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talking about love (to a cigarette)

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"Give it a day or two, make sure nothing feels off," Carson said, carefully undoing the Velcro on the brace. "There might be some discomfort and weakness at first, that's normal, but it should ease off in a day or so," he said. "You can wear the brace on your way back to Hilltop, for added protection, but after that, I'm pretty confident you won't need it anymore."

Daryl's gaze darted from the doc to Jesus, who was standing there with his arms crossed, watching the proceedings carefully. Daryl felt his mouth curl toward a smile, helpless against it, and watched as an answering one bloomed on Jesus' face. He'd been waitin' six damn weeks to hear those words, and now that it was here he almost felt - hell, almost felt a little giddy.

"Let's get you up," Carson said, and Daryl gladly took his hand as the doc pulled him up. He could see Jesus in his periphery, ready to jump into action if he faceplanted. At first, he kept his weight on his good leg, almost afraid of shifting it. What if it still hurt? What if it gave out on him and it turned out he couldn't walk on it after all? What if?

But Daryl wasn't no scaredy cat, and he'd done plenty of stuff far scarier than this, so he took a breath, teeth catching on his lower lip as he took a step. Carson had backed up, but Jesus was still hoverin', watching him with the same expression they'd all used on Judith when she was first starting to walk, ready to rush in the moment she wobbled.

It felt...weird. A little tender, and he couldn't help but limp as he took a few steps into the room, but it didn't immediately buckle under his weight.

"Ain't too bad," he said after a moment or two, easing his way around a circuit of the sofa. He looked over toward Carson, giving him a nod. It'd hold him up - he didn't feel like he was about to tip over or nothin' and after he gave himself a bit to get used to it, he didn't think he'd have no trouble making it to Hilltop.

"Good," Carson said. "If I don't see the two of you back at Hilltop in the next few days, I'll come back to reassess. You two take care hear me?"

Daryl nodded with a grunt, Jesus assured him they would, and then Carson was packing up his things and heading to the door, Daryl limping along after him just because he could.

The door shut with a click and Daryl turned back toward Jesus. "Let's go out," he said, jerking his head toward porch. Limping around the cabin was one thing, but he was itching to go out beyond the railing he'd been pissing under.

Jesus looked skeptical. "Let's eat first," he said.

Daryl eyed him, weighing his desire to get the hell out into some fresh air against the practicality. In the end he sighed. "Fine, but just somethin' quick."


The ice from earlier in the week had melted, leaving the porch thankfully hazard free, though Jesus still looped an elbow through his as Daryl limped toward the stairs. He allowed it, but just so Jesus wouldn't fuss.

It was cold out, but Daryl hardly minded as he made his way down the steps, taking each step with both feet because he didn’t feel quite steady enough the usual way. He could see snatches of blue through the bare bones of the tree limbs, weak winter sun filtering through. He'd brought his crossbow with him just in case they ran into any walkers along the way (Jesus had tried to tell him that he'd get any that came along, but Daryl wasn't gonna just stand by in that situation).

They headed out through the trees, taking the path with the least incline. Daryl let himself relax - this was where he was supposed t'be, the place he was most comfortable. Out in the wilderness. It was quiet, save the crunch of twigs and the remaining snow under their boots - Daryl couldn't quite manage the silence of his usual tread, and Jesus wasn't even trying.

Jesus' elbow remained threaded through his, a steady support as they walked along. Daryl didn't think he needed it, even if he was hobbling a little bit, but he didn't move to shake him off. He'd come a long way since the end of the world, where any physical contact was met with wariness, a flinch - but over the years he'd gotten more and more used to it. Not quite like this though - there wasn't no intent behind the hold, but Daryl still felt an extra awareness of the heat of Jesus' arm bleeding through the leather duster and the sweater Daryl was wearing. It warmed him to his very center.

"Hold up," Daryl said, all of a sudden, slipping his arm out of Jesus' and taking his crossbow off his back.

"Wha -" Jesus started, but Daryl held up hand to hush him. Up ahead there was a squirrel, sittin' nice and pretty on a tree branch. They'd already had lunch but they needed somethin' for dinner and Daryl was tired of feelin' useless, sittin' around the cabin while Jesus had to go out and get all their food when they weren't eatin' what Carson had brought. That'd never sat well with him, not contributing. It was how he'd earned his place in the group, part of the reason why he'd even been allowed into the inner circle of a group made up of people a thousand times better 'n he'd ever be.

