The Mid-Season finale, people...

Holy God. Cannot sleep. Can't stop rewinding the DVR. Needed to write this like WHOA. Spoilers of course, for 2x07. Heartbreaking ones. I disclaim all and hope you guys like this! Please review ^.^

The world was a tunnel of lost hope in that moment, reality crashing through his skull and into his brain and freezing his body stock still.

Sophia's dead eyes moved over him briefly, sweeping the group as her little legs began to hobble forward. He felt it all fade into nothing then: his hope, his resolve, his self-worth….

It didn't mean a damn thing anymore. None of it did.

And then he heard the cry from behind, the sound of rushing feet and everything blurred into chaos as his frozen body moved. He dropped the gun. He had to. If he didn't, she would have kept going.

She would have run right to her daughter, and he knew…somewhere in that split second in time, somewhere in the firestorm that was his consciousness, he knew

Carol would have let her daughter bite her. A sacrifice for the sake of holding her one more time.

And so he dropped the gun. Caught her. Held on.

And somehow he felt some kind of relief, knowing that he no longer had that gun. He had no way of doing what he knew had to be done. Part of him felt he should, however.

That part of him that felt he needed to stop gawking and be a damn man.

That part of him that felt he needed to accept reality and shoot it in the face.

That part of him that felt he was entitled, somehow: maybe because he knew Carol could simply not do it herself, and he was the next best thing (because apparently at some point he had started considering himself a part of them)….

And she pulled against his strength, arms flailing in front of him, flying to her mouth, reaching toward her child, and pulling back to grip him in desperation.

She kept repeating the girl's name; it echoed in his ears and he wrapped his arms tighter around her, pulling her against his chest and pressing his mouth into her ear.

He doesn't remember actually saying anything. Maybe he had.

Didn't matter.

His eyes burned. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. He wanted to roar.

Sophia crept closer and he blinked the heat away. If he reached back for the gun, Carol would bolt. He knew it. It whispered in his mind and told him not to let go.

But she kept getting closer.

And with all the agony in the world Daryl admitted it to himself, because he wasn't fucking stupid: If she reached someone, she wouldn't be offering them a hug.

This little girl that he had tried so hard (so damned hard, so fuckin' hard!) to find alive was a Walker now, and she would do what every other Walker roaming the Earth did…..

He felt another rush of relief (and god just damn it all, how could he feel something like that?) when Rick stepped forward. Pointed that pistol. Pulled the trigger.

And gave Sophia what little grace God had left to offer.

And the woman in his arms lunged forward then, arms losing strength with the rest of her body, falling into the dirt and she cried and muttered words he couldn't understand. He moved forward with her, and yes, he knew he didn't need to hold her back anymore- hell, he didn't need to keep touching her at all…..

But maybe in that moment, he could suck it all up and admit for once that he needed something too.

His arms tightened around her waist and his head fell against her trembling back.

Maybe he needed to hold her as much she needed to be held.