Disclaimer: I do not own The Walking Dead nor am I in any way affiliated with the show, the comics or AMC. This is strictly a work of fiction for entertainment purposes only. Thanks.

A/N: This is a Bethyl story set immediately following the episode Alone. I have no idea how things are going to work out on the show. I love Daryl and Beth and think they would be perfect for each other. I am very concerned for both of the characters on the show. This is my fantasy solution to the problem. Please, please, please reviews and let me know what you think! Thanks!


Chapter One

He was staring at a pinky finger. It was lying in the grass by his boot and Daryl couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from it. It was the color that was throwing him. It wasn't grey or decaying or all chewed up. No. I was plump and pink; fleshy, living tissue. It's former owner was a middle aged white male with thinning brown hair who was at that moment kneeling on the frozen solid ground about five yards away from where Daryl stood. The poor bastard was sobbing and begging God for mercy. Now, Daryl had never been a particularly religious man and he just couldn't bring himself to believe that God was going to hear this man's prayers. Not in this world. Not today.

Sure as hell not with Joe and his boys around.

Daryl had been with them now for about three days. They were big talkers. Daryl had been around big talkers all his life. Normally the talk ended up not amounting to much. Then he had seen them in action.

They were more than just talkers.

A weight settled deep in Daryl's chest putting pressure on his already abused heart and he couldn't seem to swallow the sour taste in his mouth. There was so much blood. Blood everywhere. Its coppery scent filled the air, seemed to permeate his clothes, his hair, everything. It was bound to draw walkers from every damn direction and still these men laughed and carried on with their knives and their hammers. Their rocks. Daryl had never been one to run away from a fight but he wanted to turn and bolt. He wanted to put as much distance between himself and these psychos as he could but somewhere inside of himself he knew that he would get far. They would come after him. It was the type of guys that they were.

Part of him wondered why he even cared. He'd lost everything. His home. His family.


Oh, God, Beth.

He could still close his eyes and see that damn loopy grin of hers. He could still hear her giggle, her sweet singing as she clinked away at that old out of tune piano. He could still feel the weight of her in his arms.

"You are gonna miss me so bad when I'm gone, Daryl Dixon."


Joe appeared by his side, pulling him from his thoughts. In his hand, he still clasped the bloodied rock that he had used to smash the man's ankles. "You don't want in on this?" he asked Daryl.

"Nah," Daryl said, "not really my thing."

Joe chuckled and slapped a hand on Daryl's back, "Don't worry, son. It will be. You'll find your sea-legs soon enough."

Or shoot myself in the head, Daryl thought to himself. He grunted in response and Joe laughed and headed back over to join in on the torture. Daryl stayed back on the pretense of looking out for walkers. He didn't know if he could bring himself to waste a bolt saving one of these pricks, but it was an excuse that kept him back and away from the sickness.

It took another two hours before they finally let the man die. They then stripped his meager camp to the bones and then headed out. Daryl lingered behind just long enough to jab his buck knife through the dead man's skull before he could turn. He could do that for him at least.

He was tired. Hell, he was exhausted down to his damnedable bones. He was tired of fighting off walkers. He was tired of having everything that he loved torn away from him. He was tired of dealing with the multitude of psychotic personalities that this world seemed to breed like swamp rats. Why the hell couldn't he just let go?

Because there was something inside of him, some deep pull that wouldn't let him quit. Wouldn't let him just let go; just give up. Something made him want to keep going; made him need to keep going.

So, he put his head down and followed Joe. His chances of survival were better in a group. He would follow Joe until he found something else; something better. Until he found a way out.

It was dusk nearly two days later when Joe spotted the campfire. It was a big damn campfire way off in the distance. Something about the size of that fire seem wrong to Daryl.

"Ooh doggy," Joe said, looking through a set of binoculars, "this one looks fun, boys."

"Lemme see those," Daryl said.

Joe handed him the binoculars and when Daryl looked through them, his world tilted on its axis yet again. His heart dropped to his stomach and his throat grew painfully tight. There were about ten men all gathered around that bonfire. Beyond them were these six cages, dog crates or something; all lined up in a neat row. Each one of those crates contained what appeared to be a female. And one of those females—Daryl would recognize that mass of pale blonde hair anywhere.

"Sumbitch!" he spat, still glaring through the binoculars.

"Somethin' wrong, son?" Joe asked.

"Those assholes got somethin' belongs to me."

Joe grinned. When most people smiled, it was something that made you feel warm and happy inside. Joe was not one of those people. His grin was not a pleasant sight. It was laced with coldness and just a touch of evil. "Wanna got take it back?"

Daryl lowered the binoculars and turned to look the devil dead in the eyes, "Abso-fucking-lutely."

A/N: Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed it. I'm sure everyone knows who is in the crate. Please let me know what you think. Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome. I am trying to keep Daryl in character, but in keeping with what I have seen in the show, he is constantly evolving so I am trying to go with that idea as well. Please review and tell me how you think I'm doing. Thanks for reading!