He needs to hurt her.
He doesn't want to hurt her. He doesn't want to bring her pain—not today—not on today of all days—but he has to. He has to bring her pain now so she doesn't know pain later.
He's like a Walker himself. Dead inside. Wanting something he can never have. Hungry for the things that a Dixon never has—love, acceptance, friendship. He wants these things like the Walkers want fresh meat, but he can't have them. Everything turns to ashes when he tries to have more, to have something. To have anything.
He's been lost and alone all his life. Even when Merle was there, he was always alone. The tag along. The little brother—tolerated, but never protected. Never loved.
Sophia. The little girl. Carol's little girl. He didn't want her to be alone. He didn't want her to be forgotten. He knew that the odds rose against finding her every day—but he didn't stop looking. He didn't stop trying. He didn't stop hoping.
What the hell was he thinking? Hope is just another thing Dixons aren't supposed to have.
Carol tells him he belongs. She tells him that he's earned his place. She tells him that she can't afford to lose him too.
And she will lose him.
He can't help that. The world has gone to hell, and Dixons don't get happy endings. He's a Dead Man Walking—they all are.
She will lose him—or worse, he'll lose her.
Sophia is a knife in his heart that twists every time he even thinks her name. Sophia is the end of his false hope. Sophia is the end of his dream of belonging, of worth, of redemption—to be redeemed from being a no-account Dixon.
He barely knew her, and it's killing him. She was just a little girl. She didn't deserve to die. She didn't have anyone to look after her—not like a father would. Carol's husband—was he ever a father, a daddy? Or was he all hate and lust?
Hell. Maybe he had Dixon blood in him.
He could have helped Sophia. He could have kept an eye on her. He could have taught her things—he could have shown her how to survive.
But no- -he had to be a Dixon and ride his damn motorcycle and not give a damn about anyone else.
He failed Sophia long before she got lost. He failed her when he didn't look out for her the way a good man—a man who wasn't a Dixon—should have.
Sophia nearly killed him.
He can't do that again. He can't care about anyone else again. He can't let himself care about Carol. He's not a good man—he can't be a good man.
Doesn't she know that? Doesn't she see that? Doesn't she know what a Dixon is? Does she think he's any different than Merle was—than her husband was?
He's just like them.
No matter what he does, no matter how hard he tries—he'll never be a good man.
He's trying to tell her that. He's trying to show her that. He says every horrible thing he can to her. He's pushing her away as hard as he can.
But she's taking it. No bending. Not breaking.
He sees the tears in her eyes—he hates himself for those tears—but she doesn't turn away.
He wants to stop. He wants to stop hurting Carol. He wants to stop hurting himself.
But he's a Dixon, and he doesn't know how.