a reverse chronology story in three parts

for The Caryl Daily Valentine 2014 Fic-a-thon - prompts - Nice: Silk Naughty: Table

The Walking Dead and identifiable characters, places, and events are not mine - no infringement is intended or implied - my stories are written out of love and a need to create and are solely for entertainment purposes

The Tie That Binds (that afternoon)

Luke was keen on following Daryl everywhere he went. And when Daryl was in the safe inner confines of the prison, he didn't seem to mind much. At least that was the impression that Luke had gotten. He didn't dare ask Daryl if he could go out hunting, or even into the run that separated the main yard from the outside world.

But Daryl wasn't always around. Sometimes Luke would go looking for him, hoping to learn the latest on making arrows or preparing traps. Or even better when Daryl worked on his brother's bike. Luke had had a brother and he missed him as much as Daryl missed his own. Sometimes Daryl would tell Luke about his brother and ask about Luke's. Nathan hadn't made it to the prison, nor had his dad. Luke was grateful his mom was still with him though. And Daryl had Carol. He felt they were both pretty lucky to have someone that loved them.

Today, Luke had found him in the kitchen. He'd been looking for one of the prison kittens and and been surprised to find Daryl there, cutting up tomatoes from the garden and arranging them on a plate. He paused from his cutting, acknowledging Luke. "Hey, wanna hear a story?" Luke nodded and Daryl gestured for him to come over, hoisting him up to sit on the large butcher block table at the center of the kitchen. Daryl continued to cut tomatoes, shaking salt and pepper on each layer before cutting the next.

Luke watched him with a childish fascination. He would have never imagined Daryl did girl things. But Daryl kept at his task, looking up periodically to smile at Luke. "You know, when I was your age, Luke, there was this little girl in my neighborhood that liked me a lot. You know how they get sometimes, all doey eyed, following you around like you're the only thing in the world. But when we're young, we don't always like that, do we?"

Luke thought of Mika, and shook his head in strong agreement. "Do they ever stop, Daryl?" Luke asked, his eyes almost pleading. He didn't like how Mika pestered him sometimes. His hand brushed against a red ribbon laying on the butcher table and he picked it up, feeling the softness of it. "This yours?"

Daryl paused from his cutting and looked up at Luke. "Yes." He held his hand out for it and tucked it in his front pocket before continuing. "And no, Luke, they don't never stop, ever, they will pursue you relentlessly until the day you die." He winked at Luke then, the conspiratorial sign of men.

Luke huffed and kicked his feet against the butcher block. Daryl offered him a slice of the tomato. "You been helping in the the garden?"

Luke took the offered slice and shoved the whole of it his mouth, sucking at the juice. He shook his head, chewing the tomato and swallowed. "That's girl's work."

Daryl gave him a stern look. "There ain't no such thing as girl's work and boy's work no more, Luke. We all do what we have to, help one another out."

"That why you cutting tomatoes?" Luke bit the bottom of his lip, wanting to ask for another slice, but thinking better of it. "You cutting them for a girl?" He eyed Daryl suspiciously. Since it was just him and his mom now, he kinda of looked to Daryl to fill that space his dad once had. He didn't want to think that pleasing girls was all there was to life. If so, he didn't want anything to do with it. Especially if it included tomatoes.

"Naw, just doing it for a friend is all. Happens to be a girl, but she's done right be me." He chuckled lightly at the statement, smiling at Luke as he did so. "Ya know what? You should never feel pressure with girls. You just do what feels right to ya, okay? You follow your heart on that one and everything will work out just fine."

Daryl set the knife on the butcher block and offered his hand for Luke to jump down. "Come on then, let's get going." He paused, looking down at the boy. "That ribbon? That's just between you and me, k?"

Luke nodded. It was just a stupid ribbon anyway, more girl stuff. He could care less.

On The Chopping Block (late morning)

Rosie had promised to meet Carol in the kitchen early that morning. She was going to teach her a skill that her Scandinavian grandmother had taught her long ago, a craft that her people had used for a long time to create durable fabric and useful items. Naalbinding. It was a form of yarn work that produced a knit like project that was far more sturdy, and was easy to do with just a needle and one's thumb.

She was 79 now, and she was honestly surprised she'd lasted this long. She was smart, and she'd managed to hook up with the right people. People who didn't leave her behind and had cared about getting her to a safe place. Which currently was the prison. She wasn't sure how much longer her luck would last, but this place was far better than Woodbury, she felt more secure, even though the prison could get gloomy.

Arriving before Carol, Rosie had set about to cut some yarn to the proper lengths and found suitable needles among the sewing supplies. Her grandmother had taught her this skill when she was a young girl, and she'd never more than made time-passing projects with it. But now this skill was a necessary one, and one she was more than happy to pass on. Carol's plan was to teach it to the others with Rosie's help once she learned it herself.

