After The End
Rosie could hear loud arguing as she approached the gate that lead onto the Greene farm. What are they arguing about now? she thought to herself bitterly.
She hoisted herself up and over the gate, her tired muscles protesting as she did so, before slowly shuffling into view of the farmhouse and her group’s tents.
“Rosie!” Dale’s voice alerted the others from where he sat atop the RV, binoculars in his hot little hands.
Rosie lifted her arm in a wave, trying to convey that she was fine. She could see the panic in everyone’s eyes as they turned to look at her. She frowned when she saw Daryl struggling under the weight of both Rick and T-Dog’s arms, as well as Glenn’s hand on Shane’s chest, restraining him.
She groaned loudly as she realized that they must have been having another fistfight. However it wasn’t either of them that approached her angrily, the first to address her. It was a furious-looking Rick.
He looked back at the group, commanding them all to stay back, before he approached where Rosie was now stood still, rooted to the spot. She was suddenly terrified that her stupid act of independence was going to cost her her place within the group.
She stared at the leader as he came up to her, both of them out of earshot from the group.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He hissed, his words reeking of fury and making her flinch back slightly. She had never been in trouble with Rick before, but now she knew that it wasn’t something she wanted to make a habit of.
Rick didn’t give her a chance to finish, instead carrying on angrily, ignoring her pleading looks. “You really thought it was a smart idea to be out on that highway by yourself? The highway where we lost Sophia?”
She hung her head in shame, avoiding his gaze as he continued to stare at her with anger-filled eyes.
“That was damn stupid of you!” He shouted. She glanced over at the group to see them all watching the pair. Her eyes found Daryl’s and he shook his head at her, making her turn away and back to Rick.
“Are you kicking me out of the group?” She whispered, tears pricking at her eyes but she blinked them back.
Rick looked taken aback. “No. No, Rosie, of course not. I just want to make sure you don’t do anything that stupid again,” his voice was slightly softer now, like he was scolding a small child. “Look, I know you think you can take care of yourself, and maybe you can, but you worried a lot of the group here. And when certain people worry, it causes fights.” His words were obvious and Rosie’s cheeks burned as she nodded, making it a point to not look in the direction of Daryl.
“I promise it won’t happen again,” she said softly. “I just wanted some time out.”
Rick sighed and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I know,” he responded before removing his arm and glancing at her stained shirt. “What the hell happened to you? Are you okay?”
Rosie just glanced down at herself and nodded. “Yeah, just came across a couple of walkers. No problems,” she shrugged and kept his pace as he began to walk back to the group.
She avoided Daryl’s gaze as she joined everyone. She caught Rick shoot the group a warning glare, silently telling them that he had given her enough of a hard time for risking her life. As she nodded at him gratefully she went to move past Daryl but he grabbed her arm, yanking on it roughly until she was in front of him.
“What the fuck, Rose!” He exploded, forgetting about the people around him momentarily.
Rosie glanced around, noticing how people began to busy themselves with chores, pretending to ignore his outburst. She looked back at Daryl with empty eyes before going to move past him again, but he pulled on her arm a second time.
“Stop!” She hissed, grabbing his hand and throwing it off her. He was looking at her with eyes angrier than Rick’s. It was the first time she was actually scared of him.
“Let her be, Daryl,” Shane stepped towards the pair and his words caused Daryl to glare at him angrily.
“You back the hell up, man!” Daryl shouted. He was furious that Rosie was getting off so easy after putting herself in so much danger. He looked back to her, slightly concerned by her blank expression. He looked down at her bloody t-shirt before his gaze returned to her face. “This walker blood?”
Without a word, Rosie moved past him and he let her this time, already knowing the answer to his question.
As she made her way to her tent, she saw Maggie talking to Glenn quietly, a few yards away from her. She smiled at Maggie as the other woman began to walk towards her with a warm smile that mirrored Rosie.
“Heard about your little wander,” Maggie said jokingly when she was closer to the blonde woman.
Rosie finally allowed herself a small laugh, relieved to have someone not jumping down her throat. “I’m not surprised. Word travels fast around here.”
“Look, I got a working shower up in my bathroom that you can use,” Maggie nodded her head to Rosie’s t-shirt before continuing, her eyes sympathetic. “Might also give you a break from the testosterone ‘round here.”
“A shower?” Rosie repeated. Maggie just nodded as she watched Rosie’s face break into a genuine smile. “That’s the best thing I’ve heard in ages.”
Maggie laughed before nodding her head in the direction of the farmhouse. “C’mon, I’ll show ya.”
Rosie began to walk, taking one last glance back at the camp, only seeing where Daryl was sulking in a camping chair a little ways away from the group, watching her sulkily.
With still wet hair that now smelled of strawberry shampoo, Rosie exited the farmhouse. She was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans that she’d borrowed from Maggie that fit her snugly, as well as one of the t-shirts she’d sourced from the highway. With winter slowly approaching, the air was gaining a chill, especially when the sun began to drop out of the sky. It made Rosie long for her worn flannel button-up that had been left behind at the CDC.
She rubbed her arms in an effort to warm them as she joined the group where they were sat around the fire, eating dinner.
“What have we got?” She asked as she dropped down on the ground next to where Dale sat in his fold-up chair. The hot shower had lifted her spirits considerably, the feeling of being scrubbed clean head-to-toe making her feel like a whole new person.
