A/N: a little one-shot in two parts - done in honor of smut week on the caryl tag on tumblr - part 2 should be up next week - it is not my intent to have you unearthing Aerosmith's Big One's, but it is kind of the soundtrack that goes along with at least part 1
The Walking Dead and identifiable characters, places, and events are not mine - no infringement is intended or implied - my stories are written out of love and a need to create and are solely for entertainment purposes
The basement was an ideal location. The exits were controlled and secure, it didn't have to be cleared of walkers, and the temperature was more controlled. The drawback was the narrow staircases that led down to it. They were not practical for transporting some of the members of the Woodbury group, nor was it possible to move large supplies from one level to the other. That was what the elevator was for.
They had the generator for power, but something was wrong with the motor on the elevator. It had froze up before it had barely moved. Axel would have been able to fix it in a day. Daryl was no Axel, but he was the best they had, and even at his best he was on day three. But he was getting closer.
The elevator was located in the boiler room. The basement looked like it was primarily for storage and it had the one shaft and two narrow staircases for access. It was a partial basement but it was large. With a little work they could make it a useful sort of fallout shelter in the event of an attack by the Governor. Though Daryl seriously doubted much would come of that. His numbers were severely reduced, at best five maybe. It would take a long time for him to regroup and become a real threat again, but he imagined there were other very real threats unknown to them.
He found several high-powered lanterns and a large stockpile of D batteries in a storage room. He also had found some cement blocks to prop open the elevator doors. He'd placed a lantern on top of the elevator carriage just inside the access panel, one in the actual carriage, and one near the open doors. The light was sufficient, even in such a dim space. He'd also found a cd player and a small stash of cds. He grabbed some of the extra batteries to power it. He liked to blare music when he was working.
The cds were mostly early 90's rock, and looked to be about as old as the cd player. It was the kind of music that he listened to when he was in his late teens. He'd actually enjoyed the last few days alone, trying to get the motor working again. The principals were a little different than motorcycles and trucks, but the mechanics were pretty much the same.
When Carol opened the door to the boiler room, she felt like she was in her early twenties again, hanging out in her daddy's garage. She moved closer to the elevator. The music was coming from just outside and it echoed in the large room. It was Aerosmith and that took her back to the young man who worked for her father. The one she'd had a crush on. The one she sat near for hours on weekday afternoons. Trading banter while he changed oil and spark plugs and played Aerosmith on repeat.
She'd felt Daryl's absence the last two days. Funny how one could thrive on little moments, just being around and near him through the day, passing in a hallway, a smile in the yard, little things really, and yet she had been missing them. So she sought him out down here in the boiler room. But she didn't see him anywhere. She heard the clatter of a wrench and a very loud "Fuck!" She smiled. If he knew she was there, he wouldn't have said that. She'd seen him angry, but he'd never used 'fuck' around her, out of politeness she was sure.
The elevator had gotten stuck on its descent and so there was a small ledge at the opening of the doors. She sat and let her legs swing. She wasn't sure if she should announce her presence. She really had no reason to be there other than seeking his company. She hadn't brought him lunch or something to drink. She merely missed him. Maybe she would sit awhile and listen to him grunt and breathe and if he didn't come down on his own, she might slip away. Even just being close to him, whether he knew it or not, gave her comfort.
She sat listening to the music for a while, and moved her hands, imitating the drum beats. Living On The Edge was on. At "again and again and again" she slowly banged her head in rhythm. She heard some shuffling and looked up at the access panel. Daryl's head appeared and scanned the floor of the elevator. "Shit!" He was staring at the hammer. His head went back and his legs dangled in a move to jump down.
"Wait!" Carol called. His feet froze. She hopped down into the elevator, grabbed the hammer, and handed it up to him. His legs swung back inside and his head reappeared along with a hand.
"Thanks." He took the hammer and disappeared again. There was hammering , the sound of a misstrike, and an extended "fuu..." followed by the sound of the hammer being thrown down onto the roof of the elevator. Then silence.
"Can ya see if there is a first aid kit near the workbench?"
She went into the boiler room and returned with a couple of band aids, which she handed up to him. After a few moments, he called down to her. "So'd ya need somethin'?"
"No, not really, I just..."
"Hey, can ya turn the music down a bit, I can't hear ya."
She turned the volume down and called up, "Better?"
His head appeared briefly and he smiled at her. "Yeah, when I'm alone I kinda blare it. Makes it feel like the old days."
"Yeah, I know what you mean."
Janie's Got A Gun came on and Carol could picture the music video in her head. How many times had she seen that? It was still when MTV played videos.
His feet appeared again and he jumped down. "Well, it's as good a time as any to take a break I guess, seeing as I've got company and all." He reached around to the outside of the elevator doors and retrieved a bottle of water. He took a drink and offered it to her. When she declined it, he capped the bottle and hopped up next to her on the ledge.
It was warm in the close space and it had been hot she was sure in the elevator shaft. The sweat beaded on his arms and brow. She suddenly caught his scent and something inside her pulled. Sure, part of it was feeling like she was in her twenties again, hormones raging but too shy to kiss the boy she was crushing on, but it was also Daryl. 'He must have pheromones my body craves,' she thought. 'That or it has been too damn long.'
She was getting distracted. "So how's it coming along?"
"A'right. I can't help but think Axel could have had this done by now."