He loaded up a bolt, taking a moment to aim, getting used to the weight of the bow in his arms after so long without it. At this point in his life though, usin' the thing was like instinct, as natural to him as breathing, and he pulled the trigger, hittin' the squirrel dead center. It flopped off the branch and hit the ground with a thump, and Daryl gave a ghost of a satisfied smile.

"Dinner," he said, looking over at Jesus, the corner of his mouth crooked before he started limping his way over to collect it.

"Nice shot," Jesus said as Daryl returned to his side, limp squirrel clutched in one hand, his crossbow back over his shoulder.

Daryl grunted, hint of a smile on his face.

After that, they walked a few more minutes before Jesus suggested they head back. Daryl agreed - not cos he wanted to, or cos his leg was sore, but because daylight didn't stick around for long during winter and there was no way in hell he was staying out here at dusk just so he could trip over something he couldn't see and fuck up his leg.

So, they went back.


The cabin was still warm, the fire low but still burning in the fireplace. Daryl sat himself down at the kitchen table with his knife and set about skinning the squirrel while Jesus heated up more soup. He made quick work of it, even if his gaze kept straying away from the bloody work he was doing to watch Jesus, watched how the firelight cast a golden hue to his skin. He had half a mind to get up and go right on over there - cos he had a suspicion that it'd feel real, real nice to press a kiss right against a fire warmed cheek - but he still had squirrel guts to clean off his knife and anyway, just cos he could go over to Jesus whenever he wanted and do just about anythin', didn't mean he should.

Mostly just cos they'd never get to dinner if he got himself distracted.

Jesus came over to grab the squirrel meat, nose scrunching at the sight of blood on the table, though it wasn't nearly as messy as it woulda been if it'd been something a little bigger. "I'll clean it," he assured him, and that seemed to satisfy him as he went over to cook the rest of dinner.

They ate it at the table, the crackle of the fire in the background. Daryl wasn't much for conversation while eating - he wasn't particularly chatty by nature and he'd never grown out of the habit of eatin' like he wasn't sure where food was gonna come from next. Jesus was only just starting on his soup by the time Daryl was halfway through slurping his, the squirrel bits on his plate long gone.

He cleaned up his own plate and bowl, grateful that he could do that for once, and by the time he was done washing it with the water from the bucket near the sink, Jesus had finished his soup and Daryl took his dishes to the sink, shrugging off the thanks and the attempt on Jesus' part to help. Jesus had been damn near waitin' on him hand and foot for the past six weeks, the least Daryl could do was pull his own weight and then some, least for a little bit.

"I'll heat up some water so we can wash up," Jesus suggested, and Daryl glanced over his shoulder to give a nod. His bandages needed one last change before they made the trip back to Hilltop - the burn was healing, slowly but surely. It still pulled if he wasn't careful, and it was hard to forget about it, taking up just about half his chest, but it coulda been a lot worse. He didn't even need the pills anymore - not that he'd have taken them again if he had, things had all worked out after he'd gone blabbing while high off his ass, but he didn't need to go around sayin' shit he wasn't sayin' sober.

He finished the dishes, dried them and put them away, though he wasn't sure why. Wasn't like they were gonna come back after this, though he guessed someone could use it for shelter during a run. Anyone'd probably be thankful for some dishes that weren't covered in rotted food or layers of dust. So he put them back in the cupboard and then headed into the living room, where Jesus had the bucket of water at the fire.

"All done," he said.

"Good, this is just about warm enough."

Jesus insisted on carrying the bucket into the bathroom and Daryl grudgingly accepted it - his leg felt alright but maybe a bucket full of water wasn't the best way to test his limits.

He toed off his boots at the mouth of the hallway, padding the rest of the way in his socks. Jesus set the water on the ground and Daryl watched as he took his shirt off, in one smooth movement that highlighted the play of muscles that usually spent the day hidden under layers of leather and cloth. It took him a moment or two to follow suit, wincing as his wound pulled as he brought the shirt over his head and then discarded it on the counter. Pants were easier and he let them drop, then stepped out of them, looking up to find Jesus had done the same. He swallowed, softly, hesitant gaze trailing over him, like he still couldn't believe he was actually allowed to look.

"C'mere," Jesus said, reaching out for him, and Daryl went willingly, melting into the soft, chaste kiss that Jesus offered him. "You first," Jesus said, pulling back, and Daryl took his place on the bathtub ledge. They'd done this what felt like a million times by now, the routine of it well worn. He could do this himself now - he didn't need Jesus to dip the cloth in the bucket, or trail it lightly over his skin, taking away the layer of accumulated grime, but he wasn't about to insist he do it himself.

