Well, this one took a little bit to get to you. And...I'm not going to sugar coat the reason why it took so long. Most of you know I run Fans Of CARYL over on fb...and I'm on fb alot. I see what CARYLers are saying, their concerns...there thought's...but also all the negativity too. What alot of people don't realize is that...well, that negativity effects everyone, including us writers. It's kills our vibes/feels. And frankly all the negativity over CARYL, Reedus, and McBride has been killing my vibes/feels and putting me in a place where I don't want to write. I don't like that one bit. So...if I go awhile without posting, now you know why. Yes, it's a TV show...they are characters, not real life people...the people playing the characters are doing the job they are hired to do. So why does there have to be all the negativity? Why not just enjoy the show the way it was meant to be? Maybe if there wasn't the negativity we might see more chapters being posted not only from myself, but other writers as well. Just my thoughts...rant over.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of The Walking Dead characters and I'm NOT making any money off of them! I only claim the OC characters I created for this story.

Please leave reviews. They are what keep me wanting to write!

For those on Twitter follow me at GrapeMystic and also check out my new CARYL group on fb called Fans of CARYL with links to the new CARYL website as well!


Sitting outside and looking up at the stars as he finished off his cigarette, Merle let the smoke linger in his lungs before exhaling and flicking the burned up butt into the glowing embers of the fire. It had been a long day for them all. Having worked on the fence and then Daryl getting hurt along with his run in with a goat he now referred to as Satan in disguise, Merle was feeling his age.

Getting up from the chair he had been sitting in, Merle stretched his back and turned his upper body, feeling his bones popping, yet getting at least some relief from the stiffness that was setting in. The soft sound of footfall's in the grass caused him to turn and he smirked as Azha came into view. The young woman was dressed in a pair of jean shorts and a yellow tank top with her brunette hair down around her shoulders. Eyeing her for a moment, Merle finally spoke up, "Awfully late to be out wanderin' around by yourself, missy."

Going over and sitting in one of the other chairs they kept around the fire pit, Azha nodded and sighed, "Couldn't sleep. It's too hot in that room and Carla isn't helpin' with her snorin'."

Merle smirked and sighed, looking out into the darkness around them, "It ain't much cooler out here." Pulling another cigarette from his pack, he lit it and then went over, offering her one from the pack. When she took it, he placed it back in his pocket and then held out his lighter for her.

When she had it lit, he moved back to the chair he had been sitting in and gave her a sly look, "You and Carla seem kinda close. You two playin' in the bush together?"

Azha cut her eyes to him and then back out towards the woods. Having noticed since she had been there with them how Merle was with everyone, she asked, "You climbin' tree's with Chad?"

Merle grinned ear to ear at the fire this girl had. It was one he hadn't seen in a woman in a long time. One that he liked. Leaning forward onto his knees, he chuckled, "Nah, don't climb no tree's...I prefer ta play in the bush...or watch the bush get played with."

Azha looked back at him, cocking a brow, "Well, don't think you're gonna be seeing my bush."

"You got some fire in you...I like that. Good ta see a woman who can speak her mind," Merle said as he watched her before looking back out into the darkness. Sitting back, he moved the chair next to him with his foot, and then set his feet up onto it, "Noticed you're a pretty good shot. Ya do any huntin'?"

Taking a drag, Azha blew the smoke out and sighed, "Had to in order ta feed us. We had nets and all for awhile, but left them behind when those dead bastards came through our camp. We usta stay along the waterways around here. Fish 'em...go crabbin'...shrimpin'."

Merle's mouth watered at the sound of shrimp and he looked back at her, "They's shrimp 'round here?"

Azha nodded, "Yeah. My daddy usta take us out at night on his boat, taught all us kids how to fish and all. It was all apart of livin' here...and our culture."

"Think if'n we was ta find some nets and all, think you'd be able to show us some of those skill's ya daddy taught ya?" he asked. "Give everyone somethin' different ta eat 'sides deer and squirrel's til those damn goats can be eaten."

At the mention of the goats, Azha chuckled and turned to him, "Yeah, seems one of them took a fancy ta you today." Seeing his scowl, Azha chuckled, but nodded, "Yeah, I can teach y'all I guess. We'll need a boat though...and if'n it's shrimp ya wantin', then the best time is at night. The crab, well...gonna have ta get some bait. We usta use chicken and chicken livers and hit the marsh, around the brackish water areas. Problem will be some of those places have gators and I don't mess with 'em."

"A slug can take care of them gators," Merle said quietly. Standing up and tossing his cigarette into the ashes of the fire pit, he narrowed his eyes, peering out towards the woods and taking a few steps away from it. Hearing Azha move behind him, he held out his hand to signal her to stay put. Taking a few more steps forward, Merle then relaxed as Tyreese came into view, a rifle slung over his shoulder.

"S'up, bro?" Merle said, lifting his chin slightly to the man as he came in closer.

"Not much. Quiet tonight out there," he said as he noticed Azha there and nodded to her in greetings. "Sasha's on watch with Carl. Heard there's a run tomorrow."

Merle nodded and turned back, going back to his seat, "Yeah. Hershel and Bob need's some stuff, plus we're gettin' low on some other things. Was gonna take Bob and Chad and go back ta Allendale and load up again...see what else we can find."

Tyreese nodded in thought and then looked back up at Merle, "Mind a fourth?"

Merle looked at the big man and gave him a single nod, "We leave at sunup. Best go get ya some rest."

