This is a one-shot of Beth and Daryl, the way that I think episode 8 of season 5 should have gone. Or at least along these lines. Hell, even just not killing her would have been great with me. Crap, I ain't picky. Damn Gimple, damn them all!

Daryl is a little out of character here probably, but I also think Beth showing back up would throw Daryl a little out of usual character. Plus I want happiness and love so there! Yes this moves fast, it's a one shot and honestly I don't think I have the patience to write slow. Needless to say, here's what you get from me!

Beth sits in the light glow of the campfire. She had told Carol she'd take first watch, she knows Carol is still hurting from being hit by the officers from Grady. An "accident" that Beth knows saved her own life. Carol being brought to the hospital put Beth's solitary escape plan on indefinite hold. She was willing to wait however long it took for Carol to feel better; she wasn't leaving her family behind. As soon as Carol woke up they started to plan. Beth didn't care about anyone else, but Dawn had to die and Beth wanted to be the one to kill her.

Beth fingers the scars on her face. It doesn't bother her that she will carry these scars the rest of her life. She only cares of what Daryl will think but really she knows. He'll say they're badass. She giggles to herself. Daryl. It's her thoughts of him that had gotten her through the last two months. What would Daryl do? What would Daryl say?

She'd killed now. She knows he wouldn't care, that he would tell her they deserved it. And she can't find it in herself to feel bad. Gorman was a sick fuck that deserved what he got and it was pure poetic justice that it was Joan that finished him off. As for Dawn, she was even worse. She condoned it. All in her quest for her bullshit greater good. The bitch didn't have a clue and when the time had come, Beth had not hesitated to put a bullet in her head. She wonders if it will come back to haunt her, if her daddy can see what she's had to become and if he's disappointed. Four months ago she could never had done the things she's recently done. But watching her daddy be killed, struggling to survive with Daryl, only to be taken from him; she's no longer the Beth from the prison. Maybe she doesn't know who she is anymore.

"Carol, wake up." Beth nudges get boot gently.

Carol slowly wakes up. "I'm too old for this," she grins.

Beth chuckles and starts to quickly pack up. "We'll get to the church today right?"

"Couple of hours at the most." Carol struggles to hide her grin. She knows that Beth is anxious to get back to Daryl. It doesn't take much to figure out that the feelings between the odd couple go deeper than either is willing to admit.

"Good. Let's go." Beth sets off.

It doesn't surprise Carol that Beth is no longer that little girl from the farm. Within minutes of waking up at the hospital, Carol had that figured out. And then she had seen Beth kill. At first she waited for Beth to break down, to lose it. But it hadn't happened and since then Beth had did nothing but continue to make Carol proud. The only time Beth was truly at her weakest was in her sleep. It was then that she called for Daryl. The same as Carol had heard Daryl call for Beth. That's what worries her. Because Daryl is still Daryl. He doesn't show emotions. He doesn't like to be touched. She had known him over two years now and he still barely tolerated her touch. He might like Beth, even love her; but that didn't mean he wouldn't push her away. She cringed thinking of Beth being hurt unintentionally because of Daryl's inability to show his feelings. She's only hopes she's surprised.

After walking a couple of hours, Carol comes to an abrupt halt. "There it is," she points to the steeple poking out of the trees. "Let's not rush in; after everything they've been through, they don't need any more surprises."

Beth sees the haunted look in Carol's eyes and refrains from asking what she desperately wants to know. They all have their own nightmares, nightmares that didn't get the right to make their presence known in the light of day.

They start to creep up silently, now within a dozen yards of the church doors when they burst open and Daryl strides out, clearly angry. Beth's breath catches in her chest, her heart pumping frantically. She goes to step forward but stops at his clearly pissed off tone.

"I'm goin Rick. Carol's in there and I know Beth is too!"

The group pours out of the church, one by one as Beth watches. They are all here, every one of them! She hears an unfamiliar voice, "You going to let him go Rick?" And she looks to see a huge guy with red hair. She quickly glances at Carol and back to the group.

"Ain't no one tellin me I can't go get her," Daryl angrily huffs.

