A/N: Rather Long Chapter here for you awesome people. Haven't gotten a chance to really look at it as it's 11pm and I'm tired, but I will be going over it hopefully tomorrow :)
Hope you enjoy it!
The scene before Edith reminded her of a blood bath as she looked around the campsite. There were numerous bodies lying about, familiar faces and foreign faces alike in what were the remains of a devastating attack. They lost many people that night passing, including Amy and in its wake was a broken group, unsure of what to do next.
Most of the men piled the dead bodies to be burned or those they knew, to be buried as Glenn had made quite clear they were to pay their respects. The rest found it easier to just pretend nothing happened continued on with daily task or disappeared to a quieter area to be at peace.
Edith on the other hand, was unsure of what to do and eventually began to help with moving the bodies to the designated areas.
"Here let me help you," Jackie crouched down next to her, taking the body by the legs and helped her move the walker to the burn pile.
Edith nodded, "Thank you."
The woman nodded in return with a slight smile upon her lips before heading off to move another body. Edith turned away for a moment looking over towards Andrea only for second later to flinch as Jackie called out an alarm, "A walker bit Jim!"
The whole camp was at attention, moving in closer to see the commotion, most picking up the nearest weapons they could find.
Daryl moved in, "Show it to us."
In retaliation Jim picked up a shovel only for it to drop from his hands when T-Dog restrained him and Daryl lifted his shirt.
Shocked whispers rose from the group as they stared at a 3 inch diameter bite wound on his lower abdomen and then the man released him backing away to a safe distance.
"I'm okay," the man chanted over and over again. Edith looked down, that damn sickening feeling rising up within her.
Edith moved forward and suddenly the attention was on her, "Jim, come, let us sit down," she placed her hand on his arm to guide him towards the RV where she sat him down on a crate towards the side, while the others began conversing on matters of what they should do.
"I'm okay," Jim repeated as he stared at the large gathering.
"You are," Edith agreed.
Daryl turned around glaring at the man and just as suddenly was approaching them, pick axe held high. There was seconds for Edith to react as she quickly stood up blocking a path between them and then the wall was fortified when Shane stood before her and Rick approached from behind Daryl, his weapon raised at eye level.
"We do not kill the living," Rick voice was stern and powering.
Daryl lowered his weapon, challenging the man, "That's funny coming from a man who just put a gun to my head."
"We may disagree on some things, but not on this, you put it down, c'mon," Shane added.
Daryl struck the shovel into the ground, storming off, his temper getting the better of him.
Rick placed his weapon back into it holster, turning his attention onto Jim and Edith, "C'mon," he roughly grabbed Jim's shoulder, pulling him up into a standing position.
"Where are you taking me?"
Jim looked back at Edith and she looked at him with a sad smile and called out after him, "You're okay, Jim," and somehow she felt like she was trying to convince herself that more than the sick man.
Edith pulled her long brown hair into a high bun before wandering over towards Daryl who was loading bodies onto the bed of his truck for transportation. Although the altercation had him storming off, he seemed relatively calm at the moment, cursing words here and there, but otherwise not as upset as she had expected.
When he went to bend down and grab hold of another body, she bent down to help him and silently he accepted it, no questions asked.
"People are really upset over the way you acted," Edith started before she could stop herself.
He stopped for a moment to look at her, "Yeah, well aren't you the just an innocent saint," he answered in a peeved voice.
"Whoa," she stated, standing up and putting her hands on her hips, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You know just as well as I."
"What? Marc?" When he nodded and blew out air through his nose she continued, "For fuck sakes, I didn't even know he was bit!"
He stood up and pointed a finger at her, "-but you still could have killed him."
She looked away for a moment, inhaled slowly and exhale, "Even if I was able to get myself out of that vehicle, I wouldn't be able to do it. I couldn't. Not to someone I knew," she murmured in a small whisper and her eyes met Daryl's.
He shrugged his shoulders and challenged her words, "Suppose it depends on whether ya want ta die or not."
Edith rolled her eyes at his lack of sympathy towards others before bending down and picking up the legs of a fallen camper, "Just fucking help me, would you?" She grumbled out, set back by his remark.
While Daryl and the others left to bury the dead, Edith volunteered to keep watch over Jim while he was sleeping in Dale's camper.
