A/N- Well, everyone this is it! The finale so to speak. There may or may not be an eventual sequel depending on my muse and the what the hell happens when the damn show returns! I want to thank each and every person from the bottom of my heart that took the time to read and review this story! You all have made this so memorable for me! I hope you all enjoy this final chapter!
"Shane?" Ann croaked out. "What...is everyone here?" She asked hopefully cringing as his face fell.
"Nah, we got separated back when we lost you." He shook his head.
She nodded her head stiffly turning to Andrea. "Right. What happened to her?"
Shane's face looked pained. "Got real sick. We were out over winter-" He was cut off as shouting and crashing could be heard out in the hall.
"Get the hell off'a me ya bastards! Gimme back my god damn guns an' tell me-"
Kicking the Governor in the shin as hard as she could, she lucked out catching him by surprise, and bolted to the door throwing it open. "Merle!" She shouted running at him as he flailed at the three men trying to 'escort' him off.
As the guards saw her coming they stepped back attempting to take Merle with them but he managed to break free, rushing at her. She wrapped her arms around his waist, well as best she could; there still was a little person growing in her after all, and cried.
"Sugar, yer a sight fer sore eyes." He rasped out, attempting to squeeze her but not her belly.
The guards hung back not knowing what to do. This man was obviously a threat, but they were under orders not to let anything happen to Ann...did they shoot him once they got him away from her? A quick shake of the Governors head behind the two had their answer-they would wait. He wanted to see how this played out.
"Well, Ann, this part of your group?" The Governor asked sounding happy.
Merle felt Ann tense and was put on edge more than before. She hadn't even been afraid of him when he first met her, and he had hit her and threatened to kill her. This place was fucked up. "What's it to ya'?" He snarled saving Ann from answering.
The Governors eyes went hard for a moment before he smiled. "I'm in charge here, I guess you could say. Wouldn't be a very good leader if I didn't know about my people here." He stressed the my and it got Ann cringing again. "Crowley! Get these folk settled there's more to do than stand around here. Come see me when you're done." He made eye contact with Merle and Ann before walking out.
"Wha' in tha hell?" He started.
Ann shook her head eyeing the doctor. "Later." She mouthed watching her work on Andrea.
Merle, Ann, and the black woman who Ann had learned was named Michonne, had decided to bunk together in her room-Shane refused to leave the hospital because of Andrea.
"Sooo." Ann said sitting on her bed. "What happened? How did everyone-" she motioned between Michonne and Merle. "Meet up?...Do you know anything about Daryl?"
Merle's face turned grave for once. "Dunno about a lot of tha'. Andrea got separated from everyone right bout the time ya did. Shane and Daryl refused ta leave the two of ya ou' there..."
"The fuck we sittin' aroun' fer?!" Daryl shouted at Rick looking like he was losing it.
"We aren't going to separate! Look at how many we lost tonight!" Rick shouted back.
"So we jus' gonna leave 'em behind? We ain't even gonna go look?" Daryl exclaimed in disbelief.
"I'm sorry. But we have no clue where they could be and we have to think facts Daryl! Ann-she was in danger of losing that baby with bed rest! Running around? When you miscarry there's a lot of blood...and all the walkers..."
Daryl saw red and swung at the man, fist connecting solidly with his jaw. Everyone stood back and allowed him a few more swings before T-dog slowly pulled him off. "Could use some help here!" He panted back at them.
Merle and Shane for once were in agreement as they folded their arms, Merle raising an eyebrow. "Dunno colored one. I'ma thinkin' bout joinin' in-at least let him git a few more good un's in." He drawled.
"Facts man! Facts! I'm sorry I am!" Rick wheezed from the floor. "We need you! Please-Lori, Carl-Sophie! We can find a place to set up! Then go search for them! What good is it gonna do to run around risking more people to either die out there or bring them back to an unsafe place!"
"Ya' migh' wanna shut yer trap Ranger Rick." Merle snapped before pulling Daryl aside. "Listen ta me boy." He snarled, fisting his hand in Daryl's shirt. "This is the fuckin' plan. Yer goin' wit' them."
