So I offered to accept some prompts on Tumblr. Just to help get my Caryl feels out and prevent me from spontaneously combusting.
This is my first response!
The Prompt: "She holds tight to me and the bible, on the backseat of my motorcycle."
As always, I own not.
Hope ya'll enjoy ^.^
She found it in a half-burned church in a half-burned town about a month after they left the farm.
He remembers following her when she wandered into the dusty, charred building, curious and concerned. The last time he'd seen Carol in a church she was pleading with a statue to save her daughter.
And all that turned out just peachy.
He'd hovered in the doorway, a shadow looming over her slow-moving form, and he frowned at the darkness his body cast her in.
She wasn't suited for it, he decided. She wasn't a creature of darkness, of frowns and tears and death. He preferred her smiles…and if he was honest with himself, he was downright relieved that she'd be showing those off more often.
Even with the cold of winter bearing down on them, Carol smiled.
She smiled at Lori's baby bump.
She smiled at Glenn and Maggie's awkward-as-shit cuddling.
She smiled at him.
She smiled at him a lot.
But she wasn't smiling when she reached into the old pew and lifted a half-burned, half-rained-on Bible from the seat and stood staring down at it in disturbing silence.
He remembers feeling his muscles twitch in discomfort when she didn't move for several minutes.
He remembers taking another step into the ruins of the church and sniffing loudly to catch her attention.
And he remembers her faking a smile at him then, quietly nodding his way before tucking the book under her arm and moving past him without a word.
"What're you readin' in that thing?"
He's surprised that the words came out of his mouth. He could've sworn he'd only thought them….
They had stopped for a quick break. He wanted to roll his eyes when Lori declared she needed to pee. He did roll his eyes when Beth and Maggie both admitted they needed to right after.
Here we go. Women and their goddamn bladders.
Carol had propped herself on the hood of the SUV and cracked open that old Bible…it was the third time in the week since she'd found it. He stood guard in the bed of the truck, using the height to overlook the small caravan and keep an ear out for the girls in the woods.
He hadn't meant to ask her the question. Didn't know why he wanted to know in the first place.
But he couldn't turn back once the words escaped.
"I was just….reading about angels."
He sniffed. Her voice was quiet and he could tell she was thinking on something. It bothered him. He shifted and felt twitchy again.
When she looked up at him he caught her eyes and held them for a moment, to let her know he was still listening. She smiled then.
He felt a brief moment of relief before she continued,
"When all of this first happened…when we first started watching the news and hearing about the deaths and the riots and Ed started going on about us packing up to leave…I opened my Bible and started re-reading Revelations. I didn't read it to Sophia. I didn't want her to know it was about the end of the world…." When she mentioned Sophia's name he cringed. Wondered if she saw it.
But she only blinked at him, smiling a little again and lifting the book to his vision.
"It scared me, of course. I thought God was punishing the world for all of the horrible things we've all done. And then, on the road, when we first met up with Shane and Lori and Carl…I started going back and reading Matthew instead. Trying to hold onto that faith by focusing on the birth of Jesus…" She almost laughed and he frowned. He didn't care much for church, found it boring when his Momma took him as a kid. He didn't rely on a god to save his sorry ass when the world went to hell and he'd never pray. Never beg.
God wasn't going to reach down and help them.
But Carol's half-chuckle, half-choke made him want to die just so he could see if there was a heaven, was a God…
So he could punch the asshole in the face for letting this woman suffer in the way she had.
Carol had stood from the hood and made her way to the truck. She was slightly pale but smiled nonetheless.
"I decided to read about angels today. About Michael. I don't know if I can say that I still….believe….but sometimes, it makes me feel better. The thought that an agent of God could be watching over me…"
Daryl felt her eyes on him and he looked down to find her relaxed and suddenly, strangely cheerful. Her explanation confused the hell out of him, but he really didn't care.
As long as she felt better.
He opened his mouth to say so but Rick's beat him to it:
"Okay guys, let's get goin'."
With a quick look around he realized he had missed the girls returning from their bathroom break. Rick was already in the SUV waiting on Lori to climb in. As he jumped down from the truck bed to crank his bike, a hand landed on his shoulder.
"Can I ride with you?" Carol was all slack now, casually patting the old Bible against her thigh. Whatever her problem had been, she sure as hell seemed over it…
"…Yeah. Come on."
With a jerk of his head toward the vehicles he signaled Carol's intention to join him on the bike. Rick nodded back.
As Carol waited for him to crank it up, he wondered absently why she hadn't been riding with him all along. He felt her slide onto the seat behind him, an arm coming to rest against his side. With a quick glance back, he realized she was still holding the Bible. He almost offered to put it in his pack for her. But then she slipped the book between their bodies, her free hand reaching farther forward to grip his stomach.
Daryl felt himself shiver without warning, and was suddenly thankful for the steady vibration of the bike.
As always he took point, leading the caravan down the quiet highway as they once again looked for a safe place to rest for the night. If it was just himself, he'd keep riding til' daybreak.
But the kids needed sleep. Lori needed rest.
Behind him, Carol had relaxed against his back and was pressing her face against it. He wondered if she would sleep with the loud roar of the chopper's engine and the howling air against her ears.
Blinking against the force of the wind he felt one of her hands sneak away from his middle and come up to his back. Even with the chaotic vibration of the bike he could tell she was tracing the wings of his old leather vest, head still heavy against the back of his neck.
Her other arm tightened around him and his heart pounded in his ears.
Gripping the handles to the point of pain, Daryl breathed deep and let the smile force his lips upward.
The ghosting fingers crept along his back, slower and slower, before finally sliding down and he felt her body slacken in a soft doze. The arm that clung to him never let go and he felt a strange twinge of pride.
He didn't care much whether Carol had faith in God or angels.
But as he inhaled the rushing air and felt her soft, warm body pressing against his back, he decided he definitely cared whether she had faith in him.
And he was glad she did.