Chapter 3…..Fort Davis

Guys you rock it! Thanks for all the love for our little story! Please make sure you send love to Athlete Girl! She really killed my feels with that last chapter in a good way. It hard to write such a moving sad chapter but I think she did it. My hat is off to her! It was moving! And well done

Ok, well the group is starting to really take some hits on the road. Looks like things might be getting better for our little rag tag group of survivors.

Thanks as always for your love for this story! You make our hearts beat a little harder! Hugs, Kaye and my much more beautiful cohort in crime, Athlete Girl

-Dusk-

Carol stood near the bed of the truck washing her hands over and over again. She felt like she would never get them clean. Today had ripped at her heart; she just hoped that Merle would find the words to help Beth through the loss. She had seen his face; she knew he was destroyed too, as were most of the group.

Daryl had gone off into the woods to try and find some meat for dinner; they needed to make sure that Beth kept her strength up. Sophia and Carl were sitting under a nearby tree playing with Tanner; both of them seemed to understand how horrible the day's events had been. Carol felt her eyes well up as she stared at Tanner; it could have been him, so easily been him. She walked over and got into the cab of the truck, turning her back to the door, she pulled her knees up to her chest and cried. She cried for Beth, Merle, their baby. She cried for her own children who were living on the run again and Carl. She cried for all the people they had lost. And she prayed. She prayed that God would see fit to shine down on them and give them a safe place.

Daryl couldn't handle his thoughts. When Carol had turned around and told them that Beth had lost the baby he needed to get away. He stood in the woods letting a few tears fall from his eyes. He knew how badly losing that baby had hurt his brother, Merle was just afraid of what kind of daddy he would be. Daryl knew and so did Beth, that Merle wasn't there daddy, he would make one hell of a daddy someday.

When Daryl finally got back he handed four squirrels and two rabbits to Patricia, who nodded at him. Daryl scanned the group seeing Sophia and Carl who were gathering wood for the fire. Maggie was holding Tanner talking to him as the little guy drank a bottle. Daryl looked at Patricia, "Where's Carol?"

Patricia sighed, "She needed a minute. She's just a little shook up darling. Merle and Beth haven't left the car, but Hershel checked on them, they're both asleep."

Daryl nodded, stopping at Maggie, who waved him off saying she wanted some time with Tanner. Daryl sighed when he got to the truck, he could hear her crying inside the cab. She must have been at it for awhile because the windows were steamed up. He walked around and opened the driver side door. She looked up at him and his heart fell, "Jesus woman." He got in and shut the door motioning for her to come to him, when she did he held her hard against him, kissing her softly on the forehead, "It's alright woman, she's fine."

Carol wasn't making much sense; he couldn't understand a damn thing she was saying. He sighed, rubbing her back, "Woman ain't gonna be able to help ya if ya don't settle the fuck down. Now come on, you're scarin' me." He stopped and thought about it, fear tickling up his back; he pulled away and looked at her, "Ya ain't pregnant again are ya?"

Carol let out a half laugh half sob, "NO!"

Daryl let out a big sigh, pulling her back into her chest, "Thank Christ. Now ya need to calm the fuck down, gonna scare the fuckin' walkers with all that."

Carol sighed into his chest, her breathing and tears settling, her man always knew how to calm her down. She took a shuttered breath, tracing the small chest hair sticking out of his shirt, "I'm scared for all of us. What happened today….the pain….we need some place for the kids….for all of us."

Daryl sighed, "I know woman, we're workin' on it. We need some place with walls, someplace we can really build up fortify."

Carol sat straight up staring at him. Daryl was worried again, "WHAT? WHAT DID I SAY?"

Carol just shook her head, opening her door, "COME ON!"

He sighed, the last time she had that look on her face, he ended up naked on her living room floor. He chuckled running after his head strong woman.

-Dusk-

Rick stood there listening as Carol rattled a shit ton of information at him and Daryl. They had the map out on the hood of Rick's truck. Rick smirked at Daryl, "She always like this?"

Daryl groaned, "You have no idea."

Carol took a deep breath pointing to the corner of the map where Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama met. "Right here! It's where the Battle of Davis was. There was an old Confederate Fort; they trained new recruits before sending them to Savannah. If it's still there…I mean it was a museum. But it had high walls all the around. Officer's housing, a school for their children, a large mess hall. I remember my daddy took me there once when I was little. Rick this could be it, I remember right outside the Fort was a small lake. We have to try!"

Rick nodded, looking over at Daryl, "Well we'll ask the others and see what they think, but if it's there like you say, we might be finally have luck on our side. Come on let's talk to the others."

Carol beamed at Daryl, her cheeks still stained with tears from earlier. He came up to her and ran his thumbs over her cheeks, smirking at her, "Really good woman, ya know that? You're fuckin' brilliant!"

-Dusk-

Rick gathered everyone; even Merle carried Beth down to sit by the little fire. Rick took a deep breath, "Carol here has an idea that might be worth a try. She remembered an old Civil War Fort, Fort Davis. If it's there we would have walls and space to spread out. Maybe build a life there."

Glenn sighed, "What if someone else is already there?"

Maggie nodded, "We don't need to run into another lunatic."

Tyreese shook his head, "It's better than running around like we are now. How far away is it?"

Rick looked at Daryl, who swallowed hard, "Rick and me think it'll take us about three days to get there, takin' the back roads. But it might be worth a try. Worse comes to worse, we can head out of Georgia, start over someplace."

Rick nodded, "It's a group decision though. So we'll vote on it."

Dale looked over at Patricia taking her hand, "I don't think we need to talk this over. We're running scared right now and if today has shown us anything we need to protect our family. And that's what we are, family. I say we back Rick and Daryl on this. I visited Fort Davis before; it's perfect for us if it's still standing."

