Daryl drove his bike around the debris of cars abandon trying to find a way through for the Rv when he heard the shriek of the Rv coming to a halt steaming. That hose must have finally busted, he turned around to see what was gonna happen.
"Problem Dale?" He heard Shane ask as he came around the cars.
"Just the small matter of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no hope of, okay that was dumb." Dale said looking around at all the other busted cars.
"Can't find a radiator hose here." Shane said sarcastically, Daryl was already looking through the cars.
"There's a whole bunch a stuff we can find." He said pulling a bag out of the car he was looking in.
"Siphon more fuel from these cars for a start." T-dog put in looking around at the cars.
"Maybe some water." Carol said hopefully, Daryl looked up at her for a minute, he had water on his bike, he'd have to get them some.
"Food." Glen put in.
"This is a grave yard." Lori said disgusted by the idea of looting bodies, Daryl looked over at her like she was retarded. "I don't know how I feel about this." She said, Daryl rolled his eyes, he wanted to give her a good smack and tell her to get off her fucking high horse, they needed supplies to survive, but he wasn't that stupid.
"All right, all right, here we go." T-dog said going off in one direction, Daryl just went back to searching.
"Come on y'all just look around gather what you can." Shane told the group, he knew Rick wouldn't go against his wife if he could help it.
Everyone wandered off to find stuff Daryl dug through a few dozen cars picking out food, water, a few choice weapons, and helping T-dog bust open gas tanks. He looked back to see Carol holding a red top up to her chest, the stupid woman was shopping.
"Ed never let me where nice things like this. We're gonna need clothes." She said grabbing the suit case. Daryl shook his head going back to what he was doing ignoring Carols talk with Lori. Everyone was excited when Shane found a whole truck full of water, but that ended real quick with a word from Rick.
"Lori, Under the cars, Carl, Sophia get down now." he ordered in a harsh whisper, Daryl crouched down beside the car he was at grabbing a screw driver off the ground, he could see T-dog bleeding and stumbling away, a walker was coming at him and he was on the ground now.
Daryl came up behind the guy silently grabbing it's head and forcing the screwdriver through it's skull. He lowered it to the ground silently looking up at T-dog holding his finger to his mouth to keep him quiet.
He pulled T-dog bleeding onto the ground and yanked the dead walker up over him, then went to a car, pulled out a dead guy and pulled it on top of him, trying to slow his breathing. He was in adrenaline over drive as the other walkers ambled by the pile of bodies.
As soon as they were clear he pulled himself up into a crouch not wanting to be under the body any more, and helped T-dog up, he sprang to his feet when he heard that little girl yell though taking his screwdriver with him as he ran to help her, Rick wasn't far behind him. He cut Sophia off grabbing her.
"Shoot them, shoot them!" She pleaded, he looked over at them, he knew he could shoot them, but not here, they were too exposed, and Sophia could get hurt if anything came up behind them.
"I will, just zip it." He told her scooping her up and running off to find a place further away from the herd on the road. He leaped down into a river.
"Get in there girl, I'll take care of these geeks, then we'll get you back to your mamma." He told her, she clung to his arm.
"Don't leave me!" She pleaded, he pushed her down into the hiding place under the roots of a tree.
"I ain't, now stay put." He told her walking out into plain view, he shot one with his bow, and the other fell down into the water after him, it turned to Sophia though, She bolted, and Daryl ran up stabbing it through the spine with his screwdriver.
He ran after her but the little shit was fast, and the underbrush was tripping him up he heard the sound of a church bell, and she started off towards it, he finally caught up with her grabbing her around the waist covering her mouth, there were four or five walkers that had been drawn to the noise too.
"Calm down, and keep quiet." He whispered pointing over at the walkers in the yard, he looked back over his shoulder, but one was coming up behind him, he picked her up.
"You hold on, don't let go, we need to get you safe." He whispered getting up with her clinging to his chest. He ran around, circled the building first, the bell was on a P.A. system, he slammed through the box cutting off another bell chime, he brained one of the walkers and took her back to the doors getting inside the church and locking the doors.
He set her down pushing her to the ground putting his fingers to his lips, there were walkers in here too. He motioned for her to stay put, she grabbed his hand, he put his hand over hers comfortingly then pulled away.
He snuck across the church and slammed his buck knife into the brain of the first of three walkers before they noticed him, they all turned now. The bride came at him next he stabbed her twice before she went down and the last one lunged at him. He fell to the ground he managed to slide his knife in it's mouth and through it's brain.
Sophia ran over to him now helping him get the body off of him, he could hear the other walkers at the door still. He sat up and she lunged forward hugging him, he sat there at a total loss for what to do.
He patted her on the back awkwardly, she was crying now, he pulled her away gently so he could look at her.
