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fic, 50 sentences: Daryl Dixon

So, I do have TWD:3.0 thoughts, because yay for pretty much everything, and also mixing it up and giving me new(ish) patterns to pull apart. But then I got distracted, because my ficcing brain stalled and I came across the whole 50 themes, 1character thing, and the whole thing is basically like strewing entrails baubles in front of a magpie and saying HAVE AT IT.

So of course I needed to try it, not on the comm itself but just here for fun, because telling fifty little stories in one sentence each? It's like the ultimate challenge to my tl;dr tendencies. And TWD canon was on the brain, so naturally Daryl got first treatment. Also it's probably the only way I could write him, because ... well, what do you do with a character that the show itself is fangirling way harder than you ever could?

Rating: M for language, the Dixon boys wouldn't do it no other way.
–LANGUAGE. Like, a bunch of it, of the strong variety, so if you're easily offended ... well what are you doing reading Daryl Dixon fic?
–Concepts/themes not much worse than what you'll see on the show, I don't think.
–Varying tenses, time periods and POVs, including second-person (but not first-person, Daryl wasn't having it).
–Devious, desperate and downright tortured punctuation, including shameless semicoloning.
–Nothing AU (as of now) or set beyond 3.0, but smatterings of headcanon and extrapolation.
–Sometimes relies heavily on familiarity with canon events.
Notes: Not mine, yadda yadda. I did my best to make each one either a discrete little storylet, or add a distinct shading or two to a moment in canon. If something doesn't make sense, either because the moment in canon it's alluding to isn't clear or I just wrote incomprehensibly, feel free to ask and I'll clarify, mea culpa.

#01 - Blend
This right here is what you wait for, this moment, the near-imperceptible turn when the natural rustle resumes, the branches, soil, critters, bugs, and the air itself knowing no difference between your patterns and theirs, welcoming you in unaware.

#02 - Stain
He silently grabs another beer, settles in for his brother’s usual tweak-speed eloquence on the degeneracy of the coloreds, and doesn’t disagree with a word of it – other than, privately, that whites are any fucking better.

#03 - Island
At the pile of stones and empty words he stands to the side, eyes the sag of the overalls, and idly thinks the guy Shane offed to save himself must have been one fat bastard.

#04 - Apple
Lori doesn’t make a sound – they don’t much anymore, since the farm – but her grin as she tosses him a fresh apple from the haul they bring back from the orchard is fierce and wild and free, and for the first time Daryl thinks he might learn to like her.

#05 - Paper
The bread is stale, like cardboard, but he eats it all, and the second thing he does is wipe his ass with some damn TP.

#06 - Relax
Carol didn’t know when it started, but as time wore on, she noticed more and more the casual little touches that Daryl accepted from them all without tensing; then the ones he returned without thinking, the ones he offered on his own initiative; and at any other time, his jump at the clatter of flung dogfood would have made her smile.

#07 - Leaves
He’s got better at tracking spoor, but the spatters of blood on the leaves make it real easy and soon he’s looking down at his first ever deer, already thinking practical, rationing out the game in his head – the Creavers down the way have a sick kid, could use some meat, and he’ll get a load of good produce from their garden in return – but as he calmly unclips his knife to finish it off and gut it, the seize, heave, slice, the hot gush over his hands, there’s a second of pure ornery triumph just because it’s dead and he’s not.

#08 - Proof
You didn’t need this freak-show armageddon to know God couldn’t give a shit about this planet, much less you, but then, in spite of everything, you watched with your very own eyes a human being grow from nothing into a whole person in the world and maybe – just barely maybe – you’re willing to reserve judgment on where the inscrutable asshole might be found.

#09 - Ugly
“Merrrle,” she slurred, high as fuck, as Daryl recoiled from her clammy, languid hand down his face, “why can’t you be as pretty as your jailbait brother, here?”

#10 - Book
They had been two months moving, scrounging, whittled bare to food-fuel-weapons-shelter, when suddenly she was holding pure luxury in her hands – papertexture-gluesmell-spinecrease-words – courtesy of blue eyes watching from their corners to see if he’d done well, and all Carol could think was how did he know?

