Disclaimer: I don't own TWD or any of its characters used in this story

"It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others."- Jane Austen

Beth and Daryl's confession had rocked the group to their core. Everyone seemed shocked, not appalled, but more of being caught off guard. No one had suspected anything, no one except Rick that is. Rick wasn't sure if it was leftover from being a cop, but he felt hyper aware of every action among their little group. Rick could recount seven moments that had him convinced something greater was going on than those two had let on.

7

The first moment Rick recalled with the most fondness was the great reunion. Now, the rest of the group had been together for at least a month. They had escaped together from Terminus. Everyone was just elated to have survived that nightmare. A few days out from Terminus the group had discovered what looked to be an abandoned plantation home. The plantation looked as if had seen better days, but it was shelter and that was something the group felt they couldn't pass up.

Eugene had bounded up the stairs to claim a room after the house had been secured by Abraham and Daryl. Eugene had a found a room that had the staircase leading to the attic. Wanting to feel a little more useful than the guy who knew where the outbreak began, he decided to climb the stairs to see if anything useful would be up there. Eugene had recalled many southern plantation owners hid their most valuable possessions in their attics during the Civil War. Eugene's thoughts about the attic were cut short when something lunged at him. He let out a shriek and that is when metaphorical hell broke loose. Crouched to the side of him was this stunning blonde. Originally he would have called her frail, but her right hook held some power more than he would have given her credit for. Abraham was in front of him within minutes threatening the poor girl. Instead of cowering she crouched defensively and grabbed what looked like a homemade bow.

"Don't matter if you shoot me, he'll be dead once I let this arrow fly" her southern drawl had effectively scared Eugene. Never had he imagined such a lethal statement coming from the slip of a girl in front of him. Abraham also seemed to be weighing his options. But as fate would have it, Maggie and her friends were the next bounding up the stairs to see what the commotion was about. Abraham didn't have to weigh his options much more because seeing Maggie was enough for that little girl to drop her weapon. Maggie's hoarse cry of Beth had everyone riveted. Abraham and his group were familiar with the story of Beth and how she was kidnapped. No one had imagined she would have survived.

Maggie lunged forward and pulled the girl into what could arguably be the tightest hug. Beth's arms remained by her sides as she began to look at the entire group. Her eyes seemed to be searching for something and once they landed on Daryl they brightened immensely. Immediately she shoved Maggie aside and threw herself onto Daryl. Rick held his breath, ever since rejoining the group Daryl had been harsh and short with everyone. Taking in Beth's appearance Rick could tell the girl had been traumatized and she didn't need the gruff hunter rejecting her on top of whatever she experienced from captivity. Rick braced himself any moment Daryl was going to reject the poor girl, except Daryl shocked everyone. Daryl had returned to embrace and it seemed like the stress that had him acting out melted away with the contact. Rick being the closest to the pair was the only one that got to hear their exchange. Of Beth whispering almost reverently that she remembered what he taught her, that she used to knowledge and it was what saved her. Daryl had grabbed the crude bow and arrows she had made and told her he was proud of her.

The blatant disregard for everyone else in the room should've tipped Rick off something more was occurring between the two, but he just chalked it up to relief of finding each other again.

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6

The next moment Rick recalled with startling clarity that he realized something was up between the hunter and the group's song bird came early one morning. They were travelling north to help Abraham deliver Eugene and hopefully cure this disease. Or at least figure a way to slow it down, give humans a fighting chance in this war. The group had just woken up to realize two of its members missing. It wasn't a shock to anyone that Daryl was missing. He had a tendency to wake before everyone in search of game that could be served for their meals that day. Maggie was ready to throw quite the hissy fit once she realized the other missing person had been Beth. Beth had been withdrawn for the few weeks since joining the group. After a particularly nasty argument where Beth accused Maggie of not even caring if she had been dead, because she had seen the signs for Glenn and not her, that Beth had spoken even less to the group.

Most hadn't wanted to get involved in the fight and that meant avoiding the two sisters. Daryl seemed to be the only person sticking by Beth. The rest weren't sure how to deal with that emotional outburst. They remembered the sweet girl who would have never raised her voice or would have even made such harsh accusations.