"The fuck-" Daryl started to roar.
"Dammit boy! Listen up! We both know I'm a better tracker than ya. I cin find 'er an find y'all quicker. I'ma need ya ta keep an eye on Amy." He continued gruffly avoiding his eye. "Ya' keep these people alive, find em a safe place, an ya bes' watch over 'er." He watched the torrent of emotions twist across Daryl's face before he tampered it down.
"A'ight." Daryl said stoically. He then grabbed Merle's bicep, bruising it, and pulling him close. "'M trustin' ya' Merle." He snarled. "Ya bes' not let me down."
"M trustin' ya to baby brother. Lets get this show on tha road. I ain't plannin' on takin fer' fuckin' ever."
"I'm coming to." Shane spoke glaring spitefully at Rick and then turning towards the brothers as if daring them to tell him no.
Merle didn't disappoint. "Hell nah you ain't. I ain't gonna spend all my time watchin' yer ass instead of lookin' fer Ann's."
"You won't have to-I'm looking for Andrea. You look for Ann I look for Andrea-we don't have to stick together." Shane was set.
"We jus' foun' Andrea and Michonne here 'bout a month ago." Merle said heavily. "She been keepin' blondie goin' this whole time."
"I'm going for a walk." Ann stated numbly, pushing past Merle and practically running outside.
She shivered rubbing her arms as the slightly cooler air hit her hard. What the hell had she been doing? Yeah, she really couldn't take care of herself out there as a damn giant...and she really couldn't run that much either...and once the baby was born she was going to have a hell of a time escaping with an infant and protecting it. She had known these things...but that didn't stop her from feeling like shit. Merle had been out there this whole time looking for her, risking his life and she had been relatively safe. Sure, the governor had been creepy and so were a lot of other people. And yeah she was pretty sure they offed people that wanted to leave. She was startled out of her train of thought abruptly.
"Amazing." The Governor breathed into her ear as he snuck up behind her.
"Hmmm." She said noncommittally trying to put some space between them.
"You know, I would have never pictured someone like you going for someone like Merle." He said innocently, assuming that Merle was the father.
She would have snorted at the assumption but didn't care to correct him. "There's nothing wrong with Merle, and don't you think it's stupid to be stereotyping people now, of all times? There's dead dead, there's walking dead, and there's living." She snapped.
"I mean no offense Ann!" He put his hands up in mock surrender. "Just trying to figure out what you see in a dirty redneck with quite a foul mouth. You could have anyone you wanted and you go off with him. It's just puzzling."
"There ya are Ann. Fuck it all, thought I was gonna have ta run up and down the damn streets hollerin' out yer name-an I ain't yer bitch so ya cin bet yer ass tha wouldn' happen." Merle glowered at the Governor as if just noticing him. "Cin I help ya?" He spat.
"Merle, I gotta pee." Ann interrupted as she felt her stomach seize.
"Damn, girl." He sighed giving her the barest hint of a grin. "C'mon then, don't want ya poppin' a squat out in the streets. Might scare the upstandin' citizens of Woodbury."
She grinned back saying dryly. "My, my, aren't you full of chivalry today."
"Sugar, 'M full of sumthin' alright." He grinned wolfishly. "But I'm thinkin' ya cin help me wit' tha'." The governors jaw had dropped and he was watching the two with interest until Merle glared at him and snapped. "The fuck is wrong wit'cha? Think we gonna fuck right up this wall an' let you watch or sumthin'?"
That did the trick-anger and embarrassment flew across the Governors face and he turned on heel stalking off. "Thank you." Ann whispered giggling. "That guy is weird."
"Ain't how I'd put it." He said glowering at his retreating form. "Man jus' about eye fucked ya wit' me standin' here."
"Eww, Merle. Don't even joke about stuff like that!" She shuddered and then grimaced as she stomach cramped again.
"I ain't-" he stopped as he noticed her pained expression. "What's wrong? The baby?"
