Chapter One

When he thinks of her it will be with a halo, the rising sun shining from behind her, blonde tendrils framing her face.

He won't think of the back of her head covered with blood - so much blood - no, he won't remember her like that.

When he thinks of her, it will be of her laughing and light in his arms, hands wound around his neck as he carried her to the table.

He won't think of the last time he carried her - the last time he would ever carry her - her body limp, arms hanging at her sides, heavy, oh so heavy in his arms.

He might not choose to think on her that way, but he knows the images will stay with him anyway, biding their time, waiting for the moment he closes his eyes.

He'll be sleeping even less from here on in, waiting until he's too exhausted to remember his dreams.

They'd laid her out in the church, just in front of the table that served as an alter - no dark, damp ground for her. Let her bring something holy to these four walls that they'd defiled, a touch of God and goodness. He'd placed some wild flowers, weeds really, between her clasped hands, something pretty for her to take with her. He hadn't looked at the others as he placed them, hadn't wanted to see the expressions on their faces or answer their questions. Daryl had waited until they were all gone, a weeping Maggie half dragged out by Glenn, before he had said his own goodbye - leaning down to place a kiss upon her brow, the only one he would ever give her.

"Keep singin', Beth, sing us on our way from up above," he had whispered in her ear just before leaving her.

It is his wishful thinking that her skin felt warm to the touch under his lips, just as it is his imagination that had him hearing her voice in his ears, a wistful lilt.

He nails the door shut after them, a larger coffin than most but a coffin none the less. Let nobody disturb her rest, let him do that for her at least.

And then they're on their way, Maggie's sobs quieter now out of necessity, Beth's clear voice still ringing in his ears.


A/N: Another take on the Team Delusional theories, and something to get me through until we know one way or another for certain.