He Rose Again
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Though they've made it over the wall, Maggie and Carol aren't into the woods quite yet.

Outside Woodbury

"Here you are— savin' us instead."

It's a straight jump down from this smaller wall once they're over and then a stretch of open highway running straight out into the horizon. Cars litter more sparsely here, offering little cover, while the trees shuddering in the growing night-time look a good sprint away; they look, too, like they're ready to swallow the women up and let anyone forget they existed. On this side, it's further disheartening when there's no sign of Michonne with her sword — it's increasingly unlikely that she went this way… or else the near-stranger merely decided to abandon them to Woodbury's devices.

The beginning of which are creeping after the women. A spattering of footsteps and yelling sounds on the other side of the wall, calling men to action and them to run.

Those voices spur Maggie forward toward the treeline. A grasping hand reaches out for Carol to make sure she is still there and with her. They have already lost so many people on this mission that the last thing she wants to do is find Carol gone, too. Once they make it to the safety of the trees - whatever small safety that may give them - Maggie surveys the damage of the fire along with the outskirts. A part of her wonders if Michonne ditched them on purpose in order to take care of things on her own. The woman certainly had an agenda of her own. "If we wait here, they'll probably find us soon." She looks over her shoulder into the deeper forest. "Should we press forward? The prison's our central location. Everyone may already be headed that way to meet up."

Running, Carol's hand skips up to Maggie's elbow to hesitate her momentum as she spins around to look off in the direction of the town they fled; the sounds that coerce them further away. "Or Rick and Andrea might need our help," she counters, pushing no argument, just worry. Her reluctance to go forward and her reluctance to get any closer to that wall again are almost equal partners, weighing her eyes nearly the same. The pair they lost behind the fire are pretty capable folks, but anyone can get trapped. Caught. Die. Anyone.

The need to see Glenn again and make sure he is alright wars with her need to make sure the people they came with are fine. Maggie knows that they should attempt to find Rick and Andrea, however finding them in a forest filled with Walkers seems like an impossible challenge. "I know." It's an acknowledgment, if not an agreement. "It's just…" she trails off and looks at an indeterminable distance through the woods. "…no, you're right. Let's take a look around. They may be on the outskirts like us. If they are, we should find them."

"We'll make it quick as we can," Carol says, grounded in the practical logic they've all had to learn. The nighttime isn't going to make it easy on them; the details of Woodbury are already blurry here in the dark. Knife tight in her grip, she skirts those treed outskirts, trying focus only on what's at hand and to rely on her ears more than her eyes — for shouts, footsteps … or rustles within the forest they can see into even less.

Rustles they get.

Shouting.

Other figures have made it over the wall, or on top of the wall, and just as a voice becomes distinguishable, so does the shot from his rifle, whizzing past Carol's head and lodging into the tree nearby.

"Run 'em down!"

Maggie hesitates, but nods her affirmative. Glenn is safe at the prison. The others are out here somewhere. Possibly still within Woodbury, getting tortured and then murdered. She shivers, remembering her own time at Woodbury. The scars of that are something she is still pressing to the back of her mind to deal with at another time. This is not the time. She takes a step forward to keep pace with Carol when the gun shots crack.

"Shit!" The reconnaissance will have to wait. "Come on." She makes sure that Carol is coming along as she dashes through the trees, weaving between trunks to make it harder to be shot. "If we gain on them, we can find a hidin' place."

If.

It's the glimmer of hope and life that Carol and Maggie dash towards through the shadowy forest, once familiar markings becoming blurs of branches trying to entangle in their sparse clothes. Roots seem to come out of nowhere, as do bullets.

Chaotic seconds later, it becomes obvious that one man is not going to be left behind so easily; pursuing like a bloodhood, he barely pauses to shoot — a lucky trend, as it sends his aim veering off and hitting tree trunks the women have just passed.

But how long until one of them trips. Slows? How long till he gets lucky?

A bullet whizzes past Carol's ear, letting her feel the breeze of its thunderous power— and then flies backwards again.

No. That's not what bullets do.

But something definitely went past her the other way.

