New Meanings to Old Words: Love

Coming on the heels of the last chapter of SADS, this chapter can best be described as 'filler' but to me, all 'filler' is necessary. So to those of you that may not enjoy such things… DEAL !

Oh and Big UPS to AlabastR for helping with the song choice. YOU ROCK!

As always, read, review and most of all enjoy!

~michelle

Disclaimer: I own nothing, except Callie and the crew of misfits (Danny, Miles, Jenna, Mike, Nina, Ben and Gracie).

State Of Love And Trust

"I'm serious, you guys are reading way too much into it," Glenn's slightly out-of-breath voice yet again sounded, and once again Daryl and T-Dog exchanged humored glances. A disgruntled sort of sigh left Glenn as he trekked along in line with the two men and he shook his head.

"C'mon now, man," T-Dog said with a chuckle as he smacked his large paw of a hand against the younger man's shoulder. "Ain't no one gonna begrudge you a bit of fun while we're here."

Daryl lifted a brow at that, thinkin' that he could name a very particular old man with a stony face that would probably more than begrudge the Chinaman havin' 'a bit of fun' with his eldest daughter. But fuck, that wasn't his concern. Honestly, it was kinda fun to think 'bout what that old codger would do to the kid when and if he even tried it.

Almost as much fun as thinkin' 'bout all the fun he was gonna have when the kid tried to make his move. Comeuppance is bitter sweet.

"No," Glenn said emphatically, this time catching Daryl's gaze meaningfully when the redneck lifted it to regard him with another humored glance. Daryl raised a brow at Glenn and the kid frowned. "Look, I'm not really interested in any kind of fling," Glenn continued, rolling his eyes over T-Dog's scoffing and maintaining eye contact with Daryl. "It's the end of the world," Glenn said in a matter-of-fact tone that had Daryl's brow furrowing a bit. "What's the point in starting something when you don't know if-" Glenn looked away before Daryl did and shook his head. "Figured with you guys bein' older and wise you'd understand that."

Daryl finally tore his eyes away from Glenn and looked out upon the stretch of land that they had to travel in order to get back to the group. It wasn't too far now, but the darkness had fallen much quicker than he'd been expecting, making their progress slower. The low light of Glenn's flashlight beam slid out in front of them and Daryl shifted his attention to the kid. His words were echoing low in the back of Daryl's head, and he couldn't help but take the words as a warning.

Glenn's eyes flickered over to Daryl and away again so fast that Daryl wondered if the kid had even done it.

What's the point in starting something when you don't know if you'll get to finish it? The question had been unfinished by the kid, but it was one that Daryl had said often enough to himself at the Quarry. Well not so much the question as much as the statement: Ain't no point in startin' something you don't know you'll get to finish. Fuck, that had been an almost daily affirmation that he'd chant in his head every morning right after he'd see her. He'd even started sayin' it out loud on occasion, 'causing Merle to crack the fuck up each and every time he caught him. And then after the fucker was done laughin' he'd slap Daryl in the dick and tell him to say it one more time for good measure.

Days he'd said that to himself. Weeks upon weeks. Fuckin' months. And yet now, Daryl couldn't even remember the last time he'd said it.

Again Daryl let his eyes roll to the right to regard the younger man walking beside him. The usually jovial and wisecracking kid looked completely lost in thought, and it was at that point that Daryl realized something. Those looks the kid was shooting him when he spoke those words. The way the kid had clammed up afterwards.

Fuck.

That kid wasn't sayin' that shit just to be a smartass, or to get him and T-Dog off his ass, 'bout his crush on Calamity Jane.

That kid was seriously asking the question.

Not only that. He was fuckin' askin' Daryl.

"Sum'bitch," Daryl muttered shaking his head and sending a glare over at the still lowered head of Glenn.

"Something up?" T-Dog's voice echoed out and Daryl shook his head and snarled just a bit before picking up his pace a bit. T-Dog let out a sigh and looked to Glenn who was watching Daryl stalk off. "The fuck got up his ass now?" Glenn shrugged and just as he was about to open his mouth Daryl snarled over his shoulder.

"C'mon!" Daryl's voice echoed out and both T-Dog and Glenn let out matching sighs as they worked to follow the seemingly always disgruntled redneck.

Silence fell over the trio as they continued on, and Daryl slipped his eyes up towards the farm house that he could see in the distance. They were a good bit away still, but the lights of the house were on making it a strangely inviting scene to reenter the world too.

"Home sweet home," T-Dog said tiredly from Daryl's left. Daryl grunted an affirmative acknowledgement of the other man's obviously sarcastic statement. This wasn't home, and they all damn well knew it.

This was just-what had Dale always said to Callie 'bout the Quarry that always made her laugh? Another pit stop on the road to hell. Daryl scoffed a bit at that and rolled his head along his shoulders as they trekked through the grass towards the RV. It didn't take long before a spike of something settled low in the back of Daryl's neck. That simple twinge had his footsteps slowing and his eyes narrowing through the dark at the farm.

"A'right, c'mon man," T-Dog said obviously frustrated as he came to a stop next to Daryl. "Stop fuckin' around and tell us what's wrong. And don't get all holier than though redneck bitch on us I'm fuckin' tired as hell-"

"No one's on the RV," Daryl said succinctly, stopping T-Dog's tirade cold with that simple statement.

There had been quite the dust-up before Daryl, T-Dog and Glenn had left. The Doc had requested, well not really requested so much as laid down the fuckin' law, that they not carry weapons on his land. There had been quite a bit of dissidence over that, most of it strangely coming from Danny with regards to Callie.

"No way," Danny had said rather emphatically as Callie shifted on her feet, her attention swinging from Danny to Rick and then to Hershel. "We got rules—"

"Danny," Callie said with a roll of her eyes and a slightly exhausted sigh. "It's alright."

"No," Danny started moving in close to her and pointing a single finger into her chest. His voice lowered as he spoke the next words, but it wasn't low enough to keep any of the people who were truly listening from hearing. "We have rules. You don't go anywhere without your gun. You fuckin' remember what happened the last time you were unarmed on a farm."

"I'm not going to be unarmed," Callie said quietly back, her eyes flicking over to where she could see Rick, Shane and Daryl staring at her. Daryl caught her eye and she looked away. "I'll have my knife."

"Yeah, I remember how much that fuckin' helped the last time," Danny muttered raking his hands through his hair.

That one statement, muttered in that low tone of such harsh anger had caught the attention of the entire group. Daryl's eyes had slipped rather quickly from Danny to Callie, watching her shoulders roll with agitation at the bearded man. A memory of that time so long ago now, when Callie had recalled her and Danny's meeting slid into his mind. The anger that had boiled through him as she told them, in as few words as possible, of a run-in with a bunch of rapists rekindled in him as he watched Danny limp about near the RV. Her tired and haunted voice as it said, 'Apparently to those boys, no didn't mean no anymore', echoed loudly in his memory. Daryl's eyes had collided with Callie's for only a moment, which was really all it took for him to realize that she had left something out of that telling. Something he didn't really want to push at, but couldn't help but wonder about.