#11 - Brood
You sneer at these skittish douchebags sniggering around the campfire pretending their dying world is still playing by their rules, and you shake off Merle’s smack on the chest – his “Oh don’t y’all mind little brother here, he’s one moody pain in the ass,” his snake oil voice – and you’ll take your hand off your knife but you ain’t saying another word because fuck Merle, you don’t hunt high and you know what you goddamn saw.

#12 - Mesh
It stretches off to every side, a miracle of thin metal lines turning thin air into safety, tangling them in its snarl as he sprints after Rick and death shuffles up behind their people.

#13 - Soft
Merle watches Daryl stalk away, then chuckles low, leans over his jackass buddy on the floor clutching at his broken elbow in agony – and tells him no, as it so happens, his baby brother ain’t soft.

#14 - Shelf
The school librarian had watched the weird, sullen Dixon kid work his way determinedly along that whole shelf, end to end, and she weighed the book of Native American wilderness lore thoughtfully in her hand; it wasn’t really suitable fourth-grade reading, but the next time he came to the counter, she went with her instinct and added it to his pile.

#15 - Alone
He stares at her a long minute, this mother willing to give up on her child, and wants to snap the worthless bitch’s neck because now Sophia really is out there alone.

#16 - Fall
You balance awkwardly, force legs that want to buckle to brace against tree roots instead, take three breaths of fire, and growl through blood and teeth at your never-there brother because you ain’t no one’s bitch, this is your search, and this slope ain’t taking you down again.

#17 - Knot
His fingers recognize the straps and fastenings as he readies the horse, bringing back those few summers working the stables on that big rich farm, all the mucky, back-busting chores, but he’d liked the cash and learned to ride and overall didn’t mind it – other than that stuck-up daughter of theirs, hanging around calling him “farmboy” like he never had a name, and maybe he shoulda gone along with whatever damn fool response she’d wanted from him (instead of “piss off, you stupid cow”), gone for whatever he could get – but he didn’t, never liked feeling played, and now she’d be dead and he’s got a girl to find so he forgets it completely and leads his mount out into the sunlight.

#18 - Crowd
Daryl flatly ignores the iron rule of pairs or threes, frequently ranging out to scout or hunt by himself, but Rick never says a word about it; the man was about as socialized as a wet feral cat, and twice as prickly, and it’s plain to see he often found their group of ten a crowd of nine too many; but he always makes his way back to them sooner or later, and usually lugging some dead-animal offering in tow.

#19 - Denial
“Shit, officer, we ain’t seen the old man ’round here f’r about three weeks, prob’ly still on a bender,” he lies easy, clocking how far to the gorge Merle would be by now; the house was cleaned up, his own face could be explained away (underage drinking, fighting, whatever – he'd take his chances with juvie, but Merle just turned 21), so as long as nobody saw his brother driving the pickup along the backroads or dumping the body, nobody could ever say their father had come home at all.

#20 - Train
The train screeches into the station, and there he is: pasty from confinement, sleep-deprived on buses and trains all the way from Fort Carson, dishonored by his country, and as big and loud an asshole as ever; Daryl returns the wave, starts the ignition, and grins.

#21 - Fur
Shane felt his hackles rise – even with his hair gone – and knew if he turned around, he’d see those cool, silent eyes fixed on him, and no matter how useful the mangy backwoods crackerass had ended up being, Shane would not count it a loss if he walked off the farm again and this time didn’t come back.

#22 - Chrome
He worked his ragged thumbnail at whatever had spattered and hardened on the handlebar, waiting on the pack of bickering dumbasses behind him, and thought on-balance he’d rather be listening to his brother holler at the state of his bike.

#23 - Heart
There ain’t much in a man that pain won’t bring to the top, and you’ve toed that dance with the best of them, but then you didn’t need much to see this one’s type – all pretty words weaselin’ for what you wanna hear and a gleam of wrong in the eye – and when the sumbitch feels you out about those two little girls, it’s time to put pain to its proper work.

