Disclaimer: I don't own The Walking Dead.

Summary: That woman was so innately kind it was a mystery to Daryl how she ever ended up with that bastard for a husband. DarylCarol, set during Chupacabra, oneshot

Um, yeah. My first het for this fandom. I dunno why, but I really love the idea of Daryl and Carol together. I like where they're taking their relationship. I've been wanting to write a fic for this pairing for the longest time, and then "Chupacabra" came around and…yeah. Here it is! I hope that y'all enjoy this. It's nothing much, just a little tag to the episode. Thanks for reading!


His stitches sting.

He doesn't show the discomfort, though. He has to put on a brave face and grit his teeth and just deal with it. It was his own damn fault he ended up like this, anyway. And partly Andrea's, but he digresses.

Dixons don't show discomfort. Dixons don't complain. Dixons don't bitch and moan and ask for things when they're injured. He hears Merle's voice in the back of his mind as he remembers all of this. He thinks back to when he was so out of it in the forest he mistook a Walker for his brother. And even when a Walker hadn't beenaround, he'd ended up seeing his brother out of delirium.

Daryl thinks that this whole thing must have happened to fuck with his head.

He's half asleep when the door opens and he hears a sweet voice tell him she's brought supper for him. He has just enough presence of mind to cover up his injuries with the comforter and turn his back to her.

He's not sure why, but he's slightly embarrassed. And this is bad because he never gets embarrassed. He's Daryl damn Dixon for shit's sake, and he doesn't get embarrassed. But she's saying all these nice things that are kind of odd. Not that her words are odd, no, but because the fact that they are kind words and they are directed toward him.

"You did more for my little girl than her daddy ever did."

And then she's right near him, and her lips are pressed lightly against his temple. He's not so sure what it means and he doesn't know what to make of it. Her awkwardness in doing so endears her to him, for some reason. Daryl tries to push that thought to the back of his mind. Connections like this aren't good to have here in this world, he knows.

Her words all run together, ending with yet another testament to his supposed medal. He doesn't know what to think of it all, but somehow it stirs something in him.

Daryl dares a glance over his shoulder and sees the short haired woman leave, and a part of him wishes that he could ask her to stay. He can't do that, though, for whatever reason. Stubbornness, exhaustion, embarrassment, they might all play a part in his denial of what he wants.

He moves a bit, trying to ignore the sharp pains that shoot through his body. After much work, he sits up and looks over to the tray of food that she has placed near him. He reaches over and grasps it, using what little strength he has left to maneuver it onto his lap without spilling it.

Saliva builds in his mouth as he smells the steaming food in front of him. He swallows, grabs his fork, and immediately starts shoving whatever food he can down his throat. It's damn hot, and it burns his tongue, but he doesn't care. He tastes every bit of it, and he can imagine her standing in the kitchen, leaning over a pot of whatever this is and cooking, a smile on her face as she hums despite her situation.

Somehow, he kind of likes that image.

As he shoves the food in his mouth without regard to his upbringing - "Mind your manners, Daryl!" - he thinks of her. He finds his thoughts shifting to her more and more often, and it is more than annoying. Annoying and confusing and makes Daryl question why, in this inappropriate time and place, would he have to have the decency to care about people like that - especially a woman like her.

However, he has developed an opinion about her. One that not many other people would know, but he knows this better than he knows most things - that woman was so innately kind it was a mystery to Daryl how she ever ended up with that bastard for a husband.

For a moment, he can hear Merle's voice, floating in the silence of the room around him. Still mocking, even though the man himself is long gone, "You're weak, brother."

Daryl purses his lips, "Shut the hell up."

He grasps his fork and starts to eat slower, savoring the small nuances of her cooking and - again - thinking of her. Thinking of her in a happier, stronger state than she had been before the Walkers.

Daryl shakes his head, thinking of what exactly has happened to cause this, but he comes up with nothing as he clears his plate. The image of her still floats among his subconscious for some reason, interspersed with flashes of his brother and Walkers and Dale and Glenn and Andrea. Rick and Shane and T-Dog. Everyone makes an appearance in his subconscious until she is the only one left, standing there and smiling at him like he is something particularly special. Which he's sure he isn't.

He flops back into a lying position and digs his palms into his eyes to rid himself of it all. Faint sounds of chatter sound from outside his room.

His stitches sting.