I probably shouldn't start with 'This is nothing special," but it's true. I've been waiting forever for real inspiration to strike...and oddly, it came to me in the form of sad Carol, when I had really intended something quite different altogether. I hope you enjoy it anyway. Reviews are always appreciated.

Also, if you are a fan of the Walking Dead and are looking for someone to discuss your obsession with, please check out deadgirlswalkingDOTproboardsDOTcom... you can catch me as ReedusOwnsMe there and on Twitter :)

He hadn't come back.

Carol sat out in the prison yard, knees drawn up and her head resting on her knees, staring sightlessly over the graves of her friends, down past the fence where, today, three walkers endlessly roamed. Her gaze touched on the motorcycle that had been left behind. The constant reminder killed her. She looked back at the graves- the one meant for her, the one that they hadn't had the time to take down just yet. The white flower at the base of the crude wooden cross was wilted in the Georgia sun and browning around the edges. She became aware of wetness on her arm and glanced down. A drop of moisture clung to her skin for a second, before rolling down toward her elbow and eventually hitting the dried grass beneath her. A tear, she thought absently, not really even realizing that it had to have come from her eyes. There was no question over who had placed the flower there.

He hadn't come back. It was that thought that played over and over in her head, like a broken record.

She knew she had no claim on Daryl. Knew she had no legitimate reason to feel hurt or bewildered by his sudden absence. Knew she had no right. He had spent far more time with his brother than he had with her, no matter how intense their time together with the group may have been. She knew that the choice he had made had been the logical one, for him. Had been the only one. It hurt more than she could say that he had been forced to make that choice. It hurt far more to think that she might never see him again.

She'd never had the chance to say things she felt. She would never get the closure of a goodbye. She hadn't really ever said thank you, for any of it.

How strange was it that it had taken the end of the world, the end of civilization at the very least, for her to recognize the things she most admired in a man? Her husband had never displayed any trait worthy of admiration, or even worth liking, if it came to that. Even though she knew it was different for other women, she'd still let that color her perception.

After her ordeal with Ed, and the loss of Sophia, she'd never thought to find herself attracted to another man, especially not in the midst of such a crisis. Well that wasn't entirely true, her conscience prodded. She'd recognized how special he truly was when Sophia had been missing, when he had been the one out there risking his neck every day in order to find her little girl. When he'd sat with her in the RV, silently, after the nightmare at the barn. Daryl had turned into a different man since she'd first met him at the quarry.

She hadn't been clear about her developing feelings for Daryl. And there was no way he would have known...Daryl was so childlike in some ways; the way he acted like he didn't care when his emotions were the strongest at the surface. The way he became almost embarrassed by any type of praise or compliment. His dismissal of any type of relationship beyond what they had already.

She thought back to the first night at the prison- how knowing that they were safely surrounded by the high, barbed-wire fences had left her, and all of them really, giddy with relief. She'd only been half-joking when she'd hinted at a sexual relationship together. At the time, she'd gauged his response as disinterest and it had never come up again. She sometimes wished he'd have taken her words more seriously. She wondered how much worse she would feel now if he had. Or if it might have changed his mind about leaving...Different type of heartache, that's all, she thought to herself.

She heard the sound of the gate and looked up to see Beth headed in her direction, a fussy Judith in her arms. She let herself smile a little as she wiped another tear away and stood up. With one last glance at the flower, their flower, she hoped and prayed that Daryl was alright and that maybe, just maybe, he would find his way back home.