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31 December 2014 @ 05:57 pm
The Walking Dead: "Shards of the Mind" (Daryl/Carol) - Gift for gryphon2k - Story + Fanmix (English)  
Title: "Shards of the Mind"
Author: dunderklumpen
Recipient: For gryphon2k @ the multifan_gift exchange.
Prompt/Wishes: Walking Dead; Daryl/Carol, I prefer stuff that follows canon (except for slashiness), and keeps in-character.
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Pairing: Daryl/Carol
Rating: R (only because it's a zombie apocalypse, people!;)
Word Count: 1.314 words
Summary: She's afraid he's falling in love. She's terrified she already has.
Beta: Thanks to dancing_ghost because I'm not a native speaker and she was a sweetheart and looked it over. And because I was late, late, late and she still took the time on short notice.
A/N: I haven't written anything over 1.000 words for almost a year now - not to mention in english. And, sorry, but this fic gave me a major headache. It just didn't want to be written and as much as I tried to give you Daryl/Carol, in the end it became more a character study of Carol with hints of D/C. The red thread is basically the chronological timeline of the series.
I started the fic before we had the last couple of Carol episodes. I was so proud that I had an "aha" moment about Carol. And then her bottle episode happened and I was like "Great, now they've told most of it:(". So all in all I tried my best and hope you like it.

If you're not up to date with the current season the story will contain at least one major SPOILER.

"Shards of the Mind"

Being alone is what gets her in the end. At first she tries to seperate, to stay away from big crowds and chaos. But she learns fast enough that this isn't an option if she wants them to survive. Finding Lori and Shane saves her in more ways than one. In the beginning, she's cautious, but after several weeks she accepts that she can't push them away forever. Rick's appearance was just a source of irritation back then. Now it's everything. He's family and when he told her to leave it broke her heart. Coming back to the group doesn't heal it instantly - but she's on her way. Daryl helps.

She wonders if she survived because of Ed. Because he used to beat the crap out of her until she could only crawl into oblivion. She didn't leave back then. Instead she endured. It was a weakness she hated herself for. Maybe it was the reason why she survived.

Lori had called her strong for it once. But she doubts it. When she was with him she only concentrated on staying, not leaving. When the shit hit the fan, it wasn't any different. She needed to pull herself up and go on. It was something she knew how to do; she had done it for years until it became as familiar as breathing. Just now... he's not there anymore to keep her. She wonders if these years with him were the hard school she had to go through to prepare her - make her the one she is today.

Her eyes drift to Daryl. They are all surviors. They are all victims. When this realization threatens to overwhelm her, he's there.

The sex is good. He's more gentle than she had expected.

She's curious if it's because he knows of her past or because it's what he craves. In the end it doesn't matter.

She can't remember when they last had sex in a bed. She guesses it was in prison... when for five seconds life seemed fine. It's lust and it's comfort. He's family and she can't lose him.

If the others know they stay silent. They don't talk about it.
They never talk about it! Instead they keep watch together, sit next to each other and stare into the darkness, afraid of what will come.
The crossbow is placed on his knees, his fingers resting on the handle. For a moment she wants to reach out and take his hand. It's only a fleeting second she has the urge to keep him, a blink in time before she scolds herself. They don't do that. They're not a couple, not by a longshot.
He looks up at her and she presses her lips together tightly. Tension, composure, strength. No weakness allowed. She forces herself to turn her head towards the darkness. They have a job to do.

Their days are dirty. Dust and ash and human remains. The last time she was clean was a lifetime ago. Nowadays she's always covered in filth and sweat. The road they take clings to her, reminds her with every step of the life she leads now. She sees the irony in it - the grim of a thousand lifetimes physically manifesting on her skin. If she had to tell someone her story she just needs to let them take her in. She's sure everyone could see it on her, in her. Still... she's no different than the rest. They all bear the signs of their survival in one way or another. He walks in front of her; the angelwings of his vest span across his shoulders.

Sometimes, when she sees him holding the baby, her heart hurts in a way that's dangrous. It's like seeing him with Sophia when she was a newborn and grief overwhelms her. She can't change the past, no matter how much she wants to. Judith whines softly and images appear in front of her that are forbidden. He smiles at her while her girl is running towards him. She throws herself into his arms with all the trust only children posses. And he catches her, picks her up and spins her around. They're laughing together, free and unoncerned while she's watching them. Sometimes she's pregnant in these dreams, stroking over her stomach. His hands are next to hers, petting her belly tenderly and he gives her that smile - the one she only sees when he makes love to her.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! She can't afford to dream like this. Not when everywhere she looks death is staring in her face, trying to kill her every minute of every day. It's not a place for children, it's not a place for fantasies.

