I know this was just supposed to be a one shot, but this second chapter was half written before I could stop it, so I finished it & here you go. For those who wanted to know what came next: a teeny bit of angst & much sweet smut for our Caryl.


Healed

Was this really finally happening? Was he actually here, in her bed, with his strong arms wrapped tightly around her body, holding her against his? Were those his warm dry lips moving over hers, his whiskers softly scraping against her chin and cheek? She opened her mouth and brushed her tongue against his lower lip in a kitten lick; tasting the bitter coffee he must've drunk to stay awake on his journey home to her.

Carol smiled as she felt him shiver, heard him make a small whimpering sound in his throat as he let his lips part for her questing tongue. She tightened her fingers' grip on the long hair that spilled down over his shirt collar, pulling him closer and angling her head slightly so she could deepen the kiss, finding his tongue with hers, and this time he groaned and he kissed her back with the passion she knew he had banked there inside him, waiting, like embers, for someone to set him aflame.

Daryl found the stretch waistband at the back of her sleep pants and he dipped just the tips of his fingers inside and under it, testing her resolve to continue. He wasn't sure what she was expecting, didn't know how to ask without sounding like he didn't know what he was doing...which he didn't...not really...

He'd gotten much more comfortable with touch over the time he'd been with these people. Before the Atlanta camp the only touch in his life had been doled out with pain. It had rendered him almost like an autistic child in some ways, shying away from any human contact, avoiding, defensively flinching or fighting back when it was given. But these people, all of them from infant Judith to grandfatherly Hershel, were free with good touch—the pat on the back, the hand to the shoulder, the hand clasp, the hug—all of these things came as naturally to them as breathing. By now he'd better learned to accept it from them, his family, and even give it when needed, but it had taken years for him to overcome his self imposed canon against letting anyone in.

When he'd seen Carol rushing past him to get to Sophia that day at the barn, it had broken down all of his hard and fast rules against touching her in particular. She'd scared him—she could've died. It had been the first of three of the most important things he'd ever done...in his whole life... the three times he'd saved her. There at the barn, then the night the herd overran the farm and finally, finding her in the Tombs. Each time he'd felt her body full flush against his, holding her to him or her hanging on as she rode behind him on the Triumph, pressing her softly curving form against his back—they had all been the precursors of this, here with her now. They were together, on a bed, her half naked, in his arms, and she was kissing the shit out of him. The problem was he didn't know what the hell to do next, how to make love to her like she deserved. He'd almost come just from kissing her beautiful breasts before; was so hard he was in pain from it now, wanted her so much he was making noises like some damn puppy begging for a biscuit.

Carol let her hands slide down from his neck to his broad shoulders, reveling in the warm firm flesh of his muscular biceps, skimming over elbows, forearms, wrists until she reached his hands, drawing them both down, pushing them under the waistband of her pants, under further until they were holding her bare ass firmly cupped in them. She moved her own hands to her front and continued pulling the stretchy sleep wear down until she could kick them off along with her sock monkey socks that had so amused him. Daryl broke the kiss and looked over at her, a bit dizzy, breathing heavily.

"I just laid all my cards on the table," she told him levelly, "You gonna ante up, Dixon?" she asked, toying with his top shirt button. His forehead wrinkled and she saw the underlying fear and pain haunting his passion flushed face. She lifted her right hand to his cheek.

"Do you know what a scar is?" she asked him and he frowned at her. "It's a place where you healed. Someone cut or burnt or slashed or bit or beat you thinking they could mark you as theirs—make you theirs...but scars are just the ghosts of those wounds, healed over ghosts—powerless because your flesh knit itself back together and healed. Your scars are beautiful, Daryl, because they mean you survived. You accepted mine, and I accept yours because they're part of what made you who you are—a man who would never hurt anyone you care about—the man who understands me like no one I've ever known could—the man I love."

Daryl felt the tears filling his eyes, felt himself starting to panic at the intense emotions rising up, trying to choke him. He'd never felt this way before—his heart thudded in his chest, he couldn't breathe—gasping, he released her and threw himself back, hitting the floor painfully on his bruised right side and then scrambled up, his back against the wall of the cell, his head down, trying to catch his breath.

"Daryl?" Carol's soft voice came from right in front of him. She knew enough not to touch him, but she was concerned that he would pass out—he seemed to be having some sort of panic attack. He'd been doing so well, accepting and even initiating intimacy in a way he'd never done before—god damn his father and Merle, who hadn't protected his baby brother from that monster—both of them inflicting the damage he was trying to deal with now so they could be together...

