Notes: You know, when I started writing this, I felt kinda bad for how angsty I made this. And now, in retrospect, this is so happy compared to Season three! Nevertheless, here's the final chapter.
He woke a few times and everything seemed hazy.
But this time, everything seemed clearer. His head didn't feel quite so fuzzy and he could make out the voices as he heard Carl laughing somewhere in the prison. Other conversation floated down and he lay there, listening the the others speak.
They all sounded so calm and relaxed. Something must be right at the minute.
He rubbed a hand across his face before sitting up slowly. He thought he might feel dizzy, but taking it slowly seemed to be working for him.
He sat there for a moment before slipping his legs out of the bed and onto the floor. The coldness of the floor was a little surprising and he looked for his boots. They didn't seem to be anywhere in the room and he frowned. Who the hell would take his boots out of his room? Looking around closer, he couldn't see any of his items that belonged to him in the room. He pulled back the the blanket covering him and realised underneath, he was only in boxers and a vest. He got to the door and peered round the corner, not able to see anyone else but hear them from somewhere else.
He cautiously stepped out of the room and felt like he was in a different room than he used to be.
It seemed to be further away from everything else.
He walked carefully until he got to one of the cell doors and saw Lori inside. He suddenly felt self conscious, walking around in his underwear and darted backwards peering round the corner.
She smiled gently at him.
"You feeling better?"
He nodded as he looked at the room, certain this was where he used to sleep. She seemed to notice his confusion. "We had to move you a couple of times. We wanted to make sure the room you were in was... going to help you get better," She didn't really want to mention the stench of his infected wound or the fact he vomited in another room. When she had used the damp towels to help bring down Daryl's fever, he'd gone through bedding and blankets with the damp towels and the sweat.
However, keeping him sedated until the fever broke and Hershel was convinced he wasn't going to get sick again had paid off and Lori had helped Carol get Daryl's first room get ready for him to move back into. It was fair to say they hadn't expected him to get up so quickly, especially having him just wander down the hallways.
"You're clothes are in here. Sorry we were trying to get this room sorted for when you were up," Lori apologised. "Why don't you come in and change. I'll go get you something to eat. Come down when you're ready, okay?"
He nodded and waited for her to leave before he quickly went into the room, eager to get some real clothes on. He changed quickly and really, he wanted to clean himself up. He couldn't quite tell but he was pretty sure he stank rotten. Then again, maybe the others had kept him semi-clean, considering he was sick. He still felt gross though.
He dressed as quickly as he could and he could still hear some voices close by, though it seemed as though some must have moved on.
He looked down the hallway and considered making his way down to the kitchen where Lori would be. He was hungry but he felt a little apprehensive.
Suddenly Rick was walking towards him and he darted back inside the room and then stood by the door, feeling stupid. Rick had been looking at him, he wasn't hiding from the guy, yet he'd felt the need to hide from him but he seemed to remember Rick being mad at him about something and he wasn't sure if it happened or if it was some crazy dream he'd had.
He felt like he should get something, do something to justify the fact he'd just come back in the room but there was no time and Rick was stood there at the door suddenly, smiling.
"Lori told me you caught her before she managed to get the room sorted,"
"Yeah, guess I ruined that," he said, not quite meeting Rick's eye.
The other man shrugged. "It doesn't really matter much. Everyone was just relieved when you started to get better. I don't mind telling you that I started to fear the worst."
What could Daryl say to that? He locked eyes with Rick briefly, felt bad that he'd put the group through all this shit for a stupid dog bite. "I'm sorry," he blurted out before he really thought about it. Damn, he had to get his shit together.
"Daryl, we thought you were gonna die. You were really sick. I think you're allowed to be a little off," Rick said. When Daryl didn't say anything or acknowledge Rick in anyway, Rick pushed on, "Anyway, most of the others are out securing the perimeter so you want be crowded if you wanna get some food, okay?"
Daryl nodded and watched as Rick left him alone. He really had no reason to stay in the room so shortly after he followed Rick and headed down to the kitchen. The kitchen was empty but Lori had left some food for him. He sat and ate it, enjoying the peace, feeling like although Rick had said everyone was out, he'd somehow be ambushed still.
He heard the sound of the door closing and footsteps heading his way. The steps were quick and light and he expected Carol or one of the women. He didn't expect Carl Grimes to look in at him, beaming smile on his face.
"Come outside!" Carl exclaimed excitedly and didn't wait for Daryl to say anything, he headed off quickly. Daryl followed the youngster, although some way behind him.