A steady gush of liquid streamed down her legs and Merle jumped back disgusted. "I'm not sure if I peed or if my water just broke." She laughed weakly. "I'm gonna go with water though...hurts like a bitch." She gasped starting to collapse.
Merle caught her just before she could hit the floor, his face screwed up in disgust. "Ya' fuckin' owe me fer this. Damn disgustin' s'what it is. Still fuckin' drippin' tha' shit." He grumbled looking like he was about to puke.
She wanted so badly to laugh but it hurt soo damn bad! Merle rushed her into the little doctors office shouting up a storm. She was laid out on the same hospital bed that she had been on that morning sweating and shaking, and squeezing the life out of Merle's hand.
"Damn!" He yelped attempting to remove his hand from hers.
"No!" She gasped looking up at him her face scrunched up in pain. "Don't you dare leave me Merle Dixon!"
It was a command and plea rolled up into one and he recognized that nodding his head solidly at her. "Ain't a chance, darlin'."
As Dr. Bitch tugged at her sweats and underwear pulling them off along with her grungy slip on's, he kept his eyes on hers. The pain was unbelievable! "I have to push!" She gasped at the doctor.
The woman nodded and Ann began pushing as the doctor counted. It seemed to last forever, and they both lost count of how many times she pushed when the doctor said from between her legs. "Baby's crowning!" She motioned quickly to Merle, assuming what everyone else apparently did. "Come catch your baby."
The panic and helplessness he felt at watching Ann go through what he assumed was worse than a walker bite intensified. "Wha'?" He said weakly. Ann nodded at him urgently and he seemed to snap out of his fear, striding over between her propped open legs.
The doctor instructed her to push. "Alright, Ann. One more big push...now!"
It was simultaneously the most disgusting thing and the most amazing thing he had ever done or seen. As she pushed and screamed he caught the infant covered in disgusting goop in his large hands. Everything seemed to pass by in a blur for him-the doctor taking the silent child from him and smacking its butt loudly, the wailing it suddenly produced, the doctor pronouncing to Ann that she now had a little boy, hell, he even cut the damn umbilical cord.
Ann looked about the room lazily and then started to panic- where was her baby? She calmed instantly as she caught sight of Merle-Merle of all people- holding her son, and bouncing him slightly, murmuring little nothing's to him. From the scared, shriveling mess of a man that he had been to the confident way he was holding him now, the transformation was nothing short of amazing.
He noticed she was watching him and smiled-an uncharacteristic smile with no smirk or cockiness present. "Got yerself a lil' bad ass here."
"Damn straight." She replied grinning tiredly. The room was silent save for the gentle noises he continued to make at the child.
"Done with all that screaming I see." Came Andreas wry voice.
"Save it lover." Ann snapped good-naturedly. "You may have just come from the brink of death, but you didn't push a watermelon out your vag." The women smiled at each other. From having left one another on a bad note they knew that they were good now; they had survived.
After an unwelcome and wholly unpleasant visit from the Governor she was cleared twenty-four hours later to go back to her rooms. Although watching Merle take up an active roll with the baby constantly put a smile on her face she knew it was time to talk about serious matters. "I want to find Daryl." She stated facing Merle and Michonne. "And I'm sure you want to find Amy."
Merle's face dropped at the mention of the newly found 'love' he had dropped to come find her. "Ya don't wanna stay here?" He asked hesitantly.
"No." She barked out taking her son from him and popping her breast in his mouth. She smirked when Merle averted his gaze. "Can't you feel it? This place is wrong."
Michonne agreed heartily. "People that come here, they don't leave."
She looked hesitantly at the two. "I need help. He'll be a handful out there." She nodded to the baby in her arms. "It's the only reason I haven't attempted to leave."
"Ya know I got yer' back." Merle stated resolutely.
"Tomorrow then?" She asked.