"This isn't like the last time," Callie finally shot back, catching Danny's eye as she pointed an angry finger at him. "I don't have time to be dealin' with your guilt issues, Danny. We aren't on our own anymore and we aren't in a group that would-" Callie firmed her lips and shook her head swinging her eyes past Daryl's gaze to Hershel. "I'm fine with whatever you say. It's like Rick said, we're guests here."

"I'll allow you and Rick to carry," Hershel said after a heartbeat, his eyes sliding over Callie in a very forward manner. Shane had damn near blown a gasket at that point, harping on about how he was a fuckin' lawman like Rick and should be allowed to carry if fuckin' Callie was. Statin' that she was just a fuckin' bartender. Hershel had put his foot down though, stating very simply and very firmly. "I feel I can trust Rick and Callie's judgment. When I feel that way about you, I'll let you know."

In an effort to try and appease the still fuming Shane, Rick had made a point to request the sentry on the RV. That armed rifleman on top of the hulking vehicle had been non-negotiable as far as Rick was concerned. Not only was it something that he knew would help alleviate the tension that had grown in the group as soon as Hershel had made his request about the weapons, but also it was a good practice. Whether the good ol' Doc believed it or not, nowhere was fuckin' safe.

So now, to see that the much fought for position vacant, left an ill taste in the back of Daryl's throat.

An ill taste that apparently settled over the other two men as they stared towards Dale's vehicle in the distance.

"What?" Glenn sidled up next to them and squinted in the darkness. He shifted his flashlight's beam uselessly towards the dark area where he could make out the white RV against the skyline, frowning when it had little to no effect. "You sure? Dale's not up there? He's always up there. I mean, he wouldn't come down unless—"

"Somethin's wrong," Daryl said and without another word to the two men beside him he took off at a run towards the farm house. He didn't give a fuck if Glenn and T-Dog were following or not, the only thing he cared about was finding out what was so damned important that Dale fuckin' Horvath had finally abandoned his post.


Callie's mind was moving a mile a minute as she listened to Rick's worried voice bark out orders to their assembled group. She'd been dragged from looking into Jenna's room by the worried rush of Rick as he came to meet her, Hershel and Maggie at the office. And it seemed like forever had passed since Maggie had broken the news that the girl was missing, when in reality it had only been a few minutes.

A few minutes of fucking frenzied motions by everyone.

Flashlights were being passed around now, and Callie was still watching in a bit of a haze. Hershel had kept his hand at her arm, apparently noting the slightly pale tinge to her skin and the unsteady motions of her legs as they desperately worked to hold up the weight of her body.

"A'right people," Rick's voice echoed along the fringe of the large wrap around front porch of the Greene's house. Callie's eyes slipped from where she'd been staring out into the dark edges of the farm, her eyes moving over the barn and the farther off outer buildings. "We're gonna split up," Rick said, nodding his head at Dale as he grabbed the last of the flashlights from older man's outstretched hands. Rick wavered a bit on his feet and Callie finally broke free from Hershel's hold and started towards him.

"How long?" Callie asked, her eyes going to Carol who was beside herself with worry. The other woman looked up with tears shining in her eyes and shook her head.

"A little over an hour," Carol said shaking her head and reaching out. "God, Callie I'm so sorry. I just," Carol took in a shaking breath and shook her head. "She had said she was going to lie down, and had been huffing about the apparent 'death watch' we had her on. I know you said to stay with her, but—" Carol shook her head again and Callie squeezed her arm.

"It's alright," Callie said quietly. "It's alright."

"She can't have gone far," Danny's voice broke in, and Callie turned to where he stood at the bottom of the stairs. He was using the railing as his crutch for now, his body slightly slumped towards the railing to take the pressure off of his still healing leg. He shifted his gaze from Callie to the nodding Rick. "She wasn't in any condition to be doing much of anything, let alone fuckin' runnin' off. She's gotta be close."

"Right," Rick said idly nodding his head as he ran a tired hand through his hair. Callie stepped up beside him and put her hand to his shoulder gaining his attention. Rick looked at her for a moment. Sadness. Fear. Empathy. It was all playing over his face in probably the same sort of shocked way that it was filtering over hers.

One thought prevailing over all the others. When would they catch a break?

"What's that?" Miles' voice broke out and Callie watched as the boy lifted his broken left hand to point towards the grassy field just beyond. In the bare light of the moon three dark silhouettes could be seen running towards the farm, a single flashlight beam erratically moving with the hurried steps of one figure. Callie squeezed Rick's shoulder and caught his eyes.

"Daryl," Callie said on what she could only describe as a relieved sigh.

"Why are they running? You think something's wrong?" Miles asked sidling along the porch railing. His brows knit into a confused stare as he looked at Callie and Rick.

"Not sure," Callie's eyes slipped down to Dale who was already nodding his head and waving his hand.

"I've got them," Dale said quietly as he turned to face the oncoming trio. "I'll explain what's happened. You all work on the search plans."

Rick and Callie watched Dale walk off at a quick trot to meet up with the still rushing forms of Daryl, T-Dog and Glenn. Silence stretched out a bit as they waited for some kind of signal that the trio was actually okay. Miles slipped behind Callie, his hand brushing her arms as he worked his way towards something and she spared him a quick fleeting smile. The poor kid was beside himself with worry, and this whole standing around doing nothing thing was starting to grate on his nerves. Callie reached back with her hand steadying him a bit and squeezing as she looked down to Danny.

"A'right," Rick's voice boomed out again followed by a long sigh. Callie looked up to see Dale waving at them and the trio now slowly bounding up to the house. "Let's -"

"Hey!" Miles' voice boomed out causing the rest of the group to turn towards him. "Hey!" Miles pushed at Jimmy's back a bit which earned a bit of a startled scream from Beth who was standing nearby. "The fuck you think you're going?" Jimmy stared at Miles as he turned and braced himself as Miles delivered yet another hard push against the other kid's chest.

Jimmy had height on Miles, but Miles had bulk, which evened the odds quite nicely.

"Miles," Callie started forward but Shane and Rick moved in first followed closely by Hershel who had posted up down at the bottom of the stairs beside Danny.

