence. He reached for his side arm.

“I wouldn't do that, if you want this pretty lady here to keep breathing. Now back out slowly with your hands up.” A man's voice said.

Abe, Jesus and Aaron had backed up to one of the loading docks around the back of the building to load some couches, dressers and tables, into the big box truck that they had brought.

“Put the furniture down and put your hands up. Please, by all means, do something stupid, I've been wanting to try out my new AR-15 all day.”

Merle, Michonne, and Rosita were at the gas station on the corner of the street, Michonne was out at the pumps filling gas cans, when she felt a gun pointed at the back of her head.

“Don't move.” The voice behind her said. Inside the station, Merle and Rosita were filling backpacks and duffel's with cigarettes, candy, wiper blades, oil, cigars, rolling papers, anything and everything that they felt they may be able to use.

“Hands up folks, let's not do anything stupid now, or your brains will be splattered all over yonder wall.” A deep voice said from behind them.

Carol, Eugene, Spencer and Tobin were just filling up the last of the totes with all the weapons they'd found in the pawn shop at the opposite end of the street. They had backed the van up to the back door and were coming out hands full, carrying the totes, when they came face to face with 3 armed men.

“You can go ahead and put those right into the van.” They told them after relieving them of all their weapons.

Landon was high up in a tree keeping watch while nature called for the rest of them. Toni had just finished behind a bush when she looked up at Landon. He was signing a mile a minute. She gave the signal for everyone to go to the trees. Tara and Sasha stayed on the ground armed and alert waiting for Toni to see what the problem was. Toni pulled her binoculars out of her 'in case' pack, and scanned the area. No, no, no, no, no, no! Shit! Toni thought. Not again. They couldn't seem to catch a break. She climbed down to fill Sasha and Tara in.

“Looks like about two dozen men, heavily armed. They already have everyone.”

“Dammit!” Sasha cursed. Tara looked at the kids.

“Don't worry about my kids they’ve been trained well.”

“I didn't mean........” Tara began.

“We're gonna need a plan. We have no way to get home and get help. It will be dark soon enough, we have time to make a plan.”

“Don't worry.....Toni will come up with a plan and it will work. They always do.” Lisa assured them.

Landon signed to her again. She signed back. The boys started their descent.

 

“They're coming this way, we need to move further into the woods.” They took off running.

 

“Davey and Greg, you two head back to the sanctuary and tell Negan what we have found.” Hank told them.

“That's a 6 hour drive.” Davey said.

“We'll camp here tonight to wait for Negan, since it's closer to the sanctuary. He'll probably wait til morning to come so we'll see you back here about noon I imagine.” We'll move everything back into the woods right there.” He said pointing toward the woods behind the furniture store.

The saviors drove all the Alexandria vehicles back to the woods, while making her family walk at gunpoint in front of them. Toni could see them, her man, her wolf, her family, scanning the trees, looking for her. She stayed hidden so as not to give any of their captors a chance of seeing her.

 

Two hours later as dusk was upon them a plan had been formulated. An unconventional plan, but a plan none the less. Sasha and Tara had just looked at her like she was speaking Greek to them when she first presented it. But.....as she explained it they felt it just may even the odds, though they were positive, without a doubt, that no one, but her, would have ever come up with it.

Sasha, Lisa, and Landon took off to take care of the first part. Hopefully they would be back within two hours time. Toni, Tara and Lucas headed to the small creek they'd found earlier. Sasha, Lisa and Landon should be done and headed for the top of the hill. After covering their bodies, head to toe with mud, Toni made her way back up a tree to check on her family. They had built 3 fires, and had most of her family tied to trees in a big circle. They were at least 12 men guarding them within the light of the fires. Toni went to scout out where the rest of the men were.

 

Sasha, Lisa and Landon returned within the two hours that Toni had hoped for. It was almost midnight by Tara's watch. Time to set the plan into motion. She looked over at the hill. She could she the soft glow of a campfire. Perfect. Let the games begin.

She took the walkie talkie from Sasha. Tara and Landon went to take out the guards to the West and Sasha, Lisa and Lucas went East to dispose of those lookouts. Toni eased deeper into the woods to get into a position between the two hills so no one would be able to detect where exactly the sound was coming from. For she had read that sound bounces off the hills so as not to be able to pinpoint its location.

She climbed a high tree and pulled out her binoculars. First, she checked on the family. All seemed quiet. She looked west, but couldn't locate Tara and Landon. She was confident though that they had achieved their mission. She turned to scan the east, in the moonlight she could see Sasha, Lisa and Lucas, making their way back and getting into position. Upon further inspection she saw Tara and Landon and breathed a sigh of relief. She turned around in the tree to face toward the hills and started to howl like a wolf. She turned back around and used her binoculars to check the make shift camp/prison. The guards were all looking in different directions, trying to determine where the howling was coming from. Good. She scanned the beautiful faces of her family. They were looking at one another. Nodding, at the ready. She smiled. Now they knew. She looked at Tara and Landon, and saw them giving her a thumbs up. Sasha, Lisa and Lucas had their arms raised indicating that they were ready as well. She pulled the walkie talkie off her hip and pushed the button. It was showtime!