"Yeah, he was good with things like that." She felt a slight heaviness in her chest. She'd remembered him flirting and talking with her just moments before the Governor had shot him.
"He was a good guy. A little sweet on ya though. I suspect I would have had a fight on my hands eventually."
They were sitting side by side, legs dangling. She turned her head to look at him, but he was staring at his feet. "Really?"
"Yeah, it was starting to feel like highschool in here. I was never good at fighting for a girl, but I guess I would have stepped up. It ain't highschool anymore."
She didn't know what to say to that and he wouldn't look at her. At that moment, Crazy came on and she smiled. "No, it just sounds like it is." He laughed at that and looked up at her. She felt bold. "Wanna dance?"
He looked startled, but stood and offered her his hand. "Sure, why not? Ain't nobody here to run to if I step all over ya toes though."
She took his hand and hopped down. He placed his hands on her waist and she placed hers on his shoulders. 'No, not like highschool, more like middle school,' he thought. But this was progress. She must have felt like she could push it a little further though. She wrapped her arms around to meet at the back of his neck and pulled him slightly toward her. He responded by pulling her waist more toward him and clasping his hands together behind her back. He also ducked his head into her slightly. It was obviously what she wanted, she sighed when he did that. And then he made a fatal mistake, he took a sharp breath.
Suddenly he was flooded by the smell of her and the softness of her clinging to him. He felt himself stirring. He slid his right hand up to the middle of her back and pressed her closer. She responded by snaking her right hand along the back of his head and running her fingers through his hair. He shivered and hardened. He moved his lips to brush the side of her neck and at that moment, the music changed to Walk On Water and it pulled him back to himself.
This would not do. He reached over and turned off the cd player. Carol stared at him, stunned, wounded, not ready to stop. He could tell she was suddenly uncomfortable and didn't know what to say or do.
"I can't do this..." He was looking right at her and he brought his right hand up to rest on her cheek, he smiled at her. "I'm pretty sure the next song on there is Dude Looks Like A Lady, and if ya think that won't kill my mood, you've got another thing coming." He smiled at her and let go of her face, he placed one hand on the side of the elevator and leapt up into the boiler room. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "Be right back, k?"
She nodded and watched as he moved out of sight. She walked over to the workbench and jumped up. She loved sitting up high, letting her legs swing. She spent most of her childhood like that either in her momma's kitchen or her daddy's workshop and garage. In less than five minutes Daryl returned with his arms loaded with blankets and pillows from the laundry room. She stared at him with disbelief as he struggled in. He could barely see where he was going when he dropped them in big pile by the elevator door. She watched him frown when he didn't see her sitting there.
"Over here." He turned and saw her and his smile returned but then he blushed. He had that look like he'd been caught and he didn't know how to back out of it gracefully. His enthusiasm was charming, but out of character, and it was as if in an instant he realized this too.
He turned his head back to look at the pile, then back to her. He started to sputter, "I...um...it..."
She would save this with a joke like she always did. "It makes me feel much better for your safety, they will make a nice soft landing in case you fall." She let an audible sound escape at her own her own humor, and he bit the side of his bottom lip and just stared at her.
"A'right...ya think it's that simple, yeah?" He moved toward her slowly, deliberately. "Ya talk a serious game, and then ya back off...every...damn...time." He'd taken a step closer with each word and he was now standing in front of her. He braced his right arm against the bench brushing the side of her leg, but he let his left arm fall to his side. He wanted her to listen to him, but he didn't want her to feel trapped. His eyes were level with hers, and he was staring right at her now, challenging her.
"So what do you want me to do about it, then?" She leaned forward slightly, their noses almost touching.
His words were almost a whisper, "I want ya to fuckin' kiss me so I know you're serious."
Was it really that simple? He didn't want to make that first move? She swallowed hard. He was still staring at her, daring her, testing her. Was it a test? She could have it, have it all right now, she just had to make the first move. They were alone and he was ready. He wouldn't have gotten the bedding if he wasn't. He blinked and squinted his eyes when the sweat beaded on his forehead ran down into them, but he didn't break eye-contact and he didn't move his hands.
She swallowed again and she could hear the blood rushing in her ears. She wanted to kiss the spot just below his eye on the crest of his cheekbone. But would he take it wrong? Would it seem too friend-like? She chose to touch that spot with the fingers of her left hand instead, slightly stroking and feeling the contours. His cheek was moist from the sweat , but so very silken. She let her fingers continue to the rough contrast of his lips and linger there on the top one, never breaking his stare.
He pulled his hips closer to her and she felt his erection through his jeans as he glanced her inner thigh. She imagined that the skin at the juncture of his hips was as soft or softer than that precious bit below his eyes. And she longed to kiss there. Press her lips softly and hear him moan beneath her. But she had to start with his lips first. It was more than lips though, it was a comfort barrier she had to cross, a barrier they had mutually constructed. It seemed hardly fair that she had to be the first one to cross. 'But he will meet you there on the other side,' she thought. And she smiled.
"Does this amuse you?" Daryl broke the silence but he was smiling too.
"Hardly?" He pressed himself further into her thigh. She glanced down and his erection was visible now. 'Must be a grower,' she thought and had to repress a giggle. Ed had been a shower and there were few surprises. This was a pleasant one to say the least. "So..."
"Are ya gonna kiss me or am I gettin' back to that motor?"