"The fuck you think you're goin'?" Miles yelled and pushed again, before he grabbed some of Jimmy's shirt and pulled the boy's face close to his. Beth was scratching at Miles' arm and Shane and Rick were working to pull the boys apart. "The fuck did you say to her? Huh?" Miles was tugging at Jimmy as Shane pulled on his arms and tried to get him away. Rick was pulling at Beth slightly moving her towards her father, and using his other arm to pull the stoic and shocked Jimmy away from the seething Miles. "The fuck did you say to her?"

"Miles that's enough," Callie was saying as she advanced on the scuffle. Shane shot her a glance before wrapping his arms under Miles' and pulling hard. He succeeded in pulling Miles off of Jimmy, who was then escorted away and into the house by Beth and Patricia. Hershel's hard eyes skimmed over both Rick and Callie, his head shaking in that manner that told them he was more than a little pissed off by the boy's actions.

Shane was still holding tight to the slightly thrashing form of Miles as he backed up. Callie put a hand to Shane's shoulder but the man just shrugged her off as he backtracked with the seething boy.

"Let me go!" Miles was yelling, fighting a bit too hard for Callie's liking with his battered body. "Get off me!" Miles thrashed and caught Shane soundly in the gut with his elbow, Rick was near enough to work to get Shane to let go of Miles but not before almost getting thwacked by one of Miles' flailing limbs as he turned and vehemently glared at the slightly shocked Shane. "Don't you fuckin' touch me."

Everyone stared as Miles glared at Shane, the disgust clear on the boy's face as he backed away. Callie held out a hand to the boy but he shrugged her off and took the porch stairs two at a time as he worked to quickly get away. Danny followed Miles with his eyes and shifted a glance up to Callie. They shared a nod as Callie worked her tired fingers through her tangled hair, she watched Danny slowly limp off after the fast retreating form of Miles heading for the RV.

As Danny passed them, Glenn broke off and fell into step with him following Miles as well. Callie shifted her eyes to catch Daryl's, a good distance still separated them but that didn't matter. His heated stare could march across any distance where she was concerned.

"We'll split up, teams of two," Rick was saying and Callie's eyes snapped over to him as he tiredly recited his plan. His eyes slipped over her offering a small smile before he nodded his welcome back to Daryl and T-Dog. "I don't want anyone goin' off alone-"

"Yeah, we all know why," Shane spat out and shook his head. His comment earned a glare from Rick and a shocked sort of expression from Callie. Shane shook his head and ran his hand over his shaved head as he stared off in the direction of the RV, after a moment his eyes slipped back to Rick and he let out an exasperated sigh. "I don't see what the point of this is, Rick."

"Don't," Rick said in a firm tone as he lifted a single hand towards Shane. From her position between the two men Callie could almost feel the tension rippling over her and she shifted her eyes between them. When her gaze landed on Shane she saw the slight tilt of his lips into a snarling smirk and met his cold gaze as it landed on her.

"No," Shane said lifting an angry finger and pointing it at Rick, his eyes slipping to his former partner quickly before pinning her again. "No, this is ridiculous," He stepped closer to Callie and she stood her ground just shaking her head in wonder. Her eyes slipped down to Daryl who had taken up Danny's spot at the bottom of the stairs, his one foot placed on a stair and both hands resting out at the railings. "If no one else has the balls to say it then I will." Callie's eyes settled back on Shane a single brow rising in expectation. "Callie," he began his voice tinged with that calming tone, the one that came so naturally to Rick, and sounded phony as it came from Shane's throat. "I understand that you care about that girl. Well all do," he tossed his hand around to the group watching the two of them in silence. "But honestly, this is a fuckin' waste of time. The girl's dead, why waste more time, more energy-"

It was probably a combination of stress, exhaustion, and a heady dose of fresh anger that made it happen. A lethal combination in any scenario, but more so now because it was really just adding fuel to the fire for Callie. She and Shane had never really agreed on much in the time that they'd known each other. Bumping heads more often than not over one thing or another at the Quarry. About her taking watch. About her going on runs with Glenn. About Ed Peletier. But no matter how many times they disagreed they still shared a bit of respect for one another, a bit of respect that had kept both of them from snapping completely.

But that respect, which had been hanging by a thin little thread since his outburst against Daryl on the highway days ago, finally just fucking snapped. And if anyone, including Shane had been prepared for it, she probably wouldn't have been able to land that punch to his jaw.

Shane stumbled back as Callie lunged, her brain on overdrive as she tried to grab for his shirt –Otis' fucking shirt. None of the background noise made it in as she grabbed into that fabric and pulled back her hand. Thoughts of Miles ran through her mind, and the pain that boy was feeling. Pain that she knew, she just fucking knew, Shane was at the root of. Jenna and her scared eyes, her pain-wracked body, her fevered delirium, floated into her head as she tightened her hold in the fabric of Shane's shirt and pulled her hand back.

That first hit was barely a glancing blow, so she was gonna make the second one count.

She knew that first shot was lucky when it hit his jaw. Knew it had to have been, because Shane was trained. He was trained to deter attackers and he was trained to use force when necessary. And somewhere in the far off recesses of her mind she understood that he wasn't trying to hurt her. That he was just acting on years of training and just plain learned behavior.

Just as Rick's arm had circled around her waist to pull her off, Shane's hand lifted and he grabbed at Callie's hand that was fisted into the fabric of his shirt. The searing pain that shot through her hand as his thumb pressed hard, and knowingly into the palm of her injured left hand, caused her knees to buckle. Rick's arm around her was the only thing holding her up as Shane twisted her hand away from his body and lifted his other hand to block off her right hand as it careened towards him. But her punch had lost its steam as the pain in her other hand took hold, so her fingers just slid over his raised forearm and went to try and extract her other hand from his painful grasp.

Time sped back up, the pain lacing through the haze of her anger and clearing her head as she let Rick pull her back and away. She watched in awe as Daryl, who had apparently vaulted up the stairs in a single bound as she initially lunged for Shane, was rushing past her and Rick. Rick left Callie in the capable and waiting hands of Hershel who was trying to get a look at her hand as she cradled it to her chest.

"Motherfucker," Daryl seethed as his large fist swung out and cracked hard into Shane's shoulder sending the man sprawling into the set of chairs next to him. Daryl, obviously pissed off that Rick's reaching hand had taken his punch off target, worked quickly out of Rick's grip and made another go. His fist connected this time with Shane's jaw, hitting off the same place that Callie's smaller fist had just barely glanced off of moments ago. Shane fell in a heap, his body half settled against the large wooden rocking chair and half on the ground, his left hand rising to cradle his now bleeding split lip.

Rick had wedged himself in between the snarling and lunging Daryl at this point, his hands pressing against Daryl's chest as the man tried to move in again. Shane was staring at Daryl, hate and anger in his eyes as he worked to get to his feet. Daryl stepped up onto his toes and threw his arm over Rick's shoulder, a single finger pointing harshly at the slow moving Shane.

