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Daryl barely kicks off his shoes before falling face-first into his unmade, board-stiff bed with a thump. God, he hates his shitty trailer, and every shitty thing in it. He isn’t even supposed to be here tonight. He’s meant to be at Rita’s place, sleeping in her bed, the one with a mattress twice as thick as Daryl’s, so squishy it should be criminal. Now that he’s three sheets to the wind, he’s craving the comfort of Rita’s bed more than ever. He can already feel the muscle aches from tomorrow morning when he’ll pull himself out of his whiskey-induced coma. His eyes flutter closed.

Daryl had made date plans for tonight with Rita after their date last Friday night. Didn’t have nothing fancy planned for date number five, just dinner at Daryl’s favorite diner and afterwards, drinks at the corner bar. They met on a stupid dating app, which is the lamest thing Daryl could possibly imagine, but when Rick had signed up for it himself, he pouted and batted his eyelashes and said, “Please, Dare? I can’t be the only one doin’ it.” So Daryl made the stupid profile, for no other reason than to make his middle-aged, recently-divorced friend feel better about reentering the dating world. Despite Daryl’s noble sacrifice of time, energy, and personal pride, Rick only went on two dates before he deleted the app off his phone, saying, “It just isn’t the same. No woman can replace Lori.”

Daryl kept the app, but only because he never actually got around to deleting it. It wasn’t doing any harm sitting there on his phone. He certainly wasn’t expecting to get any matches on the damn thing. When Rita’s message popped up, he nearly ignored it. But it’d been a long while since he’d been with anybody, so he figured, what the hell, right? He took Rita out. She ain’t everything Daryl could hope for in a woman, but she ain’t on drugs and she’s nice enough most times. Plus she gave him a blow job on the second date. That started their unspoken agreement. Daryl gives Rita a reason to go out on Friday night, and Rita gets Daryl’s rocks off. It’s a pretty good system, but this morning that system was interrupted by a text from Rick that read, Everything in this whole damn town reminds me of Lori. I can’t do it anymore, man. So Daryl dialed up Rita and told her he’d have to cancel. Then he took Rick out to dinner and drinks instead, ‘cause Rick is Daryl’s best friend in the whole damn world and hell if he’s gonna worry ‘bout a lay when Rick needs him. 

In the end, Daryl ended up getting plastered with Rick at their corner bar and listened to him lament over Lori for hours. It wasn’t how he planned to spend his Friday night (his plans were to be passed out by now, in a squishy bed by a warm body, balls properly drained) but Daryl never regrets spending time with Rick. It’s good company. Good conversation, too. Even when Rick’s an emotional mess. By the time Daryl had stuck Rick in a cab with directions to his apartment, they were both feeling pretty good. Their friendship is like that. It heals wounds.

Daryl groans and shifts against the mattress underneath him. He knows he’s got no right to complain—it’s only been a week since he last came—but fuck, had he been looking forward to getting some release tonight. He buries his face into his scratchy blanket and rolls his hips against his bed. The pressure makes his breath catch in his throat. It feels better than he expected. He thrusts again, and again, until he’s straight up humping his bed like a goddamn teenager. Daryl huffs a ragged sigh into his empty trailer. God, he feels so alone. 

He slows his movements enough that he can get his hands under him and work open his belt buckle.  It’s been over a month since he’s had to jerk it, but the routine is familiar to him. He pulls the belt free from its loops, pushes his jeans down his legs, and kicks them off. Daryl spits into his palm and wraps his practiced hand around his hardening length, starting his stroke at a languid pace. He rolls over onto his back to get a better angle on his cock, but when he shifts he feels a cool hardness under his ass. Daryl grunts and fumbles a drunken hand under him until he gets a grip around the thing. He pulls it out from underneath him and looks at it in the dim lighting. It’s his phone. Daryl presses his tongue between his lips. He didn’t take Rita out tonight, so he isn’t really holding up his end of the arrangement. But texting isn’t really sex. Maybe she’s willing to bend the rules a little bit. He smirks.

Suddenly in a hurry, Daryl unlocks his phone with one hand while he yanks his socks off with the other. He taps the texting icon and is already typing his message out as he works his shirt over his head. You up? he taps out. The reply came through right away: Yeah. What’s up? Daryl grins. He lays back and gets comfortable, his hand picking up its old rhythm, stroking up and down his erect cock. There is hope yet. Thank god for Rick’s stupid dating app.