It was decided-tomorrow Michonne would walk to the gates and call them out- demand to be let go. If on the off chance that they would let her out Ann and Merle would join, the Governor would not publicly recant and risk making a fool and a liar of himself. If it didn't work they would have to figure out something sneakier. She hoped to god it would work. Michonne was to talk to Andrea and Shane about leaving-she was worried about that, they seemed to have taken to Woodbury and the Governor surprisingly well. A door slam signified Michonne's return.
"Things not go well I take it?" Ann asked tiredly.
"She does not want to leave. She thinks its safe." Michonne spat at her. "She does not see this place clearly."
"Andrea has been on the lookout for normalcy since this whole thing started Michonne. As much as I don't want to leave her or Shane, maybe its best to let them have their ignorant happiness for now." She shrugged her shoulders.
"Y'all gonna let me get some rest?" Grumbled Merle from her bed.
"Seeing as you took over mine and..." She hesitated, was it weird that she hadn't named her son yet? "The baby's bed..." She trailed off grinning.
"Git yer ass over here woman. I seen parts o' ya today tha' scared the livin' hell outta' me, I ain't gonna think about fuckin' ya' fer another couple days at least."
"First off-you were thinking about fucking me when you crawled into that bed." She stuck her tongue out a him as he flipped her off. "Second, Daryl'd kick your ass if he found out we were sleeping together."
"Shad'dup woman an' git ta sleep."
"Yes'sir." She mock saluted him giving Michonne a wan smile.
Michonne looked between the two of the for a moment. "He's not the father." She stated.
"Oh hell no."
"She jus' wishes I was."
Ann slapped him lightly upside the head careful not to disturb the baby sleeping soundly next to him. "All the time." She said mockingly and then to Michonne. "He's the uncle. Uncle Merle." She snorted trying to hold back the laughter. Merle flipped her off again while Michonne studied them and then headed off to the couch to sleep. Ann crawled into bed gently, careful not to wake the baby.
"Ya' gonna name him?" Merle murmured.
She blushed. "I was thinking Liam. Liam Archer Dixon."
"Archer?" He snorted.
"Yes. It means bowman, I don't want to just name him Daryl. Forget it, it's stupid." She muttered.
"Nah, it's kinda'...whats tha word...endearin'. What's Liam mean then?" He yawned.
"Strong willed warrior."
"I like it." He said shortly. "Now git ta' sleep. Ain't gonna be carryin' yer ass outta here tomorrow."
Hmmm ok then; Liam Archer Dixon it was. She looked down at the boy and smiled. He kind of looked like a Liam...
~the next morning~
Michonne stood at the gate with her katana's and bag over her shoulder. "I want to leave." She hollered up to Crowley, up on the guard stand.
"Hey now! Why on earth you wanna leave here? All yer friends are here-it's safe!" He called back looking concerned.
"You said we could leave at any time-I want to leave!" She said back stubbornly eying him as he went to converse with some others.
"Fuck!" Ann whispered to Merle. "This isn't going to work, and now we'll be on their radar!"
"Hush up dammit." He snapped his eyes never leaving the guards.
Just as it seemed that they were shit out of luck Crowley came down and the gates opened slowly. "Gets dark awful quick, so ya might wanna find a safe place to bunker down before then."
"Wait!" Ann shouted jogging forward, Liam in a nifty little backpack carrier they had found. "We're coming to."
Crowley's eyes widened. Shit. The Governors little show was backfiring big time. "I.. Uhhh."
"There a problem here Crowley?" The Governors smooth voice cut through his stammering.
"No problem at all. We jus' gonna head on outta here." Merle said smoothly, placing his hand on Ann's back and guiding her between the gates after Michonne.
The Governors face was a molted red and he was obviously trying to suppress his anger. "You're just going to walk out of here? You're going to get yourself and that baby killed!"
"My choice." She replied steadily.
"You're safe here! If they want to leave let them! You don't have to go to. We've been good to you here, Ann." He was a cross between pleading and demanding.
She shifted herself so that she was behind Merle and shook her head irritated as Merle leaned into the Governor and snarled lowly. She couldn't hear what was being said but she could tell it didn't make the Governor any happier, as he gave the man a look of utmost disdain. "And you tell her that." He spat at Merle, turning on heel and walking away smoothly.
