This is a work of Caryl fanfiction, (Daryl and Carol) from 'The Walking Dead'. I do not own the characters, the series or the title.
Summary: With Lori now in her first trimester, and fall temperatures rolling in, Herschel generously opens his large family farmhouse to the group. After an evening dinner, Carol gets herself settled into an upstairs bedroom she is sharing with Andrea, with a familiar male presence just down the hallway.
As dinner wrapped for the evening at the Greene household, most of the group maneuvered to the connecting family room for some evening relaxation and fine wine; Glenn and Maggie had stepped out to the porch for some canoodling.
Carol excused herself and headed up the stairs to the second floor bedrooms. Daryl headed out the back entrance alone, and disappeared into the growing darkness. Patricia situated herself at the family piano and began gently plunking out an old family gospel tune, as Beth joined her; singing along softly. Soon the two were cradling a nice duet.
Reaching the top stair, Carol walked the long angular hallway toward the back corner bedroom she was sharing with Andrea, and entered; shutting the door behind her, but leaving it slightly ajar. Crossing the four-yard distance to the small closet across from the foot of the vintage queen-sized bed, she opened it and took a momentary glance.
Carol then unzipped her large duffel bag and began sifting through clothing; laying aside pieces she would hang up. The rest could store in the nearby dresser. Laying a few blouses aside, Carol reached inside the closet and grabbed an empty hanger, placing a blouse on it and then hung it up.
She continued this process while her thoughts drifted breezily to the homey feel of sleeping in a real bed again. The group had probably long forgotten what that felt like…
Being on the road since Atlanta fell, group had grown weary of constantly escaping some new walker presence, attack, or ambush--at nearly any place they had found some temporary refuge.
And then… losing Sophia…
No! She was not going to let herself go there--Not tonight. No Sophia thoughts would interrupt her lovely peace-trail, nor any threatening Daryl rants. Nothing was going to upset her calm inner conscience. Tonight Carol was determined to let her mind rest for a change--and her heart… with a decent sleep.
At the opposite end of the hallway, Daryl returned from his evening smoke. He jogged up the last few steps, then headed straight to the first door on his right.
He was feeling pretty… tame.
Alongside his occasional smoke, he'd kept a tiny stash of weed, tucked neatly inside a hidden pocket of his biker jacket. Getting stoned was never his deal. He wasn't a pothead. But he did enjoy a rare 'hit' every once in awhile. At least he had good sense to take only one hit... on rare occasion. It honestly calmed his senses.
And what better way to enjoy a good smoke than with his trusty 'redneck special’… as Merle had called it. Big brother had whittled a homemade lighter from real wood, during his time in the marines, which he'd later gave it Daryl as a ‘birthday gift’. About the only real gift Daryl ever received his whole life.
Though he and Merle weren't close, this lighter was pretty special to him. Merle was all he had left in this world. And his brother was missing. So this lighter was the only physical thing Daryl had left of Merle, to hold onto. That and the chopper they'd built years ago.
Daryl swallowed hard and exhaled deeply. He needed to forget that Merle was missing.
Good ol' Merle.... always up to no good. Always getting in someone's path, like forever something to prove. But mostly excuse to flex some muscle. Merle was just never satisfied unless he was someplace, roughin' up a coupla guys, or in some bar--working a bad deal and then leaving with a lady or two.
Then Merle got busted again, for accomplice to the fact...three years in jail. The overgrown oaf never could stay clean.
With Merle incarcerated, he'd felt alone, so he simply disappeared. Set up shelter near a river and just lived off the land--hunting food...being one with nature. Some days it was just better that way.
Then later...somehow...Merle had found him. Big brother always did. Dude was like a friggen bloodhound. Merle had found him, and once again...wrestled up some new business...and not the good kind.
Before the change, Merle'd had a small stash...courtesy the old marine buddy. Never one for trouble himself, Daryl politely ignored it. Then Atlanta fell. The law was everywhere, trying to keep order. And then the chaos erupted. Merle had panicked and shoved the stash in the glove compartment. But he'd been smarter and hid it inside his biker jacket.
Afterward they'd hit the road and enjoyed some time together... sharing old stories, a bottle of JD, and some good ol' hand-rolled smokes. Most backwoods rednecks only did hand-rolled.
And the stash was just as potent as marijuana--almost smelled like it. But after the world changed, who the fuck cared? No one to arrest him, or Merle. Hell, he could just as soon grow a pot of it, inside his truck, right now...
Frankly, a single hit, alongside a homemade smoke--truly gave this handsome redneck a substitute 'high'. And right now, Zen was exactly what he'd needed. Something to soothe his otherwise irritated nerves.
