T-Dog figured one of two things was making Daryl so damn uncomfortable. It had to either be the little talking to he had to give him earlier about keeping it down when he was making time with Glenn, or it was their past histories with each other. While things were moderately chill between them, T-Dog still was going to keep him at arm's length. Better safe than sorry.
“Where are we on the map?” The older man asked, keeping his eyes on the road for signs and walkers.
T-Dog traced their route with his index finger. “We need to make a right on Wilson Road, and that'll take us there.” He tapped the pen mark that Maggie had made on the map. “Shouldn't be more than twenty minutes. We're almost there.”
Daryl nodded. “Thanks for being the navigator.”
They fell back into silence after that, neither of them knowing what to say, or if they could even start to have a conversation.
“Weather's been good lately.” T-Dog started with something simple.
“Yeah. Hopefully it'll hold out. Need to get huntin' again.” Daryl spotted the crossroads and made a right.
“Where didya learn how to do that anyway?”
“Huntin'? Taught m'self mostly. It ain't that hard. Could teach you some of it if ya wanted to learn.” Daryl glanced over. T-Dog was nodding and pursing his lips.
“Sounds good. Better t'have more than one person who knows how to hunt. Yaknow, I ain't never spent this much time in nature my whole life.”
“I couldn't think of livin' any other way.” Building and shops started to show along the road. There were a lot more here than at the town that was closer to the farm.
“Yeah, well I can see why. All the fresh air's agreeing with me. You know, all this is probably going to be great for the environment. No more factories putting out smoke or people polluting the earth.” T-Dog chuckled. “Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of getting back at us.”
“Could just be.” It sounded logical to Daryl. He didn't pretend to know or have any opinions about the how or why of their current situation. He was too busy just trying to live through it.
The library was an old-fashioned building with a peaked roof and a tower above the entrance. They parked in front of it. There was no movement or sound in the street except for the truck, but they knew better than to let their guard down. If it wasn't walkers, it could be people. People were getting crazy now, and unlike walkers, they had guns.
They hopped out of the cab, Daryl grabbing his crossbow from the seat and looking around, trying to see if there was any danger. It was alright for now, but they would have to be fast.
“How do we do this? Split up or stay together?” T-Dog kept his hand on the handgun at his side.
“Stay together. I got yer back if you got mine.” The older man hear a stirring in the bed of the truck. Looking down at it, he could see movement under the tarp. He motioned to T-Dog silently, pointing it out. The other man nodded, and reached down. He drew back the tarp with a snap, and they were both shocked to see Sophia, on her back with her hatchet clutched to her chest.
She looked up at them, looking pleased with herself. “I came along so I could help.”
The blonde snapped back to reality. She'd been daydreaming on top of the RV instead of watching the lay of the land. She had plans that night with Maggie, and her mind kept wandering to what they could get up to. They'd done it in the younger woman's bedroom, in the stables, behind the chicken shed. Andrea was thinking that maybe she should come to her tent next. Once everyone was asleep of course.
She looked down. It was Carol.
“What's up?” She sat up and tried to look like she was not neglecting her duties.
“Have you seen Sophia? I can't find her.” The woman looked worried, and Andrea felt a pang of panic in her stomach. Anyone going missing was cause for alarm.
“Have you checked with Glenn?” She knew that the little girl followed Daryl and Glenn like a diminutive shadow.
“Yeah, he hasn't seen her.” Carol took a deep breath. She was trying to control herself, but it was hard. After one close call, she couldn't help it. It was bad enough she'd lost track of her daughter while she was helping Lori out with dishes.
“I haven't seen her on the property, but I'll keep an eye out. She might be off playing with Carl or something.”
'Not likely.' Carol thought to herself. Carl looked at Sophia like she had something terribly wrong with her, and it could be catching. “Thanks.”
“I'll keep an eye out.” It sounded pretty weak. Andrea picked up the binoculars and swept her gaze across the land. Nothing.
