After The End
Rosie woke up to an empty room. Sun slid in through the openings of the curtains and she winced as she shuffled around on the bed. She glanced down at her torso to see thick, white gauze wrapped around her entire middle. It felt tight. She wondered briefly and with a red face who had been the one to remove her top and bra, suddenly remembering Daryl being the one to lay her down on the bed.
With an embarrassed groan, she threw the heels of her hands over her eyes and fell back into the clean pillow. Of course I’m the one that gets injured.
The sounds of heated voices rolled through the house and down the corridor until they reached her room. She perked an eyebrow as she tried to listen, straining to hear who was speaking and about what, but she couldn’t pick up a single word. She slowly swung her legs over the bed, testing her weight on them. She was relieved when she could stand up, but had to press a hand down against her waist as pain shot through where Herschel had applied stitches.
Her jeans were still covering her legs, splattered with blood, and she noticed that someone had left a loose green t-shirt folded neatly at the end of the bed with a basic black cotton bra sat atop. She continued trying to listen as she dressed herself as quickly as possible, determining that at least half the group must be tucked into the small dining room, if not all.
She quietly creaked the door open and padded down the corridor at the pace of a snail, barefoot. As she neared the dining room she could make out the distinct voice of Rick.
“… blindfolded the whole way, he’s not a threat.”
Rosie snorted, making herself known by accident as she peered around the corner of the doorway. All eyes flew to her and she stepped into the room, one hand clutching the door frame to keep herself steady.
“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” Herschel spoke gruffly, a disapproving look on his face, but she ignored him.
“Not a threat, huh?” Rosie spat at Rick, surprising everyone in the room with her poisonous tone. She could feel Daryl’s eyes boring into her from where he stood by the exit door, having just made his way in as well.
Rick stared at her silently, his eyes pleading with her to just agree with him before he spoke. “He’s just a kid, Rosie,” his voice was stern. “Just mixed up with the wrong people.”
“Oh please,” she continued, staring him down before letting her gaze flicker to Glenn. “He woulda done anything to impress those assholes he was with!”
“Rosie-” Glenn spoke hesitantly.
“Nah,” Rosie let out a humorless laugh, trying to fight away the tears of anger. She still couldn’t believe that they had brought Randall back to their camp and Herschel had operated on his bum leg. “Whatever I say, I know you’re gonna do what you wanna do, and that’s fine too,” she directed her next words at Rick, whose jaw was locked as he glared at her. “But you watched that asshole manhandle me, and you know he would have done a lot worse if you hadn’t been there. Anyone who was with those two dead idiots, ain’t right with me.”
She turned back to the hallway as quickly as she could and clambered back to the bedroom she had been holed up in, hearing the conversation continuing behind her.
It was dark in her room when Rosie was gently nudged awake. She looked above her to see Maggie watching her with a small smile. The girl helped Rosie into a sitting position before offering her a glass of water and two small white pills.
“Medicine time,” she said softly. “Don’t want you getting an infection.”
Rosie took the pills and downed the water hungrily, smiling a thanks to her friend. Without invitation, Maggie dropped herself onto the bed next to Rosie, focusing on her fingers.
“You okay?” Rosie asked.
“I should be askin’ you that,” Maggie said with a small, sad laugh before catching Rosie’s gaze. “I’m glad you got outta there.”
“Me too,” Rosie mumbled, leaning her back up against the pillows squashed behind her. She let out a small sigh, remembering how she had confronted Rick in front of the whole group. He was going to be so mad at her.
Maggie was silent again, now picking at a loose thread on the blanket that covered Rosie.
“Is it about Glenn?” Rosie asked softly, watching as Maggie froze before shifting her eyes up.
“He told ya?”
“Well, he told Rick,” Rosie smiled. “And I was there. I could tell he didn’t want me there, though.”
“I’m such an idiot,” Maggie sighed and buried her face in her hands.
“No, you’re not,” Rosie laughed, grabbing at Maggie’s hands and pulling them away. “It’ll work out. You don’t have to be a genius to see that the kid’s crazy about you. He’s just never had something so serious before, he’s scared shitless.”