"Fuckin' touch her again, bitch. I dare you," Daryl seethed, as he pointed his finger and practically danced on his toes. He was pressing his chest against Rick's hold, his fidgeting steps trying to get past so that he could get to Shane.

"Daryl, enough," Rick was trying to settle the incensed redneck, but his words were having little effect. Rick maintained his position between the two men, his hands still pressing against Daryl's chest to stave off another attack. Rick's eyes slipped over Daryl's bouncing form to where Hershel stood with Callie and the newly arrived Maggie.

Hershel lifted his eyes from the inspection of Callie's hand, his head shaking back and forth as his lips firmed into a straight line. Callie's face contorted in pain as Hershel pressed into the wound that was obviously bleeding again, her attention slipped to Maggie who was saying something in a hushed tone as she held out a white slip of paper. Rick's eyes shifted to Daryl quickly, watching as the redneck finally settled onto his feet and wiped the back of his hand at his mouth. Daryl's eyes were still riveted to the spot where Shane had collapse and Rick followed his line of sight.

Shane was wiping the back of his left hand along his bleeding lip, but the motion stopped as he lifted his right hand. Even in the dim light provided by the porch light Rick could see the bit of red that marred Shane's hand. Blood, but not his blood. Shane's eyes lifted at that point and met Callie's angered gaze head on, he opened his mouth as he shifted to stand but Callie beat him to it.

"No one deserves to die alone, Shane." Callie seethed, wincing as Hershel pressed into her wounded palm. She shook her head, catching Daryl's eyes. The redneck visibly calmed a bit more and ran his hand through his hair as he shifted his eyes from her to the floor and then to Rick. Callie stared hard at Shane as she continued. "No one. Especially not a child, you dumb, selfish fuck."

"Callie—" Shane got to his feet and made a move to go towards her, but Daryl got in his way. Rick again in the middle of things as Daryl shoved his finger into Shane's chest and pressed him back.

"You even fuckin' look at her right now, I'll tear your head off," Daryl seethed as he pressed harder. Rick pressed at Daryl's shoulder and nodded his head a bit.

"Enough. It's done," Rick said pushing against both men. Shane's shocked and angered glance shifted from Daryl, to Callie who was being led inside by Hershel and Maggie. He caught sight of Lori as she came out and confusedly stared at the scene playing out, her worried eyes following Callie inside. She shook her head at Shane and disappeared from his sight. Shane's eyes landed on Rick, only half listening as the man continued on in that same calming tone. "It's done. Walk away, Shane."

Shane stepped back, his hand again going to his bleeding lip. Again he spotted the blood, Callie's blood, on his hands and he angrily lowered his hand. He lifted his gaze to where Rick and Daryl were both staring at him, and then to the surrounding remainder of the people outside. Snarling a bit he backed up another step and then pushed past Andrea as he worked towards the other end of the porch and slipped out into the darkness heading towards their camp.

Rick let out a long sigh and put his hands to his hips as he lowered his head. His eyes slipped back towards the house where Callie had disappeared and he lifted his hand to cup his dry mouth. His thoughts trailed back to his earlier private conversation with Hershel regarding the group staying on at the farm. The older man had made it clear that he wanted them gone, and with that little scuffle, Rick couldn't help but feel they had just put the last nail into the coffin so-to-speak with regards to that subject.

Rick listened as the rest of the group slowly dispersed from the porch area, his gaze lifting as he caught Daryl's movement in his periphery. Before the redneck could make it to the door Rick cleared his throat and spoke up.

"Daryl," Rick said quietly, watching as the man's shoulders stiffened before he turned his still angered glare to him. Rick shifted on his feet and met that glare head on; jutting his head off to the side he grimaced. "A word."

Daryl grunted, his eyes slipping away from Rick and back towards the door. Shaking his head Daryl turned and crossed his arms as he stared at Rick, waiting for him to make a move. Rick cupped his hand to his chin once more before nodding and heading down the stairs. He could feel Daryl at his back, the man's anger palpable as they worked through the darkness around the house. Shifting his eyes over his shoulder Rick watched Daryl's eyes rove the area.

"Did y'all find anything?" Rick started quietly, choosing to step around the anger Daryl was projecting. At least for the moment. They'd address that later, when the redneck had a chance to cool off a bit. Shit, when Rick had a chance to cool off.

Daryl's eyes snapped up to Rick and held them as they continued around to the back of the house. Shaking his head Daryl watched as Rick pulled out his flashlight and slowed his steps.

"Found this house," Daryl said quietly his eyes following the beam of Rick's flashlight as it slowly illuminated the area. "Something that used to be rented out to tourists or something. Worn and abandoned, but still in pretty good shape. Looks like she had holed up there," Rick's eyes slipped over his shoulder again as he knelt down, a glimmer of hope kindling there that had Daryl snarling a bit. "Tiny bit of bedding in pantry cabinet, and a fresh can of tuna in the trash said she was probably there only a few hours 'fore we stumbled on it." Daryl shook his head at that point and Rick narrowed his gaze at the man. "Gonna head back tomorrow see if we can pick up a trail. Left some supplies there for her, just in case."

Daryl watched Rick's head nod and then knelt down with the man.

"Sounds good," Rick said quietly, Daryl a bit shocked to see that the man left the subject at that. Trusting in the fact that Daryl had the search for Sophia well in hand, he moved on to the next problem. Leaving Daryl to just stare in wonder at the man for a moment.

Looking up Rick jutted his chin to the window over their heads and slipped the flashlight up the white washed exterior of the house. The window was at least a half a foot over their heads when standing, and looking up the length of the drop down to the ground made Daryl cringe just a bit at the memory of the pain that had been lacing that girl's features when he'd stepped in to see her after his arrival. The little trail of red that slipped off that window ledge and down the side of the house, made Daryl's nose twitch and he lifted his thumbnail to his lips, scratching it along the stubble under his lip.

"She went out there," Rick said on a sigh. "Landed hard here," Rick said angling his flashlight down to the grassy area in front of them. The blood staining that bit of grass settled ill in both men's stomachs and had Daryl snatching the flashlight from Rick's hand as he stood.

Daryl backed up a bit, and let the beam of light slip back the way they'd come. His eyes narrowed as he walked a few steps and Rick stayed in his crouched position, his forearms resting on his knees. Daryl skipped his eyes along the grass, the beam of light working this way and that for a few seconds before he headed back over towards Rick.

"She would have needed help," Rick said quietly, causing Daryl's eyes to lift. Daryl stared for a minute before nodding slowly.

"Yeah," Daryl said angling Rick's flashlight away from them and out into the darkness. Rick got to his feet and wiping both hands on his pants before coming to stand next to Daryl. "And it looks like she got it," Daryl's eyes skipped behind them again, glancing over the obvious trail of the second person and the back out into the darkness beyond. "Question is, who?"

