Oh God. He won't get out of my head. They won't get out of my head!

Here's another little "Caryl" moment for yall'. Takes place during Chupacabra. I disclaim, of course. Please enjoy and review!

Carol always felt a sense of normalcy when cleaning.

Patricia and Maggie had already started on the dishes by the time she left Daryl's room, and she could not help but feel a twinge of guilt at not being able to help. After all, she had helped create the mess that was Hershel's kitchen. She resigned herself to assisting Lori in straightening up the family dining room, its chairs askew and tables littered with crumbs.

She did not mind the fact that her crew of grown men and women had managed to leave the area so untidy.

This time she knocked.

And as she entered she could tell he had been struggling again to pull the sheet over the wound in his side, his head jerking back to peer at her incredulously for just a moment. She gave him a small smile that seemed to satisfy him, his body relaxing a bit as he settled back into the mattress.

"Came to get your plate."

She was surprised at her own whisper.

Why did she suddenly feel so….shy? Maybe it was the way he had looked at her. Maybe it was the way he was bundled up in the bed, his body screaming to be left alone to sleep.

Maybe it was both.

He responded with a grunt of acknowledgement, and she did not mind it. It was far more than she had ever received from Ed…

Carol froze for a moment as she looked at the man before her.

When had she started comparing Daryl Dixon to her late husband so often?

She scolded herself in silence.

There was no reason for her to do such a thing. She had no right.

And even if she did, there was no comparison.

Carol glanced down at the clean plate and empty glass on the tray.

She chuckled despite herself.

"You really were starvin', huh?"

He stirred a little, but gave no response.

She knew, by this point, that he both wanted and needed sleep.

Balancing the tray on her arm, she reached for the door.

"You make that?"

His voice, cracked and tired, reached her ears despite being muffled by the pillow he was pressing his face into.

She froze again and hesitated.

"Um, not just me. The others helped…."

Maybe it was true that she had prepared quite a bit of the meal (if for no other reason than to distract herself from…well, everything), but she could not in good conscience take all the credit when she was not the only woman in the kitchen…

"It was good."

Her jaw slackened a bit when his exhausted mumble carried across the room.

She smiled and fought the urge to set down the tray and kiss him again.

"Glad you liked it."

Silence permeated the air and she could see his body sink a little farther into the bed.

Stomach full and wounds nursed, Daryl Dixon was out for the night.

Carol slipped from the room and headed to the kitchen to wash the dishes in her hand.

Cooking was another thing that made her feel normal.