It was over, at least this chapter in the prison survivors hellish life was over.

The governor was dead, killed by Rick. The battle was a long and hard one, but in the end the Atlanta survivors manged to pull through together, and keep the prison safe.

Now they had been left with the task of picking up the pieces after the war with Woodbury had ended. Though at the moment, everyone was just trying to catch their breath.

Looking into the night sky was a boy, slowly turning into a man. Carl Grimes wondered where life was going to take him and his survivor family now that the Governor was dead. They had talked about living on the road again, but that was quickly shot down, Judith, aka lil ass-kicker, was still too young to travel, and they wouldn't risk losing her for anything. Though Carl knew that they'd have to cross that bridge sooner or later.

The next option was to set up camp at Woodbury. After the Governor had been killed by Rick, the people had elected to put Milton in charge, seeing as he had still been a trusted and respected man. At first the meek man had protested, saying he was just a scientist, not a leader, but eventually Milton gave in to the people's demands, promising to lead the people as best he could. Merle even choose to stay behind and help out with the reform.

During the war, Merle had stepped up and became a valued member of the group, but even Carl wasn't naïve enough to think that there still wasn't scars left over from the past. So after the smoke had cleared, Merle had opted to go back to Woodbury, claiming it was where he belonged, saying he had missed the town and its damn fine library. He even invited Daryl to come with him, but the younger Dixon declined. The two brothers parted ways again, but content that they'd meet again some day.

So now the group had just made the call to stay at the prison, just till at least the up coming winter had passed. The seasons were changing, and no one wanted to live on the road again during the bitter winter months.

As Carl continued to star gaze, his mind began to wonder about how much things have changed since their little war had ended with the governor, how much they had changed since it all ended. Each one of the survivors had been to take a life, and in the heart of battle, they even thought twice, but like wars, once the battles, you find yourself looking back at all the people you had to kill. No one regretted their choices, but when the dust settles, they all made sure to give their own respects to all they had lost since arriving at the prison.

Since the Governor's death, Glenn had finally gone back to being the more friendly man they had all gotten to love, he had let go of all the rage and hatred he had formed for almost everything during the war. At last being at peace knowing the man who hurt Maggie was dead and gone. Things had long since gone back to normal with him and her, something that made everyone happy to see. Now their back to all that sappy crap, and spending hours in the guard tower.

Hershel had gotten a new leg made for him, that had been designed by none other than Merle Dixon. The elder Dixon had spent days looking for every part he needed, and even longer building it. Hershel seemed to be one of the few people who Merle had gotten along with from the start at the prison. Maybe it was because of their similar pasts, or their own battles with substance abuse, or maybe just because Merle needed another ally that wasn't Daryl, but Merle seemed to really grow to respect the man. The farmer had been very grateful to be walking on two feet again, and no longer looked at as a weak spot in the group. Merle just said he had done it because of being bored, but everyone knew the truth. Merle had grown to respect the man as the father he never had.

Carol had taken to taking care of his little sister just like she was his own, and everyone had been thankful for that. Her role hadn't been restricted though to substitute mother, she had become an active advocate with Andrea when it came to dealing with Woodberry, the two woman would keep tabs on the town, feeling it was their duty to make sure the town stayed safe from walkers, and to help Milton and Merle whenever they could. The eyes that had once been filled with inconsolable sadness, had now been replaced with a strong determination to survive in this new world, and help build a better tomorrow.

Speaking of the blonde ex lawyer, Andrea had returned to the group, even though she loved the people of Woodberry, she had loved the group more. Feeling that her place was with them, and if that meant leaving Woodbury than that's what she would do. It had started out as such an odd thing, a woman they had all thought dead so long ago, was now back with them, fighting the good fight.

Their was also the budding romance between her and the younger Dixon, yet Daryl would just deny any knowledge of that being true. The man loved his privacy and the group respected that, nevertheless it never stopped anyone from giving a knowing smile when Andrea and Daryl would disappear together. The group could wait to the two confessed, but that wouldn't stop any of the woman (or Glenn) from making up friendly gossip about Andrea and Daryl.

His sister Judith was now started to crawl, and since she started she had made it her mission to make anyone's life a living hell who had watched her. Carl could remember many of times see Carol chasing after lil ass-kicker since the child had taken after Carl's habit of wondering off. Now everyone would always be telling her to stay in her crib.

The smile that Carl hadn't even noticed he was sporting was slowly fading, as memories of his baby sister were slowly being replaced with worry, as his mind had started to think of his father.

Even though his father had saved the group from the Governor and lead them to winning their war with the mad man, Rick's mental health had taken a heavy blow. Once the fighting had died down, his father had finally had time to accept that he wasn't in the best of places anymore. The guilt, regret and rage, that had boiled up inside him, had slowly started to eat away at his father. It was those same feelings that Rick had made the choice to leave the group

There had been screaming, crying, and in Daryl's case, cursing, lots of cursing. To this day, Carl still can't get anyone to explain what half of the words Daryl said had meant, and not for lack of trying.

After everyone had said what they needed to say, Rick explained he wasn't going to be leaving forever. He just needed to work somethings out in his head. There were things inside his fathers had, really bad stuff, that was effecting him leading the group, they knew that, and Rick knew that. It was never spoken, but it was a known fact by everyone that his father hadn't been the same since Carl's mother died.