Carol turned back to the tent, hoping that she'd find Sophia sitting in it drawing. Her heart dropped and she broke out into a cold sweat when she saw that the tent was still empty. Panic was setting in full force now. Sophia had been lucky once. People usually don't have that kind of luck twice. On her cot there was a sheet of paper from Sophia's drawing pad. She picked it up, expecting to see a drawing. When she read what it said, she let out a scream.
“Gone with Mr. Daryl and Mr. T-Dog. Don't Worry. Love, Sophia.”
“Goddamn it Sophia!” Daryl slammed his hand on the edge of the truck bed. “What the hell d'you think yer doin'? Ya damn fool kid!”
Sophia scrabbled up and out of the flatbed. “I wanted to come help. I brought my hatchet, see?” She held it up for the men to see. T-Dog couldn't hold back his laugh. The kid sure was something, even if that something was too brave for her own good.
“You know what's this is gonna do to yer mama? Dammit, you can't just do things like this!” Daryl's fury made Sophia shrink. The older man noticed it, and recognized something in her behavior that he couldn't quite place in the moment. He was too furious to think critically.
“I left a note.”
“She left a note, hear that T-Dog? She left a note. That note ain't gonna do you a damn bit of good if we run into walkers.” Daryl ran his hand through his hair. He hadn't felt this angry since Glenn had tried to check on him after the incident with Merle. This was worse though. The child knew better, but had snuck along anyway with no regards to her safety.
“C'mon, we can keep an eye on her. Sophia knows better than to wander off, right Sophia?”
The little girl nodded. “I been practicing with my hatchet too, so I can help with walkers.” She took a wide stance, and swung the weapon hard through the air. It made a whizzing sound. It didn't calm Daryl down any.
“Hell no, she's stayin' in the truck.” He pointed to the cab. “Get in, ya done caused enough trouble. Yer safer in there.”
“You sure that's a good idea man?” T-Dog gave him a look. “She might be safer if she sticks with us.”
Sophia nodded. “Yeah, what if the truck gets surrounded by walkers and I can't get out? Please, you know I can handle it. I know how to act.”
Unfortunately, they were both right. He too felt more comfortable with the idea of having Sophia in his line of sight so that he wouldn't lose her, but having her out with them was a risk too. Taking her back to the farm and backtracking wouldn't work either. They had to conserve the gas they had in the car, as they didn't have any guarantee of finding more right aways. “Yer mama's gonna have my hide for this.” Daryl shouldered his crossbow. “Lets do this and get back, library first.”
T-Dog gave the empty backpack he'd brought along to Sophia to carry, and they entered the building. It was quiet, and the air was hot and stuffy inside. They moved silently through the aisles, out of habit and out of caution. They quickly grabbed the novels that the others had requested, sliding them into the backpack on Sophia's back, then moved to the non-fiction aisles. They found a few volumes on outdoors survivalism and a guide to edible indigenous plants. Daryl rapidly scanned the history aisle and found the first thing he wanted. A book on the history of Korea. The other thing he wanted he hoped to find in the cookbook section.
As Daryl peered around the corner of the stacks, he caught sight of movement. He motioned to the others to hold still. The slow dragging sound of feet started towards them.
“Gimme yer hatchet.” Daryl hissed at Sophia. She gave it to him and he handed her the crossbow. “Stay here and cover me.” He mouthed to T-Dog. The other man nodded, and grabbed his gun. Another quick peer around the corner confirmed that the walker they'd heard had smelled them, and was heading towards them. It had been a security guard once. It was still wearing it's uniform, except it's holster was empty. Daryl took a deep breath, stepped out, and cocking his arm back, threw the hatchet with a spin at the creature. It sunk into its skull, and it dropped with a thud.
He motioned to the others to move behind him, grabbing his crossbow back from the little girl. “Don't look Sophia.” He whispered, trying to put himself in front of her so she wouldn't have to see the walker.
Instead, she scurried in front of him, and yanked her hatchet out of it. She wiped the blade on it's shirt, and looked up at the older man with defiance in her eyes. “I seen worse.” She said quietly.
