No Time to Mourn

Chapter Two

I mean no copyright infringement against AMC and everyone associated with the show nor Robert Kirkland. This chapter contains "missing" scenes from Season Three's episode "Welcome to the Tombs." Rated T for language.

Emberka-2012, WhatWhereWhen, and those others who liked chapter one, I hope this story continues to intrigue you. 26 more days!

When Daryl woke, he found a basin of water and a rag on the floor by his cell's door. While he'd long since stopped caring about the amount of dirt he sported at any given time, the water felt good on his ravaged eyes. Grabbing his crossbow, he headed towards their common room. He could hear the others talking.

Beth was serving her father and filled another bowl for Daryl that she handed over with a small smile. Daryl kept his eyes on the floor and didn't notice. He took his breakfast over to the stairs and sat down. Hershel had watched the younger man from the moment he entered the room. The self-assurance he'd always seen was no longer there. That he'd chosen to not join them even though there was room at the tables told him much. He'd have to see how he could reach out without pushing Daryl further away.

Conversation eddied around the room. Daryl listened but added nothing. Glenn was watching Daryl too. He knew how much he himself had changed since the whole world went to shit, but he had always been him. Daryl had become a different man out from under his brother's shadow. In Woodbury, Daryl's desperation to find Merle, to talk to him, had surprised Glenn given what was happening at the moment. He had been glad that Rick had begged Daryl to put it off and had been surprised that Daryl had agreed. He'd had his suspicions that Daryl had been captured because he had tried to find Merle after covering their escape. Glenn still hated Merle, but he hated more the wounds that Merle's death had caused. This newly-damaged Daryl was disturbing. Daryl had become part of Glenn's family, and his brother was in pain. What would he become? Who would he become?

Carol collected all the bowls and spoons and dumped them into a sack. She'd wash them later if there was a later. Rick said to leave nothing behind. They all moved back to their cells to finish packing their gear; making sure they had everything they wanted to take. Most were silent as they packed up their memories as well and took their gear to the little green car. Hershel looked around his cell and placed his Bible with the marked passage on the table. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. He had actually found a highlighter in one of the rooms. Leaving the Bible in hopes it would be found, he hobbled out of C-Block.

Daryl went over his collection of arrows and ammo. He double checked that his gun had a full clip. He dropped to the ground to sit cross-legged to fold his poncho. He didn't want to risk having his arms caught in its folds during the fight yet the warm blanket would be needed later. The nights were growing colder. He saw Carol move up behind him and spoke for the first time that morning. "Merle never did nothing like that his whole life."

"He gave us a chance," she said. She believed that there was more that Daryl wasn't telling them, telling her. She'd wait. He had his reasons. She reached out her hand, which he took with a closed fist. She held on a second longer than necessary. Carol wanted Daryl to understand he still had others to live for. She wanted to leave a chink in his wall.

Hershel drove the small, heavily loaded car into the woods where Carl and Beth dragged a tarp over it as camouflage. They would wait here. Beth cradled Judith in her arms, rocking her to keep her quiet. Carl, Hershel, and Beth heard the klaxon begin below and knew that their small group had started to fight back.

Rick's plan worked. The flash grenades coupled with the klaxon disoriented the Governor and his men. The walkers that they'd let into the area finished the job. The Woodbury people ran. They ran right into Glenn and Maggie in full riot gear up on the walkway with rifles. The Governor and his army were driven away.

Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Rick, Glenn, and Maggie surveyed the empty courtyard. While they'd driven the Governor off, it wasn't finished. They decided to take the fight to Woodbury. Daryl led the way on his bike while Michonne and Rick drove behind in the Silverado. The others had stayed to guard their home.

The reunion with Andrea was brief and intense.

"No one can make it alone now."

"We never could."

Kneeling in the dark hallway and waiting for the shot he knew would come; Daryl had to fight to keep control. Only one tear escaped to be surreptitiously dried. He couldn't meet Michonne's eyes when she emerged and handed Rick his gun back. After seeing the world go to hell, Daryl had realized early on that they needed each other to survive, to watch each other's backs, to just be there. That's why he couldn't let Merle go off by himself. He knew Merle needed him. Daryl had wanted his brother to realize that he could depend on his "baby brother." Merle didn't want to see past the past. To see that Daryl was his own man. He couldn't even credit Daryl when he was right. Daryl had brought them back to the prison and his brother to his death. A sooner death than he might have had out in the world and one, it appeared, of his choosing.

Tyrese found a tarp to wrap around Andrea's body, which they placed in the back of the truck and secured with ropes. Tyrese's sister, Sasha, had gathered all the adults in one place so Karen could tell her story of the attack on the prison. In the middle of her story, Rick and the others came into the room.

"We have no argument with you. Our war is not with you. We're going back home to the prison. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. We'll have a committee to set up rules and work parties; all will have to contribute as they can. Or, you can stay here. Whatever you decide, you need to make a choice soon. We leave at dawn." Rick said before turned away leaving Sasha to handle the questions he could hear pouring out of many mouths. He went to join Daryl at the front gate where he was examining the bus. They could use it to transport whoever wanted to come with them.

