Disclaimer:

I do not own the rights to anything pertaining to The Walking Dead. Including their characters, plot or dialogue. I have merely borrowed them for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.

It's All In A Name

Daryl leaned his head back against the wall and shut his eyes. He couldn't believe where the last few weeks had taken him. If he had any idea of what he was getting himself in for, he would have kept his big mouth shut. As he listened to the water running from in the shower room behind him, he thought back to that first day in the prison.

It had seemed so innocent at the time. They had found a group of convicts alive and surviving inside. They agreed to share the prison with them but not without reservation. Rick had talked to the whole group and they agreed that none of the women should sleep in a cell alone. It was just too much of a risk when they didn't know the men that were sleeping so close to them. It was understood that Lori would bunk with Rick, Maggie with Glenn, and Hershel wanted Beth with him. That left Carol. As everyone talked she had hung back not saying anything. He watched the flush spread up her cheeks as Rick spoke. He knew she was uncomfortable with this. The only men left were himself and T-Dog. Everyone just expected T to offer to room with her. No one was more surprised than Daryl himself when he spoke up just before T-dog could say anything.

"I'll bunk with Carol. T-Dog can share with Carl."

Everyone froze and stared at him with mouths agape. Carol included.

"What?" he asked defensively, his own face flushing with the thought that maybe Carol would rather NOT room with him. Everyone quickly averted their eyes and began moving around. When he dared to glance back at Carol, she was smiling softly. He felt relief flood him until he looked up at Rick and caught the smirk on his face.

"I'm surprised that you volunteered so quickly there, Daryl." Rick spoke softly around a grin that he was unsuccessfully trying to hide.

"I don't know why. I just didn't want to have to bunk with the kid is all." Daryl growled as he brushed past Rick.

He assumed that would be the end of it, but he hadn't had a moment's peace since.

All the men seemed to enjoy ribbing Daryl about Carol. He hated it. Carol was his friend, and he liked that she treated him like he was someone. Like he was special. She listened when he talked to her, and she was always interested in his opinions and never criticized him for being just an 'ignorant redneck'. She wasn't afraid of him and liked to tease him, and he sort of liked that too. But the others, they saw it as something more and wouldn't let up on him a bit.

Today, had been too much for him to handle. This morning, Carol had gotten his bowl when she got hers and brought it to him as he was coming to the table. That wasn't out of the ordinary. He saw some smirks but was getting used to those. It was what she said.

"Here's your breakfast, Pookie." And she winked at him. WINKED. In front of everyone. He knew he was blushing scarlet as he sat down and began to shovel in his food. He could hear Carl giggling and Lori shushing him, and Glenn snickering as well. When he finally dared to glance up, T-dog smiled at him from ear to ear and said,

"I was thinking about checking the east part of the fence today. Want to come with….Pookie?"

Everyone at the table started to laugh and without a word or a glance at Carol, he quickly got up and left the room. He tried to avoid everyone as much as possible the rest of the day. He knew that he had hurt Carol's feelings by doing so, but what did she expect? How could she call him that in front of everyone like that? He didn't mind it when she called him that in private. In fact, he sort of liked it, but…..

He knew he needed to apologize to her fro giving her the cold shoulder all day. It had been very childish, and he knew that. He also knew that she hadn't really meant to let her pet name for him slip out in public. She would never intentionally embarrass him.

That was why he was standing here in the hall waiting for her to come out of the shower. The other women had already been in and out but Carol had been cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. She always seemed to do more than her fair share. The women were supposed to bathe together to stay safe, and it irked him that they hadn't waited for her. As soon as he realized this, he posted himself outside the door to stand guard.

He had noticed Glenn and T glancing at him and whispering. Finally, they both walked his way. He let out a groan as he saw them approach.

Here we go again, he thought.

"Hey Daryl." Dog said.

"S'up." Daryl responded warily.

"I see you're waiting on Carol to come out. Got a big date planned?" Glenn asked with a grin.

Before Daryl could respond, they heard a loud thump from inside the showers.

"Carol, you ok in there?" Daryl called out.

She didn't answer right away, and the three men exchanged an uneasy glance.

"Carol! You a'right?" he tried again.

"I'm fine, Daryl." came the faint reply.

"You sure?" Dog called.

"Yes." she paused and then called again, "Daryl, could you step in here for a second?"

Glenn and Dog both started chuckling and Daryl shot them both a 'Go to hell' look as he stepped through the door.

