(A/N) So here it is, I’m really nervous about posting this, so be nice please. I read over it a billion times, editing, revising, and I’m still super terrified to post it. Tell me what you think, or nah, but please don’t make fun. Thanks for reading!!
People died. They knew that the minute they pulled up Alexandria, and all he could think about was her. Sasha suggested waiting it out, they had made a quiet approach, nothing noticed them, but that wasn’t an option. He was going to find her, and make sure she was okay. Trying to stop him was just a waste of breath, because Daryl was determined to find Carol.
“Daryl, you could get hurt.” Sasha tried to reason as he grabbed a gun and a knife, wishing now more that anything that he had his crossbow so he could get through them more safely and quietly.
“I don’t care.” he muttered. “When it dies down, I’ll send someone out for ya.“
Despite their pleas, he had left, silently making his was around the walkers and to the wall. He had managed to get in, without drawing too many his way. He didn’t know where to look first, all he knew is that he had to find her.
Daryl’s head whipped around upon hearing Tara shout his name. She had grabbed the walkers attention, and many made their way towards her, but she had her knife raised and ready, waving him over.
"Come on!” she shouted, and he shook his head, ready to leave when Tara shouted one thing that stopped him dead in his tracks. “Carol’s here!” Once he had made it in, Tara and Rosita pushed a shelf in front of the door, hoping that it would keep them out. Daryl wasted no time in getting straight to the point… he needed to get to her.
“Where is she?” Tara didn’t reply. How could she? She didn’t know if she was okay. She didn’t know if Morgan was okay. That wolf… he had Denise, and for all she knew, she was dead.
“Eugene’s checking her and Morgan over.” Rosita explained. “She hit her head, we know that. And her back somehow. It doesn’t look like anything’s broken, but it’s bad."
He followed Rosita into the room where she lied, and he almost hurled at the sight of her. She lied on the ground, her body pale, almost lifeless, her face bloody. He felt a strong urge to cry as he knelt by her, taking her hand in his.
"She’s has a pulse.” Eugene stated. “It’s faint. So she might not wake up."
"Eugene.” Rosita snapped, and he quickly stopped talking.
Daryl felt for the pulse himself. He had to feel it himself, it’s the only way he’d be okay. And there it was, faint, but it was there. Daryl forced himself not to be angry. They didn’t do anything… they couldn’t have helped her either. It wasn’t their fault, but he still found himself wanting to shout at them.He urged himself not to cry as he spoke.
“I’m going to take her upstairs, lay her down. If you find any water, bring it to me. Anyone have painkillers on them?” his voice was shaky, breaking as he spoke.
“I have some.” Tara tossed him the bottle. “There’s about six of them."
"Thanks.” he said, gently placing his hands underneath Carol’s legs and back to lift her.
He carried her up the steps, her head resting on his shoulder. He wished he could lay her in an actual bed, so she’d be comfortable, but this house was under construction, and there was nothing here but a few blankets. He lied her on the blanket below him, covering her with another.
“Here.” Rosita said, as she walked up the steps, throwing a water bottle his way. “Don’t listen to Eugene.” she said as he doused a corner of the blanket in water, and gently wiped at her wound. “He’s an idiot.” Daryl snorted.
“That’s for damn sure."
"I’ll leave you guys for a while.” Rosita said, and as she left he moved to lie down next to her.
“Carol?” he murmured, brushing the gray wisps of hair from her face. “Carol? You gotta wake up. You can’t leave me. Not now.” he pleaded, praying to something that she’d wake up. “I need you. Please wake up sweetheart."
The Gods had seemed to answer his prayers, because the moment those words left his lips, her eyes fluttered open. She coughed hard, looking at her surroundings, her eyes wide, frantic, terrified. She coughed again, and he quickly sat up, grabbing the water bottle. He placed it up to her lips, but she pushed him back, not knowing that it was him.
"Carol. It’s me. It’s okay.” he said softly, as she tried to get away, reaching desperately for her knife, but she relaxed the instant she heard his voice. He pushed the bottle back up to her lips and she drank half of it, avidly, breathing heavily now. “You should lay back down.” he murmured, gently pushing her back down.