Daryl's head came up and he looked at her, his eyes wet, vividly blue behind his shaggy bangs. He looked her slender form up and down, as if he was just remembering or realizing she wore nothing, that she'd bared herself to him unashamedly, body, heart and soul. He groaned and grabbed her upper arms and spun her around so she took his place, her back pressed against the wall and he kissed her, hard, using his mouth to try to show her how much what she'd just told him had meant to him because he just couldn't say it—it would take too many words...

"Stay." he growled and released her, taking a step back so he could unbutton his shirt just far enough to give him room to pull it off over his head. Her breath caught from seeing the broad expanse of his chest and arms, the blue inked name over his heart and the demon riding his bicep adding to his mysteries. He was thin—still too thin—but that made the long muscles ripple under his skin, the abs at his narrow waist sharply defined above the belt of his low slung black jeans.

He squinted at her, self conscious over his tattoos and scars, knowing that his oft beaten and broken body was by no means desirable, hoping she could overlook its imperfections; hoping that she really believed what she'd just said to him about being healed because she'd healed him...

"You're beautiful." Carol whispered with such sincerity that he could almost believe it was true. And then she smiled a little smile, "If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?" she quoted the line from an old joke or song, she couldn't recall which, but he didn't smile back. Instead he looked almost dangerous, intense, studying her like a predator, like he was some big cat and she, his mouse. Daryl took a step towards her and raised his arm to slap his right palm flat against the wall beside her head. His left hand found the curve of her hip, but he didn't move yet to embrace her more fully. He stared at her, waves of heat and power coming off his addictively sleek body.

"Here or the bed?" he asked, his voice dry and gravelly.

"Here." she said, looking him in the eye. She took a deep breath and sighed, a small sound of anticipation and surrender, "Nightstand." she said and he looked at her quizzically, "the box in the top drawer of my nightstand," she told him and he took two quick steps back, opened it and snorted as he lifted out an unopened box of condoms. He raised both eyebrows high in surprise and she blushed and pursed her lips.

"Somthin' you wanna tell me?" he asked archly.

"They were a gift from Maggie." The girl had handed them to her a few weeks ago when they were sorting through boxes of goods that had been brought back from a scavenging run. Carol had frowned at her and tried to give them back, but Maggie had refused, looking over at Daryl who was busy talking to Rick and Hershel, then smiled, saying that she was a "hopeful romantic" and walked away. Embarrassed, Carol had stuck the box in her nightstand to hide them from Beth.

"When?" he asked, narrowing his eyes and tilting his head at her speculatively.

"Do you really care?" she asked him, and he shrugged, opened the box and pulled out one foil wrapped square tossing the rest onto the bed. He prowled over to her and then she reached out to find the buckle of his belt and started working to loosen it. He swallowed hard as she moved to the button and zipper next.

"It'll prob'ly be fast..." he warned—he had very little control left—but she just smiled and pushed his pants and briefs down and off of his narrow hips, letting them fall to the floor. He stepped out of them and finally she felt all of him as he pushed her back against the wall and pressed against her. His heat in front and the cool concrete at her back made her feel like she was in some sort of fever dream. Her breasts were crushed against his chest, their bellies together as they kissed again. He found her right hand with his and dragged it to his cock, needing her touch, grunting as her small cool hand closed over his steel core hardness. She made a sound deep in her throat at his size—she'd already known he was so much more of a man than her dead bastard of a husband could've ever hoped to be—but holy Hannah...

He knew he at least had something to be proud of in that department from her reaction, but for all her strength, she was such a little scrap of a woman that he worried...

"I don' wanna hurt you." he moaned against her neck, "Wanna help..." he muttered and his right hand moved down her belly to find her cleft, intent on helping her get off first no matter how long it took, but she was already so ready for him, so wet and turned on that as soon as his fingers circled her swollen bud she cried out and pushed against his hand, her whole body trembling. She wrapped her left arm around his neck and lifted herself up on her toes, finding his ear and giving his earlobe a sharp nip.

"Please Daryl, don't make me wait anymore..." she begged in a throaty moan.

"Shit..." he groaned and he lifted the foil packet to his mouth and bit down, ripping it open so he could remove the contents and swiftly roll it on. Then his hands went under her ass, lifting her and pushing her back against the wall, sliding his hands to her thighs, wrapping her legs around him. She used her right hand to guide him to her center, staring into his eyes as he bucked his hips up and forward, pushing into her. Her right hand joined her left at his neck, holding on for dear life. Her head went back, thunking lightly against the wall and her mouth came open, her eyes shut and her breathing became erratic as she tried to hold onto some control, but it felt so exquisite, so amazing to have him inside her, that she made high pitched little screams with each movement he made to sheathe himself deeper.

"Carol? Sweetheart? You ok?" Daryl ground out; still worried he was hurting her, unsure yet what her noises meant. She felt like heaven, wrapped so tightly around him, but he was afraid to move...

