"Thank you" Carol stood with Daryl watching the sun go down over the prison yard. He had stayed with her, helped her in her recovery even when everyone else had gone to investigate this strange woman who had appeared.
"What for?" Daryl muttered looking out at the sun, gripping the iron fence with his fist.
"You found me," She didn't turn her head as the words left her mouth, didn't even tilt her head towards him. It was praise enough for him without her having to add any emotion. He had found her, when he couldn't find Sophia.
"Hey," Daryl moved Carol round by gripping her forearms, putting his face inches from hers, staring deep into her blue eyes, "I will always find you. Even if you don't want me to."
Carol's features softened and as soon as Daryl said that to her, he snapped back up and they both turned back to the orange glow of the sun, casting a warm light over the prison yard.
"Whose grave is that?" Carol asked.
There was a brief moment of silence as Daryl counted the graves.
"Urgh, I dunno," Daryl said transparently as he shifted his weight from foot to foot.
Carol wasn't convinced, "Who the hell?" Carol walked towards the graves with lightening speed, opening gates and slamming them shut. Making life extremely difficult for Daryl who was attempting to catch up with her.
"Carol! Carol wait up," He breathed as he skidded to a halt next to her.
"Lori," Carol breathed, taking in the L in small stones. "Theodore," She used his full name as she addressed his grave, gripping the cross as tears lined her eyes.
Daryl thought about laying a hand on her shoulder, but decided she needed to do this alone.
"Thank you," She wheezed, using her jumper to dry her eyes, grateful for his sacrifice.
Although Daryl didn't say it, he was grateful too.
She came to the final grave.
"Daryl, whose is this?" She murmured.
Daryl opened and closed his mouth, he was never good at lying.
"Daryl, it's got a C on it," She turned and crossed her arms, agitated. "You thought I wasdead didn't you!"
"No, no!" Daryl looked at her with wide eyes, he'd never seen Carol angry and he probably didn't want to. "It's-it's Carl's grave."
Carol, stepped back a tiny step, her hand on her heart.
"But-but the Cherokee Rose?" Carol looked confused. He really should have just told her the grave was hers.
"Yeah what about it?" He was in some deep shit.
"I thought, I thought it was our thing?" Carol murmured to the ground.
"Can't I put a flower on a little boys grave?!" Daryl snapped. Deep deep shit.
Carol opened her mouth as her eyes snapped from grave to man and back again.
"I should go see Rick, give him my condolences," Carol walked past Daryl and towards the prison.
Rick was with the others, and the others meant...SHIT.
"Carol, Carol!" He grabbed the back of her jumper to stop her. "He's still, yanno, grievin' and stuff, I should go see him first," And get that little shit out of the way.
Carol nodded, somber.
"How could this happen, three of us," Carol asked, gutted at the news of Carl's death.
"Yeah," Daryl agreed as he pushed her back towards the graves, "Maybe you should stay here, yanno, pay your respects and stuff,"
Carol nodded her eyes never leaving the rose on the grave, she touched it gingerly with her fingertips.
"Oh and Carol?" Carol recoiled from the rose as if it was white hot and looked up, weepy, "If you run into anyone and they say something weird, just remember: Carl is dead."
Everyone sat around for dinner, possum soup. Including Carl. Very much alive.
"Carol an' Beth comin' down anytime soon?" Daryl asked Hershel, who had just entered the room. He nodded at the man with the messy hair who was sat like a slob around the table.
"Yeah, they're just behind me Daryl," Hershel smiled, sleepily and he sat down, propping up his crutches.
Shit. The color drained from Daryl's face, he could hear the two women's footsteps echoing off of the halls, accompanied with their light and frivolous laughter.
Carl sat cross legged next to him, scarfing down his soup as if someone was going to take it away from him.
"Carl?" The young boy looked up to Daryl's gruff voice. "Get under the table."
"...what?" Carl's eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
"Get under the fuckin' table," Daryl used his large hand to push on the top of Carl's head, the young child's body slid under the table with the help of Daryl kicking him under there.
"Language!" Hershel barked!
Daryl rose a finger to his lips, "Everyone, just shut up," Daryl addressed Hershel, Rick and most importantly Carl.
"Carl, you keep quiet, or I'm comin' down there and you'll be sorry if I do," Daryl rose to sit back at the table just as the women rounded the corner.
Carol gave Rick a sympathetic smile and touched his arm before sitting down with Beth. Daryl span a bowl of soup towards her and she ate graciously, she'd been without food for a while and was happy to be given something with actual flavor.
"Rick where's Carl?" Beth asked innocently. Daryl's spoon clattered to the ground and Carol's lips gave an audible smack as she opened them, spinning round to look at Hershel and Rick.
Delicately she placed an arm on Beth's shoulder, Beth turned and looked at Carol whose head was cocked to the side.
"Honey, I know it's hard to get your head around, I know." She nodded as Rick looked on, baffled. "But Carl's gone."
Rick's soup spluttered out of his mouth.
"Sorry," He apologized, "I sneezed," Carol sighed as she went back to eating her soup, Beth kept staring at the side of Carol's head and Rick exchanged looks with Hershel.
"But-" Beth began, but stopped when she saw Hershel's eyes bore into her.
"Beth," Hershel rose, "I think we should take a walk,"
Hershel took a highly flustered Beth from the room as Rick, Daryl and Carol ate in silence.
"I'm so sorry Rick," Carol admitted quietly, not taking her eyes off her soup.
"Thanks Carol, glad to have you back safe," Rick replied curtly, narrowing his eyes at Daryl who had left his soup and was flicking bits of wood from the table with his hunting life. Avoiding Rick's gaze.
"Ow," Carl exclaimed, flinching as Daryl involuntarily crushed the boys hand under his large military boot. The table rose a couple centimeters off of the ground and knocked Daryl's soup onto his lap. He jumped up yelling and cursing from the searing hot liquid that was sizzling in his lap.
Carl had better stay under that table forever.
"Oh my God!" Carol yelped, jumping up, a slight smile crossing her lips. "I'll go get you a change of pants," Carol left the room, a hand clasped over her smirking mouth.
Daryl settled back down as Carl crawled out from under the table and took off running in - luckily - the opposite direction the Carol.
"Yeah, you better run," Daryl sneered as he patted the damp crotch of his pants, he smelt like possum.
Slowly Rick sat down across from Daryl, joining his hands together in contemplation, he rose one clenched fist to his head in frustration and let out a long deep sigh before meeting Daryl's nervous eyes.
"Daryl?" Rick asked, exasperated. "Did you tell Carol that my son was dead so she wouldn't know that we thought she was dead?"
Daryl shuffled uncomfortably in his damp trousers.
"That might have been what happened."