Tyreese took his leave without another word, heading towards the house he was sharing with some of the others. Merle looked back at Azha and took that as his cue also, "I best take my own advice." Standing he cocked a brow at her, "Best ta get back inside, darlin'. Hate ta see somethin' happen."

Azha smirked and stood, tilting her head, "Leave Chad here tomorrow. I'll go." When she saw him shake his head, she sighed, "Look, Daryl's still hurt, you're gonna be gone, so will Tyreese and Bob...Chad needs to stay here and protect the others. I'm a good shot and I'm fast. Let me go too. Besides, I know Allendale like the back of my hand. I can get ya to the places you need to go."

Merle pursed his lips, thinking about it for a minute before he eyed her. Taking in her slender athletic body slowly, his eyes finally came back to rest on hers, "Fine. But ya best listen or I'll beat your ass...got me?"

Cocking a brow at him, Azha walked over to him, holding his gaze and purred, "Don't temp me like that, Merle...I just might like it." Without another word, Azha turned and walked off slowly, letting her hips sway a little more then usual.

Shaking his head and groaning, Merle sighed softly, "Damn woman, just might let her be the death of me."

The bright morning sun shone through the open window warming the skin of her arms and the left side of her face. Taking in a deep breath as she began to wake up, Carol stretched some, mindful of Daryl asleep on the other side of the bed. Even though they shared a bed together, they hadn't made any attempts to further their relationship beyond the kisses they shared behind closed doors or out of eyesight of the others. It wasn't that they were trying to keep their relationship a secret from the others, they just didn't flaunt it or feel the need to.

Her eyes cracked open, blinking several times as her eyes adjusted to the light. Realizing that she had slept in, Carol suddenly sat up, grabbing for her watch to check the time. Peering at the wristwatch she had sitting on the nightstand, she ran a hand through her hair, groaning. It was after nine and she knew everyone would be up and going already.

"Lay ya ass back down, woman," his gruff, sleep laden voice said, breaking the silence of the room.

Looking over at him as he laid on his back with the three pillows propping him up, she frowned, "I was supposed to have breakfast already served, Daryl."

Rubbing at his eye, Daryl yawned and then sighed, "It's done already...and Sophia and Carla are watchin' the babies."

Pushing the sheet off herself, she shook her head, "I have things I need to be doing."

"Like what? Cookin', cleanin'...babysittin'?" he asked, frustrated some. Pushing himself up some into more of a sitting position, he caught her wrist as she moved to get up, "Keep ya ass right where it is, woman. Ya taken' a break this mornin'."


"Don't," he said simply looking at her. When she sat back in her spot again, he move his hand down to hers, "Ya need some time ta yourself too. Merle came and told me they was leavin' earlier, so I went ta take a piss. When I headed back Sophia came out her room with Judith and said ta tell ya ta stay in bed...her and Carla talked last night and they was watchin' the kids...and Maggie and Sasha were cookin'. So...shit is handled."

Carol looked away, not sure how to react. She had always gotten up early to make sure everyone ate breakfast and start her daily routine. Even when she was married to Ed she had never slept in. And for some reason, she felt guilty for taking what most would consider a small pleasure nowadays.

Daryl's thumb rubbing the back of her hand drew her out of her thought's and she looked back at him, "This doesn't feel right."

Daryl smirked some, nodding his head and pulling her hand towards him. When she moved closer to him, he slipped his arm around her, "Don't matter if'n it does or doesn't. Ya work ya ass to the bone day in and day out. Ya need a break...even if it's just for a few hours. They're givin' ya that...take the shit."

Carol couldn't help the small smile that formed on her lips at his use of words and sighed, "What am I supposed to do then?"

Cocking a brow at her, Daryl then leaned his head back into the pillows, "Well, for starters, you can get your ass back in the bed right." Carol moved and he let go of her hand, letting her settle back down onto the mattress. She was on her side facing him, her head propped up on her hand. "Better."

"Now what?" she asked softly.

Moving back down some, Daryl groaned as his ribs protested the move. Seeing her concerned look from the corner of his eye, he shook his head, "Before ya ask...I'm fine. Just...sore as hell."

"Hershel said you would be for awhile." Once he was where he wanted to be on his back, he moved his good arm, "C'mere."

Moving over some but being careful not to jostle him, Carol settled into the crook of his arm, her head resting on his good shoulder, "You sure this isn't going to hurt you?"

Looking down at her slightly, he blew off her question and then closed his eyes, "Go back ta sleep"

"Daryl, I'm wide awake," she stated softly, her other hand coming up and resting on the side of his chest. Biting her lip, she looked up at him, "Daryl?"

"Hmm," he hummed, cracking his eye open and looking at her.

"Are you a cuddlier?" she teased, trying not to smile at her own question.

Both eyes opened and Daryl starred at her a moment, before turning his head back and mumbling, "Maybe..."

Carol fought back the chuckle trying to escape and patted his chest, "Well...I like it if that helps you any." Settling back down into him, she took in a deep breath, his scent filling her nostrils and sighing contently, "I might expect this all the time."

Daryl smirked, his arm tightening around her and leaning his head to her, kissing her forehead, "Good." Giving her once last kiss, his closed his eyes back, both remaining silent. Almost ten minutes passed before he felt her breathing even out and her body totally relax that he knew she was asleep. Nuzzling her, his lips ghosted over her forehead again and he whispered, "Sleep, beautiful."