#24 - Intention
Daryl’s hands are on her sore shoulder, warm, gentle, and innocent; she knows the instant he tenses he’s realized she might think it means something else, but she’s still giddy from their victory today and she cannot resist poking at this abashed little freakout he’s trying to hide; and she knows the instant he relaxes that he's realized her teasing means: accepted, loved, safe.

#25 - Push
The unsteady wrrrnk, wrrnk of the door shrieks across every nerve ending, rage shoving up under his skin fit to burst, ramming her knife into the floor, her knife, Carol, Carol alone and fighting and these dead motherfuckers closing in, their fucking hands and teeth on her and just gone, and it’s not enough, not enough to hold in the rage and it drives him to his feet, he has to move, to pace, to kick or he’ll explode, and he’d leave that weak piece of filth on the other side of the door to starve for eternity except he’s got her knife in his hand and he needs something to pay and he yanks away the body jamming it closed, grabs the door and he pulls.

#26 - Look
“Aww, pretty Darylina, wit’ yer mama’s pretty eyes – c’mon ya pussy, dance f’r– umph!”

#27 - Weight
The body flopped over him is good and rank and he holds still, hoping the walker-corpse stink over T-Dog will be enough to mask the fresh blood spurting from the man’s arm until the herd passes, and only then does it hit him that between the living and these shambling, obscene dead, he hadn’t even thought about color or grudges or what his brother would say – and decides to hell with all that bullshit anyway.

#28 - Spider
Mostly he’d just smash’m, but sometimes he’d watch, the way they sidle fast and nimble and low, and practice until he could move almost as smooth.

#29 - Robe
He’d been out a few days longer than usual, and felt a rare burst of affection at the sight of that old dim light over the porch, with all its familiar ruckus of his brother’s latest woman flouncing off into the night, so when Merle, bathrobe flapping around him like moth wings, finished up his farewell tirade of profanities with “– the clap, you snaggletoothed skank!” and a welcome-home grunt, Daryl just grinned and told him to put some panties on, he looked ridiculous.

#30 - Umbrella
The November storm comes up on the two of you fast and hard, catching you on the way back to the others, and since the last thing you need is a chewing-out for letting the slip of a girl get soaked to the bone and die of pneumonia, you wrap her in your poncho and make a mental note about scrounging winter clothing.

#31 - Surface
He watches in fascination as the hot buzz turns skin into declaration, and starts planning where the next one would go.

#32 - Idea
No, son, I don’t know what you endured as a youth, and I do grieve the hurt you’ve suffered ... but I also know that me and my girls – everyone here – would not have survived without the strength you built in overcoming it, and I will thank my God for that, he’d said, grave sorrow in them unflinching old eyes the only deciding factor for obscenities and stomping away instead of bloodshed, but the thought had stuck, slithered right down through all the black tangle of hate and took to the back of his head like a mean tooth he can’t quite leave alone.

#33 - Diamond
For years he didn’t realize it had survived the fire until Merle, furious, redeemed it from the pawn shop, but a week later it was gone again and that time for good.

#34 - Blind
Merle hadn’t hesitated to shank the first wrong-eyed fucker in the chest, the hell with emergency broadcasts saying little more than to stay calm, but even Merle Dixon loses his shit when something shrugs off three solid stabs to center mass and though the crossbow bolt squelching through the thing’s skull saved his life, it was all he could do to yell at Daryl for nearly taking his eye out.

#35 - Flow
Daryl had made a habit of knowing exactly what people were packing, and especially what they favored, since long before the world ended – since around the time Merle included their house in the stream of illicit substances through the county – but damn if katana ain’t a new one.

#36 - Movement
She’s known he wanted it for a long time – any woman could tell, catching his shuttered, hungry glances in those stolen moments when the others touch her, glances that deny his curiosity even while feeding it – but he gives in only once, and when he does, the look on his face strikes her speechless, she doesn’t know whether to weep or laugh or hold him tight but he’d hate all three equally, so she just presses his grubby, hot palm a little firmer against the kicking in her belly and keeps it there as long as he wants.

