Hi you guys! Okay, this has been months in the making. Not a lot of you even knew about it. I believe you will all enjoy it a LOT but I have to tell you that it is a little weird for the first few chapters. There is a reason it is so stick with it and you'll understand soon why certain things are happening. This, by far, is the coolest idea I have ever had, in my own opinion. I have to thank ldyjaydin and Peta2 for your guidance and catching my never ending flow of flaws. Axelrocks, as always, has been a monumental force in the making of this story. No her, no story. So thank you, love!
Please wait until after chapter five to cry OOC. *cringe* I hate that term. You'll have a much better feel for where this is going! Let me know what you think! Hope everyone is having a great Sunday and thank you for giving this a shot!
Daryl was finally calming down. He had been frantic since he got back to the prison. He had searched the prison, inside and out and there was no sign of Merle anywhere. Merle had gotten into a fight with a couple of the guys that came in from Woodbury which resulted in a screaming match with Glen and then Rick. Many people had watched him storm off but no one was able to remember seeing him again after that. Daryl had been on a hunting trip and that was two days ago.
"He wouldn't have been stupid enough to go off alone. Even if he was pissed." He said in a hushed tone as they leaned against the sun warmed bricks of the prison.
Carol gazed off towards the fences and bit the inside of her lip. "Maybe not stupid enough." She shrugged and then met his worried gaze with a steady one of her own. "But he was certainly pissed off enough."
He scowled and shook his head. "I shoulda took him with me. I knew somethin' like this would happen." His voice was low.
"He's a grown man, Daryl." She said as she pushed herself off the wall and headed towards the door that led inside. The weather was getting colder but she had to escape the crowded cell block for a few minutes. More often than not over the month since the new group had arrived Daryl escaped with her. He knew why the Woodbury group was there but he didn't have to like the fact that they were. She wasn't fond of them herself.
It was early evening and the common room was bustling with people. People chatting, people laughing, children running and playing. It grated on her nerves and she hated herself for feeling that way. This was civilization. She should have embraced the new survivors but what she found herself doing instead was avoiding them. She didn't join the other group of women, whom even Maggie and Beth were growing fond of.
Even Daryl was more talkative than she was anymore. It made no sense. But then again, it was the end of the world. Things didn't have to make sense.
She smiled at Beth as she hurried by, she knew that Daryl was on her heels. This was the worst time of day. Before the newcomers it had always been her favorite. A time where her and her family could finally start to unwind. Reflect and be thankful that they had survived another day. Now it was usually filled with noise. So much noise.
She climbed up the stairs, avoiding stepping on people as she passed. Straight to her cell, their cell, is where she was heading. The only small space of calm in this new chaotic world they found themselves in. Rick had made the announcement that they were all going to be bunking together until they could fix the breach and expand their living space. She had been less than thrilled at the prospect of being one of the few people without a bunk mate already. She was going to be forced to share a cell with a complete stranger.
Tyreese had approached her as she stood outside her cell, sheepish smile on his face. Carol's heart had sank. She liked the man. Out of all of the new arrivals he was most definitely her favorite, but she didn't want to share a cell with him. But she had plastered a kind smile on her face and hoped it was convincing. She wouldn't tell him no.
It turned out she hadn't had too. Daryl had stormed up the stairs then, crossbow slung over his shoulder and duffel bag in hand. He hadn't even stopped to ask her. He simply stormed past her and threw his things up on the top bunk.
"Seems like I'm too late in asking." Tyreese noted dryly.
Carol had crossed her arms over her chest and looked over her shoulder. He was standing in the middle of the room, scowl in place. "Seems that way. Sorry, Tyreese." She said as she turned back and gave him a weak smile.
He sighed. "Looks like I'm stuck sharing with Sasha. You wouldn't believe it by looking at her but she snores like a grown man." He shook his head. "I'll see ya around."
Carol had laughed and watched him walk away, his head hung.
Now they had been bunking together for more than a month and he was a great cell mate. He didn't feel the need to fill the silence with idle chat. He never had been that way. They had a good routine. They made it work. They both felt like outsiders in their own group now with all the others here. They were the only two that weren't taking it to good. Well, Carl and Merle were none too happy either but that was a given.
