A/N: And so dear reader, we come to a close - thank you for coming along with me on this journey - thank you for all who have stuck through to the end, and thank you those who have just discovered this little work finished and read it straight though - I have appreciated all of you - rated M for language & sexual content

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 train had pulled away from the station and nothing was going to stop it now. Nothing that was but a very poorly timed leg cramp.

He was kissing her, letting his hands explore her precious form, when he felt an uncomfortable tug. The tug quickly transformed into a blinding pain in his left leg. He kicked it outward to try to stop it, but the muscle went into full seize. It happened to him now and then, but this was one hell of a time for it.

He pulled his hands away and braced backward on his right hand while he tried to message it with his left. He bit down hard on his lower lip and drew blood. "Fuck!" It escaped him before he could think and he muttered a 'sorry'.

She rose off his lap and came to rest beside him, a slightly amused look on her face. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Naw," he said as his leg twisted in response to the jolt of pain it was now sending up to his buttock. "I usually just ride them out. My mamma called them growing pains, but I think I'm well done growing." He looked at her with a mixture of amusement and pain.

"Maybe it just isn't meant to happen." She looked at him and shrugged.

"Like ya think I'm gonna let ya go now?" He tried his best to not look at her with pain, but it wasn't working. That fucker hurt something awful and it was threatening to spasm again.

He winced and made to stand. He balanced carefully on the good leg and drew himself straight. "I just need to work it out a bit. And this ain't no place to be romancing you, anyways." He smiled somewhat shyly. But he felt rather bold. "Wait here a sec, I'll get down there and catch ya." He smiled at her and almost winked, but thought better of it. Winking wasn't his way, no matter how giddy he might feel.

He jumped down into the elevator car, grateful for the bedding. A time and place for everything he thought, and couldn't help but smile. He stood on the cramping leg as best he could and called for her to jump down. She slid from the opening in the top of the elevator and landed softly into his arms. On impulse, he wrapped his arms around her and leaned in to kiss her. Her immediate reaction was surprise, but she matched his enthusiasm rather quickly.

It was so strange for him to be this way with her after so long. But each time they came to it, it felt more natural. This is what it means to be lovers, he thought. To invade one's personal space without hesitation. Friends hesitate, lovers do not. That cramp was being one hell of a cock blocker though. He broke the kiss and pulled away from her, placing his hands gently at the sides of her shoulders.

"We are not done with this, yeah? I just gotta work this out and then I'm coming for ya." He touched the side of her face with his left hand and let his thumb run over it. "Thank you."

"For what?" She was looking right at him, steady and even.

"For never giving up on me." He smiled at her and dropped his hand to take hold of hers. "Now I'm gonna go walk out this cramp and I'll be back." He let go of her hand and walked toward the door, turning back to look at her as he exited. "I wouldn't be sad if you were snuggled under those covers when I came back." He smiled at her, nodding toward the elevator car. I mean, I am a might bit tired." And he winked. He fucking winked. He wanted to run and hide from this new self that was emerging from being so free around her, but he kinda liked it too.

She smiled as she watched him go. He was carrying himself with confidence and she liked seeing that. It was becoming a more common thing, but now especially he seemed to carry himself that way. She wrapped her arm around her torso and touched her cheek where he had. This was strange. The life affirming actions. So often now they lived in fear and on the run. But to stop and just breathe the beauty that was life. This was such a gift.

'Snuggle under those covers,' huh? She couldn't help but smile. A rather ordinary day had taken an unexpected turn. And the thought of doing that very thing with him sounded just perfect.

She slipped out of her pants and shirt. Down to just her underwear and paused. It had been a while and longer since someone new. She suddenly felt quite self-conscious and awkward. It was much lighter here too and in the elevator car. She looked at the light and switched it off. That would help a little. If only she could switch off her nerves.

She slipped out of her underwear and tucked them under the pants. Part of nerves was old underwear. Better he miss out on this part, she thought lightly. She slipped under the blanket and let her head fall softly against the pillow. These still smelled of industrial laundering. He'd found them in the old prison laundry no doubt. They did not smell faintly of the sun like her own sheets in her cell.

