Just something short and sweet to finish off this story. Given the way they were treated in the show, I wanted these two to have a very happy ending. Apparently, so did you.

Epilogue

Some years later…

"… and that is how I rescued your father from the Tower of Tyres, and we lived happily ever after," Andrea said, before leaning down and pressing a kiss to her daughter's cheek "Now, go to sleep like a good girl."

"But I haven't said goodnight to Daddy, or the Bump!"

Andrea sighed; her daughter was much like her father, wonderful but exhausting. "Well, you can say goodnight to the Bump, but your father's out hunting with Uncle Daryl until tomorrow..."

"But it's not the same. What if there are monsters?"

"Please, I can check for monsters as well as your father!"

"But Daddy has his Magic Monster Killer!"

"And Mommy has a buck knife and backache; that makes her far more dangerous, believe me. Now say goodnight to the Bump, Amy, and then I'll check your room for monsters… after which you will go directly to sleep!"

"Yes, Mommy…" she finally sighed. "Goodnight Bump," she said, patting Andrea's rounded belly gently, "sleep tight."

Andrea heaved herself up off the bed, "Now, let's see if I can find any monsters…"

"Now, don't tell me my girls' are havin' a monster hunt wit'out me…?"

"Daddy!" Amy squeaked excitedly, leaping out of bed and flinging herself at her father, heedless of the large blade attached to his arm. Merle deftly moved it to prevent injury and scooped the toddler up in one burly arm.

"Hey there, pumpkin, ya miss ya ol' Pa?" he said, planting a kiss on top of the messy blonde curls as her chubby arms wrapped tightly around his neck.

"Yes! Mommy was going to check for monsters, but she won't do it right."

"She won't?" Merle grinned wickedly at Andrea over the top of Amy's head, and she rolled her eyes at him.

"Apparently I don't have the Magic Monster Killer…" she said dryly, and Merle chuckled delightedly, "though I had just got Amy to bed…"

"Uh oh, I'm thinkin' Mommy's mad at me," said Merle, faking panic to his wide eyed daughter, "do yer think if I slay any monsters I can get back in her good books?"

Amy frowned as she considered this seriously, before saying, "Yes… but she always forgives you anyway."

"Huh, yeah she does. I got me some secret Daddy ways a bringin' her around," he confided; Andrea snorted, though she couldn't help but return Merle's grin. "C'mon then, pumpkin. Le's check fer these here monsters…"

Andrea watched in amusement as Merle Dixon, former junkie, dealer, wash-out, henchman, killer and all around Trouble-man with a capital T scrambled about the room, fearlessly looking in cupboards for imaginary monsters while carrying his tiny daughter gently in one arm.

She envied him slightly his ability to enter into a child's world so easily; she wouldn't admit it too openly, but he was far better with children than she was. Although life with Merle meant by necessity she had learned to be less uptight, she still wasn't one for wild flights of imagination. She just had to accept that her logical arguments as to why Amy should eat vegetables, or go to sleep, or do anything she didn't want to would never get the same eager response as Merle's playful way of turning everything into a game.

Andrea took a moment to admire her little family; Amy had the same Holden colouring as both her mother and namesake, and the same pretty, regular features. However, there was something defiant in the tilt of her determined little chin, and the mischievous look that would occasionally cross her face when she was naughty hinted at both her father's knack for causing trouble and easy charm in getting out of it. Plus those riotous curls were definitely Merle's.

In fact, that was what had led to Amy in the first place.

They'd been lying in bed one morning, enjoying the relaxation that the groups' move to a small and well fenced farm had offered them, and unusually Andrea had woken first. She'd shifted a little and watched Merle silently for a few moments before he too began to stir. She didn't often get the chance, but she liked to see him asleep; he didn't look younger precisely, but some of the natural hardness of his face faded, and the effect was currently enhanced by his hair growing out a little. Andrea's eyes widened and she smiled into his sleepy blue eyes as she trailed a hand through her new discovery… there, on the top of his head, were the clear beginnings of the most adorable curls.

They seemed so contrary to the tough image Merle normally projected that Andrea immediately rolled onto him, telling him that she knew his terrible secret and teasing him to grow his hair out more so she could run her fingers through the new found ringlets. Merle, mollified slightly by the fact there was a naked woman on top of him, played along for a while, but when she finally suggested he could get a traditional redneck mullet he drew the line. Rolling her onto her back, he grumbled at her in no uncertain terms that he wasn't some goddamn hippie and she'd have to make do with the curls he had.

Andrea being Andrea, she had coyly asked him what other curls he meant…of course, after her eager fingers had explored those curls for a few minutes, she and Merle were well on the way to enthusiastically conceiving Amy.

