Title: Here In My Arms
Author: untapdtreasure
Rating: T
Summary: In its own way, the house felt like a place to leave everything just outside the door.
A/N: This was written for a prompt at tumblr. Thanks to lovesdaryl on tumblr for the beta.

Daryl stooped to poke at the fire in the fireplace and glanced to look at Carol over his shoulder. They had been through so much in the past several months, and he himself was still hiding from Negan and his men. Finding out that Carol was near the Kingdom community had been news to him, and he hadn't had the heart to pry out of her why she'd left Alexandria when he had found out from Morgan that they had left the same day he had gone off in search of Dwight. Especially when he hadn't yet had the heart to tell her about Glenn and Abraham.

In its own way, the house felt like a place to leave everything just outside the door. He pushed himself up to stand. "Thanks for the shower and clean clothes." They weren't exactly his style, but he couldn't remember the last time he had clean clothes or a shower so he wasn't about to complain.

"No problem," she said as she smiled softly at him over the rim of her tea mug. She shifted the blanket so it covered her better and patted the seat beside her. "Please make yourself at home." It had been entirely too long since they'd had a quiet night together. Truth was that of everyone, she had missed him the most.

He decided to humor her and sat himself down as close as he dared without touching her. Not that he didn't want to. It felt good to be in her presence. She had always had a calming effect on him, and he welcomed it after everything that had come after the fall of the prison - the only place that had ever felt like home to him.

"I don't know if I told you, but I'm glad you were here." He glanced away from her and back into the fire as he spoke. He felt his cheeks warm and knew he was too far from the fire to blame it on the heat.

She nodded. "Me too." Her body shifted toward his until she was close enough to wrap one arm around his and laid her head on his shoulder. She cradled the mug with her other hand and rested it against her leg. "I missed you."

The truth was she had been exhausted before leaving Alexandria, and this was the first time in months that she hadn't felt that way. Her eyes closed slowly as she let out a soft exhale.

"Missed you, too, Carol." He moved his hand so it rested on her leg just above her knee. He gave it a slight squeeze and then let it linger there, gently rubbing his thumb along the outside seam of her blue jeans.

He glanced at her and gave her a shy grin that had often been for only her. He tilted his head slightly to left as her eyes opened and met his. "A lot."

She barely shifted and placed her mug on the end table to free her hand. Turning back to him, she placed a hand to his cheek, relaxing at the feel of his stubble along the palm of her hand, and leaned forward to press a kiss to his forehead.

A memory came back to him of a moment when they'd been on the road to Washington where she had done the same. He closed his eyes, barely whispering as he spoke, "Can I kiss you?"

Her breath caught in her throat as her lips lowered from his head allowing her to study his face. Her hand slid down to rest against his neck. The pad of her thumb grazed along his jugular. "Look at me," she managed to whisper.

Their eyes met as he slowly opened his eyes. She leaned in, allowing their noses to brush against one another. "Ask me again."

He shifted slightly away from her, trying to quell the overwhelming desire to run away. Instead, it only served to shift her tighter against him. "Can I kiss you?" His voice was low and gravelly. His eyes flicked down to her lips as his own parted just a little.

She nodded. Her tongue darted out to wet her lips as she anticipated his lips touching hers. She had never allowed herself to imagine what it would feel like. She hadn't ever dared to hope that he'd ever want to. Her thumb continued to stroke his neck, trying to keep him as calm as she could.

He leaned in then, ghosting his lips along hers in a barely there kiss. His eyes half-closed as different emotions courses through his body. He put only a whisper of distance between their mouths before he pressed forward and kissed her a second time.

Now her hands were in his hair, encouraging him not to stop. Her lips parted slightly as she felt his mouth opening to her. A moan escaped her as she felt him shifting them yet again. Her body responded to his in a way that she hadn't experienced in longer than she could remember.

The need for air caused him to break away from the kiss first. His cheeks were tinged pink as his breathing was slightly labored. He gave her another shy smile and shrugged his shoulder a bit. "Maybe we shouldn't've waited so long."

Her fingers raked gently through his dark, long locks as she shook her head just slightly. "We weren't ready before, and now we are." She pressed a gentle kiss to his mouth once more. She nuzzled his nose with hers as she breathed softly. "Maybe we're ready for more than just kissing."

He moaned against her mouth then as he kissed her more passionately. He gave a slight nip to her bottom lip as he pulled away once again. "Only if you're sure. I ain't gonna rush you, Carol." He sucked at her bottom lip as the kissing continued.

His hand moved to her hip, squeezing it gently. He then eased his hand along her side, managing to get his hand under her shirt to touch her skin. He whimpered as she pressed against his fingers.

"Don't stop," she begged between kisses. Her hand had moved from his hair to the buttons on his shirt. Her nails raked against his exposed skin. She wanted him to never stop. She lifted her head as his mouth moved along her chin and to her neck. She exposed more of her throat to him as their bodies shifted on the couch.

She was beneath him with him between her legs as she tried desperately to get the blanket from between them where it had gotten trapped as they shifted. She grew frustrated and pushed him back slightly.

He chuckled against her throat. "Slow down, Carol. I ain't going anywhere." He easily removed the blanket and let it drop to the floor as he continued his tender assault of her neck.

There was a pool of heat in the pit of her stomach. Something she had only experienced in the beginning with Ed and never with Tobin. She ached for him in that moment, and she needed him to fill the emptiness inside her.

"Daryl, please?" she begged. She had undone every button on his shirt now and had pushed it from his shoulders. "Please?" Her voice shook with emotion as her hands moved around his back and gently moved against his scars.

He lifted his head as he loomed above her. "I don't plan on stoppin'."

And he didn't.

Not until all the fireplace held was embers, and the day had begun to awaken. They lay tangled together under the blanket; naked and clinging to one another as if their lives depended on it.

"Ask me again." Her head slowly lifted as their eyes met. Her eyes were heavy with sleep as a lazy smile slipped across her lips.

"Can I kiss you?" He didn't wait for her answer as he gave her a soft kiss goodnight. They then snuggled even closer together as they both drifted off to get some much-needed sleep.

/end