Rick said he'd be back, but he just needed time away from everything, and now that everyone was safe, he thought it was the perfect time. Rick had placed Daryl in charge, saying that he had proven he could be a great leader and trusted his judgment, and had been the most suited to take over in his absence.

The truth of the matter is his dad was right. Daryl was one of the best warriors among them, the most level-headed, and had become his father's brother in everything but blood. Carl had even started to call him Uncle Daryl...only not when Daryl was around...and only in his head.

With that his father left, yet he hadn't left alone. Michonne had chosen to walk the same road Rick had chosen to walk. Something almost everyone had been surprised to hear, well everyone but Carl. He saw the way Michonne had looked at his father, their was understanding in her eyes, something she'd never voice to anyone, but Carl knew the silent swordswoman knew more of what his father was going through than she'd let on.

So, two weeks ago his father had left with Michonne, leaving to find whatever he was looking for, and come to peace with all the choices and actions he had done since this world they lived in had gone to hell. Carl wished his father the best, and he hoped that Michonne could help his Father return faster to his old self.

Carl would try to deny it to himself, but he really missed his parents. It's not that he felt ashamed to admit his love for them, it was just that ever since he had to shoot his mother, and his father had left on his own personal quest for peace, Carl was left again to raise himself, yet he wouldn't say he was fully alone.

Everyone tried to help him through everything, Carol would offer mothering words, words that only a mother who lost her daughter could say to a son who lost his mother. Merle and Daryl had helped with their understanding of the boy, since both had their own troubled childhoods of their own, they understood the sadness that would seep into his eyes when he'd think of his mother or father. Hershel with his wise words, and kind eyes. Glenn with his positive way of thinking, and Maggie with her honest words that his father was a strong man, and would come back to them all.

Suddenly Carl felt a pair of arms wrap around his body from behind, and felt the heat of someone resting their head on top of his shoulder. Carl couldn't even suppress the soft smile that had begun to form on his face. He could also feel the culprit of this surprise hug being no one other than Beth Greene, and Carl had thanked whatever god there was left out their that he had finally hit a growth spurt.

'Nothing sucks worse than being shorter than even the shortest girl in the entire group.' Carl thought to himself.

The two were starting to become even more close after the war, since they had been close in age to each other, the two had now looked to the other for strength and moral support when they could. Ever since Rick had left, Beth was there for Carl, trying to make sure he wouldn't fall into the depression she did when she almost killed herself. She knew he wouldn't ever do that though, not even ever think of it. Carl had become stronger in this new world, and Beth knew he'd live to see the end of this nightmare no matter what.

The truth is, the two teens feelings for each other hadn't been said out loud, but Beth knew Carl had developed feelings for her, and her for him, yet she'd hadn't acted on them at the moment. The older girl wanted Carl to make the first move, she wanted him to have a choice on if they'd move forward with whatever was forming between them. She cared about him, hell, Beth knew it was love she was feeling, she just didn't want to rush him into anything they weren't both ready for.

Oh, but Carl did know how he felt about Beth. At first his feelings had been just a crush, smiles and winks of two teens not really knowing what to say or feel. Yet after hid mother died, after his father left, and after everything that had happened, Carl knew that nothing last forever, that one day he could lose Beth, or he could be lost himself, that in itself had made him realize that he had fallen in love the youngest Greene girl.

As the moon started to disappear from view, and the sun had begun to shine the world in its glow, Carl couldn't help but think of better tomorrow, where his dad would return to the group, where they'd find a way to escape the walkers, and the rest of the evils of the world they lived.

Carl wasn't going to let his mind linger on the perfect future too long, tomorrow is tomorrow and today is today, and at this moment he was content to stay in the arms of the woman he loved.

For the first time since Beth had arrived, Carl had turned his eyes to meet hers, and before he knew what he was doing, his lips had connected with hers. The kiss was short, but it was enough for Carl to feel the happiest he had been in what felt like forever, feeling even happier when he saw smile that was growing on Beth's face as he pulled away.

The two teens stared into each others eyes after the kiss, but had soon gone back to looking at the sunrise. They didn't need to say anything, at least not now, they just wanted to enjoy each others company a bit longer. For the first time, in a long time, they had the chance to just relax and enjoy their lives.

This life wasn't perfect, but even in the old world, nothing could truly be perfect, and yet at this moment, Carl Grimes was content and happy with his life. He knew that no matter what else would happen in life, he'd face this new world with his family and the people he loved.


Well that's what I get for writing something at 3 am in the morning.

I just felt like writing a little something about the future after the war with the Governor was over. I know that this isn't going to happen, but it's nice to dream. I'd just hope it'd go something like this, but ya know, more artistic, since I can't even hold a candle to the Walking Dead writers. The pairings were just a little throw in, Andrea and Daryl is just something I love, and Beth and Carl is just sweet to read/watch for me. Michonne and Rick could be looked at as a friendship thing forming, but whatever, I'm not picking on where they end up.

Anyway Hoped ya liked it, and if ya didn't I'm sorry ha-ha. I'll try to do better next time!

-Solareon

P.S. I had cleaned up this fic a bit, so now it sucks less!