As she watched them crawling about the floor, excitedly checking under the bed for potential threats, she remembered how anxious she'd been when she'd found out she was pregnant. Strangely, she hadn't been worried about Merle; he'd already shown how adept he was with babies when Daryl's son came into the world. He'd been lecturing his poor brother on holding him right and feeding him and fussing over little Aiden until Daryl was a nervous wreck. Only when Carol shooed him away and Andrea provided her own distractions did he finally leave Daryl to try his own hand at being a father.

Little more than a few months later she was sure herself, and Merle noticed her worry almost immediately. She smiled as she remembered being out on a standard run with him when he'd pulled over, locked the car doors and told her they weren't going another fucking foot until she told him what was wrong. She had instantly started crying, which to this day she insisted was due to hormones. In a few disjointed sentences she managed to convey not only that she was pregnant but that she was a goddamn career woman and knew nothing about children and she was sure to be a bad mother and what if something happened and it was her fault… she had continued in this vein until Merle yanked her to him and told her to shut up.

He told her that he knew what a bad mother looked like, and there was no way in Hell she'd ever be one. Instead she should be far more worried about what kind of rat bastard the kid was going to have as a father, since in line with Dixon tradition he hadn't amounted to shit in life. Andrea's advocate side had immediately kicked in to defend Merle from himself, shutting down her tears and logically, if slightly indignantly, listing all the evidence to contradict him, pointing out that a child couldn't ask for a better father during the end of the world, that he'd raised Daryl to be a good man, and that he was already helping to look after Aiden.

It was only when Merle started smirking she realised he'd planned for her to do that. Before she could even begin to get mad he'd told her that they'd be the best goddamn parents any Dixon ever had and that he was fucking delighted he was going to be a daddy, while warning her in the same breath it was going to be a boy and nothing but trouble from the start. She watched silently, her heart full, as he began listing a load of baby stuff they'd now need to get on their run with the biggest, dumbest, most wonderful smile on his face…

"Mommy, we checked and there weren't any monsters," Amy informed her happily, bringing Andrea out of her reverie and back to the here and now.

"That's wonderful, sweetie, Daddy must have scared them all away for us. Now it's time for bed."

"Awww… Daddy, will you tell me a story?"

"Sure…"

"Now Amy, you've already had a story, time for bed." Andrea interrupted.

"Sorry, pumpkin," Merle shot Andrea a look that promised trouble of the best kind, "but ya Ma'll want me ta go check fer monsters in our room."

"Mummy could do that," Amy wheedled, "She said she can do anything you can do. And she rescued you in the story."

Andrea all but winced. Merle didn't know she'd been telling Amy that story.

"Rescued me in tha story, did she?" asked Merle, turning a curious eye to Andrea, "Remind me how tha' one goes?"

"Mommy said you were trapped at the top of the Tower of Tyres, and the evil wizard had magicked off your hands, but you managed to get one back and the other you replaced with a magic knife so you could destroy him, but then you were trapped and surrounded by biters and there were so many Mommy had to rescue you…"

"Yeah, go on… tha's how I remember it…" encouraged Merle roguishly, still holding Andrea's embarrassed gaze.

"… and she used a car to squash the biters and then you kissed and lived happily ever after because you had me. Oh, and the Bump."

"Into bed, young lady," Andrea said quickly, her back giving a twinge, "you must be tired after all this excitement."

"Nooo! I'm…"

"Ya listen ta ya Ma, baby girl," Merle said, cutting off the potential tantrum and pressing a kiss to his daughter's forehead, before putting her back in bed and tucking in the blankets. "Then mebbe tomorrow I'll take ya out wit' me, visit tha orchard."

"Can I climb a tree?"

"We'll see," he grinned, "mebbe a small tree."

"Okay, Daddy. G'night." Andrea watched in wonder at the docile creature that appeared around Merle, and wondered wistfully and not for the first time how he did it.

"Night, angel."

Merle turned and slipped his arm round her waist as they turned out the lamp and left the room. Andrea heaved a sigh when they'd made it back to their own room, and Merle rumbled a laugh as he started to remove his boots. "She been tirin' ya out, darlin'?"

Andrea stretched and slipped out of her clothes before crawling into bed in just her underwear; she was too tired to put on any of her nightclothes. "Like you wouldn't believe. Could you…?"

"Sure thing…" Stripped down to his boxers, Merle removed the prosthetic and slipped into bed behind her. Andrea felt his warm, strong hand start to knead her back, and she let out a few soft moans of pleasure. "Ya gonna have ta stop moanin' like that, or I'm gonna have ta test how tired ya really are…"

Andrea chuckled and rolled over so he could just about hold her in his arms, her swollen belly between them. "She's definitely yours. She's got your energy."