"What-?" She started but Merle grabbed her by the arm and hauled her out of the gates after Michonne. They had covered quite a bit of ground by midday, but Liam needed fed and changed, and out of that damn pack; not to mention her aching back needed a rest. As she sat starting to nurse the slightly fussy child she turned to face Merle. "Now what happened back there?"
He eyed her for a moment, sneaking a glance a Michonne who nodded, before he gave in. "Ya notice how he treated ya differen'? Than everyone else?" She nodded and he continued. "Michonne an' I heard sum stuff-people talkin'. Seems ya' reminded him of his late wife. Got it inta his head ya two was gonna be some happy family r some shit."
Ann looked at him incredulously. "Are you high?"
"Dammit Ann!" He snapped smacking his palm into a tree. "He tol' me he was gonna find ya! We gotta keep movin', he's gonna be sendin' people out fer sure."
They packed up again with Ann trailing behind Michonne and Merle listening to their conversation. "She really didn't see the way he looked at her?" Michonne asked Merle in disbelief.
Merle almost laughed. "Hell nah. Shoulda seen it when her an' my brother took up. God damn kids were near clueless. Shit, whole camp knew they were hot fer each other afore they did."
Michonne looked back at her like she was an idiot while Merle laughed. "Fuck you both." She muttered cheeks reddening.
"Tell ya sumthin' else Mi'shonne." Merle said conspiringly. "My baby brothers tha only man ever made her cum to."
Michonne jerked back giving Merle a disgusted look. "Thanks for sharing that Merle." Ann said wryly. "Tell me, is that your conversation starter when you talk about your brother or me?"
"Damn sugar, not jus' tha' one!" He exclaimed in mock surprise. "Sumtimes I tell people 'bout tha' time ya kneed me in tha nads-"
"Which time?" She interrupted sweetly.
He ignored her continuing. "An' sumtimes I tell 'em all 'bout yer girlie relationships, or how ya went crazy on Officer Friendly up on tha' roof in Atlanta."
"Good to know." She said dryly.
"Wait!" Michonne was stock still. "They are coming. We need to hide you."
In a matter of minutes Ann and Liam were stuffed into the base of a hollow tree, barricaded with branches. "We'll come git ya' when its done, ya hear? Don' go playin' hero wit him." Merle ordered jerking his head down at Liam.
She nodded hesitantly. "You don't come back I'm gonna find you and kick your ass Merle." The only response she got was a chuckle as he disappeared from her limited view. No less than an hour later Michonne and Merle turned back up bloodied. "Oh my god! Are you guys hit?"
They shook their heads in the negative, not bothering to talk and they trudged off once again. Another gun shot rang out and Liam hiccoughed for a second.
"Shit." Ann muttered. "Get him out!" Merle quickly unbuckled him and handed him over to Ann and his face scrunched up to let out a wail. Ann hurriedly lifted her shirt and bra allowing the startled infant to latch on. "They aren't all dead are they."
Michonne shook her head. "I'm guessing by that all but one."
"Lets keep movin'." Snapped Merle obviously on edge. He carefully took Liam and placed him back in the pack.
An hour later they came upon a town that was apparently a car graveyard. "Fuck ya'!" Merle grinned ecstatically. "We gonna-" He stopped talking as he heard an engine in the distance. "Down!" He barked looking through a window as the car parked and the two occupants got out. "Well I'll be." He mumbled.
"What? Who is it?" Ann whispered.
"A young Asian boy and a girl." Michonne answered looking at Merle strangely.
"Glenn!?" Ann made to jump up but Merle kept her down. "What the hell?"
"Couldn't quite see 'em clear. Gotta be sure." He grunted peering out again.
"Crowley." Michonne whispered harshly looking beyond the parked car.
"Fuck." Snapped Merle shaking his head as he saw that it was indeed Glenn and Maggie exiting the store.
"Hello there!" Crowley called out hands in the air.