“You’re back.” she said, her voice gravelly. “I missed you.” she paused for a moment, her eyes widening. “Where’s that man? And Denise? Denise was with me. Where’s Morgan? Is Denise okay? Daryl-” she was frantic, and tried to sit back up, but Daryl placed a hand gently on her shoulder, laying her back down.
“Calm down.” he murmured. “He has Denise. She’s still alive. We’re going to find them.” he paused, his voice lowering to a whisper. “What happened Carol?"
"What do you mean D-"
"You might have a concussion, you barely had a pulse, and according to Rosita, you might have some broken bones.” he was growing angry now, and he tried not to sound put out with her, it wasn’t her that he was mad at. Honestly he more scared than anything.
“I’m sorry.” she whispered, reaching up and stroking his face softly. “I didn’t mean to scare you."
"What happened?” he repeated, softer this time, feeling more calm under her touch.
“While you were gone. These people- they called themselves wolves I think- they came, and they killed people.” she said, her voice wavering, letting her fingers drop from his face to rub her forehead. “Stabbed them, butchered them, burned them alive…“ she trailed, "I need painkillers. Do you have painkillers?"
He quickly handed over the bottle to her, and she took three, rubbing her head, wincing as she brushed over her wound.
"I disguised myself as one.” she continued. “I killed them. I had to, they were killing our people. I had no choice. Morgan took a wolf in, and I found him. I wanted to kill him. Then the walkers came in, and we had to run to get them away from Denise.” she explained. “We circled back around. I fell, and hit my head, but we got inside. He wouldn’t let me go downstairs for a while.” Carol shrugged, wincing in pain.
He watched her intently, scared to touch her, scared he would hurt her.
“I made my injury out to be much worse than it actually was. He let his guard down, I got downstairs. I almost had him, I almost killed him, and then Morgan got there. He told me we could be better than them. He told me I didn’t have to kill people, but I did.” she paused then, wiping at the stray tear that fell down her face.
She looked shocked for a moment, as if she was surprised to see herself crying, and she shut it down immediately, her face hardening.
“Morgan wouldn’t move. I didn’t want to, but I would’ve killed him. I would’ve. We just… fought. I tried to stab him, but he knocked my knife away. I tried so hard. I tried… to get it, but he kept, pulling at me and… he grabbed me, held onto my wrist once I got my knife back so I couldn’t stab him. I did what I could.” she breathed deeply, obviously getting more worked up. He felt ready to hurl as he listened, the pain evident in her voice.
He couldn’t help but think about Ed, and how many times she had to crawl away from him. How many times she had to fight him, how many times he hurt her. He should’ve been here. God, how he hated himself for leaving her.
“I scratched him, and kicked, and… and… he grabbed me, then he lifted me-” she paused then, letting out a slight angry cry. “-and he slammed me to the ground and that was it. I was out.” she was crying now. “And Denise. He has Denise. I should’ve fought harder. I should’ve- I should’ve done something and I-"
"Stop it Carol.” he whispered then, pulling her close. “It isn’t your fault."
"I’m tired.” she whispered, clutching his shirt tightly in her hand as she curled into him. “I’m so tired. Everything hurts. I want it all to go away.”
“Go to sleep. Maybe when you wake up everything will be died down. We’ll get you home, into a bath. I’ll make you some tea. That really good stuff I know you like, you know, with the herbs and stuff? You can go to bed. It’s gonna be okay…” he trailed then, seeing her eyes flutter close, calming at his words. “I promise."
~ She had lulled off to sleep a little while later, and he placed her gently back on the ground, covering her with the blanket, before making his way downstairs, determined to kill Morgan.
"Daryl.” Tara said as he walked down the steps. “Morgan’s up. His head’s kinda hurting. Do you still…Daryl?” he moved past her, and she ran after him, feeling the anger radiating off of him.
When he had walked in, he lifted Morgan from the ground, slamming him into the wall, he gasped, reaching for his stick, but Daryl kicked it away, breathing heavily, angrily, but Morgan could see the fear, the pain, the sadness in his eyes. “I’m going to kill you.” he menaced, forcing himself to blink back his tears. This man had hurt her, he had nearly killed her.
“Daryl-” Morgan began, but before he could say anything else, Daryl had landed a punch to his face, and Rosita quickly grabbed Tara, stopping her from intervening. Daryl was smart. He had a reason.