"Dixon kids are always trouble. He ain't gonna be no different," he smirked, gesturing at the Bump.

Andrea frowned a little, and Merle noticed immediately. "Shit. Tell me."

"I went to see Herschel today," she replied, and felt his body tense up.

"Everythin' okay wit' tha boy?"

"So sure it's going to be a boy?"

He leaned up on one elbow so he could see her face in the dim light. "Ya makin' me worry, woman. Wha' did tha Farmer have ta say?"

She sighed, drawing out the torture just a little as she trailed a hand along a strong bicep. "He says it's not a boy."

Merle grunted and slumped back down slightly. "How's he know? Big enough; ain't no girl gonna be that size."

"True. He… he thinks its twins."

"Twins?!"

"I know. Herschel swears that when he realised the Earth trembled, and dogs and cats started chasing their tails in front of Churches…"

"Nah, tha's jus' me makin' tha Earth move fer ya," he said with a flash of his normal humour, before letting out a long, low whistle. "Jesus! Twins! Ya sure?"

"He's as sure as he can be."

"Can't believe it," Merle added in a slightly stunned voice, before ducking down and winding a protective arm about her. "He say anythin' else?"

"He says everything is fine. Everything is going to be fine. I'm a little older than Herschel would like in the current circumstances, and obviously they'll probably be a little premature, but he thinks if I'm careful and don't overexert myself they won't come too early, so it won't be a problem. But… how do you feel about it?" she asked cautiously, "Two extra mouths to feed, even with this farm and your hunting… what happened with that by the way, I thought you and Daryl were going to be gone until tomorrow afternoon."

"Got lucky, bagged a buck early," he said evasively before adding softly, "Kinda wanted ta come home."

"Aww, did you miss us?" she teased gently, and was startled by the seriousness of his reply.

"Yeah. I worry."

"Worry? Merle, I…"

"Can't help it. I tried. But I don't sleep right wit'out ya. Specially now. Yer don't know what i's like, havin' nothin' but yer kin. You an' Amy… I wanna be near ya, protect ya."

Andrea wrapped an arm around his chest, hugging him as tight as she could with the bump in the way, as though she could impress the understanding and confidence she felt in him through his skin. "I don't worry, you know. Neither does Amy. We know you'll always protect us from the monsters, Merle."

"Can't do it from miles away, though…"

"You always come back, and if you didn't you know I'd come and get you," she joked feebly, before adding seriously, "Merle, you're always here when we need you, and anyway, I don't want you to feel I'm a burden. I can easily… oh, Bump's moving! Feel!"

Merle immediately moved his hand to her stomach, and she thought she'd never get tired of seeing that look on his face, the surprise and delight that despite all he'd done he'd made something good out of his life, made a family.

"Oof, he's kicking pretty hard…"

"Ha! So, ya agree i's a boy, woman?"

"I concede nothing. Girls can kick just as hard as boys. You talk to him… them. That normally calms them down."

"Hmm… yeah, well, I guess if pumpkin got her own story my boys gotta have one." He pretended to be thinking, and Andrea could spot the impish look in his eyes a mile away. "Well boys, lemme tell ya how Mommy was a uppity ice princess, beautiful as snow an' jus' as cold, an' how Daddy had ta save her, cuttin' her outta that ice an' warmin' her up wit' his friend, the purple headed warrior…"

"Merle!" she gasped, trying to slap him playfully, but he caught her hands and kissed her instead.

"Fine, maybe save that one fer when they're older. Teach 'em all I know 'bout women…"

Andrea gave a peal of laughter, while burrowing into his side and pressing a kiss to his chest. "Is the world prepared?" she asked, in mock exasperation.

Merle laughed, and Andrea enjoyed the vibrations as they made their way through his chest. "See, this is 'cos ya ain't had no brothers. Boys gotta respect me, see me as someone ta relate ta, feel kinship wit'. Need 'em ta know I weren't always tha settled an' staid family man I am now…"

It was Andrea's turn to laugh. "Oh, really? You don't think that moonshine still you and Daryl built and think I don't know about will convince them?"

In the silence, she could almost hear Merle scrabbling around in his head for a way out.

"Sorry Merle, what was that?"

"Dammit woman, how d'ya know these things?" he moaned, admitting defeat. Andrea smiled smugly as she tilted her head up to look at him.

