Ch. 1

Hi, again! This is a new story that contains religious themes. More at the bottom!

Bethany hadn't always been a Guardian. When she first came into existence, she had watched over the wildlife, changed the seasons. Her world was their world—the ones that He created in His image.

One day, she had been called home and given a new assignment. She mourned the loss of the wilderness only briefly. Being appointed a Guardian was an honor, one that she did not take lightly.

Her charge was a young man, sixteen on the nose, to be exact. It was his birthday when she was put in charge of his care. The elder who assigned her gave no explanation why the previous Guardian had asked to be reassigned, but she found out that he had become a Hunter.

His job was now on Earth, putting demons back through the gates of Hell from which they escaped. Well, not so much "escaped" as Lucifer let them slip out to cause trouble occasionally. Hunting was for the Guardians that had seen too much harshness in the human world, and it wasn't too long before she saw the bitter injustice herself.

She felt her charge's anger and pain like a knife twisting in her chest. His tears hot stinging behind tightly closed eyes as his father brought down a leather belt again and again.

There was only so much a Guardian could do.

She tried desperately to send him running, and sometimes she managed to hide him in the woods, almost like a veil had fallen over him. She found herself falling to her knees, willing the young man to leave, filling his head with the urge to run and never look back.

The problem, and it was such a problem, was his free will. His creator had given him choice and his own judgment. Guardians were a conscience or a gut feeling to their charge, and he never listened to her.

She spent every day, pressed up against the barrier between her world and his, watching his actions, his mistakes, his tears, his regrets. She watched in silence as he slipped down a terrible path and her voice stopped being so loud in his mind.

Other Guardians looked on her with pity, but she wouldn't acknowledge them.

There was still hope in this man before her now. Years had past, and his heart had hardened to her words and pleading feelings, but she still believed in him. Still saw the light that lay at the center of his heart.

Yes, she would not lose Daryl Dixon. She would fight for him, and eventually, she'd get through. Somewhere in the last twenty years, she had begun to feel something much deeper than protectiveness toward him—something that she shouldn't be able to feel at all, and one thing was certain, she would never let him fall into Hell.

It was an unremarkable day when the world ended.

A simple death that her kind paid no attention to, but when the man didn't ascend to the Gates of Heaven or descend to the Gates of Hell, everyone paused and watched. The Guardians crowded around the one who was called to protect him, but he was just as confused.

He felt his calling was over but hadn't been given a new one.

As the man's eyes reopened some time later, a connection severed all the Guardians from their humans. She watched in horror as the man, neither living nor dead, rose from the table and attacked the doctors working beside a counter.

Everything happened so quickly after that.

The Hunters were popped back home without a second thought. Lucifer pulled back every single demon that walked the Earth and sealed the Gates of Hell and the portal that lead up through the dirt into the human world.

The humans had finally done something that stopped everything, and in that moment, God and Lucifer struck an agreement. A ceasefire, if you will.

She peered through the barrier at Daryl. She watched him as he was scared and confused, but couldn't help him. Couldn't feel his emotions or thoughts. Guardians fell helpless as their charges were eaten alive or turned into monsters.

God didn't have to speak to them to let them know. It was an instant connection that reached all angels at once.

Their decisions have brought on something entirely too great to ignore or solve for them. They've brought the plague upon themselves.

Her hand lay against the shimmering, clear wall that separated them, and she closed her eyes.

He said that there was nothing to be done, but she knew she had to try.

A/N: Okay, so this story is pretty different. It does contain religious themes, but I'm trying very hard to not make it preachy because that's not what it's about. It's about Beth coming to terms with the nature of the world her Father created, and Daryl understanding that there's more to the world than he sees.

I really hope you give it a shot! I got the idea while listening to "Saturn" by Sleeping At Last, though the title comes from Uneven Odds by Sleeping at Last.