Daryl Dixon trudged through the forest, his gaze pinned to the ground, searching for footprints. He raised his gaze as birds called from the trees. Why couldn’t the girl stay put like she was told? Grumbling, he continued on his way, searching for any signs of the girl. Truth be told, he didn’t really care if he found the girl or not. He was only out here to get away from all of them.
Why the hell am I still with them anyway? He could’ve left them a long time ago. Hell, he should have. Something kept him from leaving, but the reason eluded him. Maybe he felt sorry for them. Even with their leader, Rick, they still didn’t seem to have their shit together. Especially when Rick was at odds with his right hand man, Shane.
Daryl smirked. He had an idea of what had the two at odds. He’d seen the looks Shane gave Rick’s wife. If the entire situation weren’t so tragic, he’d laugh his ass off.
He shook his head and chuckled to himself. Maybe he stayed for the entertainment he received. Running around, trying to keep one step ahead of the walkers. It was hilarious.
The world going to hell had caught him off guard. One minute, he was causing terror in some poor unsuspecting victim, the next his brother grabbed him and shoved him into a truck. Not knowing what the hell was going on, he’d followed Merle until they came across this group at a quarry. Merle’d ordered him to lay low and continue to pretend to be human until the time was right to act. Course the dumbass went and vanished on him, leaving him with these humans.
“Jackass.” Daryl growled. Now he had to keep up the stupid charade when he really wanted was let lose with his powers. There were so many people to torment, so many minds to break. It aggravated the hell out of him that he couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
A twig snapped to his right and he paused, his crossbow raised. He listened, straining his hearing.
“Sophia?” He called.
The bushes rustled in front of him and he aimed his weapon. Hissing filled the silence and a walker stepped out of the bushes, it stared straight at him and picked up its pace.
“Damn it.” Daryl looked around as he took a step back, wanting to put enough distance between him and the walker. Noticing no one was around; he turned his gaze back to the creature. He smiled as his vision turned red. Here was something to take his frustrations out on.
He waved his hand and the creature flew backward, slamming into a tree. It snarled at him as it struggled against the bark. He smirked as he cocked his head to the side. He shouldered his weapon then sent a bolt of lightning at the writhing corpse.
The walker dropped to the ground and struggled to its feet. It stumbled toward him, but he sent it flying back into the tree with a wave of his hand. A ball of fire ignited in his right hand and he flung it at the creature, engulfing it in flames. It tumbled to the ground as Daryl stalked toward it. He knelt beside it as it pushed itself up.
“Don’t give up, do you?” He smirked and raised his right hand. He shoved his taloned hand into the walker’s head, smashing it up against the tree. Blood splattered on the tree and his face from the force of the blow. He blinked some of the black liquid out of his eyes, wiping the rest off his face as he stood. He took a couple of deep breaths as a sense of calm washed over him.
Daryl turned away from the corpse, looked up into the sky and figured he better head back to the farm. The sun would be down soon and he didn’t want to miss the evening’s entertainment.
Wiping the last bits of skull and blood from his face, Daryl trudged up to the camp. The sun hugged the horizon and he smelled the evening meal roasting in a large pot over the campfire. His stomach growled and he picked up his pace. He headed for his tent he’d set up a few feet from the others gathered around the campfire. He glanced at who manned the cooking and his blood rushed through his veins.
Carol lifted the lid of the pot and stirred the stew. She looked over her shoulder and smiled at him, sending his pulse racing faster. He didn’t know why his body reacted to her the way it did. She wasn’t his type. She was a mouse, scared of her own shadow.
When he’d first laid eyes on her at the quarry, he’d seen her as an easy target to torture. He’d entered her mind the first night to turn whatever dreams she had into nightmares. He’d been stunned to learn she was already having a nightmare. He’d learned quickly where her nightmares came from. It surprised him how he’d reacted. He’d wanted to beat her husband senseless and show Ed what real torment was all about.
He’d watched her after that. He didn’t know why. He made sure he was close by for whatever reason. He sensed something in her, something that drew him to her. He didn’t know what it was, but it was powerful.
“It’ll be ready soon.” Carol said in her soft voice. It wrapped around him, called to him. He fought to resist the pull. He nodded then headed for his tent.
Daryl left his tent a few minutes later in a clean sleeveless shirt. He’d dumped some bottled water over his hair and face in hopes of cleaning himself up. He grabbed a nearby chair and plopped down into it.
Carol came over a moment later and handed him a bowl and spoon. He stared into the bowl as the scent of roasted meat and potatoes drifted to his nose. He breathed it in and his stomach growled again.
