Carol looked to the sheet that hung above her now, semi-private cell. Normally the Judith would be here with her, but Beth agreed to a night of baby-duty to allow Carol some rest. Daryl had snuck in from his established bed on the perch, determined to explain his little outburst at her from earlier in the night. She'd disappeared and hadn't checked in for a while, worrying the entire group and infuriating Daryl. After everything that had happened, and the care he'd put into this "relationship" they had going, he expected her to be more responsible.
They kept their voices down, arguing quietly so as to not wake the others. "I needed 20 minutes to myself Daryl. Is that really too much to ask for? Beth had just taken Judith and I needed to be alone," Carol explained in a hushed whisper, for what felt like the thousandth time.
"All you had to do is tell someone where you was goin'," Daryl said in just as low a voice. "Tell me. I'll give you your damn space, but I gotta know where you are."
Carol was touched. He didn't say "we", or "they"...he said "I...I gotta know where you are". The concern Daryl had been expressing for her was coming across a little overprotective and bossy, but it was sweet in its own strange way. It was nothing like the bossiness Ed showed her, usually with fists or occasionally the belt to her back.
With the sheets they'd found in the prison, her bed had been changed out with clean linens and her space decorated to be almost home-like. Seeing Daryl standing here in her personal space, talking in a low voice was causing her body to tingle. She thought about the time she'd jokingly offered to fool around. Then she vacantly wondered if he'd ever take that thought seriously. "Alright, I'll make sure I let you know from now on. I'm sorry," she said before adding in a playful tone, "You know you get cute when you're mad." Let him interpret that however he wanted. She stole a glance his way, the lantern light and distance marring his features slightly. Was that a blush creeping across his cheeks? A shy smirk graced his features.
Before she knew it, Daryl was crossing across the cell to Carol. Could this really be happening? She felt literally dirty and hadn't been able to bathe in months, but there was this stirring down deep in her she faintly recognized. Sweetly and simply, he swept down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. He seemed to hesitate for a few moments, enjoying the moment before standing. He shuffled his feet for a second and backed away towards the cell. With a nod, he went to make his exit. Jesus Christ! thought Carol, body humming with that odd feeling again. She really didn't want him to walk away. "Daryl," she said quietly, stopping him in his tracks. While he was still facing the opposite direction, and while she had any semblance of courage left in her, Carol let that weird emotion take over. She stood and took the few strides to stand next to him. She softly placed her hand on his shoulder, softly stroking the rough skin she felt there.
"Carol, I – " Daryl started, spinning to meet her eyes once again.
She silenced him by pressing her lips to his.
She was sick of words. And all of the prayers. And thoughts. And dreams that ended in someone dying or being lost. All she wanted was to feel something real. She wanted to feel something wholly good that she could remember, even if walkers got the chance to feast upon her flesh. She wanted to remember what it was like to be touched and to have that connection with another human being. She wanted something beautiful in a world of living nightmares. She needed something to drown out the bad. She needed Daryl.
It was awkward at first. Neither of them had kissed anyone in a very long time. Daryl much longer than Carol in fact. Daryl froze, too emotionally damaged to want to involve this woman into his odd psyche. But he opened his eyes. He looked down at Carol; sweet and beautiful Carol. She was caring and had a gentle side, but she'd grown up. In the last ten months she'd gained some scars, learning to come into her own within the group. She'd learned to throw a mean right hook too. Daryl wasn't good at relationships, but what he had with Carol was natural. It was simple and strong. Especially after Sofia, there was this bond. There wasn't a person in the world that could come between that. He closed his eyes and let himself enjoy the little woman as she began to coil her arms around his middle.
It wasn't awkward anymore. In fact, the way Carol was moving began to make his mind race. She pressed her solid form up along his. He placed a hand on her hip automatically, pulling them closer together like a reflex. He was too comfortable with this. A warmth was spreading across his body. Their kiss intensified slowly, every tantalizing minute making Daryl want to stay. There was a point where they paused. Each stopped and looked into the other's eyes. Neither blinked and then Carol smiled. Daryl smirked back, knowing this wasn't going to stop.
Carol took his hand, leading him towards her bunk. It wasn't large or especially comfortable, but neither cared about space right now. He wanted to be close; wanted to feel something. Not once in the past year had he just let himself go. Every second had been about surviving and never just...living. Pretty much everyone had someone they could be close to...family or friends. Carol and him had no one. This moment, this sweeping of hands and swiping of lips, gave them each other.
Daryl tugged up at Carol's shirt, trying to pull it from her thin form. She hesitated a moment, before sighing and pulling it off. As soon as she tossed it to the side, Daryl saw the reason for her hesitance. She twisted underneath him and showed him. On her back he saw an array of scars. They were large and thick, like she'd been whipped. He traced a scar with one rough finger and smiled. In a swift easy motion, he pulled his own shirt off, revealing an even larger canvas of marks across his body. The scars were thick, thin, long, short and they were everywhere. Burns, cuts, gashes...you name it, he had it. Carol looked at him for a moment and then kissed his chest, feeling the connection she'd so craved. She shred off her sorry excuse for a bra, laying back and letting herself lie exposed for Daryl's eyes to feast upon.
She didn't feel self-conscious. She didn't feel ashamed or awkward. She just felt Daryl's weight on top of her and she felt completely content. The last of their garments were shed quickly and they joined as one. Carol let out a soft moan, Daryl a near-silent hiss. They moved together in a tortuously slow rhythm, both unwilling to let their noises be heard by anyone else. So slowly and quietly they rocked back and forth, Carol's soft body writhing as Daryl ground his hips against hers. To keep quiet, they pressed their lips together.
One sweaty body collided with another until neither could take anymore. Daryl used his hand to bring Carol to the edge, and as she danced over the cliff, he followed within her. He lay against the wall to the side, holding Carol to him tightly. Neither cared for the repercussions of their actions. Daryl had wanted to feel something and that he did...as he breathed heavily,he lie back and concentrated on Carol's small hand resting on his chest. He wasn't scheduled for watch until the morning, so for now, he let himself get comfortable. In no time, Carol was breathing in the deep breaths of sleep, a content smile on her face. Daryl smiled, staring into her face as he drifted.