AN: I'm gonna be completely honest with you all. A few weeks ago I decided to give up writing. I decided I was done and wasn't going to finish anything, I was just walking away. But after being away and not writing anything for a while I had this nagging feeling inside that I needed to listen to. So I decided I couldn't get this fic so close to the end and not finish it. I honestly don't know what the future holds at this point. I've had a couple requests to finish Gimme Shelter so I might consider doing that. I also have a couple McReedus fics that I'm still thinking of converting such as Rewind and Desperado. I have actually started working on Rewind so I'll likely post that one. Beyond that I really don't know. So without further adieu here is the conclusion of this fic. Happy mother's day to all the moms out there. XOXO.

The Serenity Prayer - Ch 14 - Conclusion

Carol had no doubt that she was just as nervous as Daryl looked, perhaps even more. He'd already committed to his plan of speaking that evening. He'd had a lot of time to think about it. But by the time her and Hershel found him it was sprung on them and they went in search of a meeting immediately.

She honestly wasn't sure what she was so nervous about. The group was small, just a comfortable number that would make Daryl feel that he really had spoken to a large enough audience, but wasn't too big as to be intimidating. Carol examined the faces and saw many that were familiar to her. No, she was quite certain Daryl couldn't have found a better meeting for his first time speaking to the group and sharing his story.

They went through the formalities of the meeting and when it was time for people to talk a young woman jumped right up. Carol looked over and saw the disappointment on Daryl's face and she knew he wanted badly to get it over with so to speak. Luckily she was quick. When the leader asked if there was anyone else Daryl didn't speak up right away and Carol wondered if he'd changed his mind. But slowly she saw him get to his feet and she smiled, even though she felt like she was going to throw up and her heart was racing.

"Oh, um… Hi," Daryl's voice started off shaky. "Name's Daryl Dixon and I'm an alcoholic." Carol almost started to cry right then, just hearing him start off with the typical words she'd heard so many before him say. "I um, well I guess I wanna tell you all how I got this way… how I uh, ended up here and stuff."

His words weren't elegant and he looked at the floor and shuffled his feet a lot. Sometimes he talked too fast and other times he mumbled. He even cussed, more than a few times, but none of that mattered. Once he started his story everyone listened. It wasn't just the usual polite attention you give in times like this, but people were nothing short of captivated.

It didn't take long to see the first person besides her and Hershel wiping away tears. Carol was certain that by the end there was not a dry eye in the room. What Daryl was doing was no more courageous or brave that those who had stood there before him and bared their souls to a room full of strangers but the story he told was so tragic and sad because it began when he was child, when someone should have been loving him and caring for him. Carol had heard the story before but listening to it right then it was like hearing it for the first time. She had tears rolling down her cheeks and she couldn't look at Daryl's face, as much as she wanted to, because some how he was holding it together when no one else could.

His tragic tale of a forgotten child, lost and alone, a boy who was more comfortable in the woods than anywhere else, who grew into a teenager who needed booze to be anything that resembled social, to a man who couldn't get through a day sober, was like a knife to the heart. Carol was certain that every person in the room just wanted to hug him and saw him as the little child whose mom died and whose dad beat him. But she didn't see him that way at all. She saw the man who had overcome the impossible and wanted to make himself a better person. And that was the man she was certain she was in love with.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for one person. She saved me when I needed her most and now I know that for the rest of my life it's up to me to save myself. Thanks, uh…" Daryl seemed aware of the group all of a sudden and aware of the fact that he'd just bared his heart and soul to many others. "Thanks for listening," he said quickly and then sat down.

Carol touched his knee and gave him a smile, wiping away the last of the tears on her cheeks. He looked a bit apologetic and she shook her head to reassure him and smiled at him again. They stayed for the rest of the meeting but before they could leave many people wanted to come and talk to Daryl. The men shook his hand and most of the women hugged him. Daryl was his usual awkward self, blushing at the compliments. More than one person told Daryl they were inspired by him and his story and they all thanked him for sharing. Carol watched, filled with pride.