Rick had made the decision that he would track Daryl and then maybe together they could track Beth. It was best for the group to remain at the camp that way any potential leads weren't compromised. Rick had then set out following Daryl's tracks. By no means was he an expert tracker, but he knew enough to follow their resident hunter's footprints. About two miles out is when he caught sight of them. Rick wasn't even sure why the group hadn't considered that Beth would have left with Daryl. It made sense since she stuck so closely by his side. While Rick felt momentary relief that Beth hadn't run off, that relief was replaced with confusion. Daryl's crossbow was in Beth's hands as they came upon a small rabbit and then the next instant an arrow flew directly into the rabbit. Beth spun fast and gave Daryl one of the most radiant smiles, Rick had to admit that sight of Beth smiling was one missed around the camp. Even the hunter's mouth seemed to quirk up at the smile he was graced with.

Rick knew thought he knew almost everything to know about the people within his camp. One of the facts he was certain was Daryl let no one touch his crossbow. He had been asked before to train people with it and he kicked up the biggest fuss. He had no desire to teach anyone and had no desire to share his bow. It had to be significant that he was simply sharing it with Beth. Before either of them could be alerted to his presence Rick doubled back. He had a feeling if they had been caught whatever progress they had made would disappear. No, Rick decided he would keep this moment to himself.

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5

The trip to D.C. took several weeks, and while this fifth moment had happened several times Rick felt the need to lump all of the moments together. Predictably, there were always two people on guard duty. The only two people not allowed to do guard duty together had been Glenn and Maggie. Not because they weren't capable, but that they seemed to be more caught up in each other than being vigilant on watch. Most were shocked when Daryl and Beth volunteered to take watch shifts together, but after seeing them hunting Rick knew more was occurring between the two of them.

Rick had noted they almost had these silent conversations when working together. Little was ever said between the two of them, but one look was enough communication. It made them one of the more efficient duos in the camp. Which is why no one bothered complaining when they volunteered to take watch together. But watch wasn't the only thing that had changed as the group traveled. Each time they made camp Rick noted that Beth's sleeping bag ended up an inch or so closer to Daryl's sleeping bag. No one made any comments, so Rick wasn't sure if his imagination was overreacting. He was vindicated a little later when Michonne had mentioned the sleeping bag situation in passing during their guard duty.

While simply moving their sleeping bags closer together wasn't anything ground breaking or monumental Rick knew for a fact it had a lot to do with this close bond they had formed. While the rest of the group largely ignored it, Rick took note of how Daryl allowed Beth into his personal space without the usual hassle anyone else would have faced. To Rick, these small moments added to something much larger happening.

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4

Rick had known the conversation could only go south once Maggie started pressuring Beth to talk about what happened when she was in captivity. She hadn't told anyone what had happened, but she seemed to be recovering just fine. Earlier that night she had even graced the group with a song while they ate dinner. To Rick that was enough, he figured once Beth was ready she would open up and tell everyone. Her sister had another idea and barreled ahead with her interrogation. Everyone could see the panic in Beth's face, but Maggie wouldn't have any of it.

Rick had waited for the explosion from Beth's end, but she simply sighed and began her story. Rick had to strain to listen to most of the story because he sat directly across from Beth and she practically whispered the story. She talked about how the mortician had taken her because she resembled his daughter that he lost when the plague hit. He had only wanted Beth to replace his daughter. When the man had moments of clarity he would hit Beth for not being his daughter. Rick had stopped listening at this point because his eyes had caught something more profound than anything.

Everyone was engrossed in Beth's tale that they missed Daryl's hand on her knee. It was the most innocent of touches, but when it seemed like Beth came to a point in her story where she didn't want to move forward Daryl would squeeze her knee. That little gesture seemed enough to help Beth push forward in her tale. Rick noted that whatever was growing between the two had allowed this physical manifestation. Rick could only smile internally. Two of the best people he knew were on the path of falling in love, he was positive of it.

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3

If Rick had to choose a moment that was his favorite between the two, it would have to be this one. The other girls of the camp had travelled to a river that Beth discovered earlier that day to bathe. Beth had already washed her hair and hadn't felt inclined to join the group. Earlier the previous day Beth had cut her hand while she was making arrows. The same cut was no making it difficult for Beth to put her hair in that signature braid. Rick had felt bad as he watched the poor girl struggle, but hair wasn't his expertise and he wasn't sure he would be any help.

