Hiya Carylers,

Protective!Daryl demanded my attention. Fingers crossed for the upcoming eps to give us some more feels (good ones, that is)!

Slight spoilerage for 4x03 "Isolation".

*Standard disclaimer stamped here.*

It didn't sit well with him, their decision to lock Carol away until after the council meeting.

It didn't sit well because they left her with only Carl to guard her cell, and an angry Tyreese bellowing through the block for her head. The man was off kilter again, screeching out of his mind, not thinking about his words.

Carol was in no danger of death. Not from them. Not from her own.

But it didn't sit well with him, the way she looked at him without fear and yet fought to blink the tears back into her eyes.

He found Tyreese pacing the hall outside the council's meeting room. They weren't set to come together for another ten minutes and he was pretty sure Ty wasn't invited. The man's black eye cracked open, his good one widening madly.

Daryl probably should've brushed past him, gone on inside and shut the damn door behind him. Or sent Tyreese on his way, told him to return to the block or go take watch duty in a tower.

By the time he was inches from the larger man's face, chest tightening along with his fists, he knew without a doubt he should've done one of those things.

But no. He had Ty backed against the wall, and the wild glare being sent his way spelled an impending beat-down.

Daryl didn't care.

"What, man? You wanna say somethin', say it."

A tremor in Ty's voice. He knew the guy was trying hard to keep it together.

Daryl had no intention of putting forth the same amount of effort.

His lips twisted. He snarled. Wondered if he was baring teeth.

"Things work a certain way around here, you know that. Rick's back in the council and we're gonna talk long and hard about what Carol's done. But you better understand somethin' right now,"

Fists rose. Daryl ignored them.

"You try building a damn lynch mob against her, you go against whatever we decide and try to take your own justice, lay a single violent finger on her, and I'll put a bolt through ya. Gut you like a fish and feed you to the Walkers. She's done wrong, but she's ours. You don't touch her, understand?"

A hiss through Ty's teeth accompanied his hands folding tight into Daryl's shirt, and their muscles wound up together like two old kid's toys about to go clack-clacking down a staircase.

Ty shoved with a roar. Daryl let his body slam into the opposite wall before ducking a punch to the face. He jabbed forward into a hard set of ribs. Felt them give way as Tyreese howled in rage,

"Your girl killed mine, goddammit, and you think you have the right to protect her?"

The wind was knocked from his chest.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

He fell with a grunt, rolled away from a stomping foot.

Jumped to his feet and held an arm up to block as his other fingered the knife at his belt—

He fucked up.

They were spiraling fast and one of them was going down unless—

Rick appeared from nowhere, Maggie at his side.

And with Glenn and Hershel quarantined, fuck, would it just be the three of them discussing this?


All movement stopped.

Tyreese heaved, a growl in his throat. The man was a bear, and Daryl knew his kind of rage well.

Rick stood between them, Maggie silently begging Ty to calm down with nothing more than a gesture of her hands. Remarkably, it worked. He eased back against a wall and simmered, good eye darting from Maggie to Rick to him.

Daryl fought a sneer.

Met Rick's gaze and saw pointed understanding.

He wasn't the only one concerned here, and for a brief moment that made Daryl feel just a dust-speck better.

But as the image of Carol's somber, determined gaze flickered into his mind's eye he couldn't help but glance back at Tyreese one last time before stepping into the council room.

He couldn't speak for his own, but those bloodshot bear eyes roared at him still.

Daryl hefted his bow and snarled in silent response.