Lately it seemed, he was irritated by almost anything--particularly after the world went to hell. Losing Merle wasn't the tip of his iceberg. Damned be all hell, Carol's young daughter done run off into the woods to escape a chasing walker... fuckin' nasty maggot.
Little Sophia, out lost in them damned woods... everyone looking for her. Her poor widowed mother, going out of her damned mind with panic. Which was the last thing the group had needed. And then Carl Grimes got shot...
The whole world had just gone to shit. He'd gone out of his way to search for the little girl--offering Carol some positive hope that her daughter'd be found alive. And then he gets injured in the process... fuck that. Not to mention, getting accidentally shot from Andrea's stupid clumsiness.
His world was just getting better everyday.
And then fuck be all...days later, Sophia turns up reanimated at Hershel’s barn... all that fruitless search effort--for nothin'. Carol's daughter was dead--after all that invested reassurance he'd find the little girl alive.
Some days Daryl just hated life and people. He hated stupidity, he hated ignorance. He hated this fuckin' apocalypse. In fact, right about now, he hated most everything.
Suddenly he was sadly reminded of his outburst on poor Carol, a few days ago. He'd just wanted to shut the whole world out then--and brood in his own miserable existence. He honestly couldn't recall the last time he'd ever been that angry over a situation.
Carol knew that he'd pulled away from the group. But so what? Wasn't her damned job to keep track of him. Hell, she couldn't keep track of her own kid! She'd invaded his private camp... not once, but twice!
Stupid bitch. She just couldn't leave him the fuck alone. She should've taken the hint from earlier, when he'd blown her off. He'd told her he was done 'savin' people. And he'd meant it. But leave it to Carol to nose around. Well, she'd had it coming.
He'd exploded. Thankfully, none of the group had seen it. And Dixon cruelty was the far last thing anyone ever wanted to experience. Seriously.
He'd unleashed the most hateful, cruel words, on Carol, that he could possibly muster--Sophia wasn't his damned problem!
But then Carol completely surprised him--far more than pissing him off completely. She didn't back down. Oh, hell no. Dumb bitch stood her ground. But hell it was an improvement.
Carol had taken every verbal blow from him without flinching. She wasn't a pussy. She wasn't helpless. He was damned impressed! Too bad she didn't stand up like that to her abusive pig husband.
But she'd stood her ground with him. And quite honestly--he'd had wanted to say, "Bout time you showed some balls, woman."
Daryl had realized then, Carol was as brave and bold as she was, incredibly beautiful. And that was no denying. She was plain fucking beautiful. Especially after taking her to see the Cherokee rose bush.
He'd felt guilty about snapping at her earlier, over wanting to search for Sophia again--in spite his injury.
Standing so close to her, he'd breathed barely an inch. Curiously, he'd taken the moment to gaze her eyes, her face, her neckline, and her shoulders.
Damn woman was just unbelievably gorgeous. Secretly, he'd wondered how soft her skin was. But then suddenly felt very shy and insecure with himself.
No woman had ever had such deep underlying effect on him. But Carol was different.
Just something about her really struck him inside, and not just her external beauty.
Carol had suffered abuse, the same as he. So they had that common ground. But she also carried herself with grace and dignity, something he'd never known with any woman.
Now Daryl quickly brushed aside those thoughts.
He'd never really learned how to problem-solve any rational solution to handling and expressing his anger, particularly his emotional-state.
Far as he knew, he'd always been self-protected. Others had called it: Reserved. Well that was fine with him.
After dealing years of abuse from his drunken old man, and being the unfortunate ‘shadow’ of overbearing Merle...negativity or regression was the only world Daryl Dixon knew.
He'd long adopted the reservation: always to watch your back. You never knew when some prick is going to pull a fast one.
He also never figured women. They’d always had been a mystery to him; especially sweet, caring, generous Carol.
But he knew, it was because he lacked the patience to deal with their “girliness”. Hell that whole concept plain itched his tired ass.
The handsome redneck couldn’t stand prissy females; always fussing about their nails or hair or makeup or some bullshit like that. None of it he'd ever cared for.
Nope, he preferred women to au-natural. Quite frankly he hadn’t met one of those in ages. Even before the world changed.
And of course, his brother never seemed bothered by the ‘princesses’. Merle liked them all; any opportunity for him to get laid.
The word 'morality' was never part of Merle's vocabulary. And only once did he ever recall his big brother politely bypass a seriously ugly woman.
Before the world went to hell, he was a lone-wolf.
With Merle serving time, he just didn’t need people, and quite frankly, didn’t like them. Most folks just wanted their noses in everyone else’s business.
And Daryl couldn’t stand that; even though he tried hard not to judge others.
Sharing with a close pal was one thing—strangers nosing in, was quite another.
He was a private man and kept it that way. No one needed to know about his tortured past nor his racist older brother.
The less others knew, the better.