The wind whistled through the trees like fleeting spirits. She could see it approaching but she couldn't get herself to move.

The taunting voice of Alpha had disappeared long before but the words still haunted her.

She was ready to let go. To pay for her sins against her friends and her children.

She could smell it now. The stink of the dead. A smell that will make your stomach churn and your eyes water. It did none of that to her at the moment though. She was too far into her own head, her own heart. They both hurt and both felt like they could break at any moment.

Closing her eyes she said a final apology to Daryl and resolved herself to her fate. The fact the log on top of her wouldn't budge and she had no weapon for her free hand, was a good indication she wouldn't survive. She hummed Sophia's favorite song as the growling got even closer.

She waited.

She heard a growl and the the weight of the log vanishing from her body. Opening her eyes she saw the last person in the world she ever thought to see, Negan.

"Hey bitch queen, you aren't dying that easily especially since you promised me a free pass to your community. Plus Lydia here needs ole Papa Negan to protect her" he said pointing to the teenage girl next to him.

Carol looked over and Lydia gave a small wave. Carol gave a weak smile and looked back at Negan who was all grins.

"What are you grinning at you lunatic" Carol said hoarsely. "At you of course. Now get off your sore ass and let's take this adorable young lady back to the safety of our lovely home" Negan said stretching out his hand.

Carol scoffed but took his hand, allowing him to handle her weight since her legs didn't seem to want to work that well.

Wrapping one arm around Negan's neck the three of them headed back.

"You know big, dumb and ugly isn't going to let this go easily" Negan said as they walked. Neither Lydia or Carol said anything but nodded in agreement.

Thankfully for Carol's sake things got silent again. She was thankful though that Negan was as strong as he was and could help her walk.

Carol could smell the sweat running down Negan's back and neck and while most people would be turned off, she was tantalized by it.

Not since Ezekiel had she felt such excitement run through her body, though

she wouldn't ever allow him to know that.

"I remember helping Lucille walk in her final days on Earth just like this. She would hold tightly and sometimes we would even dance a little" Negan said to no one in particular.

Looking over at him, Carol noticed the sun glistening off the tears forming at the edges of his eyes.

He continued on about some dance they went to a week before she was hospitalized.

Carol would've normally asked him to shut up but obviously he needed to talk and seeing as she was only alive because he saved her, she could let him talk.

Carol groaned as they approached the gates of Alexandria. The last person in the world she wanted to see was waiting there, Daryl Dixon and his pregnant fiancé, Connie.

Daryl ran over and hugged Carol tightly and thanked Negan and Lydia for saving her. Carol hugged him back as well as she could and told him she would be alright. She wasn't ready to talk and thankfully no one was going to make her.

Once inside, Carol tried to head home but nearly tripped and once again Negan was somehow there to catch her. His hands on her waist sent shivers to places they shouldn't be but she kept herself poised. That was never going to happen, especially with him.

Michonne came over and checked on her but like she had for the last six years, totally ignored Daryl's existence. She had found out what him and Maggie had done and the only time she talked to either was if she had to for the safety of the people. It hurt Daryl but Carol understood why Michonne was so angry.

Rick had not only saved Daryl on countless occasions but had also allowed himself to be beaten and tortured by the saviors to save Abraham and Glenn's life. But when Rick decided to spare Negan's, that made Maggie and Daryl plot against Rick in order to kill Negan.

Well, their plot didn't go very well because Gabriel was with Negan when Maggie got to his cell so she couldn't kill him but Rick ended up getting killed in an explosion on the bridge they were building.

Carol watched as a tired and heart broken Michonne headed back to her house to be with their son and daughter, totally ignoring Maggie and Glenn as they walked by.

"I'm getting tired, can you help me to the house Negan?" Carol asked wanting to get away from the prying eyes that seemed to be on her and Negan. "Of course my lady. Come on Lydia, let's get lady dragon home" Negan said and led both Carol and Lydia to the house.

Once inside Carol collapsed onto her couch and put her head in her hands. The world was spinning and for some reason she couldn't stop it.