She wakes of a strange dream. Bits and pieces stay with her into waketime. Something about a choir competition, singing loudly. She blinks once and breathes in. It's not the weirdest thing these days. Better than waking up screaming, covered in guts and blood.

Beth vanishes and they search for her. Being alone with him doesn't mean anything right now - until it suddenly does. Lying next to him on the bunk bed feels more intimate than their last sex. It was hurried and desperate and they were barely able to shed any clothes. But it was comforting and warm and he caressed her cheek afterwards like he meant it. She's afraid he's falling in love. She's terrified she already has.

When she opens her eyes she sees the smoke. Daryl is gone and panic starts to rise in her chest. Then she discovers him. He's in the middle of burning the bodies. Here, standing in front of the fire, she thinks she almost loves him.
The whole situation is fucked up and she shouldn't go there but he has done this for her because he's concerned. Out of anyone he knows her the best. She can't ignore that.

Getting pregnant is a real problem. Seeing herself this way in her dreams doesn't mean anything. It just symbolizes her fear of becoming a mother again. She can't do it in this world. She should put a stop to the sex. But he's there and he cares and she just can't live without him. Being dependant scares her more than all the zombies in the world. Technically she's still able to become pregnant.

All her life she was someone else. First she was her mother's child - always eager to be as perfect as her Mom wanted her to be. Then she was Ed's. Being his wife was just a continuation of the same. Being perfect for him, so that he wouldn't find a fault and hit her. Then Sophia came and she was a Mom herself. It made her perfect for a moment and she hoped he would stop. But after three months he started again.
The zombies came as a curse and a blessing. For the first time she didn't know who she was. She and Sophia had to survive - no matter what cost.
Becoming part of the group changed her - the way they lived made her another. She didn't have to be perfect anymore... she just needed to be herself. It opened up a new world and made her discover that she was stronger than ever imagined.
Killing zombies wasn't hard anymore. Killing people was. Karen and David were a necessity, Lizzie was a a necessity. For the first time she felt like a monster.

This world re-forms them and makes them something new. She lets it happen. Now it's time she re-forms herself. She grabs the book and stuffs it in her bag.

After Beth they hold each other. They don't cry but hugging him gives her the strength to carry on. She hopes she does the same for him.

Being alone almost killed her once. She won't let it happen to him.


I also made a Mini fanmix to accompany the story:

Cover 1

Shards of the Mind
A Daryl/Carol Fanmix

01. Christina Aguilera - Fighter
02. Main Title Theme Song (UNKLE Remix)
03. Pentatonix - Radioactive
04. Jessie J. - Fire
05. Darren Hayes - Bloodstained Heart
06. Rea Garvey - Catch Me When I Fall
07. Portugal. The Men - Heavy Games (OST TWD)
08. Madonna - Wash All Over Me (feat. Avicii)
09. Of Monsters and Men - Sinking Man
10. Helen Sjöholm - Gabriellas Sång (OST Så som i himmelen)

Cover 2
Alternative Cover

You can download it


I'm a total n00p at making art.
But I didn't want to leave you without a cover.
That's why they look a bit unprofessional.
Current Location: Home sweet Home
Gryph: Darylgryphon2k on December 31st, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
OMG! I LOVE IT! I love character studies (and have been known to write a few myself). Carol has so much depth and complexity to her backstory; it's great to see that explored. And the hints of Daryl as a gentle lover are really just how I picture him. He's another character that is fabulous in his flawed complexity.

And the mix! I ADORE fanmixes, and this one captures lots of feels. The covers are great; I love the choice of images. You did good!

Thank you so much, I really treasure these gifts.
dunderklumpendunderklumpen on January 9th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC)

I'm so glad you love it. Especially after I had such a hard time to write it.
I was afraid you would be disappointed but that you like it makes me happy.

Do you mind if I repost it in a TWD community? It's your present so you can decide if you wanna share or keep it to yourself:)

Edited at 2015-01-09 07:01 am (UTC)
Gryph: Darylgryphon2k on January 9th, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, you should post to any TWD community! There is also a daryl_carol community if you don't know about it. And you can also post the mix at fanmix on LJ. Nice job on all of it, so spread the love around as much as you want :)
dunderklumpendunderklumpen on January 10th, 2015 08:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I didn't know about the daryl_carol cmmunity but I posted it there now:)
The only other TWD community I know is walkingdead_tv but they're a discussion community only.

I think I will post it at fanmixes as well though.