Daryl had no idea what to say to that, so he just ducked into the cookbook section, trying to find what he needed fast. There was no book on Korean cookery, but there were a couple on Asian cooking. He hoped they would have what he needed, because the options were slim. He grabbed them and the trio quickly marched out the door, all of them looking to see if there were any more walkers.
Outside it was still calm, so they ran down the street to the hardware shop that Maggie had told T-Dog about. It was locked, so T-Dog broke the glass in the door with the butt of his gun. The noise was a risk, but they were leaving soon. Reaching in, he unlocked the door and went in. The store was small enough that Daryl could keep an eye on him from the outside.
“Hurry up.” He started to mutter nervously under his breath. He thought he could see movement up the street but he wasn't sure. While he looked up the street, he missed the motion behind them. A hand came through the broken door, and grabbed at the backpack on Sophia's back. The little girl let out a yell, and wheeled around, sliding out of the backpack. She raised her hatchet, and caught the walker's fingers. It didn't cut them off, but it made it loosen it's grip, dropping the bag.
Terror made time slow down for Daryl. He grabbed the back of Sophia's shirt, yanked her towards him away from the creature, and before he could shoot the walker with an arrow, two gun shots rang out inside the shop in rapid succession. The first one missed, the second one didn't. T-Dog rushed out, kicking the corpse aside as he got to the door.
“Thought you were gonna cover me.” T-Dog said with some recrimination.
“It snuck up on us, he was trying to help me out.” Sophia grabbed the backpack. “So you were the one who had us covered.”
T-Dog scoffed. “Why you gotta defend him?”
“I ain't defending him, it's the truth.” Sophia hauled up the bag.
“We gotta get going.” Daryl pointed up the street. Several walkers were shuffling their way. “Now.”
Sophia blanched and ran for the truck, followed by the men. The sound of her feet pounding the pavement rang in her ears, covering up the faint groaning in the distance. She jumped into the cab, with Daryl following her on the driver's side, and T-Dog running over to the passenger's side. He'd barely closed his door when Daryl started the struck and drove off with a squeal of the tires. The sooner they were out of there and back at the farm the better.
The drive back was less tense than the drive there. “You really handled yourself Sophia.” T-Dog held up his fist and the little girl bumped it with her own.
“Don't encourage her. She don't need to be doin' reckless shit like that.” Daryl looked down at her. “There's a fine line between courage and stupid kiddo, and ya done crossed it.”
“I'm sorry Mr. Daryl. I just wanted to help, like you do.” She stared down at the backpack in her lap.
“Aw man, don't tell me he's your role model?” T-Dog sighed. “Next thing you'll be catchin' squirrels and not bathing enough. Ya got yourself a mini-me Daryl.”
Daryl pulled over to the side of the road and turned towards the girl. “Sophia, promise me right now that you ain't ever gonna do nothin' like this ever again.” He grabbed hold of her hand. “You can't go worryin' people like that, it ain't right. Especially not yer mama. She lost you once, she can't lose you again.”
Sophia looked up at him, tears starting to form in her eyes. “I promise. I'm sorry Mr. Daryl.” She crossed her arms in front of her, and kept her gaze down. She had to be tougher now, and that meant not crying. She never saw Mr. Daryl cry, not even when he'd collapsed in the woods. T-Dog shook his head at the scene.
Daryl softened his voice. “Sophia, once yer grown you can do stuff like this, but for now you gotta stay close to yer mama.”
“He's right. You have to think about her and how she feels.” T-Dog patted her shoulder, and she looked up.
“You're right Mr. T-Dog.” She slumped back against the seat, still sniffing back tears and feeling sorry for herself. She'd not only not proven herself, but caused trouble. Daryl started up the truck again, and they rode back to the farm as fast as they could. The closer they got, the more worried she got about how her mother was going to react.
Carol was hunched over on one of the logs by the main fire, her head in her hands. She kept rocking back and forth slightly, her anxieties about her daughter making it impossible for her to sit still. Andrea kept rubbing her back, and talking to her.