"Whatcha need?" he asked as he stepped in keeping his eyes on the floor. He was surprised when she stepped up close to him wearing just her towel and reached around him, locking the door. The bolt slamming home sounded like a gunshot to him and he wondered what Glenn and T-Dog would think, just a second before wondering what the hell she was doing.

"What's goin' on?" He asked her in a low voice. Her close proximity made him feel the need to whisper, but he didn't know why.

"I wanted to talk to you about something." she responded just as quietly.

Daryl licked his suddenly dry lips and nodded his head.

"I'm listening." he managed.

Carol smiled that soft smile of hers and looked up at him. She was so beautiful, sometimes he forgot to even breathe. It was her eyes. He got lost in them when she looked at him like that. Like he was the only person in the world. She broke the spell by stepping back and looking down.

"I don't know about you, but ever since we have started sharing a cell, the girls have been teasing me unmercifully about us." she began slowly and smiled at him. "I have tried to tell them that there is nothing going on between us but they just won't believe it."

"Yeah, I know what you mean.." Daryl grimaced thinking about the two men who were even now standing right outside the door. "I been gettin' a lot of that, too."

He rubbed his hand on the back of his neck and wondered if she would get to the point so he could escape. Just then, Glenn called out, "Hey are you guys ok in there?" Daryl could hear T-Dog chuckling quietly. His face burned. He knew what they were probably thinking. He sighed and turned to go back out and Carol quickly stepped forward, laying her hand on his chest. He froze and looked down at her. Quietly she told him, "Tell them everything is fine and to go away." Daryl narrowed his eyes at her. What kind of game was she playing here? Was this some sort of payback for him ignoring her all day? She looked serious though, and he did trust her. She had never been deliberately cruel to him in any way.

Just as he turned his head, and started to call out to them, he caught a blur of white and looked back to see that Carol had removed her towel and dropped it at her feet. His voice grew hoarse just as he told them to "Go away." He knew how he sounded, but suddenly he didn't care at all. It was silent beyond the door, and he knew they were listening for anything else, but he was struck speechless.

Carol held his gaze with her own as she stepped toward him. He wanted to bolt from the room, and grab her to him at the same time. He wasn't sure which reaction would win out. As if she sensed his hesitation, the hand still resting on his chest fisted into his shirt. His muscles tensed as her body came within a hair's breadth of his own. He clenched his teeth and ground out, "What the hell you think your doin'?"

"As I see it, we only have a few options if we want the others to leave us alone."

"Yeah?"

She hesitated for only a second, licked her lips and looked down at her hand on his shirt and then back into his eyes. Hers were clear and bright. He still trusted her, whatever it was she was doing.

"First, we could just stay in here a few minutes, let them think what they like, and just not bother to acknowledge or deny their queries about us. It may take a little bit, but they will decide what they want and let it go. Or, if you don't want anyone to think that we could be a couple, you can tell them that I threw myself at you and you rejected my advances. They will leave me alone out of pity and probably tiptoe around you about it. It will make it awkward for me, but for them too." She looked sort of sick as she added that second option and he could tell that she really hoped that he didn't pick that one. Honestly, he was shocked that she would do that for him. Allow them to pity her just to get them to leave him alone.

"Are those the only options?" He asked, as he searched her eyes, trying to see what she wanted from him.

"No." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, when she glanced back up, he saw something in her eyes that he was afraid to put a name to. She smiled at him and put her other hand on his cheek.

"No, the other option is that we take advantage of our situation here, and go ahead and test the waters, so to speak. See how things go. No pressure, no strings. Just two friends exploring the possibilities of one another."

Daryl's breath caught in his throat again, and he searched her face for any sign of teasing now. There was none. Did he want this? He had fantasized about her before plenty of times, sure. Hell, they shared a room together. But she was his friend. His BEST friend. What if this didn't work? Would she leave him completely?

As if sensing his fears and questions, she spoke softly again. "I meant what I said. We see where it takes us, if it doesn't work, we go back to the way things were. I promise."

He knew that there was no going back if they went through with this, and he knew that she did as well. But as he looked into her eyes, he realized that he wanted this. Had wanted it for some time, in fact, and wanted it badly. He realized he hadn't said a word, and she was starting to look nervous. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he saw hers were glimmering with unshed tears. Did she think he didn't want her?

He placed his hands on either side of her face and leaned his forehead against hers.

"Are you sure you want to saddle yourself with me, Carol?" He looked into her eyes again. "I'm no prize, you know. What if someone better comes along?"

Carol smiled and covered his hands with her own. "I'm no prize either, Daryl. But I care about you. You are my best friend and I can't think of anyone else I would rather be with. Besides," she grinned up at him "It seems like us broken people need to stick together."

