Title: On Bended Knee
Author: untapdtreasure
Pairing: Carol & Daryl
Summary: When you let things grow and become what they were meant to be, you'll be surprised at what could come from that.
A/N: Written as a gift for upsgirl88 for the Marry Me? challenge at thecaryldaily on tumblr. We are holding the competition and therefore couldn't compete so we did them as gifts to one another. I hope you like this one, sweetie! And a big thanks to atoizzard for the beta job! You rock, sweetie!

Carol knew that Daryl was conflicted with caring about her, and with him caring about everyone else, too. He knew she deserved some of his time, but there just never seemed to be enough hours in the day. So instead, he'd kept her at arm's length as best he could. They'd shared plenty of private moments in the winter months and kisses, too. Then they found the prison, and almost all contact and intimacy stopped. They had work to do. So much work.

But they did it. They had made this place their home. And with it came new responsibilities. And over time, new people with the fall of Woodbury and the stragglers that Rick and the others deemed safe enough to bring back and into their fold.

T-Dog would have been proud of just how far they'd come. The weather was turning once again. Summer was a fond memory, and fall was becoming an old friend. Now there was a nip in the air; a bitter and harsh reminder that winter wasn't forgiving.

She was alone outside except for Glenn who was up in the watch tower. She pulled her sweater just a bit tighter and moved through the grounds and found her spot. It wasn't a private one by any means, but when everyone else was inside and she was left alone, she revelled in it.

She leaned back a little, letting the midday sun warm her face. She had been there for a few minutes now, maybe twenty, when a shadow moved between her and the sun and stopped. "Just five more minutes," she begged softly, knowing it was someone needing her for one thing or another.

"Ain't here to bug ya for nothin'. Thought maybe you might wanna walk with me to the other side and check the fences..." Daryl's southern drawl was like music to her ears. He saw her smile before he saw her crystal blue hues and smirked. She was gorgeous.

She opened her eyes then and offered him and a hand to pull her up. Once she was on her feet, she pushed her arm through his and held on gently. "Do you think the fences are giving way?"

He shook his head. "Nope. Just a precaution. Told Hershel and Sasha we'd do it, so now we're doin' it." He looked down at her arm through his and didn't loosen her grip, but he started to walk. "Besides, you need a break from all them people."

He knew her so well that it thrilled her in ways she never imagined. Her eyes cut over to him, nudging him with her hip. "That so?"

"Yep." He gave a soft chuckle. "I never get to talk to just you anymore. Someone's always stickin' their nose in or needin' somethin'". Like she was the only damn person in the joint that could help them or some shit.

"It happens when you live close in ranks like this..." She kept her voice soft. She liked to be needed, but Daryl was making her feel wanted. She glanced around as they approached the west side of the compound. No walkers were along the fences here because there was no walking meat to tease them to pile up in hordes. "Looks pretty tight over here," she mused, grateful that it hadn't been piled up like the other two sides.

He nodded. "Checked it earlier," he admitted. When she turned and gave him a quizical look, he loosened her arm from his and took several steps forward which made her back up as he invaded her space out of the blue. Once her back hit the wall, he kissed her softly. She'd been the one to initiate every kiss they'd shared up to that point and somewhere along the way, she had stopped; wanting him to take lead for a change.

His kiss surprised her, but only enough to make her hesitate for a moment before returning his kiss. Her lips parted and his hands were on her hips now, pulling her tight to his body. She let out a soft whimper as their tongues connected. Her hand moved slowly up his chest and against his neck before tangling in his hair and settling there. She tilted her head again, giving him full access to her mouth and whatever other parts of her he wanted.

He kissed her for what felt like hours before he pulled away, lips wet and puffy from being sucked on and bitten. He searched her eyes then. "Fuck. I missed you." He touched her face with barely his knuckles and smiled a bit when she turned into his touch to get more of him.

"Missed you, too..." She kept her eyes on his and frowned a bit when he shifted from standing to go down to one knee. "Daryl, what on Earth are you doing?" She reached to stand him up. Her heart pounding when he instead took both her hands and held them with one of his.

He reached into his pocket then, pulling out a simple white gold band and met her eyes. "Shoulda did this long ago, but I'm an idiot some times. A child that needs leadin' 'round by the hand to see what's right damn in front of my fuckin' face." He gave his head a tilt and saw a tear slipping down her face. "Now don't go a doin' that or I won't get this out..." He gently wiped it away with his thumb.

She gave him a smile then and a sniffle and nodded, encouraging him to keep going. She didn't want him to stop for fear they'd never be here again.

"Ain't no preachers, no justice of the peace, no one to make it official. Figure all we need is our own hearts sayin' yes an' it's done. Don't you think?" When she nodded, he slipped the ring onto her ring finger of her left hand.

"What...what about you?" Her voice was shaky now. "Don't you get a ring, too?" Then she felt the smooth, cool metal being pressed into her hand. She opened her palm to see a matching band there. She immediately took it and pushed it onto his finger and then their fingers entwined together.

She pulled him to stand and before she kissed him, they both whispered, "I do."