Rick nodded, the flicker of a light from the window they stood near had both of them turning and glancing up. Daryl's eyes caught and held onto the sight of the dark silhouette that stared out the window past them. Rick's eyes flicked from that window to Daryl and he let out a sigh as he settled his hands to his hips.

"Daryl," Rick's voice had the man snapping his gaze away from the figure and to him. He took a step closer and reached out a placating hand as he worked to broach a subject he didn't really want to. "About Shane—"

"You just keep him the fuck outta my sight, Deputy Do-Right," Daryl seethed pulling away from Rick's raised hand and raising one of his own. He pointed an angered finger. "Your boy crossed a line there ain't no stepping back over," Daryl said as calmly as he could. "You keep him the fuck outta my way."

"He didn't mean to hurt her," Rick said quietly, and Daryl scoffed and shook his head. "He didn't." Rick let out a sigh and shook his head and practically whispered his last statement. "I really hope he didn't."

"Hope's for fools, Rick. Tol' you that before," Daryl said angrily and Rick simply nodded his head. He couldn't really wrap his head around Shane intentionally hurting Callie, but then again. Rick had been partners with Shane for a long enough time to have seen the man use the 'necessary force' entitlement that he thought they had to one extreme or another. It wasn't out of the question, but still…

"I'll keep him outta your way," Rick said raising a hand and nodding his head, he pointed a finger and raised a tired brow. "But you gotta stay outta his." Daryl waved an angry and dismissive hand at Rick as he turned his back.

"I ain't gonna go lookin' for trouble," Daryl said flippantly smirking at Rick. "But I ain't gonna turn away if it comes lookin' for me."

Rick nodded, knowing that was really as good as he could hope to get and moved to follow Daryl back towards the front of the house. His eyes skipped back over his shoulder into the darkness that Jenna fled into. With her mysterious helper. The question of who was a big one, and as his eyes slipped up to the window above he couldn't help but think that someone in that room now knew the answer to it.


Large looping letters, written by a hand that had obviously been shaking were burned into Callie's brain.

She held the small slip of paper in her own hands; hands that were shaking so bad she feared she was going to rip it. And she didn't want to rip it. It was all she had left.

The first three words on the page had driven the knife in Callie's heart deeper than it had been before: I'm so sorry. They were the same words that the girl had repeated to her over and over when Callie had first found her in those woods. The same words she repeated again and again as Callie discovered her wounded leg; her death sentence.

The words that Callie should have been saying to her. Repeating them over and over again.

I owe you my life.

I can't let your final memory of me be my death.

Please understand. Tell everyone I'm sorry, and that I love them. Tell Miles, a few heavily scratched out words that Callie couldn't read followed by a simple that it'll be okay.

And then the closing line, simple and sweet.

I love you.

It was a short note. And Callie wasn't sure if it was short because the girl ran out of time; or because her mind wasn't all there. But really, Callie wondered what else there was to write. What more was really left to be said.

Callie felt the tear slide down her cheek and her left hand gave a jolt when she tightened her grip on the paper. She'd been sitting in the small room that Jenna had occupied in the Greene home for what felt like hours. Callie could hear Maggie's sighs as she moved from her position by the window where she'd been staring out into the darkness beyond. The girl had stayed with her after having put a handful of small stitches into the cut on Callie's palm, stating that it was the only way to ensure that it would stay closed long enough to heal properly.

Callie had sat silently through the pain as Maggie's hands shook while she placed the sutures. The girl was cleaning up her supplies now, barely making any noise as she did it. But the way her eyes kept landing on Callie's shoulders was heavy enough to make it feel as though a boisterous conversation was going on.

A shadow fell over the room as a body blocked out the light filtering in through the open doorway, and Callie shifted her eyes very slightly to see the larger form of Hershel there. Callie said nothing to the older man as he stared at her, and simply slid her eyes back to the bed. The sound of shuffling as Maggie worked her way towards the door had Callie's eyes closing.

"I put in about five stitches to reclose it," Maggie said quietly to her father as she slipped towards the door. "I think it's infected," Maggie shifted her eyes over to Callie. "She said she's allergic to Penicillin. So I'm gonna go see what we have to give her. Even with the bunch of stuff that they brought with them, we're running really low. I may need to make a run into town."

"We can discuss that in the morning," Hershel said quietly.

"I was gonna try and help look—"

"I'd rather you didn't," Hershel said in a more forceful tone, one that had a tiny smirk playing on Callie's lips. Finally Callie lifted her head and shifted her attention towards where Hershel stood staring at her, his hand settled on his daughter's arm. "If you could check in on Beth. She was a bit upset. I'll be in soon."

"Sure," Maggie said, her eyes shifting to Callie. She gave a small nod and smile before ducking out of the room leaving Callie to stare at Hershel in the doorway. A heavy silence seemed to linger in the air between Callie and Hershel, until finally the older man moved just a bit inside.

"You were right," Callie said idly lifting the note in her right hand while her sore left remained dangling between her knees. She let out a breath and then folded the letter, slipping it into her back pocket as she pushed to her feet. Her eyes skipped over to the gleaming sight of the Fat Lady settled upon the stack of notebooks on the nightstand and Callie felt the older man's gaze land on that object as well. Callie sniffed almost angrily before reaching forward and snatching the gun from the nightstand. She stared at it for a moment before looking up to him. "That wasn't how she wanted-You were right." Hershel let out a long frustrated sounding sigh beside her as she stuck the gun into place at the small of her back.

Her eyes shifted to watch him, his eyes skimming over the floor where a clump of Jenna's red hair sat and then up to the blood stained sheets that adorned the bed. Callie watched his face contort with an emotion she didn't know the man well enough to place and with another sigh she fidgeted a bit on her feet.

"I was going to clear the bed sheets, and finish gathering Jenna's things," Callie said raking her fingers through her hair. "Then I'll –"

"I am not here to kick you from my home," Hershel said in that same forceful tone as he cut her off. Callie shifted her confused eyes to the man and met his straight on. "I am here to offer my deepest sympathies to you," he stopped and took in a deep breath. "As a father, as a man who has outlived," he shook his head and stared at her with eyes that shone brightly in the dim light with unshed tears. "I understand the devastation of outliving a child."

Callie swallowed hard, her mind going back to that photo in Hershel's office. That picture of the happy family, two girls and a boy sitting on the stairs of this porch. Callie's jaw clenched and she nodded her head slightly in silent thanks to his words. Reaching forward Callie began to pull at the bedding but was stopped by Hershel's strong hand falling over top of hers. Her attention shifted to him, and he squeezed her good right hand lightly before moving her so that she stood straight before him. They stared at each other for a good while before Callie gave a sad smile and extracted her hand from his.