Glenn and Maggie instantly had their guns out and trained on the man. "Stay back!" Glenn shouted.
Ann wasn't sure how it happened but in somewhat of a blur Crowley had managed to grab Maggie and put a gun to her head. "Get in the car and drive!" Crowley shouted looking crazed.
"Merle! We have to do something!" Ann hissed.
"What d'ya think we cin do?" He snapped back. "Anythin' we do cin git her shot."
Ann chewed her lip letting her narrowed eyes slide over to Michonne, who nodded slightly to her. She stealthily unhooked the pack with Liam and placed him in Michonne's awkward arms, kissed him on the head as Michonne planted something in the back of her jeans, and bolted past Merle.
"Oh, Crowley!" She hollered waving an arm at the man carelessly.
His eyes went wide as he looked back and forth between Ann and the woman in his arms. "Governor's awful worried about you Ann." He called over not lowering the gun trained on Maggie.
Ann kept her gaze away from Maggie's wide eyes and looked back at Glenn, giving the slightest of head bobs. "Sure he is, that's why he sent you to kill everyone right?"
As if realizing her group was missing two, three if you counted Liam, he tensed digging the gun into Maggie's face harder. "Where are they?" He snarled shaking. "Where are they dammit!" He roared.
She shook her head. "Nope. This is a trade plain and simple. Her for me." She could tell he was considering it... She also wasn't stupid. "You let every single one of them go, don't harm a single hair on their heads I'll fuck myself up so badly that I'll be a god damn inch from death."
He looked confused at this point and she rolled her eyes. "Wha-"
She interrupted him, slowly getting closer. "And when you bring me back to your Governor, all broken and bloodied..." She leaned in inches from his snarling face. "Guess who I'm going to tell him, in painful detail I might add, is responsible?"
If possible Crowley's hand shook even more. "He won't believe you."
"I doubt that." She said raising an eyebrow. Just as she saw him make his decision, and the gun started to transfer off of Maggie and onto her, she grabbed the familiar feeling axe that Michonne had placed in the back of her jeans and swung it as hard as she could at his head as the sound of gunshot up close filled her ears and rang.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" She ground out pathetically looking down at her left arm watching blood seep out. "The things I do for you Mags." She stood shakily as Merle came out from behind the car shouting.
"God dammit Ann! I fuckin' told ya'!" He roared advancing on her. "What tha hell ya think yer doin'? What abou' Liam eh?" He looked down at her hand clapped to her arm, blood seeping through her fingers. "It hurt?"
"It's a bullet wound smart ass- of course it hurts." She snapped.
"Good!" He shouted. "Ya' fuckin' dumb broad!"
"Stop right there!" Glenn shouted as he helped Maggie up from the floor, aiming his gun at the direction Merle had come from.
Ann whirled to see Michonne stepping out carrying a bundled Liam. She marched up to Glenn, yanked the gun out of his hands, and rapped him sharply in the head with it. "If you ever point a gun at my son again Glenn, I'll fucking shoot you myself!"
Maggie and Glenn looked at her confused before understanding dawned as Merle chuckled in the background. "Y'all didn't think Ann woulda lost that baby did'ja? Girls tough as damn nails."
"Still shot here!" Ann spoke up.
That seemed to kick Glenn and Maggie into gear and their supplies were loaded as were Merle, Michonne, Ann, and Liam.
"Can I hold him?" Maggie asked almost shyly.
"Of course." Ann nodded to Merle who had been holding him because of her arm. Merle handed him over somewhat reluctantly giving Ann a small smile. "Maggie?" She asked quietly.
"He's such a handsome little man." Maggie murmured. "What's up?"
She shifted uncomfortably. "Is...is Daryl...ok?"
Maggie looked like she had shot a kitten. "Oh my god Ann! I'm sorry! You to Merle! Daryl is alive, and so is Amy! And both are missing you two and positive you're alive. Daryl has even been planning to go out looking for you two!"
Merle nodded uncomfortably as did Ann; both were unsure of how they would be received. What if Daryl didn't want her anymore? What if he didn't like Liam? What about Liam's name? Just because Merle had liked it didn't mean Daryl would after all. Fuck! She was feeling nauseous.
