Chapter 22….A New Love

It had been five years since Daryl had returned Sophia to Carol and left sure had changed for them. They now had a very busy Frankie running around in true Dixon form, the boy was a holy terror unless Carol or Daryl were around. The only other person he really liked was Herschel. Daryl had to laugh at how his dark blond little mini-him acted, the kid had the Dixon pissed off face down to the snarl of the lip. Carol on the other hand didn't think it was so funny. She spent a great deal of time chasing after him and giving the kid hell for his behavior. All in all things were great for the Dixons, everything but Carl Grimms.

Carol knew it was only a matter of time before Sophia and Carl were caught together. She warned both, after she found them kissing in the library, that if Daryl caught them she wouldn't be able to save either one of them. Carl had blushed looking at the ground, but Sophia just crossed her arms staring down her mother, "Mom, really we are plenty old enough, I'm seventeen now and Carl is eighteen. When is dad gonna realize that we aren't children?"

Carol had shook her head, "I know that Sophia. Let me ease him into it, please be careful. You know how protective your daddy is."

Carol knew her warnings had fell on deaf ears. She even pulled Lori aside and warned her, but she knew it was just a matter of time before the shit hit the fan.

Carol had been outside in the yard with Frankie enjoying the last of the warm days of fall when she heard Sophia come screaming out of the prison. Even Frankie stopped playing in the dirt and went protectively behind his mother. Sophia was crying, tears streaming down her face, "Momma help me, he's gonna kill him!"

Right away Carol knew what had happened, "Where are they?"

Sophia wiped the tears from her face, "In the rec room." Carol nodded at her, "Watch your brother."

Carol took off at a good run, when she made her way into the library, she saw Rick standing protectively over a very bloody Carl. Merle was holding Daryl back, who was redder in the face then Carol had ever seen him. She marched right in between them, "What the hell do you think you're doing Daryl Dixon?"

Daryl froze for a minute, he pointed in his wife's face, "You fuckin' knew about this little shit givin' it to our daughter?"

Carol swallowed hard, she had no idea the two of them were having sex, but she had to put a stop to all of this, she took a deep breath, "What did you think Daryl? They are in love, they're old enough, it's natural! We should be glad they have each other."

Daryl shrugged his way out of Merle's grip, he stared at her like she was crazy, "So it's just fine, this little fucker havin' sex with our daughter? I don't even know you."

She swallowed back a sob as he stormed out of the rec room. Merle gave her a look of sympathy as he followed behind his brother, trying to keep an eye on him. Carol ran a tried hand over her face and turned to Rick who was now kneeling down next to his son. Carol moved next to Carl, "Are you alright?" Carl just nodded his head. Rick sighed looking at his son, "Carl, I thought we talked about this. You needed to ask Daryl and Carol for permission to date Sophia. Just for this reason! Daryl is only doing what I would do if I caught your sister having sex."

Carl looked up at Carol guilt filling his face, "I'm sorry Carol. I just love her, I know it wasn't right for us to sneak around, but I love her." Carol nodded her head, "Well let's get you to Herschel and we can talk about this later."

Sophia met them in the clinic and Carol grabbed Frankie's hand taking him back toward their room. She sat down on the bed, she had been feeling exhausted lately and the events of the day had taken it all out of her. She sat back on the bed and looked at Frankie as he played on the floor with his cars. The boy looked so much like Daryl it wasn't funny. He smiled at his mother and went back to his toys. Carol had drifted off to sleep, but her eyes snapped opened when she heard Daryl and Sophia screaming at each other in the hallway. She sighed pulling herself from the bed and willing her feet to move.

Merle had gotten him under control and Daryl was ready to hear his daughter out, but when he came into the prison she was waiting for him. Sophia advanced on him, "Why did you do that? When will you realize I'm a grown ass woman?"

Daryl snorted adjusting the bow on his back, he pointed in her face, "You're not so grown that I won't take your ass over my fucking knee! Now you best back off that tone with me girl."

He moved passed her making his way down the hall toward their rooms. But Sophia grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, "I wasn't done talking to you."

Daryl moved closer to her, making her finally back off, he grabbed her wrist, "Little girl, you best knock your shit off, unless you want me to slap the shit out of you!"

Daryl heard the door to the bedroom open, Carol stood there staring at the two of them, "Why can't you two just stop? Daryl she's grown, she loves that boy, Sophia he's your father and he loves you."

Sophia pushed past Daryl opening her own door, she turned on her mother, her tone was mean and cruel, "He's not my daddy! I wish he'd never found me! I would be better off dead."

That's when Daryl could take no more, he raised his hand and slapped his daughter across the face; his breath was heavy, "Tell your mother you're sorry, NOW!"

Sophia stood holding her cheek; she gritted her teeth, moving to stand face to face with the only father that truly ever loved her, "Fuck YOU!" She returned the slap. Before either of them could react they heard Frankie crying from behind them.

As Carol stood watching the horror of her husband and her daughter fight unfold, she got a terrible pain rip thru her chest. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't speak, and before she knew what to do she was sinking to the floor. Frankie's little worried face was hovering over hers, "Momma, Momma! DADDY!"

