Chapter 23….Best of the World

Well this little story has come to a close! I'm getting my happy feels going! Thank you guys so much for taking so much time to travel this journey with me. I really, really loved this story! I think it was something a little different for me.

-Till I Was Dead-

Daryl was in and out as they travelled back to the peninsula. Rick and the others had taken out the small group of men. When he got to the car where Martinez had shoved Daryl, Rick looked him over, smiling, "Damn brother, I'm fucking happy to see you."

Daryl's head was resting against the seat of the car; he gave Rick a half smirk, "Can't get rid of me that quick. That dumb Mexican is still trying to get my girl."

Martinez smirked, looking at Rick, "I gave him some pain killers for his shoulder. Stupid fucker won't stop talking about her."

Rick nodded, "Let's move, get him home maybe he won't miss the birth of the baby."

Daryl chuckled, "I'm havin' another kid….did you know Rick?"

Rick shook his head looking at Martinez in the seat next to him, "How much did you give him?"

Martinez shrugged, "Three pills, he's just stoned, he'll be fine. Besides I kind of like him this way."

Rick laughed, pulling them onto the highway. An hour later they pulled in front of Daryl and Carol's cabin. There were people everywhere. Rick sighed looking at Martinez, "Do you mind getting him inside, I need to find Karen."

Martinez nodded, "I got this, don't worry."

Daryl came awake when Martinez lifted him from the car; he leaned heavily into the man as he walked him into the cabin. Daryl's head came up when he heard the muffled screaming of a baby. Maggie smiled at him walking toward him, "Looks whose here, your daddy finally showed up."

Martinez sat Daryl at the kitchen table knowing he wouldn't be able to hold the baby with his shoulder and the pain killers. Daryl looked up at Maggie, "Carol?"

Maggie smirked, "It was bad, but we got the bleeding stopped, she's held her, but she's resting right now. She was so upset over you, we slipped her a sedative. Now meet your daughter."

Maggie eased the little girl into his arms and Daryl's breath caught. He couldn't pinpoint the moment that the little baby girl in his arms took his heart, but she did. Staring up at him with the same blue eyes that her momma had. He choked on a sob, his rough callous finger going to her cheek to stroke it, "Hey there little one, I'm your daddy. Sorry I wasn't here, but I promise I won't ever not be here again."

From the bedroom he heard Carol, her voice strained, "DARYL!"

Daryl pulled himself up and swayed on his feet. Martinez and Maggie both moved, Maggie taking the baby while Martinez helped to steady Daryl, "WOMAN! I'm here."

Martinez all but carried him up the three small steps and sat him on the bed next to Carol. Daryl leaned in kissing her hard, his forehead going to hers, "Jesus woman ya did so good. She's so damn pretty just like her momma."

Carol put her hands on his face, "Baby what did they do to you?"

Daryl shook his head, "I'm fine, just dislocated my shoulder is all. Are ya alright?"

Carol nodded, "I'm fine, I was so scared."

Daryl huffed, "I told ya I ain't leavin' ya woman, I fuckin' meant it."

Maggie smiled as she moved in to give Carol the baby. "I best go get Cody; he's been raising hell to be in here with ya two."

Daryl nodded to her, grabbing her hand, "Thank ya for takin' care of my family."

Maggie squeezed his hand, "They're my family too remember?" She put her arms around him, whispering into his ear, "I'm so glad you're alright, ya had me scared."

Daryl huffed, tightening his hold on her, "Ain't nothin' gonna kill me but me."

He let Maggie go and knew that Martinez was hovering nearby, just in case he passed out, but he didn't care. He leaned over the baby and kissed his wife with everything he had left. He pulled back and smiled at her, "We did real good didn't we?"

Carol nodded, looking down into the baby face, "We sure did. I love you."

Daryl smirked, his finger now in his daughter's vice grip, "I love ya too."