***

Rick climbs into bed, drunk and fully-clothed. He’s just getting comfortable when his phone chimes in his pocket. He lifts his head off his pillow and groans loudly into his silent apartment. That’s one good thing about getting his heart shattered by a cheating wife—he doesn’t have to worry about waking her or Carl with his late nights out, drunken clumsiness, or dramatics. He lost Lori and Shane thanks to the affair. He lost Carl (on all days except Monday through Wednesday on alternating weeks) thanks to the divorce. Getting to be noisy in his own home isn’t much of a perk given the torrential shit-storm that dominates rest of his life, but Rick’s therapist has been teaching him to, “look for silver linings,” so Rick allows himself to revel in this new flavor of freedom.

As Rick twists himself up in the blanket to get his phone out of the pocket of his too-tight jeans, he grates out, “What the fuck do you—do you—want—you stupid—stupid phone—!”

He gets it free of its confines and brings the blinding screen light up to his eyes. “Oh, it’s Daryl,” he says to the empty room. He smiles as he flops around so he’s laying on his back. The tiny screen is blurred and swaying, but he manages to unlock his phone and get to the text message screen. You up? Daryl’s message reads. Rick quickly types out his response: Yeah. What’s up? His fingers stumble across the keys. Thanks to autocorrect, it comes out intelligible. Rick hits send and the message is shipped away with a shwoop. 

He closes his eyes and lets himself drift off with his phone resting against his chest as he waits for a response. What the hell is Daryl still doing up? He got every bit as wasted as Rick did tonight. They both should be sleeping this off. Rick lets his head roll sideways and he cracks an eye to peek at the digital clock on his nightstand. It reports that it’s 2:17 in the morning. Jesus christ. Rick never stays out so late. He’s not in his twenties anymore and he’s given up on dating, which are really the only two reasons that justify doing shots of whiskey at a corner bar past midnight. After the bitter end to his friendship with Shane, Rick never thought he would be persuaded again into a random Friday of late-night of drinking. But when Daryl invited him out, he knew immediately that this prescription was just what he needed after a long week of post-divorce blues. Being friends with Daryl is like that—sometimes he knows Rick better than Rick knows himself, and as a result, Rick always has someone to patch his wounds when life roughs him up. Daryl’s better than anyone at fixing Rick.

Rick’s phone chimes with a new message. He feels up his chest until his hand lands on top of his phone. He pulls it up in front of his face and looks at the home screen. It takes a second for his dazed eyes to focus enough to read the notification. Daryl Dixon—Image Attachment. Rick furrows his brow and swipes to unlock his phone. A couple of failed passcode attempts later, (why do they make these things so difficult to use?) he’s tapping on the message icon. His conversation with Daryl pops up and Rick’s looking at the picture—or at least he’s trying, but he must be drunker than he thought, because he swears that looks like a—

Holy shit. A dick. It’s a picture of Daryl’s dick. The lighting is low, and it’s hard to see, but Rick is definitely looking at a picture of Daryl’s dick. The text message is a single word.

Me.

What the fuck. Mortified, Rick slams his phone screen down against his chest. Then curiosity overcomes better judgement and he lifts his phone again to get a real look at it.

Rick can see enough of the background to know that Daryl’s laying down in his bed. The photo is taken from the top of Daryl’s chest, angled down across the gentle slope of his stomach. Jutting from his hips is an impressive hard on, his hand wrapped tightly around the base. The hand comparison makes Rick’s stomach do a strange somersault because shit, he knows how huge Daryl’s hands are. Rick spent most the night looking at them wrapped around a whiskey glass and now, seeing one of them wrapped around his dick

Rick’s whole body prickles with heat that he decides to label as anxiety. That must be it—he’s stressed out because…because he definitely wasn’t meant to see this. Daryl intended to send this picture to someone else. Wasn’t he seeing some girl from that dating app? He hardly talks about her, but what other explanation is there? Surely, Daryl doesn’t want Rick like—like that. Does he?

Rick realizes he’s still staring at the picture. He bites his lip and tries to think of how to respond, his fingers hovering over the keys. First, he types out wrong number and then deletes it. He tries Daryl, this is Rick, then deletes that, too. He’s stumbling through his third attempt at a message, I think you sent me this on accident, when another text from Daryl comes through. 

I wanted you so bad tonight.

Rick’s whole body reacts as soon as he’s processed the words. His heart picks up double time and that leads to a whole series of unfortunate side effects: flushed cheeks, burning skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and the unmistakable feeling of blood pumping down to fill his cock. 

