"Beth, come on, we gotta go!" She recognised that drawl, to many people their accents sounded the same, but he definitely had more of a twang on his words which were accompanied by a gruff voice. Daryl's voice. Despite the chaos around her, she managed to hear him over the screams of children crying for their mothers, she managed to hear him over the rapid gunfire that she was certain came from both sides of the battle and she could hear him over the incessent moaning of the undead that she knew would be coming for her sooner rather than later.

The air felt thick, as though the sun had poured its heat into the atmosphere around her and was trying to choke her. Beth looked up and saw him, Daryl standing over her, and as thankful as she was, she didn't know why he was standing over her ... Over her and not Carl or Rick. She went to stand but the world spun beneath her feet and she stopped. The only thing that actually got her moving in the end was the rough hand that gripped her forearm. Had this been any other time she probably would have argued or perhaps even fought back against him, but this grip seemed urgent, almost like he actually wanted to get her out and not just do her a favour.

Beth watched the crossbow on Daryl's back bob to his movements ... How easy it would have been for him to shoot the Governor before he killed her Father. Try as she might, she knew she couldn't blame Daryl of all people, as if any of this had been his fault. If anything Daryl was the only one who had ever done a damned thing for her family besides perhaps Rick. "You wanna get eaten?" Daryl glanced over his shoulder and it was only then Beth realised he was holding a gun instead of the crossbow he loved, stupid, she thought, you were watching that crossbow not five minutes ago! Daryl seemed to notice her silence and instead of demanding an answer he simply pulled her ahead of him and kept her moving.

You're a fuckin' fool, Daryl Dixon. Daryl cursed himself silently as he shoved little doe eyes in front of him. What was he thinking? Grabbing her on his way out? Maggie would have found her, he was certain of that. Maybe it was because he was genuinely fond of the kid. She'd done a damned fine job looking after Lil Ass Kicker. Singing to her every night, making sure she got enough food, enough warmth, enough love. Thinking about Beth's maternal instincts somehow reminded him of his Mother, well, what he could remember of her anyway. He wondered if she had ever sang to him, made sure he was well fed. Obviously not if he knew how to skin an animal by the time he was five, or maybe that was from growing up with Merle. He could never be certain anymore. His thoughts of Merle were interrupted when he was dragged from his reverie by a walker stumbling close by. "Stay close now, Blondie." He murmered just loud enough for her to hear before putting an arrow straight between its eyes, suddenly grateful for the fact he swapped his gun for his crossbow, he extracting a small breath from the girl beside him. How old was she now ...? 17? 18? Fuck it, what did it matter? Carl was 12 and he could shoot a walker dead on without even batting an eyelid, but her...? Well, it would take some work.

They walked on for an hour or so, until he was certain they were away from that prison. He was sad to see it go, that was the first place in a long time that felt like home. What are you, Darlena? A pussy? He knew the thought was from him, but it seemed his internal dialouge was always in Merle's voice "We'll stop here tonight." He stood, surveying the area around the both of them, it was a dense thicket of wood that reminded Daryl of his life before everything went to shit. Not that it was a good life.

"Okay, you want me to help with anythin'?" Beth said, sounding a lot stronger than Daryl would ever have given her credit for, though he noticed her accent was more pronounced around him, maybe it was because his accent was stronger. It was strange to him he noticed that of all things, the girl had just lost her father, shouldn't he be searching her eyes in some half assed attempt to understand what she was going through? Empathy wasn't something that came naturally to Daryl, and he didn't really want to change that. Why 'aint she cryin'? He thought to himself, Why 'aint she screamin' and kickin' tryin' to find her way back to Maggie? He almost asked her this aloud, but what was the point? He didn't actually want her to start crying on him, fuck that.

Beth knew that he thought she was still a kid, she saw it in the way he shoved her behind him when that walker came lumbering out of the woods. She was certain she saw it first, though she could never be sure when it came to Daryl. She'd never really spoken to him except when she needed him to get baby formula for Judith. Judith ... The thought of the baby being left on her own at that prison sent Beth's insides cold. Rick went back to get her. She decided, but even she wasn't so convinced. "N'aw." Daryl replied whilst fiddling with his crossbow.

Beth watched his shoulders tense and she knelt beside him. "Are you okay?" She didn't really know why she was asking him, of course he was okay he was Daryl Dixon.

"Is that a serious question?" He frowned at her, as though confused by the question. She shrugged, looked away and stood up, wiping off the dirt from the knees of her trousers she decided to have a little bit of a scavenge.

