Ch. 1

Pretty sure we all need some happy after last night. This will be a multi-chapter story. Probably about 10-15 chapters.

It goes without saying, this is an AU, because the last ten minutes of "Coda" were so OOC it was ridiculous.

Unedited, so all mistakes are mine.

She was there, standing right in front of him like a damn dream come to life, wearing the same thing that she'd been taken from him in. Then that bitch cop called for Noah, and Beth started to step forward. Without a second thought, he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Stay with me," he whispered. "Trust me, please."

Her gaze flicked between his eyes, and she nodded slowly, and linked their fingers like she'd done that day at the cemetery. She was grounding herself in the present, and he wasn't letting her go again. Not a chance in hell.

"Fine," Rick said with a nod then looked to the officers behind Dawn and sighed. Beth watched as the woman cop, Shepherd, nodded subtly. "Just so ya know, this set up ya got here is doomed. Can't no one keep control the way you are, but I don't guess that's any of my concern." He turned to the group and motioned them out. "Let's go."

Daryl squeezed Beth's hand and pulled her along even though he knew she wanted to stay. She'd risked her life to get Noah out, and now she was leaving him in her place. It went against everything she believed in to turn and walk away, but he knew they would be getting him back soon. And as soon as he turned the corner, he'd tell her about the other cops getting rid of Dawn.

He didn't get the chance to explain, though, as single shot rang out causing Beth to gasp and turn. This time Daryl released her hand and she took off in the direction of the gunshot, and he followed behind her just like everyone else.

When she pushed open the door to the hallway, he saw Noah standing over Dawn's body, wide-eyed and shocked. Beth stuck close to his side, staring down at her captor's body as Rick walked over to Noah and laid a hand on his shoulder, trying to steady him.

"Anyone else wanna go with us?" He asked and looked over the cops and wards. No one made a move to step forward so he shrugged and led Noah out past everyone.

The walk out of the hospital was quiet as everyone felt the victory settle over them. It seemed completely unreal. It was easy, easier than he'd thought. A simple exchange and everyone had made it out but the woman in charge, and Daryl couldn't say that he gave a shit about that.

The bright light made him squint as Beth took his hand again and smiled up at him. They ignored the others and walked off to the side, and the group seemed to try and give them privacy, too. They knew he was looking for her, and it was more than just because he felt he'd lost her and was obligated to bring her back. He wasn't about to hide those feelings that seemed to be making his chest crack wide open at the sight of her either.

"I thought ya might find me," she whispered. "I was gonna get out even if ya didn't show up, though."

Daryl nodded. "I, uh, I followed that car all night long. I lost it, but I never thought you were dead, girl. You're too strong to go out so easy."

"I was trained by the best," she said quietly, and he noticed her eyes well up with tears. "I told ya they were alive."

At that moment, Daryl crumbled and pulled her into his arms, sobbing against her shoulder. It was too much and the thought of truly losing her weighed on him, pulling him under the flood of emotions that curled together inside his heart.

"It's okay," she spoke softly and played with the hair that hung over the collar of his shirt. "We're gonna be good."

He pulled away and wiped off his face with heels of his hands, and gave her a wobbly half-grin. "Ya don't get outta my sight, ya hear me?"

Beth rose up on her toes and kissed his cheek. "Yes, sir, Mr. Dixon."