"I want to apologize for what happened on the porch," Callie said calmly, her eyes slipping to her sore left hand. "What happened with Miles. What happened with me and Shane. That was," she stopped and lifted her eyes to the man waiting patiently for her to continue. "That's not usually how I deal with things, and not how I expect one of mine to. I just—"

"I understand," Hershel said quietly raising a hand to stave off any further explanation. The older man shifted his eyes around the room a bit, his eyes lingering on the blood staining the bed sheets. Raking his own hand over his thinning hair he looked to Callie and tried to work out what he wanted to say. Or maybe how he wanted to say it. "I've given my permission for Jimmy to assist you tomorrow in your search." Hershel said shocking Callie completely. She stayed quiet and raised a brow as he lifted one of his. "The boy has shown an interest that I can't ignore."

There was a moment of silence, where Callie and Hershel simply stared at one another. No words were really needed, and she knew that no others were going to be given. Callie nodded finally and gave a small smile to the man standing with her.

"I appreciate the help, Hershel." Callie said simply.

Shuffling in the hallway had both of them turning towards the door, spotting Rick and Daryl coming to a stop at the doorway and staring in silently. Callie took in a deep breath and Rick ran a tired hand down his face as he shifted a quick glance at Daryl before sliding into the room. Daryl followed, and both men's eyes instantly slanted to the bloodstained bedding before slipping up to her. Another sigh fell from Rick's lips as he put a hand to her shoulder.

"Are you alright?" Rick asked his hand sliding down her arm towards her injured hand. Callie snaked her hand away before he could reach it and nodded, waving off his concern with a flippant twist of her fingers and a smile. He grimaced and exchanged a quick look with Hershel. "We didn't see anything," Rick said finally his eyes skipping from person to person in the room and lingering on Callie's. "We'll keep looking-"

"No," Callie said quietly lifting her hand and squeezing Rick's arm, he looked at her with a mix of awe and confusion and she smiled. She stared back at him and his brow narrowed as he tried to read what was going through her mind.

"We'll find her," Daryl said not catching the look that passed between Rick and Callie, his eyes riveted to the clump of hair on the floor and the blood stained sheets on the bed. "She's gotta-"

"She doesn't want to be found," Callie said simply her eyes finally sliding over to Daryl's. She held his gaze for a long moment, her hand falling from Rick's arm.

Callie looked to Hershel and gave a nod before working her way towards the door. Her hand moved out a bit and she trailed her cold fingers over Daryl's arm and down to his hand. His fingers curled around hers for a brief moment before letting her slide them slowly out. She left the room and the three men stood staring at the doorway after her, listening as the screen door opened and closed indicating she'd left the house entirely.


Daryl watched Rick shift on his feet for a moment before turning away from the open back tailgate of the Hummer. The former Sheriff's deputy looked exhausted, and his feet barely lifted as he trudged back towards the house. His hand was scratching idly at the back of his head, a wince settled into his features as he no doubt knocked his fingers into the split sore skin of the wound back there.

The fuckin' man couldn't seem to just let the thing be.

Daryl chewed idly on the piece of straw he'd picked up and let his eyes follow Rick's slow going progress across the space between the house and their little camp. Daryl's feet were moving before he really even registered it, and as he passed by Rick the other man's eyes slipped up from their inspection of the grass and held on to his. No words passed between them, just a simple nod of the head as Rick continued on into the house and Daryl worked his way towards that orange fuckin' beast of a car.

Daryl let his eyes slide over the gas can on the ground and the open fuel line at the back end before sliding around and coming to a stop at the open tailgate. Callie's feet were swinging idly back and forth, her boot laces hanging loose around her feet, as if she'd just given up on the rest of the motion of removing them. Which was good. That way she wouldn't have to walk across the cool grass in her bare feet.

Daryl continued to chew on the long piece of straw and let his eyes slid over the seemingly oblivious woman before him. Her hands were in her lap, the dull gleam of that fuckin' little silver handgun catching his eye. There was just something about the way that woman was holding that gun that made him shiver as anger boiled in his gut. The thought that she'd put that gun to her own head before, and been unable to pull the trigger came rushing back in a heartbeat.

Daryl fuckin' hated that gun.

Spitting out the piece of hay from his mouth he reached forward and grabbed it from her hand. The action had her lifting her shocked eyes from her now empty hands to him as he tucked the gun into the small of his back. He stared hard at her, and she opened her mouth to say something but he cut her off.

"C'mon," He grabbed her hand and pulled her off the tailgate and turned his back pulling her behind him as he stalked off. She winced just a bit and he slid his hand up from the injured portion of her hand to her wrist. The feel of the tiny little welt like scars that were settled there did nothing to soothe his frazzled nerves.

Callie silently followed behind him, letting Daryl pull her along towards his tent. Her brow furrowed just as he opened the flap, her eyes catching his in rare moment of amusement as he pulled her inside with him. As he turned to zip the flap closed, Callie shifted and let her eyes roam the interior of the large tent. Her brow furrowed a bit, as she took in the large space and she suddenly realized that this wasn't his tent. Not the one from the Quarry. That had been a smaller tent, two-person if that.

This was one of hers, a nice spacious four-person size, one of the ones she and the girls or Danny and the boys had shared. Callie's eyes took in the small lantern settled off to one side, sitting on top of one of the large totes that had been settled onto the top of the Hummer. She took in the strange sight of her belongings settled neatly along one side of the tent, sitting next to Daryl's own bags. Oddly she didn't see any of the single sleeper cots set up, instead a mass of bedding, no doubt a mix of his and hers was situated in the middle of the tent near the back end. Callie's brows lifted in amusement as she shot her eyes over her shoulder to where Daryl was standing.

His hand was lifted to his mouth, teeth nibbling at that thumbnail as he watched her. She ran a tired hand over her head and couldn't help but give him a very tiny smile.

"Am I allowed to ask about the meaning behind this," she waved her hand around and he grumbled something before dropping his hand from his mouth. His eyes held hers as he stepped forward and he waved his hand around.

"Wasn't like you and me weren't sharin' sleepin' arrangements before," Daryl said in a sarcastic tone. "Ain't no different." She stared at him for a moment and it honestly shocked her to discover he was right. Since the CDC, well, more specifically since their time at that little gas station she and Daryl had slept in the back of the Hummer. They never went together usually Callie would just wake up to find him there.

"Well, shit," Callie mumbled looking around and shaking her head. "When you're right, you're right. What about-"

"Ben and Gracie are sleeping in the tent with Miles and Danny." Daryl tossed his thumb over his shoulder. "Danny didn't want the kid to wander off, and figured with the little ones there Miles would be less inclined to do something stupid."

