Remembering and Forgetting

Summary: When we remember, we also forget, and as Andrea watches Daryl she muses on just what she'll remember and what she'll forget. She won't remember the fear and the death and the chaos. Well, she will. But she'll forget it, too. Mostly she'll remember how they carved out a world that could be lived in and not just survived. Set somewhere in the future, post 2.07.

Warnings/Spoilers: Futurefic written after 2.07.

Rating: T.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. How I wish I did ...

This fic is for Lucifer's Garden and Quicksilvermad. I think we three might be cut from the same cloth ...

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It's cool outside and there is a surprising chill in the air when Andrea finds a journal in one of the many abandoned cars they're forced to scavenge from. She doesn't even realise it's a journal until she starts reading, but once she does she can't stop. She knows she shouldn't pry into a person's innermost thoughts, but what else is she going to do? Plus it's not like this person – whose name is Havilah – is coming back to claim it.

Andrea doesn't know who Havilah is. There's no last name, no address, nothing of that nature. There's no pictures inside, no physical description, no references to hair colour or eye colour or height or weight or anything like that. If Andrea were to pass Havilah in the street she wouldn't know her. But she would. She'd know that she likes leather bound journals with thick cream pages, the kind you find in niche or independent bookstores and cost more than they're really worth. She'd know that Havilah hummed and harred for days about buying it because it was more than she could really afford, but she fell in love with it even though she thought it was the kind of journal you'd see people writing in as they sit in overpriced coffee bars, smoke endless cigarettes and write asinine crap that they think is good and no-one will ever read.

Havilah's not like that. She's warm, and witty, and kind about the people that she loves. She writes her journal even though the world's going to shit and she's watching the people that she loves die around her. Above all, she's honest. She's honest about her chances (they aren't good but then, no-one's are), about the chances of others. She laments the fights she had with her mom, with her dad, laments the boy she's been in love with for some ten years and has never had the balls to tell. She laments the life that could have been hers and now never will be, and she does it all without bitterness, which is more than Andrea's managed. She writes about the things she'll remember (warm hands in hers, snow angels during a freak snowstorm, stolen kisses behind a bike shed on hot Georgia days). She doesn't need to write about the things she forgets, and Andrea doesn't need to look that hard, or read between the lines to know that there are some things best left forgotten.

Reading her words, written in a hand so elegant Andrea's convinced that it must have actually come out of a Jane Austen novel rather than at the hand of a precociously self-aware women not much younger than herself, Andrea thinks about remembering. And forgetting. Or rather, she thinks about how they remember, and how they forget, and how they'll remember all of this when things are over. What does it mean to remember, and what does it mean to forget? Is it okay to remember some things and not others, to forget the bad stuff and craft a narrative that's celebratory, that offers a tale of hope rather than one shit-storm after another. Is that truly an accurate representation of what's happening to them?

Andrea sighs. As much as the lawyer in her hates to admit it, it's not like it really matters, anymore. Things like facts, and truths, and objectivity have long since fallen by the wayside. Most of what humanity tells itself is barely the truth, anyway. Well, it's the truth but its bound up so tight with expectations and the human desire to remember the best versions of themselves, to rationalise roads taken and not taken. Memory and narrative and legend and myth bleed out together until no-one's sure what the truth is, or what the truth should look like, or if it even matters. Isn't everyone's version of the truth their own truth, anyway? The truth they tell themselves?

Forgetting is the flip side of remembering, of losing some stories just as we privilege others, and as Andrea watches Daryl she muses on just what she'll remember and what she'll forget when all this is over and its time to start telling stories about the past. She won't remember the fear and the death and the chaos. Well, she will. But she'll forget it, too. Just like she'll forget how Amy looked at the end. She'll forget the CDC. She'll forget Carl being shot and Sophia going missing. She'll forget her interlude with Shane. She'll forget the barn. She'll forget the endless miles spent on the road, not knowing if that day was going to be her last. She'll forget the close calls.

Well. She won't forget it. Not really. She'll just let the edges become blunted with time, let them become fuzzy and blurry, let the passage of time take away the worst of the pain and the anguish and the guilt. She'll let the weight of what she remembers push against the weight of what she'll forget.

She'll remember Amy as she was, not how she ended up. She'll remember fishing in a boat and mermaids and girlish laughter and talk of knots and being there when her sister needed her.

She'll remember arriving at the Greene farm and feeling safe for the first time in a long time.

She'll remember her elation after her first lessons with Shane. She'll remember that she's deadly with a gun and now, with a crossbow and a knife. She'll remember her pride at knowing that she's not a victim anymore, that she has the tools to survive this.

She'll remember flashlights and dark forests and talk of poison oak and Daryl being the first person to make her laugh since her sister's death.

She'll remember shooting Daryl because she missed. And because that was the moment that changed things between them.

Mostly, she'll remember how together they carved out a world that could be lived in and not just survived. It's a small world, to be sure. But it's theirs and they live in it each day as though it's their last.

She'll remember everything about this world.

She'll remember the smells: crossbow lubricant and motor oil and male sweat.

She'll remember the taste: sometimes cigarettes, sometimes the taste that's so intrinsically him.

She'll remember the sounds: the roar of the motorcycle engine. The sounds he makes when they make love.

She'll remember the touches: the vibrations up her legs as she sat behind him for the first time on Merle's bike, her body pressed so hard against his and her nails digging into his chest as she clung on for dear life. She'll remember how his skin feels beneath hers, what it feels like to be touched by him.

She'll remember the early furtive gazes around the campfire, their eyes catching no-one's but each other's.

She'll remember his husky words after she saved his ass after a particularly close call: still wanna live?

She'll remember that for the first time in a long time, her answer is yes.

She'll remember his face as the first face she sees after she's lost in the woods for two days.

She'll remember the look on Lori's face when she tells Andrea that Daryl combed the woods relentlessly searching for her.

She'll remember the awkward first kiss after a shooting lesson, hurried lips and stolen kisses behind long grasses.

She'll remember the scars he carries inside and out, ones that even now he won't let her touch.

She'll remember the fights; the bitter, angry fights and miscommunications and exasperations at being from two different worlds and not speaking the same language. She'll remember cursing the day he was born for making her love him as much as she does.

She'll remember the make-ups: gruff apologies and hurried touches that hold more meaning than any cursing she could muster.

She'll remember the look of terror and elation on his face when the small 'plus' sign shows them that it wasn't going to be just the pair of them for much longer.

She'll remember the slender gold band that somehow finds its way onto a particular finger of her left hand, even though there's no vows and no priest and no white dress.

She'll remember using her last scrap of paper to practice signing her name as Andrea Dixon.

She'll remember the nights he stayed up with their daughter because Andrea's so tired she can't keep her eyes open.

Mostly, she'll remember because she doesn't want to be like Havilah. She'll remember that theirs is a world where she doesn't want to forget, not even a moment of it. Because he's there and he's real and despite everything good and bad, every moment spent with him is one to remember.

Maybe that's a narrative to be proud of.

Fin.

I'm not sure about this one so I might take it down and repost it after a healthy edit, but isn't that what one-shots are all about? Hope y'all enjoy!