“I'm sure she's safe. Daryl and T-Dog are smart, and good with stuff like this. If anyone can keep her safe it's them.”
“I sure as hell can't.” Carol looked at the remains of the lunchtime fire. Soon they'd have to cook dinner. “I can't keep my own daughter safe.”
“Yes you can. Stuff just happens.” Andrea's hand would have brought her great joy usually, but the worry was too great for her to enjoy this sliver of affection. “You couldn't have predicted she would have done this. I don't think anyone could have.”
“Oh come on. I should've known this was coming. You've seen the way she idolizes Daryl, the way she tries to act like him. Hell, she's even been asking me if I'd let her learn how to shoot a damn crossbow.” A sob constricted Carol's chest. “Of course she'd pull this stunt, she wants to be like him.”
Andrea didn't say anything to that. She just kept patting and rubbing the other woman's back..
As soon as Carol heard the truck pull up, she leapt up and rushed towards it. From afar she could see Sophia's head in between the two men. Now that she saw that they were back safely her worry turned to anger. She was furious with Sophia for doing this, and she was furious with Daryl and T-Dog for not turning back immediately as soon as he'd seen that they had a stowaway.
Daryl hadn't even put the truck in park when Carol was at the window.
“Sophia Peletier, OUT! NOW!”
Sophia jumped, as did the men. They'd never seen Carol angry like this. T-Dog got out of the cab and stayed behind the truck. Sophia slunk out, looking sheepish. Carol grabbed both of her arms and got down on the ground so she could be at eye level with her.
“Don't you dare ever do something like that again! You hear me? I've been worried sick!”
“I'm sorry mama,” her mother's hands around her arms were squeezing tight enough to hurt. “I didn't meant to worry you.”
“Well you did. What were you thinking? It's dangerous out there.” Carol looked up at the men, who both looked as sheepish as Sophia had. “And you two, you two IDIOTS! Why the hell didn't you turn back and bring her back?”
“We couldn't waste the gas.” Daryl mumbled.
“Waste gas? WASTE GAS!? I think my daughter's safety is a little more important, don't you think?”
“Mama, they didn't do nothin' wrong, they kept a good eye on me. When the walker grabbed at me, I cut it's hand and T-Dog shot it.” Sophia realized too late that those weren't the words that her mother needed to hear, but it was too late.
“A walker grabbed her?” Carol's hands were shaking with fury. She stepped closer to Daryl. “You let a walker get near my daughter?”
Daryl opened his mouth, but only a stammer came out. He looked past Carol and saw that a crowd had gathered. Andrea, Rick, Lori and Carl were all watching the drama unfold. He wished Glenn was there, because he'd know what to say to Carol to apologize. He sure as hell couldn't think of what to say. Carol had every right to be angry at him, and he knew it.
“Leave Mr. Daryl alone, it wasn't his fault.” Sophia clenched her fists. “He protected me, and so did Mr. T-Dog.”
“That's enough. Come on.” Carol grabbed Sophia's arm and dragged her back in the direction of their tent. “You ain't allowed to hang around Daryl or Glenn no more. I can't have you doing things like this.”
T-Dog exhaled. “I thought she was gonna slap the shit out of you for a second there.”
“Yeah.” Daryl wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. “Me too.”
Glenn was helping Maggie clean the chicken coops when T-Dog came to give them the news.
“Carol just bitched the fuck out of Daryl and me.” The bald man shook his head. “Can't say we didn't deserve it though.”
“What the hell?” Glenn set the brush and dustpan aside that he'd been using to clean with. “What happened?”
“Sophia stowed away with us. We had a close call, but we handled it. That kid's got some guts, lemme tell ya.”
“Oh God. Everyone's OK though, right?” Glenn brushed the hay from his pants and stood up.
“Yeah. You might wanna go check on Daryl. He's looking pretty low, he could probably use some time around his man to cheer him up.”
Maggie snorted back a laugh, and the younger man gave her a squinting glare. “If you wanna cover for me I will.”
