It's my first time writing The Walking Dead FF – My version of what might happen to Daryl and Beth after Season 4's Mid-Finale. I hope you enjoy it!
After Too Far Gone
It wasn't like him to run away, but he had to. The prison was gone. He'd blown up the tank, but not before it had run through the fencing. The prison was gone, their safety was gone. What next?
There were footsteps on the gravel behind him. Beth was keeping up with him, not surprising that the girl could run, she was all legs.
But they couldn't just keep running, there had to be another way to get out of here.
A car, a truck. Fuck, the tank woulda been handy.
Well, Meryl's bike. Daryl had claimed it from his brother as if it had been written in a will.
Out of the corner of his eye, Daryl saw it, just by the gates. He was running in a different direction, but that bike had gotten him away from the farm when it had al gone to hell, could it get him out of here too?
"This way," he hissed and Beth turned with him, dodging around dead walkers as they went.
Beth seemed to falter, Daryl reached out to grab her arm and keep her moving, but realised she had stooped down to pick up a bloodied crowbar that was laying on the ground.
Their run was easier than he could have hoped. The walkers were either distracted by the dead or moving towards the prison buildings and easy feeding. Daryl only had to dispose of two with the butt of his empty rifle, he noticed Beth used her crowbar to good effect when the remaining half of a walker tried to grab her ankles.
The two of them arrived at the waiting bike unscathed.
Daryl dumped the weapons from his back in the panniers on the bike and climbed on, shouting at Beth to join him. She was looking back at the prison with wide eyes, "We can't leave."
"We have to. It's lost."
"But we should help?"
"It's over, Beth. Everyone's runnin' or dead. Get on."
Still Beth hesitated.
"Hershel would want me to get you out of here," Daryl insisted. He saw her flinch at the mention of her father's name, but she clambered on the seat behind him. He did feel a twinge of guilt, it was the wrong way to get her moving, but Daryl couldn't think of anything else right then.
Maggie and Beth had been close to hysteria when their father was slain, but they had carried on and fought. Daryl had been impressed with both of them, but how would they cope now. Of course, he had to keep Beth alive long enough to see how she coped, with just the two of them, that might not be easy.
Bouncing the bike over the gravel path, he reached the road as quickly as he could and left the prison behind them.
Beth was desperately trying not to think. She struggled to keep her mind blank. She had never been on the back of a motorbike before and concentrated on the barked instructions to hold tight and keep her head down. Once off the rough ground and on the smooth road the ride became easier and thoughts crept into her mind. Images of her Daddy on his knees, of the sword swooping down to slice into his neck.
No, she wouldn't think. She wouldn't cry. She didn't do that anymore.
A bump in the road gave her a reason to concentrate on something else again. Concentrate on holding onto Daryl Dixon and staying on this bike.
When the group of strangers had first arrived on their farm, her father had warned her to stay away from all of them, she didn't need telling twice. Everything had changed. She knew sitting on the back of this bike was one of the few safe places in Georgia. Her father trusted and admired the man in front of her, or he had. Before today...
Beth hitched in a breath. The tears were coming and there was nothing she could do to stop them. She pressed her face into the greying wings on the leather clad back in front of her and let the tears flow.
Daryl's eyes focussed on the road ahead, while he did a mental inventory of their supplies. Three or four guns, little or no ammo; his crossbow with four arrows, one in need of repair; a couple of knives and Beth's crow bar. The panniers on the bike held at least ten plastic cigarette lighters, but only half a pack of smokes; a full canteen, a small bottle of water, a couple of flash-lights with extra batteries and a thick black shirt that he kept in case he was kept away from the prison at night. Beth would need that, she wasn't wearing anything that would keep her warm once the day cooled, neither was he but he could cope with that for a while.
They needed food, not desperately, but it would become an issue. He knew where he could get some with only a slight diversion off the main road he was following.
Daryl began to turn to tell his passenger his plan, but he could feel Beth's shoulders moving and thought he heard a sob, even above the noise of the bike. Of course she was crying, after what she had seen today, he wouldn't blame her if she never stopped.