He looked up, but Carol turned away and handed another bowl to Andrea. A sense of disappointment at her walking away twisted him in knots, but he forced it away. He didn’t need to deal with this. Not now. He picked up the spoon and dug into his food. His gaze roamed toward her, though.
She climbed up to the roof of the RV where Shane sat and handed him a bowl. Daryl sighed and turned his attention back to his food. He really shouldn’t be looking at her or showing any interest in her. Humans were good for only one thing; torturing. What was it about this woman that made him want to do anything, but harm her?
He shook his head and finished off the bowl. He placed it by the pot then headed toward his tent.
Daryl woke the next morning to birds singing and voices whispering. He pushed himself up on an elbow and glared at the silhouettes standing outside his tent. He couldn’t make out what was being said, but he didn’t care. He fell back onto his makeshift bed and stared up at the ceiling. He flung an arm over his eyes and tried to catch some more sleep, but the singing birds became too loud. A moment later, the smell of eggs cooking drifted toward him.
Grumbling, he pushed himself into a sitting position and ran a hand through his hair. He’d rather stay in his tent for the rest of the day than see any of them. They annoyed the hell out of him with their dilemmas and sentiments. As much as he didn’t want to admit, though they were growing on him. That pissed him off more than anything.
Scrambling out of his sleeping bag, he opened the tent and climbed out. The two who’d stood by his tent had left. He ruffled his hair and headed toward the center of camp and the source of the smell.
Carol pushed a spatula around in a skillet, a flash of yellow against black as he drew closer.
“Daryl.” Rick’s stern voice caught his attention.
He stared at the man as he closed the gap between them. “What?”
“You going out again today?” Rick asked, placing his hands on his hips.
Daryl eyed the man. “Yeah. Why?”
Rick looked behind him, shifted on his feet then turned back to him. “I’m coming with you.”
Daryl scoffed. “Like hell you are. You can’t track worth shit and I don’t want to have to keep my eye on you as well as walkers.”
Rick ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I just think there’s a better chance of finding her with more people.”
Daryl bit his lip, knowing Rick was right and hating every second of it. He narrowed his eyes at the sheriff. “What about your son?”
Rick sighed and shifted on his feet again. “He’s doing better thanks to Shane.”
“So you need a little distraction.” Daryl sneered and turned to leave.
“I need to find Sophia. It’s because of me that she’s lost out there.”
Daryl glared at Rick. “I don’ need your help. Better on my own.”
He turned to leave again, but Rick grabbed his arm. He wrenched it out of the grip and narrowed his eyes at the sheriff.
“I’m coming with you whether you like it or not, Daryl.”
Daryl sneered and curled his hands into fists. He turned away as the world around him flashed red. It wouldn’t do him any good if Rick saw his eyes glowing. He didn’t want to deal with all the questions the sheriff would ask. Course, the man would probably just shoot him, not that’d it’d do much except piss him off. Either way, he didn’t want to deal with how humans reacted to him.
“Fine,” he growled, facing Rick. “Keep up and keep your mouth shut.”
Rick nodded, stepping back. “I’ll be ready in an hour. I need to talk to Lori first.”
Daryl scoffed and waved his arm at the man as he walked away. He doubted Rick really cared about Sophia, he just wanted to relieve whatever guilt he felt. He shook his head and went to retrieve his crossbow from his tent.
Then why the hell you looking for the girl? The darker part of himself asked. Why’d you care?
His gaze fell on Carol’s back as she spooned some eggs onto T-Dog’s plate. It was more than just wanting to get away from these people for a while. It was more than having something to do along with hunting for their food. He just didn’t want to admit it to himself.
“Morning, Daryl.” Carol greeted him as she went back to the campfire. “Want some eggs?”
He smirked as he grabbed a plate from the pile near the campfire. “Going out again today, could use some something.”
She nodded as a small smile played on her lips. “You shouldn’t be out there alone.”
Daryl looked at her through his lashes. “I’m not. Rick’s joining me.”
She spooned some eggs onto his plate. “You don’t sound too thrilled about that.”
He dug into the eggs, not caring if they burned his mouth. “I’m not. Better on my own. He’ll make too much noise.”
Carol gave a short laugh and his dick reacted. His breath caught and he coughed to cover it up. Damn it, what was she doing to him? How could this skinny timid woman cause him to react so strongly toward her? It annoyed him to no end.
She looked up at him and placed a hand on his arm. Her hand burned him, sending jolts of electricity racing through his body. His jeans grew uncomfortable and he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from taking her. He doubted the others would take kindly to him ravishing her.
“I know you’ll find her.” She whispered as she squeezed his arm.
