Authors note at the bottom.
Daryl glowered as she yawned again and cut the truck off. The snow was falling steadily and she smiled at the scene it painted in their yard. A horrible looking snowman stood out and she didn't want to think about the placement of the sticks on it. No that would just mean Merle and Mac were being disgusting. Yawning again she grinned watching as he done the same. They were both tired from the drive. Daryl more so than her but she'd stayed up with him.
Daryl groaned arching his back as he shoved his door open. "Ice."
Carol looked over at him as his feet his the ground and he shut his door. Her eyes turned to the house and eyed it. It was dark. Which wasn't odd but she figured that with them pulling up and the sound of the truck someone would have come out. Carol stifled a yawn again and looked over as Daryl rounded the truck. Snow was clinging to him and his leather jacket. Despite his distaste for it the cold suited him and she knew that he liked the hunting here. They weren't in the city but close enough that it wasn't an issue to get what they needed. No they were on a nice piece of land that allowed for privacy and all the hunting he could want.
Door swinging open Carol took the offered hand and stepped down. Daryl was scowling at the driveway as he balanced her. The ice was thick like no one salted or cleaned it. He hated the cold since his shoulder but he was adjusting. He hated the weather here but never complained to her. She just smiled at him when he looked up and the scowl cleared. His eyes softened and he pulled her to him making sure she didn't fall.
"Get inside out of the cold, I'll get all this."
Carol kissed the base of his throat- her lips lingering there against the warmth of his skin. She felt a growl vibrate against her lips but pulled apart and done as he asked. Arousal pooled low in her belly and she grinned at him over her shoulder. She was anxious to get inside anyways. She kept reminding herself that his was her idea. He'd done this for her and she didn't get to whine. He wouldn't have said anything for her because she knew he didn't like being away but she needed it, they needed it.
Carol slid her key into the lock and stepped into the house. Warmth blasted against her and she shrugged off her coat covering the entryway in snow. Shutting the door with one last look to Daryl getting their bags before turning. Carol followed the faint sounds of noises and stepped into the livingroom. Grabbing her phone quickly before they woke up from Daryl's entry she snapped pictures.
Her eyes went over the men scattered here. Norman was kicked out in the large recliner that matched the one that Daryl always ended up in. For as big of men they were it dwarfed them. Dean was on the loveseat sprawled out his arm thrown over his eyes and snoring lightly and Will was leaned back other recliner down for the count as well. Her eyes cut over and seen Mac sprawled over the floor. He had his arms thrown wide and his legs tangled with Daryl's increasingly antisocial cat. It seemed she hated the cold too.
Stepping more into the room Carol found what she was looking for. The door popped open and she turned seeing Daryl. He shook his head throwing snow and dropping bags. Carol shushed him and he lifted his eyes. Understanding flashed into them and she grinned. They might have fought a lot in the start but they both knew you didn't wake a sleeping baby. He walked over and Carol leaned into him. His arm came around her and he huffed looking at the living room.
Carol elbowed him pointing at Merle on the couch. The light from the television was shining on him the most. Gracyn was sprawled over Merle's chest her face pressed into his neck sleeping soundly just like the man himself. His arm was wrapped lightly around her and his other was cupping her tiny foot. If you would have told her when she first met Merle Dixon that he would be good, no amazing with kids she would have told you that you were a liar.
It was Merle though who had saved their asses. When Will was working and her dad was so far away who was there. Mac was there of course but he tended to hold Gracyn only when she was clean and in no danger of puking or anything else he called disgusting baby shit. He of course wasn't the biggest fan of the move and that only threw fire on it when she told Daryl what she wanted. Norman supported it and she would forever be thankful for it because every other man seemed to be pissy. A fresh start. That house so much had happened but she wanted a new place, she wanted to raise their kids together and without the stain of Ed or anything else to be around their child.