Maggie watched her friend as though she was looking for reassurance. When she had found the answer in Rosie’s eyes, she nodded and gave her a grateful smile before standing up and heading to the door. She paused, her hand on the doorknob. “Thanks, Ro.”
“No problem,” Rosie chuckled and gave her a small wave.
“Oh, sorry,” she heard Maggie say to someone, awkwardness coating her words before the woman disappeared. The hand on the doorknob was replaced by a rough, calloused one, much larger than Maggie’s dainty little one.
“Daryl,” Rosie breathed out his name, a happy smile gracing her face as the man shut the door behind him and moved closer, looking and feeling very uncomfortable.
“Hey,” he spoke so quietly and she knew that he was still pissed off with her.
He sat down on her bed, but much further away than Maggie had done. She could see him looking around the room for a chair to sit on, but no such luck. She smirked, wondering why he was all of a sudden so awkward with her.
“Come closer,” she murmured, clutching at his hand and giving it a small tug. He sighed dramatically as he shuffled an inch closer and she laughed softly.
The two were quiet for a moment, both watching the other.
“You had me worried,” Daryl admitted.
Rosie lowered her eyes shamefully. “I know,” she spoke softly, her words thick with regret. “I should have done what you said. I’m an idiot.”
She raised her eyes back to his when he let out a small laugh.
“That’s the first time you’ve told me I’m right,” he smirked. “Won’t be the last, neither.”
Rosie laughed quietly and the awkwardness vanished. She tugged him closer again and this time he moved in so that he was sitting right next to her on the bed, facing each other.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured, holding onto his hand and staring at it intently. She traced small patterns into the calloused skin and he marveled at how soft and delicate her touch was, like a feather.
“S’okay,” he whispered, allowing her to flip his hand over and continue her patterns on the skin of his palm. “Just don’t do it again, okay?”
She nodded, smiling up at him and he felt his heart begin to beat a little faster as he caught sight of her wide blue eyes, admiration filling them as she looked at him. He hadn’t experienced anything like it before. No one had ever looked at him like that and, as he realized this, he cleared his throat and pulled his hand back gently before averting his gaze to the floor.
“I could kill that kid for what his buddies did to ya,” he spoke a little louder, his brow furrowing when he remembered her passionate words in the dining room.
“Rick told you?” She asked with a frown, watching him as he fought back his anger.
Daryl just nodded.
“Hey,” she smiled softly, grabbing at his hand and staring at him until he looked at her. “It’s okay now.”
Daryl wanted to kick himself. Here she was, injured and shaken, and she was the one comforting him. He willed himself to lift a hand to her cheek and her head tilted into his touch. Then he placed a comforting kiss on her forehead before standing up and shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
“I’ll let you get some rest.”
“I’m not tired,” she whined, trying to grab at him and bring him back to the bed but he sidestepped her with a teasing laugh.
“Just try, yeah? I’ll bring some food in later.” He laughed at her pout and watched as she adjusted her position so she was lying on the bed properly. She made a point of squeezing her eyes shut and he smiled as he left the room and shut the door softly behind him.
As promised, Daryl had dropped off a plate heaped with food later in the night. Unfortunately, Rosie had been fast asleep and he hadn’t wanted to disturb her so he had just left it sitting on the nightstand before settling into an armchair that Maggie had brought in earlier in the evening. He’d fallen asleep to the sounds of the younger woman’s even breathing and had woken early in the morning, noting that the food was still untouched and the girl was still knocked out.
As he slipped out of the room, he thought about the fact that Rosie wasn’t aware that he had stayed with her all night. She didn’t even know how much she meant to him.
“They left already?” The words left Rosie’s lips sounding surprised. She was sat on top of the counter in the kitchen, watching as Maggie and Lori prepared dinner.
“Yeah,” Lori responded, busy chopping vegetables. “I think they wanted it done sooner rather than later. And they didn’t want to leave the poor kid out there with only a few hours of daylight.”
