I was unbelievably astounded at the lovely responses that I got for my first story, you are all lovely people. So much so, that I have picked up my writing pen again (metaphorically) to try my hand at another Beth/Daryl story. I shall be totally honest in saying, unlike the last, I have absolutely no idea where this is going- I mean seriously I wrote the other one backwards. Suggestions are welcome and enjoy!

There must be more to her. She must be, I don't know, feisty underneath all that sweetness. She must have something. Mustn't she? Or why would a guy like that, want a girl like her? Maybe he's playing her, maybe she's playing us or maybe he can see something we can't.

She slows him down. In this world you can't be slowed down.

If you leave the safety of being locked in, the early morning the streets look like they did before. You can almost believe the people are alive, you can almost imagine them rushing out to work calling greetings to their neighbours. That's idealised. They probably called out to their wives some lame excuse about a meeting after work, when really they're screwing their personal assistant. What I'd give to see a cheating husband. What I'd give to see anyone. Alive I mean.

3 years. That's 3 Christmases. Last winter it snowed, so I decided that day was Christmas. My group-because I had a group then- we gave each-other gifts: jewellery stolen from dead undead corpses, new backpacks, a jar of peanut butter. You know, the luxury stuff. Their group was doing the same thing, back when they had a group. Herschel, the old wise man of the group, filled in the festivities with his biblical stories. His youngest, Beth, sang songs she remembered, and helped Carol pull together a Christmas meal from odds and ends.

You miss it. Things like that, company and food and laughter. Before all this shit we would all roll our eyes and say 'Christmas is all about family', but you don't mean it. Unless you're still breathing now.

Daryl is the one who hunts. You can see it in his muscles and the way he holds himself so still, like a deer, waiting to fight or run. He's expecting danger, always.

There he is now, crouched in the wood, waiting. He'll catch something, he knows he has to, for both of them. The green foliage is probably covering old blood stains, in this world you're lucky to find a place free from any guts or gore, but in this place at least, nature is taking back over. It's why Daryl likes the woods, you can, for a moment, believe that all of the messed up zombies aren't real.

They cope better than most. He catches meat, fish and autumn fruit from ancient trees. Her jobs are better explained as organising, holding down the fort and trying to plan. She jars fruit compotes using a fire and salts meat to last longer, stocking them up for the harsh winters when all the animals go to sleep and even Daryl can't forage much. This year has to be better than the last.

It wasn't long after Christmas when the Governor hit the prison and everyone was forced to flee like rats leaving a ship. They took not what they could, but who they could. Because materials mean nothing in this world. Beth was running looking for Judith, but the small child couldn't be seen anywhere. And there was no way of seeking without everyone, walkers included, standing still momentarily, so she could weave in and out searching.

But the walkers kept on coming. And the frantic yells and pricked up ears to hear any high-pitched ass-kicker noise were being shown as pointless, totally pointless. A baby lost in man-made chaos. But the walkers kept on coming.

Body, after body was thrown to the floor. And that was, believe me, a great feat for the petite and untrained girl, but you know what they say about mothers, how they get super strength so they can lift cars when they need to. But there was no way that an empty gun and a small sharp blade was going to keep off this number, particularly for one so small and untrained. She knew she had to leave, go back to the bus, and find Maggie and Glenn. Her only family now. No, don't think about that! Not yet. She had to go to the bus, only she couldn't call off the search herself.

Daryl's wrist closed around her upper arm and she spun knife in hard aiming for the head. He caught her wrist with his other hand, but she had already noticed and slowed. The bus was gone. Her eyes were wide and huge, and Daryl must have felt that urge to protect deep in his gut like any man would. So he kept hold of her, dragging her into reality, because even he could see the glazed look approaching. She was not okay. But she had to be a little while longer.

Together they clambered into the woods, running, keep on running. From walkers? No, not from them. From reality, from truth, from the fucked up mess that just happened. And there had to be a reason why he grabbed her. Why he didn't let her walker surrounded her, she was in too deep to get out alive at this point. It was Beth. And Beth had no training. And so he turned his back, and left her. Left to help that yellow bus pull away and pluck off the enemies, dead and alive.

But she surprised him, something was in her fighting for everything she had. She was still going after all this time, after he had given up on her. He literally left her for dead. So he helped out, enough to grab her and pull her away. And she kept his pace, needing perhaps for her legs to burn to distract from her aching heart. And he could respect that, they would stop when she said so.