“How dare you touch her? Who the hell do you think you are?” he shouted, hitting him in the jaw.
“Daryl… she was going to kill me.” he tried to desperately trying to get away, feeling helpless, his feet dangling as Daryl held him up.
“She should’ve!” he shouted. “People are gonna die ‘cause of you.” he cried, hitting him once more, and he heard a satisfying crack as he dropped him to the ground.
“You broke his nose.” Eugene said. “Why’d you-"
"Shut up Eugene,” Daryl snarled, his head whipping around to glare at him. “Tie him up, I’ll tell Rick what happened."
Right now, he needed to be with Carol. ~ When things had died down, and most of the walkers were gone, they were able to exit. The wolf was dead, and Denise was okay, a little roughed up, but okay, and she was able to handle those who were hurt. Michonne, Rick, Carl, and Judith, for the most part, were okay. They had lost Jessie and Ron, and they weren’t sure if Sam would wake up.
Daryl had lifted Carol up, not meaning to wake her, but her eyes fluttered open, her head rested gently on his shoulder.
"Where are we going?” she asked softly, curling in close to him.
“We’re going home."
"Is he dead? The wolf?"
"He’s dead. Denise is okay. You don’t gotta worry about nothing.” “What about Jessie and Sam? Ron?"
He stared down at her, the worry evident in her face and at the moment he wanted to lie to her, tell her everyone was okay. He wanted to, but he’d never lie to her.
"Jessie and Ron are gone. Sam’s alive but- Denise is trying hard. We don’t know if he’s gonna wake up."
"When he does-” she whispered. “We’ll take him in. He’ll be okay.” she sighed contently, and Rick ran over to them, checking Carol over.
“You okay?” he asked, and Carol nodded tiredly, fighting to keep her eyes open. “We got Morgan in a cell. We’ll figure out what to do with him.” he said to her reassuringly, rubbing her shoulder gently, before to turning to Daryl. “Take her home, make sure she gets rest. She might need a stitch or two on her forehead.” Rick explained, quickly looking her over again.
They had made it to the house, and Carol was a little more awake by then, her hand holding tightly onto his shirt. He smiled softly down at her, wishing nothing more than to make her okay again.
“What first?” he asked. “Food? Bath? Or bed?"
"Bath.” she said. “I’m bloody.” he walked into their bathroom, gently setting her on the counter.
“You good?” he asked, and she nodded, before he went over to the tub, turning it on. They usually wanted to save the hot water, but he figured they could make an exception since they owed their lives to this woman.
When he turned back, her shirt was raised slightly, and she was trying to look in the mirror behind her, to see if she could get a good look. She sighed then, letting her shirt fall back down, rubbing her back softly.
“Can I take a look?” he asked, and she nodded.
He came in front of her, leaning over her shoulder and grabbing the bottom of her shirt lifting it lightly, not being able to help the gasp that escaped him. She chuckled softly, and he quickly dropped her shirt, scared he was going to puke.
“That bad huh? You think anything’s broken?"
"Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t be surprised if something was."
"Neither would I. Um, I have to get undressed, can you…” she gestured towards the door.
“Yeah.” he said, turning and walking out, closing the door behind him, but not even five minutes later, Carol was calling for him. “Is it okay to come in?” he asked.
“Yeah. I’m dressed.” he walked in, and she was leaning against the sink. “I can’t… I can’t move very well.” she said, hissing in pain. He quickly grabbed her, lifting her back on the counter, and she inhaled sharply. “I need help."
"Oh. I can go find-"
"Just help me please.” she pleaded. “Just… try not to- I don’t know, just don’t look."
"I can go get Tara, or Maggie.” he offered.
“Daryl please. I don’t want Tara to- okay, look I don’t expect you to understand, but I trust you, so please, just help."
"Okay.” he said softly, hesitantly unbuttoning her shirt, his eyes on her face as she stared down at his hands. He quickly pulled it off her shoulders. “Now what?” he asked, obviously nervous, but his eyes didn’t leave her face.
“My pants first. Then…” she hissed, as she tried to get off the counter, and he helped her down. “Christ, I’m going to kill Morgan.” he snorted.
