Chapter 41….waiting game

Rick pulled him into the dining room just as everyone was sitting down for dinner. Carol gasped and ran toward them, "What happened?" Herschel was at her side looking Daryl over, Rick placed his hands on his head, "The crazy bitch jumped him from behind. He took a hell of a shot to the back of the head. He has been in and out." Carol leaned over Daryl, there was blood oozing from everywhere, "Daryl, honey, you have to wake up." His eyes opened and he tried to sit up, Herschel grabbed his shirt gently pushing him back down, "Daryl you need to lay still. You've been hurt. We need to move him to their room." T-Dog and Glen along with Rick carried him to their room. Beth had taken the children, Carol could hear Lily and DJ both crying in the back of her mind, but she had to focus on him.

Once they got him into the room, Herschel began looking him over. He sighed heavily and Carol looked up at him, "I don't know what I can do Carol." Tears streamed down her face, "I don't want to hear that. He just hit his head. There has to be something you can do." Herschel looked into the woman's worried eyes, "Honey, his brain is bleeding, there isn't much I can do to help him. The swelling has to go down on its own. He is strong, but he needs to rest." Carol ran her hands over his face, smiling thru the tears, "Daryl if you can hear me, don't leave me like this baby. Your kids need you, I need you. We can't make it without you. Do you hear me Daryl Dixon, you stay with me." Daryl stirred, his eyes fluttering, "Merle, turn up the damn heat, its fuckin' cold." She stared at Rick in terror, Rick knelt down putting his hands over his mouth, "He has been talking to Merle for a good hour now." Herschel moved behind her placing a hand on her back, "It's a waiting game now honey, we need to wait and see if the good Lord wants him." Carol fell to the floor next to her husband in the bed. She kissed his hand, "Dixon's don't quit. Don't you quit on me."

Andrea entered hours later to find her still on the floor, brushing her hand thru his hair. Carol looked up as her friend moved a chair closer to her urging her to sit. Carol moved her legs stiff and sat in the chair, "Are the children alright?" Andrea placed her hand on her friend's back and rubbed the small spot between her shoulders, "They are fine, they are bedding down with Beth and Herschel. They were reading when I just left them. Carl is staying in there with them tonight, to help with DJ." Carol nodded, "What am I going to do Andrea? What happens if he doesn't…." her voice trailing off, not being able to bring herself to the words that were stuck in her throat. Andrea stood by her, "Carol, he needs all your strength right now. He needs you to be strong." She shook her head, "You know the first time I thought I might love him." Andrea shook her head and smiled, "I don't think you ever told me." Carol smiled wiping the tears from her face. It was the first day we went searching for Sophia and he heard me and you talking. He turned to us and told me that all that hoping and praying was worthless, that we were gonna find her and she was going to be just fine." Andrea felt a small tear fall down her cheek, "I remember." She knew that her friend was wrestling with the fear that she might now lose her husband just as her first born. Carol shook as she looked at Andrea, "What if he dies, I have to shoot him." She collapsed into Andrea's arms the two women crying together. The fear was greater than any that Carol had ever felt.

Rick entered finding them in a heap on the floor, Andrea had Carol's head in her lap, her hand was still rubbing the woman's back. Rick looked at Daryl, "Any change?" Andrea shook her head, "Carol is exhausted, can we get her into the bed. I think she might sleep if we put her next to him." Rick shook his head and gently scooped up the small woman laying her next to her husband on the bed. Daryl stirred next to her, Andrea gasped, "Did you see that?" Rick nodded and smiled, Carol's eyes were now wide open, "Did he move?" Rick nodded, "Yup, I think you being so close to him did it. Talk to him Carol. They say they can hear you." She nodded, moving her fingers in his chest hair, "Lily learned how to bake a pie today. She made it for you, its apple. She was so proud. It was all she talked about tonight. I will make sure they put it aside so when you get better you can have some. And DJ, well he did his ABC's this afternoon. See all the great stuff you miss when you take off out of here. I don't know what I would do without you." Daryl's eyes fluttered, his hand moving to hers on his chest, "You could keep it down my head is killing me." Carol kissed him, "You can hear me?" Daryl's eyes stayed closed, "Yes, I can, you don't have to scream." She patted his chest with her hand, "Sorry baby. Just glad to see you awake. You scared me." He moved a little under the covers and opened his eyes, his vision blurry at first, "Good to see you too." She gently laid down on his chest, the tears hitting his bare skin. He moved his hand to her head gently moving back and forth, "I am fine, stop fussin' gonna make yourself sick." She pulled away rolling her eyes and laughing, she turned to Rick who was hugging Andrea to his side; both of them had tears in their eyes, "Please get Herschel." He nodded and left to grab the doctor.