No, everything was foreign, the sights, the smells, the textures. Even the words they spoke between them. Their respectful friendship ease with each other had slipped into this new cadance.

She turned on her side and nuzzled into the bedding. It was soft and smelled a little bit like the old world. She could pretend things had never changed, maybe just for a little while. She closed her eyes and breathed in. Before she knew it she was asleep.

She woke suddenly and for a moment she didn't know where she was. A friend's house, a motel. The scent of laundry soap was strong, but it was not her own. She felt an arm around her and the press of an erection at her backside. Daryl was planting light kisses at the nape of her neck. "Leg better?" She signed a little and snugged her back into his bare chest.

"Yeah, everything is better now. Came back but you were sleeping, didn't want to bother ya."

She pressed her bottom into him and brought a hand to rest on his thigh, pulling him gently toward her.

He spoke lightly at her ear. "Whatcha doin' there ma'am. Don't think your nakedness was a forward enough invitation?" He interlaced his hand with hers on his hip and brought it around to tuck under her breast and pull her tightly to him.

"How lucky are we? In all this world to have found each other?" He asked, snuggling into the back of her neck.

"I think most people might tell you you're getting sloppy seconds," she offered, teasingly.

"Naw." He pulled his knees up slightly into hers and pressed himself closer. "Ain't true and you know that. I've had choices along the way and you were a deliberate one like all my others. Don't think I'm sweet on ya just 'cause it's the end of the world."

She turned to face him. She raised her hand to touch the side of his face near the temple. "You are too sweet to me."

He closed his eyes for a moment at the tender touch. "Just honest," he said, opening them to look at her so nakedly it was as if he was doing so for the first time.

"I'm gonna stop questioning why ya want me, and just accept that ya do." He placed a kiss on her nose and ran a hand along her side, stopping at the hip to raise her leg and drape it over his own. "I need to stop questioning why you'd want me to touch ya and just enjoy the fact that ya want me to."

Her hand brushed his full erection, her fingers teasing along its length. It occurred to her that the best thing for them now was a simple affirmation. Extensive foreplay could be for other times, perhaps even in a short while. But the best thing for both of them would just be a simple straight forward consummation and affirmation of their new relationship. She dared not call it their new love, because the love was always there. It had been from the beginning.

She rolled onto her back and encouraged him with her. He looked down at her slightly confused as she urged him between her thighs, guiding him gently to her entrance. She was wet enough that the only discomfort would be the psychological shock. She smiled up at him. "Let's center ourselves in this now. We can play later. We can play all you want."

She touched the side of his face with one hand as she guided him with the other. But he needed little help. He found her as surely as men have always found women over the ages. This simple thing, devoid of all the window dressing. By raw human instinct alone they communicated, and for a brief moment, with their discomfort set aside, they were one.

He collapsed on her after. Far too much built up energy was discharged in that moment. She let him lay, softly rolling him to her side once she heard the gentle shift in his breathing. She held him until he woke and looked at her through heavy eyes of contentment.

It had crossed her mind as he slept that they hadn't even thought of the condoms. But it didn't matter to her. If that bridge needed to be crossed, there was no one else in the world she would rather cross it with.

He smiled at her, comfortably, without the fear and hesitation he often did.

There was the sound of the boiler room door opening. A foot step and then Rick's voice, calling out clearly, "Hey, Daryl!"

She watched as Daryl lifted his head slightly, but keeping it low so Rick couldn't see him. "Yeah?"

"Did you get the motor running? Or are you still working on it?"

"I got her started. Just needs a bit more time and I'll have her purring like a kitten." He looked at her and winked. This time it seemed quite natural between them.

"If that's the case, I'll leave you be, just wanted to see if you needed any help." There was the sound of his retreat and the door swinging back into place with a thud.

"Purring like a kitten, huh?" She looked up at him, smiling softly.

"Yeah, once they are properly primed, they can run for a long, long time.' He kissed first her shoulder and then sought her lips. She relaxed into him, sure that both she and that motor were in very capable hands.