Without any thought he had set off in the opposite direction to Woodbury, there was probably no danger there now but Daryl wasn't going anywhere near that place. The first small town they came across was one he had driven through many times, the houses and stores were stripped clean of anything useful, but he stopped outside the first house by the road.
It seemed to take a second for Beth to realise they weren't going anywhere anymore. He felt her move from his back and heard snuffling noises, as if she were trying to wipe her face with her hands.
"We just need to stop for a second. There's something here for us." He told her, she mumbled something in agreement that he didn't catch. She staggered as she got off the bike and stood on her own, Daryl reached out to grab her arm and hold her steady. "You'll get used to the bike," he promised as he climbed off too.
Beth nodded and looked around her with wide eyes. She had never looked especially strong, Daryl thought she seemed more frail than ever.
"I'm sorry..." he began, but what else could he say to someone who'd just lost their father. Not just any father, but Hershel. A good father. Nothing he said would make this better for her.
Beth nodded in response, but only just. He dragged the shirt from the side pannier on the bike, "You should put this on." It wasn't that cold but she was shivering as he held out the shirt for her. "I ain't seen any walkers since we left, they've all gone off following the noise o'that damn tank. We should be safe, but we still need to be careful." He passed over her crowbar once she pulled on the shirt, then collected his crossbow.
"Why'd we stop?" Beth asked, looking at the street they were on. This would never have been the best of neighbourhoods and long after anyone had lived here the cheap housing looked more run down than ever. Daryl was used to this kind of place, but the farmer's daughter wasn't.
"Michonne's got a stash here. Things we'll need." As he spoke, Daryl wheeled the bike off the road and parked it between the first two houses.
"So we're stealing from Michonne?" Beth sounded bemused.
"No, no, she told me she'd left things here. I've done the same in other places. It's just things we might need if we get stuck out on a run. Save us time trying to find food and water and stuff in an emergency... This qualifies as an emergency."
From the trash can at the back of the house, he dragged out an rank smelling black sack, so he could reach the tightly tied sack just beneath. Inside that, he was relieved to find a full rucksack, which he dug into. Six cans of food, a bottle of water, a small flash-light and a useful looking pair of pliers with the stub of a very un-useful looking pencil. Crushed in the bottom of the bag was a leather jacket that he'd seen Michonne wear.
"Will this fit you?" Daryl offered Beth the jacket.
"Are you sure she won't mind?" Beth still didn't seem sure.
"Course she won't. I'm hoping that right now she's be going through one of the stashes I've left. The jacket will be better for you if you come off the bike..." As Beth's eyebrows raised, he hastily added, "But you won't come off the bike, I've not dropped anyone yet."
Beth didn't look convinced, but she slipped off Daryl's shirt and tried on the leather. It did fit her, it actually really suited her. "At least I look like I should be on the back of a bike now," she shrugged, pulling her blond hair out from the collar.
Daryl decided he should look away. Quickly.
"Did you see where Michonne went?"
"No, I lost track of her when the tank drove up... but if anyone's alright, she is." Daryl was convinced. He started to repack the ruck sack, but left a couple of cans and the water in the plastic sack, just in case Michonne passed by. With that thought in his head, Daryl realised how useful that stubby pencil could be. One of his arrows needed a new flight, but it would be a handy for a message. Beth looked over his arm as he wrote 'STAYING CLOSE, WITH BETH' on the shaft of the arrow and shoved it back in the bag.
"We're staying around here?" she asked.
"Just until we find everyone."
Beth's nod encouraged him to continue.
"We'll find your sister, our family and find somewhere safe again. Another prison maybe, somewhere solid." Daryl knew it was a reckless promise.
Slipping off his wings jacket, he pulled on the old shirt, surprised at the warmth it still held from Beth's body. Pulling the wings back on held the warmth in, it made him feel as if he could keep that promise, he had to. Although he had spoken the words to his daughter, he felt as if he had just promised Hershel.
It was a promise he could not break.
What did you think? Please let me know. I realised I've never even written human FF before, so this is a huge change for me. Also, I'm English so although I try and Americanize things, I don't always manage it!
Daryl and Beth have been having conversations in my head over Christmas, so this story is all planned out. I've got a couple more chapters almost done and will post them when they're done.
28th December 2013 ~ FanOTheFang on Twitter and Tumblr