AN: Hey guys!
This is my new Walking Dead Story, I sure hope you like it. Also I need to take a minute and thank KaptenKramp who is the beta of this story. The work and insight she brought to this chapter rendered me speechless…. She is amazing and I am so grateful of what she is doing for me and my story.
Please read and review… I'd love to know what you think. DETH shippers united :D
Beth was once more taking care of the Woodbury kids' under Carl's cold hawk like eyes.
Beth sighed. She felt like nothing more than a glorified nanny... If that.
"Why don't you come down for a while?" she asked Carl who was perched on top of the stairs. She could feel his eyes on her neck and she didn't like it. Beth just didn't like the young man he was becoming and she missed her friend.
"What for?" he asked coldly.
Beth shrugged. "I don't know, to chat and stuff. The kids are pretty good today," she added with a tentative smile.
"I'm not here to chat, I'm here to keep an eye on all your useless asses... You're all a waste of space if you want my opinion."
Beth's mouth fell open and her eyes widened in disbelief. His words stung, they'd hit a sore spot because even though she had been reluctant in admitting it to herself she did feel useless and like she was exactly that; a waste of space.
"Nobody asked ya for your opinion, boy."
Beth jumped at Daryl's gruff voice. It was amazing how this man seemed to be able to pop out of nowhere without anyone noticing.
Daryl threw Beth a look that seemed to say 'Are you okay?'
She shrugged and looked to Max, a little blond boy with the head full of curls. She couldn't help but think that if she ever had a boy he would have had the same kind of hair.
"I just think I could do better than babysit the babysitter," replied Carl.
Daryl sighed, readjusting his crossbow. "Yeah, well, maybe if ya got yer head outta yer ass, you'd stop complainin' all the damn time. Lord," he mumbled, shifting on his feet as if he was making to head back.
A little girl who was standing right in front of him, giggled. "You swore."
Daryl looked down and noticed the little girl for the first time, she was craning her neck to look straight into his eyes. "Uh... What about it? Guess I did. Sorry, kid." He had no idea why he'd just apologized to a little girl no taller than his leg. He rubbed his neck and looked at Carl. "Just go if it's such a drag for ya. I'll talk to yer pa' tonight. Jest send me college boy for now. Ya can do that, can't ya?"
"Finally!" Carl grumbled, stalking away.
"Somebody needs to kick some sense into that boy..." Daryl muttered after Carl left.
"He's had a rough few months. We all have." Carl was just lost. She knew the real person behind the tough façade he was putting on; he just needed to grieve and forgive himself for what he'd done. He'd shot his mother and it was something he had to come to terms with.
Beth woke up from her thoughts with a mental startle and frowned at Daryl. "Why wouldn't I be? I'm living the dream." Beth was surprised on how abrasive she had been and based on Daryl's facial expression he had been surprised, too; she was the sweet little Beth everyone loved, after all. "Sorry..."
Daryl shook his head. "Hey, don't mention it. I ain't the one to judge. I know these walls are good to get in yer head."
"Yeah, I guess so." Beth licked her lips, putting her hands in her back pockets and shifted on her feet with her face slightly lowered. Daryl was just standing there looking at her. What was he still doing here now that Carl was gone? "You don't have to wait 'til Zack comes."
He scowled. "Who?"
"College boy." Oh. Daryl gave nicknames for almost everybody in the prison. It probably explained why he almost didn't recognise them by their actual names anymore.
"I can be with the kids for a few minutes without a brave guy to keep me safe."
"I know ya can."
Beth realized that Daryl must have come for something; he rarely showed up around here, let alone for small talk. She presumed the kids were making him uncomfortable. "Was there anything I could help you with?"
"Uh. Oh yeah, I—"
Beth felt something pull at her backpocket and turned with a smile, knowing only too well who it was. "Yes, Max?"
It was the little boy with the wild blond curls. She knew it was not Christian to say but that little boy was her favorite with the exception of Judith who Beth loved like she was her own daughter.
Max's wide blue eyes went from Beth to Daryl and back again. Beth crouched so he could whisper her ear. Max didn't talk to anybody that wasn't for his mother, his grandfather and Beth. Ever since his own father had tried to eat him, Max hadn't spoken to a stranger. It was going at 15 months now. The first time he'd said something to Beth, she'd almost cried. She had been singing them to sleep one afternoon when Max came up to her and whispered in her ear; you are beautiful, like an angel. Since that day he kept drawing her pictures where Beth had wings on her back.
