This has been sitting in my folder for ages and I didn't upload it because it didn't seem "right" but I figured I'd just post it anyway. It is only a drabble series after all.
It seemed stupid, washing clothes when they were on the brink of war. But it was her turn to sit with Judith whilst the others went outside, doing whatever it was that needed to be done. Setting up optimum places for sharp shooting she'd heard last.
But doing something as mundane as scrubbing dirt from denim soothed her frayed nerves, especially with Judith down for a nap. Besides, once they were dry, she could pack them into the cars, just in case they had to make a run for it.
The water was almost black with dirt but she only had one more shirt to wash, one of Daryl's. She picked it up off the floor by the hem and just as she made to dunk it in the tub, something slipped from the pocket and fell to the floor.
The little packet seemed alien, a dented white box with a gold logo that stood out even in the poor light of the prison. It had been a long time since anyone had bothered with something as trivial as cigarettes.
T-Dog had been the last one to give them up, back last winter, when finally they'd become too scarce to bother with. Any packets they'd found that were already opened, the tobacco had gone dry and the man had given them up then.
But she'd never seen Daryl with a cigarette between his lips. Never smelled the scent of tobacco on his clothes, on his breath. She couldn't even imagine him holding himself hostage to something as stupid and trivial as a nicotine addiction.
Still, he surprised her in so many little ways, so this shouldn't be any different. Carol tucked the little box into her back pocket and went back to the tub of water.
Once the washing was done, hanging off the rails of the top floor to dry, she moved straight onto lunch and just as she was draining the rice, ready to mix in some canned vegetables, the man who had been on her mind for the previous hour sauntered in.
He went straight for the mailbox sitting on table, where Judith kicked and cooed upon spotting him. Daryl wiped his hands on the seat of his pants, after dropping his crossbow onto the table, scooping the little girl up and joining Carol near the camping stove.
"You alright?" He asked, free hand snaking out and snatching out a piece of jerky from the bowl next to her.
Carol gave him a pointed look, stirred the rice in it's pot.
"You've got to stop picking her up all the time, she's getting to be quite the madam."
And on cue, Judith let out an indignant squeal, causing them both to smirk.
"It don't do her no harm." Daryl mumbled turning away from her to jiggle the baby a little, eliciting more gurgles and squeals.
"Her, maybe not. But you don't get up with her half a dozen times in the night." She kept her tone light, playful almost. She understood why he did it. They couldn't give Judith hardly anything. Could barely keep a diaper on her bottom and food in her belly. But they could give her kisses and hugs. Spend time with her.
"I washed your shirts today."
"Don't gotta do that, told ya." Daryl turned back to face her, snuck another piece of jerky, ignoring her stern look.
"No, I don't mind, you know that." She reached into her pocket, tugged out the little white box and held it out for him. "These nearly fell into the washtub."
Daryl eyed her warily for a second, like it was some sort of test. Carol suspected that he was expecting some sort of tongue lashing for them. He popped the last of the jerky in his mouth and extended his hand out slowly, took them between his thumb and forefinger, before slipping them into his back pocket.
"Found 'em on a Walker."
Carol did her best to contain her amusement, sucked in her bottom lip between her teeth and looked away, committing this look of his, of a little boy getting scolded, to memory.
"I bet they tasted awful." She watched his hand snatch out again, from the corner of her eye and just as his fingers reached the bowl of jerky she slapped them away but he was quicker, snagging another piece.
"Not as good as this." He held the jerky out and Judith's chubby fist flailed out towards it. Daryl tugged it out of her grip, gave her a soft growl that only had her burbling at him. He tugged the salty meat in half with his teeth, quirked his mouth into some semblance of a grin as she looked at the jerky, unimpressed.
"We going to have to add cigarettes to the long list of things we can never find?" She moved past him to put a bottle together for Judith.
"It's me that goes lookin' for the long list of shit." He retorted through the mouthful of jerky. He held out the last piece for Judith and she locked her lips around the strip, suckling the flavour out of it.
Carol frowned at him and tugged the meat out both Judith's mouth and Daryl's hand and quickly replaced it with a bottle of formula before the baby could squall. Daryl jumped to hold the bottle up and Carol took the opportunity to stuff the jerky into his mouth, baby spittle and all.
She thought he might protest, but he just chewed silently all whilst feeding Judith and watching her as she spooned rice onto plates and into bowls.
Carol left him finishing off feeding Judith as she left to call out to the others outside, bringing them in for lunch.
When she came back, trailing behind the hungry hordes, Daryl was still standing, Judith resting over one shoulder as he burped her and she moved to take over, arms outstretched for the baby.
He gave her willingly enough and went to collect his own lunch. As he moved away, a shimmer of gold caught her eye and she watched as his hand slipped into his back pocket and the crumpled carton of cigarettes got tossed in the trash can.
She tried to look away before he got her, but with the baby, she wasn't fast enough and the little grin was still showing on her face.
Daryl gave her a look, one she couldn't quite read, not angry at being caught. Something else. Then, he rolled his eyes at her and walked away to eat his meal.