Sasha tried to keep her anger at the Woodbury inhabitants at a minimum as she left the building and headed towards the front gate. These people had gone from a protected living situation with many amenities and decent food to learning their family and their protectors had been murdered by their leader who had then taken off. Karen had helped a lot with settling them down. They had known her and trusted her account of the events of the attack. Still, some of the older women's anger at the prison group was inexcusable. Rick's group did not ask to have members kidnapped and tortured. Nor did they ask to have their sanctuary violated and the gates ripped apart. The fact that Rick and his people would take these survivors in was astonishing. Rick had pulled her and Tyrese aside to apologize for kicking them out of the prison in the first place. He explained about losing his wife and that he'd been in a dark place then. Looking into his eyes and seeing the shadows still lurking, she could see that he truly meant his apology. Upon reaching Rick and Daryl, she told them, "They're coming with us."

Carol, Hershel, Beth, Tyrese, and Sasha were busy getting the newcomers settled into the prison. Rick, Michonne, and Daryl gently took Andrea's body off the truck bed and set it down near the inner fence. Glenn and Maggie followed.

"We'll have to wait to dig a grave until we clear out the walkers from the courtyard," said Rick. They had more guns and ammo than the first time and could take their time. "We'll take the bus down to block the gate for now and start clearing the area."

"Let's do it now," said Daryl. He pointed back at C-Block. "They're going to be busy for hours trying to find a place for everyone. I ain't getting involved with no argument on who has the better cell." He was only half joking. Their group had learned through bitter trials how to get along. Now they had a busload of folk who'd been living all spread out who would have to share tight living quarters. He did not want to deal with them. His memories of Woodbury and its people were bitter.

In the end, it was Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne who were tasked with clearing out the walkers. Rick was called back into the block to help arbitrate some of the arguments that Daryl had foreseen.

Daryl drove the bus down the road and parked it broadside of the front gate. He climbed to the bus' roof and began picking off walkers with a rifle. With all four of them shooting, it took less time to take them out than it would to dispose of them. Using the Silverado, they carted all the bodies off to the far fence where they'd built the previous pyre. They'd have to get more wood. The four conferred and decided that it would be better to go out through the fence with a guard than to move the bus to take the truck out. When they'd gathered enough wood, they lit the fire at dusk. They thought the smoke would be more visible by day than the flames by night.

Reeking of smoke and other scents, the four returned to a different world.

Carol and the others had taken the newcomers into D-Block which Axel and Oscar had cleaned out. The cries of dismay from some of the older women had irritated her. They didn't have to clean out the dead walkers and they found mattresses that had escaped Merle's knife. It was better by far than what they would have found on the road. She delegated some of the younger women to help carry all the gear that was brought by the group. They would have their own common area, but it was clear that the former inmates hadn't gotten that far for cleaning up. The group would have to cook all their meals in C-Block for now.

Things did get tense when they started to assign actual cells. Hershel had the group break into family units. He assigned the second floor cells to those groups that mostly had younger folk who wouldn't mind the stairs as much. He told all that the children could either bunk down on the perch together or within each cell. The children raced upstairs to make a nest of their blankets and pillows on the perch. A few of the women made to call them back when Hershel stopped them.

"They're looking at this like an adventure rather than the hardship we all know it's going to be. Besides, you'll be tripping over them if they're in the rooms with you. We'll help you get things cleaned up elsewhere so you can spread out, but it will take some time."

"Thank you," said one of the women as she passed. She hated the thought of living within prison walls but without that protection, they were vulnerable. At least here they had some heavy walls and gates that could block out the biters.

Lanterns were lit in the common room as several women and teenage boys put together an assembly-line meal. Carol had taken charge from the start and decided that they all needed a good, hot meal to help them sleep this first night in their new lives. Mounds of instant mashed potatoes filled several bowls and several large pots had soup simmering. Cornstarch had been thrown in to thicken the soup. When everything was ready, the young men carried the large pots and bowls over to the other cellblock where the children had stacked bowls and spoons. Carol followed and leaned against the doorway watching. She hadn't realized until now how much she'd missed the sound of children chattering. Sophia, Carl, and the other children back outside of Atlanta had not really had much time to play back at the quarry and then later…. She dragged her thoughts back to the present. These children would soon have to learn how to defend themselves. Maybe she could help. She remembered how it had felt to be unable to fight back and how strong she'd felt once Rick had taught her how to shoot and Daryl had taught her some close knife fighting. Both skills had saved her life at least once.

She returned to her own small group. Rick was seated at the table cradling Judith with one arm while she sucked down formula with a healthy appetite. An empty bowl sat by his elbow. Beth and her father sat with him finishing up their own meals. It looked like the others were still not back. Carol served herself and joined the small group at the table. Carl had chosen to sit off by himself not even watching his baby sister as he once had. It looked like Rick had his work cut out to reconnect with his son. Tyrese and Sasha were at the other table talking softly.

The last of the light had faded before the others returned. Carol pointed towards the pot of water steaming on the stove. Four towels waited for them next to it. They each departed to clean up in their own rooms.

Maggie and Glenn had found clean shirts within their bags. Michonne had only the clothes that she wore; she would have to get new ones soon. The reek rising from them nauseated her. Daryl had on a cleaner shirt, and he was scrubbed clean. He'd come close to puking himself. The scent of burning flesh took him back to when he'd watched his own brother's body burn. Only his tight self-control had kept him from embarrassing himself. The four ate before staggering off followed by the rest of the group. Soon, the block was lit only by the rising moon.

Please let me know if you liked it. Will update by Sunday.