After his little outburst, Daryl thinks that Rick out to be put into his place. Not as bad as it sounds, actually, it's quite fluffy and fun! Caryl mostly, with some somewhat friendly banter between Rick and Daryl
Author's Note: I do not own Walking Dead
"Hey, Mussolini! Can I trouble you for a moment of your precious time?"
"What is it Daryl?" Rick rolled his eyes, "I'm not in the mood for this right now."
"Look, I know you're all into this whole 'this is not a democracy' thing, but I don't want you talkin' to Carol like you did."
Rick slowly closed his eyes and tried to calm down. He didn't feel up to yelling at anyone else that night, especially Daryl, "Daryl, I have a group of people to lead. She questioned me and my motives. I-I just am not up for havin' to defend my every move to everyone."
"You still shouldn't have talked at her like that," Daryl kicked at the dirt.
"And who, may I ask, put you in charge of taking care of her?"
"I did. I made it my job to watch out for her. I don't want anyone yellin' at her like you just did. We're all tired, we all just went through hell, but you didn't have to snap at her."
"Daryl, it's admirable of you to take care of her, but…"
"I ain't doin' it to be admirable," Daryl grumbled.
"Still…" Rick sighed, "Alright. I shouldn't have maybe yelled at her like I did. What do you want me to do, Daryl? All this time, I've been tryin' to make decisions for the good of the group. I don't always know what the good decisions are, but I try. And I'm tired. I'm tired of makin' one possibly wrong move, and everyone actin' like I did somethin' unforgivable."
"Yeah," Daryl nodded, "Between you and me, shootin' Shane? That was one of them good decisions."
"Maybe it was supposed to be the other way around. Maybe I was supposed to get shot. Maybe Shane was supposed to take over and lead everyone. Maybe he'd be better equipped than me."
"Nah," Daryl objected, "you got a wife and kid. You know about protectin' people."
"Sometimes I don't know if I do…"
Daryl glanced over and saw Carol sitting up by the fire, warming her hands. Everyone else had gone to sleep already.
Rick followed Daryl's line of sight, "Seems like you know somethin' about protectin' people too."
Rick smiled, "You know what I mean, Daryl."
"I-I just…I watch out for her."
"Lots of us can watch out for her Daryl. But you? You do so much more."
"She don't got nobody, I figure she just needs someone."
Rick nodded, "Daryl, you've always kind of gone off on your own and done your own thing."
"What…what would you do if you were in my position?"
Daryl ran a hand through his already messy hair, "Gee, I dunno."
"Me either," Rick sighed, "and everyone expects me to just…know. How can I possibly just know?"
Daryl shifted his weight, "Well, I think you've done I fine job so far. I'll back you on anything, you know that. But…these people? They need a say in what goes on too. We…we kinda owe it to Dale. If I were you, I'd let people vote. Highest vote rules. You shouldn't get to or have to make all the decisions for everyone."
"Yeah," Rick nodded. Daryl did have a good point.
"I get it though – bein' a leader is kickin' you in the ass half the time but you're the best one out of all of us to do it. But like I said, I'll back you on anything. But, if you cross the line with Carol…"
"You'll put me down with that crossbow?" Rick suggested.
"Oh no," Daryl allowed himself a grin, "I'd shoot you like three times with the crossbow – just enough to get you bleedin', then I'd tie you up to a tree, and let you be walker food…if you ever yell at my woman like that again."
"Your woman?" Rick raised a knowing eyebrow.
"Well shit, what else am I suppose'ta call 'er?"
Rick laughed, "I get the message. Don't yell at Carol or become walker food. Got it."
"Good," Daryl shoved his hands into his pockets, "Look, I'll take over watchdog duty if you wanna um…go to Lori or…something."
"Thanks," Rick said genuinely, "but I don't think Lori really wants to see me right now."
"Well at least rest. Tomorrow will be a big day for everyone."
"Thanks, Daryl," Rick patted him on the shoulder before heading over to the fire.
Carol glanced up as he walked over.
"Hey," Rick nodded towards her, "I'm sorry about yellin' at you earlier. I'm sorry about everything."
Carol didn't say anything, she just let that small, shy smile tug at the corners of her lips. Rick nodded again, and excused himself. He made a small bed for himself opposite of Carl and Lori. Daryl was right. Tomorrow would be a big day.
Carol stood up from the fire and walked over to where Daryl stood, keeping watch.
"Woman, you need to get some rest. Don't come botherin' me when you need your rest."
Carol rolled her eyes and placed a hand on his arm, "What did you say to Rick?"
Daryl kicked at the dirt, "Nothin' concernin' you."
"If it concerns you, it concerns me."
Daryl grunted and continued to kick at the dirt, "Damn it, woman, go back to bed."
Carol showed no intention of leaving his side, and Daryl was forced to finally give in, "Alright," he sighed, "I told him not to yell at you like he did."
"You did what?"
"I told him not to yell at you like that again. He ain't a bad guy, you know that deep down. He's just…worried. Scared. Like the rest of us. I did tell him…I told 'im that I'd back him on any decision he made…except when it comes to you. I told him if he ever spoke to you like that again…I'd shoot him enough to make him bleed a lot, tie him to a tree, and let him be walker munchies."
"You didn't!" Carol raised her fingertips to her lips, but there was unable to mask the smile that spread across her lips.
"What?" Daryl smirked.
"Why'd you say that to him?"
"Because Mr. Dictator can't just…he can't push you around. No one can. I won't let them."
Carol sighed and placed her head against his arm, a gesture that seemed to both shock and scare Daryl, "Thank you for that," her voice was barely a whisper.
Daryl twisted around so they were facing each other (and so she wasn't touching him), "Don't mention it, alright?"
"Alright," Carol smiled sweetly, stood up on her tiptoes, and let a small kiss brush against his cheek.
Daryl was blushing a bright beet red, and Carol merely smiled, those eyes of hers sparkling in a way they hadn't since Sophia had been shot.
"Um…" Daryl fought against the blush and the grin, "you best get back to bed woman! Don't make me…don't make me throw you over my shoulder and carry you over there!"
The grin and blush won the fight.
"Good night, Daryl," Carol squeezed his arm before turning to go back to bed.
"Good night, Carol."
Damn woman and her damn kisses! Don't she know she could do major damage with those kisses?