The others nodded in agreement. Rick nodded to Daryl and Carol, "Alright let's eat dinner. We make for Fort Davis in the morning."

-Dusk-

Carol got Sophia and Tanner settled in the tent, Daryl was on watch and she wanted to check on Beth before she went to bed herself. She tiptoed to the small tent that her and Merle were sharing. Merle opened the flap giving her a sad smile, "What's wrong little sis?"

Carol gave him a tight lipped smile, "I just wanted to check on her tonight."

Merle looked back into the tent and then back to Carol, "Yeah, I'm gonna check in with Daryl and take a piss. Angel I'll be right back." Carol watched as he leaned down giving Beth a soft kiss and then he left.

Carol crawled in next to her; the young woman looked so tired and pale. Carol sat down and Beth put her head into Carol's lap, her voice barely a whisper, "When will it stop hurting?"

Carol brushed at her hair, "I don't know sweetie. I can tell you this from experience, you won't ever forget that baby, it will stay with you always, even though God took it from you."

Beth looked up at Carol with tears in her eyes, "You've lost a baby?"

Carol nodded, "Ed….it was for the best. I almost lost Sophia near the end, but she's a fighter that one. You're time will come sweetheart, I promise."

Beth nodded, tears streaming down her face, "I'm glad you're my sister Carol."

Carol hugged her, "Me too sweetie, me too."

-Dusk-

The first day was uneventful, Sophia read, Daryl drove, and Carol played with Tanner. That night they slept in an old gas station because the rain was heavy off the mountains. The second day, Sophia rode with Rick and Carl, even though Daryl wasn't happy about it, he agreed, trusting Rick and Michonne to watch over Sophia if anything happened.

But the third day was awful. They ran into a large herd which caused them to get cut off from the highway so they had to double back. Tanner was whiny because of being in the stuffy cab all day, which made Sophia grumpy, which made Daryl start. By the time they pulled up to the small camp site just outside of the Fort, Carol was ready to pull her hair out.

It was agreed that the men would go together with Carl and get the lay of the land on the Fort. Carol fidgeted next to the truck as Daryl gear up, the sun was close to setting and she knew they'd have to work quickly if they would make it back by dark. Sophia had tears running down her face, as she stood against the truck watching her dad, her arms crossed, "Why do you always have to go Daddy?"

Daryl frowned, kneeling down in front of his daughter, "Come on peaches, you know the drill. This is to find you, your brother, and your momma somewhere safe. I'll be fine. What's it I always say?"

Sophia groaned, "Nothing can kill a Dixon but a Dixon."

Daryl chuckled, "That's right peaches. Now stand up and give your daddy a proper hug."

Sophia stood up and wrapped her arms around her father's waist, hugging him tight like it was the last time. Daryl kissed the top of her head, "Now go say good bye to your little boyfriend, but no kissin' or my bow might accidentally go off and shot him in the ass."

Sophia growled at her father but headed toward Carl who was getting ready with his dad.

Daryl walked up to Carol and Tanner, his son reaching out for him grabbing his finger. Daryl stood there staring at their son, "Ya know this is for the best, don't cha?"

Carol nodded, trying to smile, "I know. Just be safe."

Daryl nodded still looking into his son's face, "I will be, ya just keep them both close to ya till I get home, ya hear me?" He looked up and cupped her cheek, "I love ya, ya hear me?"

Carol nodded, quickly wiping at tear, "I know, I love you and I'll take care of things here."

Merle walked up behind Daryl, "Carol….." He nodded toward Beth who was crying holding onto her father.

Carol nodded, "Don't worry we got her, it'll get easier, it's just the hormones."

Merle looked sick, "Alright, let's go baby brother."

Daryl leaned in kissing her, Carol didn't want to let. When they pulled away, she knew he didn't want to leave her either, his voice cracked, "I'll be back woman."

Carol nodded, "I know." He gave her one last nod and turned climbing in the bed of Rick's truck and then they were gone.

By sun down everyone was on pins and needles. They ate in silence, Dale and Maggie keeping watch. They kept close to the fire, trying to stay warm. Carol finally put Beth in their tent with Sophia and Tanner; Hershel had given her something to sleep. They were all worried, Carol stared at the moon, closing her eyes, she prayed, twisting the cross necklace in her hands, please let them be alright.

By morning, Hershel and Dale came to Carol, there had been no sign of them and the others were starting to stir. Hershel frowned putting his hand on her shoulder, "Carol, Rick and Daryl said if they didn't make it back by sun up that we were to move everybody back to the rest stop."

Carol pulled away from him, "NO, that was a whole day's drive away. I won't leave my husband and I know Beth won't leave with Merle, what about Maggie with Glen?"

Dale sighed, "They knew they could be walking into something bad. Daryl said I had to keep you and the kids safe. The fort is only ten miles down the road, if they were fine they'd be back by now."

Carol shook her head, "NO, I'm starting breakfast; you'll have to knock me out to get me to leave."

The two men watched her as she stormed toward the fire, getting ready for breakfast. They were just getting ready to go and try to talk to her, when they heard a vehicle approaching. Maggie and Dale both picked up their guns. But then Carol saw them, Daryl smirked as the truck came to a stop, he was covered in walker guts from head to toe, he looked exhausted, but she thought he was the most beautiful thing ever.

She ran to him and he caught her as she wrapped herself around him, muttering into his neck, "I was so scared. So scared."

Daryl chuckled, looking over at his brother who was kissing Beth to beat the band. Daryl closed his eyes, taking in her scent, "Ain't ever have to worry woman, I'll always fine ya, no matter what. Come on woman let's pack up the kids and go see our new home."

Alright! They made the Fort! I hope you are all doing a little happy dance right now! Hugs! Kaye