OFFICAL DISCLAIMER! - I own none of TWD Characters here within, only a lust for Southern Comfort and the men who drink it. ;) CARYL ON!

She kissed Him.

It was a moment of weakness, or maybe strength, Carol wasn't really sure. It didn't matter now. What mattered was she had taken the plunge, jumped in first, and quit waiting for him. She had been so angry. So ridiculously angry. He acted like the walkers getting in was her fault. Like He expected Her to run, like the other women from Woodbury, to hide...He should have know better. Carol had spent twelve years hiding from her husband's shadow and, by the light of that dying fire before their first winter together, she had said goodbye to that burden and become Carol again, not "a burden" but, something more.

So when Glen's cry went out of walkers in the prison She ran in while others ran out. She grabbed Mary Beth first, sweeping the four year old up into her arms, then she sought out the hand of Alice. Alice was only twelve and watching in horror as a walker made a meal of her father. "Run," Carol commanded in a voice she would not have previously recognized as her own only a year ago. From Her arms Mary Beth screamed and Carol instinctively drew her knife from the belt holster and spun plunging her Winchester skinning blade into the eye socket of the walker that had been behind her. "Thanks," she murmured to Mary Beth. The little girl only clutched Carol tighter as Carol continued to grab straggling children.

When they made it outside Daryl was right behind them with a little boy of no more than six. He set the boy to rights and went over to engage in terse discourse with Rick before returning to Carol and grabbing her arms roughly. "You bit?" He grunted examining her extremities and then tilting her head to the right and left so he could see her neck clearly.

"No. You?" Carol replied flatly. She understood, in the heat of the moment, that Daryl was upset, distracted, worried but, Carol did feel for all the world like she was being examined like a horse at auction.

Daryl humphed dropping her arms. "Naw but, we ain't done wit this woman."

Now Carol was irritated, really irritated. It was bad enough that the object of 90% of her sex dreams had moved in to share a cell with her to "git away from those others" as he put it but, now, now he presumed to try to tell her that there would be more of this ham handed examination or interrogation applying to this situation? No, no that would NOT be happening.

"No, we're done with this," Carol met his gaze evenly. "These children have just been traumatized and they need a certain degree of normalcy so, if you wouldn't mind, I'm going to take them by the chicken coop and we're going to do a head count and maybe a quiet story while you figure this out with Rick. Let me know if you need me." Carol stressed the word need as emphatically as she could before turning to gather the children around her as they headed north toward the coop. Carol quickly counted heads...16...there were 18 this morning. Who was she missing? Carol's chest tightened but, for the children, she held her tears.

Daryl was speechless. The woman was spunky, fiery, no... crazy, that's all there was to it. He loved to see this side of her, fiercely independent and confident but, if she died, or turned. Daryl shook his head in a absent attempt to rid his mind of such horrors. When his eyes refocused he couldn't help but fix his gaze on her form. Her body had grown tight, muscular, lean and damn to watch that ass walk away... Daryl heard a chuckle behind him and he turned to face Merle and his big, stupid, shit-eating grin.

"Damn, Little Brother, and they say I'm the dog."

"Shut it, Merle," Daryl mumbled as he turned away towards Rick.

"Oh, come on Brother, I bet she'd let you bury your bone..." Daryl spun to face Merle and the Older Brother saw, immediately, that he had overstepped. "Okay, okay, don't get you panties in a bunch Darylenea. Rick wants to talk to us anyway. Something about working on welding some gates in back."

Daryl had gone with them then. Worked hard. But, not hard enough. Lost in his own head, like always, He had returned to their cell that night ready to fight. He was ready to tell her what losing her would do to him. How could she be so careless, so reckless, with her life?

Carol had worked hard that day too. Burying two tiny bodies in their growing cemetery. A bother and sister. No other family, just each other. Carol felt the loss like a bolt through the heart. No one had come forward to claim them, to bury them, to pray over one. Carol sat by their graves that afternoon with the other children that flocked to her side during the crisis. They had told stories of Emma and Paddy. A bother and sister from Union City, GA and the adventures they had together on their way to Woodbury and then the prison. She tried to keep it positive. Hugs and funny stories of Paddy's stubbornness and Emma's struggles with tying her brother's shoes. When the children began to yawn and complain of stomach pains Carol had gathered them all up, even Alice who had fallen asleep on her father's fresh grave, and taken them inside to dinner and bed. Carol could not sleep though, not until she had it out with Daryl. How could he question her intent, her actions? 'We ain't done with this' MY ASS, Carol thought as she paced their cell. They were done with it, all done, how could he cast doubt on her when these children had no one else to look for them, no one else to know they were even missing?

Daryl stormed into his cell. Lips set into a thin line and mind made up to give Carol a piece of his mind.

Carol was ready arm out stretched and finger extended, "Out!"

Daryl's mouth dropped open. There was a fire in her. In scared and excited him at the same time. She was already wearing her clothes for bed and the way her sleep shorts clung to her made him need an extra second to gather his thoughts back together. "What? Why in the fuck would I leave my own cell?"

"This is my home too and, last I checked, I don't go stomping around you when you've had a bad day. So, if you want to act like that, O-U-T, you can get OUT until you can come home without stomping like a damn child."