"Want some water Carol?" Lydia asked softly putting the glass on the table in front of her. Carol nodded and drank a little. "Thank you Lydia, that hit the spot" carol said grateful the world was spinning a little slower. "Your welcome" Lydia said and sat down giving Carol a giant side hug.

That's when she heard the clanking of pots and pans and looked towards the kitchen. "He's making what he calls his favorite dish but I think it's the only one he knows" Lydia said trying to stifle a laugh but was glad when she got a chuckle out of Carol.

An hour later the three of them were sitting at the dinner table enjoying Negan's specialty, pasta and bread. Carol couldn't believe how good it actually tasted.

As they finished Lydia put her fork down and cleared her throat causing both Negan and Carol to look at her.

"I have to tell you both something. It will be hard to believe but you have to try. First of all, Carl faked his death because he believes that Sophia is out there and he went to look for her. He told me that the burn mark on her leg wasn't there when he looked at her supposed Walker. Two: supposedly some dude named Shane didn't actually turn like Carl's dad had said but had disappeared into the forest. Three: That wasn't Henry's head but someone I found that looked like him. I had him hide in a cave but I haven't had the time to say anything or go and get him" and with the last one Lydia hid her fave in her hands and cried.

Carol got up and wrapped her arms around her from behind. "Then we will go together" she said softly. Negan smiled and said "well then, I'll get the supplies ready and we will head out at first light".

Lydia looked up, hugged both of them and ran to her room to grab her stuff.

Once out of hearing range, Negan said softly "do you believe her"? Carol nodded and said "I do. Something in her voice tells me it's the truth so once we have Henry we will try to find Carl and see if his hunch was right".

"Damn woman when your motivated you waste no time. That's damn right sexy" Negan said licking his lips.

Carol felt that tingling again and said with a slight growl "prove to me your worth my energy and maybe you'll receive a gift".

Negan returned the growl and after pushing the plates off the table, he got up and picking her up tenderly as not to hurt her placed her on the table on her back.

"Hey kid, stay in that room for like an hour" Negan shouted. "Whatever old man, I know that means sex so I don't want to go out but thanks for the warning" Lydia shouted back shutting her door harder than she really had to.

The closing of the door seemed to open an animalistic instinct in both of them. Carol pulled Negan's jacket off as he released her from her shirt.

After a few minutes, Negan was on his hands and knees completely naked looking down at Carol. Licking his lips he proceeded to follow the curvature of her body with his tongue making his way to her breasts which had nipples rock hard and ready for his tongue.

"They sure know whose the boss" Negan said as he nipped at the right one receiving a low and guttural growl from the beauty below him. So, he did it again this time a little harder making her body shake in pleasure and his hand that had been exploring the soft places between her thighs felt the wetness from that pleasure.

"Well then Carol, shall I show you were some of my other skills lie?" Negan said while teasing her soaking clit with his fingers. "If it's anything like your spaghetti it will be basic" Carol said with a grin causing Negan to growl deeply and without notice plunged his hard dick into her very wet pussy and slammed in and out making Carol's body wrack in pleasure. He felt her sides clench against his cock as she was washed over by her orgasm and a few minutes later he was rocked by his own.

Pulling out he kissed carol on the forehead and gently picked her up and took her to her bedroom lying her down softly in the bed. Just as she got settled they heard Lydia's door open and laughed. "Guess we finished in time" Negan said with a laugh as he wiped her clean with a towel.

Carol's eyes went between awake and asleep. She hadn't felt this relaxed since everything imploded with Ezekiel. "Just sleep, we've got a long journey ahead" Negan whispered and with a slight nod she closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Smiling, Negan looked one more time at Carol, put on a pair of jeans, cleaned the table, made sure Lydia got to bed and crawled into bed next to Carol. For the first time in a long time he felt he could move forward.

Kissing Carol softly on the forehead he whispered "goodnight beautiful. After we find your kiddos maybe we can be something else". And with that Negan actually fell asleep for the first time in a long time.