"Hey, we're alright, calm down, we gotta keep quiet, ain't looking to deal with more walkers then I gotta." Daryl told her it'd be getting dark soon, and they couldn't move after dark not with Sophia.
"Here, take this pop em each in the head again, just to be sure." He told her handing the screwdriver to her, he knew they were dead but she needed to stop being afraid if he was gonna get her back.
"Okay." She said nodded taking the screwdriver and going to the one next to them first.
"Yo JC, you taking requests?" He mumbled getting up and composing himself, he went to the stain glass windows, this place was far from safe, but it seemed to be working for now.
"I did it." She said excitedly, he laughed, girl was tough he'd give her that, just like her mamma.
"Good, now I need to take care a those geeks at the door so come here." He told her holding his hand out to her, she ran over taking his hand, which was a little odd, but he lead her behind the alter checking for walkers, and popped open the panel at the base.
He crouched down checking inside, it had wine and wafers in it, he pulled them out of the cupboard.
"You keep that, and stay here, no matter what you hear, just wait until I come get you, and don't make a sound." He told her, she nodded, he got up closing her into the alter and went back to the doors. He opened one and backed off waiting for them to come in to get him.
He took them out one at a time until he'd taken care of the three left from the yard, he went back out checking for more, and making sure the bells were off. He popped off one more, then went back inside locking the church up as best as he could.
He went back to the alter pulling the cupboard open, she swung the screwdriver at him, and he caught her wrist.
"Good swing, next time aim higher." He told her, she flung herself into another hug, he put an arm around her awkwardly pulling her out of the cubbyhole.
"We gonna stay here for the night, ain't walken out there, getting lost in the dark, get you back first thing in the morning." He told her, he grabbed the cushions off the pews laying them in the isle, pushed the benches and the bodies back against the windows, making them a bed in the middle of the room.
"Can I eat these?" Sophia asked when he was just about done, she was holding the wafers out towards him. He went over to her taking the bag he pulled out a handful and handed it to her, she gladly started putting them in her mouth.
He opened one of the wines and took a swig eating his own handful of wafers. They weren't that good, but they filled his stomach, and that was something. He took out one of those little plastic cups filling it with the wine and handing it to her.
"Drink up girl, then you get some sleep, I'll get you home." He told her, she nodded drinking her little cup of wine, she made a face, that cracked him up, but she got it down. She laid on the cushions and reached out for him.
She took his hand snuggling around it, it was awkward, and kind of uncomfortable, but he let her, he figured the girl could use what comfort she could get. He sat there on watch, but he didn't hear anything all night. He was starting to drift off when the sun started coming up so he had some more wafers.
"Aren't you tired?" Sophia asked as she stirred into consciousness, he smiled down at this little girl who had the gall to be worried about him while her own life was in danger.
"Ya, stayed up to watch your ass." He told her jokingly, she looked around biting her lip.
"You could sleep for a little while, and I can watch, I'll wake you up if anything makes any noise, I promise, you can't fight off zombies if you're sleepy." She told him, she had a pretty good point, and he was dragging ass from all that running and killing.
"You wake me up if you hear anything, and you ain't lettin go a my hand, you stay right here until I wake up. If you can't reach me, you're too far away." He told her, he didn't like the idea of being out, he couldn't protect her that way, but he couldn't do it any better if he was weak. He laid down and she took a hold of his outstretched hand, it was actually pretty easy to fall asleep there. He woke up to her shaking his shoulder a few hours later.
"What is it girl?" He asked clutching his knife and her hand, she pointed at the shadow across the window. He put his finger to his lips picking her up quietly, he flung his crossbow over his shoulder his knife in one hand and her on his other arm clinging to his side.
He went silently to the door stuffing the bag of wafers in his pocket, he opened the door as quietly as he could, there was only the one walker, he set Sophia down and shot it. He went over and got his bolt.
"You don't leave my sight girl." He told her slinging his crossbow and taking her hand so they could head back to the highway. He kept his knife drawn and the path easy, it was taking a lot longer to gain any ground this way. He knew the group would be looking for them by now.
It was getting dark by the time they'd even made it over half way, he kept having to stop to kill walkers, it was a lot more work with him trying to protect Sophia. He pushed her down to take care of yet another walker, he stabbed it in the head, but it held on as it fell pulling him down with it over the edge of a rise into the river.
He came up from the muddy water with a bolt in his side, his crossbow was gone, and so was his knife. Sophia was climbing down the rise slowly, it was pretty steep. He searched the muddy water pulling his knife out of the mud.
"Daryl, Daryl, are you okay?" She whispered loudly, he waved her down trying to keep her quiet, and his damn self, getting stabbed hurt like a bitch, wasn't the first time, but it still hurt. He looked around for his bow, it was nowhere to be found.