The picture wasn’t a mistake then. Daryl had spent all night with him—all night wanting him. Rick thinks back, trying to remember anything unusual about their interactions with one another. It seemed perfectly average! Just food, drinks, and good conversation. He hadn’t even noticed Daryl so much as look at him a second too long. Maybe he is really good at hiding it? God, how long has Daryl wanted him? Rick’s head is flooding with memories of his countless interactions with Daryl, but now there’s a new undercurrent to consider: Daryl’s unrequited attraction to him. Every touch, every look, every joke, and every comment suddenly take on new meaning under these circumstances. And god, that leads Rick to start imaging what sort of effect he’s had on Daryl over the years. How many times has Rick made Daryl’s heart race? His breath catch? How often does Daryl think filthy shit about him? Fuck, does Daryl jerk off to the thought of him?

Rick makes a pathetic sound in the back of his throat, expressing something between desire and frustration. What the hell is he doing responding this way? Rick isn’t gay. Last he checked, Daryl isn’t either, so how the hell did the two of them end up here? This admission of attraction seems completely out of the blue, but Rick is well aware that he’s (as Lori put it) oblivious sometimes. It never even occurred to Rick that Daryl might want him. But now proof of it was staring him in the face—in the form of a dick pic and a confession. Rick reads the message again. I wanted you so bad tonight. It leaves no room for interpretation. Still, Rick can’t believe it.

Rick deletes his unsent message and types out a new one. You did? he enters. He takes a deep breath and hits send. 

It’s only a few seconds before the reply comes through. 

Yeah. Couldn’t stop thinking about it all night.

Rick’s brow furrows and he whines low in his throat. His dick is half-hard at the thought of his best friend, of Daryl, wanting him, and it feels wrong. He feels like he’s betraying their friendship by thinking about him this way, but that’s not fair—Daryl is the one who started this. Daryl is the one who’s been secretly pining for him! How could he have waited this long to tell him? Daryl wanting to fuck him sounds like information Rick deserved a lot sooner than four years into their friendship. 

Why didn’t you say something? Rick texts.

Got caught up in an emergency. I’m saying something now, ain’t I?

Rick’s turning head struggles to understand. He reads the message over three times, but it still doesn’t make sense. There is way too much booze clouding his thoughts to sort through Daryl’s word puzzles. He huffs and sits up against the headboard, ready to dive headfirst into their conversation. 

At least Rick is sobering up fast. His typing accuracy is improving. You gonna tell me what you were thinking about? he replies. He’s not sure if he’s asking the question out of irritation or interest. Maybe it’s both?

Mmm…thinking about you down on your knees for me. Wanna feel that pretty little mouth of yours wrapped around my cock. Get my hands in that hair and feel you suck me down. 

Rick jaw drops as his eyes scan over the text. He reads it, then reads it again because he doesn’t believe those are actual words coming from Daryl Dixon. Then he reads it one more time because holy fuck that’s the hottest thing anyone has ever said to him.

Rick’s hands are shaking when he types out his next message. You want me to do that?

Want it bad. You gonna do it for me next time I see you?

Rick swallows hard. His mouth has gone dry. Daryl’s being so forward, he doesn’t even know how to approach this situation anymore. He’s never seen this side to him before. 

I dunno. Rick replies. It seems like the safe, noncommittal choice. 

You playing hard to get now? I think I can find a way to convince you.

Rick releases an incredulous, one-note laugh and shakes his head. Daryl’s confidence is verging on cockiness. It’s like he’s not even afraid of Rick rejecting him. As if the two of them fucking is already a done deal. An inevitability. Rick wonders if it is (and always was) just that—an inevitability. Maybe this has been a long time coming, only he’s been slow on the uptake. Been blind to what was right in front of him.

He leans back against the hard wood of the headboard and taps out his response. Rick will admit it. He’s flirting a little when he says, Oh yeah? How you planning on doing that? 

Daryl’s reply isn’t immediate this time. Rick sits there, his elbows on his knees, his fully-erect dick straining between his legs, eyes darting between his phone screen and the clock. The time ticks by until 2:21 becomes 2:23. Rick is starting to get antsy. Did he say something wrong? Was he too forward? That’s ridiculous though—what he said was nothing compared the messages Daryl’s been sending him! His phone pings with a new message and Rick releases an audible sigh of relief. It’s a long message. Rick tears through it. He can’t read it fast enough. 