“I’ll do it for ya.” he said, apologizing as his hand touched her bare skin. “So, did you not want anyone else to help cause you wanted to seduce me?” he teased, helping her with her pants, and she chuckled.
“You wish.” she grinned, holding onto him, as she kicked her pants off, but once again, his eyes never left her face. “This is the awkward part.” she muttered. “Underwear first.” he flushed red as he helped her, but his eyes wouldn’t leave her face. He wouldn’t take advantage of her.
“Sorry,” he muttered as his fingers dragged along her legs for a moment. “It’s alright. Just help me with my bra, then get me in that bath.” she said, breathing heavily. “Aren’t I mastering the art of seduction?” she asked, giggling softly.
“A +.” he teased, helping her into the bath, careful not to touch anything, or look away from her face. “I’ll bring you some clean clothes and I can help you after, if you’ll still need it."
"Thank you.” she whispered, softly, the water sloshing quietly.
“Ya need anything else?"
"No-” she paused, hissing and grabbing her head, a great rankling there. “Actually yeah. More painkillers."
"Okay.” he smiled. “Let me go get them.” he paused, sitting down at rubbing his thumb gently over the wound. “You’re gonna need a stitch."
"I’ll be fine.”
“Stop Carol. You need ‘em."
"I don’t want to go to the infirmary tonight.” she whispered. “I just want to stay here."
"I’ll get Denise then. Once your done. I’ll be right back."
He returned a little later, giving her the painkillers, and a water bottle, setting her clean clothes on the counter. She took the remaining three pills, and he took the water bottle back, setting it by the tub so she could easily reach it, before tossing the pill bottle. He had gone to leave, but she stopped him.
"Can you stay?” she asked quietly. “I don’t want to be alone."
"Okay.” he sat next to the tub, and she took his hand, her thumb running over his knuckles. “Why’d you really want me to help ya?” he asked after a moment, and she shrugged, focusing on his hand.
“I just… I’m not saying Tara or Rosita, or any of the girls would purposely look at me or anything, but I knew you wouldn’t. And I knew if you saw anything, like… my scars and stuff… I wouldn’t have to be ashamed.” her voice faded to a whisper as she continued to talk. “I trust you the most out of everyone.” she shrugged again. “It’s stupid. I know."
"No. It’s not. I trust you the most too. But I didn’t know you had-"
"No one did.” she said softly. “I never talked about them. I don’t want to talk about them."
"I’d never make you."
He paused. “You’re different now. Back then, you were so diffident, and now, look at you.” she smiled at him, focusing on their hands then He stared at their hands too, which were joined tightly together, her thumb still moving across his knuckles, swiping the dirt along them. She smiled softly, giggling.
“I think you need a bath.” she grinned. “Wanna join me?” she asked, biting her lip to suppress her teasing smile.
He snorted. “You’d like that wouldn’t ya?"
"I’d love it.” she was giggling now, and he couldn’t help but smile at the sound. He loved it when she laughed. He loved it when he was the one making her laugh. “Can you do me a favor?” she asked, letting for of his hand, and he hummed, watching as she dragged her hand down her arm, wiping some dirt from it.
“Can you maybe wash my hair? I would, but I can’t seem to…” she trailed. “Lift my arms."
"It’s that bad?” he asked a little angrily, and she shrugged.
“Hurts like a bitch. Trust me, I wouldn’t be asking you just for the hell of it. I really can’t-"
"I believe ya, I’m just upset. I should’ve been here. You shouldn’t have had to go through that."
"I’m fine Daryl.” she smiled, and he sighed, but grabbed the shampoo bottle, squirting some of the fruity smelling soap on his hands, scrubbing it on her head.
He couldn’t help but notice a small scar on the back of her neck, but didn’t focus on it. She didn’t want to talk about it.
“When I was passed out?” she mentioned suddenly, and he hummed softly. “Were you talking to me?"
"Yeah.” he whispered. “I was."
"I heard you… I think.”
"Yeah.” she smiled softly, sighing as he rinsed her head off, then grabbing the conditioner. “Yeah. You called me sweetheart.” she teased quietly.
“I did, but don’t hold that against me."
