~Author's note: Please Read this note. To start with, this story is only really going to make sense to people who have already read my Bethyl fic "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", at least through to the end of chapter 54. Okay, here's the deal guys. I was devastated by Beth's death in the midseason finale. I know a lot of you were. I have talked to several of you in PM's about continuing both "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" and "Wasn't Born an Angel". I'm not ready to give up on either of those stories. I thought it would be more difficult at this time to continue with "Wasn't Born..." because it is a much darker story and there are still rough times ahead in that one, but I am having a lot of trouble with "I Will Follow..." Don't get me wrong or think that I have writer's block because that's not the case. I have a very concrete plan. I know the storyline, I know exactly where it is going for a good long time. I just can't bring myself to write it. Beth and Daryl are at such a happy place, and I think that's what is making it hard. So, right after the MSF aired, I started writing some tragic stuff about Beth and Daryl, and it is helping I think. The thing is, what I was writing became a sort of tragic end for "I Will Follow You Into the Dark". It has been helping me cope, writing it. I decided to post it...I don't know, just as part of that process of coping. By no means, if you are reading this, should you take this as the real ending to "I Will Follow You Into the Dark". Even though this is related to what happened in the MSF on the show, I am considering it an AU to the world I have created for Beth and Daryl and how I have developed Beth and Daryl's characters to this point in my work. I need this to give closure to the tragedy that the show gave to Beth and Daryl, a way to mourn, give Daryl some closure, and help me move back to a place where I can live in my happy fanfictional world of Beth and Daryl where they get to live. I refuse to accept the ending to Beth and Daryl that TPTB gave us, so if I have to write enough that I start to blur their fictional truth with my own writing, I will. Lets just make some things clear. Beth is dead in this fiction. Daryl is going to die. There are going to be more tragic, sad, and heartbreaking moments than most of you are probably going to want to read at this point. I am really just doing this for myself, for closure. These are going to be short chapters capturing moments. I am anticipating ten chapters, and I plan to have this done pretty quickly in comparison to my usual posting habits. This is the darkest, most tragic story I am ever going to let myself write. If you read it, please be warned. I cried. A lot. And I knew what I was writing.
So, just know that despite this story being an alternate/tragic ending to "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" based on The Walking Dead midseason finale, both "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" and "Wasn't Born an Angel" are going to continue, and their storylines are not going to be in any way, shape, or form altered by the tragedy of that horrible episode. Thank you all for your support, love, and for all of you who have taken the time to contact me personally!
Also, be on the lookout for an update to "Wasn't Born and Angel" if you read that one. I am hoping (not promising, but hoping) to have it up before the end of the weekend!~
Chapter 1: Carry Me Down
Cold. Hard. The ground...it was unforgiving. He didn't deserve forgiveness...
As soon as he came to consciousness, he knew...it was a dream. It'd all been just a dream.
He'd never kissed her.
Told her he loved her.
He couldn't save Beth.
Face pressed against the ground, Daryl laid his hand on top the soft dirt that covered her body, feeling the soil between his fingers, wishing he could reach her small hand.
"...oh...Beth..." Daryl wanted to be in that ground beside her. "I...I...it's all my...I killed you..."
I would follow you into the dark...
His breaths were comin' short and ragged now.
"Beth...I love you..."
He closed his fist around the dirt, pulling his clenched fingers against his chest where his heart was threatening to pound its way out. She died not knowing...he was a coward 'cause he didn't tell her when he had the chance...and she was dead now. The ground he was holding...the dirt in his hand...it was part of her...she was part of it. All he would ever have...it was sacred.
Beth was so light, but he'd never carried so much weight...born such a heavy burden. Daryl followed Rick outta the hospital. She was so still in his arms. So pale. He walked past Rick, saw Maggie fall, but he just kept walking...the whole world blurred like a window streaked with rain. Was it raining? He stopped 'cause he couldn't see. It wasn't rain...not rain...tears...
His arms were shakin' from the weight. Daryl sat down in the middle of the pavement. It was warm against his legs, but Beth...she was getting cold. He pulled her close in his arms, resting her head against his chest.
"Beth, wake up."
"Beth...I'm here. I found you. I came...I came for you..."
"Wake up..." Daryl shook her...didn't wanna hurt her, but she had to...
"No...no...no, no...Beth...no...please...come back...come back to me..."
Daryl knew that, but he still had to try.
Her blood was goin' cold on his hands. He brushed her hair back so he could see her face, blood runnin' down her cheeks like tears. For one instant, Daryl gathered himself, wiped his tears away with a bloodstained hand while pressing her to his chest. She was gone...but maybe...maybe she could still hear.
"I love you Beth..."
When Maggie knelt on the road beside him, that was when his moment of clarity broke.
"Beth...Daryl, let me...let me...Beth..." Maggie reached out, trying to take her from his arms.
"Don't touch her...no..." Daryl turned away from Maggie, shielding Beth, protecting her...refusing..."She's...she's mine..."
Then it all went dark.
Daryl couldn't say how they got there, back to the church, but he carried her down that aisle, limp, lifeless...cold...until he was at the steps leading up to the altar. He looked up at the cross, sunlight dancing through the stained glass windows behind it. Was God lookin' down on him with pity...did he even know Beth?
"...Daryl?" Rick was beside him. Had Rick said something...something before his name? "Let's take her back...back into the rectory...get her cleaned up."
He didn't understand what Rick was saying. All he heard was her.
"Not 'her'...Beth...her name...her name's Beth..." He was breakin'.
"Beth," Rick said it. And Rick...he was breakin' too. "Let's take Beth and get her cleaned up."
Daryl still didn't get what he was saying. Didn't matter though. His arms were shakin', and he was about to go to ground.
"Rick...I can't...I can't hold her anymore..." He was failin' again.
"I'll carry her...I'll carry Beth for you..."
"Please...be gentle...don't hurt her...don't hurt Beth..."
Daryl thought he saw wetness on Rick's cheeks, lips tight as he nodded. "I'll be gentle."
Rick reached out, taking Beth from his arms, and Daryl allowed it.
Rick took Beth away? Where? He couldn't see her anymore. He fell defeated, knees cracking against the steps...but he couldn't feel it...didn't feel anything except...
He was on his knees before God...never been there before...
Hey J.C., if that was you out there helpin' us today, thanks for watching our backs. If your takin' requests, could you please watch out for Beth. She don't deserve this. She's probably too good for this world, but I'm not ready to give her up when I just found her. If this is close to a prayer, Amen. Oh, and J.C., if you don't recognize me, I'm Daryl Dixon. I'm a better man than my father. I'm a better man than my brother. I'm a better man than I used to be. And if it ain't too much to ask, could you help me be good enough...to save her?
Where did that come from...they were his words, but he'd never said them, had he? He was losin' it. Where was that prayer from...he didn't pray...
...help me be good enough...to save her...
God didn't answer that one...didn't even know why he was tryin'...
"You can have my sorry soul...take it...take what you want...just protect Beth, and let her know..."