Wheeeee, here we go, buckle up! Just a bit of fluff to start us off! I definately think Daryl deserves a decent meal!
Daryl moving into Carol's cell had been easy enough. He had sat back on his bike and watched as she and Herschel had welcomed the people to their new home. As soon as everyone was sitting in the common room Rick and Carol began to work out the logistics feeding and bedding everyone that first night. The rest of the original prison group ran to grab sheets and blankets from storage areas and food from Woodbury's stash that had yet to be unloaded. As soon as Daryl was sure every one else had their attention elsewhere he slipped up to the perch, gathered up his meager belongings and took them to her cell. Volunteering for first watch only made sense as he knew Rick had other fish to fry at the moment and the fact that Cell Block C had suddenly become very crowded. He had just gotten truly comfortable with being a functioning member of a group of less than a dozen people, now that number had more than doubled instantly. He knew it was the right thing but that didn't make it any easier to get used to.
After talking to Rick he had sought out Carol as he made his way to the remaining tower knowing she would be bustling around her little kitchen area like a mad woman. One of the Woodbury women had offered to help her, which he was grateful for, but that made the scene a lot more uncomfortable for him. What was he supposed to do? He was totally new at this. Daryl knew he needed to tell her he had watch before he went out, or else she would worry about him and then spend time hunting him with his supper plate instead of just heading out to the tower. But then what? In the past he would have just nodded and then headed out but that didn't feel appropriate after they had just declared their love the day before in the tower, both out loud and physically.
Daryl could feel the tips of his ears began to burn at the the thought of just how "physical" they had gotten. His knees were still sore from kneeling in front of that chair he had sat her in and he didn't mind a damn bit. In fact it kind of made him feel like walking around with a 'shit eating' grin now that he had relaxed a little from the violence and loss of the last two days. C'mon man, get your ass out to that tower! The last thing you need to be doing is walking around like 'Chester the Molester' with a hard on, especially with all these old folks and kids.
Like he had thought, Carol was standing at the small counter excitedly measuring what looked like flour and dried milk into a bowl while the other woman was setting up one of the stand alone propane burners they had brought from Woodbury. He slipped up next to her and asked, "What'cha makin?" He winced as he said it. Great job loverboy!, his inner voice was full of sarcasm. Daryl didn't want to think about it right now, but that inner voice sounded a whole lot like Merle.
Carol jumped and then turned her face up to him smiling one of the biggest smiles he had ever seen.
"Daryl! You would think I would be used to you sneaking up on me by now! And I can't tell you what I'm making, it's a surprise!"
He couldn't help but smile a little at her excitement. She had been as stressed as everyone else had been with the war, maybe even more so since she had known best how precarious their food situation had been only the day before. She continued on, introducing him to the new woman. He gave a polite nod and then added to Carol nervously, " I ...ah...got watch until midnight so you'll have to bring my supper out to the tower."
"OK, " she said, "Be careful, I'll be out as soon as it's done and we get everyone fed!" Carol then hesitated and then looked at him kind of expectantly.
Oh shit! he panicked, what do I do? Carol must have read his face because her nose crinkled like it did when she wanted to laugh, and she quickly lifted up on her toes and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. He could feel the blush coming so he quickly stumbled out a "Bye" before turning and heading out as fast as he could without running. As he reached the outside door he heard the Woodbury woman, who Carol had told him was named Deena remark pleasantly, "Oh, so that's your man then." He looked over his shoulder just in time to see Carol nod her head and smile as she went about her work. Her man. It was honestly the proudest moment of his life.
Daryl's mood quickly soured, however, as the sun set on the tower. He usually relished his alone time, but now it was just filled with thoughts of Merle and truth that the Governer was still alive out there, as evil and insane as ever after killing almost all of his own army.
Daryl was leaning propped up on the edge of the sill of the broken window with a scowl on his face when Carol quietly climbed the stairs a few hours later with his supper in her hands and a water bottle under her arm. She hadn't even had enough time to set the cloth covered plates down before he turned and growled, "What the hell are you doin' crossin that yard by yourself after dark?!"
Carol turned from the plates now on the communication console and faced Daryl, her eyebrow quirked questioningly. "You told me to bring your supper out here? Same as I've been doing since we moved here?"
"Well, time for a change. From now on, if it's after dark, either have another man bring it out to me or I'll wait and eat when I get inside."
"Daryl, what is this about? Are you angry at me for something?" She crossed the tower and wrapped her arms around his waist. He only slightly flinched when she touched him and then scrubbed his face with his hands as he sagged into her embrace. Asshole, he thought. Keep it up. She won't tolerate your shit for long.
Daryl dropped his forehead to hers as he spoke, his voice a degree or two softer than before. "Hell no I ain't mad at ya. It's just...Andrea ain't even cold in the ground yet and Axel died out in that yard not long ago either" He slipped his arms around her as he continued. "You were standin right next to'im...while I was out in the woods with..."
Carol placed her forehead on his chest, knowing he wouldn't do well with eye contact while being emotional. She answered softly, "It's okay to grieve him. You can't hold all this yourself."
