A/N: THIS IS IT FOLKS! I gotta say, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out! Get ready for some angsty Daryl!
ALSO, look out for the Epilogue/ "Me" which is Beth's POV. This will be a romance/resolution chap!
Enjoy! As always, much love and appreciation! Leave a review on your way out! –T.
DISCLAIMER: Any and all canon events and characters herein belong to the great minds at AMC. I own absolutely NOTHING related to The Walking Dead. However, The Walking Dead very much owns me!
Didn't every dream, every memory about us feel just as real as this? How did he know he won't just dreaming again right now? In most of his dreams – the good ones – she was singing to him. Songs he knew he'd never heard, but felt familiar coming from her. Smiling, laughing as he picked her up, light as a feather, carrying her from room to room. Talking to him, telling him things he needed but didn't want to hear. Him telling her…well, just trying to tell her.
But this was different. No matter how hard he blinked. Still there. All tangled up slender limbs, crumpled in the grass with Maggie. Both of them weeping and whispering. And he couldn't tear his eyes away. Safe. Perfect. It must have been God, Hershel, somebody…that kept her that way. A small part of him whispered, wanted to believe, it was just for him. His vision blurred and his eyes burned; like he'd been staring at the sun too long. "Don't you think it's beautiful?"
He barely even registered that he'd dropped his damned crossbow. When it thumped to the ground, Beth went very still, her eyes slowly seeking the source of the noise. For a moment, she just stared at his crossbow laying there in the grass. Like some precious relic that had fallen outta the damn sky. She blinked a few times, like she was willing away a mirage. Maybe she'd dreamed of us, too. Arms going slack around Maggie, her wide eyes rose up. Taking him in, crushing him like blue waves. Jesus, when was the last time he took a breath? He won't even sure if his heart was fucking beating anymore, or just replaced by this overwhelming crushing feeling in his chest.
"Daryl…" she whispered.
His name on her lips sounded reverent, like a prayer. Had his name ever sounded like that before? She rose on wobbly legs, Maggie's hand clinging to hers. Daryl watched as her tiny features crumbled again with fresh tears; pooling in her eyes and flooding down her cheeks. It felt like someone had reached right into his chest and pulled out his fucking non-beating heart.
"Daryl?" louder this time, almost desperate. Like she was scared that calling to him would make him disappear. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her face. Move, damn it! FUCK! Do something! Say something! Anything! He wanted nothing more than to go to her. Crush her to him and never release her. Hold her so close that she somehow engraved herself there. Even more than she already was. Tell her every single thing. Make it so he could keep her. "You're gonna miss me so bad when I'm gone, Daryl Dixon."
But he just stood frozen in place, made of stone. Every word, every thing he wanted to say, caught around the lump in his throat. Strangling the life right out of him. She was standing there waiting for him. Crying his name. And he was stuck, fucking lost. "...just 'cause you're a-afraid!" He won't scared of nothing, but he was fucking terrified right now. Terrified that this won't real. Maybe he was slipping, off the deep end, seeing ghosts like Rick did. Maybe...
A door slammed. Shouts and running broke him out of his trance. Mercifully pulled him back, out of his own mind, away from the blue eyes holding him prisoner. But the mercy was short lived. When he looked over toward the church, toward the shouts, his eyes glazed over. And all he saw was red.
One week. Seven fucking days, and he still hadn't had the balls to speak to her. He was too ashamed. Partly because he hadn't spoke to her yet. Probably too late now. But mostly because she'd seen him lose it. Be the way he was, before; the way she'd told him not to be. Out of control. Irrational. A stupid, violent redneck. She probably hated him. Probably knew she'd been wrong about the sort of man he was. "There's still good people, Daryl."
He'd almost killed that fucking preacher. Still wanted to kill that bitch. But Beth had stopped him. A part of him was mad at her for that. That man took her! Took her from him! He was one of the good people, she'd said. Just messed up. Alone. Thought he had saved her. Couldn't even kill walkers. She'd yelled at Daryl, begged him to spare the man. Even then, the only thing that'd stopped him was her stepping in the middle, shielding that piece of shit. Daryl could've fucking stabbed her! He was pissed at her for that, too. She hadn't even flinched. Like she knew he wasn't capable of it.
