Well hello all! I'm back! Life has been super busy, but like all of you I'm waiting on pins and needles for the end of this season. I hope we at least get one moment of tenderness for our favorite couple! Well as I have been watching I had this idea come to me so now I'm writing it for all of you!

Our story takes places after the first battle with the governor. The first battle was bloody; the governor underestimated our rag tag group of survivors, so after a stale mate the governor and his forces have retreated back to Woodbury. Our story picks up during the retreat from the prison. This will be a multi chapter, there will be Merle/Beth, sorry if it's not your cup of tea I think at the end of the world you don't have many choices, and of course this story is all about our favorite damaged couple! Big hugs and thanks for reading! Kaye

Chapter 1…..On the Run

Blood and bullets, that all Carol could see, men were falling all around her as she raised her rifle to fire again. Hershel had already fallen, his lifeless body was lying not fair from her, she fought back a sob as she fired her rifle again. She turned her head as she saw Rick come rushing across the yard toward her, she saw him shake his head and point his gun to shoot the kind doctor before he could rise again. When she turned back around Rick had made it to her, he grabbed her arm, "Carol I need you to get Beth and Judith and head for the fall back spot."

Carol shook her head, "I can't leave you all!"

Rick shook his head, "We'll be right behind you, I swear, just please get my daughter to safety."

Carol scanned the yard searching for the familiar crossbow, but in all the chaos she didn't see him. Rick shook her, "Carol, I promise I'll make sure he gets back to you, please get my daughter and get the hell out of here."

Carol nodded her head, hugging the man that had been their leader for the past year; she bolted across the yard and headed into the prison. When she ran into the mess hall, Beth stood up baby Judith in her arms, "What's going on?"

Carol grabbed the few bags that they had already packed, "Beth, Rick wants us to retreat. I need you to stay calm; Rick said he would bring the others."

Beth felt her stomach drop, her chin quivering, "What about Daddy? He'll need my help."

Carol felt a ping of guilt hit her, she needed the young woman to be strong or they won't be able to make it out of the back of the prison with the baby. Carol focused on the bags, she slung them over her shoulder, her rifle held tight in her hands, she stepped towards Beth, "Beth, I need you! Judith NEEDS you, please just come with me. This was the plan that your dad agreed too and you promised him you could do this."

Beth gave her a firm nod, Carol pulled the girl to her for a second whispering in her ear, "I won't let anything happen to either of you. Now let's go."

The plan had been simple, the day after Rick had return from his met with the governor and told them about war being declared, the group had made plans. The men had focused on the fighting part, but Hershel had come up with the idea to create a fallback position. Hershel wanted to make sure if the fighting got too much that they had a way to get Judith to safety. It had been decided that Carol would fight until Rick decided it was time for her to collect Beth and Judith. They had packed the cars and pulled them around to the back side of the prison. Carol was to drive them through Rick's hometown to a small doctor's office on the edge of town. They had already stocked the room with water, food, and weapons, so all Carol had to do was get her, Beth, and Judith through the maze of halls to the cars.

Now as they moved through the halls, shots could still be heard from outside in the yard. Carol swallowed back her fears, these people were her family now, but she had to make sure Beth and Judith were safe. Beth whimpered behind her when they heard the sound of mindless moans coming from in front of them. Carol steeled herself pulling Daryl's knife from her hip, she handed the rifle to Beth and put her finger to her lips. When they rounded the corner two walkers stumbled toward them. Carol took a deep breath and stabbed the first walker through the eye hitting the brain. By the time she pulled the knife out, the second walker was almost on top of her; she kicked it hard in the stomach and plunged the knife again. She turned to check on Beth, Carol's heart swelled with pride as the young woman gave her a quick nod.

By the time they made it for the car Judith was crying, Carol handed Beth the diaper bag, "There's a bottle already made for her, sit in the back with her and keep your eyes open. You did real good sweetie."

Beth gave her a weak smile, "I'm scared Carol."