#37 - More
Daryl scrubs at his wet hair and picks out his earwax and wonders where everyone got to; when he finds out, he can only stare, and wonder not for the first time what the hell is wrong with all of them – the man had said not to waste the hot water and the power.

#38 - Honey
You didn’t get much music growing up, but you did once taste honey near as pale as the girl’s hair, and you think maybe that’s what she’s made of because the voice singing across the dark field is just as impossibly sweet.

#39 - Weather
It’s not his first time in overnight lock-up, but he always hates it, he’s choking on it, the fug of bodies and bars and walls in his gullet and he can’t even see sky, not a window, and he can’t do this again; he’s not Merle, he believes it might really kill him to be jammed into a cage like that, to not come and go as he wanted, to not raise his hand and touch wind or rain or thunder flash or miles of wide open air.

#40 - Blue
You didn’t need to see blue – purple-black-yellow – on her to tell you anything, not about her, not about her shitstain excuse for a husband, not her girl, and not about life, but they ain’t family and they ain’t your problem; now you meet her wet – blue – eyes, hand her the pickaxe without a word and can’t help but watch.

#41 - Double
Rick looked at the man across the way, methodically sharpening his knife, and it dawned on him that this crossbow-wielding maniac who should have been his biggest liability – who could split seconds between homicidal fury and chilly-eyed calculation and jump any direction without warning – had somehow followed him headlong into every single piece of insanity of this horrific new world, regardless of odds or dirty hands or personal opinion or reward, and had each time backed him to the hilt, and for the first time Rick realized there was nothing he wouldn’t wager when he had that tight little nod on his side.

#42 - Braid
All the photos were gone too, and after a while it became harder and harder to remember her face – in some ways it became too hard – and now all he’s got left of her are fragments, the smell of Virginia Slims and splashed wine, yellow-stained fingers and soft hands, a big, loud laugh like a startled donkey, a gentle smile and long brown braid hanging down over him and the taste of soup when he was sick.

#43 - Thread
He cuts through the useless bullshit natter of lie still and I have to clean this out and it might pinch and do you want painkillers with, “I been stitched up before, old man, c’mon,” pulls the map closer, and starts figuring on how soon he can get back up out on the search.

#44 - Angles
It takes him a bit to get natural with the aiming, the reload action, how to turn his body and crook his arms, how to sling the stock and limbs across his back so its width settles right and doesn’t catch him up, but God, he loves it, loves its basic simplicity, its silence, its lean supple killing strength.

#45 - Daydream
It’s a magnificent one, his best yet, and his hands sketch vividly in the air as he walks along, muttering to himself: the monster so huge and roaring and breathing fire – and smelly too, like farts – and the pretty girl in her yellow dress (Katie, she never looked at him in class and he knew she was sad) so happy when he saves her, kills the monster with his sword, the best sword ever made, and his horse is black, and fast and strong, and it takes him two hours to realize he doesn’t know where he is.

#46 - Nightmare
He doesn’t know why this fool girl is even talking to him – the sooner her sister gets back from Merle’s supply run to Atlanta the better, people just can’t seem to stop flapping their damn mouths at anyone around them these days – so he ignores her, going over his gear before he goes out again, and it’s not until she shakily says, “It’s all like one big nightmare, you know?” and he has to ask, “What is?” that she gives him a freaked look and finally leaves him the fuck alone.

#47 - Honor
Whatever the old guy had wanted from you, he looked you in the eye and called you a decent man and he believed it, and it’s a good thing you’re not because what you can give him is to send him out a man and decent, not torn up into one of them, so you look him in the eye and call him one of yours and you pull the trigger.

#48 - Palm
Her tiny swaddled head fits right in his hand and her eyes open, and for just a second the sound of the whole world drops away.

#49 - Screen
He’d never been much for science, nor computers neither, but the sparkly pictures looked impressive as hell, and it took him a while to figure all the doc’s fancy gizmos and nerd talk added up to the same as everybody else: we don’t know shit.

