Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or themes in this fanfiction. Nor do I receive any monetary gain from this. It all belongs to the creators of the Walking Dead. I just enjoy toying with it.
A/N: Much love and thanks to my beta and all of you who read. Any mistakes are my own, because I can't stop myself from messing with it after Tam edits.
Again I reiterate this is a sad fic with character deaths.
It had been a little over twenty four hours since they'd stumbled over that duffle bag in the dusk outside Terminus. Twenty four hours ago they had sat watching the goings and comings of the place trying to find their own among the residents. Less than twenty four hours and Carol had come up with a plan to get their people out.
The first thing they'd done was watch from whatever vantage point they could find, hoping against hope that the place would be the safe haven that was plastered across the signs on the tracks. In the first hour they saw people smiling as they worked side by side, helping each other, as it had been for them at the prison. The second hour doubts crept in as they would catch small glimpses of things that reminded them of their own people, items that should not be there unless attached to one of their family. Items they couldn't see clearly and prayed were not what they thought. When they hadn't caught a glimpse of even one of their people they had taken to finding every semi-open spot and casing the old railway terminal.
The third hour, as they moved around the perimeter, they saw train cars and could clearly hear muffled voices coming from inside. They got as close to the fence as was possible without being seen and tried to listen for the voice of someone they knew inside the hulking pieces of metal when two men with guns strapped to their backs walked into view.
They waited, hearing a woman's cries coming from inside of the car the two men opened. They watched as a man was lead away at gun point and followed further to the right of the old train depot yard. Gunfire cracked like thunder in the air as the man they'd taken fell dead.
"I hope this one eats good. That last one was a bit on the tough side," one of the men laughed.
Tyreese's eyes were huge, the pupils almost blown, and he started to shake.
"Oh, God…Oh, God, they're eating them! What if Sasha's in there?" he whispered.
"If they're in there, it hasn't been that long. We'll get them out," Carol stated firmly, her eyes going black with anger. It was worse than she'd ever imagined and they had to work quickly if they were going to get them out.
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Tyreese went in at dark, silently cutting the fence behind the train cars as Carol fed Judith, keeping her happy and quiet. He could see guards on the rooftops and worked quickly and quietly. The first car he went to was empty. In the second, he found Sasha as well as Rick and some of the others. There was no way for him to get the door open without drawing the attention of their captors. Instead, he gave them a warning to be ready at dawn. Rick informed him that they'd been working on the lock of their car and would have it open by morning.
Carol and Tyreese decided since she was the better shot, Carol would work on taking out the snipers as soon as the sun began to rise. Tyreese would be stationed behind a large oak tree with Judith tucked against its base, safe from stray bullets. It would be his job to pick off anyone who came into the yard.
It was the best they could do. It was all they had.
As the bullets began to fly in the predawn light, Carol took out one, two, then three in quick succession. She continued to kill several more as people began spilling into the train yard ready to defend it. Tyreese aimed, breathed in and thought of Sasha, pulling the trigger and caught the first of his prey right between the eyes. Shooting in rapid fire he took down several more before looking over at his companion.
She was like an avenging angel with the sun glinting off her silver hair, face set in stone. Tenacious, nothing would stop her from freeing those she loved. Just as Tyreese killed another who'd run into the yard armed, he heard a yelp and looked over to Carol.
"Fine," she grunted while taking her hand from the side of her chest and firing off more rounds, killing two more cannibals quickly and efficiently.
When they were down to only two or three left defending Terminus, Tyreese left Judith behind her tree and made his way to Carol. He knew something was really wrong the moment she missed two shots in a row.
Kneeling down beside her, he saw the blood and heard her labored breathing.
"You gotta finish 'em Ty. Get our family out…I'll take care of myself." Carol strained, trying to suck in air.
"You'll be fine," he prayed, pressing his hand to her wounded side. "It's just a scratch."
Carol scrambled to her knees trying to force her legs to work and find purchase on the ground, "Think the bullet must of broke a rib…lungs filling…Don't tell them. Don't tell Daryl, please." She thought of sweet Mika and poor Lizzie, barely able to kneel there on her knees and try to keep shooting.
Shouting drew Tyreese back to the people in the yard and he began firing again, laying down cover, as he heard the train car's door open.
Rick, Daryl and Michonne exited first, covering the others in hopes of shielding them from harm as the group made their way to the fence.
"Here! Over here," Tyreese shouted by the cut fence.
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Daryl brought up the rear, using his body to shelter the others. His mind focused on getting them out, getting them free, getting to Carol. He hadn't missed a word Tyreese had said to Sasha and Rick in the hours before.
She was alive. She was with Tyreese, had saved him from what the big man said, and at that moment was keeping Lil' Asskicker happy. And she had come up with a plan.
Daryl knew he had to keep their family safe for her. Knew he had to tell her how he felt when they made it out of this shit. Knew he couldn't live with what ifs and regret. She was his and he was hers and he needed her to know that.
He felt a bullet graze his leg, stinging pain lancing up, causing a falter in his step. Have to keep moving. Have to keep going…for her.
Tyreese began to shout, showing them the way to their freedom, and Daryl pushed on. He ignored the blood seeping down his leg and the sudden fire that arced through his back.
As he forced himself through the hole, Daryl's eyes sought her, finding her off to his left. The sunlight glinted off her form, making her look almost ethereal. She was kneeling upon her knees, head hanging. Her chin rested on her chest and a semiautomatic was clutched against her side. Stumbling, he moved toward her as quickly as possible, each step a focus in agony.
"Carol! Carol!" he shouted in brisk repetition, falling beside her and drawing her into his arms.
"You're here…with me," Carol wheezed.
Daryl smiled down at her with that crooked smile she loved so. He noticed how pale her skin was, how unfocused her eyes seemed, how her body fell against him like a ragdoll.
"No! No, sweetheart, stay with me. I got you. We'll fix this," Daryl pleaded as his hand came away from her side covered in blood.
"Can't fix this Dixon. Just is," she murmured, hand raising to brush his cheek. "Always loved you, ya know."
"Love you too, sweetheart. Just rest, I gotcha…won't let ya turn," he stated firmly, tears running down his cheeks. His heart beat wildly as he pulled the small six shooter from the holster on her side.
Daryl felt wildfire burning through him from the bullet lodged in his guts as her head fell to the crook of his neck. He felt her faltering breath upon his neck. As the life stuttered slowly from Carol's body, he tilted her back to look at her face. Needing to see her eyes one last time, before he raised the gun and pressed it to her temple.
His hand shook as Carol pressed her lips to his cheek with the last ounce of her being, a sigh of love leaving with her soul as she slumped lifeless in his arms.
"I'll see you soon," he whispered as he pulled the trigger then turned the gun on himself. He'd left his friends behind, they were nothing but fleeting memories as his own body began to shy away from existence.
A second shot rang out into the morning light before any of their loved ones knew what was happening.