The sound of moans and grunting filled the prison yard. It was unsettling, definitely not an enjoyable noise. But the people of the prison had learned to get used to it, which in itself was a little unsettling. Carol missed the quiet, ambient sounds present in her old life. Hell, she'd even be willing to put up with the screeching of traffic, or sirens from police cars. Partying neighbours, dogs barking at ungodly hours of the morning. Anything would be better than this.
The loud rumble of a motorcycle caught her attention, the noise slowly getting louder and closer.
"You ready?" Daryl asked, slowing to a stop beside her.
"Ready as I'll ever be" was her reply.
Carol hadn't been on many runs before. She'd been on a couple back when they were on the road, after the downfall of the farm, but that was with the whole group. This time it was just them two. She thought it was about time she began to pull her weight a bit more.
"C'mon" he said, motioning with his head to jump on.
A small smile tugged at the edges of her mouth, and she slid onto the leather seat. Making herself comfortable, she wrapped her arms around Daryl's midsection, gently leaning onto his back. He wasn't prepared for the action, evident in the way he tensed up just a bit, but he quickly warmed to her touch.
Carl stood to the side of the gate, awaiting his cue to pull it open for the pair to ride through. Daryl slowly moved the motorcycle into position near the opening. With a loud creaking sound, the wire gate was opened, and the motorcycle edged forward towards the next set. The rattling sound behind them signalled the wire gates had been closed.
"Let's go" Daryl said, revving the engine loudly as the gates before them opened up.
Without another word, Daryl drove the rumbling bike through the gates and into the walker-infested yard. They picked up speed quickly, passing by the shuffling corpses before they even managed to catch a whiff of their scent. Carol's grip on him tightened as they sped by the walkers, a little uneasy at the feeling of being so exposed around such a large number of them. No fence, no walls, no car doors or windows separating her from their snapping jaws and outstretched fingers. She leaned her head into Daryl's back, turning her face into him as if to shelter her face from the sight.
The walkers started to thin out the further away they rode, and she soon started to feel at ease. It wasn't too long before they came across their destination.
It was a small desolated town, the streets littered with debris and various pieces of junk left behind by fleeing town members. There had definitely been some looting in several buildings, but there were still a number of stores and houses barely touched by the raids of other people desperate for some extra supplies. A few walkers shambled along through the long abandoned streets, looking up after hearing the roaring sound of the motorcycle. Moaning, they approached the vehicle, their pace quickening as they drew nearer.
Daryl slowed the bike to a stop and struck the kickstand with his foot. Swinging his leg over the bike, he readied his crossbow, raising it to rest on his shoulder. One clean shot to each head was all it took. Daryl Dixon never wasted an arrow with his perfect aim.
"Look at you, like Robin Hood himself" said a teasing voice behind him. He hadn't realised Carol had joined him where he stood.
"Pfft, what're ya talkin' 'bout woman?" he said with an unimpressed tone, turning to face her.
"Well you're a real good shot, first of all, and all those good deeds you do. Going on runs, just like now. Getting us supplies, food, water. Just like Robin Hood"
"But didn't he steal from the rich to give to the poor?" he asked, lowering his weapon and moving off to retrieve his arrows. Carol moved with him.
"Yeah, well you're stealing from what probably used to be a high earning store, and giving the goods to us poor folk with nothing. Explain to me how that isn't just like Robin Hood" she said smiling, her tone daring him to try and prove her wrong.
Daryl rolled his eyes at the comment, giving her a small nudge with his elbow. She breathed a small giggle.
They were silent for a moment, each moving off in different directions. Carol groaned as she tugged a few arrows from their places, neatly wedged in the heads of the walkers. She walked over to Daryl as he retrieved the last one, wiping it on his shirt, and handed him her bunch.
"Wish I could use a weapon like that"
"Then you should learn. Reckon you'd be pretty good once you know what you're doin'" Daryl answered, cleaning off the newly acquired arrows just like that last few.
"Maybe you could teach me?"
He looked up, into those pretty blue eyes of hers.
"It'll take a lot a' work. You need to have skill to use one a' these" he said, bringing the crossbow up a little as he mentioned it. "And muscle" he added, noting her slender figure.
"Well, there's no time like the present right?" said Carol with a hint of a grin, crossing her arms over her chest. Daryl looked reluctant.
"Come on, can a little crossbow training hurt?" she asked, giving him a small nudge.
He was still unsure. Daryl doesn't like anyone touching his crossbow. Not anyone, not ever. She continued looking at him with her puppy-dog face, trying to convince him to give in. With a defeated sigh, he turned and started walking towards one of the buildings.
"Fine. C'mon, this way"
Carol grinned with delight as she followed him.
"Sure you're alright? Don't need any help?" Daryl asked, about to hand the crossbow over to her.
"I'm good" she said confidently with a nod. Daryl shrugged and gave her the weapon. Carol nearly dropped it, not expecting it to weigh so much. She strained to keep it up.
"Heavy, ain't it?" he said, an amused tone in his voice. "Still don't need a hand?"
"Nope, I can do this" replied Carol, clearly struggling, but eventually she managed to raise the crossbow to her shoulder. She aimed the device at a collection of cans, buckets, and boxes stacked neatly on a low brick wall not too far from where they stood.
"Okay, now just aim it at one a' them targets. Keep the front up, don't let it dip down too far" he said, tilting the crossbow upwards.
"When you're ready"
Exhaling deeply, she pulled the trigger. The arrow completely missed the target, wedging itself in an unsuspecting tree. A frustrated groan escaped her mouth.
"Told ya it was hard" he said, crossing his arms over his chest. Carol tried repositioning the crossbow on her shoulder, still struggling with the heavy weapon.
She took another shot, this one striking the bricks and falling to the ground in front of the wall. She grunted unhappily, cursing under her breath.
"Here" said Daryl, scooting around behind her and lifting his hands to hers to support the crossbow. Her hands were small compared to his, delicate and feminine. She could feel his warm breath on her neck, her heart beat rapidly.
"Now, focus on that big paint can over there. Keep your eyes on it at all times" he said. Carol readied herself to try again, positioning her finger near the trigger.
"Make sure the arrow is lined up with it, straight through the middle"
She tensed a little, trying to keep a steady aim, which even with Daryl's help was still difficult. He could feel her muscles straining with the weight of the heavy weapon.
"Just relax, I'm here" he said gently, dipping his head next to her ear.
Carol took in a breath, loosening her grip a little. She felt his body surround her, still supporting the crossbow in her hands. So close. She exhaled again, preparing herself. The arrow was released with a whir, then the clink of metal as the arrow sailed straight through the paint can. A thrilled smile appeared on her lips.
"That's my girl" said Daryl softly, looking at her with pride. He wasn't sure what it was exactly that possessed him to call her that, but the words flew out before he realised what he was saying.
She turned her head back a little, surprised by his comment, and gazed into his blue eyes. He hadn't noticed, but he was still holding her, and he didn't really want to let go. Still smiling, she leaned towards him and planted a kiss on his stubbled cheek.
"Thank you" she said sweetly, pressing close to him. Heat rose to his face, and he looked away sheepishly. Unsure of what to do, he pulled back, taking the crossbow from her grasp.
"I think that's enough practice for one day. We need to get those supplies now, everyone'll be expecting us back soon, and they'll want their stuff." he said, handing her a crumpled piece of paper from his jacket pocket and heading over to the wall to collect his arrows. Carol just stood where she was, hands on her hips, looking at him with a grin planted on her face.
"Mmh hmm" she said to herself, "my Robin Hood"