Plum Crisp

Author's note: first few chapters are really short; later ones will be longer. Yes, in possibly a world first, this story is Marol. Hope you enjoy.

Carol knew exactly when the seeds had been sown; the words that had led to her being locked alone in a pantry with Merle Dixon. That had led to her locking the two of them in there together.

"Sure would be easier if there were some hookers around," Daryl had said.

He and Merle had come back from hunting, with bruises on their faces and corresponding wounds on their knuckles, and it didn't take a genius to work out that the two brothers had been fighting again. Merle had returned all full of piss and vinegar from having taken down a deer himself. As he carried it into the prison yard across his broad shoulders, clearly enjoying the reception the deer bought him, he bluffly ribbed Daryl about his own lack of success that day.

So venison was on the menu later that evening, when Carol took a plateful of hot food out to the yard where Daryl was busy sluicing off some knives. Rick was just ahead of her, and the two men nodded to her, Daryl wiping his hands on a clean rag before taking the plate. He picked up a strip of the seared venison and tilted his head back to feed it in.

"Those bruises Daryl – they something I'm gonna have to deal with?" Rick asked in his solemn way.

Daryl chewed and swallowed, then replied," Hell no, Rick, just Merle lettin' off some steam is all. I gave as good as I got."

"I don't doubt that," answered Rick with a small smile, and lingered, not yet satisfied.

Daryl frowned a little, neat brows drawing together into V's. "Look, it ain't been easy for Merle bein' here, and he ain't got any of his usual party tricks to help deal; booze, drugs, speed, fightin', fuckin'." Daryl counted them off unfolding the fingers of one hand as he spoke. He shrugged a little. "If goin' a few rounds with me every now and then helps keep him from bein' such a pain in the ass, then I don't got a problem with it. 'Sides, you think I don't enjoy smackin' him down once in a while?"

Carol tried to suppress a smile at Daryl's last comment as she began to walk back to the building. She caught a quick flash of white as Rick grinned suddenly, the rare grin gone nearly as quickly as it came.

"Alright then," Rick replied, gaze fixed firmly on Daryl's face, "but I don't want this getting outa hand, understand?"

"Got it."

Rick nodded in approval, and followed in Carol's footsteps.

Daryl took another piece of meat and muttered quietly, "Sure would be easier if there were some hookers around."

To be continued….

Don't worry, Carol's wardrobe doesn't stretch to impersonating a prostitute.