Well, this has been quite the journey! I want to thank each and every one of you who've read all of this story or even a chapter or two. For those of you who left a review - a huge thanks! It helped keep me motivated. I plan on writing more for Carol and Daryl. Chloe (Septiclovebite) has challenged me to write a One Shot...so I plan on that soon. Hopefully after that I will do another Chapter Saga. I am sad that this one has ended but hopefully I did the character's justice for all they endured. Enjoy and review! {{{HUGS}}} Kat ~ and for this last chapter, I'll say again, I own nothing concerning TWD, characters or story.

A lot had changed by the time Rick came to pick them up a few days after Daryl's unexpected proposal. Since Daryl had given them a few days before someone came for them, Carol took it upon herself to come up with a plan. She woke just before dawn the morning after he'd asked her to marry him and quietly snuck out of bed. Not waking Daryl was one of the biggest challenges she'd faced in the past week and a half. She still got dizzy on occasion, but that was mostly the pain meds he kept shoving at her. Finally she put her foot down and told him "No more." And while she knew he still worried, and that in itself was always endearing, her body knew best.

How she managed to write the note and slip out of the house without waking him was beyond her comprehension. Maybe he was tired out with all that had happened with Merle yesterday or maybe it was that she'd finally convinced him that it was okay for them to have sex. How many times had they done it? She'd lost track and wasn't sure if the very last time had even counted. A giggle welled up inside her thinking about it. A year ago she never would've envisioned herself doing anything or being anything like she was now. She glanced up at the sky as she walked toward the pond thinking about Sophia and daydreamed of her still being there, about her, Daryl and Sophia together. She would've come to love Daryl as much as Carol had. And she had no doubt that Daryl would've taken to her little girl. Sophia had been a rare gem, a textbook baby, rarely ever throwing a tantrum when she was younger, Carol's bright spot.

She knew where she was going, it just felt right. They'd spotted the farm house on the other side of the pond last week when he'd first walked her down that far. There didn't seem to be any walkers around, and he'd already checked out the farm house. Still she had her knives ready, just in case. He said the farm house was bigger than where they were staying, but a wreck inside.

Carol wasn't big on going through peoples stuff. It was one of the tasks she rather disliked since the whole world changed. But this morning she was on a mission, and determined to get back to Daryl before he woke. She had a feeling that wouldn't happen but still she wanted to try. Things were different now, and she had learned to be stronger than she was before.

The wooded area she needed to cross to get to the pond was thin, so thin in fact, that they could see the pond from the bedroom window of the house. It was so pretty to pull the blanket back in the morning and watch the water rippling in the sunlight. She would miss this place once they went back to the prison, but perhaps they wouldn't always have to stay there.

The woods was quiet, void of any shuffling animals, or walkers, only the occasional peck of a wood pecker, or tweet of a bird. A goose flew in overhead landing in the pond with a splash, startling her as she climbed over the downed pine and crossed through the rest of woods to the pond. It was then that she found the walker, well half of what used to be a man. It'd dragged itself through the woods and the muck near the edge of where the cattails were growing. It made that hollow air like gasping noise and rolled on its back before she fixed her knife steady in her hands and stabbed it through the temple. Then she lifted it by its arms and pulled it off into the weeds. With a satisfied huff, she made her way around the pond to the house. She knew what she was looking for and had a feeling in a huge farm house like the one that lay ahead she'd find what she needed.

Daryl woke up, patting the empty spot beside him. He'd slept hard seeing as how he'd only gotten a few hours sleep. Carol would be the death of him in more ways than one. He leaned up on both his elbows, staring Big Guy in the face as he climbed up Daryl's torso, meowing for food more than likely. He sat up, rubbing his face with his hands, shooing the cat away. "Jus' gimme a minute you bottomless fuckin' pit." Then he heard nothing, no dishes clanking together in the kitchen, no footsteps throughout the house. "Carol?" He asked loudly. Getting up quickly he padded out to the kitchen. The coffee mug sat on the bar with a note underneath it.