Daryl says: Easy. I’ll start by going down on you. Get your engine running. Use my mouth to get you nice and sloppy wet. Then, once you’re begging me to make you come, I’ll stop sudden. I’ll promise to finish you off, but only after you suck me. You’ll be so worked up, you’ll be falling over yourself to get my dick down your throat. 

Rick’s head is doing spirals. His ears are ringing. No part of him was prepared—could have ever been prepared—for the mouth on Daryl. It’s filthy. It’s vulgar. It’s so fucking hot. 

Rick’s head overflows with the image of his Daryl sucking him off. He would look so damn good doing it. On his knees with those huge hands on Rick’s hips. His head bobbing up and down Rick’s length. Those pretty blue eyes looking up at him with needy determination as he forces himself down just a little further. Fuck, the sounds Daryl would make around a mouthful of cock. The wet suction. The lewd gurgles. The desperate moans, begging for more. Rick wants to absolutely wreck him.

Rick’s hard enough for it to be painful, and fuck does he want to touch himself. But he can’t get past the fact that this is still his best friend he’s texting, and regardless of what the topic of conversation is, he can’t bring himself to pull his cock out. So he ignores it, even though it’s protesting being crushed by his jeans. 

Rick’s brain isn’t functioning enough to piece together a response until nearly a minute later. When his head clears enough, he types out the only comprehensible thought he can muster. He says, I’ve never heard you talk like this. What’s gotten into you?

Daryl replies, Half a bottle of whiskey. So you gonna help me out tonight or what? I showed you how bad I want you. I know you want me too. 

Rick swallows. How would you know that? he asks. 

Cause you’re still texting me, ain’tcha? Lightning fast, too. Have you even put down the phone since I messaged you?

Rick blushes deeply. He’s overeager. Daryl must be laughing at how quick Rick’s following along with this sudden shift in their relationship. This fucker came out of nowhere with this information, and now he’s getting a fat head over Rick’s receptiveness. He’s a little too pleased with himself, Rick thinks. 

Rick’s trying to come up with a snarky response to drag Daryl’s inflated ego back down to earth when another text comes through.

Are you touching yourself? Send me a picture. 

Rick groans and sits forward just to slam himself back against the headboard. He kicks the blankets off his legs and punches his phone-filled fist into his mattress a few times in rapid succession. Daryl is literally trying to end his life. Rick rubs a hand over his desperation addled, scrunched up face. Every part of this should feel wrong, but with Rick’s cock leading the charge, he couldn’t help but think it to be perfectly natural. Desirable. Inevitable. After all, Daryl’s the most important person in Rick’s life. Why shouldn’t he feel this way about him? He already feels every other sort of way. They’re only taking it one step further.

What good is resisting Daryl’s pull, then? Here Rick is, desperately trying to avoid touching himself while talking to Daryl, and then the fucker goes and requests it. Wants to see it. Rick’s only a man. His concern about preserving his friendship (and his heterosexuality) evaporates into nothingness. 

He groans and brings his phone back up to his eyes to quickly type out, You want that? 

Daryl’s reply comes through and Rick’s stomach does a nervous flop at the sound of the chime. His hands are shaking from the tightness of his grip. If Daryl really wants to go through with this, Rick’s not sure he’ll be able to turn back. 

Daryl’s message is hard to read because of Rick’s swaying vision and incessant trembling, but he fights through it to make sense of the words. 

Fuck yeah. Let me see you getting off to the thought of me, Daryl says. 

It’s all the validation Rick needs. He huffs through his nose. He has to see this through.

Okay. Yeah. Give me a second, he types out. His finger hesitates for a moment over the send button, but then he presses it down hard and the message zips away, off to Daryl. Rick throws the phone down on the bed and his hands are on his belt, tearing through the buckle with ridiculous speed. Within seconds, his shirt is discarded on his bedroom floor and he’s kicked his jeans and underwear off his body and across the room. 

His hurried tangle of clothes and limbs ceases once he’s stripped bare. He looks down at his body. His pale chest, barely illuminated by the soft blue light of the moon pouring through the windows, rises and falls erratically. The wild breathing interrupts the early-morning quiet. Standing at attention, singing of the glory of freedom with every keen twitch, stands his cock, thick and dewey with precome. In the light, and straining as it is, Rick thinks it actually looks pretty good. Picturesque, even. He grabs his phone and brings up the camera.

***

Daryl slams his phone against the bed and arches up into the few indulgent victory pumps over his feverish length that he permits himself. The last few minutes he’d been focused entirely on the conversation with Rita, never setting the phone down once. As a result, his cock was left neglected while his hands were preoccupied typing out hurried messages. But Daryl’s glad he held off, because now he’s going to get to come to the sight of a pretty picture.