"Who's her sunshine? Carol, a woman hit by a car and probably dead? Or some blonde chick that's probably been dead for months?"

Daryl brings his crossbow up in record speed, an arrow already loaded. "Ya got somethin else to say? Sunshine." Daryl sneered as Beth and Carol watched from the trees, both holding their breaths.

"Daryl" Rick and Maggie start at the same time, Rick conceding to Maggie as she reaches forward for Daryl. "Daryl she's probably dead, they're probably dead."

Daryl roughly pulls out of Maggie's grasp. "She ain't fucking dead! Why do ya care Maggie?" He shouts. "Ya got fucking Glen. Follow his ass to DC and let me worry about Beth and Carol."

Rick looks around, "Daryl you gotta calm down. You'll bring walkers." He shifts Judith on his lap.

From the cover of the trees, Beth narrows her eyes as she looks at Maggie. Carol notices and knows Beth is thinking of the sign they saw miles back, a sign from Maggie to Glen which included no one else, not even her baby sister. "She didn't know Beth. No one knew." Carol whispers before Beth interrupts her to bitterly whisper back "I know. I'm the weak one."

"I'm leavin." Daryl shoves past Maggie.

"We need you here Daryl," Maggie pleads.

"Ya got Glen. Ya got Rick and Abraham and everyone else."

"She might not be al-" Daryl stalks up to Maggie, getting in her face as Glen tries to pull her back.

"They're alive," Daryl growls intimidating.

Beth looks to Carol. "Now might be a good time to announce ourselves," she whispers.

Carol nods firmly and with a light smile on her face she starts pushing Beth forward.

The first one to see them is Rosita who quickly raises her gun, only seeing Beth at first and not knowing who she is. But she stops with one softly spoken word.

"Daryl." With that one word, everyone freezes. Daryl stands still. He knows that voice. It haunts his nights and his days. But he doesn't turn around. Not even when Maggie's eyes go wide and she shoves past him does he turn around. Only when Rick takes his arm and twists him around does he see what he's been dreaming of for months. He struggles to draw air. At first his brain is only able to process that he's being tricked. But Maggie sees her too, is crying and rushing up to her as the seconds slowly tick by.

"Bethy. Bethy!" Maggie grabs Beth, hugging her. As Glen steps up beside them also putting his arms around Beth. It only takes them a few seconds to realize that Beth isn't hugging them back. "I didn't know Bethy," Maggie pleads.

"I know." Beth says simply, kissing Maggie's cheek and instantly forgiving her, knowing that the world they live in now wasn't the one in which to hold grudges, no matter how justified. Beth gently pushed herself away from her sister as Glen reaches out for Beth, Beth allowing herself mere seconds in her determination to get to Daryl to stop and gently squeeze Glen's hand; letting him know that he's also forgiven.

Rick stands by Daryl with Michonne and Carl. To say the least, he's surprised. He doesn't understand but he also doesn't care. Beth and Carol are back and that's all that matters. He feels shame at not believing, not having the same faith that Daryl himself had. Instead he had given up so easily. He looks to Daryl who looks shell shocked and then he looks back to Beth who looks so damn hopeful. And he cringes. He knows that Daryl cares, if nothing else showed it, the last few minutes certainly had. But that doesn't mean he doesn't know Daryl Dixon. He's scared the beautiful blonde woman will be pushed away, Daryl too emotionally scared to even allow the reunion he had been waiting for 2 months for.

Rick is quickly surprised though as its Daryl that reaches for Beth first, Daryl who gently touches Beth's face as she rests her cheek in his palm. Rick is stunned. Everyone just stares, nor believing what they are seeing.

'M'not dreamin am I?"

Beth shakes her head, "I'm really here Daryl," she says as she brings her hand to his face, pushing his hair back in order to see the blue eyes she had not stopped thinking about.

Everyone watches the couple quietly. Sasha has a small smile on her face as she looks to Tyreese who is finally smiling after weeks of not being able to.

Beth reaches for Daryl then and it seems like everyone holds their breath as she gently pushes his hair aside and Daryl leans into her touch.

Tears slip down Beth's face. She can't believe she's finally back with him.