Daryl looked down at the girl who was kneeling in front of the boy. She rubbed his back.
Daryl had a growing feeling that Beth wasn't being quite as honest as she was trying to make him believe she was. He could tell she wanted to be of more use to the prison. If only there was a way he could show her how essential she had become for the prison and for the kids most of all; they'd be lost without her. Or up to their shoulders with restless kids.
Beth kissed the little boys head. "Thank you, I'm sure he'll be happy."
The boy's face lit up with joy before he ran back to the other kids.
"He did that for you." Back on her feet, Beth extended a drawing Daryl hadn't noticed the boy give her. "He wanted to thank you for everything you did and how you keep his angel safe."
Daryl took the drawing, and observed the rendering of two stick figures; one had brown hair and carried a crossbow while the other had long stripes of a pale crayon running from its head supposed to resemble blonde hair.
"Picasso reincarnated. Neat." Daryl was touched by the gesture, but he tried to keep the emotion off his face.
"Would it be sad to say kids' got more talent, drawing, than I got in my little finger."
Beth giggled. "No, I'm right there with you, I know how to sing but that's about it."
"Who is that?" He said pointing to the winged character.
"It's me." Beth couldn't help but blush when Daryl arched a questioning brow to her. "It's a long story and it doesn't matter."
"Well, you've been promoted Angel. That's one hell of a title, girl." He gave her half a smile that made Beth grin back. A smile from Daryl was such a rare thing, even a tug at the corner of his lips would have been a victory.
"Well, some people do find me out of this world. "
Daryl eyes were lit up with humor, he opened his month to reply but the moment disappeared when a familiar voice broke interrupted them.
"Hey, the moody kid sent me here. What can I do for you?"
Daryl turned to look at a tall boy with a big mop of messy brown hair. "D'ya mind stayin' here with them until the end of day?" His tone didn't leave much place for argument. Rick was the boss but everybody knew Daryl was his second in command, whatever they said went.
Zack smiled at Beth, eyeing her with appreciation before turning to Daryl. "No, quite the contrary I enjoy spending time with the kids."
Daryl wasn't stupid. Hell, he knew who Zack really wanted to spend some time with. And it bothered him. It made sense that he felt protective over the original group; Beth was still just a kid, after all. Zack had joined the group a couple of months ago and he was participating more than his share, but Daryl didn't know him enough to trust him with Beth. "Yer here to keep them safe, not go Casanova, ya hear me?"
Beth's mouth fell open. She knew Zack found her attractive. Not that he had much choice around here anyway, but hearing it out loud embarrassed her. Poor Zack had to be blushing madly over being so transparent to Daryl.
When she looked up he was smiling, instead. "No problem, Captain. I'll save the flirting for later, right Beth?" He winked making her blush even more.
Daryl grumbled something under his breath and shook his head. "I came to ask ya if the kids needed anything. We're goin' on a run to the big mall at the end of the week and Rick wants ta know what we need."
"Oh um, we need some things to keep them occupied and some are growing and in need of stimulation , so I'll say crayons and maybe some study books. You know, if we want to educate them a bit. But if you're asking if we need any essentials, I don't think so."
"Having a decent childhood's essential enough."
"I want to come." I was a spur of the moment decision but she didn't regret it.
Daryl's eyes flicked up to meet hers again. "Where?"
"On the run."
Daryl snorted. "Yeah. I don't think so." Daryl saw disappointment flash through her eyes and he didn't like being the one putting it there. "It ain't my call."
She was crossing her arms over her chest. "Y'all think I'm useless." She shook her head. "But I know what the kids will enjoy; I'm with them more than anyone else, every day in fact!"
"Tell me what ya need, I'll bring it back to ya, I promise."
"What I need?" she took a take a step forward. "I need freedom; I need to get out from this place, I need..." Sighing, Beth threw her hands up in surrender. "Just take whatever you want, I'll be fine." She turned around and went back to sit on the chair she had been occupying before.
Daryl looked at her silently for a minute, he willed her to look up at him but she kept her eyes lowered at her fidgeting hands.
Zack sat down on a chair beside her and nudged her leg with his. He whispered something to her Daryl couldn't hear, but Beth looked up at the boy with a small smile.
The hunter shook his head, turned around and left them. Zack wasn't an appropriate guard for the kids. He needed to tell Rick to keep him away from Beth; she was distracting him and it wasn't any good for the group.
He wanted to tell himself the weird weight that settled in his stomach was because of his concern over a job being done right and not because of the smile the college boy lured to the blonde's lips.