“Poor kid?” Rosie questioned with a raised eyebrow, before snorting.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“It’s fine,” Rosie sighed softly. She turned her head to gaze out the window.
Rick and Shane had left while she was still asleep, taking Randall out to dump him somewhere far from the farm. Rosie had slept in late, devouring the cold dinner next to her bed as soon as she woke up. The room had smelt like earth and cigarettes, reminding her of Daryl, and she had wondered briefly if it had been him who had dropped the food off. God I hope I wasn’t snoring, she thought to herself, cringing.
She had been eating when the commotion surrounding Beth had kicked off on the floor above her room. Lori had explained to her that Beth had become suicidal overnight and Maggie and Andrea were at odds over it. Rosie’s stomach had twisted nervously. She didn’t think that they needed one more thing to worry about, but she still felt for the young girl.
She was pulled from her thoughts when one of their cars rumbling sounded. Rick and Shane were pulling up outside and she jumped up and headed to their car, wanting to know what she had missed out on.
“What the hell happened to you?” T-Dog voiced everyone’s thoughts once they had all gathered around the car. Both Rick and Shane were in bad shape, fresh crimson blood coating their faces and their clothes ripped slightly.
“Had a run-in with some walkers,” Rick spoke, glancing sideways at Shane, who nodded. Rosie narrowed her eyes, concerned with the looks they were sharing.
They aren’t telling us something.
“What about Randall?” Glenn sounded worried, making Rosie roll her eyes. She couldn’t give two shits about the guy whose group had wanted to force their way into their camp.
Rick paused before speaking. “He’s in the trunk.”
“What?!” Daryl exploded from where he had appeared on the outskirts of the group. Everyone watched as he stormed around the car to reach the trunk, yanking it open and revealing Randall’s bound body.
Rosie backed away from the group then, not wanting to hear anymore.
Rosie was sat slouched over in one of the folding chairs on top of the RV. She listened faintly as Rick and the group deliberated on what they were going to do about Randall. She was surveying the split ends of her hair lazily when she caught sight of Daryl approaching the circle, his crossbow slung over his back and his face grim.
As he spoke, she watched his face, noting when his eyes found her and he nodded slightly. He had gained information on Randall’s group and Rosie guessed that his split, bloody knuckles had something to do with that. Her stomach churned anxiously. Although she had no fond feelings towards Randall, she didn’t know how she felt about torturing for information. She also didn’t like the way she felt about knowing that Daryl was capable of something like that. You knew that though, an internal voice spoke up, distracting her from her unease. That’s just Daryl. He’ll do anything to protect his people.
She knew that he would have been thinking about what Rick had told him about the men in the bar, and her unease faded slightly.
With some help from Shane, Rick had decided Randall’s fate. He marched away from the group, followed by an upset Dale. Rosie wished the older man could sense that there was no use in arguing with everyone scared stiff.
The smaller group broke up, everyone going off to do their thing and Rosie climbed down from the RV. She caught Daryl tilting his head towards his camp and followed him quietly, wanting to know exactly what Randall had said.
They were silent as they walked beside each other. Rosie caught herself looking at his bloody knuckles.
“That must hurt,” she mused and he glanced over to see what she was talking about.
He stretched his hand out in front of him, examining it, before shrugging. “Nothin’ I ain’t felt before.”
Rosie frowned as she thought about what he said, turning her eyes to watch her boots as she walked.
“You okay?” Daryl asked when they reached the camp. “Your side givin’ you any trouble?”
Rosie sat down on a log and smiled up at him. “Nah, I’m good.”
Daryl just nodded, watching her for another moment as though she might fall apart. Eventually he dropped his crossbow to the ground and began fussing around with his arrows.
They sat like that, in comfortable silence, for a long while. Both were lost in their thoughts when loud footsteps sounded. The entire atmosphere changed completely as soon as Daryl caught sight of a worried looking Dale approaching. A scowl grew on his features as he scoffed humorlessly.