He lowered himself onto the bottom bunk and leaned his back against the cold bricks as she lit an oil lamp. The bars on the door were now covered with a thick blanket brought from Woodbury. People probably wondered about them. No one being able to really figure her and Daryl out. She couldn't have cared less what those people thought. The blanket wasn't to keep people from looking in on them. It was to keep them from having to look out. When Daryl had first hung it up he had glanced back at her and she had simply nodded, neither needing to say anything to know the reasoning behind the new need for privacy.
"If he don't turn up in the next day or so I'm gonna have to go find him." His voice was so low she barely heard him.
She leaned against the wall and then stared off into space for a few long seconds. She hated when he left. He hunted more often than not anymore. She didn't think it was the need for food as much as it was his need to get away. She had no such luxuries. And while he was away the cell seemed colder, her future more bleak.
"What's that look for?" He asked quietly.
She shrugged and then sat down on the edge of the bunk. He nudged her with his foot until she looked back at him. "I don't know." She sighed and then scooted herself back until she was sitting next to him, their shoulders barely brushing.
"You look like somebody pissed in your bunk." He muttered.
She looked over at the smirk she knew would be there. "How long do you think it'll take to find him?"
He shrugged and then pulled her pillow onto his lap. "Hard tellin'."
"Rough estimate?" She asked as she looked back at the wall.
"A few weeks. A month. Two days. That rough enough for ya?"
"You're a jackass." She muttered as she pulled the pillow from his lap to hers.
The corner of his mouth turned up but it dropped quickly. He let his head fall back against the bricks. "I can't really say how long. It's Merle. Who the hell knows where he could have went."
"I can help you search the tunnels again. Glen and Maggie brought all that liquor back from their last run. Maybe he's just down there blowing off steam." She offered hopefully.
His eyes flicked up to meet hers once more before skittering away again. "I don't want ya in them fuckin' tombs. You know that." He said in a gruff voice.
She hid the smile that threatened just at the corners of her mouth. She had never had a friend like him before. Not one that understood her like he did. Surely not one had ever cared the way he did. "You go into the tombs all the time." She noted dryly, looking away.
"I didn't almost die down there either," he muttered as he stole the pillow back from her.
"I almost died outside a few times too. You plan on keeping me from going out there?" She raised her eyebrows and ignored his scowl.
They both looked up as the door opened and one of the new women poked her head inside. She was about to say something but she was rudely interrupted.
"You people ever fuckin' heard of knockin'?" Daryl snapped.
The woman's dark eyes widened at his tone and the angry set of his jaw. "I'm sorry... I just came to see if Carol could help with dinner. We're still getting used to everything so we could use the help."
Carol smiled at her and nodded. "I'll be right down."
The woman gave her a nod herself and hurried off after throwing a nervous apology back over her shoulder. Daryl shook his head. "Now ya get to be the one to cook for all of'em? Shoulda told her to go to hell."
"You should be nicer to that one. She's pretty and I'm pretty sure she has a bit of a crush on you." She smiled but her stomach twisted a little at the thought of him being with another woman. Not that he was with her. She just didn't want to be alone. They had a good thing going. It worked for them.
He rolled his eyes. "Ain't interested." He grumbled.
She patted his knee as she stood up. Contact like that used to send him scurrying away. She was glad he'd gotten over that. "You wanna come help. Those girls would swoon if they knew that you knew your way around a kitchen. That kind of thing is sexy." She grinned as she watched the blood rush up his neck and into his face. Even the tips of his ears were crimson. He hated it when she teased him but she couldn't help it.
His narrowed eyes widened and he sat up. "That reminds me." He stood up and pulled his bag down from the top bunk. He dug around through it for a few seconds. "Found a few houses we hadn't hit yet while I was huntin'. Figured I'd see what was left. Kinda thought of you when I saw this." He tossed something at her.
She caught it before it hit the floor. She smirked and then her eyes came up and met his. "Really?" She held up a bottle of Jergens lotion. "Why in the world would this make you think of me?" She cocked an eyebrow at him.
He shrugged as he settled back down on the bunk but she could see it in his eyes that he was trying hard to hide a laugh. "Between your sandpaper elbows and your dry ass feet, I crawl outta bed a wounded man every mornin'. Thought that might help." He looked smug.
She pursed her lips together and looked up at the ceiling. "This says a lot about you, Daryl. It really does." She sighed.
His smug look vanished, eyes narrowing once more. "What are you talkin' about?"
"Well, I mention the word sexy and instantly you remember that you got me a gift. I'm flattered."