Daryl dropped his bow and knelt down next to Carol, he checked her pulse it was racing, her breathing was shallow. He looked up at Sophia, "Get Herschel and Rick NOW!"

He cradled his wife in his arms, "Come on woman, don't do this to me. You have to be fine, just fine. Please open your eyes."

Herschel and Rick reached them with Carl in tow. Rick helped him move her to the bed so Herschel could get a better look at her; it was the longest fifteen minutes of Daryl's life. Herschel looked grimly at Daryl, "I think she might've had a heart attack. I'll make a list of meds I need from the clinic. Carl go get Maggie she will know where they are."

Daryl looked at Sophia, "It's because of your bullshit!" Sophia felt tears welling up in her eyes, she knew what she had said in the hall had hurt both Daryl and her mom. She stared at him nodding her head letting the tears roll down her cheeks.

Herschel shot them both a look, "She needs peace! Now either you two knock this off or get the hell out of the room, do you hear me Daryl?" Daryl gave Herschel a guilty look and nodded, he gestured at Sophia, "Come over here and sit with your momma. I'm gonna run Frankie down to Beth and Merle's room." Sophia nodded, as she passed her father she grabbed his hand, "I'm sorry Daddy." He nodded kissing her on the head.

By the time Daryl got Frankie to Beth and returned, Carol was awake. Herschel had her on oxygen; Daryl was thanking God that they had fully stocked the clinic in the last few years. Carol gave him a weak smile; he sat down on the bed next to her, "Gave us one hell of a scare woman." She nodded her head looking from her husband to their daughter, "Got you two to stop fighting." He smirked as he leaned down and kissed her forehead.

Herschel and Daryl kept watch over her the first night. Herschel was sure the heart attack was just a minor one, but he wished they had a way to do more tests. So they took the wait and see approach. Herschel treated her with the same drugs he would have if he knew for sure and added an aspirin to her new medicine collection. Everyone pitched in helping pick up the slack while Carol got stronger.

Sophia worked hard in the kitchen, making sure that she did everything she could to help the group. At night she sat with her mother telling her about the day to day gossip. She would stay with her until Daryl came in and then she would sneak off to Carl's room. The two of them sleeping together every night, it scared Carl, but Sophia knew her father was distracted with her mother so they were safe for now.

Sophia woke every morning early and snuck back into her room. But when she opened the door she found her father standing outside the door waiting for her. She froze, not sure what she should do, "Daddy?" Daryl nodded at her, "That's right I'm YOUR Daddy. Now walk with me."

Sophia fell in behind him, she was scared, they hadn't had it out yet after the night that her mother had collapsed and she knew she was in for one hell of a tongue lashing. When they reached the yard, the cold wind hit her face; the sun was just coming up on the horizon. Daryl sat down on a bench near them; he motioned to her, "Sit." Sophia did as she was told, easing down next to her father.

Daryl didn't know what to say to her, but he knew Carol was right. At least the kids had each other and more importantly he needed to take care of Carol and Frankie. Even though he would never stop taking care of Sophia, she had grown into a wonderful young lady and he trusted her instincts. He sighed staring across the yard, chewing on his lip, "So you love him?"

Sophia sat with her hands in her lap, staring at the side of her father's face, she nodded slowly, "Yes, I really do love him, daddy."

Daryl shook his head, "I don't agree with the two of ya sneaking around and shit. If ya all would've come to me it might've saved your momma from her attack. But that's on me for not handling my shit. But ya got to be honest with me Sophia. I love ya like you're my own daughter. I'm sorry if you don't think of me as your daddy, but in my heart I am."

Sophia felt the tears streaming down her cheeks; she flung her arms around her father's neck, "I'm so sorry I said all that hateful stuff. I know you love me and I love you Daddy. Please don't hate me for loving him."

Daryl hugged his daughter back, stroking her hair, "It's all right little girl. I love ya kiddo. But so help me if that mother fucker hurts ya I'll gut him like a pig."

Sophia laughed pulling back from her dad, "I promise, you can gut him if he does."

Daryl nodded his head, "Alright then. No more sneaking around. If you're sleeping every night with him, then the two of you need to be sharing a room. Besides that gives your brother your room. Christ knows your momma could use the break from that little hell hound."

Sophia wiped her tears from her eyes and really looked at her father. He was a hard man, but deep down he cared deeply for his little family and only wanted to see them happy. She stood up and nodded to him, wrapping her arms around her small frame much like her mother did. As they walked back into the prison, Daryl put his hand on her back stopping her, his voice cracked a little. "No matter what you're always gonna be the same little girl I pulled from the woods. And I'm damn glad I did. You gave me your momma and your little brother."

Sophia nodded hugging the man that had come to mean so much to her, she whispered into his ear, "I love you too daddy."

And this is the end of this little story! Thanks for hanging in there with me! I hope I gave it a good finish. Carol was going to be fine by the way, just too much stress. I have other fics in mind and a new one that might be up by week's end! Thanks for all the love and support! Hugs, Kaye