“Sure. Alright, whaddya need me to do?” T-Dog went into the enclosure, carefully walking around the loose chickens. Glenn left his spot and the two others to finish the job.
“Wait, where's he at?” The younger man asked as he rinsed his hands off at the spigot on the side of the structure.
“I think he went towards ya'lls tent. If you cheer him up with you know what, just keep it quiet.” T-Dog waved him off, and Glenn flicked him off. He wasn't going to live that down any time soon it looked like.
Daryl was indeed at the tent, half-heartedly making arrows in front of it with a faraway look in his eyes. He barely cracked a smile when he saw the younger man.
“T-Dog told me about your little adventure.” Glenn sat down next to him. “Don't worry about it. No one got hurt. And I'm sure Carol's gonna forgive you eventually.”
“Yeah.” Daryl dusted the bits of wood shavings from his hands. “I know.”
“It wasn't your fault Sophia decided to stow away like that. She just got a little too bold. Hopefully she's learned her lesson.” Glenn stroked Daryl back, but he didn't respond to the touch. “What's wrong hon?”
Daryl sighed and scratched at his goatee. “When we found Sophia in the back of the truck, I was real mad at her. I was yellin' and shit, gettin' heated. She had this look in her eyes like she was real scared, and she was like...shrinkin' away from me, like she was thinkin' I was gonna hit her or somethin'. And you know what else?” He turned to Glenn, and the younger man was shocked to see fear in his eyes. “I think I was soundin' just like my father when I was yellin' at her.”
“Honey, you're not like that at all. You'd never hurt anyone like he hurt you.” Glenn's hand rested on the back of his neck. Daryl had told him some of what his father was like, and Glenn had filled in the rest.
“How d'you know that? I came from him, maybe I inherited that from him...”
“If you were like your father, you'd have done more than yell at Sophia. She deserved to be yelled at a little, she did something dangerous. But I bet you didn't tell her she was worthless or smack her.”
“Hell no!” Daryl rubbed his eye with the palm of his hand. “But-”
“Daryl, you're not like your father. You're not like your brother. You're a better man than that.” The younger man hugged him from the side.
Daryl nodded, but it was clear Glenn didn't get it. He didn't get being afraid that you were destined to be a terrible man because you came from bad blood. Ever since his father had died, Daryl couldn't shake the fear that we was really just like him. He saw hints of his father in him when he got mad. When he got into fights, when he felt pissed off. It didn't help that he favored his father when it came to looks, more so than Merle did. He had the same eyes as him. Sometime he'd look at himself in the mirror, and try to scrutinize them. Make sure that they didn't have the same kind of emptiness and cruelty that his father's eyes had held.
It was this fear that held itself over him, that made him afraid to allow Sophia to look up to him and act like he was a father-figure. Today was all the proof that he needed, despite what Glenn was saying. Sophia had to stay away from him. He was lousy for her. Hell, he was having trouble convincing himself that he was any good for anyone right now.
Glenn pressed a kiss against his cheek, and that made him feel a tiny bit better.
“You doubt yourself so much. I get that that's hard to stop doing that, but don't worry. I'm gonna keep telling you that you're awesome.” The younger man ruffled his brown hair. “Do you want me to keep you company and help with the arrows?”
“If you can make some straight ones, sure.” Daryl gave him a little smile. Glenn shoved him with his shoulder.
“Asking me to do anything straight it a losing proposition.”
The older man let out a small laugh. He wasn't sure how the kid did it, but he could make him start to feel better real fast. It was a superficial feeling, but it was better than just feeling lousy on his own.
Sophia was grounded to the tent, waiting for her mother to come back with her dinner. She resented it, but part of her knew that she'd deserved it. Even though she'd said that she didn't want her hanging around Mr. Daryl and Mr. Glenn anymore. That made her mad. Being around them made her feel safe and happy. She felt a little guilty for it, but being around her mother made her sad sometimes. Sophia saw the sadness in her eyes, and it made her feel bad. She loved her mother, but she didn't want to grow up to be that sad.