Nah, he watched as Jesus cleaned him with soft, steady strokes, Jesus' gaze fixed on the path that the cloth took. Gooseflesh rose in the wake of it as cool air rushed over heated skin and Daryl felt himself holding his breath a little as the cloth dipped over his collarbones, skirting the edge of his bandage. From there, it was dragged across the other side of his chest, down, over his side. He twitched, hand coming up to clutch at Jesus' arm, and he watched the corner of his mouth quirk into a smirk.



Jesus merely hummed a noise that didn't seem at all believing, but thankfully didn't push it (probably cos he knew testing that out while Daryl was balanced precariously on the edge of the tub was a surefire way to ensure they spent another six weeks stuck in the cabin).

Daryl grabbed the rag from Jesus when he was done, switching out so Jesus could take his place on the side of the tub. It was kinda soothing, the steady rhythm of it. He trailed it over Jesus' shoulder, down over well-muscled biceps, and Daryl may have accidentally dragged a bare knuckle over it just to feel. Jesus didn't so much as twitch as Daryl moved the cloth, slow, over his side, but there was something pinched about his mouth that made Daryl file that away for later.

When they were both as clean as they were gonna be, Daryl set the cloth back in the bucket. Tension had built up between them - which wasn't new - Daryl'd gotten real familiar with handjobs the past couple days, even got his chance to get a hand on Jesus himself. He could already feel a flicker of heat in the pit of his stomach at the prospect, and he could see it reflected in Jesus' gaze as he looked toward him.

The tension flickered, drawing out as Jesus removed his bandage and slathered the burn with ointment - touch so gentle Daryl hardly felt it. It took no time at all for him to smooth a new bandage over his chest, fixing it into place with the tape Carson had left.

"Let's go to bed," Jesus suggested, and Daryl was all too happy to comply.


Jesus' hand curled around him and Daryl grunted, bucking up into the dry heat of it. That was how the past few nights had gone, Jesus' hand down his boxers, stroking him until he came and then he'd finish himself off - though last night he'd let Daryl do it, Daryl's hand clumsily stroking him until Jesus hips had stuttered and he'd come over his hand, and just thinking about it made his cock twitch. His head tipped back against the pillow as Jesus continued to stroke him, slow and steady with a bit of a twist that had muffled groans choking in his throat. Jesus followed his mouth, kissing him lazily, tongue flicking into his mouth, though Daryl's wasn't in no state to reciprocate.

"Hey," Jesus said, and Daryl barely managed to pry his eyes open, lids heavy.

"Huh?" he grunted, a little strangled, cos Jesus hadn't let up any on the steady rhythm he had going, stroking him from root to tip.

"Now that we don't have to worry about the brace, you want to try something different?"

Daryl blinked, and Jesus must have sensed that was the sort of question for which Daryl needed a little more brainpower, cos he pulled his hand out of his boxers, ignoring his frustrated groan.

"Different like how?" he asked, trying to ignore the ache in his balls. Fuck, he'd been real close too.

"You could fuck me," Jesus said, matter-of-factly. Daryl twitched. "Or I could fuck you," he continued. "Or I could put my mouth on you."

Daryl blinked, feeling a little like Jesus had just hit him over the head with some sorta sexy frying pan. His brain was having a hard time processing that menu, but his cock was still hard as a rock, leaking a wet spot into his boxers.

"Uh..." he said, helpfully.

"Or we could just keep doing what we've been doing, that's fine too."

Daryl mulled it over, mouth dry. "Think uh," he decided after a solid minute of consideration, teeth worrying at his lower lip. "Think I might like if you uh - if you fucked me," he said, trying to get the words out through an increasingly tight throat. He could feel his heartbeat in his temples and he was hot all over, embarrassed at havin' to ask for it, but the kiss Jesus gave him after that settled him right down.

The kiss bled into more, until Daryl was thoroughly distracted, palms curled against Jesus' sides, letting the warmth of his skin bleed into his.

Jesus' mouth trailed away from his, sliding over the patchy hairs on his cheek before he finally pulled away. "Alright," he said, and Daryl swallowed.

He frowned, watching as Jesus leaned over, stretching toward the bedside table. He grunted as Jesus leaned hard on him, squinting as Jesus settled back, a bottle in his hand.

