I'm Always Okay.
Daryl/Carol. (Not romantically)
Takes place after the mid-season finale. Daryl's reaction to Sophia's death. (mistakes are mine)
Carol wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. She was getting better, she told herself, but she wasn't even sure she could make herself believe that. She thought if she knew it would be easier, knowing that Sophia wasn't a monster but happily put to rest. She knew this now but it wasn't better.
There was no hope anymore… Sophia was gone, her little girl was bit and put in that barn. Carol wished she could switch places. She'd give anything to have her little girl back. Sophia was too young, seen too much that a little girl shouldn't have to see. Carol never got to tell her she loved her one last time, never give her another hug or even got to say goodbye.
For some reason now, Carol didn't just hurt for the loss of her daughter but for Daryl as well. Daryl hadn't said a word in the few days that passed since Sophia's death. Carol would see him for a second or two then he would disappear for hours. He wasn't sleeping much and just picking at the food given to him or just giving it to Carl and leaving.
Carol could see the others started to notice but they never said anything to Daryl. They were so concerned with her that they seemed to bypass him like it wasn't as big a deal. Carol didn't like it.
Carol woke up early one morning to see Lori and Andrea already up. Along with Shane and Rick but everyone else was still asleep. Carol peeked into Daryl's tent to see that he was still sleeping as well. When she turned around Andrea and Lori smiled. She walked over to where they were.
"How are you today?" Lori asked, placing her hand on Carol's shoulder and giving her a gentle squeeze. Carol nodded.
"I know this is hard," Andrea started giving Carol a soft smile. "But we are all here for you if you need anything. All you have to do is ask." She said. Lori nodded in agreement.
"Thank you." Carol said softly. "How has Daryl been?" She asked. Both Lori and Andrea looked at each other then back at Carol.
"Carol," Andrea said. "Daryl's fine, he didn't just loose a child." She said as kindly as she could to try and not upset Carol. Carol looked to them confused.
"Yes, he did," She stated. "For everything he did for my little girl…" She stopped to take a breath and calm herself. "Can't you see he's hurting too."
"He has been really quiet." Lori said looking at his tent. "Maybe we should talk to him. I don't want him going back to the way he was before."
"Or like I was after Amy died." Andrea said quietly. Lori and Carol looked to her. When Shane and Rick came walking in they stopped their conversation. The girls got breakfast ready as everyone started to walk up.
Carol glanced up to see Daryl slinging his crossbow over his shoulder. Lori handed Daryl a plate of food but he picked at it for maybe a minute then passed it to Carl, who smiled and started chowing down on it. As Daryl started to walk away Andrea called out to him. Daryl didn't even hesitate he just kept walking.
"Daryl, I know you can hear me." Andrea said following him. Daryl stopped and turned around., starring at the blonde women in front of him. "You can talk to us, you know." She said. Daryl looked at Andrea for a second more before looking around to see everyone's head looking in his direction in curiosity, except for Carol who was now looking at the ground. Daryl looked back at Andrea and shrugged.
"Got nothin' to talk about." He answered leaving it at that. But Andrea wasn't going to just drop it.
"I know you're hurting inside, when I lost Amy…" Andrea started but Daryl stopped her.
"Think I'm gonna try to kill myself like you did?" Daryl asked taking a step forward. "I could always ask you to try shootin' me in the head again, maybe this time you won't miss." Daryl shot back.
"Daryl, we're just trying to help." Lori said.
"I'm fine." Daryl said quietly as he started walking away.
"We're just trying to take care of you." Lori said and Daryl froze.
"I don't need to be taken care of." Daryl said turning around. "I can handle myself just fine." He shot back getting annoyed.
"Yeah, that's why you got thrown from a horse and almost killed yourself." Shane said. Daryl turned to Shane and cocked his head to the side.
"At least I was doing something." Daryl said. "You would've stopped lookin' the first damn day on a little girl who needed our help." Daryl said.
"She didn't have a chance! No kid would out there." Shane retorted. Carol felt a pang of hurt from Shane's cruel words which Daryl noticed. "I was right anyway, all that looking was a waist of time."
"Waist of time." Daryl said taking a step forward. Before Shane could even react Daryl hit him in the jaw, hard knocking him to the ground.
"Daryl, no!" Carol shouted, she could tell that he must've pulled on the sore muscles around his injured side with the way he flinched back. Shane stood ready to fight back but Rick pushed Shane out of the way.
"Stop!" The sheriff said. "This fighting isn't going to solve anything." Rick looked to Shane who was wiping his bloody lip, then to Daryl who ignore the pain in his side and stood up straight. "I'm sorry we don't have the time we need but we have to figure out our next move, that includes you too, Daryl."
"Who says I'm even going with ya," Daryl said rolling his eyes. "We're not a family, we're just going to watch each other die slowly. The hell's the point of that." Daryl said turning to walk away.