“Squirrel,” Lori responded, loading up a plate of the meat and handing it to Rosie. “Daryl went out and got some today.”
Rosie’s eyes flickered to Daryl who was eating the meat greedily, sucking the juices from his hands as he went. “You went out?” she asked quietly, realizing that avoiding him all day after their altercation meant she had no idea of his whereabouts.
He just nodded, his eyes only landing on her briefly. She could tell he was still pissed off.
“Found a real good lead on Sophia too,” Rick added in and Rosie tore her gaze away from Daryl to land on the sheriff. He began to explain what Daryl had found while Rosie ate slowly, nodding along with his words. With her better mood, Rosie was now more determined than ever to find the younger girl. Rick began to talk about their plans for tomorrow and what each person would be doing, explaining that Rosie was to stay back at the camp and help Herschel, along with the other women.
“Wait, I want to come out and help look for Sophia!” Rosie spoke insistently.
Rick sighed, looking down at her like he expected this. “I don’t think so, Rosie,” he muttered, rubbing his jaw.
Rosie let out a disbelieving laugh. “C’mon, Rick. I’ll stay with the others. I can help. I’m an asset.”
“No way,” Daryl spoke for the first time, his voice rough. She turned to look at him only to see him scowling in her direction.
Knowing better than to continue arguing, Rosie just shut her mouth and allowed her mind to be consumed by anger. She exhaled deeply as the conversation continued on around her. Quietly, she finished her meal and threw her plastic plate on the pile by the fire before excusing herself and heading to the empty RV.
Once inside, she gripped the edge of the countertop tightly, her knuckles going white with the pressure, and stared out of the window at the field ahead. She was glad that the curtains behind her had been drawn, keeping her out of sight of the others in her moment of emotion.
Footsteps coming up the stairs of the RV caused her to turn around and her eyes widened slightly in surprise at the sight of Daryl ducking his head to enter the vehicle.
“Hey,” she spoke softly and he glanced at her, seeming to have calmed down since earlier.
She leaned against the countertop now, arms folded over her chest as she waited for him to speak, watching him carefully.
A few minutes passed before he finally filled the space with his voice. “Sorry about before,” he muttered as he moved to stand opposite her, leaning against the built-in table. The distance between them was tiny, the both of them squeezed in close to each other. “Shouldn’t’ve yelled at you like that, not in front of the others.”
“It’s okay,” she responded quietly. “I didn’t think you would be so mad. Sorry.”
It was quiet again. Daryl finally found the courage to lift his gaze and look into her face, chewing on his thumbnail nervously as he did so. She offered him a small smile, which he returned, although it was more a smirk.
“’Course I’d be mad,” he said and she raised an eyebrow, inviting him to continue. “It was real stupid to go off by yourself, Ro. Even being with Shane is better than being alone.”
Rosie rolled her eyes, over the lectures. “I know, I know. I just needed the space.”
“Next time you want some space, let me come with ya. Please? We don’t even have to talk, just let me look out for ya.”
Rosie shifted uncomfortably. “You’re the reason I needed space, Daryl.”
Daryl looked slightly hurt before adjusting his expression to neutral again.
“After what you said to me this morning,” she took a deep breath and avoided his gaze, hating being this honest with him. “I was too upset to be around people.”
Daryl breathed in loudly and took a step forward. He was now pressed up against Rosie, making her stare up at him in shock.
“You know I didn’t mean it, Rose. I was jus’ mad.”
“Why were you mad? Did I do something?”
“You didn’t do anything,” he mumbled, his cheeks flushing slightly as he looked down at her. “I was mad at me,” he admitted, watching as she looked confused. “Mad that I keep letting myself get distracted by you. One day someone’s gonna get hurt and s’gonna be my fault because I was too busy makin’ sure you were safe.”
Rosie scoffed. “I’ve told you before, I-”
“Can look after yaself, I know,” Daryl smiled at her now, moving his hand to brush the hair out of her face. “Can’t help it though.” His voice was quiet and shy with his admission and Rosie couldn’t help the ghost of the smile that appeared on her face. He dipped his head and their lips connected in a soft kiss before he pulled away again. Just in time, it seemed, as clumsy footsteps sounded from the steps just outside.
Daryl awkwardly shuffled backwards until he reached the tabletop, looking down at his shoes but letting a smirk grace his face at the blush that decorated Rosie’s cheeks.
“Oh, sorry,” Dale said as he saw the two. “I was just coming to grab my jacket.” The older man quickly grabbed said jacket before retreating.
Daryl moved closer to Rosie again but she held her hand against his chest, halting him. “Is this just another one of your mood swings?” She questioned cautiously, making him frown. “Are you going to all of a sudden be an ass again tomorrow?”
Daryl looked down at her guiltily before he shook his head. His hands moved to rest on her waist, causing her heartbeat to speed up slightly. “Nope,” he promised, leaning in to kiss her before she pulled away, stopping him again.
“Because I’m not just going to be your little girlfriend whenever you feel like it, you know?” Her voice came out slightly sassy, making Daryl smile in amusement. He nodded and moved his face closer to hers before she stopped him again by pulling away.
“And another thing-” her words cut off when Daryl crashed his lips onto hers, forcing her to stop talking.
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