After The End
As Rosie cried for her family, she was unaware that a set of footsteps had followed her, noticing when she had slipped past the group and away from them. Daryl heard the sounds of her muffled crying before he saw her. He rounded the corner to see Rosie’s back to him as she leant in the tall grass, her face hidden by her hands.
He moved quickly, lowering himself to a crouch and circling his arms around her. She jumped, surprised, before stiffening when she realized it was him. She tried to push him away but his strength overpowered her as he kept both arms wrapped around her and eventually she stopped struggling and just cried into his shirt.
Daryl was stroking her hair, trying to soothe her, when she finally stopped crying and sniffling. She pulled back and he let her this time, watching her carefully as she wiped her eyes, avoiding his gaze.
“You good?” he asked softly and she let out a humorless laugh.
“Like you care,” she mumbled, cheeks pink from embarrassment at being caught in a weak moment, especially by someone who thought of her as just that. Weak.
Daryl just frowned at her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, making her look up at him. Confusion was clear in her face as she stared at him with a frown.
“What are you doing?” she mumbled, fresh tears streaming down her face as she tried to calm herself down, her breaths quick and short.
“What do you mean?” he asked her, his own eyes now showing confusion.
“What is this?!” she exploded, her voice angry as she gestured between the two of them. “You told me you don’t care about me! So why are you here?”
Daryl was taken aback. He lifted his hand from her shoulder gingerly, still watching her.
“Don’t look at me like that!” she hissed, trying not to alert the rest of their group, not wanting anyone else to see her like this.
“Like what, Rosie?” He was getting frustrated now.
She took a deep breath before letting it out. “I don’t know what you’re doing, Daryl,” her voice was soft and vulnerable. “You’ll be so kind to me one minute and then it’s like you hate me and you tell me you don’t care about me the next minute.”
Daryl frowned again and looked down at his twisting fingers. She could tell how uncomfortable he was right now, and the fact that he hadn’t just insulted her and left was shocking to her.
“I’m just worried about ya,” he murmured.
“I’m fine,” she responded, grabbing one of his hands in her own and lacing them together. “Just stop being a dick to me.”
Daryl immediately retracted his hand from hers, making her frown at her now empty and cold hand. He sighed before raking a hand through his dirty hair. “Sorry, I’m just-”
Rosie looked up at him expectantly, her eyes sad like she knew what he was trying to say.
“This isn’t happening, Ro,” he muttered, keeping his eyes locked on hers, wanting her to know that he meant it. “You and me, there’s nothin’ between us. You got it?”
“Daryl-” Rosie’s voice was soft and sad and made his heart melt, almost convincing him to change his mind and whisk her up in his arms like he wanted to.
“No, Rose,” his voice was firm now as he stood up straighter and squared his shoulders. “I don’t know why you’d wanna be with a guy like me anyhow. You’d have better luck with T, or Glenn. You don’t mean anythin' to me. ‘Specially not in the way you want to.”
Rosie scoffed now, turning her head so she was staring out into the empty field to her right. She bit her lip in an effort to not argue with him, to not humiliate herself any more than she already had been. She folded her arms across her chest, her left hand pinching the skin of her right arm hard to distract her from crying, something she’d done since was a kid. She didn’t move until she heard Daryl sigh and walk away, waiting until his footsteps had died down enough before she threw her hands over her face.
But still, she didn’t allow any tears to fall. I am done crying over Daryl Dixon.
Hours later, Rosie had volunteered to accompany Shane, Andrea and Carol back to the highway to see if there was any sign of Sophia since the morning. As Shane and Andrea tried to comfort Carol after the sight of the untouched food, Rosie hung back, not wanting to say the wrong thing to the grieving woman.
Rosie was having her own doubts about Sophia, knowing that the longer she was missing, the higher the chance that she was gone. The notion didn’t even upset her anymore. Ever since her argument with Daryl, she felt empty, somewhat emotionless. She felt like an imposter inside the camp, even inside of her own body.
What am I doing here? she thought to herself as she watched Carol cry on the bonnet of the car, softly calling for her daughter. All Rosie could do was watch, not feeling anything, until Andrea scooped up the other woman and led her to the car they’d driven there in.
“Rosie, let’s go.”
Shane’s voice caused Rosie to look over at where the three people were waiting for her, Shane standing by the open door. His eyebrows were raised at her questioningly.
“I’m gonna walk,” she called out, pulling her gun from where it sat in her waistband and starting a slow walk away from them, towards where she knew the farm was. She’d always had a decent sense of direction, and she knew that it couldn’t be longer than an hour and a half’s walk, meaning she’d be back before dark.
Footsteps jogged behind her until they reached her, not taking long for the older man to catch up. He grabbed her arm tightly, gripping it hard but not hurting her. “Don’t be stupid,” he said, starting to drag her over to the car.
She wriggled out of his grip before scanning the area around them out of habit and then looking back at him. “I could use the time alone,” she responded, her voice staying at a steady and calm level.
“Rosie, I can’t leave ya out here. What if you get lost? Or bit?”
“I’ve got my gun, it’s full,” she held it up as proof, watching Shane’s conflicted face.
“At least let me walk with you!” His eyes were filled with worry. He took off his cap and rubbed the stubble that used to be his hair, his actions showing how frustrated he was.
She didn’t care that her behavior was frustrating him. All she wanted was to be alone, to just walk and not have to think.
“Shane, I’ll be fine. I’ll make it back before sundown, I promise.”
Shane glanced back at the car before he stared at her for a moment longer and spoke. “There’s nothin’ I can do to convince you?”
