It's a five fics in five days in five hundred words thing now. This one does not follow my previous three fics, Gone, Feel, & Life. This is a stand-alone, and is my first attempt at a Daryl/Carol ship. I love those two.


A tentative voice breaks the silence in the air, and she looks up from her hands to see Lori in front of her, standing in the open doorway of her tent. She doesn't say anything, just acknowledges the use of her name with a gentle nod.

Lori ducks until the hanging fabric that constitutes the top of the doorway, and steps inside the only home that she has left. She kneels down beside the other woman, meeting her eye-to-eye.

"It's Daryl. He, uh, he lost it at Rick earlier, and went storming off to the stables. I wouldn't bother you like this, but it sounds like he's throwing stuff around in there, and it wouldn't do any good to piss Herschel off any more by irritating all of his horses. Would you mind talking to him? He – he might listen to you."

So Carol nods her assent and rises, stepping out of the tent and moving towards the stables. It's been two days and two nights since Shane torn down the locks on the barn door and released the ghosts from their secret prison. She's been living like a shadow ever since, barely able to speak, to eat, to breathe. She feels numb all over, unable to connect with the world around her in any meaningful way.

Daryl, however, has been the opposite. He'd run off into the woods after everything, returning the next morning with a young buck dragging behind him. He was totally unpredictable, a whirlwind of emotions and outburst, and she couldn't blame Lori for not wanting to face the brunt of that.

She steps into the stables, and immediately notices the damages: saddles strewn about (déjà vu), buckets kicked over, water splashed all the way up the side of one wall. She can see him near the other end, standing over an overturned table, hands clenched at his sides.

She stands behind him, and doesn't say a word.

"What d'you want?" he says after a long moment, his back still turned towards her.

She doesn't reply, not right away at least. "She's gone, Daryl," she answers finally, her voice barely a whisper.

"Gone," he repeats, barely audible. He turns then, suddenly and abruptly. "Gone," he says again, this time more emphatically, more angrily.

"Daryl, please-" she murmurs, looking down at her hands again. Hands that would never hold her daughter again, hands that would never touch her hair, or her clothes, or her face...

"Gone, gone, gone, gone!" he exclaims, every repetition louder than the last. And suddenly he's right in front of her, his neck level with her eyes, and she looks up to meet his gaze.

"D-don't-" she tries to say, but before she can finish speaking he's grabbing her by the face, pushing his lips against her own, and there's nothing romantic about this, nothing at all. She meets his kiss with her own, and it's the desperation that drives them, the need to escape this feeling of numbness that holds them in its grip, as they try to simply feel something human again.

He pulls away and drops his hands, and suddenly it's over, and the world's faded to grey once more.

He doesn't say anything, just backs away and walks out, and she's left with nothing but pain and bruised lips, alone once more.