So sorry for the long delay in updating. I misplaced the few chapters that I'd written, and then finals got in the way. Hopefully, I'll be able to update a bit more frequently now. I feel that after such a long wait I should post a longer chapter, but, this is what I have, so I'll settle for trying to update again in a couple of days.

Daryl and Sophia

Daryl looked around the group, acutely aware of the deep depression that everyone was feeling. The disappearance of Sophia had brought this depression front and center, but Daryl had felt it even before then. It had started after the disastrous trip to the CDC, and Sophia's disappearance had only made it more tangible.

Daryl himself was not immune. He, too, felt as if he were carrying around a black cloud that was pouring rain over his head. His emotions and nerves were frayed. He found himself snapping at everyone, unsure of where the anger was even coming from.

Rick was right about one thing – finding Sophia would be the miracle everyone needed to keep going.

Finding Sophia would be the miracle that Daryl needed.

Daryl watched the group for a long moment before picking up his crossbow. He was going to keep looking for Sophia until he found her, even if everyone else gave up. He never considered that she might already be dead, because that was not an option. Sophia was still alive; she had to be.

Daryl needed her to be.

Because if she wasn't, Daryl knew that it would be one loss too many. The group would break. He would break.

"Please, Sophia, don't let me down," Daryl whispered as he set off into the woods.