-Till I Was Dead-

Daryl stood on the edge of the water staring out at the lake that had been their home for the past twenty years. He missed her on days like this. Clear calm days when they use to walk the water's edge together hand and hand. She had broke their pact, she got sick about five years before. It started out as a cough and turned into what their new doc had thought was lung cancer, that spread through her body fast. She had held on as long as she could his woman, fighting to last. But in the end her body couldn't keep going. That last night had been awful and she made him promise that he would hold on till Katherine Rose was married before he joined her. They had sixteen years together and he was grateful for every damn minute.

After Carol died he was lost, barely moving through a day without thinking that he should eat his gun. But then Cody and Judith had gotten married, giving him and Carol their first grandchild, little Carol Ann. She became his world. He fussed over the little girl like nothing no one had ever seen. Rick laughed and said it wasn't fair he had no chance in being the favorite grandpa when Daryl was with her so much.

Now today he had given his baby girl Katie over to another man to take care of her. He had done as she asked, he made sure that Katie and Cody were happy and with someone. He just hoped that he had the courage to be with her, they'd always said that if one of them went, the grave digger better dig two.

He stared at the water and swore he heard her voice coming off the water, telling him to come home. He felt a hand on his back and he turned to stare into the glowing face of his daughter, "Daddy, you doing alright?"

Daryl nodded, running his hand through his scruff which was almost all grey now, "I'm fine Katie girl, just thinkin' of your momma today. She would've been damn proud of ya."

Katie leaned against her father's shoulder, "I miss her too. Come on let's get you back. You said your arm was hurting maybe Doc Miller has something for those aches and pains."

Daryl nodded, putting his arm around his daughter and heading back toward their home.

That night as he lay in bed, his chest felt heavy. He eased back into bed, untucking Carol's sweater where he hid it under her pillow. He pulled it up into his face, taking a deep breath of it, "I love ya woman."

That's how they found him the next morning, curled up around the sweater. Doc said it was a heart attack, but Cody and Katie both knew it was a broken heart. He'd made his promise and stay till they were both happy and now he'd gone on to be with their momma.

-Till I Was Dead-

Daryl stood at the edge of a familiar place, he wasn't sure where he was at first and then it dawned on him that this was quarry. The very first place he ever saw her. He felt a warm hand slip into his and turned smiling, "I didn't think I'd find ya."

Carol smiled at him, "I never went far baby, I was just getting everything ready for you. I missed you."

Daryl turned to her, they were young and healthy, both of them had a weird glow to them almost, "Is this heaven?" His hand coming out to brush against her cheek.

Carol closed her eyes and smiled at his touch; she opened her eyes and smiled, "Yes baby, you can rest now. You did so good."

Daryl leaned in and their lips touched, the two souls that were always made for each other, found their happiness together in the end as it should be. Carol pulled back, "Come on! You have to see the others."

Daryl let her pull him along down a path, he could hear familiar places and he knew he was home. It was a large cabin so many rooms to it. Carol pulled him through the door and they were all there, all the ones they lost. Hershel, Sophia, Beth, and his brother Merle. Sophia ran up and hugged them both, before running off to play. Hershel nodded to him as he sat next to a cozy fire, his wife Jo sitting next to him. Merle and Beth were sitting together, Beth on Merle's lap, she was singing softly.

Daryl realized it was the song he first danced with Carol to at Maggie and Glenn's wedding. "I told you on the day we met I was gonna love ya till I was dead."

Daryl put his hand in Carol's, looking at her, "I love ya beyond death."

Carol smiled, "I do too. Till forever."

Daryl nodded, "Till forever."

Ok, there you go! I hope you liked the ending. Sappy, but hey I'm all about the sap lately! I killed Carol before Daryl. That about killed me. But I did it. Still gave you the same old everybody together in heaven deal, because honestly it's Caryl and I can't not have that ending. They die old and end up in heaven together! Ok, do your thing, REVIEW ME!