"Where's Shane? Did you find Andrea?" Glenn asked lowly.
Ann left Michonne and Merle to answer as she pondered more about Daryl. She had envisioned their reunion for so long now-always picturing herself running up to him to be enveloped in a giant hug like in lame movies that she used to watch. All too soon and yet not quite soon enough it felt like they had pulled up to a giant shell infested prison. She saw Carl and Rick rushing to open the gates and the nausea was back full force. Before the car had even come to a complete stop she leapt out, tumbled onto all fours amid shouts and exclamations, and heaved. No, this certainly wasn't like the movies.
She felt a gentle hand at her back and an oh-so-familiar almost forgotten tentative voice cracking. "Ann?"
Daryl had never been one for false hope or pipe dreams, and he knew when Ann had disappeared almost nine months ago that he may never see her again. Still he held out; she was strong and so was he-she would be ok. When he saw the woman jump out of the car he had barely thought anything of it. Then she puked and he had a moment of recognition-Ann rummaging around his and Merle's tent on her hands and knees looking for clothes to wash. He ran as fast as he could to the woman vomiting on all fours. "Ann?" He croaked.
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and looked up at him with the hint of a grin on her face. "Hey there." She said roughly.
He couldn't care less that she had just finished barfing her guts out-he grabbed her in a tight hug and then pulled back searching her face. He must have found what he was looking for because he nodded slightly and then pulled her to him, kissing her fiercely. They pulled apart panting both with similar disgusted looks and silly grins. "The baby?"
Ann smiled fully; throw-up aside this was more like the damn movies. She nodded over to Merle who had stolen the baby back from Maggie. "C'mon now Darylina." Merle mocked good-naturedly. "Come say hello to yer boy."
Daryl looked at Ann still in shock over finally having her back, he looked struck dumb at receiving a son at the same time. "A boy?" He asked weakly.
She nodded hesitantly. "Liam."
Daryl whooped unexpectedly, twirling her in the air. "A fuckin' boy. Damn straight!"
As happy as she was she couldn't hold back the pained gasp at her wounded arm being jostled yet again. "What's wrong?" Daryl asked putting her down and looking at her.
She arched a brow. "Aside from giving birth almost two days ago? My arm's a tad sore."
"Dammit Amy! 'M holdin' a baby! Ya can't jus' jump on me like that!" Merle snapped.
"Play nice Merle!" Ann called over wincing as Daryl inspected her arm. "Amy, he's just been itching for a week long hump fest, so have him hand Liam over to Maggie there and get going!"
Amy instantly complied with a grumbling Merle in tow. Merle looked back at Ann sneakily waggling his eyebrow and giving her a wink. She laughed and shook her head. "Time enough to fix that later." She withdrew from Daryl's grip. "For now I think it's just about the right time for you to meet Liam Archer Dixon." She said with a flourish leading him over to where Maggie had the little boy cuddled.
Daryl picked up Liam with amazing ease much to Ann's surprise. She looked at Maggie in shock but Maggie shook her head motioning her slightly away from the rest.
"Lori died-" Maggie's voice cracked before she strengthened her resolve to at least get this out. "Giving birth. Daryl's been callin' her little ass kicker. She don't got a name yet though. Born just about a week ago-she's inside with Beth and daddy."
Ann gave her a tight hug; she knew there was more to this story, but right now, watching Daryl hold his son for the first time, hell seeing Daryl for the first time in months, she couldn't help but feel like everything was going to be ok. There would be time enough for swapping stories and heartaches later. Amy's laughter rang throughout the camp and although everyone cringed and shouted it was happy. As Ann approached Daryl he enveloped her in a one armed hug, still holding a now wide awake Liam. The group walked into the prison together, all of them, a family-an odd mash-up of strangers that had taken to calling one another blood. They all knew the serenity would not last forever but they would take it where they could, and right here, right now, they were all whole and happy, and full of hope.