"Daryl, what should I do?" She asked when she got down to him, he was working the seam out of his shirt to make a bandage.
"I need you to go behind me, grab the end of the bolt twist off the head and push it out while I pull, then I need you to find my crossbow." He told her, she nodded hurrying around him and dropping to her knee to push the bolt.
"Ready?" She asked, he nodded grabbing the bolt ready to pull, she leaned on it and he pulled it out with a grimace. He put the bolt back together the stuck in his belt and started bandaging himself up while she looked for his bow. He tied it up pretty good, and got to his feet to help the girl look for his weapon.
"I, I found it." She whispered excitedly pulling it up out of the water, it was too heavy for her, but she had a good hold of it. He went over to her slowly taking the bow and putting his bolt back in it. He slung it back over his shoulder with a groan.
"We need to get back up that ridge." He told her through gritted teeth, he was losing blood and hurt like a bitch, but he needed to pull it together for this little girl.
He went over to the ridge and started working his way back up the ridge with Sophia ahead of him. He had to stop about halfway up breathing hard and clutching his side painfully.
"Come on, ya done half, stop being such a pussy." Daryl growled to himself, Sophia opened up the bag of wafers and gave him a handful. He laughed taking the food from her, girl was doing a damn fine job trying to keep him going.
She climbed up ahead of him, and when he went to follow a root snapped sending him tumbling back down to the muddy water and was out. He came to again and Sophia had stabbed a walker at his feet in the head with the screwdriver, and was standing over him protectively.
"What you doin girl?" He asked sitting up, she turned back to him crying and threw herself at him yet again hugging him. He cringed holding his side, but held her with his other hand. The girl had saved his life, and he was damn sure it had taken all her courage to do it.
"I, I killed it, it started chewing on your boot, and I killed it." She told him, he pulled her back off him so he could look her in the eyes.
"I'm glad ya did, but next time you don't risk it, your mamma needs you, and I ain't gonna be the reason you get bit, you get me?" He asked, she nodded still crying, as far as she'd known he could have been dead.
"Come on, lets get up this ridge." Daryl said getting back up sending her up in front of him again. It took a long time to drag his ass up that ridge but they made it to the top before they lost the light.
Sophia wedged herself under his arm helping him stay on his feet, but the going was slower then ever with his wound, it was long past dark when they could see the highway, and there wasn't a light to be seen though. He moved her behind him taking out his knife, there didn't seem to be any walkers, but he couldn't see any people either.
"Gonna get some sleep in one a these, and we'll be back by first light." Daryl told her, she nodded staying quiet like he kept telling her. He took her to an RV, not Dale's but it was better then a car, to sleep in. He searched it double tapped a body and tossed it back out onto the road.
"You take the bed, I'll watch till sunrise." He told her she shook her head.
"No, you're shot, you need to sleep, I'll stay up like before, and I'll wake you up when I get tired." She told him, he nodded still reluctant but the blood loss had his eyes drooping, she sat next to him on the bed and held his hand while he slept, so he knew she was still close, and safe. He woke up when the sun hit his eyes, she was just barely awake beside him.
"Come on, lets go find your Mamma." Daryl said getting up, she smiled letting her eye drift shut. He got up and picked her up letting her sleep against his chest while he went back to where the group should have been. Would have been a far cry simpler to do if he didn't have a sucking chest wound. His bike was still there thank God, and there was provisions and a note on a car in white.
'Sophia, Daryl, stay here, we will come every day' it said Daryl sighed at least they hadn't just up and left them. He set Sophia down leaning against the wheel of the car. He cracked open water taking a swig, and opening the peanut butter, he draped the blanket over Sophia and sat down next to her eating the peanut butter with his finger.
A few hours later she woke up and they had wafers and peanut butter he let her have the orange drink too. After a while she slept again, then when she woke back up she had him playing eye spy, which was ridiculous, but it made the time pass. And with an antibiotic and a pain killer from Merle's stash, it was kind of fun.
Sophia fell asleep again, around noon, and Daryl heard them before they saw him, he picked up Sophia and crouched behind the car waiting to see what it was, when he saw the car stop, and Carol get out Daryl stood up walking towards them slowly the pain killers were doing there job.
"Carol!" He called out to her carrying Sophia towards them, they looked over at him wounded and covered in blood, limping towards them with Sophia sleeping soundly in his arms, Carol couldn't tell if she was alive.
"Daryl, Sophia, is, is she?" She pleaded, Daryl managed a half smile.
"She's asleep." He told her, she sighed, Sophia stirred looking over her shoulder, she saw Carol running up the road. Daryl set her down and she ran to her, and Carol cried hugging her little girl.
Daryl smiled holding his side, T-dog was getting out of the car now, his arm all bandaged up. Carol looked up from Sophia in tears of Joy.