"What's - what's that?" he asked eyes narrowing.

"Lube," Jesus replied.

Daryl considered it for a long moment.

"Ain't it weird usin' someone else's.....stuff?"

"I don't think they'll miss it."

"Oh, Jesus."

"Save that for later," Jesus said, and Daryl flushed at the smirk on his face. He leaned up to kiss it off.

Jesus allowed it for a few long moments before he pulled back, wriggling his way down the bed. He pressed a kiss to his belly that had Daryl tremblin', and he propped himself up on his elbows, curious and a little nervous.

He flushed more as Jesus pulled down his boxers, flinging them off to the corner of the room. Daryl's throat clicked as he swallowed, trembling as Jesus nudged his knees apart. He felt exposed, vulnerable, but there was nothing but want and affection in Jesus' eyes, and that helped, a little. He twitched at the sound of the cap opening, watching as Jesus squirted out a bit onto his fingers, then rubbed them together, presumably warming it up - which Daryl appreciated.

Then he was putting his hand between his legs and Daryl let his arms give out, thumping him back to the mattress.

"I'm going to use one finger first."

"You don't gonna narrate every step," Daryl said, throwing an arm over his flushed face.

"I just want you to be aware of what's coming," Jesus explained, pressing a squeaky kiss to the inside of his knee. "So you can let me know if you're not comfortable."

Daryl grunted. "'ll let y'know, alright?" he assured him. If Jesus kept talking, it was all gonna be over before he ever got anythin' in.

The first press startled him, the lube not quite cold but not hot neither, and then there was pressure that had him grunting uncomfortably until Jesus got a finger in. He wasn't sure he liked it, fingers curling into the sheets, crumpling them. "I-" he started, only to break off with a surprised little noise as Jesus dragged his finger out and then back in, and it - it wasn't earthshattering, but there was a flicker of something there.

Jesus worked him open, slow and steady, the flickers of pleasure turning into steady pulses. When Jesus dragged two fingers against some place inside, Daryl let out a muffled little shout, biting at the meat of his palm reflexively to quiet himself.

"Prostate," Jesus pointed out helpfully and Daryl sucked in a ragged breath.


"I'm getting there."

Jesus continued until Daryl was close to begging for it, the brief presses against his prostate that Jesus threw in every other minute or so stoking the flames that had started to engulf him.

"Ready?" Jesus asked.

"B-been ready," he got out, and Jesus merely smiled, crawling up his body to kiss him thoroughly. He tasted like mint and sweet, and Daryl threw himself into the kiss, ignorin' the way his heart started to trip a little faster in his chest. Wasn't nothin' to be worried about.

He inhaled sharply as Jesus shifted, a blunt pressure buttin' up against him. He kept his gaze focused on Jesus, how blue his eyes seemed in the dim light, the way they were dark with heat, and he could see the little twitch at his brow when the pressure started to increase.

It wasn't exactly comfortable, Jesus' cock stretchin' him open, the blunt pressure giving way to an aching burn that had him wanting to squirm away. But he steeled himself, unable to stop the little grunt from escapin' the back of his throat.

"That's it, Daryl, relax," Jesus said, his voice soundin' mighty tight. Daryl didn't feel particularly relaxed, his body instinctively tensin' up against the intrusion, but then Jesus started stroking along his thigh with the hand he wasn’t usin' to guide himself in and Daryl focused on the shivery feelin' of his fingers over skin instead of the burn.

And then Jesus was all the way in, hips stillin', his lip caught between his teeth, though that didn't stop a pretty little moan from escapin'. Daryl stared up at him with wide eyes, feelin' uncomfortably full - but there was somethin' - there was somethin' about it that made something spark in his gut, a flutter that sparked into somethin' else as Jesus pulled back, easin' his hips almost all the way out until only the tip of his cock was holdin' him open.

The slide back in made Daryl groan, pleasure sparkling up and down his nerves like fire crackers.

After a few more thrusts, slow and steady, the pleasure had replaced the burn. Jesus kissed him, tongue flickin' against his with every thrust, mimicking the rhythm.

The slide of Jesus' hand, smoothing up his thigh and over his side only added to the pleasure, subtle but not ignorable. Daryl's hands remained curled in the sheets, holdin' on for dear life.