"You're a good babysitter," Callie said idly letting her eyes slide around the tent again and waving a finger in the air. "I should really pay you more." Daryl scoffed out a little laugh and then stepped towards her.

His warm calloused hands settled at her arms, and it was at that moment she realized just how cold it had been outside. How cold she was from sitting in that cool evening breeze in nothing more than a camisole. She shivered and lifted her hands to start rubbing her arms, but Daryl's hands beat her to it and began to rub furiously along her skin.

"Fuck woman," Daryl said turning her around and continuing to rub. His eyes settled on her shoulders, then ran the length of her arms as he rubbed. "You got some warm clothes?" Callie nodded not really trusting her voice as Daryl continued to rub her freezing cold arms. "Then start fuckin' wearin' them."

"Says the man perpetually dressed in sleeveless shirts," Callie shot back. He lifted his annoyed gaze to her and shook his head.

"I got long sleeved ones for the cooler weather," Daryl said snidely adding a half-assed 'smart-ass' to the end that he didn't think she'd catch. "Plus, I got more meat on my bones than you, girl. Gonna take more than a cool breeze to get my ass this cold." He rubbed her arms a bit more and Callie chuckled. His hands continued to rub her arms, losing the furiousness of the movement and slowing into more of a gentle caress that had her shivering for a completely different reason.

Callie lifted her eyes and stared hard at his face watching as a tension formed in his jaw as he slid his finger tips over her now goose-bump covered flesh. She watched him slip his tongue out to wet his bottom lip and felt heat coil low in her stomach before radiating over her whole body. She was definitely feeling warmer now. Much, much warmer.

Her hands lifted from her sides just as Daryl's eyes hooded a bit. He leaned closer and his lips had just brushed over hers when her hands hit off of the front of his button up sleeveless flannel. Her eyes went wide and her head tilted back from his, eyes instantly going to where her fingers splayed over the fabric of his shirt. The damp, gore-covered fabric at the front of his shirt.

"What happened?" Callie asked, sliding her fingers over the threadbare fabric, her pointer finger sliding through a rip and pulling at the fabric. In the dim light of the little lantern she could make out what looked to be long dark marks staining the fabric. The warmth she had been feeling instantly gave way to an icy chill that she couldn't control. Daryl must have felt the chill because his hands tightened around her arms and he pulled her a bit closer.

"Bit of a close call," Daryl said in an off-hand manner. "No big deal." Callie shook her head and muttered the words 'fucking close call' as she began to almost frantically unbutton his shirt to get a look at the skin underneath. Daryl made a half-assed attempt at stopping her, his head shaking but his body almost aching for her hands to settle on his bare skin.

"No big deal," Callie muttered again as she finished with his buttons, her fingers sliding over his chest as she opened the shirt to inspect his chest. A low relieved sigh left her as she discovered no scratch marks, well no new ones. "You could have been—"

"Wasn't," Daryl said lifting his hands to her wrists and stilling her hands, pressing them tight into his chest. "Ain't no worse for wear. Except for the fact that I fuckin' owe T-Dog one." Daryl grimaced and Callie lifted her eyes from where her hands were splayed on his strong chest up to his eyes. She couldn't help but smile at him and let the chuckle fall from her lips.

"Technically, I'd say you're probably even now," Callie said letting her fingers slide over the familiar planes of his chest. Daryl sniffed and twitched his nose as he shook his head.

"I don't do evens," Daryl said succinctly and Callie nodded her head. Of course he didn't.

Callie let her hands slide over his chest, relishing the feel of his skin under her fingers. The slight twinge of pain in her left hand became nothing more than a dull little ache as Daryl's thumbs worked along the insides of her wrists. They stood there for a few moments before his hands tightened and brought her attention back up to his face.

"I ain't fool 'nough to believe that you're just gonna let this whole Jenna thing go," Daryl said quietly, his voice a low rumble that ran through her body as he pulled her just a bit closer. She stared at his eyes as they searched hers for an answer, and all she could do was smile. "Just tell me ya ain't planning on going alone."

"Rick's coming with me," Callie said quietly that little smile of hers faltering just a bit as she thought back to the conversation she'd just had with the former deputy.

"Fuck," Daryl said shaking his head a bit. "Usually that wouldn't bother me. But considering you two are about as up for action as a newborn fawn-"

"We'll be fine," Callie said quietly tapping her fingers on his chest. "I'm not expecting any action. Just a few answers."

"Yeah, well I wasn't expecting any action either," Daryl let his hands drop from her wrists and held his arms out wide. He raised his brows in a 'see what that got me' motion and she trailed her fingers up his chest and over his collar bone.

"We'll be fine," Callie repeated letting her fingers glide under his shirt and over his shoulders. "You're not going out alone tomorrow are you?"

"T-Dog's comin," Daryl said with a bit of a sneer that made Callie smile as she slipped his shirt off of his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Daryl's hands went to her hips, fingers hooking into the belt loops of her jeans and pulling her closer. "And Carol," he continued causing Callie's eyes to lift from the wonderful sight of his bare upper torso as she raised a surprised brow at him. He shrugged and slipped his fingers up a bit under her shirt barely touching them off of her sides. "She wanted to see where the girl was sleepin'. Figured it wouldn't hurt. Plus if we find her there in the mornin'," he shrugged again and left the statement hang.

Callie's eyes met his, and he slipped his hands higher along her sides under her shirt. Again she shivered, and again that heat coiled in low in her stomach rolling out along her nerves, sensitizing her entire body as his fingers roved higher and higher. The silk fabric of her borrowed top slipped easily over her and her breath released in a stutter of desire, fanning over his chin as he leaned forward.

Daryl's lips pressed into hers, his tongue slipping out to lick across her full bottom lip demanding entrance as gently as it could. She opened to him and her body sagged against him for a moment before his hands were tightening in their grip on her ribs, fingers pressing tight around her for a moment and then pulling her away so that he could look into her eyes.

"You gotta tell me now if you wanna stop this," Daryl said, his voice hoarse with desire as his hot breath puffed onto her waiting lips. "I ain't gonna be able to stop this time," Daryl said, his mind obviously back to last night, or was it earlier this morning, when they'd kissed in Greene's steamy bathroom. Thoughts of his body pressing tight into hers as he'd shoved her up against the wall and attacked her with his lips. The quickened fever pitch of whatever it was between them taking that comforting kiss to an extreme that Callie's exhausted and drained body hadn't been able to handle.

Not then. But now-

"Don't," Callie managed to get out as she pressed closer to him, her lips pressing to his slightly. She sucked in his bottom lip just a bit and he groaned against her, his hands tightening in their hold on her body. She finished her statement against his slightly parted lips. "Don't ever stop."

