Warnings: None (unless meat eating bothers you)
Notes: Like most of us, I spent a lot of time thinking about the brother/sister comment. This is my way of dealing with it and while I’m biased, I don’t think it’s all that implausible. Hope you guys enjoy. Thank you for reading. No copyright infringement intended. I own nothing. They own me.
Brand New Day
"What about you and Carol?" asked Aaron.
Things had calmed down in Alexandria. They felt safe
again. It was as close to home as they’d been in a while. Tara had woken up.
She was doing better every day. Jessie and Sam were okay, better than okay,
really. He could see each of them coming out of their shells with each new day.
Deanna still grieved but she was tough, tough as any of them. She understood
now and she was working closely with Rick to make things better. Glenn’s arm
was in a sling but he was alright. Nicholas… well, he opted out. He’d been
stuck in confinement till the community decided what to do with him, exile or
execution, but in the end it hadn’t mattered. He’d made a noose out of the bed
sheets and made the choice for them, which was just fine by Daryl.
They still ate together, the core group, old habits
dying hard. And often, like tonight, they ate at Aaron’s. Daryl trusted him and
that was good enough for Rick and the others. It had been a good day and they
were feasting, feeling celebratory. Daryl had come across a rafter of wild
turkeys while out that morning. It was the first real meat any of them had had
in ages. So they sat around the table, Daryl, Aaron, Eric, Rick, and most of
the others, some conspicuously absent, and others, like Carol, opting for duty
"Whad’ya mean?" Daryl asked around a
mouthful of turkey leg.
"You know," said Aaron. Eric gave his
partner a sly knowing smile.
"Pfft," Daryl took another bite of turkey,
grease running down his fingers.
"She’s like… a sister…" he said
Tara barked out a laugh.
"What?" Daryl paused his chewing to cast
her a confused look.
"Daryl," she said, laughing, "your
redneck is showing."
He eyed her for a moment, grunted, and then went
back to focusing on his meal.
"Only you would think that’s how you treat a
sister. Have you ever even had a girlfriend?" she asked, boldly.
Daryl glanced at her, eyes narrowing. Then, without
a word, he stuck his middle finger up at her which sent the room into uproarious
Tara’s words stuck with him through the rest of the
meal. He listened as the others laughed and reminisced. He watched; remembered
the last time they’d all eaten together like this, with booze and hot food and
a roof over their head. It hadn’t ended well that time but still, it was nice
to have a moment of peace. In particular he watched the couples: Eric and
Aaron, Glenn and Maggie, even the way Michonne looked at Rick and the way he
was starting to look at her. And he wondered.
Tara was right. He hadn’t ever had a girlfriend.
Hadn’t even kissed anyone except his cousin one time when they were kids and
boy did he get a beating for that. So what did he know? Jack shit, that’s what.
After what seemed like a polite amount of time, he
packed up a plate to bring up to Carol. She was in the watchtower keeping guard
and he knew she wouldn’t eat unless he brought her something. After the Pete
thing she’d dropped her façade, stopped wearing those stupid clothes and
stopped pretending she was some sort of helpless soccer mom. It was a relief,
honestly. He had his girl back, at least, more of her than she’d been in a while.
"Eat," he said when he’d reached the top.
He held the plate out towards her.
"I’m busy," she replied, not even looking
at him, eyes ever watchful to the outside of the walls.
"You gonna pass out, you don’t eat." He
shoved the plate towards her and made a grab for her gun. "I’ll watch. You
She gave him an annoyed look but traded the gun for
the food and leaned against the wall. They stood there in silence for a time,
him scanning the woods surrounding their little town, and her eating. She’d
picked up his bad habit of eating with fingers instead of utensils and he
occasionally heard the slick sound of her licking her fingers.
"How’d you know?" he asked, finally
feeling brave, curiosity eating at him.
"Know what?" The sound of her eating
"You and Ed," he said. "You loved
him?" He’d never outright asked her about Ed before, always content to
just let her come to him when she needed to, which wasn’t so much anymore.
His question was met with silence which made him
nervous. He shifted from one foot to the other.
"I loved him. For a time." Her tone was
Daryl spared her a quick glance then focused back on
the woods. “How’d you know? That you felt that way.”
"Are you drunk?" she asked. She took a
step towards him and reached for the gun.
"I ain’t drunk," he snapped, pulling the
gun out of her reach. "Just wanna know."
He could feel the weight of her gaze. It made him
wonder if she’d felt all the times he’d stared at her.
He heard her shift, knew her well enough to know
she’d probably shrugged.
"You just know," she said.
"Real helpful," he mumbled, attention
focusing on something in the brush.
'You just…” she continued, “wake up one day.
And it's like any other day. Except on this day you look at them different. And
suddenly you can't look at them any other way but that.”
A possum came out of the bush Daryl had been eyeing
and he lowered the gun. He looked over at Carol, nodded, and exchanged the empty
plate for the gun, taking a step back so she could stand guard.
"You alright?" she asked.
Daryl stared at her, noting the way her skin glowed
in the moonlight, noting how tired she looked; eyes not nearly as sharp and
bright as usual. He’d looked at her plenty over the years, deciphering her
image by image like a photo album in disarray. But now, he wasn’t sure he’d
ever actually really seen her and he realized… he wanted to. More than
"Yeah," he said, nodding, long hair
falling across his eyes.
"See you in the morning?" she asked, attention
turning back to her duty.
"Yeah," he said again. "See you in
And just like she said, he woke up the next day, a
day like any other, but with new eyes that saw her in new ways, and he wondered
how he could have gone so long seeing it any other way.