Rosie was laying out the yarn lengths on the butcher block when Carol came in. She noticed a smile hanging on her that hadn't been there before. Rosie knew that smile. Had had that smile a time or two herself.

"About time," Rosie said as Carol joined her where she was standing.

"Sorry Rosie, I got delayed by the water tanks. Always something you know." Carol smiled widely at the woman, grateful that she was going to show her this new skill.

"No honey," Rosie looked up from where she was wrapping the yarn tentatively around her thumb. "I mean about time you kissed that man of yours." Carol's open stare only made her chuckle. "You think I've been around this long and can't tell when two people have feelings for each other?" Rosie shook her head and picked up one of the needles. She stood by Carol's side and nudged her with her hip. "We're both grown women Carol. It's perfectly okay to know what we want."

Carol shook her head. "I suppose so. Just things never seemed this complicated before the fevers, you know?"

Rosie shook her head. "All that means honey is you had an uncomplicated man, and that didn't necessarily make him a good one. Rosie held her hand up, showing Carol how to make the initial wrap and run the needle. "Make sense? Now you try."

After a few failed attempts, Carol started to get the hang of it and Rosie smiled. "See honey, sometimes things look real difficult, even when they are just a simple needle and yarn. You can make beautiful fabric with two simple things, you just have to know how to weave it all together. She turned her head to look at the woman and noticed she was smiling. She pushed Carol's shoulder. "You know, the needle always needs to be sharper than the thread, that's the way of the world, honey."

Carol smiled down at her and gave her a small laugh. "Indeed it is Rosie."

"You think we're ready to show a few of the others this skill?" Rosie looked over at Carol and noticed her playing with the ribbon that laced the front of her camisole. "Carol?"

"Yes, of course, but I may still need your help you know. Just because I get it now, practice makes perfect. I need lots of practice."

"And you'll get it honey. It takes a lot of stitches before you start to see something tangible. Eventually, you stop counting them and it becomes like breathing. You'll get there."

Carol looked down at the butcher block table and ran her hand along the surface. "Right, like breathing."

Rosie nodded and gathered the remaining threads she had laid out on the wooden table, and started for the exit. "You coming?"

Carol was playing with the ribbon at her neckline. "Yeah, sure, Rosie, right behind you."

Tongue-Tied (that morning)

Carol had gone to the indoor kitchen to look for more oatmeal. They were out at the summer kitchen and breakfast was in an hour. She was crouched down near the sink looking for the oats stash when she heard a knocking. She swiveled on the toes of her feet, still crouched low and looked up at Daryl standing on the other side of the butcher block. "Mornin'."

She smiled at him, glad to see him after where they had left things last night. He'd sat by her side all night at the community fire and hadn't said a word. Just stared a lot and let his knee drop against hers. She wasn't sure if it was progress, but it was something different, she'd give him that. "Good morning. You looking for something?"

"Yeah. I am."

She stayed in her position, waiting for him to elaborate but he just stared at her, so she turned back to her task, finding a large bin tucked behind a soup pot. She placed the oats up on the counter before standing upright. When she did she felt a pressure on her shoulders. As she turned to face him, she was surprised when he lifted her and placed her up on the butcher block.

"Can I help you?" She looked down at him, slightly taken aback. He'd never lifted her anywhere, except that time he'd carried her from the Tombs, and then she couldn't walk.

Daryl didn't say anything, just placed his left hand along side her thigh, and stared at the ribbon that laced the front of her camisole. He unlaced the bow and unthreaded the top two eyelets.

"I really like ya in red." He let the ribbon strings drop and moved his right hand to cradle her face, his eyes focused intently on hers. His thumb grazing over her lips before he leaned in and kissed her.

It wasn't the kind of kiss she'd imagined he'd give. It was both aggressive and gentle, submissive and demanding. She brought her own hand to the side of his face, open palmed to touch him gently. She wasn't sure what he wanted, and so she let him set the pace. He pulled away, tugging his teeth against the corner of his bottom lip. His hand remained against her cheek, as he rubbed his thumb back and forth a couple more times.

"Next time my thumb brushes yer lips, it won't be that beautiful mouth of yers." Daryl released her and snatched up his crossbow from the butcher block before shouldering it and bringing his hand up to play with the ribbon ends hanging at the front of her camisole. "Might start with what's behind here though first." He pecked her on the cheek and left the kitchen without a second glance.

Carol gathered her wits and the the oats and hurried out of the kitchen. She had other things to worry about: breakfast and needlecraft and tomatoes. She'd deal with Daryl in due time. She just needed to catch her breath first.