Carol hugged her hard, "I am too sweetie, but it's all going to be alright. It's our job to survive. "

As Carol drove she kept her eyes open, she kept looking behind her afraid any of the governor's men might have followed them. When they pulled into the parking lot of the doctor's office Carol felt exhausted. She pulled her rifle to her, "Beth stay close behind me. Daryl and Merle cleared this building but that doesn't mean walkers haven't gotten back in here."

Carol was relieved when the office was walker free, she ushered Beth and Judith into the far back office that Daryl said was the safest. Carol scanned the room wanting to cry, Daryl and Merle had done a great job getting the room ready. There were jugs of water lining one wall, blankets on the floor with pillows, and plenty of baby formula.

Beth looked at Carol, "How long do we wait?"

Carol sighed pinching the bridge of her nose, "They said to wait till tomorrow night. I figure if no one comes by then we'll head out the next morning. Rick said we had to keep moving. We'll leave directions to where ever we are going if it comes to that."

Beth nodded laying the now sleeping Judith down on the blankets. The young girl hugged herself, looking at the floor, "My daddy's gone to heaven hasn't he?"

Carol felt tears eating at her eyes, she crossed the room to pull the girl into her arms, "I'm sorry sweetie. He died protecting you and Maggie. He loved you very much."

Beth sobbed against her for the longest time, "What am I gonna do? What if Maggie dies too? I'll have no one."

Carol pulled away from her, taking the young woman's face in her hands, "You have me and Judith and if we have to we will make it. You hear me? We are family now. Promise me you'll keep your head about you, I NEED YOU! I can't do this without you Beth."

Beth nodded wiping at her face, "Daddy would want me to keep going. At least he's with my momma now."

Carol nodded easing the young girl down to the blankets next to Judith. Beth finally fell asleep with her head lying in Carol's lap. Carol sat there with her back against the wall staring at the door willing it to open, praying that one of them would walk through it. She brushed her hand through Beth's hair, Daryl's face flashing in her mind. She never even had the courage to tell him she loved him. Carol wiped at her own tears, doing everything in her power to herself together. She would make it, she had too, it's what Sophia would've wanted and it was what Daryl would've of wanted.


The night passed and by morning Carol and Beth were on edge. By noon when no one had made it to them, they began fearing the worse. Carol forced Beth to eat something. They were sitting there eating when they heard a noise in the outer office. Carol blew out the few candles they had and motioned for Beth to hide behind the exam table with Judith. Carol pulled her rifle into her hands and positioned herself in front of the exam table.

A few heart pounding moments passed and the door was kicked opened. Carol couldn't believe her eyes; standing there a bloody, dirty mess were Daryl and Merle. Merle was leaning heavily on Daryl. Carol felt relief go through her, "DARYL!"

Daryl gave her a half smirk, "Gonna stand there all day or are you gonna help me?"

Carol set the rifle down and hurried to help Daryl drag Merle to the exam table, "What happened?"

Merle growled as he laid down, "Took a damn bullet to the side, this asshole won't leave me or we would've been here last fucking night."

Daryl rolled his eyes, "Quit bitchin' you stubborn pain in the ass. I got ya here didn't I?"

Carol motioned to Beth, "Beth, I need you to light every candle we have, I need to be able to see what I'm working on. Daryl can you go find me a suture kit and whatever bandages you can find."

As Beth and Daryl got to work, Carol helped Merle get out of his shirt, the man hissed when the shirt was pulled away from the wound. Carol examined it, "It's clean through, that's good. I won't have to go looking for the bullet, just gonna need to clean it out and stitch you up. You're lucky."

Merle huffed, "Don't fucking feel lucky."

Carol sighed, "Did you see the others?"

Merle looked at her, "We searched through the bodies, but we didn't see no one."

Carol nodded, her eyes shining with tears. Merle grabbed her hand making her look at him, "I'm sure they'll be here soon."

Carol gave him a tired smile, "At least you two are here with us. Thank you Merle."