“The whole point of me bein’ over here is to get away from you people,” he said, but it wasn’t as aggressive as it might normally have been.
“What about Rosie?” Dale pointed at the girl with a knowing look and Rosie suddenly became interested in her fingernails. She didn’t want to hear whatever Daryl was about to say.
“Couldn’t get rid of her if I tried,” Daryl said with a teasing edge, making Rosie’s head snap up in surprise. She looked at Daryl to see a cheeky smirk adorning his face and she laughed softly in return.
Dale busied himself trying to convince the pair to step up and fight to keep Randall alive. It was obvious that the older man was focusing his efforts on Daryl rather than Rosie, knowing that Rick listened to the redneck more.
“Group’s broken,” Daryl said matter-of-factly, earning raised eyebrows from Dale.
“You act like you don’t care.”
Daryl shrugged on his jacket and leather vest before turning to face the man properly for the first time since Dale had made his way to the little camp. “Yeah, it’s ‘cause I don’t.”
“So live or die, you don’t care what happens to Randall?” Dale questioned, disappointment tingeing his voice.
“Nope,” Daryl responded bitterly, popping the ‘p’ in the word and shoving his knife into its sheath on his belt.
“Then why not stand with me and try to save the kid’s life?” Dale kept pushing and Rosie rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest with a huff.
Both men turned to look at her.
“Your opinion makes a difference! Both of you!” Dale continued, taking a few steps closer as Daryl began to move towards where Rosie stood closer to the trees, waiting.
“No one’s lookin’ to me for nothin’,” Daryl responded as he shouldered his crossbow roughly.
“Carol does! I do! Rosie does!” Dale called louder as the pair began to head into the forest. “Rick does!”
Daryl turned on his heel, stalking back to the men and saying something that Rosie didn’t catch. She sighed, having had enough of the chat and kept walking. When she reached the line of trees, she glanced back to see the two men still speaking closely, Daryl’s body stiff and annoyed.
The trees became thick around her but she moved quietly and with ease, adopting Daryl’s light footsteps so that she could hear what was happening in the woods around her. She knew she was leaving messy and obvious tracks so that Daryl could find her easily but her mouth twitched when she came up with an idea.
She began to conceal her tracks the way Daryl had told her about recently. She knew he wouldn’t be far behind so she picked up the pace, wanting to challenge the experienced hunter.
After almost twenty minutes, she found a thick tree with hanging limbs. She grabbed on to one of the thicker, sturdier looking limbs and hauled herself up. A hiss exited her mouth as her side strained, but she ignored it. She stood up and pulled herself onto one of the higher branches, and kept going until she was partially hidden in the foliage. Then she waited, watching the trail below with an amused grin on her face.
Daryl wasn’t long. He had tracked her steps easily, even the ones she was sure she had hidden perfectly. He found himself at the bottom of the thick tree trunk and glanced up, peering through the greenery to catch a glimpse of her. He frowned when he couldn’t see her and moved closer to the trunk.
“That’s a cute trick,” he called up, his voice sounding amused to her ears. “But you’re gonna have to do better than that.”
Her melodious laugh trickled down to him, making him smile, and eventually he caught sight of her as she began to move. She hoisted herself down on to the lowest tree branch and then swung her legs over it so she was dangling there. He grabbed her hips firmly and she dropped.
She looked up at him with a breathless grin. “I’m getting better, right?”
He just smirked. “Better than some of the idiots in our group, I’ll give ya that,” he responded and she laughed again. His stomach twisted nervously at the sound that he loved so much, and he reluctantly pulled his hands away from her hips. “C’mon, I’ll give ya some huntin’ tips.”
Hey guys, hope you're still enjoying this story! I'm getting a bit over Season 2 so I'm trying to move past quickly. I'm also hoping to avoid just re-writing all the dialogue that we've all watched/read so many times. Please tell me how I'm doing because this is my first fic and I'm a little worried I'm not doing it justice and no one is enjoying it! I've got a lot more exciting stuff coming up when they leave the farm, so bear with me :)
thanks guys xx