Takes place about 6 years down the road from Chapter 19.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daaaadddyyy!" Piper squealed as she ran up to her father.
"Dear Lord, Punkin," Daryl said as she latched onto his leg. "I'm right here. N I'm not deaf. At least not yet."
He grinned down at his daughter, her green eyes sparkling as she pressed her chin to his hip, looking up at him. Damn if she didn't look more and more like her momma with each passing day. "Whatcha up to?"
Not moving from her spot against his leg, she opened her hand, and showed him the rock in her palm. "Isn't it pretty?" She stretched her hand up for him to get a better look. It was a piece of quartz, nothing horribly special.
"Yeah Punkin. Where'd ya get it?"
She bit her bottom lip and smiled. "Carl gave it to me."
Daryl had to fight the grin that threatened to spill onto his face. He tried very hard to not encourage his girl's crush in Rick's 19 year old son. But Piper pretty much imprinted on the boy since the day she was born.
As if on cue, Carl appeared from around the house. And Piper squealed, running in the opposite direction. Daryl just shook his head, he wasn't sure he would ever understand girls. They hadn't made much sense to him at any point in his life, why would they make sense now?
Boys though, Daryl understood how they worked. "Don't think I ain't watchin' ya young man."
Carl rolled his eyes. "Dude. I've got enough issues with Beth."
After dinner and the kids were all put to bed, the remaining members of their group sat down in the living room of the Greene house. About a year or so after Piper was born, Rick, Daryl and Merle struck out to check and see if the home had survived the attack. They found it pretty much as they had left it that fateful night.
Walkers had become far and few between, something they could learn to live with in a sense. Like keeping an eye out for a rattler when you are out in the rocks. So the group decided to move back to the Greene's farm.
Maggie had serious reservations about moving back there. But it was her home. And her dad was so sickly when they decided to make the move, she knew it would raise his spirits some to be back in their old home.
They rebuilt the barn, in a different spot than where the old one stood. They managed to plant a couple gardens, and were pleased to see the orchard still standing. They picked up a few cows and chickens that were either too stupid to die or just were lucky.
The group even went as far as to move Lori and T-dog to lay to rest by Dale and Sophia. And now, now they were joined by Hershel, Merle, and Carol.
Daryl pulled his eyes from the eight crosses across the yard in the dwindling daylight as he heard Maggie, Beth, and Amanda chattering on their way back into the living room from the kitchen. The glasses in their hands clinked as they moved to hand everyone a glass of moonshine. They didn't usually drink but tonight was special, tonight was the anniversary of their return to the Greene home. To their home.
"Hey," Maggie muttered, laying a soft hand on his arm. Daryl glanced at her, and placed his fingertips over hers.
"Hey." He turned and pulled her into an embrace as they both looked out the windows, back toward the crosses. Both sets of eyes settled on the last cross in the row, the most recent of their burials, less than 6 months ago. Their son, John, was a little more than 4 when he died. They weren't 100% sure what it was that killed the little boy. Some sort of sickness. They thought it was the flu but it got progressively worse and without Herschel or Carol, they were helpless to do anything for him.
A warm hand rested on Daryl's forearm, another on Maggie's shoulder, dragging their attention to the young woman beside them. Amanda, Daryl's niece and Merle's daughter who had found them at the prison, somehow. "Hey- Rick wants to give one of his speeches." She rolled her eyes, playfully, and grabbed at their hands, dragging them back into the other room.
Daryl leaned his shoulder against the door frame, while Maggie grabbed two glasses from the end table where she set them before going to Daryl, one 3/4 of the way full, the other almost full to the top. Daryl gave her a questioning eyebrow as he noted her glass was considerably more full than his. She took a healthy sip, bringing her level down to his. He wrapped his arm around her, kissing her temple. "If you get drunk, I will take advantage of you," Daryl promised against her ear, making Maggie laugh and blush.
Rick stood from where he was seated beside a fairly pregnant Amanda. Daryl joked with him that he was going to single handedly repopulate the country the way he was going at it. He and Amanda already had one little one upstairs tucked in bed with his cousins.
Rick raised his glass as everyone else quieted down, their heads turning in his direction.
"I would like to propose a toast to the loved ones we have held and lost, those that have paved our way here to a place where we are safe, secure and happy. Especially to those we have lost this past year. To John and Merle."
Rick held Daryl's eye for a moment from across the room before leaning to clink glasses with Amanda. Daryl's arm tightened around Maggie as she clinked her glass with his. She kissed his cheek before taking another healthy swig out of her glass. There was a murmuring of 'here, here's and glasses clinking throughout the room.
"Ya know. Dixon moonshine ain't something you should be knocking back like that," Daryl muttered just loud enough for Maggie to hear. "Not that I mind drunken sex, mind you," he assured her. The still was one of the first things Merle set to building when they finally had settled in. Rick had been opposed to it at first, but Carol had insisted that the medicinal properties alone made it worthwhile. Rick had half wondered if Merle had put Carol up to telling him that just so he would relent and let Merle build the damn thing. Rick had just shook his head, amazed once again that the two of them had found solace in each other, somehow. Daryl had not questioned it, why should he.
Maggie shifted next to Daryl and took another sip out of her glass. "I've got to pee."
"Again." She put down her glass and headed up the stairs.
Daryl stood there in silence watching the rest of the group. They had come along way. They had suffered some serious losses, but also some significant gains. The bedful of little ones upstairs was a prime example of just that.
Amanda waddled over and kissed her uncle on the cheek. "I'm headed to bed."
"'Night, Possum. Sleep well."
Amanda smiled at him as she poured the contents of her glass into Maggie's where it sat. She headed for the stairs as Maggie was coming back down. "Peeing again?" Amanda asked.
Suddenly the bells and whistles went off in Daryl's head as he reached for Maggie's glass. He sniffed it and then sipped out of it. The faker. It was water.
Grinning, he turned and stalked toward Maggie. "When were you going to tell me?" he grabbed her almost roughly, yanking her to him.
Maggie just kissed him. "Never could figure out a good way to tell you you were gonna be a daddy," she smirked against his mouth as they heard hoots, hollers and whistles from the others in the room.
A/N: Thank you to Annelisa for riding this one out with me. And also for loaning me Amanda/Possum. If you havn't read her Possum Tale fic... go... read it! Our storylines are not quite the same but I really can not put anyone else with Rick now. I adore Possum.
And thank you all for your great comments and support. You may see a few future fics from time to time as they bite me but for now... this is the end my friends.