"Why, Daryl Dixon, I’d never.” she teased, and he grinned, rinsing the conditioner from her hair. “Ed never called me nice things like that.” she said quietly. “I mean, he’d barely ever call me by my name, but the point is, no one’s really ever called me nice things.” she explained. “It’s sweet."
"You like it?” he murmured, and she smiled.
“I like it.” she said, candorly. “I’m done.” she murmured, sighing, and leaning forward to pull the plug from the drain. He grabbed a towel, once again not looking as he wrapped it around her, covering her.
She dried, then he helped her dress, insisting on carrying her downstairs, while she tried to get him to just hold onto her. She really didn’t need to be carried everywhere, her legs still worked, it just hurt… really bad. The door knocked when he set her on the couch, and he went, letting Denise in.
“Sorry it took me so long.” she said, a little breathlessly. “I had a lot of patients.”
“It’s okay. She just got out of the bath.” he said, leading her into the living room.
“Daryl, I told you I don’t need stitches.” Carol sighed, when Denise walked in.
“You’ve been fighting hard Carol.” Denise said. “Would you really wanna be brought down by one little scratch because it wasn’t cleaned properly?"
"Yeah Carol.” Daryl teased, and she glared, sticking her tongue out. “I’ll go make you some tea.” he said, walking passed her, pausing before he left. “Sweetheart.” he added, then fled to the kitchen while her face flushed.
Denise had left shortly after Daryl had given Carol her tea and once she left, Carol wrapped herself in a blanket and curled into Daryl’s side, growing sleepy. He’d talk to her, even when she didn’t reply, he kept talking. He was scared that she was pulling away, and he couldn’t let her. She had to know he was here, so he’d kept on talking.
“Merle was always a dumbass.” He laughed, and she smiled softly, his arm around her, stroking her gently. She didn’t know if he had meant to do it, but it was nice, and she didn’t mind one bit. “He used to make me do this crazy stuff. I mean, nearly broke my arm doing a backflip off steps, made me drink so many shots that I passed out, then the fucker left me in the bar overnight!“
"He made you do this? Or he hurt you pride, and you acted stupid?” she asked, giggling at the playful glare he gave.
“Shut it.” he said, but grinned anyway.
“Can I tell you something?” she asked after a while of silence, and he nodded, his hand still stroking her arm. “The girls…” she began, trailing, and now she wasn’t sure if she could say it.
“You don’t gotta…” he murmured.
“I do.” she said. “Lizzie didn’t understand what the walkers were. She thought they were her friends, and to prove it, she killed Mika. I killed her. I had to.” she said, saving the gory details, maybe she’d tell him more later, but now, that’s what he was getting, and her chest already felt lighter, like she could finally breathe again.
“I’m not a cold blooded killer Daryl.” she whimpered, diffusing all her emotions into those words.
"No one else does… hell, I’m not even sure I know that.” she said, sounding disconsolate, and his heart broke. “I prayed for Ed to die. The walkers got him, as punishment Sophia was taken.” her voice broke as she said Sophia’s name. It had been so long since she said her name. “I killed Karen and David, as punishment, I had to put Lizzie and Mika down. And now, those wolves? I killed them, and I don’t want to know what my punishment will be. I can’t lose anyone else. I don’t anyone to die, and I do what I have to do.” she said, her voice breaking. “And every goddamn time I pay for it."
"I don’t know what to do anymore."
"You do what you have to do.” he whispered, pulling her closer now, and her head rested on his chest, tears streaming freely down her face now. “And I’ll be here to help you. I won’t leave you again, we’ll do it together.” he said. “God Carol. I hate to see you this way. I’ll never leave you again, never, ever again.”
“Promise me.” she said quietly. “Because I can’t lose you again."
So daryl is missing and carol finds out and is inwardly freaking out of course but she’s got shit to do like making sure alexandria doesn’t burn to the ground so she holds it in as best she can (until she can find him of course), but THEN he shows up in alexandria one day after his whole ordeal, and she just sorta loses it, now that he’s alive and real and in front of her, but she doesn’t want to break down in front of everyone so she kind of disappears while the others are welcoming daryl back, but of course daryl always knows where his carol is and her finds her and she can’t hold it back any longer, just how much his almost-death utterly terrified her and he can’t hold it in anymore either, how her almost-death completely wrecked him. and then they kiss. the end.