*scurries into the Carick archive*

*drops a thing*

*scurries away*

*leaves standard disclaimer spelled out in Reeses Pieces behind me*


They would probably try to pretend it never happened.

She didn't know about him, but she doubted that would last very long.


It was late, she figured, late enough for everyone to be sleeping pretty heavily but not quite late enough to cross into the early morning hours. Midnight, it felt to her, and Carol honestly considered herself a fairly good judge of time these days.

She was thirsty, desperately so, and when she thought back on the previous day she realized she hadn't drank much that day at all; they'd all been busy working hard on both the interior and exterior of the prison. The fences were mended and reinforced, one of towers salvaged for watch duty. Daryl and Tyreese had brought in the pigs and it was a hell of time watching them struggle to get the near-feral things to stay in their shoddy pens.

The next day would probably find them reinforcing those fences, too.

Carol yawned and heard the scratch in her dry throat. A quick drink and back to bed; dawn always seemed to come too quickly for all of them lately.

She kept quiet about it, tip-toeing down the staircase from the cell she shared with Daryl, breathed easy as she passed Glenn and Maggie's, then Hershel and Beth's, Michonne's, Rick and Carl and Judith's…..

She stopped short before passing by the last (well, technically first) cell on the lower floor, the closest to the main entrance, left empty and reserved for medical emergencies.

She had glanced over at it as she neared, on instinct more than anything, and swore she caught movement.

Swallowing thickly she peered into the deep grey of the room, brain willing her feet to inch closer to determine if it had been playing tricks on her. A hand slipped behind her back, fingered the knife jutting from her sweatpants. Another shift of black inside the cell confirmed her suspicion and her head cocked, ears opened and it was only then she heard the low groan.

Her teeth set hard, gritting into each other.

It wasn't possible, she told herself, for the figure inside to be a Walker. It wasn't possible. And if it was, the only explanation would be that one of the elderly Woodbury survivors had passed, turning in the middle of the night…

Carol shook her head to herself. Gripped the handle of the knife and stepped closer.

No.

The Woodbury residents had taken up on top tier with her and Daryl, and there was no reasoning behind a freshly turned Walker meandering all the way downstairs to slip into an abandoned cell alone.

No, it didn't make sense.

The person inside the med cell was alive.

And maybe…sick? Hurt?

Carol reached the entrance to the room and reached out to grip the half-open gate, fingers wrapping around a cold bar and she opened her mouth to announce herself.

Another groan stopped her words. The inflection in them sent whatever she was going to say tumbling back down her dusty throat, and she fought a cough with every ounce of her will.

She knew that sound. It wasn't one she'd heard in a long, long time, but she knew it. Knew it instinctively. It was the sound of pleasure, the low keen of a search for relief.

It was the groan of a man trying like hell to get himself off and be quiet about it.

The moment she realized what she was hearing her ears were suddenly bombarded with the accompanying sounds of the man's heady breathing, the shift of his clothes against the bed and the creak of the bed itself.

Carol tried to swallow again. Her throat itched terribly but she managed all the same. She froze there, standing half-exposed in front of the cell's entrance, peering into the darkness, listening to the person inside have at themselves.

A grunt shifted into a lighter, needy moan before lowering again and in that moment she recognized the source of the sound.

Carol knew who it was she was listening in on (and why was she still standing there listening to him again?)….

She mouthed the name, silent and surprised,

"Rick."

A heat raced down her lower spine, pooling into her stomach and further still. The resulting confusion of her reaction sent her head spinning, vision blurring for a moment and she shut her eyes tight, shifted to the side and pressed her head into the frame of the entrance.

When Carol opened them, he seemed to be easier to make out…or maybe the moonlight from the bay windows was brighter, or maybe she was just imagining his outline, imagining the wild sprigs of his hair as they came undone from their usual slicked-back positions to fall across his forehead as he raised his head to look at her-

She froze again. Stopped breathing.

Dug her nails into the wall next to the cell and gulped down a curse.

Rick had stopped, his body half-suspended up from the mattress and he was looking at her. His face was cast in shadow, but she knew he was locking eyes.

She felt it.

Her heart raced. Thundered into her ears. She scrambled to command her mouth to open and apologize, to tell her feet to back away and turn her body around, to take her back up those stairs and into the safe, completely-not-awkward-in-any-way haven of her own bunk but-

Her eyes shifted from the silhouette of Rick's face to where his hand slid across a hip, sinking into a boneless dip before rising back up to bring his fingers hovering over his dick. She found her brain short-circuiting completely when his legs splayed just an inch further apart and, still propped up on one elbow, still looking at her, those fingers met flesh and he continued on as if he wasn't bothered in the least that she was there.

And good God, maybe he wasn't.

Carol breathed, in and out, feeling the force of it ache in her chest and her brain scrambled completely when the clouds outside the bay decided to part just enough to allow moonlight into the cell.

Rick's body was cast into a soft greyness, his profile much more visible and she wanted to jerk back and run from the heat in her face, from the pounding in her head, from the sharp twang of pleasure-pain that shot its way like lightning into the apex of her legs.

She couldn't pull away. Couldn't rip her eyes from him and Rick kept looking right at her, blinking at the change in light and she saw his eyes narrow. His lips curled, tightened, and his chest seemed to expand slightly as he exhaled and his hand suddenly moved faster, fingers sliding across his dick (and Jesus, when did she look away from his eyes again when when when) and his head lolled back to expose the white of his throat, peppered with unshaven scruff and moving with his deep gulps of air.

