I sighed as I walked back and forth, the crossbow in my hand already loaded. The rest of my group was setting up camp. Dale was, of course, keeping lookout on top of his old RV. Amy, a fragile teen, was smiling as she helped Lori set up tin cans as an additional warning if Walkers came to the camp. Ed was sitting on his fat ass, being a lazy bastard and smoking cigarettes like always. His wife, Carol, was helping the two oldest kids with learning. Carl, Lori’s son, was slouched over an elementary math book. Sophia, Ed and Carol’s daughter, was smiling as her mother read something to her.
“Hey! Where’s Dixon?” Dale yelled out to me.
“Which one?” I replied, looking up at him.
Daryl? “He’s off huntin’. Left yesterday.”
“You didn’t want to go with him?”
“Nah. He told me he wanted to go alone this time. I just let him have his space.”
“Don’t you like him?”
“Why ya gotta be so loud, Dale?”
He laughed. I rolled my eyes and lifted up my crossbow. It wasn’t as big as Daryl’s, but damn did it get the job done. I squinted my eye and searched along the forest line. Nearly everyone panicked when one of the bushes rustled. I slowly stepped toward it, being the closest, and kicked the bush. A plump rabbit jumped out and scrambled into my arms, making me drop my crossbow.
“It’s a bunny!” Sophia cheered.
“Why is it here?” Lori asked.
“ ‘Cause I was chasin’ the damn thing.” A certain man grumbled.
Daryl Dixon came out of the trees and glared at the rabbit I held. I hesitated before I spoke.
“Ya can’t kill it, Daryl.” I said.
“Why not? It’s food!”
“ ‘Cause it’s my pet.”
“Ya heard me. It’s my pet.”
“Then what’s its name?”
“It ain’t got one yet. You can’t kill it, Daryl.”
He stared at me for a few seconds before looking away. “Fine. Keep that damn thing. I ain’t gonna kill it.”
I smiled. “Really?”
“Yeah. Be glad I like ya. If it was one of them brats, I woulda said no.”
He crouched down and picked up my crossbow. I looked at the rabbit and smiled. Daryl rolled his eyes, stepped toward me and kissed my forehead.
“Don’t let Merle see it. He’ll skin it alive.” He said.
I pouted and hugged the rabbit. “You would let him?”
“Nah. Just don’t let him get to it when I ain’t here.”
I smiled as he headed to his tent, my crossbow in his hand and his slung over his shoulder. I looked up at Dale when he started whistling.
“What are ya whistlin’ ‘bout now?” I asked.
“Nothing. I just think Daryl likes you.” He answered.
“Dream on, Old Man. Daryl treats me like a sister.”
“Big Brothers don’t kiss their sisters on the forehead, Nitwhit.”
I blushed and looked away. Dale laughed, causing Carol and Amy to look at him. They looked at me next, knowing I would be the source of Dale’s loud ass laughter. I shrugged and looked at the rabbit. I smiled.
“Imma call ya Dixon.”
“Hey, Megs. Come over here.”
“What do ya need, Daryl?”
I stood in front of Daryl, who had my crossbow in his hand again. He smiled and ruffled my hair with his hand.
“Wanna go huntin?” He asked.
“How far out are we headin’?”
“Not far. ‘Bout a mile.”
I grabbed Dixon’s cage and lifted it up to show Daryl. He smiled slightly.
“I gotta give him to Carol so she can keep Merle away from him.” I said.
“He got a name yet?” Daryl stuck his finger through one of the opening and petted him.
“Yeah. Named him Dixon.”
“Why my last name?”
“ ‘Cause you’re the one who chased him into my arms.”
Daryl smiled lightly and jerked his head toward Carol, who was washing the group’s clothes. I hurriedly ran over to her. She smiled as she looked up at me.
“What do you need, Meghan?” She asked.
I held up Dixon’s cage. She smiled and was about to speak when Ed stood beside her. He flicked his cigarette ashes toward me.
“She ain’t watchin’ that thing.” He growled.
I glared at the idiotic man. “Why not? It’s a rabbit. All ya gotta do is give it carrots.”
“And waste my food? I don’t think so.”
“Whatever, Abuser. I wasn’t gonna ask your permission anyway. I’ll go get Lori to take care of it if ya don’t wanna give up your damn carrots.”
“What the hell did you just call me?”
He stepped toward me and knocked Dixon’s cage out of my hands. I growled when the defenseless rabbit cried out in fear when he fell.
“Ya don’t have to be a jerk to animals to, Ed. Just ‘Cause ya beat your wife don’t mean you can treat us all like shit.” I snapped.
He slapped my cheek hard. I whimpered and covered the mark. Daryl and Shane, the leader of the group, immediately came over to us. I bent down and picked up Dixon’s cage, checking him for any visible injuries. Daryl held my face in his hands gently and examined the now stinging slap mark. Shane started rambling on about something to Ed.
“You alright?” Daryl whispered.
“It hurts.” I mumbled.
He pulled me into a hug. I stole a glance at Dale, who was still on the top of his RV. The old man smiled and gave me a thumbs up.