He’s never sexted with anyone before and he surprised himself tonight. Over the last few minutes, Daryl had discovered that it’s easier to say filthy shit when you aren’t actually looking at the person. Hiding behind his phone screen had given him the courage he needed to speak his mind. Clearly, he hadn't done too bad a job at it. He turned Rita on, and now he’s getting a picture. That means he like, won at sexting, right? 

Daryl feels his orgasm building inside of him, so he yanks his hand off himself and fists it in his blankets to keep it from wandering back. The breath he was holding slips free into the stillness of his darkened trailer. He sounds a mess. His chest is heaving, skin shining with sweat, heartbeat pounding like a bass drum in his ears. He’s so lame. Rita barely said anything at all. Just the fact that she kept replying was enough to get him teetering on the edge.

He looks at the clock by his bed. It doesn’t light up right anymore. Some of the numbers only show up halfway, ‘cause the thing’s been beat around too much, but Daryl can work out that it says 2:26.

God Rita, how long does a picture take? She’s probably having a whole fucking photoshoot and trying to pick the most flattering one. It’s not like Daryl cares; he’s ready to shoot off any second. He looks at the clock again. Still 2:26. Daryl is gonna die waiting for this stupid text. He’s gonna spontaneously combust from neglected-boner-syndrome. Wouldn’t that be a fuckin’ sight to see? Daryl imagines his buddy Sheriff Rick as the first on the scene. Daryl’s naked body exploded all over his shitty trailer, a sticky carnage of blood and guts, and the only evidence: his cell phone, displaying a picture of titties that didn’t arrive fast enough. Rick grabs the phone tight in his hand, falls to his knees into a pool of Daryl goop, and shakes his fists in the air shouting, “Why. Couldn’t. She. Send. It. Fasteeeerrrrrr!” Daryl cracks up at the thought. It’s gross and stupid enough of a mental image that his erection actually flags a bit, which Daryl doesn’t mind ‘cause it means he can pick up touchin’ it again. He checks the clock. How the fuck is it still 2:26? 

His phone chimes and Daryl’s whole body leaps at the sound. He’s grabbing his phone, tossing it around to get it at the right angle, and then it’s front of his face and he sees the notification. He deflates. Rick. What the fuck is Rick still doing awake? He better not be asking for nothing. There ain’t no way in hell Daryl’s gonna run off to save his buddy from nightmares, or divorce depression, or alcohol poisoning, or whatever the fuck, when he’s got a lethal case of neglected-boner-syndrome to take care of. 

He slams his phone back down on the bed and kicks in irritation. Rick can wait until after Daryl gets Rita’s picture. Daryl watches the clock flicker over to the next minute. Then the next. Once it’s 2:28, his shallow well of patience has drained itself dry. 

He huffs and rolls his head over to look at his discarded phone. Who knows how long he’ll be waiting. Might as well see what Rick needs. Daryl grabs it and glances at the notification. Rick—Image Attachment, it says. Daryl’s brow furrows. Why the hell is Rick sending him a picture? This dumbass needs to go to bed. 

Daryl brings the phone up to his face, squinting against the light. He swipes on the notification and types in his passcode. As soon as the image pops up on his screen, Daryl gasps hard enough to make himself choke. 

It’s Rick’s penis. Holy fucking balls, that’s Rick’s penis. Shit, it’s his balls too. Daryl’s hacking around spit and panic. It gets bad enough that he has to roll over and prop himself up on his elbows to cough up the crap caught in his throat. The whole time he’s choking, his brain can’t formulate any coherent thoughts beyond What the fuck. Jesus christ. That’s Rick’s dick. Oh my god. Holy shit. Rick’s dick. 

By the time he’s gotten control of himself, his cock’s gone soft and fear has crept in to replace the initial shock. Daryl lets his elbows out and flops flat against his bed, eyes wide even with his face pressed up against the mattress. His mind runs in circles. Daryl’s not an idiot, and it’s not a hard mystery to solve. He texted Rita for a nude and then he got one from Rick. Somehow, he must have texted Rick instead of Rita. But even though Daryl knows what happened, he’s scrambling to find another explanation, because this doesn’t make any sense. Why the fuck would Rick send him a picture of his dick, even if Daryl did ask for it? Rick is his best friend, and even if Daryl was on his knees pleading for it, helping him get off definitely seems like a favor that breaches the boundaries of friendship. Besides, they’re both straight. What is Rick thinking, sending him that shit? Then he hears Rick’s defensive voice whispering inside his head, You did it first, and Daryl’s stomach lurches. Dear god. He sent Rick a dick pic.