"I went out to get something, but you being the tracker you are, I know you'll find me. If you are still asleep by the time I get back I guess I'll just destroy the evidence and re-heat this coffee. Love, Carol"

He put his palm around the mug. The coffee was still warm. He sipped a few sips before putting on his boots. Big Guy followed him to the door. "I uh, I'm gonna go get your mama." He sighed, picking up his crossbow. "Talkin' to a fuckin' cat." What the hell've I reduced myself to? He thought, but then chuckled because he knew life was way better now, walkers or no walkers. Better than it ever had been.

Her tracks went straight down through the dew-laden grass into the woods, over the pine and the rest of the way to the pond. He stopped when he saw where the weeds had been matted down, spotted the raunchy trail where a walker, most likely, had pulled itself across the wooded lot toward the pond. It stopped abruptly and then went the other direction, so he followed the short path and found where she'd disposed of it. Then he picked up her tracks again from there which lead to the farm house. What the hell did she want in there? He'd told her it was a mess. He'd taken everything that was usable. Though he supposed maybe she'd wanted to see for herself. Frustration welled up inside him. He wanted to bitch her out for goin' alone, yet he knew that she was gettin' stronger every day. It was only a matter of time before she'd snap on him for coddlin' her.

He passed by the barn where all the livestock that had been locked up had been picked clean by walkers. He'd only taken a peek inside and had no interest in checking it out regardless of what he might find useful inside. He'd have to be a desperate son' of a bitch to walk in there. The above ground pool off to the side of the house was empty with a dried algae ring near the bottom and even with the weather being cooler he could smell the musty smell blowing off of it with the wind.

Walking across the deck, he pulled the sliding glass door open with ease to find her standing in the hallway wearing a champagne colored strapless dress that fit her like a glove. When she turned away from the mirror she was gazing into, he noticed she'd put on make up, somethin' to highlight her eyes and some shiny gloss on her lips too.

"Oh, hi Daryl."

"You feelin' alright?" He asked, once he found his voice after seein' her like that.

"Fine." She said, smiling at him.

"No really." He crossed the room and felt her forehead. "What'd you go leavin' like that for?"

"I knew you'd find me." She said simply. "You asked me a question last night, so I thought I'd go for a stroll and think about it. I wound up here and found a few things that might help me give you the answer you were lookin' to hear, at least I hope."

His hands had a mind of their own, sliding around the silky material. "What makes you think the offer still stands?" He was kidding, but she frowned slightly. "Hey. Where are the clothes you came in?"

She pointed to a bag on the kitchen table. "I found that, and a few other things we could take with us. She moved her hand to where his rested on her hip and put two small things in his palm. He squeezed them tight, took her other hand and looped the bag over his arm, pulling her out the door.

"Where are we going?" She asked.

He led her half way down to where the sun was just hitting the pond, where he knew it would warm her bare shoulders. He stood face to face with her, set down the bag and then checked what she'd put in his hand. Thank Christ it was what he thought it was. Two very pretty rings. They looked like air looms, white gold, one with a blue garnet stone in the middle and the other a thin, feminine looking band. His heart thumped a steady, but quick rhythm in his chest and he ached at the sight of her, at how unsure she was of what he was up to.

"You're right." He started. "I asked you somethin' last night and I said I didn't want no fuss. So this is it. I'm not really good with words, you know that. I love you and I want you to be mine. Christ, you've been mine for a long time I think." Her smile was bright but her eyes teary and they darted away every time he tried to look at her. "Come on, let me in." He urged.

Finally she lifted her chin. "I guess I'm just nervous." She told him, holding her left hand out for him to slide the rings on. He smirked when he felt her shaking too.

"Daryl I'll be honest, I was shocked, but maybe after all we've been through, it was all leading up to this. I feel it, you know? I'm not psychic, I don't have great intuition, actually it sucks, but everything in this moment feels right. And I'm good with that. I have this beautiful dress, these rings and - " She lifted up the hem of the dress. "and my knives." She said giggling.

"Don't forget the boots. That cinches the whole outfit." He told her sliding the rings on the rest of the way. "So I guess this is it."

She looked him in the eyes. "I'm yours Daryl."

He pulled her into his arms and held her for long while. "That's how I want it to stay." He whispered. "Now we better get back and feed that cat before he tears down the fuckin' walls."

