A/N Welcome welcome! First of I need to warm you this is canon compliant. I took a lot of liberty with this story and have it take place a few years after the show. It's still TWD, there's still zombies and Beth and Daryl are, I hope, still IC. But it's not exactly the same ton as the show, I'd say it's lighter and definitely fluffier ;) But walkers are still a threat…
It's also the sequel of my first Bethyl fanfic called A little Faith.
I don't think you actually need to read this first story if you don't want to. But it's quite short and easy to read ;) And it will give you more insight on how the characters have evolved since Terminus, especially Beth and Daryl's relationship. I'm feeling generous today so I'll give you a quick summary of the previous events just in case you don't want to read it or have read it a while ago!
So, previously on A little Faith:
The train box group has escaped Terminus not without casualties, Tara, Bob and Rosita didn't survived. After learning what happened to her sister Maggie refused to let the group go to Washington and Daryl and her searched for Beth for weeks together.
After a few weeks they luckily reunited with Beth, Carol, Tyreese and Judith. Beth told the story of her kidnapping to Daryl and Maggie. It was a traumatizing experience and she had to go through hell and kill the man who abducted her to escape. After a while on her own learning new skills and founding a crossbow, she found Carol, Ty and Judith. They secured a warehouse and were reunited with Rick and his group. Beth and Daryl resumed their awkward and close relationship.
When it was finally decided to go to Washington, Daryl and Beth went on a last hunting day together. After being attacked by a herd where Beth almost died and was saved by Daryl, they shared a kiss in the woods. The following day, they departed to Washington.
Chapter 1: Good
The buildings were passing in front of her eyes while her head was resting on the window of the bus, the cold glass cooling her temple. She could hear in the distance the conversation of other passengers. It was getting warm outside, spring had settled sooner this year and it was nice to see the trees blooming this early.
Today's shift hasn't been too bad. Patients with minor injuries had come and go and nobody died. Beth called that a good day. She wasn't surprised to wake up happily every morning to go work her shift at the hospital. Finally not getting up with only fear and hunger in her stomach was quite a sweet feeling. It felt good to have a purpose, to help and be part of a community.
It has been almost two years now, two good and restful years in Washington. It took them about a month to get here. The roads around the city were crowded with walkers and Daryl was actually right, it really hasn't been a walk in the park. But they all made it alive. Their wounds were more psychological than physical, this world had been brutal, but now they were safer than they'd ever been. Their main purpose wasn't only survival anymore.
Washington was not quite as it used to be. High defensive walls against walkers now surrounded the city. The army was watching the streets and very few incidents were happening. And it wasn't as spread out as it used to be, it was getting more crowded every day now that the word of a vaccine and an actual sanctuary where people can find shelter was out.
Eugene joined the small scientific team in place as soon as they arrived. Abraham immediately joined the army here and ended up in the high ranks. Leaving the rest of the group to figure out what to do with their lives now that they were not on their own.
It took a while for all of them to get used to having a new home, it seemed like a whole new world. After being on the run for their life and after all the things they had to do to survive, adapting to an old lifestyle had been harder than she imagined.
But it was a blessing. The little things were actually the better part of being here. Sleeping with the windows open, not waking up with only hunger and fear in her stomach, walking alone in the streets without being afraid, seeing water coming out from taps... Oh the warm water, that was heavenly! The first time she opened a tap and saw a clean liquid pouring, she almost cried. You only realize how much you miss the comfort of modern life once you've been deprived of it for so long, especially after their last few months outside.
The hopes of reaching Washington were dropping as the walkers' herds they encountered were increasing. Everyone was tense and sleep deprived. It was almost a miracle they all made it through alive.
She stepped out of the bus, saying goodbye with a smile at the driver. She's been doing this same trip back home for a year and a half now. Back home. Her home, with Maggie and Glenn. They were sharing this small townhouse in Columbia Height. They were assigned to it after 2 months of living in a gigantic hotel turned into temporary housing for new comers. The house still had the furniture, pictures and memories of the family who lived there. Maggie and Beth boxed them and stored it in the basement. They didn't have the heart to throw them away. It was one thing to scavenge houses when they were on the run but now that they knew this would be their home for good, it felt strange and heartbreaking to move in. Luckily the comfort of sleeping every night in the same bed, in her own room, had overcome this sad feeling.
Her phone rang. The New Government managed to put the cellular network back on a year ago. It wasn't exactly stable and obviously it was basic phone signal but it was good to be able to contact people so easily.
"Hi there. What are you doing?"
