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Title: What Else
Characters: Daryl, Carol, Carl (gen)
Words: 591
Rating: G
Spoilers: Through Pretty Much Dead Already (2.07) Theoretical nod to the Nebraska teasers, but that's just theoretical.
Summary: Post-ep for Pretty Much Dead Already, because I apparently needed closure.
Disclaimer: Do I look like AMC? Do I write comic books? (The answer is no times two.) All fun, no profit.

She'd been washed and dressed and said words over. Only seemed right. Nobody'd argued. Hershel's people kept their distance, dealt with the rest how they saw fit. Carol had picked where they buried her. Carol didn't know what was going to bloom there but Daryl did, knew the leaves even without the blossom. He didn't know whether or not he wished they were going to be there to see it.

Pile of rocks didn't seem like enough. They had two days and there was a bunch of meat smoking that needed watched over and Daryl kept popping stitches and Hershel wasn't exactly going to be in the mood to sew him up again, so he had to stay pretty still, and a pile of rocks didn't seem like enough. He pulled another one getting the piece of a downed tree he wanted.

Shane gave him shit for sitting on his ass. Daryl showed him the side of his ribcage and the back of his middle finger. Now he was yelling about something else but far enough away not to listen to. One direction down the field was Carol, sitting by the grave. The other direction was Rick taking off after Shane, both of them shouting now. Lori came over and started scrubbing a pan like it had done her wrong. Her eyes were red.

Daryl could tell everybody's footsteps if he concentrated but Carl's were easy. Smaller, shorter, lighter. Slow right now, hesitations in between as they came closer, so Daryl looked up and waited.

"Is that for the... for Sophia?"


"Can you show me?"

He cut his gaze over to Lori, who he knew was watching. Not much of a nod, but she did. He showed Carl on a scrap piece of wood with the smallest knife he had until Carl could put a few details on the real thing, and help sharpen the bottom so it could be stuck in the ground easy. Lori nodded again when Carl asked to go with him, out down the field. He stopped Carl short and they stood there a minute, quiet, until Carol'd stood up and brushed the grass off her pants.

"Thank you," she said, running her fingers over the roses carved on the cross, over her daughter's name. Her voice cracked.

"I helped," Carl said. "Some."

Carol bent down and hugged and kissed him. Daryl saw her reaching out again when she straightened up, so he was ready for it and didn't flinch. Her face was wet against his neck and she came away with a streak of dirt on her cheek because he was a little bit grimy.

They staked the cross down into the clay and stood there a minute longer. Carol and Carl might have been praying. Carol squeezed Daryl's hand hard enough to hurt. "Damn, woman, you got some grip," was what he broke the silence with, and a hoarse laugh came after, like she had to blow the dust off it before she could use it again.

Carl ran on ahead and they walked back slower. Daryl'd known he was bleeding some ever since he'd pulled the latest stitch, but not bad, not a lot. But Carol stopped and took her hand from his side and looked at her fingers in alarm, then his shirt. "Why didn't you--"

"Just needs stitchin' back up," he said. "Nothing worth worrying about."

She wiped her hand off on the hem of her shirt and squinted up into the sunset at him. "What else've I got to do?"
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