Daryl snorted as she giggled.

The laughter died away as he looked at her mouth. Those beautiful lips. He loved her smile and her laugh and he had often wondered what it would be like to kiss her. He slowly, leaned down, bringing his lips to hers. Barely brushing them at first, then again, with more self-assurance. He looked into her eyes again. They were shining and full of an emotion that he couldn't describe. Was afraid to try. He moved his hands down her neck to her shoulders, and she placed both of hers back on his chest. This time when he kissed her, she responded in kind, and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer as she slid her hands up his chest and neck and into his hair. When they finally pulled away, they were both gasping for breath. He wanted her so badly.

He began to trail kisses down her neck and along her collarbone. She held him tightly and moaned against his temple. That was all it took. His hands began to roam over her body as hers began to pull at the buttons on his shirt. He took a step back and pulled his shirt over his head without unbuttoning it and she was already pulling on his pants zipper.

He removed the rest of his clothing, and paused, looking at her again. He took her in slowly this time. She was so beautiful. Thin and pale, but with work honed muscles. The scars on her body from her dead husband caused Daryl to burn with anger for a moment. He wanted to caress those scars. Take away the bad memories. He knew all too well what it was like to carry scars. On the body and soul.

She brought him back to the present when she reached out and pulled him into her arms again. The feel of her against him, skin to skin was mind-boggling, and he wasn't sure how long he was going to last.

He began to kiss her again, running his hands along her shoulders, trailing his fingers down her spine, and gripping her hips firmly. She gasped against his mouth and let her head fall back as he began to kiss her neck again, trailing his tongue against her skin down her body. As he skimmed his tongue between her breasts he felt her shiver. Her hands were in his hair, massaging his scalp and it felt wonderful. He moved his mouth over to her breast, taking the nipple between his lips while palming the other. She groaned aloud, and moved her hands down his back, raking her nails across his skin. He suckled at first one breast then the other, loving the taste of her, the softness. His hands cupped her backside and she ground herself against him.

She brought her hands back to his hair, tugging him up to look at her. She kissed him hungrily and explored his mouth with her tongue. She let go of him and began her own decent. Kissing and nipping him as she went. He had never felt like this before. She flicked her tongue across his nipples as she ran her hands over his chest and continued lower.

At his navel, she looked back up at him. Her hands were resting on his hips and she seemed to be waiting for a reaction of some kind. He didn't know what she saw in his face, but whatever it was, she smiled at him and placed a kiss to the head of his straining member. The shock it sent through him almost made his knees buckle. He groaned and she took him in her hands and gently placed her mouth on him. As she cupped his balls with one hand, she applied a small amount of pressure with the other to his shaft and began to take him in as deep as she could. He thought he was going to die. No other woman had ever made him feel the way she was making him feel right now. He knew if she didn't stop he wouldn't be able to control himself.

After only a few minutes, he pulled her up, kissing her again. He pushed her back against the wall, leaning into her. His cock pressed against her belly and she rocked against him. He placed her arms around his neck and his hands under her ass and lifted her up off the ground. She wrapped her legs around his waist and clung to him. He tried to enter her slowly, but she was so wet and he was so ready. He began to thrust into her. Her moaning just urging him on faster and faster. As she screamed out, she buried her face in his shoulder trying to mute her cries a bit, but his own guttural growl seemed deafening to his own ears as he came in her, hard and fast.

He let her go, to keep from dropping her, and they both sank to the floor together. He held her in his arms and felt her trembling against him.

"Ya know there's no goin' back from this, right?" his voice was gravelly as he spoke. He didn't want to spoil the moment, but he needed to know they were on the same page here.

"I know." She whispered into his chest. Then she leaned her head back and looked at him and he knew that what he was seeing in her eyes was all the love she had for him and he knew that he must have looked the same by the smile that crossed her face. Not the soft smile he was so accustomed to. No, this was a full beaming smile. It took his breath away.

Her eyes twinkled merrily as she regarded him. "I don't think you're gonna be able to get away with telling them you rejected my advances now. Not with the yelling you were doing." She chuckled as she watched him blush. He hadn't even thought about the others.

"Oh well, I guess that saves us from havin' to explain ourselves, don't it?" He grinned as he said it. He was already feeling aroused again, and thinking that maybe they should head back to their cell for round 2. As he looked into her face again, he knew she was thinking the same thing.

"Come on, woman. Let's go to bed." He smiled into her face and wondered when he fell in love with her.

"Lead the way, Pookie."