When Carol came back to the tent, the little girl accepted her bowl of food silently, and pushed the canned vegetable stew around with her spoon. She missed the meat that Mr. Daryl used to bring back for everyone. Eating squirrels had freaked her out at first, but they tasted good. So did the stuff he called venison.
“Eat your food honey.” Carol choked down spoonful after spoonful of the stew, trying to convince Sophia to do the same with her actions. It tasted bland, and the vegetables in it were unpleasantly mushy.
“Yes mama.” The little girl ate in small bites, getting only halfway through her portion before putting it down. “I'm done.”
“You sure you don't want to eat the rest?”
Sophia shook her head. “No. I don't really like it.”
“Neither do I.” Carol stroked her daughter's scalp. “You know what I miss?”
Sophia looked up at her. “What mama?”
Her daughter smiled at the memories of that food. “I miss popsicles.”
“Ice cream cake.”
“Birthday cake.” Sophia's smile fell. “Mama, am I gonna have a birthday next year?”
“What do you mean honey?” Carol furrowed her brow.
“Am I going to have people wishing me happy birthday? Are we going to do something special? Like a party? I don't want no presents though. I know we can't get none.” Sophia's stomach gurgled but she ignored it.
“Of course people are gonna wish you happy birthday Sophia. And we can try and do something special.” As long as they were all still alive. Carol tried to put that out of her mind though.
“Can Mr. Daryl and Mr. Glenn be there?” Sophia's voice went small.
Carol sighed and picked up Sophia's bowl. “Why don't you draw a little before going to bed.”
“Don't feel like it...” Sophia remembered something, and grabbed her drawing pad. “Can you give this to Mr. Glenn for me?” She gave her mother the drawing she'd promised him. When Carol looked at it she felt stunned.
It showed Daryl and Glenn holding hands with each other and with a smiling figure with the word “Mama” written underneath it. The figure meant to be her was holding hands with a smaller figure with very short hair, which was mean to be Sophia.
“I promised him I'd make him a drawing for their tent.” Sophia put her drawing pad away, a serious look on her face. “I know I can't be around him no more, but I don't wanna break my promise.”
“I'll go give it to him right now.” Carol felt a tremor inside her chest. She wasn't angry anymore, she wasn't sure what she felt quite frankly.
“Thank you mama.” Sophia hugged her, and Carol gave her a bear hug back so tight that Sophia tried to wiggle out of it. “Mama, that's too tight.”
“Sorry honey. You did a really good job on this drawing. I'm sure Glenn is going to love it.”
Carol took the bowls back to the communal area. Glenn and Daryl had arrived late to get their food, and were still eating.
“Sophia wanted me to give this to you.” She handed the drawing to the younger man.
“Woah! She did an amazing job. Look, she totally captured you.” He passed it to Daryl, who was avoiding looking at Carol directly.
“She's real talented like that.” The drawing of the four of them holding hands made it look like they were a real family, not just a bunch of strangers. It made Daryl feel strange, like this was something that could actually be real for them.
“I'm sorry I lost it with you Daryl.” Carol said. He wasn't expecting that.
“It's ok.” He shifted uncomfortably. “You had every right.”
“Maybe, but I know you wouldn't let anything happen to Sophia.” She sighed. “She wants to be like you so bad. Just please remember that.”
Daryl nodded. He didn't really understand it, but he knew what it meant. He had to be a good example for the little girl.
“That means you have to be responsible and tell her no from time to time. She has no business trying to run with y'all. She's just a child. She need to be a child.”
“I get it.” Daryl straightened his shoulders. His body always seemed to get a mind of it's own when he was anxious.
“I hope you do.” Carol left them with that thought. She knew that keeping her daughter away from them wouldn't work, because they'd become necessary for her. Hopefully they could both step up to the plate and realize that.
“Looks like you've got no choice. Sophia's decided you're her father figure.” Glenn tapped the paper.