Merle snorted, "Don't thank me, that boy was crazed trying to get here to you."

Carol let a small smile spread on her face, but she focused on cleaning out his wound. Once Merle was patched up, Beth and Carol got both men something to eat and drink. After eating Merle was out like a light, Beth had fallen asleep next to Judith again curled up with her head in Carol's lap. Daryl sat near the door his crossbow in his lap. He looked over at Carol, noticing the dark circles under her eyes, "You should sleep."

Carol shook her head, "No, you need it more than me. I'll take first watch. You were carrying your brother all night. I'm fine."

Daryl sighed, his voice low, "I was afraid you won't be here."

Carol stared at him, realizing he was just as afraid as she was. She quietly slipped Beth's head on a pillow and went to sit beside him, her hand going to his arm, "But we're here. We have to keep the faith that the others will find their way too."

Daryl nodded, "What if they don't?"

Carol was shocked when he laid down putting his head in her lap, she slowly put her hand on his head, brushing his dirty hair, much like she did to Beth, "We'll figure out somewhere to go. Rick said if we left to tape the directions to where we were going on the bottom of the exam table. Merle said you didn't see any of them."

Daryl nodded his head weakly in her lap, "No, we looked through bodies, but we didn't see any of them. I half figured they'd be back here and you all would've left again."

Carol smirked, letting her hand linger on his earlobe, "I would never have left without you." She knew he didn't hear her; he was already snoring softly in her lap. Carol enjoyed running her hands through his hair, she was just glad he was back right where he belonged, with her.


Daryl awoke to the sound of soft cries. He scanned the room and saw that Merle and Beth were still sleeping soundly, but Carol and Judith were gone. He stood up letting his body crack and pop, he was getting too damn old to be sleeping on the floor. He sighed, shouldering his crossbow; he opened the door to the small exam room, beginning his search for Carol. When he opened the door he saw her sitting across from their room, rifle by her side and Judith in her arms. Carol looked up slightly adjusting the bottle in the baby's mouth, "Sorry if we woke you."

Daryl rubbed at the sleep in his eyes, "It's alright. Little Ass Kicker alright?"

Carol smiled down at the little girl in her arms, "Yeah she's fine, just hungry. I came out here so we didn't wake you all."

Daryl nodded sitting down next to her, "I heard her cry." Daryl leaned close to Carol looking down at little Judith, his finger catching hers, "Hey little ass kicker. Did you sleep?"

Carol sighed readjusting the baby over her shoulder, "Some."

Daryl studied her face, he could tell she hadn't, "When's the last time you got a good night's sleep?"

Carol shrugged, "I don't know, none of us are getting much sleep."

Daryl chuckled, "Not with Merle snoring like that." He winked at Carol and the two chuckled softly. Daryl was getting ready to order her to bed, when they heard the door of the doctor's office swing open. Carol pulled Judith into her chest, while Daryl helped her up and shoved her toward the exam room. Once Carol got inside she woke Merle, leaning down she whispered into his ear, "Someone's out there, Daryl's alone."

Merle snapped up off the floor, without a thought to his own injury, he pulled his knife and went out the door. Beth had woken up; she took the baby and moved to her hiding place from the previous night. Carol picked up her rifle and waited. Daryl opened the door a few minutes later, his heart swelled with pride when he saw Carol there with her rifle ready to shot anything or anyone that came through the door. He motioned her that it was alright, "It's Michonne."

Carol felt her shoulders relax, "Thank god is she alright."

Daryl nodded, his face turning dark, "Yeah, but she's got Andrea with her."

A few minutes later Michonne and Andrea sat on the floor of the small exam room hungrily eating the tins that Carol had opened for them. Daryl sat across from Michonne, "What the hell did you see back there?"

Michonne swallowed her food and glared at Daryl then Merle, "Walkers. The governor flooded the yard with walkers. The last I saw Rick and the others they were running in the opposite direction toward the woods. I made my way to the back entrance to the prison. The cars were all on fire. By the time I made the tree line, Andrea came running up to me."