He kept his arms around her and his chin on top of her head for several long minutes. When she felt his breathing slow and muscles begin to relax she dared to look up and ask "You hungry?"
When he nodded she slipped out of his arms and grabbed the larger of the still covered plates. He started to sit on the floor but she motioned to the metal folding chair. Carol waited until he sat and then whipped the cover off the plate as she handed it to him.
"Shit..." he whispered as he took the plate. She had said she had a surprise for him but he hadn't imagined this. The plate was overflowing with food. Fried spam sat in the middle, surrounded by a mountain of mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, and two biscuits were balanced precariously on top.
"Well, Daryl, are you going to eat it or just stare at it?" she teased as she held out a fork that she had whipped out of her back pocket. After he grabbed the fork she moved to sit on the floor beside him. Before her butt could contact the concrete he dropped the fork onto his plate and gently but firmly grabbed her elbow. He shook his head at her and then guided her to sit on one of his wide spread knees as he ate, her feet on the floor between his own. They fell into a comfortable silence that was only broken when Daryl took a bite of one of the biscuits, and groaned in pleasure before turning to her with wide eyes to ask "How'd you know?"
Carol looked at the ceiling innocently, "Know what?"
"You know damn well what!"
"Ooooooh," Carol kept up the innocent act, "You mean the honey I put in the biscuits? I seem to remember somebody liked that better than jelly when we were at Herschel's."
He smirked up at her before continuing with the food. She remembered that after all these months. No way in hell I'm ever going to deserve her.
Carol continued on as Daryl finished the food. He would look up and nod occasionally as he listened.
"Of course, the vegetables are canned and the potatoes are powdered, and I wish we had some butter but it's a kings treasure after watching you work yourself so hard all winter hunting to feed us. Maybe you can get some rest now that it's not such an immediate need and you don't have to go out as much."
Daryl sighed contentedly as he settled the empty plate down on the floor beside him and pulled Carol close to press a thankful kiss to her temple. He had actually planned on slipping out early the next morning to head out into the woods for awhile and avoid the crowd but even he knew this wasn't the time to bring it up. Might as well not, Rick wanted another cell block cleared as soon as possible to accomodate the new people and he couldn't argue with that at all. After a few minutes of sitting with her head on Daryl's chest Carol popped up.
"Oh, I've got something else..."
Daryl remembered the smaller plate that was left and groaned, "Damn, woman, you trying to kill me? I cain't handle anymore food right now!" He was honestly fuller than he could remember being in the last year.
"No, not that," she dismissed, flapping her hand in the direction where it sat.
Carol stood for a moment, pulling something from the same pocket she had found the fork. As she sat she added, "Now, a year ago I wouldn't have been like this but, I think lung cancer is smallest of our worries right now. I know smoking relaxes you." She waved a unopened pack of cigarettes in his astonished face as she explained that she had gotten the pack from Deena whose husband had kept a carton back from the Woodbury common stores and then had been killed on the road between the two groups. Carol watched, smiling, as he cracked open the pack almost reverently, knocking it against the back of his other hand to extract one, and then lit up with a lighter he pulled from one of his vest pockets. He took a drag, blowing smoke out of the side of his mouth opposite her face, and then looked up at her. "I love you." he stated plainly. She chuckled, "Mr. Dixon, if I knew that all it took to get that out of you was a decent meal and some smokes I would have done it a long time ago."
They both laughed a little and she kissed him, this time on the lips, their tongues meeting for a few minutes before she curled back up with her head on his shoulder so he could finish smoking. That surprised him, he had expected her to move away after he lit up.
Once he finished and crushed the butt out on the heel of his boot, he patted her back and said "Better go back, I'm gonna fall asleep if I just keep sitting here with a full belly and smokes." And with you all warm in my lap, he added mentally.
"Want to fuck?" she finished for him, clapping a hand to her mouth as red crept up her face to her ears. He almost fumbled her off his leg in his surprise. That was the first time he had heard her say that word outside of when...Now it his turn to blush as he remembered he was sitting in the chair they had abused so liberally less than two days before. He playfully scowled at her to hide his embarrassment.
"Watch it, sewer mouth. You must be hangin around the wrong people."
She frowned. " Nope, I'm hanging around with just the right people." She moved in to kiss him again but after only a few moments he gently pushed her away, groaning.
"Yeah, I want to too, but I can't be on watch and protect your ass at the same time I got my hands all over it. Now g'on." he added, giving her bottom a pat as she stood, obviously disappointed. "Besides, what I was gonna ask was if you had any whiskey hidden in those magic pockets of yours." She threw her hands up and shrugged "Sorry."
"Just as much, couldn't be on watch with that either."
Daryl watched from the tower as she made her way back to C block, not moving until he saw the door close behind her. He adjusted the front of his pants that had grown tight in the minutes before. It was going to be a long time until his replacement came on at midnight. He searched the sparse guard room for something to occupy himself besides the memories from earlier. His eyes fell on the plate that had yet to be uncovered. He grunted when he removed the small dishtowel.
That woman IS trying to kill me, he thought as he leaned out the window into the night air, cake in one hand, fork in another.