From disagreeing on different things when it came to Gracyn to the move things were tense. There were times she couldn't even stand to be in a room with him. Settling into being parents didn't come as easy a they claimed on television and in all those damn books. It was a real struggle at times that took some getting use to. From being sleep deprived, moody, and Daryl starting working again she was a hot mess to his always trying to help. Then when Gracyn got to around the sixth month mark and he got the offer to return to service- well the tension snapped. There was never a doubt that Daryl loved her and hindsight was twenty twenty they say. But at the time all she knew was she'd just had a kid and he'd almost died last time. The thought of him going back scared her so bad that she didn't give him a chance to speak. Saying things in the heat of the moment that was like a smack to his face. Looking back now she knew he was never even entertaining the idea of going back.
Merle told her she was a dumb ass and Mac refuse to speak to her for a week. He was as petulant as Merle sometimes. She didn't know how to fix it though because even if he didn't say anything to her and nodded when she apologize the hurt from her words was there in his eyes. It took her dad talking to him one day. It was like when they'd first met when Merle and Will were fighting with him over him joining; her dad was the man that went to him and got him to talk. After that things were better. Despite it all they'd made it and Gracyn was a year old now. Fights, no sleep, barely passing as human, and a move later but they were still together. Daryl yawned burying his face in her hair and breathing deeply.
"Just grab her as quietly as you can and lets fucking sleep." He mumbled. "Leave them fucking laying."
Carol smiled and rubbed his hand over her stomach and his fingers flexed. Getting him away from his family and hers was good. They'd barely gotten things settled before the distance between them was starting to get to him. He wasn't use to it anymore. The military was different he'd told her when she snapped about the distance and the move. He wasn't a soldier anymore and didn't have to be away from his family and this was a choice that was being made to do just that.
Honestly they didn't move that far away. The summers weren't as harsh and the winters were real winters. Daryl's first snow and she could see the disgust if not a bit of him trying to hide amusement. He'd get use to it. Besides when Norman moved here and she'd yet to decide on the where of the movie it made it all the more easy. Him and Norman had always had an extremely close relationship and that sealed it. It was her check mate and she got him here. Besides between them and their know how they had a successful garage already. Now she could sleep at night without memories of Ed coming here with intent to kill and then to kidnap her.
Carol slipped into the room moving as quick and light as she could. Eyes cutting the television she shook her head seeing static. Will was mumbling something in his sleep and Dean was starting to shift and move around. Carol looked to Daryl and he made a hurry up motion while working his shirt over his head. Carol eyed him forgetting what she was doing before looking back down to her daughter.
Carol just got her hands around Gracyn when she yelped in her sleep from the cold of her hands. Merle moved fast shifting and knocking her back. Carol heard Daryl about the time her world tipped as he cursed then he was moving. Carol fell backwards and a sharp groan left her mouth and someone below her.
"What the actual fuck!"
Carol tried to move but the burning in her lungs and the need for air were competing. Daryl was there suddenly hauling her up against him and checking her over. The worry in his eyes made them blow wide and then the light was on. All the men were stirring and Mac shifted at her feet groaning. Daryl shot him a look and she heard more movement but Daryl was blocking her view.
"Goddamn Carol I know I'm a catch but have some decency to not throw yourself at me with Daryl here and a room full of men." He grumbled rubbing his chest. "Merle might be into that watching shit though; never know."
Carol shot him a withering look and he grinned before standing and looking her over. "I'm fine."
Daryl spun and slapped Merle in the back of the head before reaching for Gracyn. She already spotted Carol and Daryl and was reaching for them. Of course for Daryl because she was completely a daddy's girl. Her hands were in his hair and tugging at whatever she could reach demanding his attention. Merle scowled at them both.
"Thought she had your ass at some 'couples' shit, Darylina." Merle huffed. "Wasn't supposed to be back till tomorrow."
