Somehow Maggie had gotten put on the job of keeping an eye
on Daryl as he came out from under the anesthesia. It was like watching a train
wreck. Luckily, the surgeon at Alexandria had said the breaks in his ankle had
been clean. They’d set the bones and stitched him up, and Daryl was not having
any of it as he clawed back to the land of the living, still loopy from it all.
“Maggie,” he said it like a statement of fact, like he was
Maggie pursed her lips against a smile. “Yeah, Daryl. I’m
He was slightly propped up in the hospital bed, an IV line
coming out of the back of his hand and a monitoring clip on his index finger.
His leg was in a thick blue brace from his toes to halfway up his calf, and at
some point they’d wrangled him into a pair of scrubs.
“Hey…” he whispered, lifting his arm up off the bed and
waving. “Hey…Where am I?”
Maggie smirked. “The clinic. You just got out of surgery.”
He stared at her for a long moment, one eye narrowing as he
struggled to comprehend what she was saying. “Right,” he said slowly.
“They…they wanted my kidney.”
“No…No, you still have both your kidneys,” she assured. “Put
your arm back down.”
He frowned and moved his hand under his back, as though to
make sure there were no incisions there. “Did they use lasers? They always have
lasers in the movies…”
“Who has lasers, Daryl?” Maggie played along, just happy
that he’d woken up calm instead of the raging ball of aggression that they’d
all been worried about.
“The aliens,” he said, as though this was obvious. “Did
they—“ He gasped, so cartoonishly loud that Maggie nearly bit her lip trying to
contain a laugh. “…probe me?”
He whispered it, but the wide-eyed fear in his eyes nearly
sent her to the floor.
“No,” she assured with a solid nod. “Nobody…There was no
probing. The doctor here just fixed your ankle. You remember, you broke it?”
“There was a rock…”
“Yeah, a lot of rocks…You fell down the side of a small
cliff,” she explained. “Lucky you weren’t hurt worse.”
He looked confused, glancing around the room and not seeing
what he wanted.
“What are you looking for?” she asked.
He started to sit up, and she touched his shoulder.
“Hey, easy, lay back down. What are you looking for?”
“Yeah, there were a lot of rocks…”
“My mouth feels weird.” He smacked his gums loudly, looking
to her for explanation.
Maggie smiled. “They said that might happen.”
“Aliens can be doctors.”
“Well, they aren’t.”
“That’s racist.” He blinked and seemed to reset. “Did they
take the rock? It was in my pocket…the…bluey one…Jasper.”
“Hold on, okay, let me see.” She made sure he wasn’t going
to try and climb out of bed, and she crossed over to the stack where Carol had
folded his clothes for him. She rummaged through his pants pockets and found,
sure enough, a little blue stone, about the size of her thumb. “This it?”
She held it up, and relief sent Daryl back into the pillows
with a grin. “Yup.”
Maggie brought it over and let him take in his other hand.
“It’s pretty…Not sure it’s worth fallin’ down a cliff for…”
“It was,” he muttered, making a noise close to a giggle.
Maggie smiled. “She was in here a while ago, just before you
woke up. You want me to get her?”
He mumbled something unintelligible and nodded, eyes focused
on the little stone. Maggie touched his shoulder as she stood.
“Hey, Maggie?” he asked as she turned to walk away.
“Yes?” She looked at him.
His eyes were still on the stone. “Would you’a married Glenn
if he didn’t have that diamond ring?”
Maggie softened. “Of course. Why?”
Daryl rolled his head on the pillow, suddenly bashful. “Just
thinkin’…this ain’t no diamond, but I think it’ll work.”
Maggie’s eyes widened, and warmth gushed up inside her
chest. “You…You’re going to propose to Carol?”
Daryl blinked, looked at her, blinked again, and then lifted
a finger to his lips, blowing loudly. “SHH! The aliens’ll hear you!”