so much honey the bees envy me
They’re walking just to put space between them – miles between them and Terminus. Just in case anyone made it out. Daryl walks beside Carol for the first little while, gripping the strap of his crossbow across his chest and stealing glances at her every few steps – just to be sure she’s there.
Her shoulder nudges his as she weaves back down the tracks, her gait unsteady as if she knows he needs the constant contact. He feels like he can breathe, every time she nudges into him, or her hip bounces off of his. He feels like he can breathe. Hell, he feels like if he could do it without tripping or exposing himself even further to the group, he’d take her hand like an anchor and tie her to his side.
He kind of wishes he had when Rick catches up with them, his eyes focussed on Carl and Judith with Michonne ahead of them, both of them stroking the baby’s head and smiling at each other over the miracle in Carl’s arms. “Carol, I hate to ask but how?” Rick finally speaks and Carol steps into Daryl a bit more on her next footfall, twisting her body to look at Rick, who is staring at her so earnestly. “You couldn’t know – couldn’t possibly know but we were seconds – you saved our lives. We wouldn’t have – without the distraction…”
She blinks at that, bringing a hand up to wipe at her tears and Daryl does raise a hand at that, cupping the back of her neck reassuringly, fuck everyone else and what they think. She glances at him, emotion in her eyes. He can read relief and comfort but tension as well and he’s not sure why until he remembers – she doesn’t know what they all know about her banishment. She’s still living with that fear, and his fingers tighten slowly as he nods, hoping to convey to her – it will be alright. He’ll make sure it’s alright. He’s not sure when they’ll get a chance to clear that up – on the road to nowhere as they are, but he knows, first chance he gets he’s taking it. No more wasting time with this pussy-footing around shit. He’s done with all that.
He’s almost lost her three times. He may be a slow learner, but even he’s not that dumb.
“We ran into one of the guys – from Terminus. We stepped off the tracks because of the gunfire – I assume that was you all,” she laughs at that and Rick nods in confirmation. “He was talking on his radio – about Michonne and Carl. I knew you all had to be there. So I went.” She shrugs like it’s nothing and Daryl stares at her and shakes his head.
“Shoot, I saved your lives, no big deal or nothing,” he nudges her gently and she stumbles, glaring at him, but the effect is ruined with a grin.
“I disguised myself as a walker, went in with a herd,” she adds and Rick nods in understanding.
“Propane tank, my rifle and a firework.” She pauses, as if realising how incredulous it sounds and Abe’s voice booms from behind them.
“Got ourselves a regular fucking McGyver here. Wish she’d been with us from the get go, maybe we could have avoided the detour. But any vacation will do I suppose.” Daryl chuckles at that. He doesn’t know the guy that well, but he seems alright from what he’s seen. Glenn vouched for him, which is as good as gold in his books – he likes the kid, trusts his instincts more than most.
“Where’d you find my crossbow?” He thinks to ask her and she sighs, looking at the weapon on his back.
“Creepy room filled with stuff. All sorts of stuff. I just grabbed it. Couldn’t leave it behind,” she speaks softer now and Rick frowns.
“Wait you went in there?”
“I had to find you all. No one would tell me where you were at first – finally found the boxcar but it was empty, saw the sheet on the fence, assumed you guys went over.”
“Jesus Christ Carol, you’re-” Daryl chokes on his own words for a minute and she ducks her head, shaking it.
“You got yourselves out, I didn’t do that.”
“You slid through a shit storm of walkers and murderous assholes to open the window – like hell I’m gonna take credit for jumping out of it.” Daryl notices the red on her cheeks, and he’s delighted to be embarrassing her a bit.
“We can never thank you – I can never thank you enough,” Rick pauses, grasping her arm and stilling her. He shoots Daryl a look, silently asking for time alone with her and Daryl hesitates, but nods.
“I’ll walk back here for a minute,” he mumbles and falls back to step in with Abe and his girl, both moving aside to make room for him. Like fuck he’s gonna walk ahead, and let her out of his eye sight.
Carol and Rick walk on, with Carol shooting him little glances over her shoulder as she grips the strap of her gun tightly. “So Archer, that’s one hell of a fine piece you got there,” Rosita shoots him a look and he frowns at her tone.
“She means your girl, dumbass,” Abe helps out and Daryl feels his chest tighten at his words. “That is your girl right? Stupid fucking question after the – what’d you call it Rosita?”
“Vertical hug sex,” she offers with a grin.
“Right – in the woods. Shit, I didn’t think you knew how to smile, son,” Abe laughs loudly and Daryl stares at him. “You’re a lucky sonofabitch. Woman like that? Damn, they are not made like that no more.”
Daryl can hear Maggie and Glenn, giggling behind him with Abe’s friend Eugene, and he rolls his eyes. He can practically feel Glenn about to open his mouth, and Carol looks over her shoulder, seeking his eyes for a moment, giving him a small smile and the same looks she’d given him in those woods.
“You’re god damn right they don’t,” Daryl allows all of his pride for her seep into his voice as he looks at Abe. “But that’s my girl.”