Hey there guys!

Got a random idea for a slightly intimate, slightly humorous extension of the Caryl 'flirtation scene' in 3x01 "Seed", and thought I'd share.

Needed to get some feels out, you know. ;)

I disclaim TWD and whatnot; hope you like!

He had already decided it was one of the things about her he hated to love…

And then he had to be a fucking idiot and make it worse.

"….Screw around?"

He almost choked on the chewy remains of the meat in his mouth. In that moment, he thought, it'd have been a welcome end. She was laughing it off as he all but snorted her joke (suggestion? dare?) away and moved to escape the top of the overturned bus.

"I'll go down first…"

"Even better."

His face was getting hot, the muscles in his arms twitched and he held back the growl in his voice when he mumbled a weak "Stop."

For the love of Christ, he couldn't scramble down the bottom of the vehicle fast enough. His heart was starting to beat faster, and he knew then her words had gotten to him this time...

It wasn't the first time Carol had played with him like this; at some point over the winter she'd made a game of winking at him when he snagged them something decent for dinner, and she thought it absolutely fucking hysterical when he'd offer her the poncho to fight off the cold and she'd cross her arms across her chest in an "I love you" sign and watch him twitch and scoff and wander away like a goddamn retarded puppy.

He wasn't a fool to think she didn't mean it at all; hell, she cared about his sorry ass and he knew it, even if he couldn't figure out why.

At some point, though, it stopped mattering to either of them.

She made him smile, sometimes, and he apparently made her laugh constantly.

Whatever made her happy.

His feet landed in the dirt and he peered up at her. Carol was still smiling like a damn Cheshire cat at him, fully intending to make him red-faced for the rest of the night.

"Come on then, I'm tired." He grumbled up at her, an attempt to end her fun with realism.

Truth was, he was tired and twitchy and…

She rolled her eyes and forced her grin away, moved to begin the climb down the bus. Planting her feet against the bottom of the frame she held on to the edge above her head and looked down to gauge the distance of her small jump.

Extending an arm he gestured,

"Got ya. Just hop down."

Her hand clamped around his forearm and with a small swivel she did exactly as he said, without hesitation or fear, and damned if that didn't impress him every time.

And then it happened, the fuck-up to ensure his night would suck and hers would be full of even more girly giggling.

As she let go of the frame and jumped, his right arm came shooting forward on instinct, wrapping itself around her middle to secure her landing. Carol met the ground and nearly fell into his chest with the force he used to hold her, and like an electric shock to his entire body his muscles screamed and his heart pounded, and for a moment in time he forgot what the fuck to do with himself.

Because he'd made the mistake of moving that arm back to rest his palm against the side of her waist, and damned to God if it wasn't a perfect fucking fit.

Just like he'd imagined.

It was when she started wearing those damn tank-tops around the farm that he first noticed it. How slim and petite she was. He didn't dare call her 'delicate', especially after she began toting that gun and learning exactly what to do with it. But there was something about her waist, how it looked in those tight-fitting shirts she'd started donning every day, that distracted the living fuck out of him.

It was just as she started learning to really handle herself with a weapon, when she'd lean forward against the fence to take aim at a target, and he'd see the smooth bend of that middle and the skin of her back as the shirt would ride up a little, that he finally realized it.

He thought Carol's waist was sexy as fuck, and his fingers practically tingled with the thought of putting his hands on it.

Just to see how they'd fit….

And then winter set in, and the tanks turned to scavenged sweaters, hiding that perfect little middle away from his gaze, and after awhile, he began to thank the biting cold for pulling him out of such a distracted fog.

But damned if winter didn't come and go quick, too quick, and although the light sweater was almost a constant addition to her body, she was wearing that favorite red top of hers more and more often again, and it took everything he had not to look.

Something flinched under his hands.

The muscles in her waist jerked and when Daryl looked down he realized, with a slow blink and a silent curse, that he'd let go of her left arm and moved that hand to her middle as well, practically pulling the woman flush against him.

Mother of fucking God.

His fingers were twitching madly against her sides, thumbs moving down to press into the smooth little dips at her hips and when the fuck did his brain decide that was good idea, and as he stared down at his arms he felt her freeze under the touch as if shocked.

It was time to stop whatever the hell it was he'd started, pull out of this haze and get back to the rest of the group and pretend it'd never happened….

His hands contracted and he wanted to scream at himself.

She made a noise then, and despite everything telling him not to, he looked up to meet her eyes.

Carol was watching him, her hands hovering just near his forearms, so close to grabbing them but not, as if she was trying to decide whether to pull his hands off of her or let him pull her closer. The teasing smile was gone and in its place a real one, small and almost invisible, molded her face into the very picture of calm and content and he wondered how, when he was on the verge of slamming his head into the bottom of the bus like a madman, she could stand there and look so goddamn…


She was going to laugh her ass off when they got back to the fire, he just knew it.

Daryl bit his lip hard and let the pain soak in like a smack in the face, blinking repeatedly to pull himself back to the real world.

Back to a world where Carol's waist was off-limits, and thoughts of fuck yes we can screw around were horrible ideas.

"Ought to get back, right?" Her voice was clear as a bell, not a stutter in it, and for a second he wondered when the hell she had became so much braver than he was.

Her hands landed on his arms, finally, just pushing slight enough to coax him to move.

And damn, did he.

With a long step back his hands were off her middle, their bodies no longer pressed flat against each other, noses finally inhaling something other than the other's breaths.

He didn't say a damn word as he reached down to snatch the plate he'd set down earlier and with a deep, clarifying breath, nodded her way and headed back to the fire. He deliberately walked ahead of her, listened to the sound of her steps just behind him.

As they approached the others he could hear Beth singing, and aside from the much-needed calming sound of her voice, he silently thanked her for giving him something to focus on other than the woman now standing just beside him.

Daryl caught Carol's tiny, peaceful smile as she listened to the Greene girls sing.

He tore his gaze away and as his ears picked up the beautiful voices in the air, his brain began constructing a wall against the memory of Carol's waist in his hands.