No time to process, as there's a loud urggg of a gurgle and a thump behind them with a rustle of nature. Darkness ahead clears just slightly, parting as Daryl sets the crossbow to resting in front of him, tearing a second arrow from his mouth with the other hand to set across its bow. Blood cakes up one arm and distinctively across his face, where shadows play into a variety of puckered bruises, but he readies the weapon with the intelligence of the living. And he's wearing a bright blue "I'M WITH HANDSOME ➡" t-shirt that sits unfitting across his dirty shoulders.

In the midst of trying to avoid branches, roots and bullets alike, Carol barely knows where to look first; before she catches sight of what's in front of her and Maggie, her shoulder's turning in the beginnings of looking back and making logic of what she heard, but looking back's a sure way to run headfirst into a tree. When she does see the figure up ahead, she nearly smacks into solid nothing as if she did encounter an obstacle in the shadows, coming to a tripping full-stop. Her eyes shine, already manic with the adrenaline of running, and blink hard to kick-start the thinking part of her mind. It's practically a reset button. "Daryl," she expresses in one out-of-breath rush, every emotion indistinct in the torrent except for pure relief as she grabs onto the rough bark of a tree to either balance herself or prepare to launch, "We came for you. Here you are— savin' us instead." There would be a smile in there somewhere if she felt like she had time to spare for one; it's inside her hurried voice and in the softer hint inside her still-shocked stare. "They said— you were killed in there."

Strings of curses fly out of Maggie's mouth as she races through the trees. She's always conscious of the people behind them and of Carol at her side. They can't keep this up forever. It's lucky that they've managed to make it this far without something hitting them or getting their feet tripped up. The first thought that crosses her mind when something flies at them from the opposite direction is not that they are saved - instead that they have been surrounded. She immediately makes to cut to the left, hoping to make it out of the entrapment, but the sight of Daryl makes her feet lock in place for a moment. The sudden change causes her to stumble into a tree. "Daryl?!" Though she's about to say the same thing, the noise of the men behind them spur her onto her feet again. "Come on, we can't just stand here. We gotta get outta range."

Amidst stares and stumbling, the ill-dressed Dixon tromps between them, grazing their peripheries with his bruises but keeping blackened eyes on his goal: the bolt that he wrenches out of the Woodbury resident's corpse. It's slid into safety as the yips and hollers of slower pursuers weaves through the labyrinthine trees. Hiking the crossbow up, he hops a step back and throws a glance over his shoulder at the girls. A quickly, coldly, barked, "G'won!" is first words to them, harshly urging them like herd animals out into the wilderness, unintelligible between having their backs and looking to exact an uneven, impossible revenge on the men approaching.

It's not exactly a delay, the way Carol looks at Daryl; it's not long enough for that. It's a moment that spans a few, mere seconds— enough, instead, to take in the battered shape of his face. It's hardly news, seeing friends — or herself — bruised, but with Daryl's blackened eye comes the knowledge that it happened somewhere inside the walls they just fled, and her gaze sharpens in those seconds before she runs, herded off. But not without a word of unusual prompting; almost warning — unusual because it's Daryl who usually knows exactly what he's doing with that crossbow to keep everyone safe. "No dallyin'," she hurries out on the move — spoken against unwise revenge, maybe, not knowing — only imagining — whatever Daryl has just been through. Carol's next words are a quick whisper to Maggie — "Y'alright?" as they head into dark forest that could be just as dangerous as what lies behind them.

"Daryl, we can't just leave ya." Maggie's eyes linger on the bruises and the blackened eye. "We came all this way to get ya." Not to mention the fact that they have a lot of people on their tail with guns. He can't handle all of them, can he? She's not a herd animal, but at Carol's urging she starts moving again, throwing wary glances behind her at the man they thought dead. "I'm fine," she replies to Carol absently, before focusing on what's ahead of them as opposed to behind. "How 'bout you?"

Can or can't he; it rattles around in his brain as confusingly as 'we came for you' and 'we came all this way to get ya'. Daryl seesaws unevenly against the forest floor, but the second he shoots a look over his shoulder and sees the fleeing figures of both women it's as if no choice ever existed. Crossbow slinging over his back, the only bolt is him taking off after Carol and Maggie. No wait for men with guns and a disposition to use them. Nor the visage of Merle, tightening the twist of the knife implanted in his elbow as he shakes his head in disapproval.

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