Hershel snuck in and let Daryl know how proud he was in a very paternal way. Carol tried to give them space to have their moment, but she couldn't help but eavesdrop just a little. She realized in that moment how impactful it was for Daryl to have a man like Hershel in his life. He'd never had a reliable man in his life. He didn't know what it was like to have a father. Carol was certain that if he didn't already, it wouldn't take long for Hershel to look at Daryl like the son he never had.

When they got home, a long while later it was late and Carol was exhausted. She knew Daryl had to be tired too after the emotion and stress of the day. She didn't tell him how proud she was of him on the way home. She waited until they were in the house to give him some time to reflect on what had just happened. And when she did finally speak she didn't dwell on it.

"What you did tonight was incredibly brave and I'm really proud of you," Carol said. When his face got that same awkward look she saved him again. "You don't have to say anything, just take the compliment and move on," she said with a little laugh.

Carol took a step closer so she was in his personal space, only inches from his body. "Uh, how did you want to move on?" he asked, gazing down at her, his eyes lingering on her lips. Carol opened her mouth slightly and seductively licked her lips. "That's what I thought," he growled before attacking her.

She wasn't sure how they were going to make it to the bedroom but somehow they did leaving a trail of clothing behind them. It wasn't until they were in her room that Carol finally slowed things down and took control. She wanted this time to be all about him. She wanted to remind him that he had someone who cared about him, and she wanted to make him feel loved for perhaps the first time in his adult life.

When Daryl tried to make a move to lift her onto the bed Carol stopped him. "Lay down," she said. "Lay down," she said again, when he didn't move. He gave her a look of curiosity but did as she asked. Carol slowly started to work over his body caressing him and kissing him gently all over. She stopped before kissing his lips, "I love you Daryl." She cupped his face and repeated her words, "I love you and I promise I'm not going to leave you." He'd talked about all the people he loved leaving him earlier and she wanted him to know she wouldn't be another one of those people. He started to speak and she knew he was going to say 'I love you too' so she stopped him. "Not tonight," she whispered, putting a finger to his lips. "Tonight is about you."

It pleasantly surprised her when he didn't protest and she did make it all about him. When she finished kissing every inch of him she moved to his dick and gave him an incredible blow job, pushing him almost to the edge before she stopped. She knew it was good by the way he responded, the low growls and the way grabbed her ass and squeezed.

It amazed her how good it felt to give pleasure to someone else and not worry about yourself. In trying to make it perfect for him it was actually just as incredible for her. The sense of accomplishment she felt watching him come as she rode him was just as amazing as the feeling of his dick inside her - it filled her up in a different way - emotionally.

Carol curled her body next to him, leaning her head on his chest. She didn't speak for a while, instead she listened to his heartbeat, rapid at first, until it eventually slowed to a resting pace. The whole time he gently stroked her arm lightly with his fingertips.

Finally she spoke, "I'm taking a personal day tomorrow and I have the next two days off after that." She propped up a bit to look at him.

"You're gonna help me drop off resumes?" he guessed.

Carol shook her head. "Nope. We'll get there eventually. But I thought maybe we could fire up that RV and spend a few days in the woods." The look on his face when he'd talked about losing himself deep in the forest hunting and tracking had demonstrated how passionate he was about it. "I'm probably going to be annoying and slow you down out there but I was hoping you might teach me how you track… and maybe someday we could hunt together too."

Daryl looked extremely touched. "I would love that," he replied softly. His eyes lit up and she knew he was already excited. He started to get out of bed, "I'll have everything ready to go in the morning."

Carol caught his arm to stop him. "Feel free to get up early and pack stuff but… I think it's time you stayed right here in my bed… for good." He opened his mouth to speak and she already knew what he was going to say. "Yes, I'm sure," Carol answered. He still looked hesitant and she tugged him into bed. "Just accept it," she added with a yawn.

Carol took up the spot cuddled up against him again. When his body relaxed she knew he had finally given in. She also knew it was just the first of many nights she would spend showing this beautiful man how much she loved him. She believed she was meant to find him that night and he was meant to remind her what it looks like to rise from the ashes and inspire others to do the same. Their love was truly meant to be. It was one of those things you just couldn't change.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;

that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.


~ The End ~