That first half-day was the longest, stretching out over what seemed like thousands of miles of hills and woods and roads, not stopping until it was late in the night. Daryl had navigated them to one of the rendezvous points, set up by him and Glenn sometime last year. It remained dusty and bleak as it did before, and the thin wires wrapped around tress kept the walkers out. Beth plucked the glistening wires illuminated in the torch light, Daryl had his own in his mouth, making a hole for her to step through. In return she did the same for him, but he stalked off to double-check their safety.

Even for the apocalypse, Beth though this place hit 'below standards'. Blood splatter across the inside walls and small puddles from the leaky roof made the room smell. Smell of death and mildew- I don't know if that's a combination you're familiar with, but it's not nice. With the door locked, and blacked out windows, the inside of this place looked like a freaking horror film. All dimmed lights, dark corners and dusty furniture from some other life.

There were bunk-beds at one side, and it was here that Beth dragged herself. Sometimes when you think a lot on something else, like not having a break down because you just saw your father decapitated, you can forget about other less important things. And it was only now, that Beth realised how numb, cold and shaky her legs were. She was tired, she was fucking tired and tired of it all too. And she didn't care that he was there, she pulled her jeans off and climbed into the bottom bunk.

She curled up waiting for the inevitable tears to come, but they didn't. And even Daryl found that surprising, he had been waiting to be forced into a position of reluctant comforting, maybe even a hug. But she didn't cry, and she didn't sob, her little shoulders didn't rack. She just stared at a gloomy spot on the wall, the blankets protecting her from the harshness of her life until she fell asleep.

He was gone by the first morning light, and she would wake much later in the day. Her legs practically screamed in protest as she pushed herself up, bleary eyed and fuzzy headed. She felt so heavy. And Daryl was gone. But he would be back, it wasn't his style to leave the helpless- was it? Thinking back, actually, what did she know about the redneck?

He liked his space, or maybe he just disliked others in the space he was in. He could hunt, and track pretty well too. He had some personal vendetta against sleeves. And then Beth snapped back to reality, looking back was too painful right now.

Ignoring the screaming limbs, Beth peeked her head out the safety of the bunk. Daryl had pulled the blackout curtain back, letting grimy bright winter light filter the room, making it much less ominous than before. It was empty. The floor boards weren't as cold as expected, and Beth decided against pulling on the old blood covered jeans in hope of finding something new-and cleaner.

It was the first time she had even seen this place properly. Furniture was pushed against the wall stacked leaving a wide open space in the middle of the room, bizarre. This was either crazy old owners or crazy old Daryl and Glenn. The bedside table held a set of pyjamas, they were men's, but gratefully Beth pulled them on- tugging the drawstrings and rolling the bottom. Next she should eat, so she moved across the room to the table- there was a cereal bar- left by some impish fairy in the night (a fairy named Daryl).

And she needed to do something, something other than stay here thinking. It couldn't be long before the inevitable crash of reality set in, and if possible Beth wouldn't be around for that, too bad she was undetectable to herself.

The cupboards were filled with items of old owners, probably deceased. Beth made a face at the wall splatter. Under the sink were what she needed, old cleaning supplies. And so she set to work, singing old country songs and hymns to herself, pretending the soundtrack to snow-white was playing in the back ground not 28 days later.

When Daryl came back, he was – if possible- even more perturbed. The old furniture to the cabin had been reallocated, wrinkled cloth over the table and everything. The floor was mildly damp and radiating a bleach smell, but the dark stains of blood had mostly faded into near oblivion. Warm light pierced through slightly yellow clean windows and softly fell onto her golden halo of hair. Beth had her hair down, brushed into soft, frizzy waves around her cheeks as she sat polishing her knife. For a moment he was afraid she would use it on herself, this calm collected girl, who hadn't once mentioned her father. Her father- who had just been decapitated, in front of her. That wasn't normal, and this- oh no, this definitely wasn't normal.

Beth looked up into his blue eyes. She nodded at him, and he at her. She didn't ask any questions, and so he gave no answers. And likewise. They sat in silence, one with knife the other arrows.

And then there was a knock on the door.

You'll see it in a while, maybe you see it now. But both Daryl and I agree that there's something about Beth, something more to her. An inexplicable strength radiating from ...well somewhere. She should be a burden, the reason they are slowed down. But then why is a guy like that hanging around a girl like her?

Daryl is the one who hunts. You can see it in his muscles and the way he holds himself so still, like a deer, waiting to fight or run. He's expecting danger, always.

If Daryl is the one who hunts, Beth is the one who makes the home.

Beth is the one who makes the home. Her logic skills make twice as much fit in a back pack, her soft voice soothing captors and allies alike, waiting to laugh or cry. She's expecting salvation, always.