She had a soft smile and looked at the military truck passing next to her slowly. Army patrols were part of the cityscape now.
She talked for a little while about her day, their plan for tonight, and passed in front of Rick's house. It was just across the street from theirs. Knowing some people working at the Community Center for Refugees has its perks.
The living room windows were open at her place and she could hear the radio. Glenn and Maggie were home, both on the couch, drinking a cool beer. Glenn was sitting and Maggie was lying, her head on his lap. His hand was brushing her hair. She was smiling and Beth could hear her sister's soft chuckle. She passed by the door and gave them a quick wave before climbing up the stairs to her room.
Maggie was home early that day. She had joined the Police along with Michonne, and Rick of course. Rick had been hesitant at first to become a cop again. He was struggling with demons Beth could barely understand. It took him a while to adjust to normal life, maybe more than most of them. But his cop instincts had come back at some point and he was now in charge of the local police force for this area of the city. The police had a different purpose than the army. They were taking care of the people, regular crimes, thefts and such. Not that it was an important threat but the apocalypse did bring out the worst- even in the living- and they had to make sure people wouldn't try to make their own justice or it would be chaos. The army was on walkers watching duty, making sure the threat was staying outside the walls.
Michonne and Maggie couldn't really imagine doing an office position or even housekeeping; they naturally followed Rick. Glenn on the other hand wasn't exactly keen on taking a physical job. He was badly injured during their trip to Washington and didn't recover well due to lake of proper aid, his knee was forever injured and he chose to join Carol working in the Community Center. Their role was to make sure they take a consensus of all new comers and find them a roof and a job. He had pretty good people skills and this kind of work fitted him well.
Carol first started working at the local school as a teacher, she was able to watch over Judith and Carl. There were very few schools opened here and they had all multiple duties, day care, primary school and high school, even academic evening courses like the ones Beth was taking to learn medicine. It was all mixed in the same place as the city was lacking the needed man power to take care of everything. But it quickly became unbearable for Carol to be surrounded by children. Beth knew she had lost her little girl Sophia, she remembered her coming out of the barn. And Carol had confessed to Beth what happened to Lizzie and Mika. Both Tyreese and her had such a traumatic journey; they were trying to put it behind them.
She actually hadn't seen Tyreese and Sasha for more than a year. They left Washington, with Daryl. It had been little more than 68 weeks. She kept count. She was collecting important events of their life here in one of her notebooks.
After Rick, Daryl probably had the hardest time adjusting to normal life. Settling in. Finding a job. Getting a house. He had never been ready for this. Hell he was more ready for the apocalypse than this life here. He first started in a working crew, to help build up camps and restoring housing. It was hard work but it kept him occupied. Abraham then asked him to join the mechanic team in the army. Fixing cars, military trucks and such. He even fixed up a motorcycle he was allowed to keep for himself. And then Eugene and the scientific department of the New Government came up with the vaccine. It wasn't exactly a cure but anyone who was administered with it wouldn't wake up as a walker if they died or if they were bitten. They hoped it would slow down the spreading and give the army more time to eradicate the walkers.
Abraham was the leader of the two new military branches, WIPE in charge of eradicating walkers both inside Washington and outside the walls. And the VAC Team, groups of 20 men raiding outside the city to find people and protect the doctors and nurses who volunteered to administrate the vaccines to survivors. Both squads worked in tandem. Abraham asked Daryl to join VAC as soon as he started recruiting people. It was a long shot, the southern man wasn't exactly known for liking the military much nor taking orders easily. But Abraham was sure about his choice; Daryl was the best fit for the job. He was focused, had great tactical skills, he was able to plan raids and was a fair leader. He knew that much from the month they were together travelling to the city. And above all Daryl had the urge to help the living. He was tired of seeing people die, he needed to do something about this hell of a world. He didn't have a hero complex and he wasn't in it for the recognition, far from it. He just couldn't close his eyes on what was happening outside the walls.
Sasha chose to join the VAC Team as well. Her firefighter instincts were still there deep down. And Tyreese wouldn't let his sister leave without him. Daryl led his team west of the country, with the siblings at his side.
He had been for a bit more than 470 days now.
When they left the warehouse to head here, a lot changed. Especially between Daryl and Beth. He was willing to risk his life to protect her, he proved that countless times. But they had other things in mind, mainly surviving and getting to Washington as fast as possible. The journey had been exhausting and they never really had the time to think about what they meant to each other. Especially after the kiss they shared in the woods. Beth had been thinking about that day, that specific moment, a lot lately. She wasn't sure if it was all the recent changes in her life or just the fear of forgetting about it after all this time.
