Author's Notes: Thank you for the time spent on Practice Makes Perfect. Last night's episode killed! My personal theory? We will see Carol again next week. And I don't mean in Walker form.

Don't cry. Don't cry, baby. Don't cry, baby.

The words became his silent mantra. Everything seemed to slow to a stop as he watched Rick crumble to the ground at the news of his wife's death. All he could hear was his own ragged breath and his blood pounding in his ears.

Gone. They were gone. T-Dog. Lori. Carol. Carol. She was gone. No body. Nothing to grieve over. Not that he could do such a thing. He had to grit his teeth and curl his hands into tight fists to hold back the rage he wanted to unleash. He forced himself to keep his cool. There wasn't room for anymore hysteria.

He watched uselessly as Rick fell to the floor, his son watching him with barely a tear in his eye and finally all the cries reached his ears. Deep, bone-shaking sobs from Rick, inter woven with the high pitched cry of the just born baby, blood still coating it's skin.

Maggie was trying to soothe it, cradling it in her Carl's dirty shirt, rocking back and forth as the tears streamed down her face. It was pointless, really. The baby would soon die, of that Daryl felt certain.

It's mother was gone. They had no food for it. No supplies at all. The next best person for it would be Carol and she was gone too.

Don't cry. Don't cry, baby. Don't cry, baby.

He realised they were words from a song, one his mama used to play on her crappy record player, one she always played after an argument with his daddy. He didn't know why it suddenly sprung to mind.

He swallowed the lump in his throat and put his hands back on his weapon, surveying the area. They needed to regroup, protect themselves again. He wanted to find her body. He wasn't sure he could handle seeing her all chewed up, like T-Dog had been. But that would be infinitely better than seeing her shambling towards him with cloudy eyes and a bloody mouth. He would put the bullet in her brain if he had to, but it would take every bit of strength left in him, strength he would need to push the group onwards, because he knew that right now, Rick wouldn't be able to do it.

The bile rose in his throat and he pushed the thought away, focusing on the task at hand. Bodies had to be cleared, the prison needed to be secured. They needed to get supplies for the baby. Fuck, he didn't know what babies needed.

"We gotta get shit together for it." He murmured to Maggie. He watched as Carl tried to approach his father, only for Rick to apparently not even notice him.

"She. It's a girl." Maggie mumbled back faintly. "I had to...Carl had to...stop her comin' back."

It was Glenn who shuffled forward then, wrapping an arm around his girlfriend's shoulder. "You had to do it, Maggie."

There wasn't time for shit like this. He had to go now, before he ended up sobbing on the ground with Rick.

Don't cry. Don't cry, baby. Don't cry, baby.

"I'm goin' on a run." He announced, tugging the strap of his crossbow over his head. "Glenn, you gotta cover everyone here." He gestured towards Rick, who was batting away the hands of his son.

"Wait. I'm comin' with you." Maggie shrugged Glenn off and strode to her sister. "You keep the baby safe, Beth."

The younger Greene girl let out a whimper and back up a couple of steps. "You can't go." Her eyes flickered nervously from the baby up to Rick and back again.

"I have to." Maggie told her firmly, passing the whimpering baby over. "Daddy will help you."

It was true, it would be infinitely easier to have Maggie with him, because he knew shit all about things a baby would need.

Daryl stepped from foot to foot as she made her quick goodbyes to her family and as they turned to leave, Rick leapt up, striding towards them and scooping his axe up before turning back to the prison.

"Glenn!" Carl yelled across the yard and Glenn jumped to attention following after both Grimes'.

"Hey!" He chucked his keys and Glenn caught them deftly. "Lock him in a cell if that's what it takes." Daryl told him gravely and the younger man nodded nervously before running after Carl. Daryl turned to Hershel and Beth. "If...there ain't..."

God, now was not the time for the words not to come, there wasn't time. He swallowed thickly and repeated his mantra inside his head.

Don't cry. Don't cry, baby. Don't cry, baby.

"We didn't find her body. Carol. Keep an eye out." He ducked his head down, but he could feel the eyes on him, Hershel's knowing gaze was practically drilling a hole into his head.

He and Maggie bolted out of there before anything else could stop them. He heard Axel cry out something as they ran for the bike, but he didn't even glance around. He figured the prisoners weren't a threat, but he wasn't wasting time on them. They looked after their own first.

Maggie's sobs could be heard over the rumble of the engine, he could feel her sniffling at his back as her fingers clutched his sides. He offered her no words of comfort. What could he say? Besides, it was too hard to keep his own emotions in check to think about anyone else.

He should've said something to Carol. He didn't know what. Not declarations of love. Not confess that sometimes he wanted to take her up on her offer to "screw around". She was important to him. He never told her that she was special. Didn't think she ever saw herself in that way. He wasn't good with words. Never found the right ones but he hoped she knew, even a little.

He pushed the bike to go a little faster, taking the curve of the road far more sharply than he should've, but it forced him to focus more on the task at hand and push aside the ache that ripped through his heart.

She was gone. That was that. No point dwelling on what ifs and maybes. It was time to move on.

Don't cry. Don't cry, baby. Don't cry, baby.