Soon enough the man was awake and grumbling words that seemed so incoherent to her, she almost thought the worst until she jumped up to check on him and found him staring up at her.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just thinking to myself," he answered.
Edith sat back down with a sigh, thankful she didn't have to kill one of their own, yet, not till she was sure he was one of the dead.
The door of the camper opened not too long after, Carol emerging with a grim smile, "How is he?"
Edith looked up and smiled lightly but it soon turned to a frown as she looked in Jim's direction, "Fever's rising," she informed.
"Perhaps it will break soon then," the short haired woman made her way into the bedroom, where she began conversing with the man.
The younger woman stood up looking at the two of them in the other room, "I'll be outside if you need me." Carol nodded in response and on her way out she nearly bumped into Lori and Rick, but quickly avoided a fall as they let her get out of the trailer first.
Later while the group began gathering about the fire, Shane began to speak, "Look, ah , I've been thinking about Rick's plan," he started then went on to state how long he know him and how much he trust the man's instinct, "I think the most important thing here, is we need to stay together, so those of you that agree we leave first thing in the morning."
Then while the night drew in many headed off to their designated sleep areas and others stayed up afraid of going to sleep. Edith was the latter, sitting in a chair with a blanket Jackie had given her and falling in and out of consciousness, trying to keep herself awake through the night.
Daryl came up next to her, sitting down to sharpen a knife before he noticed her state, "Ain't going to do yourself any good if ya keep yourself awake."
She breathed out a laugh, "I really don't trust sleep after what happened last night," she murmured in a soft voice.
"Sleep in my truck, ain't no walkers going to get you in there," he offered.
"No, I'm fine really, besides I'd feel like I'm robbing you of decent sleep," she answered.
"Woman, I ain't going to tell ya again, sleep in my truck," he stated and soon added, "-before I have t'knock you out and drag you there myself."
Edith looked at him and she could see that he regretted his choice in words, considering they sounded so inappropriate if others were to listen in at the wrong time. "Well if you insist," she got up from her seat and proceeded towards his truck. Daryl soon got up and following after her.
She opened the driver's door and he held it open, lightly leaning on it with an arm grabbing the top of the door and his other holding her blanket and chewing his lip; a habit she began to notice him doing.
"Thank you for allowing me to stay in your truck," she thanked him with common cutesy and he handed her blanket to her. Then as he nodded and began to shut the door she stopped him again, "Where are you going to sleep?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "Don't think I'll be sleeping t'night," he answered and then shut the driver's door for good, leaving Edith to her own devices.
A rather early wake-up call woke her up as Daryl opened the driver door and tugged her foot to awake her. Edith who was still in a delirious state of awakening, nearly screamed but quickly stopped herself and groaned instead in response.
"C'mon get up," the man slapped her leg again and she sat up in response hunching over and rubbing her hands over her face.
"I am up."
"Well c'mon then, I ain't waiting all day for ya to get yer lazy ass outta my truck," he leaned on the inside of the door, cigarette in his mouth and a hand resting easily on his hip.
Edith took a large intact of breath before inching her way out of Daryl's truck. She stretched momentarily before spotting Rick making his way over towards them.
"Hey," Edith greeted as the man stood before her and he quickly looked to Daryl before his full attention was upon her.
"We should be leaving soon; I just wanted to inform you two that we are going to be holding a quick meeting to explain the details."
She nodded in response, "Alright, We'll be over the in a second," as he walked away she turned back towards Daryl who was eyeing her, "What?"
"We? Never said I'd be going to that gathering shit."
"Yes we or-or I'll knock you out and drag you over there myself."
He let out a short laugh when he realized she used his words from the night before, "Ain't that right?" he challenged.
"-and if you don't mind, I'd like to ride with you when we leave," she smiled.
The man before her merely rolled his eyes, "Suppose you ain't the worst one to drive with," he grumbled.
Edith could tell Daryl wasn't overly comfortable with her saying she would like to ride with him in his truck, but he also had a chance to say no and as of right now he had yet to say it to her. This mutual silent acceptance was all she needed to know that it was alright.
"Alright everybody listen up, those of you with CBs we'll be on channel 40, but let's keep the chatter down okay? Now if you got a problem and don't have a CB, can't get a signal, anything at all, you're going to hit your horn one time, that'll stop the caravan. Any questions?"