Daryl sat alone in the fading light, about 20 yards from the house they were holed up in, stabbing at the dirt with one of his bolts. His jaw aching from clinching it. "Keeping watch." More like he needed space. Space to breathe, to think. Most folks probably didn't take him for the thinking type. Stupid fucking hick. White trash. But he spent an awful lot of time in his own head. Mostly thinking about her. Wondering how to make it right, or if he could make it right. He'd been staying outside. Securing the property during the day, sleeping on the porch at night. Always close enough that he could see her, keep an eye on her. It terrified him to let her out of his sight for long.
The nights were starting to get colder now. They'd decided to find a place to settle since winter was coming. Abraham had about lost it; but he was Eugene's bitch, and Eugene had wanted to stay. Try for DC in the spring. Something about that weird ass group didn't add up, and Abraham got on his last damn nerve. But Daryl won't about to complain. He knew they needed the muscle, and Abraham and Rosita had proved themselves at Terminus.
The new house was just outside the town where they'd found her. Daryl had outright refused to stay at that fucking church. Hell no. Not there. That argument was the last time he'd spoke to anyone, really. Beth had convinced everyone - except Daryl - to let that asshole come with them. Father Gabriel. It took her thirty minutes to convince the old quack to leave his precious fucking church. Probably scared of the vicious hillbilly.
"If I leave you, you will die. I'm not livin' with that. And I'm not leavin' my family. Ever. Again."
Daryl found himself stabbing the dirt harder. That was just like her, though. Only Beth. She could see people, really see them. Knew what they were, even if they didn't. Wanted to save them, especially from themselves. She had a quiet way of doing it, caring for you. Convincing you without ya even realizing it. But calling you on your shit in a heartbeat. She was so... hell, he didn't even think there was just one word for her. How could one person be so many things? Wise. Naive. Weak. Brave. Small. Fierce. Simple. Complicated. Girl. Woman. She was everything. Perfect and imperfect at the same time. So full of hope. So much like her dad. All these things... "What changed your mind?" Maybe Maggie was right... Maybe she did know. She had to know, right? Know it was her. All her. Always her...
His stabbing stopped. The soft sound of music reaching his ears. Before he knew it, he was halfway to the damn house, like she was drawing him there. He reached the porch and made his way to the window. She was sitting at the piano in the living room, looking like an angel, surrounded by candlelight and starting to sing. There were others, around her listening, but he couldn't take his eyes off her. He thought back to the funeral home; her voice as he stood in the doorway watching her. "I thought my singin' annoyed you."
The squeak of the screen door startled him. Rick.
"Hey...just came out to see if you needed a break. I can take watch." Rick said quietly, sidling up next to him, watching their family through the window.
"She's somethin', huh?" Rick asked.
"Yeah... She's happy, feels safe."
Rick looked over at him, a question in his eyes. Shit.
Daryl flushed, shifting uncomfortably, "...it's just, she's singing...only does that, you know..."
Mercifully, Rick looked away, back to Beth, "Yeah, I know. S'good to have her back..." Rick paused, looking over at him again, "you talked to her?"
Daryl shook his head, trying but failing to meet his gaze. Daryl didn't know how to explain himself...didn't know if he needed to, really.
Rick let the silence be for a minute. His brother was good like that; knew when to give him space.
"It ain't... It ain't the same as when it was just us. Donno how to make it right..."
The corner of Rick's mouth turned up in a half-smile as he gazed back into the house, "Well, if you got something to say, you should say it." His smile faltered, "...Second chances don't happen much...not anymore."
With that, Rick made his way back to the house.
Tomorrow. I'll talk to her tomorrow.
A/N: In my mind, the song Beth is singing at the end is "This Year's Love" by David Gray. I do not own this! But it's a fantastic song! However, feel free to insert whatever little song you get your Bethyl on to (you know we alllllll got one)!
Reviews make me happy, and happy helps me write faster! ;)