He snorted and then threw the pillow at her. "Go do somethin' useful."
She set the lotion down on the sink and left the cell, smiling to herself until she remembered that he was leaving soon to go look for Merle. She rolled her eyes at the thought of the oldest Dixon. He was a real pain in the ass compared to Daryl.
She was glad he had picked up the lotion though. Things like that were a real treat around here. Maggie had a lot that she would have let her borrow but it was all sexy smelling stuff and she was afraid that if she used it that he would think she was trying to turn him on and then that would surely scare him out of her bed. And she liked him right where he was.
It had started when they had been bunking for a few days. The temperature outside dropped drastically and the prison felt like a freezer. All of them had lost so much weight that it was harder to keep themselves warm with no meat on their bones. She didn't think the cold bothered Daryl very much but her teeth had been chattering and her shivering had probably shook the whole bunk.
She had tried to clamp her teeth together when she heard him shift on the bunk above her. But it was too late. He was awake. He had hopped down, landing silently on bare feet and pulled his own blanket down and threw over her. Before she could protest he slid in next to her. He kept his back to her the whole night but that was fine by her. The man was like a furnace. After that, even when the cold front had broken and the temperature had become bearable again, he slept with her.
Neither one of them mentioned it. She knew it wasn't because of any sort of romantic pull on his part. They both felt like outsiders in their own home now. She figured her closeness was just as much a comfort to him as his was to her. It was a simple thing.
On the nights that he was out she slept very little. The small bunk felt incredibly large to her. But he always came back.
She jumped and turned around, not expecting him to be behind her. "What are you doing?" She smiled.
He just shrugged and took a step closer. "When you're done with all that meet me in the showers. Try to make it quick."
She blinked and then blinked again. Usually this would be the cause for plenty of teasing on her part but she wasn't able to think of anything off the top of her head. Why on earth would he want her to meet him there? All she was able to do was nod like an idiot. He walked with her until they got to the area where they did most of the cooking and then he left her, his back pack in hand. She watched him walk away and then jumped when she heard Maggie's voice in her ear.
"He's up to somethin'."
Carol looked at her friend with a small smile. "What makes you say that?"
Maggie watched until he was around the corner and she knew he was out of ear shot before her excited eyes met Carol's. "Before he left out the other day I went lookin' for Glen and I found the two of them talkin' all hushed like. When I came around they stopped like they had been in the middle of a conversation and I still haven't been able to get Glen to tell me what they were talkin' about."
"Honey, that doesn't mean that he's up to something. Maybe Glen is up to something?" Carol countered with a smirk.
Maggie threw her arm around Carol's shoulder. "You're crazy. Glen tells me everything. If he's not tellin' then it's cause it ain't his to tell."
Carol just shook her head and got to work on preparing the food. She remembered he had told her to make it quick. She was really confused by the way he was acting. Usually she knew what he was thinking before he even thought it. They had become that close. Her mind wondered back to the farm, the way it usually did. So much had changed for her then. She had lost her reason for living and then found herself. How strange for things to happen that way. She wished Sophia could know her now. She was sure that the girl would have been proud of the woman Carol had become. It was just heartbreaking to know that had she been this strong then, her daughter would still be here now. But she hadn't been strong. She had stood there while Rick ran after her girl and that was the end.
Maggie bumped her with her shoulder and then smiled. "Whatcha thinkin' about?" She asked softly.
Carol looked down at her hands and then back up. "I was just thinkin' about how different I am now." She felt the corners of her mouth turn up slightly.
"You're gonna see her again, ya know?" The smile on Maggie's face turned sad. "When you're ready."
Carol frowned. How had the girl known she had really been thinking about Sophia? Usually the only person that knew when her daughter was on her mind was Daryl. "How did you know I was thinking about her?"
Maggie shrugged and her gaze became very intense. "It's almost time." She said in a strange tone.
Carol actually shook her head. "Maggie, are you feeling okay? Almost time for what?"
Maggie smiled and inclined her head towards the doorway Daryl had disappeared through earlier. "Go. I'll help finish up here."
Carol washed her hands, still looking at the girl worriedly. She really hoped that none of them were coming down with something. With so many people here now and very little medicine and proper nourishment the flu could easily turn into the black plague. She shook off the thought, refusing to add to the pile of things waiting for her to worry about as soon as Daryl left out to look for Merle. Just thinking about it made her stomach ache. They were such a strange pair, him and her.