Struck speechless by the brightness of her eyes and her words, he nodded. She smiled and went back to dishing out the eggs to the rest of the group. He watched her as emotions he shouldn’t feel rose within him.
“Goddamn it.” He grumbled, spun on his heel went to find a quiet spot to finish his breakfast.
Daryl stalked through the forest, his crossbow held loose in his hands. He kept his eyes out for any sign of the girl and his ears straining for signs of walkers. He’d learned a while ago walkers were heard first before being spotted. It didn’t help, though that most of the noise came from Rick trudging behind him. He growled and glared at the sheriff.
“How the hell can I hear anything when you’re back there stomping through the leaves?”
Rick glared at him. “I’m not in the mood to argue with you, Daryl. Deal with the noise.”
He stopped and faced the sheriff, waving a hand out toward the forest. “You’re going to bring every walker around down upon us if you keep kicking the leaves.”
Rick stepped closer, getting in Daryl’s face. “Excuse me for not being as quiet as you. I wasn’t trained for stealth.”
Daryl narrowed his eyes and growled. “Then why the hell are you out here?”
Rick sighed and ran a hand through his hair, looking away. “I need to do this. I need to find her.”
“Then be quiet. Soft steps. You’re not raking leaves.”
Rick smirked, but Daryl shook his head and turned back around. Taking a deep breath to ease back his temper, he led the way through the forest.
Daryl stepped out of the rundown house and called out Sophia’s name. Rick came around the side of the house and shook his head. Daryl sighed and kicked at a rock. What he wouldn’t give to run into a walker right about now. He curled his hands into fists as he paced.
“She’s not here.” Rick said, coming up beside him.
Daryl bit his tongue before replying. “She might have been. Saw a makeshift bed tucked in a closet. Small enough for her to fit in.”
“You think she might have come this way?”
Daryl looked at the sheriff, squinting in the bright sunlight. He nodded then continued to pace.
“Let’s head back.” Rick said, patting him on the shoulder. “We’ve made some progress, I think.”
Daryl growled at the touch, but said nothing. Rick stepped away, heading back into the forest. He turned to follow, but something white and green caught his attention. He raised his hand to block the sunlight and bring the colors into a form. A rose bush sat on the edge of the property and a thought formed in his mind before he could stop it. He headed for the bush and knelt before it.
“Daryl!” Rick’s voice called back to him.
Daryl gritted his teeth as he stared at the roses. “Be there in a minute, I gotta take a piss!”
Daryl rolled his eyes and snatched a blossom from the bush. He rolled the stem between his fingers as images of Carol’s sweet face appeared in his mind. His heart thudded in his chest as he rose to his feet. He knew he needed to give this to her. She worked herself to the bone for the others and he knew it was to give her something to do other than worry about her daughter.
I’m an idiot. He chastised himself. I should be reveling in her misery. Instead, I want to give her a damn flower.
Shaking his head, he tucked the flower into his back pocket and trudged into the forest.
He stepped out of the RV as a turmoil of emotions raged inside him. He shoved his fingers into his hair and paced near the vehicle. She’d cried when he showed her the flower and told her that story. A wave of confusing emotions rose within him along with the elation at seeing her in tears. The confusing emotions caused him to leave in a hurry. He didn’t know what to do with these new emotions. He didn’t know what caused him, but he knew they appeared when ever she was near. Whenever he thought about her.
Daryl stopped pacing and glared at Dale. The old man tested his patience to no end. He was too observant for his own good. He’d caught Dale staring at him with a strange expression on his face several times after he’d arrived at the quarry. Daryl always wondered if the older man knew what he really was.
Daryl looked at the door to the RV and sighed. He stared at his feet as he fought back the emotions rolling around within him.
“Carol all right?” Dale asked as he stepped closer.
Daryl stepped away from the man, narrowing his eyes. “She’s fine. Crying up a storm in there; worried about her little girl.”
“You didn’t find her?” Dale took another step toward him.
Daryl shook his head, glanced again at the door. “No.”
He walked away before the man asked him anymore or got too close. He looked back and watched as Dale entered the RV. He grumbled to himself and headed for his tent. Maybe he should head back out there, find something for dinner. He needed to get away for a while anyway. All these emotions, ones he’d never felt before were about to take their toll on him. It was too overwhelming, too new. He didn’t want to care about any of these people, but he feared he might end up caring too much. Carol’s presence did something to him and it both terrified and intrigued him. He didn’t know what to do about it, didn’t know if he could or how.
Daryl grabbed his crossbow from the tree it leaned against and headed toward the forest. If nothing else, it might help clear his mind of these feelings and get back to being himself.