Rick had to bite the inside of his cheek when he realized Beth had dropped the brush into Daryl's hands. He couldn't hear their exchange but from the look on Daryl's face he wasn't thrilled was the newest chore he had been given. Instead of walking away or throwing the brush right back into Beth's face Daryl began to untangle the knots from her wet hair. Without much complaint he made one long braid and tied the hair at the bottom. The whole situation made him seem like an expert at hair.

Without missing a moment to harass the hunter Glenn and Eugene began teasing him relentlessly. Their teasing was cut short by Beth's glare. Not that is was intimidating, but they also knew she had a lot of sway with the ladies. All it would take is one conversation and all of the women in the camp would be mad at them. Even if their teasing came from a harmless place.

Daryl seemed relieved once their teasing had stopped and he returned to whatever quiet conversation Beth and he were having before. Rick could only shake his head. Almost everyone now suspected something else was going on between the two but chose not comment. Rick could tell Daryl wasn't the only protective one in the relationship. It was just too much that little ole Beth Greene was the one defending Daryl's dignity and protecting him in her own unique way. Rick honestly couldn't wait until the day those two to actually claim each other in front on the entire group.

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2

They had arrived to the safe zone within D.C. It resembled a small city instead of a place of refuge during the zombie apocalypse. Since the group had delivered Eugene, they were hailed as heroes and given a section of high end apartments for their group to live in. The building they were given only had four floors, but each floor had three bedrooms, a beautiful kitchen, and living room. Plenty of space for people used to camping outdoors and roughing it. Tara had moved in with Abraham and Rosita and they took the ground floor. Those three had become exceptionally close. The next floor was taken by Maggie and Glenn. Glenn hadn't wanted to be up much higher now that Maggie was pregnant. While it was still in the very early stages, it never hurt to be overly cautious. The next floor had Rick, Michonne, and Carl. That left the final floor which had rooftop access. Beth had begged and pleaded for Maggie to understand that she didn't want to live with her and her husband. Maggie had reluctantly let her live upstairs.

Rick had grinned, the only reason Maggie agreed was because she assumed that Beth would be sleeping in one of the extra rooms. Rick wasn't sure if he was the only person to have caught them trying to exit the room and pretend they hadn't been sharing a bed moments previous. Once they realized who had caught them they started laughing. Not even apologetic about the situation. Rick felt comforted by the fact the two had trusted him with the knowledge of their relationship. Though, with how those two had been acting it was only time before someone else caught them. Then their secret would be out in the open. Truthfully, the only reason Rick had the privilege of knowing about their relationship was because days before D.C. he confronted both of them.

Rick hadn't wanted a fight, just knowledge that they knew relationships were dangerous and that they knew what they were getting into. Both of them had seemed bashful, but they were honest with him. With that, Rick told them they had his blessing whether they wanted it or not.

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1

Okay, truthfully this moment might've been what kept Rick from being shocked at Beth and Daryl's news. Rick recalled being woken up early by a light knock on his door. Beth had dragged him out of the building that morning for something she deemed an emergency. Rick could do little to argue with the determined girl. She had dragged him to the courthouse that was in the center of the refugee camp. While most laws no longer applied, this place still tried to maintain some of the previous laws. Rick had been confused once he was pushed into the building and pulled into a room on the left.

Once he saw the judge and Daryl waiting all of it clicked together. The judge had smiled and told them he was glad they could find their witness. The ceremony was short, but it was one of the most beautiful things Rick had the opportunity to see. The room was filled with a quiet but passionate love. Rick knew these two wouldn't be flaunting their love like Maggie and Glenn. They were all the quiet looks, passing touches, and moving sleeping bags closer.

Rick felt his heart fill with joy. Maybe their love was filled with more than seven moments, but he held close the knowledge of the layers of their intimacy. He counted himself lucky to even be a witness to such events.

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That's why when a few months later Beth and Daryl announced they were expecting their first child, Rick hadn't been shocked. Even though the dead had risen, this little world they had created was as close to paradise as they were going to get.