Carol's face turned red and she scowled. Merle's face softened and he ducked his head. Their family knew they'd fought, hell then seen some of it but she didn't need anyones shit right now. Her eyes went to Gracyn and Daryl for a minute before she looked back at Merle. His eyes were apologetic and he nodded. Daryl kicked at Merle's legs making him set up before taking his seat on the couch. Gracyn was babbling at him and he only had eyes for her. The disagreements always fell away when Carol really thought about it. Sure they didn't agree about some things when it came to raising a kid, they were different people but it only took one look at him holding their daughter for her to know this was her home and they were her life.
Carol crawled up on the couch and Merle sighed shifting giving her room. She was already curling in against Daryl. Gracyn met her eyes and Carol ran her fingers through the ringlets of her hair. She was fair skinned with light freckles that set off her auburn hair but it was her striking blue eyes that could speak more fluent than any words that stayed with you. She had her Daryl's eyes.
Carol flinched when Gracyn slapped her right in the face before shrieking and laughing. Daryl buried his face in her neck hiding his laughter from her but Carol could see around Gracyn and knew that it wasn't working. Dean snorted and Will did as well before Daryl's laugh got louder.
"Even she knows you're an ass, Carol." Merle chortled, "Do you know how evil she is?"
Daryl shot Merle a look, "She just don't like your ass, even she knows you're an ass." He threw his words back at him.
Merle scowled and pushed himself standing, "Well since you two are back my ass is getting some sleep."
Daryl stood fluidly and walked away with Gracyn. Carol followed after watching Merle and Will head out with Norman with the promise to be back tomorrow. Dean and Mac both split off to the guest rooms but not before she was assaulted with bone crushing hugs. Mac of course giving her a sloppy kiss on the side of her face and Dean shaking his head.
Mac slipped away and Carol met her dad's eyes, "Things better?"
Carol grimaced. She'd been a bitch and wasn't even sure why. He'd moved here and conceded to what she wanted without really that much of a fight but still. Her father told her from how it looked to him and how Daryl felt it was like she was trying to push him away. And maybe she was at the time without realizing it. That wasn't what she wanted though. She made damn sure Daryl knew that. Dean also made sure when she left that she knew that she had been doing this since he'd got the notification from Campbell that he could return to service. That they wanted him too. Six months of her alienating him even though she knew he wasn't going back.
Fear. She knew now that was what drove her. She'd been scared that she was holding him back and that he was making decisions he didn't want. She knew he didn't want to go back but that didn't matter. He told her plainly that it wasn't what he wanted, hell he told her before he left the firs time. She was just panicking. A new mother with the fear of him leaving- maybe dying over there. Yeah she'd been a complete asshole to him. This was why she wanted the new start for them and admittedly things were better here for them.
Dean hugged her and kissed the side of her head. His voice was low and Carol smiled despite herself. "He was terrified of hurting you when he had to leave. I told him about your mom and how it wore her down- he didn't want to go. Your his home Carol; you and that little girl in there."
"I'm not her." Carol whispered. She never knew that Daryl knew her mother abandoned her dad. "If it was really what he wanted I'd stand by him."
Dean shook his head and gripped her shoulders, "That man in there would never choose a damn thing over you or his kid." He studied her, "Things are better though? I know they were before but you really talked to him this time?"
Carol nodded and smiled. She felt lighter and he nodded before kissing her forehead and slipping away. Carol turned walking to their bedroom. She couldn't hear them but knew that Daryl and Gracyn were already in there. Stepping into the room she smiled seeing the crib already in the room. He didn't like being away from her just as much as Carol. Gracyn was on the bed though tossing a shirt and boxers up in the air. Daryl was kicked out next to her his sleep pants the only thing he had on.
He met her eyes and smiled and Carol stepped on in shutting the door. Daryl pointedly looked to the clothes that were being used to beat him and she smiled. He'd grabbed his clothes knowing that was what she would go for.
"You not taking a shower?" Carol questioned. One shake of his head and she nodded before grabbing the clothes and slipping into the bathroom to change. The door was open and Carol could see both of them on the bed. Gracyn was crawling up to him sleepily. He was already adjusting her on his chest and idly stroking her back and arms. Carol could see him whispering his mouth pressed to the side of her head and felt her heart swell even more.