"Thank you, Thank you so much Daryl, you, you brought my baby back, thank you." She said going over to him and hugging him. Hell he'd gotten more hugs in the last three days then his whole life.
"Didn't do nothing, just carried her around." He told her draping one arm over her shoulder enjoying the feeling of her so close, though that may have more to do with the pain killers at this point.
"But you kept her safe, thank you." She told him turning and hugging Sophia again, he smiled glad he'd been able to keep her safe and bring her back to her, and it was kinda nice to hear.
"We were so scared that you'd died." Carol told them, Daryl shook his head.
"Take a lot more then a few geeks to off me." Daryl told her, T-dog came over to them looking Daryl up and down.
"You look like shit man. What happened?" T-dog asked Carol looked at his bloodstained clothes.
"Walker pulled me off a ridge stabbed my damn self with my own bolt, your girl saved my life." He told Carol, Carol looked down at Sophia, she had black blood splattered on her blue shirt.
"What, what happened?" She asked looking worriedly at her daughter. Sophia held up a black screwdriver flaking something off the metal part.
"Daryl fell and, and he passed out and then a walker came out of the woods and started chewing on his shoe, and, and I killed it so it wouldn't hurt Daryl." Sophia told her looking over at Daryl, Carol looked back at him, she'd never imagined her little girl would be able to do something like that. She took the screwdriver from her and set it on the ground.
"You, you did that, my baby girl, you're so strong." She told her sounding more worried then proud. Sophia looked back over at Daryl, she looked worried, for him, like she didn't want to lose him.
"Daryl told me, he said not to take risks like that, cause you need me, and I promised I wouldn't cause, I, I wanna keep you safe mamma." Sophia told her, she leaned over and picked the screwdriver back up, Carol cried, her little girl had been so scared before now she seemed so strong, so much stronger then Carol felt.
"Thank you." Carol said looking up at Daryl, Daryl nodded.
"Well, we found them, we should get back, call the search off so we don't have to be spread so thin." T-dog told them, Daryl nodded, he could use some rest where he knew Sophia was safe. They rounded up the supplies.
Daryl went and get on his bike he sent Sophia in the car and he followed the group, they ended up at this huge farm, the group was camped out in the yard, when they saw the car coming back so soon they all went to see why.
Everyone cheered greeting them happily when they arrived, Daryl looked around not seeing Carl, Rick or Shane.
"Everyone else out lookin for Sophia, they took the boy?" Daryl asked, Carol shook her head looking at the ground.
"No, he was hurt, he's resting, but he's gonna be okay. Everyone's gonna be okay, thanks to you Daryl." Carol told him, he nodded, he went to find a place to sleep, but Carol grabbed his arm.
"You should have Hershel take a look at that, he's a doctor." She told him, he looked down at her hand on his arm, then back at her.
"Ya. Okay." He said letting her lead him inside the farm house her hand trailing down to hold his, she brought him to a white haired old man in suspenders.
"Hershel, this is Daryl, he's the one who we've been looking for, he saved my little girl, but he got an arrow through his side, can you help him?" She asked, he gave her a strange look, apparently saving the girl made him way more important then he had been on the highway.
"Come on in here and I'll take a look." Hershel told him, he followed Hershel to a bedroom where he was laid down bandaged and stitched. He'd had a pretty nice gash on his head too.
"You took a pretty good knock on the head too, it's a wonder you made it out of the river, you don't seem to be concussed though, you should get some rest." Hershel told him, so he did, it was kind of hard without the girl, he found himself worrying that something might happen to her, but after giving himself a mental slap he closed his eyes.
Carol came in a few hours later with a tray of food and something for him to drink, it smelled good, he'd been able to smell them eating, but he'd figured they'd forget him.
"How you feelin?" She asked setting the food on the night stand. He pulled the blanket up to cover his scar covered chest awkwardly.
"Not as good as I look." He told her, she raised her eyebrows at that, like she was saying I guessed that. He held the blanket up by his chin.
"I brought you some dinner, you must be starvin." she told him, he looked back at her trying to figure out if this was just a thank you, or if she genuinely cared. She bent over and kissed the side of his head.
"Watch it, I got stitches." He mumbled to cover up his embarrassment at never having been kissed by a woman before, he'd kissed a few, but it had never gone well.
"You need to know somethin, you did more for my little girl today then her own daddy ever did in his whole life." She told him, he looked over at her for a minute then hid his embarrassment in the warm blanket.
"I didn't do anything Rick or Shane wouldn't a done." He mumbled not looking at her, that would stop her from being so impressed, heck he wasn't half the man they were as far as the group was concerned.
"I know, you're every bit as good as them, every bit." She told him turning to leave, he watched her for a second, then pulled the blanket up a little further, he wrapped it around his hand and leaned on it. He had never expected that, hell no one had ever said anything so nice to him.