"Hey, hey! Don't you be going too far now." Daryl clicked his fingers at her which only infurtiated her more. Beth had only ever been polite to him when they'd been at the prison, and even then he was awkward around her as though she was going to break or something, but now he was bossing her about and acting as though she was a burden to him. Again, had this been months ago she would have nodded and sat down, but she'd had one hell of a day and she wasn't putting up with his bullshit.

"Have I offended you or somethin'?" She turned to face him, hands on her hips. She got a small sense of satisfaction from seeing his eyes widen slightly in surprise, but that sense of victory quickly dwindled when he stood up and his eyes narrowed.

"You say somethin' Blondie?" He strode towards her and Beth could only step backwards, only glancing behind her to make sure she didn't trip, but he was walking faster than she could and she inevitably hit the floor.

Daryl nodded once as though to say That's what I thought, bitch. He turned, walking away when he heard rustling, as he turned he felt a shove. The fuck? He whirled around instinctively went to shove her back, before realising who she was and how much stronger he was than her. He wasn't even considering what happened to Herschel, he just knew that this was so out of character for Beth. Shut up, Daryl. You don't know nothin' about her.

"I just lost my Dad!" Another shove. Clearly raising his hand to shove her back wasn't frightening for her and for some sick reason he felt angry by that. You 'aint like that anymore, you 'aint like that! He hadn't even taken in what she just said, he was too absorbed in his battling conscience, maybe if he had paid attention he'd notice that Beth had stormed off further into the forest armed with nothing but a small knife she didn't even know how to use properly.

He couldn't take his eyes off that girl for two minutes before she was causing trouble. And I thought she was one of the quiet, sweet ones. He sighed and took off after her. He wasn't overly worried about her just yet, she wouldn't have gone far and by the detailed mark in her prints she was angry, meaning she'd calm down soon.

His thoughts flickered back to the way he had acted around her. He had noticed the smooth curve of her shoulders and the thin strap of fabric that belonged to her vest, the few stray hairs she hadn't managed to fit into her ponytail rested against the back of her neck as she had glanced behind herself to make sure she didn't trip up. He shook his head slightly and kept his focus on the tracks.

"Beth!" He whispered harshly. The girl 'aint comin' to you if you speak like that. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Beth...?" He nodded once in approval, and it seemed to work for Beth came out from behind the tree she'd be standing against. Had she been hiding from him?

"I'm sorry for shovin' you." Was all she said as she stroked her arm with the opposite hand and glanced at the floor.

"'Aint no problem." Daryl nodded in response and motioned for her to follow him back to their set up.

Daryl is a good man. Beth thought to herself that night as she rested her head on her arm in an attempt to get some sleep, but she was entranced by Daryl skinning a squirrel he'd found earlier on. Beth also noticed that Daryl actually had muscle in his arms as she watched him picking apart the dead animal, she knew they had to do this sort of thing to survive now, but it didn't mean she liked it. He must have seen her watching as he suddenly cocked his head to look at her.

"You enjoyin' this?" He asked her and she just shrugged in response as she sat up.

"Daryl ...?" Beth began cautiously. She thought she detected a hint of annoyance in his face, but he nodded once as he continued with their dinner. "You think anyone else got out?" She wrapped her arms around her legs and rested her chin atop her knees.

"Ain't no one got out." He shook his head slightly and his eyes flickered to hers.

"How do you know that?" Her voiced raised slightly and he whispered a harsh sh! to get her to shut up. "There's no way you can know that." She began again and realised too late that this might be a sensitive subject for him as well as her.

"I'm tellin' you, Blondie. 'Aint no way they got outta there."

When he was sure Beth was asleep, Daryl sat up and put his head in his hands.

Come on now, Darlena. Run while you still gotta chance. Merle's voice had taken over the voice in his head when he died and Daryl supposed it was just his way of coping. That didn't mean he liked it.

"Shuddup, I 'aint leavin' her here." He mumbled softly and closed his eyes.

Why not? She 'aint anythin' t'you.

"Shuddup Merle." The tone of his voice was harsh, he'd never speak to Merle like this when he was younger, but then again he wasn't actually talking to Merle. "I owe her Daddy."

You don't owe her shit.

"I didn't say her, I said I owe her Daddy."

You're a pussy, Darlena.

The thing he hated most about Merle being dead was Merle still being able to win arguments.

AN - Okay, so I've recently been rewatching TWD and these two have been stuck in my head ever since I first saw Season 4 and man, I love these guys. This will be my first fic I ever finish, I'll try to update when I can. I'm still really new to this so my apologies! I have a lot of free time on my hands at the minute, so don't be surprised if there's something stupid like four chapters in one day! Obviously I'm not a perfect writer, not even close, so constructive criticism is welcome! Although I check my work three of four times, I'm certain there's going to be a great deal of typos due to my computer having no spell check, which is the bane of my life.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this!