The door had already closed behind Carl by the time Daryl got there and he didn't step outside, the sun seemed far too bright compared to the darkness of the prison. He held his hand to his head to shade his eyes and stayed where he was, but that apparently wasn't good enough and soon enough Carl was back.
"You need to borrow my hat?" he offered.
Daryl removed his hand and squinted but moved from the door. "Whatcha want?" he asked and Carl headed off back the way he'd just come. Out into the prison's fields he saw some of the group gathered together and he couldn't really tell what they were up to until he came closer. And damn it if they weren't playing fetch with a fucking dog.
He wondered briefly if he wasn't in some fever induced coma for a minute because after all the drama they'd been through because of him and that dog, they'd gone shopping for another one? What the hell!
Carl had returned with the others, he was stood a few feet from Daryl who came to a stop when he reached the boy. "What the hell?" Daryl asked, still disbelieving the group had got a dog.
"Maggie and Glenn went on a run to get Mom some maternity stuff and things for the baby. And they found the dog. Hershel thinks she's just a puppy still."
The dog was very different to Bella. Looked like some kinda spaniel cross, floppy, fluffy ears and a shaggy coat. It's tail seemed to be forever wagging and despite everything, everyone seemed to be happy around the dog, not worried about getting bitten.
"I named her Poppy, because I liked that name," Carl said. "Wanna play with her?"
Daryl shook his head. "Kid, I'm done just standing here. M'gonna have to get back and sleep soon," he admitted. He'd barely been on his feet the last few ... days, weeks? He had no idea how long it had been but he was weak as shit right now.
"Oh," Carl said sadly
"I might sit out here for a bit though. It's nice to be outside. Go play with the dog," Daryl said and Carl smiled at him before racing over to the others. Daryl watched the others mostly step aside when Carl came over, though Glenn and Beth kept playing when Carl joined them, the others seemed content to watch. And they seemed happy.
Daryl sat against the wall of the prison and watched the group for a while. Rick eventually made his way over and sat beside him on the ground.
Daryl looked at Rick and grimaced slightly. "Poppy, really?"
Rick laughed. "How can I say no? He always wanted a dog."
"Poppy the puppy," Daryl said. He shook his head.
"She's pretty good. Glenn and Maggie found her shut in some building so she's a little bit more tame than Bella was. She's not had to live wild. From what they found, it seemed like someone looked after her for a while but when it got too much for them, they took their own life. Left food and water out for the dog and checked out.
Daryl thought back to the day he'd put Bella down. He was about to do the same damn thing himself. Despair was a funny thing. Especially when coupled with a raging fever.
He then thought, had he ever thanked Rick for that? For saving his life. He was shit at the whole being grateful thing. He'd not had a lot of practice.
How should he start it? Thanking Rick? He had a lot more than just Rick to thank though. Hershel for one. And whoever had gone on those supply runs. Lori and Carol for the way they'd been sorting out his room for him.
"I'm sorry," he blurted out. It wasn't really a thank you, instead an apology. It would have to do.
Rick looked at the man for a moment. There was to be nothing else said about it from Daryl's perspective. Rick merely shrugged. "Nothing to apologise for. You were sick, that's all there is to it.."
And like that, it was forgotten.
When the others decided that it was enough playing with the dog for the day and they started to head back and he was still sat there with Rick, none of them looked at him accusingly. He didn't feel anything but support from the group. he heard chatter of what they would eat that evening. Carl and the dog were the last to come in and as they went past Daryl, the dog stopped and approached Daryl, sniffing him unsure. He let it sniff him and then patted its head before the dog followed Carl. This was his dog and that was fine by him. The kid would probably do a better job than he had looking after her. He couldn't do any worse.
Rick stood up. "You coming?" he asked, holding out his arm to help the other man up.
Daryl reached up for Rick's hand as he pulled him to his feet. "I'm thinking I need to get and hunt again soon."
"Well... maybe a few more days before you're on your feet a little longer, huh?"
Daryl nodded. "Thought maybe I could take some of the others out. teach 'em a few bits."
"Be handy. I know I'd like to have a little more knowledge of surviving out there. You never know when it's gonna come in useful."
They stepped inside the prison and closed the door behind them. It was going to be okay, he knew that now.
This prison would be a good thing.
Their life inside it would be safe.
And they could all be together.
So that's it!
I'm sorry it was so long and drawn out. I'm sorry the ending wasn't more exciting. I'm sorry it's a wash out compared to the show (because I can't really stand to see these characters die) and anything else I need to apologise for.
Thanks for the reviews and shit throughout. :)