"Oh..." Daryl grunted, when Jesus' cock bumped up against that place he'd mentioned. His mouth dropped away from Jesus', pressed messy kisses against the nearest part of him. His knees clenched against Jesus' sides, holding him there, or maybe holdin' himself together. "Again, right there, fuck," he said, and Jesus immediately complied. Pleasure jackknifed through him and he moaned, a noise louder than he'd ever made in his whole damn life.

"Yeah, that's it, Daryl," Jesus said, his voice high and rough, broken up by panting breaths as his hips snapped into him again 'n again.

He could feel the tension gathering in his gut, spreading through his pelvis, just tantalizingly out of reach. He let out a frustrated little groan, fingers sliding up Jesus' neck to tangle in his hair.

He was so caught up in what Jesus' cock was doing that he didn't realize Jesus'd wriggled a hand between them until it was closed around his dick, pulling with rough, dirty strokes in time to his thrusts. Daryl hollered, eyes nearly rollin' back in his head as everything seemed to implode, his cock pulsing in Jesus' grip as he started to come. It went on and on and he wasn't aware of anything but the expanding pleasure workin' it's way outward from his dick.

The next thing he knew, he was staring up at Jesus' face, watching the furrow of his brow, his eyes all squeezed up tight with effort as Jesus continued to fuck into him. There were flickers of pleasure, almost too sharp, and he brought a hand up from the bed to rest against Jesus' side, which immediately brought Jesus to the edge.

Jesus was quiet through it, a soft strangled sigh pressed into Daryl's shoulder, and Daryl stroked his hand down his side and then up through his hair as Jesus' hips rocked, chasin' the last of the sensation before he finally collapsed on him. Daryl was perfectly fine with the weight.


Morning was spent packing up the few things they'd managed to scatter around the cabin. Daryl was eager to get goin', even though Jesus suggested they take another day to let his leg rest up.

He raided the bedroom for a pair of jeans (slightly too big), sorted through the mess of sweaters until he found one that didn't personally offend him, and then topped it off with his vest, which Jesus said looked ridiculous on top of that outfit.

After they finished up their breakfast of cold beans in a tin, Daryl stood between the kitchen and livin' room, taking in the room he'd pretty much spent the last six weeks in. He wasn't gonna miss it.

"Should we bring Battleship back with us?" Jesus asked, appearing at his elbow.

"Hell no," Daryl said with a sort. He'd caught Jesus taking a few of the books off the shelf in the bedroom, nestling them at the bottom of his pack. Those were the only things worth bringin' - though Daryl was pretty sure Jesus had more 'n enough books back home anyway.

There wasn't much more to do after that. The door closed behind them with a solid click and Daryl took in a nice deep breath. It was like some weight had dropped off his shoulders, leavin' that cabin behind. He adjusted his crossbow over his shoulder, clomping down the stairs and into freshly fallen snow.

"Hey, slow up a bit," Jesus said, and Daryl glanced over his shoulder to see him trotting down the steps. He hadn't realized he'd been speedin' along, although as he slowed he noticed that the tenderness in his leg wasn't quite so pronounced.

"Jus' wanna get home," he said, glancing over at Jesus as he sidled up beside him. He had that leather duster on, his hair tied up in a bun at the back of his head. Daryl was pretty sure there was some ugly ass Christmas sweater beneath it, he'd thought he'd caught a peek of garish green and red before Jesus had shrugged the coat on earlier.

Least they were both warm.

"Well, we can get home a lot easier if you don't trip and break your leg again," Jesus pointed out.

Daryl huffed, looked away, but kept his steps slow and measured, careful where he put his feet.

It was a nice walk, all things considered. Daryl knew the way back, though adjusted his course to take them far away from that damn ravine he'd walked along on his way out six weeks ago. Wasn't gonna repeat that again.

They didn't say much as they walked, though Daryl glanced over occasionally just to watch Jesus. Something warm curled in his chest each time, kindling bright until Daryl had to look away. He wasn't sure how this was all gonna work once they were back at Hilltop, where Jesus wouldn't be stuck in the same room with him all day. The worry tugged at him, but it didn't have room to take root, not when Jesus smiled at him every time he caught his eye, or how every few minutes or so he'd sorta drift over just so their shoulders could brush.

He was sure the insecurity would crop up later, but for now he was just fine ignorin' it.

The sun was high in the sky by the time things started lookin' real familiar - back to the grounds near Hilltop - even when he didn't go out huntin', he usually got outside the walls for a few hours most days, just to scratch that itch.