Carol's shoulders heaved as she laughed into his chest. "Leave it to you Daryl. Never a dull moment."

They walked back to the house and he was surprised that she kept the dress on most of the day, but he supposed she'd never gotten to wear anything so pretty before.

Two days later Rick arrived in a pick-up and they had everything they could use from the house packed and ready to go on the deck.

"Nice place here." Rick said, watching Carol carefully as he and Daryl loaded the truck.

"It's been cozy." Carol said, with maybe a little too wide of a smile because Rick shot Daryl a look, and he just shrugged to blow him off.

"It got us through." Daryl added. It was their special place. He didn't want anyone else in on their time there. Call it selfish, she'd called it sweet. It was what it was. He knew they'd all notice the rings eventually. Rick did once they climbed in the cab of the truck. It wasn't hard to spot them when she had a death lock on the cat and the gold stuck out so bright against his raven fur.

Rick cleared his throat. "Glad you're alright Carol."

Daryl knew it was weird for Rick to see them practically domesticated but when they got back to the prison, it was back to business. They'd already gotten a lead on where the governor might be hiding out and scavenging groups had been set up to go into every nearby town to gather more supplies.

They would always be a part of the group and look out for the people they held dear. Calling Carol his wife wouldn't change that. What it meant to the two of them was what counted in the long run. Their awkward exchange of vows – if you could call them that - by the pond had been near perfect or what he would consider close. Not having anything to go on as a guideline had its advantages, he supposed. And he was positive it beat her first wedding by a mile.

"We were thinkin' after we get you two settled back in we'd have a celebration. We need to regroup, give some of them a reason to smile again."

Carol clutched Big Guy to her stomach. "I've missed everyone. I can't wait to see them all."

Daryl just grunted. He hated to admit it, but he missed seein' their faces and dealin' with all of their quirks, Andrea the way she nosed around and called things how they were, Rick's cynicism and constant vigil he kept as their leader, T-Dog and the fact that he's always there in a pinch, Hershel and his wacky words of wisdom, Glenn and his endless chattering, Maggie and her constant questioning them every step of the way, Michonne and her strange, quiet ways, and the kids of course. He missed seeing the way Carol lit up just by being around them.

The prison doors were opened by two men he didn't recognize when they arrived – Morgan's men. There were a lot more people scattered around the courtyard too. This would be their safe haven for now. One threat lay locked inside, the other they would hunt down until he was taken care of the proper way.

When they lay down together in their old room later that night after a big meal, Carol turned down the lamp locked her fingers around his. He rubbed the rings with the pad of his thumb. "It's good we're back, but I think I'll miss that time we had together."

"Anytime you wanna go back, just read my journal. It's all in there."

He let out a heavy breath. "I'm sure it is." Woman never put the damn thing down, but he knew there'd come a moment where he'd wanna pick it up and go through it. He liked reading what she jotted down. It helped him make sense of what she felt and even what he was feeling. He only hoped that he could do her justice as a husband in ways that no one in her life ever had. With her hand wrapped around his, laying in their bed, he knew they'd at least made a start at something decent.

Big Guy, or Big Boy as some at the huge castle called him became the people's unofficial mascot. "He's like a panther." The youngest blonde girl would say. He thought her name was Beth.

"More like the Pillsbury Dough cat." His surrogate dad barked. "Fuckin' cat never stops eating."

Maybe if there weren't so many people around to spoil me, I'd be in better shape. He thought.

His surrogate mama tried to keep him out of everyone's way. It'd been awhile since any of them had had a pet, she reminded him often.

There was going to be a small celebration, he had heard, which meant more food for him. He only knew he'd never been so happy to come running out of the woods to find new people at his old home. People - not those stumbling, smelly ripped up things that resembled people. He once saw one of them pick up an opossum and chew its face clean off. He'd never seen a person do that before. That's when he realized that when he sniffed one coming his way, he needed to climb the nearest tree – or hide out in the crawl space under the house. He was a survivor. He'd lived through it all and persevered when the other cats and animals perished to the undead, stinky things. That's how he knew now that he was home for good. That's why he knew he belonged with this group of people because they were survivors too.