It was another fourteen days before she felt like herself. Daryl had been there every day to help when needed, but the time had come when he was needed less and less. He almost felt proud to see her standing straighter, moving more easily, growing stronger each and every day.
The tension had been high on Morrison's side of camp. A full twenty men, women, and children camped around him, and the murmuring had already begun. The whispers of 'favorite', the sneers of 'golden boy.' He'd heard the word 'toy' more than once, but ignored all of it. Daryl saw the looks, every time he made his way to the latrines, past what had become their 'section'. They all looked at him differently now.
Everyone looked at him differently now. Renee had made a great show of his approval. Candy wouldn't stop smiling at him.
"I knew it. I knew there was something you wasn't telling me! I oughta smack you in the mouth, Daryl, keeping a secret like that. All the plans I had, right out the window, you was already together."
"Who could doubt it? Face like that. Who could resist it?" Renee boomed, grinning at Daryl's discomfort.
"Can I have your tent?" Bastion asked.
"Why?" Daryl asked in confusion.
"Well… you'll be living with Aleda now, right? I mean, you have been for the past, like, month…"
"Ain't exactly been invited." He muttered.
The others did not tease him nearly as much.
"I'm happy for you," Carol had said to him softly, sadly. He couldn't understand why she looked at him the way she did, and bowed his head instead.
"He'll be nice to her, Mommy," Sophia said, sensing her melancholy as Daryl did, and taking it for worry.
T-Dogg and Glenn grinned at him endlessly, but Rick treated him much the same, spent his time inquiring of Daryl's health, and Aleda's recovery.
Shane was conspicuously absent, and Rick frowned when Daryl asked him about it.
"He's been spending a lot of time on the south side of camp." Rick said, and Daryl knew what that meant.
He had been absent from the attempt to discover Aleda's illness. He had been in Morrison's camp instead. One of the ones who believed Aleda's death would be for the good of the group.
Aleda took the news much as Rick did: with displeasure.
"They're splitting the camp up. They're trying to turn this into a civil war. Us against them."
"What are you gonna do about it?" Daryl asked, watched from a chair in the front of the tent as she laced her boots onto her feet.
"Only thing I can do. Put a bullet through his head, and watch them crumble."
"You think this is something you can do on your own?"
She shook her head, straightened from over her thighs.
"I gotta have muscle behind me, or the first one to get a gun's gonna be aiming for me. But that's one thing I got over him. He had to sneak around to try and take me out. I'm gonna do it in broad damn daylight."
"I'd come with you," he whispered, and she nodded, bent to kiss him, held him tight about his shoulders.
"I know you would. Do what you can for me. Tell the others. If this turns into a firefight I want the civilians out of the way, you understand? They want their war, they'll get it."