His hands slipped the rest of the way up and Callie's arms lifted to allow him to remove her shirt. Callie watched the silken fabric release from his fingers and flutter to the ground before she melted back into him. His lips crashed into hers. Strangely, the kiss which she'd expected to be rough and needy simmered into a slow heart stopping one. His hands molded along her spine, fingers kneading into her muscles and pressing her chest into his.

In that moment she was amazed. Simply and irrevocably amazed at how much she needed this. God, how much she needed him. His strength. His support. His -whatever this was-, she wasn't going to put the label to it. Not yet. God she needed him to take away that pain of losing Jenna, even if this momentary bit of bliss was a short-lived release from that horror, she needed it. And he understood that.

And she felt like he needed it to. The way he pressed her so hard into his body, like he wanted to make her a part of him. He needed this closeness just as bad as she did. But for reasons that were all his own.

Daryl's lips trailed from hers and down her jaw line. He let out a shaking breath of heat into her ear and then moved that bristled chin and cheek of his down her neck, settling his lips to her shoulders. Wet open-mouthed kiss after wet open-mouthed kiss tantalizing her senses. One hand was working at her bra clasp, while the other was tangled into the mass of her curling hair tilting her head to the side to allow his lips more access to her skin.

Callie's fingers pressed hard into his shoulders, sliding up into his hair and pressing his lips harder into her shoulder. Pressing him hard into her. Her bra went slack against her breasts and in a movement that was almost too quick for words the item was removed and tossed aside.

The moment her bare taut nipples pressed into the coarse hairs of his hard chest Callie was lost. Her back arched in his embrace, her head falling back as he trailed his lips further down her neck and sucked sweetly at the pulse point there. Her hands snaked down his scarred back and stopped abruptly at the feel of the small gun settled at the small of his back.

She'd forgotten that he'd taken it.

She went to curl her left hand around it but his hand stopped her. He grabbed her hand in his causing a hissing sort of pain to shoot through her, while his other hand grabbed the gun. He snarled at that gun and then looked down into her slightly shocked eyes.

"Ya ain't gettin' that back," Daryl said gruffly. "Not unless I'm dead," Daryl's words echoed in Callie's ears as he tossed the gun to the ground by their bags. His hand shifted on her wounded left and he lifted her bandaged palm to his lips. He stared at her over her hand and held her gaze as tightly to his as he'd held her body moments before. "Ya get me?"

Callie nodded, not trusting her voice and losing what little was left of her sanity as he kissed the fingertips of her hand. Daryl dropped her hand down onto his shoulder and returned his hands to the button of her jeans. He pulled her roughly forward as he undid the button and zipper, slipping both of his rough hands in and around her backside. The hand on his shoulder anchored her as he removed her pants and boots. Her eyes closed as his body lowered with the clothing so that he could plant hot wet kisses along her midsection and lower. Her legs buckled at the tender caress of his lips and instantly he was up and his body was once again flush against hers, his mouth pressed to her neck and angled up so that he could speak into her ear.

"You sure you can handle this?" Daryl said, the worry in his voice causing her to smile as she ran her fingers through his hair holding his head in place. She maneuvered her mouth to his ear and spoke.

"It's not the exhaustion causing it this time," she said with a bit of a chuckle, as she felt his muscles tense as she spoke. His fingers roved over her bare backside and squeezed as he worked to get the both of them closer to the waiting little bed he'd made on the floor. "It's you." She breathed the words into his ear and felt the shudder go through him.

The fever hit their blood at the same time. Lust. Need. Want. Desire. Whatever the fuck it was, it all culminated and pressed against them, buckling both of their knees and sending them crashing to the bedding below. Daryl was gone only for a moment, his warmth now a searing heat sliding down her body as he moved to remove his pants and boots.

His naked form covered hers, and when he hooked her leg over his shoulder and pressed himself slowly inside of her she came apart. Her entire body rolled and arched off of the bedding, her head tilting back as the pleasure overwhelmed her. His mouth was still at her shoulder, and she felt her own mouth fall to the coiled bulking mass of muscle in his shoulder. Her teeth sank down as she worked to control the intensity of her moaning, causing him to tense and growl as he pounded deeper into her over and over.

She jolted awake some time later, her body curled on her side and Daryl's bicep working as a pillow beneath her cheek. The warm feel of his strong body against her back, molded so perfectly and protectively around her helping to fight off the remaining vestiges of the nightmare that had woken her.

Fuzzy, hazed memories of the undead Jenna snarling at her as she slowly closed in. The heat of the undead girl's breath on her skin and the feel of Callie's body being pinned down and unable to run, explained now by the man's weighty arm encircling her waist and his lips at her shoulder.

Daryl's hand tightened on her hip, before sliding up and grabbing the wrist of her right hand where it was tucked up under her chin and holding it tight.

"Just a dream," he muttered, his head moving slowly up so that his lips were pressed into her ear. "Go back to sleep," he moved his scruffy chin against her shoulder pushing away her hair. "Ain't nothing gonna get you." His tired mumbling helped to slow the rapid beating of her heart and she let out a shaking breath before snuggling back down into his arms. Callie listened to his breathing steady into a hum of sleep, while her eyes remained wide open and staring into the darkness of the tent. Off in the distance she spotted the Fat Lady still lying where Daryl had tossed it before.

The gun that Jenna had left behind, the girl unable to put the weapon to her head. The fucking gun that seemed to play a role in every one of her nightmares since she had to use it to end Jim's life. Fuck, since she'd placed its barrel to her own temple and thought about pulling the trigger.

It sat there in the shadows of the tent with its single bullet. Taunting her. Reminding her.

Ain't nothing gonna get you, he'd said. Leaving off the end to that statement, one that they both knew.

Ain't nothing gonna get you, but yourself.

And I listen, yeah, for the voice inside my head

Nothin, I'll do this one myself

Oh, ah, and the barrel waits, trigger shakes

Aimed right at my head, don't won't you help me

Help me from myself

State of love and trust, and a

State of love and trust, and a

State of love and trust, and a

State of love and yeah, yeah

~State of Love and Trust / Pearl Jam

AN: This chapter was like pulling fuckin' teeth. Good god. But it was needed…if not for the Daryl/Callie special time…then for the simple forward motion of the plot. So you're not getting lost…we're delving into a bit of original content in the next chapter… and will be working our way through some of the events of Cherokee Rose… (Glenn and Maggie *brown-chicken-brown-cow*) but a whole buncha new territory…Anyhoo…

I think that's all for now. I'm excited to move on to the next portion… I've got a good bit of reviews to respond to so keep your eyes peeled!

Question for my peeps….would you like me to split up Season 2 into two separate stories…(like the season was)? Or do you want it all in one big lump of crazy. Let me know, I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.

Much love!

See ya next chapter.