Beth was shaking violently as she lied in the bed, her eyes wide with the initial fear from the whole situation. What would have happened to her if Daryl hadn't of come in when he did? The thought only made her chest feel tighter, her face completely white. She was having a full blown panic attack, and for good reason. When the apocalypse started, it felt like a dream to her. Nothing could ever prepare someone for the world to be overrun by cannibalistic corpses. It had taken her awhile to fully recognize that it was reality and it was life, just different. Adjusting to the new world was easier considering she had her family. Maggie and her dad kept her sane, along with the others of the group. 'At least there's still hope.' She would constantly remind herself. Her father was a man of faith and though he didn't necessarily understand why God had chosen to wipe out the majority of the world, he did know that if they could hold onto the love and belief they had left, not all was lost. There was something worth salvaging and fighting for. They would fight to keep the humanity alive.

This was different, though. This didn't feel like a dream to her and it was all too real. She was taken from her source of strength. How could she hold onto her love and belief when she was in such an awful situation? If this would have happened before the incident, Beth's face would be on every single television screen across the nation. There would be search teams, helicopters, amber alerts.

She had to fight alone. She had to save her own life. She couldn't depend on the guidance from her family. Never in her life had she felt so incredibly alone. The only way she would survive is if she could find her inner strength. It was going to be tough, but she had to do it. She had to.

Daryl stood in the corner of the room. His eyes were transfixed on the girl. He could nearly see the inner battle she was fighting right then. It was fascinating, yet made him extremely uncomfortable.

"Y'better calm down 'fore you wake the others up. They won't be too happy 'bout it." His voice was rougher than he intended it to be. Beth was already a wreck and he didn't exactly want to make her feel any worse. The guilt would drive him crazy.

His palms began to get sweaty as he watched the way her chest rose and fell relentlessly. If she didn't quit hyperventilating, she would end up passing out. Daryl didn't feel like dealing with anymore unconsciousness. With visible hesitation, he stalked over to the bed.

"Listen t'me. You'll be a'ight. Merle won't touch ya 'gain and if he tries… well, I just won't let it happen. I'm not gonna let my brother rape some girl. I'm not fucked in the head like he is." Daryl shook his head, looking anywhere but her eyes. They were so gentle and naïve… finding something so innocent in the apocalypse was a diamond in the rough.

"Are you kiddin' me? You think I'm only upset about Merle? Don't you get it? The only thing I had left was my family. You took that away from me for some stupid prison! It's bullshit!" She was hiccupping as she yelled, the sobs getting caught in her throat. Daryl looked at the floor, fiddling with his own thumbs. He had two choices: Leave the girl and listen to her cry all night, or try to calm her down so she didn't wake everyone else up. He began to push himself off the bed but quickly sat back down.

"Do y'know how to shoot a crossbow?" The words came out before Daryl even thought it through. Counseling wasn't on his list of skills, but shooting a crossbow was. He couldn't help Beth, but he could distract her.

"What are you talkin' about? Are you even listenin' to me?" Beth's eyebrows were furrowed in confusion and she wiped her snotty nose on the sheet she was clinging to.

"I heard ya, but I'm wonderin' if you know how to shoot a crossbow." He kept a steady voice despite the storm going on inside him. What was he even doing? Why was he trying to calm her down? If she woke up Shane, that wasn't his fault. Merle would get in trouble for causing the commotion, not him.

"No." Beth finally stated, her tears beginning to quell. She had been taken aback by his question. Just hours ago they were screaming at each other and now he was making small talk. She pushed a sweat curled lock of blonde hair out of her face so she could study Daryl. Maybe he was trying to trick her.

"A'ight, let's go then."

"Are you out of your mind? There's walkers out there." Beth pulled the sheet up to her chin protectively. For all she knew, pushiness ran in the Dixon family.

"That's what the crossbow's for; killin' walkers." He stood up and crossed his arms over his chest, awaiting her response. There was no way she would turn down the opportunity to go outside.

"Won't your boss get mad at you for takin' me outside?"

"He ain't my boss, an' no." Daryl' eyes were slits, offended by the way she referred to Shane as "his boss." The only person that Daryl listened to was himself. He respected Shane, but that didn't mean that Shane was above him.

"And what if I try to run away?" Beth began to sit up a bit, considering all her options.

"You won't. And if you do, you're dumber than I thought." Daryl watched her impatiently, biting on the inside of his cheek.

"You comin' or not? I'll go without ya. I need some air." He began to turn on his heel but he heard the small bed creak. When he peeked over his shoulder, she was already rushing to pull her cowboy boots on. Their boots made quiet thunking noises against the floor as they made their way to the back door. Daryl reached down and grabbed his crossbow off the living room couch, slinging it over his shoulder.

The cool air felt incredible on Beth's hot cheeks. Her entire face was flushed from the breakdown she had. Her eyes lingered on the starry sky and she hummed. Even though things had turned ugly, Beth found that there was so many chances to admire the beauty that was left behind.

"What are we shootin'?" Beth spoke up after a while of following Daryl through the backyard. He was watching the ground like he was waiting for a message to appear in the dirt.

