Greetings friends!

This is my first attempt at a Walking Dead fic, and yes, as with most of the rest of you, I have become quite smitten with Daryl D.

I have also, admittedly, become something of a Daryl/Carol fan. Whether friendship or something more, their budding companionship is pretty damn adorable and I could not help but write this.

Please enjoy and review ^.^

I disclaim TWD and its characters, affiliations, etc etc, blah blah, so on and so forth...

She understood why he flinched.

The skin of his forehead was cold and clammy as her lips pressed into it, and she came so close to reaching up and fingering the bandage that covered the gunshot graze.

What stopped her was the way he flinched as she leaned in, jerking away from her just slightly as if startled and confused by her sudden closeness.

And she would not lie to herself and say that she had only done it to thank him. She would not lie and say that she had not seen the thin lines of tightened skin across his bare back, evidence of abuse scars suffered back before his world became even more horrific with the undead disease that now threatened them all. She would not lie and say she had not kissed him like that to comfort him in some way, although she knew he would not understand her motives even if she'd tried to explain them.

But she understood.

When he'd rolled away from her and pulled that blanket farther up against his shoulder, she understood.

Daryl Dixon was not the kind of man that expected comfort. He was not the kind of man that accepted compliments or compassion or affection.

He was different from the rest of them.

But he was still just as good.

She caught his gaze from outside the tent, her fingers working to fold what few clothes she could call her own. Lori, normally at her side and eager to assist, was strangely missing. She did not consider the fact that the younger woman had been making herself scarce as of late. And even if she did almost consider it, the half-thought was banished into nothingness the moment she looked up from her folding and caught his eyes.

They hovered over the edge of the book he was reading, a chilled blue that seemed to draw goose-bumps over hers arms as they skimmed over her. She watched as he met her own eyes very quickly and proceeded to raise the book upward a bit, covering his face from her sight completely.

He shifted his position in the tent and she saw his fingers drumming the spine of the book as he continued to read.

"…..I can't lose you too."

He was already moving towards her when she said it, the statement slipping off of her tongue even as a tear slipped from her eye. And yes, she could see his lips quirk upwards just slightly, a grin coupling with that look in his eyes, a combination of curiosity and amusement with just a hint of shock lying hidden just in the background.

And yes, she knew what kind of man he was, and she knew the way her statement must have sounded to him, the tone of her voice transforming her words into a plea scrambled with a confession, solidified by the hopelessness she felt concerning her daughter's chances of ever being found alive.

And yes, she knew that to someone like him it must have seemed laughable; that predatory smirk of his was evidence of the nature he had been brought up to live by.

Daryl Dixon was a renegade wolf. He could not be cornered. He could not be captured. He could not be restrained or domesticated and he certainly could not be expected to behave as a normal person, to be asked to stay just for the sake of her own comfort.

She felt a bit silly then, saying such a thing to someone who had no real connection to her, no obligation or feelings or need for even her company.

She laughed at herself and blinked away another tear (and how pathetic this human predator must think her, crying there right in front of him just after begging him to be safe and stay nearby).

And then he was there, just in front of her, close enough so that she could feel his shirt touching her own and his eyes heavy on her face.

She did not expect it, his slow advance to quicken like it had, his body coming to loom over hers and bringing forth a jolt from her muscles.

She could not help but jerk away from him when his face leaned down close to her own, an instinctive need to pull away commanding her movement as memories of hard, angry fists flashed briefly but effectively in her head.

She did not expect him to chase her with his mouth, lips warm and unexpectedly soft as they brushed across her damp cheek so lightly that for a moment she wondered if he was even really there.

And then his voice, gruff and cracked and thick with that cocky southern drawl:

"I don't plan on goin' anywhere, Carol."

And his breath was hot on her cheek and she wondered when he had decided to stop avoiding physical contact like this.

Those chilly blue eyes were suddenly so serious, that grin falling into something of a snarl, looking so very appropriate on his face.

"But I do plan on findin' Sophia. And I will. "

She watched him pull away from her then, his hands tight at his sides (and he had never once attempted to touch her with them, she noticed), steps slow and deliberate as he backed up into the sunlight outside.

And she wanted to say something, tell him that enough was enough and even she had accepted her daughter's chances as slim to none….

Tell him that he was chasing a lost cause by this point, even as the very thought of it tore her heart into pieces.

But Daryl Dixon would not be convinced, she knew.

He would continue to search for her little girl. As long as they were there on that farm and his legs were in working order, he would search.

For as long as his blood pumped in his veins and his heart beat to keep it so, and his brain still ticked with that survivalist mindset and his instincts still forced his bleeding body onward, he would search.

This was a man that had decided he would do this incredible and selfless thing, and had so far been thrown from a horse, impaled by an arrow, attacked by a Walker and shot in the head for a child that was not even his and that he barely even knew.

And on top of all of that, he was making her promises that she knew he believed in even when she still struggled to.

But as Daryl Dixon gave her a slow wink and finally turned away, Carol found herself consumed with only one thought above all others:

She understood why he had flinched.

And he understood why she had, too.

A/N: It would certainly be nice to have Daryl do something this insanely sweet, but of course, it cannot be realistically expected in the upcoming ep. But I hope you all enjoyed the results of my daydreaming!