Daryl looks back toward his phone. He needs to read the conversation. He has to confirm his suspicions, has to see what damage he’s done. But the texts are buried under a snapshot of Rick’s boner, and Daryl feels like he’s invading Rick’s privacy by looking at it, even if only for a second. 

It’s 2:30 by the time he works up the courage. Daryl snatches his phone and rolls onto his back. With his stomach doing anxious cartwheels inside him, Daryl opens up their conversation. Immediately, he scrolls up past Rick’s picture until he reaches his own. Nausea grips his gut. It’s true then. He’s been messaging Rick this whole time. He reads over the first few messages. 

You up? 

Yeah, what’s up? 

Me, and then the picture. Daryl cringes with his whole body. He shakes himself through it, whipping his head back and forth and rubbing at his face with his free hand. He disgusts himself. Imagining Rick being on the other side of that makes him want to hurl. 

He looks disdainfully at the picture he sent Rick. God, he doesn’t even want to know what Rick was thinking when he was looking at that ugly thing. Daryl promised himself he’d avoid looking at Rick’s picture, but he’s only a man, and he can’t help but scroll down and compare himself to Rick. 

It’s fucking ridiculous. There’s no comparison to be made. Rick’s about the same size as Daryl, but the photo Rick took makes his dick look like some sort of supermodel. It’s a dick meant for high end fashion magazines. Next to Rick, Daryl has a department store dick.

Rick took the photo from the side. The picture captures part of his stomach and part of his legs, and in the center of the frame is his hardness, laying flat against his belly. He’s got his hand wrapped around the middle of it, and he’s pulling up so that his balls peek out over the top of his thick thighs. The lighting from the window illuminates it perfectly. It looks wet. Daryl wonders what’s got it slick like that. Is it lube? Or spit? Christ, maybe it’s precome. He looks hard enough to be leaking. Daryl imagines Rick working himself over with his own wetness and it makes his skin prickle. 

Suddenly, the reason why Rick’s hard hits Daryl with an impact that knocks the wind right out of him. Daryl had been having this conversation thinking he was talking to Rita, but Rick’s known it was Daryl all along. And he ended up hard. What the actual fuck. Daryl made Rick hard. His blood runs hot through his veins and his heart is pounding in his ears again. That’s not right. He’s not supposed to react this way to the thought of turning Rick on. But Daryl feels the familiar heat in his abdomen and he can’t deny it: he likes the idea. 

Daryl scrolls back up to the top of the conversation and reads through its entirety. 

I wanted you so bad tonight.

You did?

Yeah. Couldn’t stop thinking about it all night.

Fuck. Daryl flushes red, and it only gets darker as he scrolls through the texts. It reads like a goddamn love confession! Rick must be thinking all kinds of crazy shit. Thinking that Daryl’s been wanting him forever, that he’s got some sort of crush, like his heart is hammering and his palms are sweating whenever he gets near the guy and god could that be further from the truth. Daryl’s never thought about Rick that way. 

He gets to the part where he’s talking about blowjobs and Daryl is so embarrassed he actually prays for death. Spontaneous combustion doesn’t sound so bad after all. At least if he went out now, he’d never have to try and explain this or look Rick in the eye again. 

God, how is he going to live this down? How is Rick? Daryl stumbled into this on accident. It’s embarrassing, but it doesn’t mean nothin’. Rick, though…he can’t claim ignorance. He went along with it knowing full well what he was doing. Not that Daryl is offended Rick’s hard because of him. It’s flattering, really. Maybe a little too flattering, ‘cause his own dick seems to really like the idea. Half his hardness is back, and it makes Daryl woozy with a whole mix of confused emotions. 

He finishes reading the texts. Once he reaches the end he stares blankly at the screen, eyes stuck on Rick’s picture even though he knows they shouldn’t be. Daryl has to respond to Rick. He can’t leave him hanging like this. But for the life of him, he can’t fathom what the right response is. Does he tell him what happened? Or does this warrant a face-to-face discussion? Daryl would rather slam his head in a door than look Rick in the face and explain this mix up to him. 

He looks at the clock. 2:31. It’s been five minutes since Rick sent the picture. He must be squirming by now. Daryl has to say something. Anything. His fingers hover over the keys as he tries to think of English words, but before he gets anywhere, a shrill tone makes Daryl jump.