His eyes cut over to her and his eyes ran all over her. They were darker but still held love there. It was more than just sex, it always was. Carol slid into the bed next to him and his arm went around her shoulder pulling her in next to him tightly. Gracyn was already sleeping and Daryl tracked his fingers over Carol's arm.
"Should we tell them tomorrow?" Carol questioned.
Daryl didn't react for a minute before blowing out a breath. "Yeah, if you don't they'll know soon enough anyways."
Carol looked up at him and smiled, "Well atleast this time we wont fight over petty stuff."
Daryl scowled and looked at her, "No because we've already fought about it all."
Carol grinned and slid further up the bed closer to his face, "Boy." Daryl arched a brow and met her eyes but there was no anger there. He studied her and nodded before smiling. Carol traced his jaw feeling the stubble there. "I want a boy this time."
Daryl cut his eyes to Gracyn while he shifted and then to Carol again, "That so."
Carol nodded, "Not this time then next..."
His eyes widened, "How many damn kids are you trying to have?" his voice was amused and there was a laugh just under it.
Carol smiled and shrugged at him causing him to laugh. Climbing off the bed she took Gracyn and put her to bed. Lights off Carol was in the bed and he pulled her to him slotting her against his chest his body molding to fit around hers. HIs lips trailed the back of her neck and his hand settled over her stomach. Their family would be surprised to find out that she was pregnant again but she was excited and she knew he was.
"You gonna marry me or not?" Daryl's voice was like a warm shot of whiskey and she tried to roll over to him. He held her in place his hand spanning her stomach easily and tracing patterns.
"Daryl?" Carol struggled some more but gave up with a huff when he didn't budge. Turning her head she could faintly make him out with the light from the bathroom. His eyes were dark and locked on to hers. He was all shadows. "Is that your proposal?" She felt a laugh bubble up.
Carol grinned at him, "Yes."
He dropped down from where'd been looking at her from above. Carol wrapped around him like a vine and felt his laugh. If she was any closer to him than she would be apart of him. His face buried in her neck and she felt his breathing evening out.
Carol watched her daughter sleeping just a few feet away. The steady rise and fall of Daryl's chest buoying her up and down. "I love you." Carol whispered to them both. Daryl's grip tightened over her thigh thrown over him and he drug her up onto him his arms wrapping around her. Carol slid her arms just under his own hooking her hands over his shoulders as his breathing stayed even.
"Love you too." He mumbled sleepily. "Sleep Carol...I want-" His voice deepened and he shifted, "I want you in the morning and food."
Humming at his words she felt his erection pressing into her but he pointedly ignored it. He was wore out from the drive. Carol smiled and felt her breathing matching his as it lulled her to sleep. His grip never slackened on her keeping her right there. She had everything she wanted and smiled sleepily. When she found out she was pregnant there was no fear like last time. Just excitement. When he came home after her doctors appointment she'd slammed into him hard enough to send them both to the ground. He'd had a bruise for a while after that but when her words penetrated the fog of his near concussion and her words made sense he was as happy as her.
The snow falling casting soft silhouettes around the room as her eyes drifted closed followed her in her dreams. Dreams of watching their little girl and boy running in the snow, of Daryl teaching them both to hunt. Of the eagerness in their eyes to show her what they done that day at school or asking for help. They had a life ahead of them that she couldn't wait to live.
Authors Note: I know I've been saying for a while that the end was near; well this is it guys. This is the last chapter. I know it might be a bit of a surprise because this is to me as well. I thought there was at least one more chapter between the last and this. I got an idea earlier and I had to write it. I hope this satisfies but if not it does me. I like how things ended.
I want to thank everyone who stuck with this story from the start and the encouragement I got. And to the new readers who came in. All the favorites, follows, readers, and reviews- all you silent readers as well. I hope you liked it. You all great!
Big thanks to Haitus80 who got my ass in gear when I stopped writing for so long. I almost went on an extended break there for a while. She got me out of my rut and writing again.