Summary: Lori needs someone and Daryl's the only person about.
Notes: Set just before Season three starts. Lori's very pregnant and Daryl's entered into the nicer softer Dixon we're all enjoying on the show right now. Except my Mum. She thinks his sift. But anyway, enjoy.
Warnings: Lori Grimes. If you don't like her, then leave. I'm not making you read this!
"Carol? Beth? Are you there?"
The house they had found yesterday seemed like it might give them shelter for a day or two.
Daryl appeared round the corner. "You okay?"
She smiled at Daryl embarrassed. "Carol about?" She was sitting on the toilet in the bathroom of the house, a bucket of water set beside her, a wash cloth hanging over the side.
He shook his head. "Rick's taken them out scavenging."
Daryl nodded. "Need somethin'?"
"No. Nothing important," she said.
Daryl watched her for a moment, brow creasing slightly. "C'mon, whatcha need?"
"I told you, it doesn't matter," she insisted.
"Well Carol tol' me how horrible it is when you're in this stage of ya pregnancy so you best lemme help or..."
"Or what?" Lori challenged.
"Or...I'll tell on ya," he replied, childishly.
"Okay fine, I'll tell you and when I do, you'll see why it doesn't matter."
Daryl simply rolled his eyes at her and motioned for her to get on with it. "I just wanted someone to... wash my feet." She forced the last bit out, shamed by the request in their current situation. She knew the group had gone out in force to get food. They were all half starving. Except her because it was agreed that Lori and Carl would get a larger share of the food, both needing it more.
"That's it? Woman, I can do that." Daryl exclaimed, as he immediately got to his knees in front of her.
"No, Daryl! Please, don't!" Lori said quickly, desperately.
He stopped as he reached for the wash cloth and looked at her, saw the tears in her eyes, the way she wouldn't meet his gaze. He was unsure what to do. He didn't want to upset her but he wanted to help her too.
He moved his hand away from the bucket, touched her hand for a moment, to get her attention.
"C'mon, I don't do this tender emotional stuff well," he said, trying to cheer her up and she did laugh at that as tears ran down her face and she brushed them away quickly.
Carol warned him about this too. Lori's emotions being erratic. And truth be told, he felt for the woman. He didn't blame Rick for being angry with her for a while but it seemed like he'd go so used to being angry, he forgot how to smile at her, forgot how to be decent.
Wasn't his place to say anything, though. They'd sort it out in their own time.
He relaxed back into a sitting position and Lori controlled her emotions. "I thought I'd be able to do it, you know?"
Daryl shrugged. "No big deal, you're pregnant, can't do shit you could before, happens. Like when I got hurt lookin' for Sophia. Killed me I couldn't get out lookin' for her. Kept thinkin' I was killin' her, not lookin'."
It was his turn to look away with the threat of emotion.
He was surprised it still hurt after all this time.
"Nobody tried harder," she assured him, reaching out her hand to his shoulder and keeping it there, unlike his brief ghost of a touch on her.
He met her gaze, a smile twitched the corners of his lips at her kindness. "You can't help being pregnant any more than I could help bein' hurt. And I think if I'd asked ya too, you'd have washed my feet if I couldn't do it, right?"
She shook her head slightly, not at his question, just because she was trying to plead with him not to bother. She wasn't worth his time.
"C'mon, do it for the group. If they find out I coulda washed your feet and didn't and you stink the place out, it'll be my fault."
She laughed and there were more tears rolling down her face. And she nodded reluctantly.
He quickly peeled the socks off she wore. And he grabbed the wash cloth, rinsing the excess water from it before looking up at her. "What d'ya think you're having?" he asked.
She shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me. As long as it's okay. Healthy. Rick always wanted a girl though. Well, I think most people do, you know? One of each."
She realised that Daryl had started to wash her feet. His touch was gentle and soothing, not at all as she'd imaged he'd be.
"Think my Mom always wanted a girl. Be pretty disappointed if you had kids like me and Merle, right?" he said, a question not really aimed at her.
She couldn't say much about Merle. He'd always been a pain when he was at the camp but Daryl proved his worth, time and time again. "I think I'd be really proud if Carl grew up into a man like you," she said.
He looked at her strangely for a minute, before continuing to clean. it felt damn good, she was certain he was massaging her feet as he rubbed some soap into her skin and it felt so good.
"I'm glad Rick's got you," she blurted out suddenly. "Since Shane... he needs people, you know? Needs to have someone to turn too because sometimes he's so unsure and... and Carol too. She's so strong, to lose her little girl and to be able to carry on. Jus'... thank you."
Daryl paid close attention to what he was doing, letting Lori's words go unnoticed, even if they didn't go unheard. "Think you're done," he said, putting the wash cloth back into the bucket of water. He grabbed the clean socks she had waiting and pulled them over her feet, noticed her swollen ankles and thought about how miserable she must be. Heavily pregnant, swollen, emotional, having to always be ready to run. He was surprised the woman wasn't more of an emotional wreck. "Better?" He asked.
She nodded. "Thank you so much," she said, slipped her feet into the boots that were waiting for her.
"Need anything else?" he asked.
She shook her head. He got up and made his way to the door, gave her a quick look back and another hint of a smile before he hesitated where he was. "Rick'll come round." It was out of the blue and she looked surprised by his words. "He wouldn't act that way if he didn't care at all,"
She wished she could believe him, but Daryl was trying and she smiled and nodded.
And she hoped that one day, it would become the truth.