His heart stops dead in his chest. He stares, mouth agape, at the screen with Rick’s name in bold letters across it. The phone rings a second time and Daryl flinches again. He should answer it. He needs to answer it. It’s Rick calling, he can’t just—

He hits the green answer call button on the third ring. With a trembling hand, he brings the phone up to his ear. 

“Hello?” he says, voice wavering.

There’s a rustle and a short breath. Then he hears Rick’s voice, low, rumbling, thick under the weight of whiskey and southern twang. “Hey,” he says, and Daryl’s muscles clench up all over. He feels it course through his body like electricity, and goddamn if his cock didn’t feel it most of all. Rick’s voice is laced with sex, all raspy and rugged, and there ain’t no way a single, plain word like, ‘hey,’ should get Daryl’s head reeling—but it does. Rick breathes out a soft little sigh that hints at something Daryl shouldn’t be thinking about (but can’t help), and then Rick says, “You get my picture?”

Daryl licks his lips. “Yeah,” he breathes. His voice sounds sex-laced too, and ain’t that somethin’ twisted as all hell? He knows he oughta say something more than just, ‘yeah,’ but his brain’s been shut off. The only thing on his mind is how Rick sounds echoing through the phone and the mental images that Daryl can pair with them. The creak of the bed when Rick shifts. The comforter crumpling with each upward roll of Rick’s hips. Those breathy sounds he makes every so often that make Daryl imagine a slow moving hand. 

Rick says, “You stopped textin’.”

“Sorry,” says Daryl.

“Tha’s alright. Figured ya had your hands busy.” 

Daryl can see the taunting smile on the other end of the line. It makes him blush. He shifts awkwardly on the bed. His cock is hard again, but Daryl’s hands are not busy. It takes a great deal of self control to keep them that way. Especially when Rick’s sounds are picking up in frequency and volume. 

“The hell’re you doin’?” Daryl asks.

“Whatcha think, man? Same as you. ‘Less you finished without me?” As if to prove it, Rick groans into the receiver. Daryl huffs out a sigh that’s somewhere between disbelief and wonder. 

“Ya really get all worked up over what I said?” Daryl asks. 

“Yes,” Rick hisses into the phone, “You got me real fuckin’ hard, Dare.” Then he moans—a full on, honest-to-god moan—and Daryl’s hand flies to his cock without thought and starts stroking.

Daryl makes his own sound, relieved to finally have some friction. It’s a delicate sigh—barely more than an out-breath. Rick notices it and he asks, “You touching yourself?”

Daryl sighs again. “Yes,” he says, and it feels like a filthy confession, one that he deserves to get knocked out for, but Rick only groans and says, “Yeah. That’s good, Daryl. Touch yourself for me.”

“Shit,” Daryl curses. He follows Rick’s instructions and lets his hand move over his length with the kind of speed and pressure that he’s been needing. It feels like heaven. 

Rick hums into the phone appreciatively. “Fuck yeah,” he huffs, “I wanna hear ya, Daryl. Wanna hear you talkin’ to me. You do this before? Touch yourself while thinkin’ about me?”

Fuck, Rick,” he says. He turns his head sideways into the pillow, holding his phone firm against his cheek, and starts thrusting into his tight grip. He’s never done this before, but that’s not what Rick wants to hear. So, Daryl doesn’t answer. Instead he pants into the phone and listens as Rick does the same. Rick’s stroking himself faster now. Every breath Daryl hears is a fervent huff.

“I’ll do it,” Rick says. 

“Do what?”

“I’ll do what you wanted me to. Next time I see you. I’ll suck you off.”

Daryl arches off the bed and moans. “Are you fuckin’ serious?” he gasps out.

“Yeah,” Rick says, “It’ll be all I’m thinkin’ about. Soon as I getcha alone, I’m gonna drop to my knees and swallow ya up. Need to see what your face looks like when you’re comin’ inside me.”

Daryl’s hand is flying over his length. “Holy fuck, Rick. The hell’s the matter with you?” he huffs. They’re barely even words. They’re fast and strung together, plus Daryl’s labored breathing makes them come out all shaky.

“You gonna come for me, Dare? I’m getting close,” Rick says. His broken up voice tells Daryl that what he says is true. 

“God, yeah, I’m close too.”

