AN: This was spurred on by lack of sleep, I think. And also because why shouldn't we totally get some unexpected action? I need to learn to write more strong ladies anyway. I tend to write in the male mindset. (As you've all seen.)
I also blame my editor for this.
Thanks, as always for reading my work. You are the reason I keep going.
The air was hot and still as they made their way through the trees. Even the canopy of foliage above them did nothing to stave off the stagnant heat.
Daryl had promised that he would take Carol out to hunt, so that she could help more – laundry wasn't the most important thing when trying to survive – and he'd made good on that promise.
The farm lay well behind them now, having left before dawn with the hopes of catching a deer early.
Luck hadn't been on their side, however, and there'd been nothing to hunt all day. Daryl hadn't even caught any of his trademark squirrels. It was as if the entire forest had known that they were coming and had hidden it's spoils.
Carol didn't mind, though. It was a chance to get away from everyone else, and to spend some time alone with Daryl. They didn't have as much time together as either would have liked, but such is the way of things when you're trying to feed a village.
She walked quietly behind him, keeping her eyes open as he instructed. There was nothing alive in the forest except them. She fidgeted, her hand on the small gun at her hip and the buck knife on her other hip remained untouched. It was hard enough to keep her attention focused on the surrounding forest, following behind him.
A rustle in the underbrush made Daryl stop.
Carol nearly walked into him.
"Shh." Daryl commanded, a smile on his lips.
She knew he'd seen something.
He didn't say anything. He lifted his crossbow and set off. Carol was close behind.
It was a deer. A relatively large one, enough to feed the group for a while. Daryl was off like a shot, determined to bag their dinner. The deer was right there, she marvelled at it for a moment, she'd never seen one this close before. She breathed quietly in wonder.
Carol stepped on a twig, the crack broke the spell the silence held over the scene.
"Fuck." Daryl hissed as the deer took off. He let loose his first bolt, the hiss of the arrow struck true and the beast staggered.
Daryl was on it's tail, Carol struggled to keep up.
When she found him, he'd killed it and was kneeling over it, bloodied up to the elbow, field dressing it. She winced but said nothing.
He didn't notice it coming. He was too preoccupied with the task at hand. The squelch of blood and flesh as he gutted and cleaned the deer so they could carry it back.
Carol didn't scream. She didn't make a sound. Swiftly, she pulled the SIG Sauer Mosquito from it's holster and raised it, taking her time to aim carefully. Daryl's life was in her hands and she wasn't about to mess this up.
The report of the gun echoed as she fired. Two shots.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" Daryl yelled, scrambling backwards as the walker fell in front of him. He was on his feet in a heartbeat, bloody knife in hand. His chest heaved as he fought to calm his heart. He pressed the back of his hand against his forehead, leaving a bloody splotch, and stared wide-eyed at Carol.
She'd lowered the gun, holding it loosely at her side. A smile danced on her face. There was no shock, no hesitation. She had done it. Her pale eyes searched Daryl's face, she was exhilarated.
"Holy shit." Daryl breathed looking quickly between the dead walker and Carol. "Damn thing was right on me." He smiled, impressed. "Good shot." Both bullets had hit it in the head.
Carol beamed with pride.
He wouldn't admit to being terrified. He hadn't even seen the damn walker. He owed her his life, and that wasn't something Daryl Dixon was used to saying.
He rolled his shoulders and shuddered. He'd have been dead, and the heart-pounding scare wasn't something he was used to. He'd slipped up. He'd stopped paying attention. And she'd saved him. He wanted to hold her close, but he was still covered in the deer's blood up to his elbows.
"Thank you." Daryl said, kissing her cheek. "Thank you." He stared at her for along moment.
"I owe you."