She stood outside the door staring at the celling. He was such a mess, scraped, bruised, stabbed and shot, and she knew it was her fault. If she had been a better mother her child would not be missing and her friend would not be in this horrific state.
Carol had learned to claim herself thanks to Ed and although things had changed since he was around she was finding it incredibly difficult to break her old habits.
She had gone in already and spoke to him but things kept flashing in her mind, his wounds, his stressed voiced, and most of all that twitch he'd had as she tried to comfort him, the guilt built up and she felt a lump build in her throat. Her attempts to swallow back the pain failed she let out splutters and whimpers and tears raced down her cheeks. Once they had started she found them impossible to stop, covering her moth with her hand trying to hold in the awful damp sobs.
Her heart ached, filled to the brim with guilt, finding no solace in her own mind only more guilt as she found herself realising why Daryl was so sympathetic to her plight, why he'd helped so much, and why he'd tried his best to keep her spirits up. Merle. Daryl had seemed rather lonely without his brother and had never given up on finding him no matter what and no one, herself included, seemed to care. Deep down she knew that part of her felt safer with Merle not around but as she thought that her chest ached out again reminding her she was supposed to be Daryl's friend, she was supposed to support him. "I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I'm sorry..." She bawled over and over as she sank to the floor trying to hold in pain in by covering her mouth feeling the words scrape off her throat unable to stop them.
The words soon drifted off into coughs and splutters carol felt her throat ache out with every every cough but as she coughed she began to hear Daryl shuffling around in bed and head small deep grunts followed by some unsteady thuds across the floor towards the door.
She quickly forced herself to her feet, ending up feeling rather light headed, and instinctively brushed the dust off her dirty trousers.
"Who's there?" Daryl's now hoarse managed to croak out as his feet dragged across the floor.
Carol wiped her face of tears and took a deep breath in before instantly coughing it all out again. She tried to speak but was once more coughing, clearing her throat she tried again. "It's just me..." She murmured. "Carol? Are you-"
"I'm fine, thanks Daryl." She replied quickly trying to hide the quivering in her voice. "Is it okay if...Can I come in?" Carols voice was shaky and nervous as she imagined all the ways he could react, none that she thought of were positive.
She heard an odd mumble from inside, she could fully understand as Daryl's southern accent sounded gruffer than normal.
Carol let out a sigh and turned to open the door slowly, she opened the door to see Daryl barely able to hold himself up clinging to the end of the bed walked over to him and sighed.
"Come on, you need your rest get back into bed." she said fussing over him, pulling his bandage up.
He sat down on the bed and held her forearm. "Well if you hadn't been Howlin' and weepin' outside the door." another sigh escaped Carols lungs as anxiety and guilt built up again.
"I Just...I'm just stressed and I can't...I'm sorry..I just.. ." Carols voice stuttered and cut out.
"Sit down woman, you need to calm yourself." Carol stared at him confused as he dropped his body on the bed, wincing as he landed.
Carol looked at the door then looked at Daryl opening her mouth to say she was going to go but a stern look for Daryl close it again. "C'mere and sit down." He said exacerbated and exhausted. "Now yammer away until you feel better or I'm asleep." He tried to lay on his back but found a little too much pressure on his arrow wound. "move round to the other side and sit there." Carol was a little confused at why he was being so blunt and demanding but quickly realised the poor man had been shot twice today, she walked around to the bed resting her back on the headboard and pulling her legs up, placing one hand at her side and the other on her stomach.
Carol took a deep breath in and sighed before she began to talk. "I lost my child, I let her wander off and she ended up vanishing for days now, I...All I've done is lie in bed, cry, wash some clothes, and clung to yo... used everyone else to do what I should be doing...I should be out there all day and all night-" "getting yourself bit?" Daryl interrupted as he lay on his side staring up her hand. "Well no...I..." Daryl made a shushing motion with his finger to his lip then moved that hand to hers nodding for her to continue.
"well..." she continued her voice little more than a whisper. "I just wish I could do more...more to find her...more to stop things like this from happening to you...all day I was just so terrified that you'd be gone too and that...that I'd never see you..." Daryls hand tightened around Carols as tears raced down her cheeks. Daryl looked down at her hand, stroking it with his thumb carefully, brow tense as he sighed. For the tiniest moment she forgot Ed's passing and worried he'd find out about her letting a man touch her. She tried to take her hand back, a little uncomfortable, but Daryl just looked at her again, he wasn't angry now, he wasn't sad either, if anything he looked confused. "Look, If I...erh...made you worry...I'm uh.." he paused and nibbled the inside of his lip. Carol smiled putting her other hand on top of Daryls "It's okay Daryl, you were looking for my little girl and got hurt, that's not your fault." Daryl was a little confused at Carols hypocrisy towards herself. "The why is it your fault?" Carol was a little stumped at this question. How wasn't it her fault, she was Sophia's mother She was supposed to be looking after her!
After a few seconds of silence Daryl sighed and shrugged. "ain't nobodies fault." he mumbled as Carol dragged back the hand she had placed on his.
The two sat in silence, neither really looking at one another, half of Carol was too scared too look at Daryl in case he was angry, and half of Daryl too scared to look at her encase he felt something he was still too scared to feel.
"I just wanted to say...sorry for not helping more with finding Merle." Carol finally broke the silence.
"Nawh, it's all-right Carol..." Daryl said as he began to fidget wither her fingers tracing around each one up to the knuckle then over and down the other side of the finger.
"No it's not okay. You almost died looking for MY little girl and I never gave you an ounce of help!" She fussed Daryl didn't really seem that effected by it.
"Yeah but unlike Rick YOU feel bad for it." Carol nodded and looked at her feet as she felt his soft touch tickled her hand.
"Sophia will be fine..." Daryl said prodded her cheek. "and when we find her she's gonna wanna see you smiling." Carol gave a faint smile to Daryl.
"do ya want to sleep here?" Daryl smiled as he noticed Carols hand try and move away from his.
Carol looked confused and quickly responded. "I don't think that's appropriate Daryl." her voice sounded a little happier as she tried not to giggle from his odd hand caress.
He shook his head and smiled. "we don't need to hug or nothin'!" Carol let out a small laugh and looked down at him properly, he sat their happily brushing her fingers with his biting down on his bottom lipe. "Fine." She sighed and leaned down to give him a kiss on the head. He pulled his head back a little surprised by her movement. She smiled at him again as he finally looked up at her. He opened his mouth to speak again but the words seemed to get caught in his throat. Less than a second later Carol laid a small kiss on his top lip before pulling her self back to sit up straight again. Daryl felt a rush of emotions go through his mind. The silence speared again but was broken much quicker by a small bought of giggles from Carol. "I really shouldn't have done that, should I?" she said taking her hand from Daryl to cover her mouth.
Daryl smiled softly and took her hand back, dragging it down to his face to lay a peck on her fingers. "Probably not." he smiled up to her.