The thick, sweet smell of wet grass overpowers him. It's carried in by the sudden rain, heavy, pounding, on the ground outside the open door. Rick freezes as the scent catches him, and the hot-wet wind it brings; the old memories, the hurt and the feelings; it catches him, wraps around him like a perfume from days-gone-by, makes him shudder for breath as he tries hard to find the solid edges of reality.
"You smellin' that?" Daryl asks, behind him, and Rick breathes in.
He's not making it up, then. It's real, and it's rich; the sky truly has broken and the grass honestly is filling his head with sweetness.
There are days, these days, when Rick can't help but question the most basic of the basics.
"Sure," says Rick. Calmly. Like he doesn't question things. Like Daryl hasn't become his touchstone. His security blanket. "Sure." Easy. Sure.
Daryl gives him the eye, gives him that Look, sideways-like, from beneath the dark swing of his hair. Knowing.
Daryl says nothing, but steps to the doorway, beside Rick, arm-to-arm, and puts one hand on Rick's hip, as if that's where Daryl's hand belongs. It fits there, an unsurprising puzzle-piece.
Rick breathes. Steady. Inhales the sweetness and the heat.
The grass is long, here, somewhere to the left of nowhere, somewhere in this world that swells around them, and the rain is crushing it; a swathe of summer water falling hard against the green, knocking down old weeds and new; a spatter-rush of water and heavy-falling dandelions.
The prison, Rick thinks, will be washed right clean when they get back.