Daryl was focused on that last fifteen minutes - could almost picture those big wooden gates openin' for him. Hilltop wasn't home the same way that Alexandria or the prison had been (places where his family was all there), but it was damn near close. He couldn't help but speed up a little, ignoring the twinge in his leg as he stepped over a fallen log and ducked around some trees.

Only to come face to face with a walker that'd been takin' a nap against the bark, partially grown into it. He let out a yelp, stumbling back a little, tripping over his own feet. He went down with a thud, the pained grunt caught in his throat. No more than a second after he landed, there was Jesus, hovering over him with his mouth pressed into a worried line.

"You okay?" he asked, one hand resting on Daryl's knee as he crouched down next to him.

Daryl grunted, shifted a little. Relief filled him - his ass was sore but there wasn't nothin' wrong with his leg. He nodded.

"'m alri - fuck!"

Rotten, bony teeth sank into Jesus' upper arm as Daryl watched in horrified confusion, barely processing the sight before he was up and slamming the corpse away, bashing its head into the ground with brutal force. As soon as it stopped snarling he turned, scrambling for Jesus, who was in the same spot he'd left him.

"Lemme see - Paul, fuck lemme see," he babbled, pawing at his arm, ignoring the sounds comin' outta Paul's mouth because he couldn't focus on anything else but the fact that he'd seen those teeth sink in.

Only, when he'd hauled off the duster sleeve and yanked his arm so he could stare at his bicep, there was nothing there but a reddened mark, one that would bruise, but nothin' like the bloodied teeth imprints Daryl had expected to see.

"It's okay, I'm okay - it didn't go through the leather."

The ringing in Daryl's ears finally subsided enough for him to hear what Jesus was saying and he let out a ragged breath, turning to catch him in a hug, face buried in his shoulder. He clung to him for a long moment as his heart rabbited in his chest, the swirl of dread that had accumulated in the pit of his gut slowly dissipating.

"Fuck don't - " he rasped, when he finally pulled away, Jesus' hand slipping from his hair, where he'd been stroking lightly. "Don't scare me like that, asshole," he said.

Jesus looked amused as he shrugged back into his duster. "I'll do my best."

Daryl got to his feet, holding out a hand to help Jesus up. He looked a little shaken around the edges, but alright, and Daryl allowed him to sling his arm around his side, even though he didn't need the support.

The last fifteen minutes to Hilltop went quietly enough - not even a hint of a walker. Kal was up on the wall when they reached the dirt path and Daryl could hear him shout something down before the doors started to open.

By the time they got there, there was a small crowd gathered at the gate.

There was a chorus of welcome back's as they moved inside, people surrounding them shoulder claps and excited exclamations. Daryl wanted to hang back, but Jesus' arm was still around his waist, so he grunted and nodded, Jesus fillin' in and usin' actual words to answer the questions lobbed their way.

He remembered Jesus tellin' him that everyone had been worried about him when he'd gone back and told 'em all what had happened to him out there. He hadn't quite been able to believe it then, but lookin' at the genuine relief on the faces starin' back at him, the insistence that just holler if he needed any help at all as he and Jesus finally ducked out, hell, it was enough to convince him. It left him with a strange feelin' in his chest, touched and awkward at the same time.

Instead of heading back toward the wall, where Daryl's trailer was, Jesus turned toward his own. It wasn't like he'd never stayed in that trailer before - he had, few times, like when he'd come back from Sanctuary, or when he'd been visitin' durin' the war and hadn't wanted t'bunk with nobody in Barrington. But there was a difference now. He'd be livin' there.

With Jesus.

There was a skittery feeling in the pit of his stomach as they got closer to the trailer, half excitement, half nerves, though he wasn't sure what there was t'be nervous about.

Jesus' arm slipped from around his waist as they got to the porch steps and he headed up. Daryl followed, frowning as Jesus stopped in front of the door.

"Wait, hold on," he said, and Daryl felt the nerves in the pit of his stomach riot. Was he gonna take back his offer? Say that it'd been nice, but Dixons really only were good for huntin' cabins in the middle of the room?

Jesus didn't say any of that, instead he reached into the inner pocket of Daryl's vest and pulled out a battered cigarette.

Daryl gaped.

He'd forgotten it was there. He stared for a moment, then another. A soft, crooked smile curled over his lips.

"Don't need this," Daryl said, plucking the cigarette from Jesus' hand and tossing it over his shoulder, onto the porch. "Got you," he muttered, backing Jesus through the trailer door as he kissed him.