Disclaimer: I don't own AMC's The Walking Dead or any of its characters. Wishful thinking aside.

Authors Note #1: I recently re-watched 1x05 Wildfire and was inspired to write a little fill about the missing scene in the quarry camp after Carol and Daryl's moment with the axe. You know the one, where she asks for the axe to 'take care of' Ed and Daryl nods and lets her, with that look on his face. *Rated for: adult language, gory imagery, and a little bit of Daryl/Carol. (I am writing HET? WAIT WHAT…?)

Authors Note #2: Please read and review. I am excited to see what you all think. I am open to comments, advice, and constructive criticism.


…He swung the axe once and then twice for every one. One blow to kill, the second to make sure…

Death was a tricky thing to tact down these days, what with the dead not stayin' dead and all. It was all about coming to terms with the fact that just because somethin' looked, and hell, even smelled dead, didn't mean that one of the stupid fuckers wouldn't get back up and take a chunk outta' your ass when you weren't lookin'.

Sweat stung his eyes as he leaned into the downward stroke. But he didn't wipe it away. He was used to the sting. The bitter hurt. He gritted his teeth at the sharpness; he was all but drowning in it. In himself. In the harsh, sour stink. The persistent salt-dry drip…Shit. It was trickling down from his temples now, beading across his skin like fresh crimson bubbling up from a chest wound. Like stale air leaving the lungs, coming out of him like his body was trying purge itself of all the things it couldn't keep. Things like the memories. Things like-…

But he shook it off; bringing the axe down with a particularly vehement stroke, feeling the bone underneath splinter. He only hissed at the sound, taking it as he due as he brought the axe up for the second swing. He could feel the muscles in his arms tightening, knotting up and screaming at the abuse. But he ignored it, letting the hollow peals of sharp metal cleaving through that limp flesh echo across the clearing.

This is what they got. This was what he deserved… What they deserved...

The acidic tang of his own sweat trickled past his lips as he paused for a moment, straightening in the act of dragging the corpse of yet another walker from growing pile, reveling in the acrid burn as the salty liquid seeped past his teeth. He rolled his tongue around the taste, unable to stop himself from wondering if perhaps that disturbing tartness, that offensive flavor that was now all but dripping off his skin, was what penance tasted like.

He could feel the others staring, stopping to watch him every now and again as he put his back into it. Blocking everything else out and loosing count of the bone splintering shrieks as he dealt with one walker after another. Fuck 'em. It had to be done. He'd been cleaning up other peoples messes all his life. His fathers, Merle's…and now theirs and he was getting fucking tired of it.

He heard one of the little ones crying, one of Morales' brood he figured. And while that sound was not uncommon, especially these days, this time it jarred with the terrible silence that had overtaken that ragged little patch of grass beside the RV. The place where blond hair met with drying crimson as Andrea knelt over her kin, face broken, too far gone to even sob. He clenched his hands around the rough wooden grain as something stiffened up his spine. The air was polluted with that silence now. Thick with the bastardized versions of fear, horror, anger, and mistrust. And with it he felt poised on a razors edge, one step away from just snapping as drop after bitter drop rolled down his cheeks. Blurring together with the dirt, blood, and grit until it looked like he was weeping out gutter water.

His lashes were damp, sticking together in awkward clumps that impeded his vision as he paused, straightening in the act of dragging the corpse of yet another walker from the growing pile. Two strokes. It had to be two strokes. Sunlight ricocheted off the metallic surface of one of the cars, sending blinding prisms searing across his vision. He shuttered his lids against it as he leaned into the next swing, blinking the splotches of brightness away as he raised the axe up a second time.

He didn't think about the face underneath. He didn't want to. Couldn't. Because he knew those vacant eyes, he might have never learned their names but they had always been there, in camp, in the background. Adults, children, hell even a few old'uns. They'd been here just as long as he had, some of them even longer. They hadn't deserved this, it wasn't-…

He brought the axe down, making an already unrecognizable face featureless and broken. So that he could almost trick himself into believing that it was just another walker. Another deadhead…another geek. But the problem with that logic was that none of them were. Not really. They had all been someone before all this. Meant something...at least to someone.

A low snarl built in the back of his throat as he lost himself in the next stroke. Bringing the axe down again and again as the pile began to dwindle. Blocking out the names, the faces, everything. If he did it this way he wouldn't have to think. He could exist in that dark, tenuous place where every reason to raise that axe was cut and dry…black and fucking white.

He was good at the simple shit.

He was so far gone that when the hand alighted on his shoulder, so soft and gentle. He actually startled, nearly whirling where he stood, axe raised. But he caught himself just in time, lowering the axe as he turned, alarm and anger draining out of him like water from a sieve as he recognized the bird-like grace. It was the woman, Carol.

But if he'd frightened her she gave no sign. She simply stood there, gaze level with his own. Her timid blue eyes calm and accepting as she offered him the handle of a battered tin cup. The malleable metal topped to the brim with water. He only blinked back at her at first, uncertain of her meaning as she extended it outwards. The odd droplet dappling across her arm as she moved, marring her fine skin with mask of new freckles as the rogue dribbles sloshed slowly over the rim. The offer temperate and tender in a way he hadn't realized he'd been missing.

And it wasn't until that very moment that he realized how fucking thirsty he actually was..

He met her eyes through the sweat soaked fringe of his hair, the stringy tendrils threatening to blind him with liquid salt as the axe loosened in his grip. The action unbidden as his posture slowly softened, as if in reaction to her very presence. Smoothing over the hard edges as he nearly shivered, the sweat on his skin begin to cool, sheening him with a layer of calming chill.

She didn't say a word as she pressed the cup into his hands, soft skin slipping across the slickness of his own as their hands inadvertently brushed together. Her finger tips grazing across the surface of the open cuts and growing blisters with all the easy grace of an afterthought.

His hand closed around the rim automatically, brain still struggling with the aftershocks as the lingering scent of a clean, more feminine smelling sweat rose in his senses. And as if in response, she graced him with a small, slow little smile that lasted just a few beats too long before she nodded and turned away. It was just the faint, tugging upturn of the corners of her lip mind you, but he figured it was a start.

And while he had no idea what he'd done to deserve it.. To deserve that gentle smile and the sight of those soft curves swaying back the way she'd came.. He just couldn't seem to shake the rather troublesome feeling that he'd do just about anything to see that smile once again..

A/N: Please let me know what you think? Reviews and constructive critiquing are love! Hits and favorites are flattering but reviews do wonders for the writing process my lovelies.

"I suspect the secret of personal attraction is locked up in our unique imperfections, flaws and frailties."-Hugh Mackay