She made her way silently down the dark corridor, knife in hand. When she saw the light from the shower room she picked up her pace. He was sitting cross legged on the floor looking rather sad. When he heard her coming he looked up and smiled. He stood up, grabbing his bag and then waited for her to approach him. When she was standing just a foot away he smirked and reached into his bag and then shoved something into her hand. She frowned and held it up.
The smile that spread across her face was nearly painful. "Body wash?" She flipped the cap open and smelled it, rolling her eyes, knowing how melodramatic she looked but didn't care. It was her absolute favorite kind but she had no idea how he had known that. They had been using the plain white bars of soap they had found here at the prison. It dried out her skin and left her smelling like some sort of athletes foot medication.
He didn't say anything but he handed his bag over to her.
"More?" She asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
He nodded and watched her curiously. He almost looked embarrassed. Typical Daryl.
She felt like a kid on Christmas. Everything she had been grumbling about needing was in his bag. She thought he had been ignoring her while she was complaining about all the Woodbury people using up all of their supplies. "Daryl, you didn't find all this in a house. You went on a run without telling the rest of us." She beamed up at him.
The corner of his mouth turned up and he shrugged. "Got tired of your bitchin'."
Without thinking she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. She expected him to freeze up or push her away. There were rules to their strange friendship and she was breaking one of them. Any sort of shows of affection were initiated by him, and they didn't involve full body contact or trapping him in any way. He had come a long way but this was probably going to get her in a lot of trouble. He'd probably sleep in his own bunk tonight. But she was happy. He'd made her happy. She couldn't help herself.
She was about to pull away and face his wrath with a brave face when she felt one strong arm snake around her waist and then another. She froze, her breath nearly catching in her throat. When the arms tightened and she felt his forehead drop to her shoulder she thought she would pass out. If she had known she could get this kind of reaction out of him she would have started hugging him ages ago.
She was finally the one to loosen her grip on him but she suddenly felt extremely dizzy so she kept her hands on his broad shoulders. When it passed she looked up into his worried blue gaze. "You alright?" He asked.
She nodded. It passed as quickly as it had come. "Thank you. You didn't have to do all this." She said softly, noting that his hands were lingering at her waist.
He nodded. "Yes I did. I got sick of smellin' ya all night long. This was mostly for me. And use the fuckin' razors, would ya? You feel like a cactus."
She grinned. "Daryl Dixon, are you rubbing up on my legs while I'm asleep?"
He snorted and pushed her away. "Shut up." He grumbled as she reached down and picked up the bag. Before she could walk into the shower room he stopped her. "One more thing. And don't give me any shit about it either."
"What?" She asked, frowning.
He held up a key and she gasped. "No! I have hot water?"
He shook his head. "We have hot water. As soon as your ass is in one of them stalls I'm gonna be right behind ya."
She raised one eyebrow. She wasn't going to be able to let that one go and when he saw her face he knew what he had done.
"Stop it. Get in the damn shower before I go give all your shit to the Woodbury women."
She sighed and walked towards the doorway. "Would you be as eager to get behind them in the shower?" She hurried to a stall before he could throw something at her. She was able to hear him grumbling but couldn't make out any of his words.
She almost moaned when she got under the hot spray. They didn't use the water heaters often. Rick always said that it used up too much fuel in the generators. She had a sneaking suspicion that Daryl did a bit of sneaking himself to get the hot water.
She didn't rush. She heard him turn on his own shower many stalls over. The steam was thick and the whole shower room smelled amazing. She was eager to obey and she even took her time with the shaving.
"Jesus, I shoulda got somethin' odorless. Those vultures are gonna smell ya and then rob ya blind as soon as you leave the cell."
"Then I'll sniff them out and you can help me kick their asses." She smiled as she finally turned off the water but the smile fell when she blinked and she didn't see the shower room anymore. Instead she saw a light and behind the light was a white drop tile ceiling. She blinked again and was staring through the steam at the dripping shower head once more.
She snatched the towel down that she had hung over the wall of the shower stall and dried off quickly. She dressed in fresh new cotton pajamas that may as well have been made of raw silk considering how comfortable they were compared to the clothes she normally had to sleep in. She was starting to get worried. She was feeling very off. She had been worried that Maggie may be coming down with something but she was starting to think it was her that she needed to worry about.