Author's note: Lately I've been really into Rickyl, and then I noticed I've never wrote anything for this pairing, which is kinda strange for me. This is me fixing that problem. Hope you like it and feel free to review if you have the time, it means the world to me! Don't know how many chapters there will be yet, but still super excited to right something walking dead again.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, but a girl can dream?

The first time it happened was in the prison after a difficult run. Daryl had come back strung out and completely done with people for the day. Which meant he took Judith from Beth and brought her to the watch tower with him, relieving a lonely Glenn. Glenn just grinned at him and dashed off to find the wife who had been out on run with him. Daryl had never met a couple of people who revolved around each other the way those two did.

She giggled as he swung her around in his arms, and even squealed in delight when he lifted her up high. Before the world went to shit, he had never even imaged having a family, but now his family was all he thought about. How he was going to make sure everyone got something to eat, how to keep them safe, what to do when someone couldn't sleep, when they had nightmares. Not that many people ever wanted to talk to him about it; Carol did once in a while, Carl did once or twice under the promise of not thinking he was weak, and then Rick.

It amazed him that Rick would say anything and everything to him. That the man would let him take Judith like this and trust him to take care of her. Trust him to care for everyone. It amazed him every damn day that Rick could just let another man into his life like he had been there the entire time.

Judith gurgled happily when the door to the watch tower swung opened and her father wondered through. Rick grinned and immediately came over to them, planting down directly beside Daryl, close enough that they were plastered to each other's sides. It made Daryl more than a little bit uncomfortable and he had to fight back a flinch when Rick moved again to play with Judith. She squirmed at Rick's tickling fingers, and did her best to hide behind Daryl arms from him. Daryl smiled at that; good girl, Uncle Daryl's strong and he'll protect you from anything if you just stick with him.

Rick pouted, seemingly noticing the same thing, though he didn't bother to say anything about it. Daryl could only wonder how Rick felt about his own daughter trying to duck away from him. "You know, Carl used to do the same thing, never wanted to be carried by his old man." Rick sounded amused and exhausted all at once, but that was just natural now days. Daryl just nodded at his words, noting that Rick just seemed to except it. The man was just so worn down.

Then again, Daryl figured he should be grateful for this little thing as well, Rick didn't mind that his tiny daughter had taken a shine to him. He'd taken a shine to her as well, so it was more than welcome. Rick leaning against his shoulder and just resting there was also welcome at all times as well. It seemed to be like father, like daughter, because Judith was copying him by slumping herself into a ball resting against his leg. Course, unlike Rick she was asleep in seconds, and Rick was just watching her peacefully.

This was nowhere near the first time he had imagined have a close knit family who all loved each other, but this was the first time he had felt like he was part of something like that. It was easy to admit that he loved little Judy, that he was so proud when Carl did something good, that he enjoyed having Rick lean on him at any opportunity. This being a literal instance, but other times when he needed a go to guy as well.

Judy was drooling on him like the little demon she was, but he didn't really care at all. Sometimes it was nice to just relax in the presence of the people who cared the most for him. Judith being an important one, (he could barely wait until she started to talk, wanting to hear her to call out Daryl or Uncle or maybe even pa) and Rick being the other. Rick liked to tease him in the presence of Judith (and only Judith) and call him papa Daryl while only ever referring to himself as dad, old man or daddy. Daryl knew it was only teasing, but god damn did he ever want it to come back and bite Rick in the ass. Bad metaphor to use these kind of days, he didn't really want anything to come back and bite Rick in the ass. He kinda wanted Rick and his ass to stay around for a good long period of time yet.

There was a hand in his hair and it made his eye's fly wide open instantly. Daryl felt him steel himself as to not flinch wildly backwards at the unexpected contact and wake the sleeping baby. It was just Rick anyway, who was looking at him with calm, soft eye's that were tiredly smiling. He didn't say anything, but they always seemed to be comfortable in the silence together so they didn't really seem necessary anyway. Ricks hand smoothed its way though his hair repeatedly, Daryl tried to stop his eyes from drooping from the effect of the calming action.

Then Rick's hand wasn't just in his hair, but rubbing it softly over his neck and the front of his face. Rick's thumb ran itself over Daryl's bottom lip, and Daryl tried not to blush as his lips parted slightly. This wasn't something that should be happening between the two of them, yet here it was in all it quiet and awkward glory. Daryl eyes closed; he couldn't bring himself to look at Rick as that calloused thumb dipped slightly into his mouth. He couldn't stop himself from leaning farther into the touch though; it was really kinda nice it to actually be wanted for once in his life.

And then the door opened and the moment was over. Rick had moved his hand like he didn't want anyone to see and Daryl's eyes had flown up to be more aware of his surroundings. Beth had come to get little ass kicker to put her to sleep for the night and Rick left with her, wanting to tuck his daughter in. As they left, Daryl tried to just ignore the fact the Beth kept doing double takes at him; for he knew without a doubt that he was red in the face and probably looked dazed as hell. He wouldn't be able to meet her eyes for a while after this, too damn embarrassing being seen like this.

Rick couldn't have been thinking straight when he did that; but as Daryl kept watch over the prison ground for the night, he couldn't help but feel the slightest disappointed that Rick didn't kiss him.