“After I’ve finished with you, you’re gonna suck me off, Daryl. I’m gonna put you on your knees and feed you my cock. Wanna hear every sound you’re gonna make. Wanna see those eyes lookin’ up at me, mouth stretched wide open—”

Jesus!” Daryl shouldn’t like the sound of that, but he does, he does. He wants it. He needs to feel Rick’s cock buried to the hilt inside his open mouth. He needs to feel it the weight of it, the texture on his tongue, the taste of it…He’s gonna come at the thought of it. His orgasm is rushing up on him, if he just keeps moving his hand, if Rick just keeps fucking talking

“And when I come down your throat, you’re gonna swallow it all down. You’re gonna take everything I give you, ‘cause you want it so damn bad, don’t you Dixon?”

Yes! Yes!” Daryl moans, and then he’s coming hard. Streaks of white spring forth and paint over the expanse of his rocking chest. It overwhelms his senses. He breathes raggedly through it, distantly aware of Rick’s own orgasm sounding through from the other side of the telephone. He sounds good when he comes.

For a while, both of them lay there breathing into the phone, stunned by the intensity of what transpired between them. The silence is finally broken by Rick’s laugh. Daryl tenses up like a coiled spring.

“What?” he snaps.

“Nothin’. I’m just blown away. You knocked me right on my ass with that, man.”

Daryl bites his lip. “What d’ya mean?”

“Never saw that comin’ for us. But I guess I’m slow ‘bout these sorts of things,” he says. Daryl doesn’t know how to reply to that. If Rick’s slow, than he must be molasses, ‘cause it seemed like Rick figured it out a whole lot faster than he did. 

“So when can I see you?” Rick asks. That time, it’s Daryl who laughs.

“Tomorrow early enough for ya?” 

***

On Saturday evening, they meet at their diner and both get the usual. It’s an excessive amount of food that can easily be split in two, half of it put in a take-home box for later, and it still makes them full to the point of hurting every time.

Daryl thought it would be weird seeing Rick again, and so soon afterwards, but it isn’t. The conversation is easy, and nothing has changed except Rick keeps eye-fucking Daryl whenever he puts his straw in his mouth or licks the gravy off his fingers. But Rick did say that’s all he’d be thinking about is blowjobs, and the man is nothing if not true to his word. So, Daryl hams it up a bit, licks his fingers clean with more tongue than is strictly necessary, and feels a flicker of pride when he sees Rick’s face get all hot. It’s still totally weird to Daryl that he now has this sort of power over his best friend, but he’s already getting used to it. And truthfully, it goes both ways. When Rick bats those pretty lashes at him or smiles real nice, Daryl’s heart speeds up and breathing gets kinda hard. 

“You got any plans next Friday?” Rick asks once he’s finished his food. 

Briefly, Daryl thinks of Rita. Fridays are their date night. But when he replies, he says, “Naw. Why?”

Rick leans forward onto the table. “I’m gonna take you out,” he says.

Daryl furrows his brow and looks up from his plate to give Rick a confused look. “Out?” he asks around a mouthful of food. 

Rick smirks at him. “Yeah. Out.” He doesn’t explain any.

Daryl shrugs and turns back toward his plate. “Yeah, okay,” he says. Part of him feels like Rick might have just asked him on a date, but he doesn’t wanna think about it too hard. Thinking only gets in the way. Daryl would rather just do what he wants to do, and what he wants to do is spend Friday night with Rick. Simple as that.

Besides, it's not like Daryl’s gonna waste time with a lay when Rick wants to spend time with him.

“So,” Rick says. He kicks Daryl’s foot under the table and Daryl looks up. He sits back in his chair and sucks his fingers clean while he waits for Rick to continue. 

Rick smiles wickedly at him. “I’ve got a promise to keep. So why don’t you tell me: your place or mine?”

Daryl heats up, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He peeks at Rick through the hanging forest of hair obstructing his view. Rick's beaming back at him, wearing a matching blush over his own cheeks and looking damn fine, even under the florescent lighting. Daryl's heart races, his breath catches in his throat, and all he can think is filthy shit. Like how he wants to spend the whole night rolling around with his best buddy. Daryl oughta think real careful about this, 'cause he knows there'll be no going back. But it's hard to think logical when Rick looks so confident, like he's sure enough for the both of 'em. Plus, he can't exactly talk sense into himself with Rick's sex voice still echoing in his ears. Daryl thinks that the two of them ending up this way was probably inevitable, even if he never saw it coming.

Daryl pushes his plate away and motions for the check. “Mine’s closer," he says with a wide grin.