Daryl's mouth opened and closed a few times. Then, wordlessly, he brushed past her and set his bow down on the top bunk. Daryl took several deep breaths and then turned to her and squared his shoulders. "No," he breathed.

"No?" Carol expected him to run, to yell, maybe call her a Bitch but, not 'No." Her brow creased and Daryl's hand shot out so fast she flinched. She couldn't help it. The flinches were habit.

"Shhhhshhhh..." Daryl breathed placing his palm to her cheek he used the thumb to gently sooth away the creases in her forehead. It was an oddly intimate gesture and it's significance was not lost on Carol. She let him palm her face and draw it towards his. For just a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but, he stopped with their foreheads pressing together. "Heard about Emma and Paddy, he was the little red-headed boy right?"

Carol closed her eyes willing the tears to stay at bay. Slowly she wet her lips and nodded keeping her forehead securely against his.

Daryl sighed letting the hand that had been on her face drift to easily palm the back of her neck. "You know what it would do to me?" Daryl breathed keeping their foreheads pressed together. Daryl's face temporarily clenched his face in a reflex of emotional pain, "You know what it would do to us if you were the one? The one in the ground. Do you even know?"

Carol couldn't stop the tears now. She opened and closed her mouth repeatedly.

Daryl dropped his hand. Exasperation coming to his voice, "Woman," he began.

That's when she did it.

She kissed Him.

Maybe it was strength. Maybe it was weakness. Fact of the matter was, it was wonderful. She pressed her soft lips to his chapped ones. Chaste and momentary. Daryl barely had time to react before she began to pull away. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly trying to process what had just happened. That, however, was proving painfully difficult as his brain was NOT in possession of necessary blood-flow. Daryl heard someone moan and, with a start, realized it was him. He opened his eyes only to see fear in hers. Her mouth was open in a silent 'O' and, for a moment, just a hair's breadth of a second, he could hear her thoughts:

Why'd I do that? God, I've made a fool of myself. He'll hate me. He'll move out. I'm too old. Beth would be better. Beth is so pretty. I can't give him children. I'm impossible to look after. I'm ugly. I'm fat. I'm a nuisance. Swallow me world, swallow me right not, please...oh god o god ogodogodogodogod...

Daryl pushed forward pressing her body between his and the cell wall. His lips found her open mouth and his tongue plundered her. He had no words. Daryl Dixon was no good with words but, as her tongue began to glide along his, he knew she had heard him. When he finally broke the kiss they both panted for air. Suddenly the silence that had always been so easy between them felt like it needed words. Daryl started; "I, um, I've been workin' and I'm gonna need a shower, fore' bed." Carol nodded against him her head buried in the crook of his neck. He felt her smile. This brought a rare smile to his lips. He leaned in close a spoke in a husky murmur to her ear. "I ain't gonna try nothin'. I ain't no pervert. But, maybe, I was thinkin' maybe you'd wait up for me? So I could hold ya? If you think there's room in ya bunk for two, can't have you runnin' off ta be sorrowful and shit and, well, truth be told woman, I wouldn't be objecting if you wanted to ..." Daryl's voice trailed off and a sudden hot blush that started as his ears came across his cheeks.

Carol looked up and took his face between both of her hands holding his gaze. "I would like it very much if you would hold me tonight while I sleep Daryl Dixon," she said softly. The blush began to drain away and Daryl gave soft nod. Regretfully Carol let him go as he began to gather up his shower supplies. He looked over his shoulder at her, as if to confirm she was really and truly sitting in their cell when he left, then there was another small nod and Carol watched him walk off towards the showers.

That was the fastest, coldest, shower Daryl Dixon had ever taken in his life. When he was confident that his manhood had been sufficiently taken care of, it had taken less than three minutes, he stood under the stream of cold water an extra while. In fact, he had waited so long in the icy spray that Daryl was marginally certain, his penis might declare strike never come back out of his body. Boy was he wrong. Thirty seconds out of the icy water and, just the thought of Carol lying back in their cell waiting for him, his cock was back. Damn...

Daryl tried desperately to think of Merle on the way back. Merle...Merle...Merle...Herschel...Merle...Any naked hairy man...ewww...come'on...Daryl turned into his cell...their cell. He saw her, laying there, her eyes open and watching. Beautiful, soft, perfect, wait, what was he thinking about before?

"This okay?" Daryl mumbled as he set on the very edge of the bunk. Carol nodded her head and murmured a sleepy affirmative. She was lying on her left side, facing the wall. He laid down on his left side. A small smile played on Carol's lips as she realized that he wasn't yet touching her. She reached back with her right arm and drew his hand and arm across her body and tight to her sternum. Once there she intertwined her fingers with his. Daryl let her take his hand and, when it reached its destination he let out a short breath he didn't realize he'd been holding and settled close to her body. His chest to her back.

"Goodnight Daryl," Carol murmured dropping a feather light kiss to their joined hands.

"Goodnight Woman," Daryl softly responded pecking the back of her head with a kiss of his own.

Together they slept peacefully for the first night either one of them could remember.