"Don't know yet. We're trackin'." He kept his voice low, crouching down. The only light he had was the moon but it was enough. He had been tracking in the dark well before the apocalypse had begun.

"Well, what are we trackin'?" Beth cocked her head to the side and squinted her eyes, trying to see whatever Daryl could. Nope.

"Y'sure do ask a lot of questions, girl." He mumbled as he stood, wiping his hands on his thighs. He lifted his arm and pointed to a small area of trees.

"There are a few walkers in there," He pulled his crossbow off his back, handing it over to Beth. She strained her eyes, seeing nothing but bark and different shades of green.

"How do you know?" Her neck was craned as she tried to make out any sort of movement. She couldn't even hear anything.

"'Cause I just do. You gonna get 'em or not? I ain't gonna stay out here all night." Daryl was a bit irritated with the way she questioned him. Okay, very irritated. He had been tracking since he was old enough to go hunting. It was one of the few things he was good at. Tracking down things and killing them was Daryl Dixon's expertise.

"I'll get 'em. Just… if there are a lot, you'll help me, right?" Beth watched his expression, expecting it to change. All he did was grunt and motion her forward, his face as blank as ever. She took the noise as a yes and continued deeper into the timber until she was surrounded by trees, the big crossbow making her arms tired. She leaned her shoulder against a tree and peered around cautiously. Was Daryl screwing with her? There was nothing around.

"I don't see anything." Beth turned around to face Daryl when she saw a walker staggering right up to her. Her eyes grew large and she lifted the weapon in front of her, her fingers clumsy as they tried to figure out what it was they were supposed to do. She could hardly even see, let alone find the trigger. Daryl hadn't even taught her how to shoot it! He was watching from the outskirts of the timber, keeping an eye on the situation.

Beth began to shuffle backwards, the walker groping her blindly. She fell backwards, the crossbow on her chest and the corpse on the crossbow. She was trapped beneath all the weight. Desperate to get the monster off, she ran her hands over the ground. There had to be something she could kill it with.

"Daryl!" Her voice was panicked, the bloody mouth getting closer and closer to her bare flesh. Finally, her fingers grazed a rock and she brought it up to the walker's temple. She drove the jagged edge into its skull repeatedly. After nearly 15 seconds of rhythmic bashes, the body went limp. Her lips were parted and she was breathing heavily, wriggling out from beneath the mass. She immediately got up as Daryl strut over, grabbing his weapon.

"What the hell is wrong with you!? I yelled for you!" Beth's little fists began to beat on Daryl's leather vest and she attempted to shove him back, though all he did was rock back slightly. He narrowed his eyes on her and gripped one of her wrists. His fingers were digging into her bone and it had to hurt, but Beth didn't make a noise.

"You killed it. You're alive." His voice was a low growl, the syllables rumbling in his chest.

"It almost bit me!"

"But it didn't. You can't rely on nobody. You gotta take care of yourself. The only person keepin' you alive is you." Daryl released her frail limb and turned around. As soon as he began walking, Beth was right on his heels.

"Don't you care 'bout people? Don't you care about anythin'?" She pushed her hair out of her face and gave him an incredulous gaze, though he wasn't even looking at her.

"Y'can't. That's how you die out here." His response was simple and curt. It made Beth furious.

"How can you say that? What's the point of livin' in the first place if you don't care about anythin'? Don't you care about your brother?" She was relentless. How could someone be so careless? All anyone had left was each other.

"Y'don't know anything 'bout my brother." Daryl snapped, turning around to face her. They were standing in the backyard then, protected by the tall wooden fences.

"I know that you don't want him to be a bad guy." She spoke matter-of-factly, keeping her voice firm.

"That ain't true. Y'think I stopped him from raping you to try and save him? Merle was a bad guy before the world went to shit." A fleck of spit shot from his mouth when he emphasized the 't' at the end of 'shit'.

"Then why'd you stop him if you don't care?" Beth was challenging him and she knew that. He deserved it for letting the walker attack her.

Daryl licked his chapped lips, slinging the crossbow on his back.

"'Cause you've been through enough shit in two days. I'm tired of you bitchin' all the time." He tried to continue to meanness but it was difficult. For such a small girl, she could pull thoughts out of you that you'd never knew you had. She was demanding without even raising her voice. It was such an innocent interrogation.

"That's caring," She pointed out.

"and you ain't dead for it."

HI EVERYONE! Sorry for the late update, my internet and cable have been out. It was awful, but I used the time to write a few chapters. Tell me if you like it!

PS- Someone so "kindly" pointed out that Daryl is way more harsh and careless in my fanfic than in the show. That's what I want. I have seen every episode of the show and know Daryl's character very well. With that said, Daryl is in a whole different situation. In an interview, they asked how he would have turned out if he never got with Rick's group. He said that he would be a bad guy. If you haven't noticed, he has very bad influences around him. He hasn't had anyone to show him who he could be in this world. So anyway, Daryl's character is actually pretty similar to how it would be if he was with that particular group. Do you remember how awful he was in the first season? Okay. I'm done ranting. I just wanted to clear things up and tell you where I was coming from.

Happy readin'!