Hi everyone! I think I've finally broken through my writer's block!

So, these are gonna be little Caryl drabbles. I'll try to update as much as I can, whenever I can, but I can't promise you that I'll be consistent :(

Anyway, this drabble is my take on how the war with the Saviors really ended. It's completely AU, but I actually really like it, and wish it was like that on the show XD

I hope you enjoy! Please leave a favorite, follow, and review if you have the chance. Also, if you have any prompts feel free to share!

-M


Chapter One: One Step At a Time

His body trembled as he raised his crossbow at his new target, tears in his eyes as he thought about what he was about to do. "'M sorry, brother," he whispered, waiting for the newly turned walker to take just a couple more steps towards him before pulling the trigger.

Daryl collapsed the minute his arrow entered Rick's brain, all remaining life drained from the former sheriff's eyes. His world spun as his mind tried to process what had just happened: he had just killed his best friend. He sobbed quietly, hunched over himself.

Dead bodies were all around him, their stench burning through his nostrils. Negan was lying only a few feet away from him, a bolt in his head, his eyes staring longingly at the sky. His bat was held loosely in his right hand, its wood coated in blood; Rick's blood. By the time Daryl saw the bastard beat the former sheriff with Lucille and shot him down, it was too late. The job was done. Daryl could hear Negan taunting him, laughing maniacally at his mistake.

Behind him, familiar footsteps were coming closer and closer, and when he turned around, Daryl saw Carol standing in front of him, tears slowly making their way down her cheeks. "Hey, Pookie," she said weakly, sounding relieved. She was covered in blood, which was hopefully not her own, as well as a couple of scratches on her face. Her gaze traveled to the heavy, ragged cut starting from his shoulder blade and making its way down his arm. No doubt, it would leave a pretty nasty scar. Slowly, the woman walked over to him, watching as Daryl dropped his weapon and ran right into her arms, letting out a strangled gasp. She managed to laugh softly, feeling him bury his face in the crook of her neck. He shook in her embrace, both, out of shock and exhaustion. "I'm okay," she whispered in his ear, running her fingers through his tangled hair. "I'm right here."

Voices sounded nearby, signaling that the other survivors were ready to return home. Carol pulled away from her companion, pressing a soft kiss to Daryl's temple. "Come on," she said, resting her forehead against his own. "Let's go home."

With a nod, Daryl wrapped an arm around his broken ribs, suddenly having a hard time to breathe. His free hand found Carol's, and she gave it a small squeeze. "We're going to be okay," she assured him, her voice breaking.

It took the rest of the day to make it back to Alexandria. The severely injured ones were taken by carriage, while the others, either, walked or rode on the few horses they had. Daryl and Carol were those among the wounded. Since Carol wasn't as hurt as everyone else, she took to treating whoever she could, mostly focusing on Daryl. She hated how defeated he looked. He genuinely seemed to have lost all hope, despite their victory. Her only hope was that she would be able to help him recover from all this. He'd suffered too much to break down now.

Their house felt foreign to them as they finally closed the door behind them. They just stood there for a few minutes, silent, unsure of what to do next. The last few years had been filled with nothing but endless battles and destruction. Neither, Carol or Daryl really knew how to do anything else. They never had a chance to get away from all the chaos and actually take the time to just be.

Somehow, Carol found enough strength to step in front of her companion, cupping his face with gentle fingers and attempting to smile assuringly. "How about you go take a quick shower while I make dinner? We're probably both starving." She used her thumb to rub away some dried blood on his forehead, grateful it didn't belong to him. "Go on," she said at his hesitant expression, kissing him softly. "It's okay. I'll make some food, wash up myself, and then we'll go to bed. I think we deserve it."

She was finished by the time he was done with his shower, and when she saw him, she silently admired his heavy muscled chest. She never would be able to resist him, no matter how hard she tried. Bandages wrapped around his torso, as well as his entire arm. Blood was already seeping through. "Here," she said, pointing to the bowl of premade soup on the kitchen table. "Eat."

They ate quickly, wanting to just get some sleep and get the day over with.

Carol found Daryl sitting at the edge of the bed when she joined him in their room, staring at the wall. She sat down next to him, placing a gentle hand on his arm. He had begun to shake again during her absence. "You're okay," she murmured. "You're safe."

"Hmm," Daryl grunted. "I know." He let himself fall on the soft mattress, running his hands throughout his hair. "I know … Just, can't believe it's over."

"I know," Carol replied, running her hand through his long locks. Slowly and carefully, she gathered him in a tight embrace, curling up around him and holding him close. "But it is. What matters most is that we're here, together." She paused, unsure if she should say what was on her mind. "I … I don't know what I would've done if I'd lost you."

That was his breaking point. That was when Daryl began sobbing quietly, all the anger and confusion he had bottled up inside finally turning into pure grief. Together, they cried, finding comfort in being in each other's arms.

This, they realized, was their new reality. The only thing they could now is move forward, one step at a time.