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Chapter 5:

Carol woke up in Daryl's arms, his burned limb hanging off of her waist. She could feel his warm breath on her neck, and it brought shivers up her spine as she focused on it more. God, she loved this feeling. She loved being near him. And she hadn't realized how much she loved until now.

Their first night together had been amazing. Magical, even. They finally allowed themselves to forget about everything going on in the real world, and had the chance to focus on each other. A couple of times, Carol could tell that it was too much for him, and always asked if she was pushing him. But Daryl kept saying he was fine, continuing to kiss her and explore her body. Soon enough, the woman didn't have enough willpower to pull away from him so he could have a small break. She wanted him too much to be able to do it.

Now, as she was lying beside him, his protective arms wrapped around her waist, his chin on her head, Carol felt like someone in love, someone normal, someone not living in a zombie apocalypse that forced her to forget about pretty much everything except for survival. This feeling was something that she never wanted to forget.

Slowly, she twisted around to face Daryl, a wide smile on her face. She cupped her companion's cheek gently, stroking some of the hair out of his closed eyes. "Good morning," she whispered, kissing him. He looked tired, she realized sadly. He was a little paler than usual, and that worried her. Had she really pushed him to his limit? Is he getting sick because of her? What if his burn isn't going to heal properly now?

"Quit starin', would ya?" Daryl muttered, smirking slightly as he squeezed her a little bit tighter. "I know what you're thinkin', and I'm fine. Okay?"

Carol couldn't help but laugh at that, burying her head in his chest. How is it that he knew exactly what she was thinking, when she was thinking it? "Okay, Daryl, you win," she agreed. "I'll stop worrying."

"Thank ya," the tracker replied with a hint of sass in his voice. He began to sit up, sliding against the bed frame and pulling Carol along with him. "I think I'm gonna start checkin' out the solar panels up top. I know we just got here, but I'd like to have electricity and, maybe, a hot shower as soon as possible. What 'bout you?"

"I'd like that, too. But what about your burn? You shouldn't be doing a lot of work until in completely heals."

"Like I said, I'll be okay. The meds we found will help, and I'll make sure not to push it. I'll be fine." Daryl leaned in then, capturing her mouth and kissing her, feeling Carol's fingers massaging his scalp. If he was being honest, he never wanted to let of her again. But, there was work to be done. Once separating, he brushed her cheek with a calloused finger and said, "While I do that, how 'bout you go through the stuff we got yesterday, see what we have, maybe organize it a little. It'll help us a ton." Another smile graced his lips when Carol nodded. "Let's get ta work then, shall we?"

Against his mind's protests, he climbed out of bed, beginning to dress. He found difficulty putting his shirt on thanks to the burn, but was more than grateful when Carol stood up and helped him, her gentle touch bringing shivers up his spine. "Let me just wrap your your arm again," she offered, reaching to take her own clothes. "And you should take some of the Ibuprofen that we found, alright?"

With a nod, the hunter began making his way downstairs, where their bags were laying on the comfortable-looking couch. He searched for the pills and some water, taking the heavenly medicine once finding it. The one thing he hated about the meds was the fact that it made him so drowsy. He worried that it would interfere with what had he had to do today, which was work on the roof and try to get the solar panels fixed. Drowsiness was not something that he wanted to have while up there. He sighed, running a hand through his hair as he began to think.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothin'," he replied to Carol's question. Pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead, he grinned. "Just thinkin' of how I'm gonna get this done."

"You'll get it done just fine," the woman assured, her fingertips rubbing against his bulging bicep. "Just, please, make sure not to do too much. You're still injured, and until you're not, you can't do anything that will make it worse." The thought of last night suddenly hit her again, and she frowned. "We shouldn't have done what we did last night," she said quietly. "I pushed you—"

"Carol, I'm fine," Daryl interrupted, pulling her into a hug. "Ya didn't do nothin'. I promise ya. Now, I gotta get to work, and you havta start organizin'. Just tell me if you're gonna go out to the other houses. I might go with you." When seeing her suspicious expression, he added, "Just think of it as my break."

Letting out a heavy breath, Carol nodded. "Okay, Daryl. You know, this is twice now that you've won me over?"


By the end of the day, Daryl had made some progress on the panels, but they still weren't ready. It would take another few days, and a little bit of scavenging for parts, for them to be completely fixed. Carol, on the other hand, was much more successful in organizing and searching for provisions.

They now had so much more medicine, two huge containers of canned food, another huge container filled with dry foods, a smaller container of water bottles, extra clothing, a katana, a sniper rifle and two pistols, each with extra ammo, blankets and pillows, books, candles, and a case filled with tools.

It didn't seem real; that one day they were running with absolutely nothing left, no home, no food, no anything, and now, they were living like kings compared to how the others were. That's the part that was most hurtful, to Daryl especially.

When he saw the katana, Carol could see the way his eyes darkened, and she immediately could tell that he was thinking of Michonne. She had been someone that he really related to, since they were both the quiet ones, and at first, nobody trusted them. Daryl clearly missed her, and his companion only wish there was something she could do to ease this guilt that was eating away at his soul.

"Hey, don't think about it," she quickly said, placing her hands on his chest and kissing his cheek gently. "Don't go there."

Thankfully, Daryl quickly got out of this trance he was suddenly in, his eyes returning back to normal, but the sadness still there. "So this is what you found?" he asked, referring to all the stuff she had organized into piles on the huge kitchen island.

"Yeah," she replied, still not letting go of him. "I'll put all the clothing in the closet upstairs, so we can see what fits later. Tomorrow, I'll probably dust the whole place. What about you? What's with the panels?"

"They'll be done in the next few days," Daryl explained. "I have to go look for some extra parts on the other houses, see if they have what I need. Let's hope they do." His eyes fell on the windows then, almost cursing for forgetting such an important job. "We need ta block off all the windows. Make sure the walkers don't see the candles. And when we do finally get the lights workin', we're gonna havta turn 'em off at night. We can't have those bastards tryin' to get in."

"There's some wood on the porch," Carol said. "I gathered as much as I could earlier."

"Good girl," the man murmured, getting to work straight away.

Within an hour, all the doors and windows were boarded, and by that time, both survivors were much more exhausted they they thought they would be. Once making it to their room, Daryl almost collapsed on the bed, not caring about taking off his clothing.

Carol had luckily brought a bottle of pills with her, along with some water, handing it to him and watching him as he gulped it all down. After making sure that he had done it, she joined him on the soft mattress, letting him curl into her side.

"What are we?" she heard him ask, the sudden question startling her.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what are we? We just slept together last night, and now we're on the same bed again. I wanna know what we are now."

Silence surrounded them as Carol thought of an answer to his valid question. Finally, she broke it. "I don't know what we are, Daryl. I guess we could be called a couple, but I won't force it on you. But what I do know is that we both want to be a part of this. Yes, this is new, but I'm starting to think that new is good. So, for now, let's not be anything. Let's just be Daryl and Carol. Okay?"

Daryl looked up at her then, unable to resist kissing her. "Okay," he whispered, wrapping his arms around her slim form. "That sounds good."