A/N: I find that it keeps my muse happy to hear Beth's cover of Hold on while I write ;) Hope you enjoy! Read and review**
It was liberating to kiss Beth in front of all those people. To really kiss her, and hold her, and have her understand his mini freak-out in the middle of the romantic gesture and pull him even closer – she knew him, and she'd be there for him. They were establishing something, something they didn't want to label just yet, but the meaning was quite clear: Beth wasn't to be messed with.
Two whole days passed, with their journey being nothing short of blissful, at least in Daryl and Beth's eyes – which could certainly be biased in the matter. Daryl went on hunting parties, smacked a few walkers right in the brain, and set up camp twice, all the while stealing glances from Beth. They liked the fact that nobody talked about it, yet they all knew. They didn't need to pretend not to like the blush that crept onto Beth's cheeks every time Daryl twirled her ponytail as if no-one was looking, or the smile that tugged at Daryl's lips whenever Beth handed them all berries but locked eyes with Daryl for the entire time. Neither the group, nor the couple in question, minded the distraction. They had all gone through some quite shitty moments, and innocent moments like these just reminded them that not all was lost. Even if people like Len and Eugene liked to mess with them. Beth just laughed it off, but Daryl couldn't help but grunt their way. They were giving it a try, but the whole romance thing was still new to Daryl. He was used to having her depending on him for safety, but when it came to romantic gestures, he was only one step above clueless… and even though he was trying to be more open about his feelings, it wouldn't happen overnight, so he just hoped Beth would meet him halfway.
Beth had become increasingly excited about their hopefully imminent arrival at Terminus. They were close, they could feel it.
"I can't wait to see Maggie." She confessed quietly as they walked side by side. They were passing a particularly narrow path, and Daryl kept one eye on the trees and another on the blonde. They could never be too careful.
"Yeah." He nodded. " 'Bet. Glenn's close to bouncin' by now."
She smiled fondly. "It will be a lovely reunion."
He let the silence settle in, and took in her wondering expression. He opened and closed his mouth, unsure, and Beth eyed him, smirking.
"Let's have it."
" 'S nothing." He mumbled, shrugging.
"Da-ryl." Beth whined. "I thought we were past the whole not-talking thing. I'm not a mind reader…" She pouted.
"Argh…" He groaned. "We gotta talk about everything?"
"No. Just the things that bother you." She raised a knowing eyebrow at him.
Daryl shrugged. "Was just thinkin', y'know…" He wet his lips and put an arm over her shoulders. "Ain't you the tiniest bit sad that Maggie… well, that she ain't left nothin' for ya? Like she did for Glenn, I mean…" He felt her tense, and instantly regretted bringing it up. He just worried that she was getting her hopes up for nothing, for one, and that she wasn't processing things as they came… which meant that it was very possible she'd be overwhelmed by information in just a few days. And then she'd be screwed.
Beth had repressed an unsurmountable amount of feelings ever since she and Daryl had been separated. She quickly realized that feelings held her back if she had no-one by her side to comfort her when they got too bad. When she'd left the man for dead, she'd felt like crying, screaming, kicking, punching something for the first few seconds; then she'd just picked up her knife and walked around the limp body. After that, she hadn't felt much. Until she found Daryl again… but even then, she wasn't back to her old self. So when Daryl asked her about her sister's messages, she just repressed even deeper the sting that made her want to suddenly cry, and focused on flashing a grin in his direction.
"I'm so glad she's okay."
He shook his head. "Not what I asked."
She shook her head as well, now glancing at the floor and walking at a more rapid pace. "Well, I'm sticking to my answer."
"Then why even bother to ask?" He snapped, and immediately flinched, for instantaneous tears filled her eyes. "Oh, Beth, 'm sorry… Damn."
"No, no. You're right." She never looked up, and hoped he didn't hear the shakiness in her words, trying to sound as detached as possible, her eyes vacant as they stared at the passing fallen leaves on the ground. "I'm sad she didn't leave one for me. I'll get over it."
And just as she was about to tell him to drop it, his hand collided with hers and he entwined his fingers in hers. Her eyelashes fluttered, stunned, but she kept her cool. He was everything but smooth, and she felt the urge to chuckle through her tears. He wanted to let her know that he wan't buying it, but he wasn't going to insist, either. Squeezing his hand back, she hoped he would understand that no, she wasn't okay, but that she would eventually be.
" 'm here." He murmured, eyes transfixed on the road ahead.
"I know." She went on the tip of her toes and kissed his cheek, quite soundly, giggling afterwards, and wrinkling her nose at the sound – sobs mixed with laughter. "You always are."
He moved his hand to her waist and pulled her close. "What can I say… 'm the biggest gentleman around here."
"Eh… not a huge achievement when the majority of the population is a rotting corpse." She smirked, and as he squinted his eyes, she ran forward to avoid what she knew would be a nasty, horrible, terrifying tickling attack.
Smiling as she collided with an astonished, and yet amused Rick, she thought of just how much Daryl meant to her. Genuine smiles were high in demand those days, and yet he could always bring one out of her in the blink of an eye.
They'd just passed another Terminus sign, and it was getting darker; soon they'd have to stop. They were all minding their own businesses. Rick and Abraham were discussing just what their approach to the people in Terminus should be. They needed to be assertive and inform them right away of their independence: trust was, more than ever, earned, and they shouldn't expect more from the group than they were willing to give. That had actually been a concern in the back of their minds ever since they heard of the sanctuary. They'd been on the run for so long, and they'd just recently had to adapt to a new group… it wouldn't be easy to integrate a new community and accept all it entailed.
Beth was in the middle of the group, with Rosita and Michonne, and the older women were just speaking of senseless things, while Beth was quite content listening.
All of a sudden, Joe yelled. "Walker!"
Daryl's reaction was immediate: he first looked to see that Beth was safe, and then glanced around in search of the damned thing. He spotted a body on the grass a few metres in front of them, and walked swiftly over to it, along with Rick, Abraham and Joe.
When they reached the fallen body, Beth, who had slowly approached the men, heard the four of them gasp, and leaned in to take a closer look and to try to understand why none of them had killed the thing yet. She wasn't prepared to see what she saw.
A man, in his early thirties, with dark skin, was covered in blood, and Beth hadn't ever seen that much blood in the same place. His clothes were drenched in that red, almost brown, thick liquid, and his eyes were yellow and wide open. The man only had one arm, and the other one had been recently torn off. He had at least four bullet wounds and one stab-wound, and one of his legs was clearly sporting an open fracture.
"Who…" Abraham cleared his throat, while motioning for everyone to take a step back. "Who are you?"
The man just blinked rapidly, shivering from fear and blood loss. Abraham pushed.
"Who did this to you? Was it the walkers, son?"
The man's mouth started shaking as he visibly attempted to talk. Rick and Joe leaned in closer, and their faces whitened at the dying man's stuttering. "T… T… Terminus."
Before they could do or say anything, Len, who had just approached them, stabbed the man in the brain. Shocked, the group watched as the man's eyes went upwards, and then closed completely.
A/N: Eheh… what did you guys think? What implications will this have on the group?