Summary: Drabbles. Snippets of what may or may not become major stories later on. Mostly because I asked and tumblr delivered.
Rating: G-M, depending on the drabble.
A/N: Hello, my lovelies! It's been a while. I've had a serious case of writers block hampering my progress on my other work, so I went to tumblr and asked for some ideas. Not for full-length tics, just tiny dribbles of a sort, to help unstick my brain and get the creative juices flowing again. People delivered, and I have been writing like a madwoman for days. DAMN it feels good to write again.
So, having shared on tumblr, I'd figure I'd throw the whole collection together and share them here.
This first one was an anonymous prompt: "Daryl confronts Carol saying she is not the killer, "That ain't her". She insists that she is the real killer, she is a monster. Angs angs angst.. Daryl knows she is lying and then she confesses she is covering for someone." If you know me, you know I do angst really well. (Seriously, go ask SOAlovingmom, noxidanamchara, imorca, Peta2… anyone, really. It's my jam.) It seems fitting thats how I start off here. It gets better, I promise.
It was hot, much too hot in Daryl's opinion. His shoulders burned like fire beneath the black leather vest as rivers of sweat ran down his neck, coating his back and chest and leaving his shirt damp and sticky. The dying summer sun flickered down through the trees in streams of gold and burnt orange, making the thick air shimmer with it's heat. He could taste the fine grit of dust that coated his teeth and tongue; the same grit that covered him from head to toe, the days of tracking and hunting leaving its mark on him. An hour ago he'd been dying for a stream, just long enough to rinse some of the filth from him and wishing he'd taken Carol up on her long ago offer to cut his hair, now limp and falling around his head in bushy tangles thick with grease.
He barely noticed any of it now; even the words of the exhausted, haggard woman in front of him threatening to drown in the screech of white noise thrumming in his ears as the one driving thought in his head pounded into him over and over again.
That ain't her.
"Daryl, you're not listening to me. I killed Karen. I killed David. " Carol insisted.
He shook his head at her, earning an angry growl in response. Such an odd noise from her tiny frame. Any other time, any other moment, he'd have laughed at her attempts to sound so ferocious.
"I know it's hard to understand," Carol said. "But I had to. They were a threat to all of us. I thought if I could stop the virus from spreading, it would be worth it. I could tell the quarantine wasn't going to work-"
"Jus' stop," Daryl said, tiredly rubbing his hand across his face. "Why are you doin' this?"
"Don't," Carol replied. "Don't make this harder than it is."
"I don' believe you," Daryl said again. Again and again, how ever many times it would take for her to understand that he knew her, through and through. That ain't her.
"Why can't you..." Carol ran her grimy looking fingers through her hair, the frustration clear on her face. "Why is this so hard for you to understand?!"
'Cause I know you fret over ever lil' thing an' all of us all the time. 'Cause I watch you pace the prison walkways at night when you think I'm sleepin', worryin' and tryin' to see where else you can help and whatcha can do. 'Cause I hear from everybody else how ya's always pickin' up extra chores here an' there or takin' the time to let somebody else cry on your shoulder again, lettin' all their worries out on you. 'Cause I can see you killin' to keep any one of us safe but murder ain't in you.
"That ain't you," he said softly.
"I killed them," Carol said again, her voice getting louder as she ignored the firm shaking of his head. "They were a threat. Nobody else would do anything, so I stepped up! You don't have to like it, but you damn well better accept it."
"Yes," she replied insistently. "I stabbed them in the head. I dragged them outside and burned their corpses. Me, I did that!"
"Stop lyin' to me." His voice, almost a whisper now. He saw something in her face then, the inner turmoil inside of her bursting to the surface.
"I killed them, Daryl!" Carol shouted, her hoarse cry ringing through the trees around them. He waited, watching her tremble and shake before him, her eyes shiny with swirls of too many emotions for him to place. He waited until the last echoes of her declaration faded into the woods around them before giving her his whispered answer.
"God damn it!" Screaming now, so fiercely he started to worry her vocal chords would burst before she was done. "Why won't you believe me? I had to! I had to! I had to because it was the only thing I could think of and I wanted to tell you but you weren't there and I panicked. It was my fault this happened. I'm so stupid to think I could make a positive difference and look at how horrible everything is now. Now every time I close my eyes all I see is the bodies, I can still smell them burning, everything's burning, all the time and its all my fault, it's my fault they're dead. I'm a monster, a monster that created more monsters when all I wanted was to make them strong, help them survive and then we were there and everything was awful and there was so much blood on the ground and the stench and everyone was screaming. I thought Tyreese was going to hurt you or kill you and I almost died from watching him come at you like that. I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe, because it was so fucking horrible I couldn't stand it. I had to be strong, I had to do something, so I did! I did it for you, I did it for Glenn and Judith and Lizzie and Mika. I did it for Rick. Fucking Rick and he casts me away like I'm garbage clinging to his shoe when he doesn't even realize how wrong he is because he refuses to see what's happening right in front of him but I had to go because I'd said it and it was too late to go back! It's my fault! I killed them! Why can't you just believe it?!"
With a pop, the white noise that had been filling Daryl's ears died out, leaving him with nothing more than the echoes of Carol's screams, the truth ringing out to him clear as a bell from the muddled mess of her ranting as all of her rage and grief finally spilled over. I was right. That ain't her.
"Always thinkin' 'bout everybody else first," Daryl finally said. "That's my girl."
Carol collapsed with an anguished cry, her weathered pack dropping from her shoulder as she fell. Daryl caught her before she hit the ground, moving to her faster than he could think. One of her hands clamped down on his shoulder; the other scrabbled at his chest, twisting his shirt tight in her fist as if she was trying to keep him from running away. As if he'd ever leave her now. His arms curled around her as he sank to the moss-strewn ground, pulling her into his lap while she buried her face in his neck and let her tears and choked whispers of 'sorryimsorryimsosorry' mingle with his sweat-soaked skin. They stayed like that, curled together, long after the last whisps of sunlight had faded, leaving only the night shadows to drape around them like a curtain to keep them safe from the world.