Hello again! I can't stop with these two. Needed to play around with Carol's newfound determination.

Enjoy, and I disclaim as always!


She read that look, and was certain of what it meant. She did, after all, seem to be developing a talent for catching and interpreting his various glares, scowls, twitches and fidgets.

As she walked up to him at the doorway, she caught it easily, and deciphered it fast:

No, we're not going to talk right now.

And as he walked out ahead of her, enforcing his silent statement by showing her his back, she followed him.

Because even if he did not want to talk, that did not mean she was letting him slink away, back into the forest-ridden haven of his mini-camp.

So she followed.

And just as she expected, he was darting across the camp, bypassing the RV, ignoring the looks of all around him, and heading back out towards the fields.

Her strides were not as long as his, and she had to jog once or twice to keep close, but she managed it. And as she did so she could not help but shake her head at herself.

Maybe she was being ridiculous, trailing this man like he was the only human being left alive. Practically trudging against his heels like a lost puppy crying for attention. Stubbornly insisting on bringing him back into the group, into the community, even if it meant pestering him…

Even if it meant igniting his anger.

Even if it meant having that fist raised at her again.

Not that she truly felt Daryl would let those rough-edged knuckles make contact. She'd pushed buttons by doing very little, but she knew exactly why he'd said the things he did, and why that hand came flying up to incite her instinctive reaction to jerk away. And she knew why he'd backed up just as suddenly, and stared at her as if he cared nothing for what he'd just come close to doing.

Except he did.

And she knew it.

So she kept following him.

Halfway through the field he stopped short, turning on her in an instant that she would have missed if her eyes had not been glued to his back.

He said nothing, did nothing, but his eyes burned with a warning that she'd seen in him several times since he and his brother had first joined the group:

Leave me be, or else.

It was all over his face the night before as he'd yelled at her, along with every other emotion, every other message the man could possibly convey in that moment. She read them all. And that's why she'd stood and let those messages come flying at her in the form of hurtful words and violent gestures.

She did not back down. Not then, and not now.

The few feet between them felt like nothing as he stood and glared silently, and she half-expected him to close the short distance and come snarling into her face to turn her ass around and start walking.

She closed her eyes and fought back a strange smile.

Even her thoughts were coming to her in Daryl-speak now…

When she opened them he had turned away and continued his trek toward his campsite, his legs moving faster than before. A foot came forward a moment as she considered whether to keep trailing him.

And then it settled back into place as she realized he'd already made it into the area…

Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth she saw him angrily snatch the horrifying necklace he'd made from the limb he'd hung it on and throw it over his head. She watched as he stormed over to the tiny fireplace and proceeded to kick rocks and dirt onto it. Her eyebrows furrowed, her head tilting just slightly as he then kicked at the wall just beside the old pit.

A sigh left her then, and she decided her behavior had garnered enough aggression from him. She started to turn and walk away, before his quick movements caught her gaze again.

He was on a knee by his tent, pulling the stakes up that held it to the ground.

Carol felt her chest tighten as he moved with such speed that he appeared almost desperate.

He was breaking down his private camp.

As he removed the last stake his head jerked up at her.

She did not give him time to catch her eyes.

Or see the grateful smile that was threatening her lips.

She imagined he wouldn't have expected her to be the stubborn type. But then, she couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so strongly about something.

She hoped in time Daryl would realize that it was him she felt the will to stand up for.

Even if it meant standing up to him.