A/N: My first Walking dead fic! Well, my first anything in a while actually. Just not coping with the fact that Beth is still missing so had to write something cheerful. Have some ideas for a continuation if people are interested.
After the run that went so horribly wrong for Zach, Daryl had decided to spend some time in the yard with Rick, finally understanding why he hid amongst the pigs and pea pods. Three days after the run, Rick decided it was time to expand the vege garden a little because the rest of it was doing so well. They could never have too much food in this world. Daryl agreed to help him break new ground in the dry and sometimes stony earth that surrounded the irrigated farm area. It was going to be hard work but they needed the distraction.
They got an early start so as to get the most of it done before the day heat up too much. A few hours in however and it was already getting too hot.
Daryl paused to wipe the sweat from his face with his bandana and suggested to Rick that they take a break. Rick nodded in assent, put down his tools and they wandered over to one of the water barrels nearby.
Both men splashed their faces and drank their fill before sitting against the barrel to observe the yard and prison. On the other side of the yard, Daryl noticed Beth had one of the axes that they usually used for walkers. Only this time she was using it for splitting wood instead of splitting skulls.
"Who's watching Judith?" he asked Rick absently, watching as Beth chucked a few bits of wood into the wheelbarrow next to her.
Rick turned to follow Daryl's gaze. "Carol," he replied. "Beth said yesterday she wanted to get out and do something in the outdoors for once. Couldn't begrudge her that."
Daryl made a noise of assent. "So, what? This her way of venting, or sumthin'?"
"Maybe." Rick shrugged. "We all got our ways."
That led both men thinking down tracks that they didn't really want to dwell on so Rick got up and said that they'd better get back to it before it really got too hot.
"Surprised she even knows how to swing an axe." It sounded like a bit of a harsh thing to say but it made Rick laugh so Daryl knew that Rick understood he didn't mean it that way.
"Course she does," Rick said as he picked up his tools again. "She's a farm girl."
Daryl huffed a laugh. "Yeah, s'ppose she is."
They worked on in silence for a while before Rick spoke up again.
"You know I was never really all that convinced," he said.
"By Beth and Zach," Rick stopped a minute to stand up straight and stretch his back. "She was always telling him off for things, always seemed to be holding him at arm's length."
"Can't blame her fer that."
"No, I guess not." Rick got stuck back in but continued chattering on.
Daryl didn't mind listening while he worked as Rick told him about times when he'd overheard conversations where Zach was complaining about missing video games or TV. Beth would tell him to come back down to earth with the rest of them or something to that effect. She didn't seem to have a lot of tolerance for people pining over how things used to be anymore.
Rick's rambling began to turn into something of an impromptu memorial of Zach. He was a good kid, Rick was saying. Only ever wanted to do right by people. Daryl couldn't help but agree. Zach was a one-for-all, all-for-one kinda person.
But he didn't say what else he was thinking. That it was exactly that attitude that got Zach killed. That was what would all get them killed, in the end.
Rick fell silent eventually and Daryl didn't like the way his thoughts were going so he stood up to wipe his face once again.
"You know what I miss from the old world?" he put to Rick.
"Ok, I'll bite. What?" Rick grinned, intrigued as to what Daryl Dixon could possibly miss about the old world.
Rick burst into laughter and Daryl grinned. Suddenly they heard something behind them and spun round to see Beth, pushing the (now full) wheelbarrow up the path to the prison. Daryl went red; how much did she hear? Her face was impassive as she gave a friendly nod and a smile.
"Hey there Beth," Rick greeted with a smirk barely concealed behind his beard and voice. "You're working through that firewood pretty quick."
"Hey. Yeah I reckon I should get the rest of it finished by the end of the day," she replied, nodding down at her wheelbarrow and glancing over at the wood pile she had just come from. "Oh well, I'd best get this lot inside. See you guys."
With one last unrevealing smile, she carried on up the path. Daryl watched her go then snapped his head over to a grinning Rick.
"D'you think she heard?" he asked with a sigh.
"Well, how good a poker face d'you think she has?"
What neither men saw, as soon as Beth had her back to them both was the smirk she sported a mile wide.
But they heard, when she wasn't quite out of earshot, the little giggle she gave.
Rick was chuckling for the rest of the day.