She just smiled at him, but her eyes remained empty.
“Fuck, man,” Shane rubbed a hand over his face before he looked down at her again. “Daryl’s gonna kill me.”
Rosie’s smile disappeared and she scowled at the mention of his name. “No he isn’t,” she mumbled, causing Shane to look at her curiously. “He doesn’t care. Told me this morning that I don’t mean anything to him.”
Shane laughed. “That’s what this is about, Rosie? You want him to come and save you?”
Rosie’s jaw set as anger fuelled inside her belly. She gripped her gun tighter before exhaling deeply, trying to calm down before she got herself punched again. “I can take care of myself, Shane.”
Shane nodded, adjusting his cap. “Let me tell you one thing, Miss Rosie,” he was talking lower now, causing her to lean in slightly to hear him. “Whatever he said, he was lyin’.”
Rosie ignored the man’s words, memory of Daryl’s cold stare from that morning flashing in her mind. She knew Shane was wrong.
“Back by sundown. Or I come looking for you.”
Rosie nodded at Shane’s words, already starting to back away before he held up a hand to stop her once again. He took a knife out of his waistband and offered it to her.
“You won’t need it?” She mumbled, taking it hesitantly.
“You’ll need it more than I will,” he responded with a laugh before heading back to the curious women in the car.
Rosie began to walk, ignoring Shane’s words of caution as the car passed by her. She felt so much relief at the feeling of being alone. She stuck close to the guardrail, far enough away from the edge of the woods that she would be able to make a quick escape should any walkers appear from it.
As she made the slow walk home, all she could think about was Daryl’s words to her and how genuine they had sounded. The fire in her belly raged as she remembered how he had told her to go after Glenn or T-Dog instead. Like what she felt for him was so trivial and convenient.
She must have been walking for close to an hour now. As she passed another clump of abandoned cars, a grotty old hand surprised her by gripping onto her exposed ankle. She squealed at the cold touch, shock ripping through her, before she was immediately in action. With one swift move, she was using Shane’s knife to put the walker down, now noticing that it was missing the lower half of its body. As she moved to pull the knife out, she noticed it had become lodged in the bone of the skull. She tugged on it, grunting slightly as it moved only an inch, not giving in to her.
Her heart iced over and her stomach dropped at the sound of moans, and they were close. While still working at dislodging Shane’s knife, she turned her head to the sound, noticing two more walkers who had spotted her, emerging from the tree line closer to where she was crouched.
“Shit,” she hissed, looking back at the knife. She contemplated using her gun, but didn’t want the noise to attract any more walkers, especially while she was by herself.
She tugged once more on the knife, sighing with relief as it gave in, causing her to fall backwards while gripping the small blade in both hands. She turned just in time to see the two walkers stumble over the guardrail and close in on her.
She was in luck; both bodies were female, meaning that there was less chance of them overpowering her. With one quick thrust of the blade, the first body dropped, leaving her with the second. The stench of death had filled her nose, causing her brain to fog up momentarily. The cold fingers of the dead gripped onto her t-shirt and clung to it, eagerly chomping its jaws close to her face. She lifted her knee instinctually, successfully pushing it further away from her. This allowed her to lift her arm and position the knife, before she landed it straight in the eye of the walker. Dark brown blood splattered onto her white t-shirt and she squeezed her mouth and eyes shut as some landed on her face.
Using a clean section of the shirt, she wiped at her mouth and eyes, before collecting the knife from the eye of the walker and moving back to camp, at a faster pace this time.
“What do ya mean she wanted to walk?” Daryl shouted, moving so he was standing directly in front of Shane. Shane puffed his chest out, slightly bumping it into the other man, hoping to get a reaction from him.
Rick jumped forward, pulling Daryl back and moving to stand between the two, keeping one hand on each of their chests. T-Dog moved forward as well, ready to jump in and help Rick if needed, Glenn right behind him.
“Look man,” Shane’s voice was slightly taunting before he turned to Rick, taking off his baseball hat. “She insisted. There was nothin’ I could do.”
“You coulda stayed with her, man! What the hell were ya thinkin’, leavin’ her out there alone?” Daryl’s voice was so filled with anger that he’d forgotten about the clue to Sophia’s whereabouts that he’d found only a few hours earlier.
Daryl had only just returned to the camp, ready to inform them all of the small hiding place in the cupboard of an abandoned farmhouse he’d found, sure that Sophia had been there, and recently. It was only when he couldn’t spot the familiar head of honey-blonde hair that he started to ask around. Everyone had looked at him nervously, not knowing how he would react to the news that Shane had left her on the highway that had been crawling with walkers only a few days prior.
“She said she wanted to be by herself. And don’t blame me, man! You’re the one who’s got her like that,” Shane began to smile tantalizingly as Daryl moved forward, his fists balled up. “Yeah she told me about your little lovers tiff this morning! Was real broken up ‘bout it.”
With an animalistic grunt, Daryl threw himself on top of the other man, throwing a punch that collided with the side of Shane’s jaw. As the two men tussled on the ground, rolling over one another, Rick, T-Dog and Glenn jumped in, successfully wrenching the two men apart. They continued to yell insults at each other, only stopping when Dale called out the name of the girl that had unknowingly started the fight.
Hiya, I'm so sorry about the delay in chapters, I've had so much due for uni it's been insane. I'm also not entirely sure how happy I am with this chapter, so feedback would be great.
Thanks guys for voting/commenting/subscribing, please keep it up :) xx