"So...good..." she finally got out, "Oh god, Daryl, it's so..." and she opened her crystal blue eyes to stare into his cerulean. "It's perfect." she told him, smiling and locking her legs around him.

"You're perfect." he said, kissing her sweetly, lingeringly, and then resting his forehead on hers as he started to move in gentle thrusts and she grinned at the intensity of his expression, his brow knit together in concentration, his mouth set in a firm line. "What?" he asked, leaning his head back and frowning at her.

"You're so cute when you're all serious." she said adoringly, kissing the tip of his nose.

"The hell you say." he groused and bent at the knees so his next thrust was more powerful, making her grab at his shoulders, look at him in wonder and cry out in pleasure.

"Oh god, Daryl!" she whimpered.

"Cute huh?" he growled triumphantly and found a driving rhythm, the muscles of his back and round ass bunching as he drove himself into her over and over.

"Carol? You up? Your lights still on—I can't find the extra diapers they brought back from-holy shit!"

They'd been so wrapped up in each other they hadn't heard Rick's footsteps walking down the corridor, hadn't seen him push aside the sheet over the doorway and stick his head in to ask her his inane question. He held baby Judith in his arms and she looked at them curiously and then reached her chubby arms out towards them.

"Ca! Da!" she cried happily—her one syllable names for Carol and Daryl. Rick put his hand over the baby's eyes.

"Hope she's not scarred for life," Rick muttered to himself, and then started sniggering.

"Get the fuck out! Ain't no show!" Daryl snarled at his best friend, keeping Carol's body covered with his. Rick winked at Carol, who was peeking wide-eyed at him over Daryl's shoulder, and then the former sheriff took the one step back that was needed to allow the curtain to drop shut again. They heard him walking back down the corridor, whistling the tune to "If I Only Had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz.

"Ain't no privacy in this whole damn place." Daryl bit out. He looked at Carol, his voice softening, "You ok?"

"Are you?" she asked him tenderly, moving her right hand up his cheek—reddened with exertion or embarrassment or both she wasn't sure.

"First time I sorta feel sorry for Glenn and Maggie." he said wryly and she smirked at him, glad to see he was able to see the humor in the situation. He quirked her a shy smile back and it lit up his whole face, his eyes so warm and blue it made her heart hurt. Carol reached up and pushed his hair off of his forehead so she could see them fully and then she slowly traced her index finger down the bridge of his nose and over his lips to his chin, finding the little patch of white in his beard that hadn't been there when she'd first met him. She held his chin, pulling it lower so she could swirl a lick over his lower lip.

It was like she'd lit the dried tinder over the embers again and Daryl suddenly realized at what point they'd been interrupted. He groaned and captured her mouth with his, and she tightened her legs around him, her right hand moving to tangle in his hair as her left gripped his shoulder blade, feeling the ropy 'X' of scar tissue under her fingers. He plunged his tongue past her lips and teeth and she met him with the same ardor, yanking on his dark locks as she felt him start to move his hips again, slowly building, his mouth leaving hers so he could moan and lick down the side of her face, finding the silky soft spot where her neck and shoulder met and opening his mouth over it, sucking down hard, his teeth grazing her flesh as he thrust hard into her.

Carol screamed out his name and they both lost all semblance of control. She bucked her hips into his and ground out little high pitched cries as she felt his muscles tense and his breath come in gasps and groans as he made love to her with his whole body.

"Oh shit...oh god...Carol?" his voice was higher pitched, sounding so vulnerable.

"I'm with you-love you, boo," she assured him.

"Love you, sweetheart..." he told her.


The next evening when she finally made it back to her cell after what had seemed like an unending day filled with busy work, walking hand in hand with Daryl, the curtains were already down. She looked over at him and he frowned and pulled his knife out of its sheath at his hip and she drew her pistol from her leg holster. He silently counted off and on three she whipped the curtain back. What was waiting there made them both lower their weapons in mute surprise.

Someone had removed the narrow prison bunk bed set and replaced it with what looked like at least a full sized bed complete with sheets, pillows and a blue quilt. Wildflowers in a beer bottle vase had been placed on the nightstand alongside a candle, a lighter, a bottle of wine and two juice glasses.

"Did you?" she asked him.

"Just gonna ask you the same thing." he demurred, shaking his head no. Daryl moved to the head of the bed and saw an envelope on the pillows. He picked it up and showed it to her and she came over and sat down on the bed, patting the space beside her and he snorted, but sat as well.

The envelope had both of their names on it and wasn't sealed. Daryl opened it and they both leaned in and read the short note.

Carol & Daryl:

Sorry about last night—hope this helps make up for it.

Rick

P.S. It's about time!