Andrea hugged her knees her eyes teary, "I tried to kill him. I did, that night after I left you, I tried but I couldn't. But watching what he was doing, all the death. I tackled him to the ground when he started firing at Rick and the others. I ran after that, when I saw Michonne I knew I couldn't go back."

Daryl snorted, "So you thought we'd welcome you back? Lady you could've stopped all this shit."

Andrea nodded her head, "I know, I'm so sorry. But if it helps I think I saved Rick and the others."

Merle sighed from behind Daryl, "We need to head out baby brother, ain't no good sitting here. We know what the plan was."

Daryl nodded, standing he motioned for Andrea, "We need to talk and I don't trust your ass. You can stay for now, but I'll be damned if you're going to be listenin' in on where we're going."

Andrea sighed, she stood and walked out the door, she knew she had to work on building trust with these people. As she slid down the wall across from the exam room, she struggled with her own demons, praying that she could find some happiness in the dark world they lived in.

Inside the exam room, Daryl pulled out a map of Georgia, "Rick wanted us to wait in state for him. Said we could regroup somewhere and then the plan was to head to Canada."

Carol stood with Judith in her arms staring at the map, she bit her lip, "I think I know a place. We could make it safe."

Merle looked up at the tiny woman, "Oh yeah, where's that at sugar?" He was almost amused by the thought that the little spit fire of a woman would speak up; she hardly ever said a word at these little planning sessions.

Carol took a deep breath and pointed to a spot near Union County, "My pa has a junk yard here near the Blue Ridge River. I know it's locked up tight, I did it myself just a few weeks before the world went to shit."

Daryl looked thoughtfully at her, "Carol we need somewhere with shelter. I'm sure you want to go back somewhere that reminds you of your pa, but….."

Carol's face lit up, "It has shelter, our old house is in the center of the junk yard. My pa build the business around that house. Once he started really making money he bought us a new house in town, but the house is still there. He used it as his offices and after momma died he sold the house in town and went back to living there."

Daryl sighed, "Carol you know your pa's dead."

Carol gave a soft chuckle, "I know he's dead three years ago. I kept the junk yard; I needed to have somewhere in case I needed to get away from Ed. It's still there, so what do you think?"

Daryl gave her a soft smile, "Seems it's as good a place as any. Carol you leave the instructions for the others, Merle, Michonne, Andrea, and I will find us a few cars. Let's move, I want to be on the road by mid day."

It took them an hour to find two cars, after everything was loaded up Carol stood there holding Judith against her chest. Michonne grabbed Andrea pulling her to the car sitting behind the SUV. Daryl motioned to Beth, "Take Judith for awhile, Carol didn't sleep last night."

Carol sighed, "I'm fine."

Daryl opened the passenger side door and shoved her into the front seat, she frowned at him and he pointed at her, "No you're not. I'm driving, you're sleeping, that's an order."

Carol crossed her arms and scowled at him as she watched him make his way around the SUV. When he slid into the SUV he gave her a half smirk as he started the small group down the road. Carol turned around to see Merle staring wearily at Judith. Beth smiled at him, "Do you want to hold her?"

Merle looked up at the young woman in shock, "What? Me? Hell no, she ain't gonna shit is she?"

Beth blushed at his language, she giggled nervously, "Well she might, but don't worry I'll change her."

Merle snorted turning his attention to the window, muttering under his breath, "I think I'd rather take my chances with the fucking walkers over smelling that rug rat's ass."

Carol's head snapped back to Daryl when she felt his hand grasp hers. He looked at her briefly, "Sleep, NOW woman." He gave her hand one last squeeze and she smiled and leaned against the window closing her eyes. The sounds of Judith and Beth softly drifting to her ears, she let the sound of the SUV's engine ease her to sleep.

Alright there you go, it's just the start. Let me know what you think, lots more to come! I live for your reads, follows, favorites and your reviews are my drug! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love Kaye!