She had never felt more alive than this very moment. And even if she was now living her life more fully, she still never quite recalled feeling anything like this.
Beth had to let him go. When she heard he was leaving, she felt furious, she didn't know exactly why. Maybe she was mad at him for leaving her, or mad at herself for not being able to tell him how she really felt and maybe got him to stay. Either way she was almost certain he didn't feel the same. His behavior towards her changed so much after they shared this kiss, he was almost avoiding her, watching her in the distance. All he ever wanted was to keep her safe, there was no doubt about that. He cared. Just like he cared for the rest of their group. But now they were out of harms way and he could focus on helping others, maybe helping himself to find a purpose with his life in the process. But the kiss… was it more than just a reassuring gesture as she figured it had been? She never dared to ask after it happened. She never really had the time.
Heading towards the bathroom, she heard the doorbell downstairs. She stepped inside to take a quick shower. When she got out she could hear people talking in the kitchen in the distance. She sat at her desk and opened a drawer containing some make-up products. It was one of the little pleasures of modern life. She had never been very into wearing make-up before, she never really saw the point. But now she enjoyed adding some blush and mascara, even lipstick when she was going out with the other nurses from the hospital. I guess it was pretty normal for 20-year-old girl.
A mirror was settled down on her desk, some Polaroid pictures stuck on the frame. Pictures of her sister and Glenn, of Rick, Michonne, Carol, Carl but mostly pictures of Judith. Her precious baby girl, who wasn't really a baby anymore, she had grown up so much and although it had been heartbreaking when she had to let her go live with her father and brother, not being able to put her to sleep every night and hear her sweet little sounds all day, she had to let her be with her family. Building up a real relationship with her dad, getting to know him really. She still spent most of her evenings and weekends over at the Grimes' house. Helping Carl with his homework, studying while watching Judith play next to her in the living room. Those were the moments when she almost forgot how the world was outside.
She was lost in her thoughts, putting on some blush when she heard a familiar deep voice coming from the door behind her.
"Getting ready for prom?"
She jerked her head in surprise and had to hold herself to the back of the chair in a gasp. He was here, leaning in the doorframe of her room. She didn't hear his footsteps on the stairs; she didn't know how long he had been here. But it was him. Standing only a few feet away from her.
His hair was shorter, a few strands still falling around his face. He was wearing a dark tee shirt with short sleeves, black jeans and commando boots. And of course the winged leather vest. He was leaning on the doorframe, his arms crossed on his chest.
She stood up slowly "Dar-" and couldn't finish to say his name. She had to hold herself strongly on the chair's back. She closed the few steps separating them and wrapped her arms around his chest, tucking her head in the hollow of his neck and shoulder. He uncrossed his arms and straightened himself uncomfortably. He finally put his hands on her elbows and let her take in his presence for as long as she needed.
She pulled away a little to see his face, he was looking down at her, the side of his lips rose as he gave her a soft smile. He pushed her away gently and took a few steps inside the room. He moved around, not sure where to go, observing Beth's bedroom. The books on her bed and on her desk. The pictures on the mirror.
"When did you get here?"
He turned around to look at her. "Late morning." And got back at pacing around slowly. "I went to Rick's house but no one was home."
Beth looked at her watch. "It's early, Carl is probably still at school and Rick at work. He's gonna be so happy to see you."
"How have ya been?"
"Good. Pretty good."
Their exchange was awkward, she was well aware of that. But she couldn't think of anything to say, her mind was blank. All she wanted to focus on was Daryl's presence in her bedroom. After all this time. She sometimes imagined how this moment would be. Strangely it looked a lot like the scenarios she had made in her mind.
Daryl looked at her intermittently. Resting his eyes on the floor, on the details of the room, then on her, but never for long. They stayed silent for what seemed an eternity for Beth when they heard Glenn's voice calling from the bottom of the stairs.
"Beth! Daryl! We're going to the bar. Rick and the others are joining us there. You guys comin'?"
Beth turned her head to the door. "Comin'!"
She took a few steps passing closely in front of Daryl, brushing her shoulder to his arm and reached out for a pair of heels under the bed. She sat down to put them on and Daryl watched her carefully during the whole operation until she was at the door smiling at him.
"Let's go Daryl Dixon."
A/N There it is, I hoped you liked it. I forgot to thank Nia my wonderful beta for checking this story for spelling and grammar errors! Let me know what you think, reviews are a fuel for the inspiration!