Not So Alone
by Kayryn

Rated: PG (a few f-words, but c'mon, this is TWD)
Summary: Carol had been driving for almost an hour, dodging walkers every now and then. She saw a group of people by the side or a road, standing next to a car and as she drove closer, she recognized them and her heart skipped a beat. Post 4.04, so spoilers for that one.
Disclaimer: Belongs to AMC, Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Not mine. Never was, never will be. If it was, Carol and Daryl would never die and we'd already know it.
A/N: My first ever TWD fic.


Carol had been driving for almost an hour, dodging walkers every now and then. She saw a group of people by the side or a road, standing next to a car and as she drove closer, she recognized them and her heart skipped a beat.

Carol thought she could just drive past them; they wouldn't recognize the car she was driving, she could just drive by as fast as she could, leave them behind. But even as she considered it, Carol knew she couldn't. She saw Daryl's head turn at the sound of an approaching vehicle, his crossbow ready for trouble. She should at least tell him goodbye, now that she had a chance. Then her eyes flickered to Tyrese and she swallowed.

Carol slowed down, watching as Daryl tilted his head, no doubt wondering what she was doing out here. She automatically checked that her weapons were in place as she got out of the car. She greeted the group with a nod, before her eyes met Daryl's.

She waited.

"What are ya doin'? You alone, woman? What the fuck?"

She thought about lying; saying she was on a run because everyone else was too sick. But she knew Daryl had already seen the car wasn't empty and wouldn't believe her. And, anyway, she didn't see a reason to lie at this point. Keeping her words few and to the point she told them; she told them Rick was back in charge and he'd exiled her. She told them his reasoning; that it was partially because it was his way of trying to keep her safe.

"He lost his fuckin' mind again? That don't make any sense," Daryl said.

"He doesn't trust me, my judgement. And he's worried about Tyrese's reaction," Carol explained, keeping her eyes firmly of Daryl's. "I killed Karen and David."

The moment the words left her mouth, Tyrese pounced, enraged and thirsting for her blood. Instinctively, her body prepared for an assault, memories of the beatings she used to receive regularly resurfacing as the big man charged at her. She didn't flinch, though, and this allowed her to witness how Daryl stepped in front of Tyrese, pointing his crossbow at his head.

"I won't hesitate," the hunter warned.

The big man stopped, but his eyes were full of rage. "Your woman killed mine, and she's gonna pay for it!"

Daryl looked at Carol, weighing everything he knew about her. She stood still, appearing calm, perhaps even cold. But he saw the pain in her eyes, the burden of a painful decision made. He nodded at her once before facing Tyrese again.

"She had her reasons; she was tryin' to protect all of us. Might not've worked, but she ain't a fuckin' cold-blooded killer. And she's coming back with us."

Tyrese's roars of protest fell to deaf ears when Daryl heard Carol behind him step away. "I can't."

"Says who?"

"Rick thought it be-,"

"Don't care what Rick said," Daryl interrupted her. "He can't just decide something like this on his own. You comin' back with us. With me."

Carol stared at him; part of her had already accepted she would need to make a life outside of the prison and without the people in it. She dreaded going back, everyone finding out what she'd done. Rick was right, she wouldn't be safe, not from Tyrese, maybe not just from him; some would understand, others wouldn't even try. But there was also that pull, these people, as messed up as they were both as individuals and as a group, they were her family. Maybe if Daryl talked to Rick, the hunter could make the man reconsider. And as long as Daryl was around, very few would dare try and harm her. Besides, the worst that could happen was that Rick wouldn't change his mind and she'd be right where she was five minutes ago.

"Okay."

A few moments later the group was in their cars, heading back; Carol and Daryl in one car, the others in the newly acquired one. Both, Carol and Daryl, kept silent throughout the drive; there wasn't much to say, and besides, they usually communicated best without saying a word. As they cleared the forest surrounding the prison and saw the familiar walls, Daryl turned to look at her.

"If he don't change his mind, I ain't stayin' either."

Carol looked at him, startled. "You have to, they need you."

"They'll manage," he countered, before he added: "And don't make a big deal 'bout it, woman; just wanted you to know before I go talk to Rick, is all."

Carol nodded, not saying anything, only accepting his words. Whatever happened, she wouldn't be alone, and that was more than she had dared to dream earlier that day.

The end