Daryl can feel his eyes start to water but damn if he cares. He doesn't give a shit who sees him cry. The single, most important person in his life was standing in front of him. All he cares about is what she thinks.

Beth walks closer to Daryl, they're chests touching. She reaches her arms around his neck and lays her head on his chest as he drops his crossbow to the ground to wrap his arms around her.

Maggie softly gasps but no one looks away from the scene in front of them. They only assume that her reaction is to the same thing they are all seeing; that tiny Beth Greene and badass Daryl Dixon are obviously in love.

Beth and Daryl start whispering feverishly between them and no one is ashamed that they stand in utter silence in order to hear them.

"M'sorry Beth," Daryl cries against her neck.

"For what?"

"For losin ya."

"You didn't lose me Daryl, they took me."

"Did they hurt ya?"

"Not really. Dawn was slap happy but..." Daryl pulls away to look at Beth's face as his eyes darken in anger.

"No Daryl," Beth says as she takes his face in her hands, making him look her in the eye. "She's dead. I killed her."

"M'sorry ya had to. I shoulda took care of ya better."

"I survived because of you Daryl Dixon. I'm strong because of you."

"We'll neva be sep'rated again."

Beth smiles up at Daryl, thanking God for giving them another chance.

Everyone is still shocked into silence. Not one of them had heard Daryl ever talk so much.

Beth turns around in Daryl's embrace to look at everyone as Daryl keeps his arms around her as he looks at Carol. He's ashamed that he hasn't yet checked to make sure she's there and alright. But she just smiles at him so he knows they're okay.

Beth looks around, taking note of everyone standing there. "Where's Bob?"

"He's dead" whispers Sasha.

Beth looks at Sasha. She sees a grieving woman and she takes Sasha's hand and squeezes it in support. These people are her family. She loves them all. She grieves for them all. "I'm sorry Sasha. He was a good man."

She sees the big red head again and she stiffens back against Daryl, narrowing her eyes at the other three strangers standing with him.

"They're friends Beth," Rick says as he looks at her.

She eyes Rick before turning her head to look at Daryl. "Do you trust them?"

"Barely but yeah." He snorts.

"Ok," she says warily, turning back to Rick.

"We've missed you Beth," he says from Carol's side, having gone to check on her.

Beth nods at Rick but doesn't say anything. It is easy to see that the only one who cared about her, who believed she was alive, was Daryl.

"He would have helped me look for ya Beth," Daryl whispers in her ear.

And Beth knows that, but Beth also knows it would have not been for her sake but Daryl's that Rick would have looked.

Rick doesn't think he can be any more surprised but he's wrong as he hears Daryl sticking up for him. He wonders himself if he'd have looked for Beth. He wants to hope that he would have. He watches Daryl continue to defend the group to Beth, to make amends that none of them deserved.

Beth relaxes. "I've missed you all too Rick," she says as she reaches for Judith. "Hey Jude," she coos as the baby instantly remembers the woman who had been her surrogate mother.

Eugene steps away from Rosita's side to stand in front of Beth, Beth shrinking back against Daryl. "Ma'am. I'd just like to say that you are an exceptionally beautiful young lady," Eugene starts to say to Beth as he reaches for one of her hands.

Beth jerks back and curls herself into Daryl as Daryl growls from deep within his chest, ready to move Beth aside in order to knock out the dumbass so called scientist.

"Shit," utters Abraham as he grabs Eugene by the hood of his coat and yanks him back, Eugene sputtering in confusion as he stumbles. "Hey dumbass," Abraham starts. "If you haven't noticed, the girl is taken." He pointedly looks at Daryl. Eugene starts to say something before quickly backing down as Daryl glares at him.

"Sorry," he quickly says. "Sorry. I guess it just the order of natural selection. The better looking, stronger guy will always get the girl."

Everyone stares at Eugene as Rosita starts to laugh. "Oh for God's sake Eugene. Just stop talking already," she says as everyone else starts to laugh too.

Rick sobers up to glance around at everyone. "Let's rest here today, make a plan, and head out at first light tomorrow," Rick suggested as everyone starts to disband.