Edith looked over at Shane from where she stood and wandered over just as he started a meeting. Daryl was soon to join the group, standing not too far from Edith's position.
"We are- we are not going," Morales spoke up.
"We have family in Birmingham, we want to be with our people," Morales' wife added, a woman to which Edith had never learned her name.
Shane studied them for a second before speaking, "You're on your own, and you won't have anyone to watch your back."
"We'll take the chance; I gotta do what's best for my family."
"You sure?" Rick asked.
"We talked about it, we're sure," Morales answered.
Rick and Shane quickly conversed before approaching them with a gun and a half a box of ammo causing Daryl to snort his disapproval and shoulder Edith as he made a quick circle.
Followed by Lori's goodbyes, some of the group moved in to wish them good luck and pray for their safe passage to find their family members alive and well.
As they finished their farewells, Shane spoke up, "C'mon let's move out," he commanded heading off towards his vehicle.
Edith turned towards Daryl who was already making his way over to his own truck and followed after him, quickly seating herself in the passenger seat. They waited for Shane and the RV to go first, then the other vehicles before Daryl moved out into the road and followed from behind.
She gave one more look behind her, watching the leftover tents disappear from her view and soon they were joining up with the main road.
Looking to Daryl, Edith momentarily watched for some kind of negative reaction as he leaned away from her and onto the driver door, an elbow out the window and chewing his lip once again. She then looked out ahead and soon moved her attention to the side window.
She thought briefly of Morales and his family's decision to look for their family. In some ways she was glad she didn't know what was going on with her family and in others she worried the worst, but as long as she didn't know she could at least pretend they were living even if it was false hope.
Daryl slowed his truck down, waking Edith from her nap with a jolt as he put on his breaks. She looked around to see that the vehicles ahead of them were slowing down and stopping. People eventually making their way out into the open air and stretching.
Edith jumped out soon after Daryl made his way out and she surveyed the area for any signs of danger before heading over towards the RV where people were gathered outside its door.
"Maybe he's Lucid?" Carol questioned in a small voice.
Jackie was turned away from the group and more towards Edith who had just come into the situation; she looked at her with a questioning gaze before the older woman answered with Jim's name in a small whisper.
"He seems to be. I would say yes," Rick answered in a strained voice, playing with his hat in his hands.
Dale spoke up, "Back in the camp when I said Daryl might be right and you shut me down. You misunderstood. I would never go along killing a man, I was just going to suggest we ask Jim what he wants," he paused, "-and I think we have an answer."
The group looked around at each other.
"We just leave him here, take off, but I doubt it we'd be able to live with that," Shane added.
"That's not your call. Either one of you," Lori mentioned looking between Rick and Shane.
They both nodded in agreement before disappearing into the trailer, soon reappearing but this time Jim in tow. He was extremely week compared to the last time she'd seen him.
"Where to?" Rick asked Jim.
With a breathless answer the man answered, "The edge of the forest."
They moved him up to the edge of the forest, placing him against a large tree and facing towards the highway, so he could overlook the area. As the group gathered around, Edith moved to crouch next to him, reaching to hold his hand with a sad smile.
"Hey, another damn tree," he said in a weak voice, a smile appearing upon his lips. Shane then tried to talk him down but Jim resisted his attempts at persuasion, "No this is good. Breeze feels nice."
Jackie moved in saying calming words and he closed his eyes as she gave him a kiss upon his cheek. She retreated soon after and Rick approached gun held out for Jim to take, "Jim, do you need this?"
Jim shook his head, squeezing Edith's hand, "I'm Okay." Dale then said his goodbyes and slowly the group began to retreat to their vehicles and Jim looked up at Edith, "I'm Okay."
Edith smiled, "You're okay," she whispered squeezing his hand and then kissing his knuckles for reassurance, "You're okay," she repeated.
"C'mon Edith," Daryl said from behind her and she got up slowly, letting his fingers gently fall from her grip as she began walking away. Daryl stopped, giving the man a final nod goodbye before following Edith back to his vehicle.
Getting back in the vehicle was harder when she thought about how they were leaving someone behind, even if she just met the man it still felt wrong, but he wanted it. He wanted to be out there by himself, dying on his own out of the way of the group. A choice that would have stumped most people if given the choice to choose their fate.
She watched sadly as they pulled out from the side of the road, joining the other vehicles as they drove off.