Carol sat next to the bed as Herschel looked him over, "Carol you are gonna have to wake him every hour on the hour. If he has a change or vomits I need to know about it." She nodded looking grimly at Daryl, who rolled his eyes at her, but his voice was soft and sounded weak to her, "I am fine woman, stop fretting'." He grabbed her hand and fresh tears appeared in her eyes, he groaned, "Gonna go back the fuck to sleep if you don't stop that shit." She laughed and wiped her face again, she moved to sit by him on the bed, she focused her eyes on his, "You don't know how scared I was. I was so fearful of what might happen if you weren't here. How I would go on without you." He touched her face, "Well you ain't gettin' rid of me that easy lady." She nodded, but he could see how scared she was, "Come 'ere." He pulled her down onto his chest. He sighed as she sobbed, he hated it when she cried, it was the worse sound in the world to him. He kissed her head and held her tight as she calmed down.

He had fallen asleep, Carol sat staring at the clock, it had been an hour. She moved toward the bed and gently shook him, "Daryl, honey need you to wake up." He groaned, "What the fuck?" She smiled, "Have to wake you up and make sure you are alright. Do you know who I am?" He sighed and opened his eyes; he could tell she hadn't slept a wink yet, "Best set of tits in the world?" She blushed and he smiled, "I know who you are, you are my woman. My Carol." She nodded and hugged him, "Ok, you can go back to sleep." He laughed, as she settled onto his chest, "Sure easy for you, is that a pot of coffee over there?" She glanced up and smiled guiltily, "Maybe, you need to rest." He grabbed her hand as she moved to grab another cup of the liquid that was keeping her awake, "You need to rest, I am sure someone else can sit with me." She sighed a determined look coming over her face, "I will be damned if I am going to sleep after what almost happened today." He looked at her playfully, "I told you I am fine. And besides there are other ways to keep me and you awake." His hand grabbing onto her ass, she slapped his hand away, "I thought your head hurt." He sighed leaning back into the bed, "Like a sonofabitch, but I am game if you are." She bent down kissing him on the head, "Sleep, that's an order." His eyes were already starting to feel heavy, "Yeah, you just like me like this so I can't take advantage of you." The last thing he heard was her gentle laughter that was a sound he loved to hear.

She woke him like that every hour. Herschel came in around eight the next morning smiling at him, "Well how's your head today?" Daryl grimaced, "Hurts like hell." Herschel grinned at him, "I think you will be fine. Gonna have that headache for a few days. I don't want to give you any narcotics, but I think some ibroupen might help." Daryl nodded, "Anything would be great doc. Where's Carol?" Herschel smiled, "She slipped out for the bathroom she will be right back. She sat with you all night. Maybe you can talk her into some rest for herself." Daryl sighed as she entered the room, her face was red from the crying she had done and the circles under her eyes showed her lack of sleep. Herschel looked at Daryl, "I am gonna bring the kids in for a few minutes, we have them for the day. You two need rest. Carol he is safe I think to rest, you don't have to wake him." She nodded as the doctor left.

She moved to the bed, "Feel like eating anything?" He shook his head, "Not yet, you need rest woman." She put her hand on his chest feeling his heart beat. He gently touched her hand, "It's still beatin'." She smiled, "I know." There moment was broken by Lily and DJ who came in with Beth. Carol hugged Beth, "Thank you were they any trouble?" Beth shook her head, "No, dad even said it was fun having them all in there last night. We won't stay long, you both look exhausted." Carol nodded and picked up DJ hugging him tight, she glanced at Daryl who was getting a large amount of kisses from his daughter. The little girl snuggled into her daddy's arms. DJ looked at Daryl struggling to get to him. When Carol sat him on the bed he moved fast to Daryl's other arm, Daryl looked at his son, "What's the matter big man, you jealous or somethin'?" DJ laughed as his father's scruffy goatee tickled his face. Carol put a hand to her cross and quietly thanked God for this moment, the thought of a life without him killed her, but by some miracle he was smiling up at her with their babies. She sighed and sat down joining them on the bed.

I had tears writing this one….ugh…the thought of her losing Daryl tore me up. Let me know what you all think!