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Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to own The Walking Dead or any characters and places associated with Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard's story or Frank Darabont's adaptation. No profit is made from the writing for this fanfiction!
Her arms gripped around him so loosely, even as she put all the strength she could have mustered into it, fingers tangling into the fabric and forehead digging into his shoulder. He could hear the sobs cracking in his throat, he could feel the tears beading his eyelashes and with head spinning from the deafening accusations of all those they had lost, he gripped onto her hand.
"He walked right up to our gates and you did nothing." He closed his eyes tight, free hand reached and gripped onto his hair as Rick's voice invading his head loudly. "You were meant to have my back!" Every little slurred syllable was accompanied with a sharp piercing. He dug the heel of his palm into his temple in an attempt to release the pressure. It was useless, the voice got loader and within seconds. Lori's soft voice mingled with Ricks.
"You said you weren't going to lose anyone else. Not her." He spluttered, chocking on his tears. The thought of little Judith being left helpless in her baby-carrier punched him had in the chest. "Where is my baby now, Daryl?"
Beth was watching him intently, holding onto him tight as if she feared his legs would give out underneath him. She understood now why he held back so much of his emotion. It was like a floodgate had given way to all of the guilt, and anguish that had been building since they had first stumbled upon her family's farm.
"You promised you would find me!" The little girl seemed to scream. He stomach flipped and he opened his eyes as the images of Sophia walking out of the barn filled his head. Maybe it was Sophia, maybe it was the moonshine… whatever it was made the nausea crawl its way through his chest. "And you let me go…" the voice changed, drifting into something much more mature, motherly. He would have thought his heart had stopped had it not been so loud in his ears. "…just like my baby girl."
Carol… he wanted to chock on her name, and Sophia's and the name of every person he let down. He wanted to scream until this throat bled and slam his head into the dirt until there was nothing but silence and Beth's breathe rattling in fear, the only thing holding her close being naivety.
They were getting louder. He let Beth's hand fall so he could rest the other one over his eyes.
"He had my head off my shoulders. And you just stood there."
"What use is firing on 'em once it's too late."
"He killed my daddy!"
"Maggie and I could have had a family."
"You let them gun me down like a dog little brother."
"If you had taken him out when you had the chance then we'd all still be alive!"
Beth could do nothing to keep him up once he finally went. His knee's hit the floor, his head bowed and he sobbed uncontrollably as the voices slowly subsided. He didn't know if it had been Hershel's elderly drawl or his brother betrayed voice, maybe Andrea chocking on the barrel of a gun that had finally broken him down. He moved his hand back from his eyes to find his face in Beth's neck.
Her arms barely reached round him and he pulled her closer, burying his face into her bloody shirt as he held onto her like a child. It was a small comfort, but it was enough. She wasn't a liability anymore, a dead girl he was responsible for. He needed something to cling onto, to prove to him that hope still existed. She was Beth, the remnants of their disjointed family… he needed her.
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