“Fool kid.” Daryl shook his head. He stared at the drawing. They did look like a family all together like that. In the drawing, it didn't look like such a foolish idea. But it was just a drawing.
After breakfast the next day, Carol laid down the rules for Sophia.
“You can't go off with the others on supply runs until you're older.” Sophia tried to protest but when she saw the stern look on her face she quieted down. It was unreasonable though. There was no guarantee they'd even all be still together once she was grown enough to go on supply runs.
“You can chop wood and do chores with Glenn, but only for an hour a day. Right now you can't, and you won't for the next two weeks. After that though, you can start again. Got it?”
Sophia nodded, but again, she didn't like it.
“You can help Daryl out with his arrows after that time too, but not a moment sooner. You're grounded for those two weeks. And during that time you're going to be staying with me while I work.” Carol motioned Sophia to follow her out of the tent. “I have to help with the sweeping in the house today. You can bring your drawing pad with you.”
The little girl grabbed her art supplies and followed her mother to the house. It was going to be a boring day.
Daryl had gotten up early to set up snares around the property. By noon, he had a dozen squirrels. He'd butchered them and given most of the meat to Lori, but kept some back to make something for him and Glenn. Maggie had given him the rest of the ingredients that he needed, and by the time Glenn was done with his watch shift, he had squirrel and radish soup cooking for them to have for lunch.
He'd been surprised that one of the books he snagged had what sounded like what Glenn had described to him, and also by the fact that it was simple. He'd just needed to get an onion, some radishes, and garlic from Maggie. It didn't look like the picture in the book, but it was he best he could do under the circumstances. He didn't have a goddamn clue as to what a korean radish looked like and where one could find it, or even what fish sauce was, so he had to omit that and use the small red radishes the Greene family grew in their garden..
Dipping a metal spoon in the bubbling broth, Daryl took a taste. It was nice. Different.
“Hey good lookin', watcha cookin'?” Glenn called out as he approached their tent.
The older man gave a small, twitchy smile. “Made you somethin' special. Squirrel and radish soup. Don't have no beef, so the squirrel had to do.”
Glenn stopped short. He couldn't quite wrap his mind around it. Not only had Daryl remembered what he'd said about his mother's soup, he'd tried to make it for him. It was a genuine expression of caring, and it was something no one had ever done for him.
The older man handed him a bowl as he sat down in front of the fire. It didn't taste the same as his mom's soup, but it was perfect all the same.
“Is it ok?” Daryl asked in between bites of squirrel and radish. The radishes were still firm despite the time they'd been cooking, which was nice, but the meat had gone a little tough.
“It's perfect.” Glenn planted a kiss on the older man's lips before going back to eating.
“What're you drawing?” Maggie sat down next to Sophia at the dinner table, taking a break from mopping the kitchen floor.
The little girl pulled back from the paper and showed her. It was a old house with no windows and no door. The steps leading up to it were red and it was surrounded by green bushes covered in white flowers. “Just a house. Want me to draw you somethin'?” Sophia turned the page.
“Can you draw me a horse?” The brunette asked.
Sophia nodded and pulled out a yellow crayon as well as a light brown crayon. Trying her best to remember how horses looked like when they were standing still, she drew out an outline of one. The legs looked kind of right.
“Is Sophia allowed to come play?”
The little girl looked up from the drawing she was working on to look at Carl. She wished she could get away with glaring at him or doing that rude hand gesture that Mr. Daryl did sometimes.
“Let me get her mother.” Maggie got up and looked into the living room where Carol was sweeping up the floor. “Carol, Carl wants to know if Sophia can play with him.”
Carol looked up with confusion. “Carl?” She walked into the dining room. Carl was indeed standing there, wearing Rick's sheriff's hat. “I'm sorry, Sophia's grounded. She can't play today.” The boy nodded and left.
Sophia breathed a small sigh of relief, and went back to trying to make the horse she was drawing look like the horse that Maggie always rode. The idea of being around Carl was more of a punishment than having to stay close to her mother. Maybe being grounded was a good thing.