#50 - Warmth
The smothering sack gets yanked off you and the blur of murmuring becomes Merle’s own brother ringing in your ears and there he is, your big brother, toughest fucker on the planet, metal fist and all, staring back at you, and for a second you wonder if you’re just dreaming him again because behind him there’s fucking Andrea looking at you as if you’re the ghost, but you’re getting your bearings, you’re standing in a ring of flames and people baying for blood and this is good and real, and now the voice of your enemy is saying You wanted your brother, now you got him and Merle’s right there at your shoulder and the blaze of fire’s in your belly, and you’re beginning to smile.


( 7 speakses — have a speak )
Dec. 10th, 2012 05:34 am (UTC)
You know what's awesome to wake up to on a Monday morning? This. This is awesome to wake up to on a Monday morning. Just... A big YES to every single one. It would seem that your headcanon is also my headcanon. ...I think #36 might have killed me dead.

And zomg, 1character! Why haven't I heard of that before? I like to do 1sentence but that's for pairings, and 1character is so much more up my alley! *hearts in my EYES*
Dec. 10th, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC)
It was so much fun! I'm so glad it was an awesome way to start a Monday. :)

I tried not to go too far off the beaten track with the headcanon, to stay close to the spirit of canon, so I'm realy glad it all works and YES for you too. (I'm not sure what it says that I don't consider the notion of the Dixon brothers between them somehow killing their father – and getting away with it – much of a stretch at all....) It was kind of amazing to watch the undergirding network of headcanon grow as I wrote.

#36 ... I may have completely fallen in love with the Lori-Daryl dynamic that developed in my head. I found S3 Lori fascinating anyway, so, yeah. But ack, yes, this little moment grabbed me HARD. *wibbles*

(I saw the 1sentence comm too, and kind of just decided I'd take whatever theme set I felt like for character or pairing or whatever, since I'm not doing them officially. Because MOAR CHOICE. And SO MUCH FUN. *playplayplay*)
Dec. 10th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what it says that I don't consider the notion of the Dixon brothers between them somehow killing their father – and getting away with it – much of a stretch at all....

Right?! I read that one, went "Oooh, that's clever!" and then a tiny part of my brain said "but is it plausible?" and I was surprised by how true it actually rang. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if this turned out to be canon.

S3!Lori was awesome. I've been on a bit of a Daryl&Lori kick myself lately, so #36 was just what I needed.

Oh, so that explains why I didn't see you on the claims list! I'm far too OCD to not fully take part in a challenge, with all the prompt tables and lists that entails. Though I do usually write my claim before I actually claim it, just to make sure I finish it (because I figure I have a track record of about 20% when it comes to finishing things I start). At the moment I'm this close to claiming Daryl/Jacqui for 1sentence. Oh man...
Dec. 10th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I mean, I keep going back and forth about how it happened – the who and the how and the why – but they kind of stonewalled me. Other than it was self-defence and wasn't premeditated, but ultimately I don't think either of them lost tooo much sleep over it. What surprised me was the affection I gained for Merle – not lots, but genuine – in writing these, too.... Daryl's relationships are interestingly complicated.

I'm this close to claiming Daryl/Jacqui

That is ... wow. I would be interested in seeing how you could make that work. What made you think of it?
Dec. 11th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
I would be interested in seeing how you could make that work. What made you think of it?

That makes two of us! I didn't as much think of it as it was thrust upon me by that annoying part of my brain that insists on pointing out background characters and going "See him/her? I like him/her. You should ship him/her with MainCharacter!". And then I'm left sitting in my little rowboat, silently weeping as I desperately try to paddle out of harm's way as everyone else's huge, gigantic ships tear through the ocean and threaten to overturn me. So there's that...
Dec. 11th, 2012 09:14 am (UTC)
Ha! Well, I can sympathise, my shippy brain goes some very weird places when left unchecked, as I discovered when I did that OTP meme a while back. *wishes you luck*
Dec. 11th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! If this ever gets off the ground, I'm going to need all the luck I can get. Why do I do this to myself?
( 7 speakses — have a speak )

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