Title: Too Close
Summary: A close call makes Rick question himself.
Notes: A random thing thinking about crazy Rick.


It ran through his mind, over and over again.

How close he'd come. And that terrible, awful moment where he didn't really know what he'd done. Where the sound from T Dog's warning cry still echoed around and the spell was broken as the cleaver clattered to the ground and he saw a bloody trickle run from Daryl's head and all he could think of was how he'd be able to explain this to the others.

A muttered curse from Glenn and then T Dog had the cleaver in his hand and Rick realised Daryl was moving and talking just in front of him, wiping the blood from his face and he hadn't killed him. But before he could say anything, Glenn said they had to move and he could hear the walkers groans from somewhere. They ran, back to the safe cells because that's all they could do.

It wasn't until they were safe again that Rick realised just how much blood Daryl was losing, he could see the blood dropping on the floor and he wondered how the hell he was standing there with such a bad injury. He watched as the others seemed to push their way past him to get to Daryl and someone was looking at his arm and that was when he realised that Daryl had blocked his blow with his arm and that was what was bleeding so badly.

Then Daryl was dismissing the fuss and walking off from the small crowd that had gathered, heading up to the perch. Maggie was hugging Glenn and he watched Carl go into see Hershel, filling him in on what was happening and then watched Carol as she took careful, almost reluctant steps up towards Daryl.

They spoke and she looked at his arm briefly before she left and Daryl made his way down towards Hershel's room.

Rick's eyes drifted off of the man as he disappeared into the room and he didn't really pay much attention to anything until Carl sat down next to him.

"Hershel's gonna stitch Daryl up. I think Daryl got him to do it so he'd feel useful." Carl speculated.

Rick looked at him for a moment before asking "He's okay?"

Carl nodded. "Go see."

Rick didn't really think about it, just headed off towards the room. Hershel was sat on his bed, Daryl on the floor beside the bed while Hershel inspected the head wound. He briefly looked up at Rick as he stood by the door, and Daryl tried to look too without turning his head.

"Let's see the arm now," Hershel said and as Daryl lifted his arm up, he turned to see who was at the door.

Rick was certain he'd see something like hate on Daryl's face but he looked remarkably neutral. "Is it bad?" he asked.

"I've seen worse," Hershel remarked. Then to Daryl he added. "I'll stitch the arm up first, the head wound's barely a scratch in comparison."

Daryl nodded and shifted himself a little as Hershel readied himself, unintentionally turning his back on Rick. He turned his head back towards Rick, and motioned for him to come over towards him.

Rick came into the room and crouched down, back against the wall.

Daryl noticed he wouldn't meet his eye and he bit at his thumbnail momentarily at the tension in the room. Make it fucking better, he chided himself.
Hershel got there first.

"I'd say you're awfully lucky Rick's got such good reflexes to stop when he did," Hershel said. "If you hadn't tried to block it with your arm, you'd have been a lot better off,"

Thank fuck, Daryl thought. "Old habits," Daryl muttered, a little embarrassed about his reaction. It was Rick, he should flinch around that man. He trusted him. He trusted the whole group but with Rick, they were always the two at the front of it all together, more than any of the others and there was something different. Something he couldn't explain even in his own mind.

"I know that feeling, son," Hershel quietly replied. Daryl recalled Hershel mentioning something about his awful father one night when they were sleeping in an abandoned shop for the night, he tried to rally people's spirits by telling literally the most depressing story he'd ever heard. It was something how he'd got through those tough times, even made some of the days now seem nice in comparison, but it hadn't really worked. But Daryl felt that maybe the old man got him a little better than he thought.

He saw the scars on him back at the farm and he'd have assumed abuse.

"It was my fault," Rick said, still looking down.

"Bull!" Daryl replied, strongly. "We were expecting walkers on all sides, I'd rather you be alert,"

"I could have killed you!" Rick exclaimed.

"Ya didn't, stop sweating it. Ya get me a drink a water and we'll call it quits," Daryl bargained with the other man.

Rick smiled, at that, shook his head slightly. "Okay, I can live with that," he said as he got up. "Hershel?"

"If you're offering son, I won't say no," he replied, watching Rick as he left to get the two men a drink.

He patted Daryl on the shoulder, telling him he did the right thing, that everything would be okay.
They didn't need words.
It was just something that was felt.