"Daryl, wait." Andrea called out but Carol stopped her, shaking her head to let the man go. "But what if he doesn't come back?" Andrea questioned.
"I say good riddance." Shane said in an irritated voice as he when the other way.
"He'll come back." Carol said softly, more to herself than to Andrea.
The morning faded into the afternoon which faded with the sunset. The camp was becoming dark and Daryl still hadn't returned yet. Carol looked around at the horizon. When her eyes locked onto the barn she felt a shiver run down her spine. She did her best to just avoid and ignore the existence of the barn that held her daughter for however long she was in there. So, close yet she never knew.
Carol when to turn away but she noticed a flicker of light cased from the top window. It couldn't have been a flashlight, maybe a candle or something, she thought.
Everything seemed to be settled down. Shane had a dark purple bruise around his fat lip where Daryl had hit him. Carol never stayed away from that spot for too long. The darker it got the more she could see the night, but if you weren't looking you'd never notice it.
Carol turned around when she heard a bit of fussing. She turned to see Shane standing in front of T-Dog and Glenn.
"You're not going out there after that bastard." Shane said.
"We can't just leave him…" Glenn started but Rick cut him off.
"He'll come back." Rick said. There were a few mumbles but the discussion was dropped fast.
When everyone started to fall asleep Carol looked back at the barn. The light was still there so she started to make her way over quietly. She didn't have a gun or a flashlight but she thought it was better without it.
Carol stood in front of the side door of the barn, the one that would go to the top level. She couldn't look at the front door without seeing the walker form of Sophia in her head. Carol looked at the door and took a deep breath, swallowing hard and fighting back her tears.
She hesitated before she reached for the handle. Opening it slowly she could see more of the flickering light. She hesitated before stepping foot into the barn. Carol took another deep breath and slowly climbed the stairs.
Daryl sat at the edge of the top platform, his legs hanging down. Next to him was an old oil lamp probably from somewhere in the barn. Carol walked quietly, her steps soft but she knew Daryl could hear her, he was a hunter. She sat down next to Daryl and looked down at the dark barn.
"What are you doing here?" He asked her. His voice was very quiet, but not harsh.
"Someone had to look for you." Carol said giving him a soft smile when he looked up at her, but Daryl turned away quickly.
Carol watched Daryl. He took a few deep breaths and looked down into the barn where she first glanced. His legs were swinging back and forth, his crossbow not far from his side. That tough man that she's seen so many times kill walkers, who wasn't afraid if anything, the hunter - looked like just a child now to her.
"I was so sure," Daryl started quietly. "I thought she'd have a chance if someone looked for her, it was more than I ever got." He said. Carol's heart broke just listening to him but she waited and Daryl continued. "I made you believe she would be fine…" Daryl shook his head his voice growing even quieter. "I looked everywhere and all I had to do was look here! These bastards had her the whole time!"
"Daryl," Carol said softly. She thought she could stay strong here but when Daryl look at her with tears in his eyes, she couldn't stop a tear from falling from her own. "You did so much for me."
"But it wasn't good enough," Daryl said his voice breaking slightly looking down at his hands. "I couldn't bring her back to you." Carol reached out and pulled Daryl close to her. She could hear quiet sobs from Daryl and she rubbed his back and ran her fingers through his hair to comfort him.
"I meant what I said," Carol said clearing her throat. "You're every bit as good as them." Carol was surprised when Daryl wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her shoulder. "You did so much for my little girl, I could never thank you enough." She said rocking him, like she use to do when Sophia was upset.
They stayed like that for awhile. Carol kept her hold on Daryl tight, she wanted him to know that she was still there.
Carol remembered Daryl saying that he might not go with them when they leave. The thought terrified her. Daryl was all she had left. She could lose him too.
Daryl was the first on the pull away. He did it slowly, almost reluctantly. He roughly wiped his face with the back of his hands and again looked down at the blackness. Carol reached over and swiped a few stray hairs out of Daryl's blue eyes. He didn't move away but he did flinch.
"You were a great mother." Daryl said and Carol smiled.
"I'm still a mother." She said and Daryl nodded. "You still have me Daryl." She said looking down at her hands. "I don't think I can do this without you." She said wiping the tears from her eyes.
Daryl looked over, he knew what she was talking about. What he said back at the camp. He took a deep breath.
"I'm not going anywhere." He said to Carol. She smiled and kissed his forehead. He didn't flinch this time. Daryl stood up and held his hand out to Carol who gladly took it.
They made their way back to the camp. Lori and Rick noticed them first nodding. Andrea opened her mouth to say something but closed it and continued with what she was doing. Shane gave Daryl a dirty look obviously still pissed about. Daryl smirked and looked to Carol.
"He deserved it for bein' a dick." Carol smiled as Daryl leaned close to her ear. "I promise I won't leave you." He whispered and kissed her cheek before going into his tent. Carol smiled. She may have lost a lot and not have much left but she still had Daryl and that was good enough for her.