Before anyone can go in the church Maggie walks up to Beth. "I know you're mad at me Bethy," she says as she puts her hand on Beth's arm.

And yes Beth is mad and she's hurt. But this is her sister. The sister that had many times fiercely stuck up for her, the sister that taught her to ride horses, the sister that sat up in bed all night with her talking about boys. She loves her and she isn't willing to waste one minute being mad at her. "I'm not mad at you Mags. I love you." Beth looks to Daryl, "I understand."

"You can sleep with me," Maggie suggests, taking Beth's hand.

Beth lets Maggie hold her hand for a few seconds before pulling away. "No Mags," she says as she looks back to Daryl.

Maggie looks to Daryl, who blushes.

"I'm sleeping wherever Daryl sleeps."

"Beth-" Maggie starts.

"Maggie." Beth forcefully interjects. "I'm sleeping with Daryl. And before you ask; yes we are a couple. Yes, we have had sex."

Daryl looks down as his ears turn red. Shit, he doesn't mind that everyone knows that Beth is his. But to have it spoken so suddenly with no warning hit him hard; in more ways than one.

Everyone is surprised. Sure they saw with their own eyes that something was there, but they didn't know it was that. And now they do. Everyone looks to Maggie who looks to Glen. He just smiles and shrugs his shoulders; to him there is no one better for the other than Beth or Daryl. They even each other out. Daryl makes Beth strong and Beth gives Daryl the one thing he has never had, love.

Maggie looks to Daryl who is only looking at Beth. "Ok then," Maggie says, everyone taken aback that she doesn't throw the fit they were all waiting for. "Take care of her Daryl." She looks at everyone; she knows they expected her to blow up. But what more can she ask for Beth than a man willing to do anything to make sure she is safe, a man that loves her more than anything. Beth is in good hands and Maggie knows it.

"Always," he says - not taking his eyes off of Beth.

A few weeks later the group watches as Daryl and Beth slip into the woods with clean clothes and soap, headed for the stream. No one is surprised anymore that the couple is inseparable. No one is surprised anymore that Daryl is cleaner than he's ever been, although he's still Daryl. No one is surprised that he let's get carry his crossbow, the same one that he threatened to shoot Glen over for even suggesting Daryl teach him to use. They hold hands and no longer does anyone stare. And when Carl catches them kissing during watch, he just laughs as Daryl starts to blush and Beth hides her face in his vest. The very vest that no one is surprised to see Beth wearing when they come back from the stream a couple of hours later, Beth smiling and Daryl looking very much satisfied.

A few more weeks later, when they reach the safe zone; no one bats an eyelash when asked who would be sharing a house and Daryl uncharacteristically pipes up to say that he and Beth would and even laughs when Michonne smirks at him and says that of course, they already knew that. Maggie just smiles at them. Daryl and Beth's love may not be loud like her and Glen's but it wasn't any less bright. It gave everyone hope.

What surprised everyone is when Rick spoke up to say that Michonne would be with him, Carl, and Judith; taking the key to his house and ignoring the surprised gazes of his family.

Beth smiled up at Daryl. "Looks like more than just us can play that game," she winks up at him as he laughs and swings her up in his arms. Beth looked over his shoulder at a giggling Maggie and the rest of her family as she waves at them as Daryl quickly walks them into their given house and slams the door behind him.

Beth no longer wonders if she knows who she is any more. She's not the girl from the farm or the prison, that girl long gone. She's no longer Beth Greene, glorified babysitter no matter how much she loved Judith. She's not the girl everyone has to protect anymore. She's Beth Dixon: partner, lover, and equal to Daryl Dixon.

Daryl looks at Beth and he sees all of those people. He sees the girl from the farm that took his breath away the moment he rode up on his motorcycle. He sees the girl from the prison, the one who took care of Judith, and gave them all hope through her beautiful songs. He sees the woman she became when they were running from their lives and falling in love with one another. And he sees the woman she is now; his wife. He doesn't need a piece of paper to tell him what Beth is to him. She would forever be in his soul. "I love ya Beth Dixon."

"I love you Daryl."