"Firstly, I've seen you and Daryl snagging parts for it... and before you ask how a law abiding citizen like myself knows what a still comprises of, I had to defend a few people who got caught running them, so I do know. Secondly, I heard Daryl telling Carol."

"Dammit, that boy gossips worse than a woman aroun' tha Mouse!"

"Worse than a woman?"

"Uh…"

"Stop digging and go to sleep, Merle. I'll chew you out in the morning. Right now we both need rest."

She rolled onto her side, facing away from him, and felt his heavily muscled weight dip the bed as he spooned around her back. His arm slipped over her, resting for a moment before migrating down all too casually to stroke the tautly stretched and sensitive skin at the hem of her panties.

"That's not restful," she muttered, unable to keep the smile out of her voice as her hormonal body began to respond.

A kiss was planted tenderly on her shoulder, before he nibbled his way up to her neck. "Can't help it, Andrea. Ya know how fuckin' hot ya look when ya carryin' my kid." His large hand slipped up to lightly cup a tender breast through her bra. At her shuddering breath, he moved his hand quickly away. "Ya really tired?"

"No," she said, rolling back slightly so one arm could awkwardly pull him down to her, "kiss me. I need you."

Merle, did so, gently and deeply, at the same time smoothing his hand over the rounded skin of her stomach, the warm touch soothing and arousing all at once. As they ended the kiss, Merle whispered "Lay back, darlin', lemme make it good fer ya."

"You always do," she murmured, smiling slightly and sliding her fingers up into his hair. Merle moved her onto her back, trailing tiny kisses over the mound where their children lay sleeping until he reached the edge of her panties. As he gently pulled them down, he ran his tongue over the tight skin above her curls, which had become increasingly sensitive as it had stretched; Andrea gasped and arched, and she heard Merle give a low rumbling laugh at her reaction.

"Remember that spot from when ya was pregnant wit' Amy," he grinned, "i's a good spot. Tasty," he added as his head moved lower, "but I know tastier…"

She parted her thighs instinctively as he kissed them, loving the now familiar scrape of stubble over her fine skin, but was surprised when he paused over her, soft breath tickling her damp curls. "Y'know," he said almost conversationally, ignoring her increasingly frantic tugging on his head, "we're gonna have ta think a more names fer these here kids of ours. Le's start workin' on 'em now… how's about Merle Junior? Tha's spelt M-E…"

Andrea then spent she didn't know how long in an state of gasping arousal, as Merle would suggest a boy's name before spelling the letters out on her trembling flesh with his nimble tongue, dragging it over and around her clit until she finally came hard, yelping his name and hoping she hadn't woken Amy in the next room. Merle lapped up her juices, before gently tilting her onto her side. As he slid behind her again, he made sure to pay tribute to her ass, kissing and lightly biting a soft buttock before moving up and sliding Andrea's thigh back over his, opening her to him.

A glowing Andrea allowed him to position her as he wanted, the delicious lassitude of her limbs making her relaxed and compliant. She felt the thick heat of his cock move between her thighs as he slid slowly into her with infinite care, filling her up in a way that both compunded her satisfaction and made her crave more.

"God… Merle…" she whimpered, as he began to move within her, dragging his flesh against hers so slowly she felt every last inch of him inside her.

"I know, baby, I know…." he muttered into her hair, the tension in his voice telling her of his restraint, his care for her. His body was held tight against hers as he rocked into her, and she reached back to cup her hand around his hard buttock, gently pulling him into her, deeper… faster…

"Shit…Andrea, I…" though he fought for control she felt his thrusts start to speed up a little, and then his hand reached over and between her legs, rough fingers brushing ever so gently at the still tender flesh. A few light strokes were all it took before she was coming around him, her tight fluttering walls drawing him out as Merle buried his face into her neck and pumped his own release jerkily inside her, groaning her name.

They both lay still in each others arms for some time, each unwilling to part from a lover who could so easily have been lost, or worse, never found. Finally, capturing his hand in hers and resting it on her stomach, Andrea broke the silence with a small, breathless giggle.

"Seriously? Merle Junior…?"

Sometime later, after a painful but thankfully brief labour, an exhausted Andrea presented Merle with two small but perfectly formed sons, of which she said one might be called Merle Junior, provided Merle Senior didn't ever remind her that he was right about the babies being boys.

A screaming baby tucked into the crook of each arm, and a fascinated Amy sitting beside him on the edge of the bed, a beaming Merle kissed the mother of his children and quickly agreed.

They both knew he was lying, but right then they were both far too happy to care.

There we go. The end. Fin. Finally got one Merle story complete and with a happy ending. I hope you enjoyed and please note I love, love, love reviews!

Now back to work on the others...