Daryl?" Carol asked, her feet dangling off the side of the overturned Bus. It was nights like these that made her feel alive. Like she was living, and not just surviving.

"Hmm?" He grunted, though he didn't seem hostile. He was sitting next to her, fingers playing with hem of the poncho he'd flung over her the moment she climbed to take watch with him.
They weren't really on watch.
Not really.
Karen and Kissey were on watch from the tower on the side.
No. Tonight they were simply being them.

"What do your tattoos mean?" She asked him, blue eyes looking into his.

"Which ones?" He asked, voice quiet. She was surprised he'd not brushed her off, but who was she to ask why.

"Well… who's Norman?"

"Maternal Grandfather."

"The Cherokee?" She asked him

"Yop." He nodded. "And Mingus?"

"Charles Mingus. He was a jazz musician."

"You like Jazz?" She asked him, sitting up slightly. Even after all these years. She knew so little about him.

"I do." He nodded. "His Moanin'- Lord. Ain't nothing better." He laughed shortly, shaking his head.

"And the ones on your back?"

"Got those done when I was twenty two and fresh outta school." He said slowly. She raised her eyebrow, but said nothing. "Collage. Carol. When I graduated Collage." He rolled his eyes, voice thick with irritation.

"I didn't know you went to collage…" she mumbled, face turning a bit pink. She knew he knew she'd never made it.
It wasn't often that she felt jealousy.
But sometimes, she felt envious of Daryl. Envious he'd seen as much of the world as he had.

"Never asked." He shrugged. "Spent how many years studying my ass off, working nights, sleeping hours at a time. Decided I deserved something." He shrugged.

"So. You got a tattoo?" She said softly..

"Yep. Liked the dichotomy Liked the irony. Demons with a heart, Angels with something to hide." He told her, laying down in the bus and sliding under the poncho with her.

This was how it was with them.
Quiet. Still like.
She took what she got from him. And he appreciated every inch of space she gave him.
And in return, he gave her what he could. What he felt comfortable with.

"What did you study?" She asked.

"Electrical engineering." he grunted. "Was damn good at it, too."
She nodded, knowing this much was true.
"What about the one on your hand?" she asked, poking at the tiny star on skin at the juncture of his thumb and forefinger.

"Got bored when I was fifteen with a sewing needle and a ballpoint pen." He snorted.

She laughed with him.
"And this one?" She let her fingers dance over the winged demon on the inside of his arm as she lay her head against the inside of his elbow.

"When I was seventeen, I think, I had a friend, he was learning to tattoo, so, like an idiot, I let him test it out on me." he snorted into her hair.

"I like it." she told him, kissing it lightly.

"Hmm…" he hummed, letting his eyes drift shut as the wind blew over them lightly.

"and this one?" she asked, pulling his lower lip out with a forefinger and kissing the strange little markings on the inside of his lip.

He chuckled low, and darkly in his throat.
"That one…" He sighed, brushing a curl away from her brow.
"That one I try not to think about."

"Why's that?" she asked him, laying back down.

"Merle. He had some friends. He got in debt with 'em. Got in a bad way.
Didn't wanna lose my apartment, so while Merle was in the pen for twenty one months, went to work with 'em." he told her this quietly, in her ear, peppering kisses against the side of her skull. "I don't remember all that much of my time there though. Smoked a lot of friggen weed."

"You don't sound proud of it." She said softly.

"I'm not." He replied. "They weren't a good groupa people. Made me work against a good man…" he sighed against her skin, his hand pulling hers to lay against his stomach, against the scarves carved there.

"B, B was a good man." He huffed, pulling her closer.

"Even in the end, he still forgave me. Never knew why."
He sniffed.

"Everyone deserves forgiveness." She told him. "Even a dumbass like you."
He snickered, rolling his eyes.

"Love you too." He coughed gruffly.

_

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