The fingers on her right hand were stinging. She was digging her nails into the frame, scratching absently.

Her jaw was unhinged, hanging loose and every breath she took was like swallowing sand.

Rick grunted in the moonlight, hips rolling upward against the steady and quick pump of his fist. Carol stared at his mouth as his teeth suddenly flashed and he hissed, and the elbow supporting him relaxed and he slid down, hit the bed in silence and kept going.

Another hiss, another grunt, another groan.

She swore she saw a quirk in those lips just before they parted and he nearly gave her a heart attack when his voice whispered,

"Carol, get in here."

The words rang like a high-pitched, never-ending bell in her ears. She blinked, felt her eyes widen to the point of pain. She still couldn't find words, could barely swallow air much less speak, and she mouthed, head shaking,

"What? Rick—"

His head had jerked back up and he stared into her, raised his free hand and held it out, pleading and demanding.

Her hand left the wall. A foot moved forward. Another.

Another.

Carol felt as if she was about to wake up from a very inappropriate dream, shaken and flustered and hungry. Like the world around her was fake, foggy and thick, and the very floor she walked across was made of water and not cement.

The hot hot grip of Rick's hand on her wrist jerked her to attention and she gasped quietly.

It wasn't a dream.

He was coaxing her forward and down, pulling with a gentle force to bring her settled on her knees next to the bunk. His left hand (he was left-handed; God, the things you notice when you're watching someone masturbate) slowed briefly as his right left her arm and darted out into the shadowy air to wrap around the back of her neck and pull her closer to his face.

She swallowed again, coughed this time. Finally found her voice, low and quiet and scratched-to-hell,

"Rick. Rick…."

She could see nothing but his eyes then, dark and lidded and blown, his nostrils, expanding with the force of every breath, his lips, parted as he ran his tongue across the bottom,

"Shhh. I just, I just need…." He groaned and trailed, eyes squinting and she could feel his body moving again, faster, and without thought or reason (reason was…reason was out the window, far far out of it, she knew) she reached out and laid a palm on his chest, felt the pounding of his heart against it and heard a needy, surprised whimper escape his throat.

The tips of his fingers played with her hair, but his grip was solid and strong. She felt the pressure against her neck and instinctively pushed against it, and it felt like pushing into a wall.

Rick's eyes narrowed again, and he pressed her head closer.

Their foreheads touched and Carol squirmed when he hissed again, gasped into her face,

"God, dammit."

Her hand strayed lower, sliding across his stomach to find the erratic thrusting of his lower body. His mouth opened and he shifted his head, angled it and watched her, and Carol couldn't breathe anymore.

His mouth hovered close, so close that the heat of his breath burned her lips, but he didn't take that extra inch. As he pressed his forehead harder into hers, whined again, moaned softly with the increased jerking of his hips, Carol found- despite everything in her that tried to tell her otherwise- that she wanted him to.

But he didn't.

Carol kneeled on the cold concrete and fingered a bony hip, latched onto it and rode with him as Rick watched her face and pumped.

She heard him gasping, quiet and low, and the sound of it drove her eyes shut.

She shifted in place and felt a searing wetness between her thighs. On instinct she moved slightly, judged the intensity and found herself moaning lightly when Rick's hand suddenly slid up to thread tight fingers into her hair.

He tugged, gentle and teasing and when she opened her eyes and licked her lips, he pushed her head in that final, tiny inch and swallowed her tongue.

Carol whined, loud and pathetic, moved the hand on his hip to the hand on his dick and heard the guttural, desperate growl in his chest come rumbling out as his hips jerked one last time.

His kiss was violent, heady. Teeth nipped at her retreating tongue and the shock sent her head twisting back, going nowhere but into the forceful grip of Rick's palm.

He clamped back onto her neck.

Sighed heavy into her face and moved in again, mouth suddenly twenty times softer than a moment before.

When his tongue coaxed hers out he flicked against it, drawing back to ghost one last time over her swollen bottom lip.

They froze for a long moment then, adrenaline seeping out him and leaving her drunk. Carol heaved for breath, eyes flicking over Rick's face. His eyes were closed. His forehead nudged against hers again and he held them there for a second, their hands at his hips still clamped together over his twitching, softening dick.

When he pulled back, opened his eyes to look at her, Carol saw the intense darkness in his gaze give way to glazed, wet realization.

His hand on hers disappeared.

The fingers at her nape slid down, slow, trailing hot, sad lines across her shoulder before falling off an edge.

Carol fought a sudden onslaught of agony and pushed herself away, away from the bed, away from his body, away from-

She stood and peered down into the shadows at him.

Watched him blink up at her and press his lips together tight.

Without words she turned and all but tripped over herself to leave the tiny room, slipping out and across the bay back to the stairwell in what felt like three ghostly strides.

Her hands shook as they found purchase on the rails and she concentrated on taking each step as carefully as she could. She ignored the slick of pleasure between her legs as she moved, pushed it out of her mind completely when she found herself in the deep black of her cell.

For a long minute, she stood just inside the entrance and stared at the barely distinguishable form of Daryl's silent, sleeping body.

And then she crawled into the bed beneath him, body singing and shaking and screaming.

She never got her drink.