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Private here comes the sun

Discussion in 'Centria' started by Daryl Dixon, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

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    Daryl gave a noncommittal grunt. He wasn't especially eager to be thrown into this world, even though he should be - should be damn grateful he got the chance. But he was still more interested in goin' between Aaron's house and the woods, and expanding that area would take a little more time. But when he was ready - of course he'd want Beth to show him around.

    He shrugged, swallowing against a sudden tightness in his throat. They'd lost so many people back home. So - so fucking many, and it never seemed to stop. He'd have thought the hurt woulda got less with each one, but that wasn't what fucking happened. He leaned into her, just a bit, chewing on his lower lip as he stared down at Dog to distract himself. He could tell her so much more - about all the people they'd lost, but he didn't want to. Rick's death hung over him like a shroud, one he wasn't ever sure he'd be able to come to terms with. Even here, out in the woods, he sometimes kept an eye out, like he might see his shambling form through the trees.

    He started, just a little, though there was a tilt upward to his lips at Beth's excitement about having a nephew. The tightness was back to his throat and he swallowed hard. Swallowed down the words about what had happened to Glenn, cos he couldn't - he couldn't do that to her now. And hell, he wanted there to be a world where Glenn got to raise his kid with his wife.

    "Yeah we uh - we found a place. 's where I met Aaron," he said. "And uh - there's other places too, communities. Maggie's in charge of one." Well, she had been, before she'd gone off with Georgie - leaving Jesus to run it, something the other man hadn't seemed to like too much at all.

    But that was another thing he didn't want to think about, so he didn't. ​
     
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  2. Beth Greene

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    Beth was grinning up at Daryl like the Cheshire Cat. Despite everything they'd been through back home, life had found a way. Her nephew was their future. She'd been right to keep the faith. Beth felt a painful stab as she realised she'd probably never meet him, but it was enough to know that little Herhsel was out there, somewhere in the universe, with Maggie, with Glenn and the rest of the group.

    She suddenly imagined Daryl teaching him to fight, protecting baby Hershel from harm. He'd always been good with kids. It made Beth feel all warm inside and yet it broke her heart all at the same time, knowing that she'd never be there to see it. Daryl leaned into her a little, staring down at Dog with a thoughtful expression. He was clearly somewhere else. Beth watched him, waiting for him to make eye contact but he was being quiet, even for Daryl, which made Beth's smile fade slightly. What wasn't he telling her?

    "What d'ya think of Aaron?" She asked suddenly, curious to know Daryl's thoughts. "I really like him. He's a good guy." The idea of Maggie in charge brought another smile to Beth's face. "That doesn't surprise me," she giggled. "My older sister was always the bossy one." She shifted on the spot, unable to shake the uncomfortable feeling that Daryl was hiding something. Deep down, Beth knew he was probably refraining from telling her the many terrible details that he couldn't, or wouldn't be able to voice right now. A lot could happen in eight years.

    "I wish I'd been there," she said quietly. "I'm sorry I wasn't."

     
  3. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

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    Daryl blinked at her question, trying to figure out how to answer it. Aaron was more than a good guy - he was one of the best Daryl had ever met. He'd gone through so much and Daryl was relieved he'd seemed to find something here. A family, happiness that had been so elusive back in the world they'd lived (although he'd seen him with his little girl, knew that Aaron could make the best of a bad situation - was something Daryl admired). "He is," Daryl said with a jerking nod.

    "Was there when we first got t'Alexandria," he said, the ache in his heart at the knowledge that Beth hadn't been with them not abating. "Welcomed me before anyone else, made me feel like that damn place could actually be somewhere I wanted t'stay," he said. It'd been so long ago, it seemed. He considered Aaron a good friend, was glad he was here.

    His mouth tilted upward again as the conversation shifted back toward Maggie. He missed her. They were all family, everyone that'd left that farm together. He couldn't remember the last time he saw her - but at least he knew she was doin' alright, least last he'd heard. She deserved it after all she'd gone through.

    He swallowed, throat suddenly tight. He swallowed again, teeth chewing at his lower lip as he gave Dog a scratch, the canine's nose bumping against his hand. "Wish y'had too," he said, softly. ​
     
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  4. Beth Greene

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    Beth smiled. That sounded exactly like Aaron. It was obvious Daryl cared for him a great deal and held him in high regard; she imagined they'd been through a lot together back home and traumatic experiences had a habit of bonding two unlikely people together for life.

    Not unlike them.

    On the surface, it'd looked like herself and Daryl couldn't be more different, but inside, Beth had a feeling they were more alike than they'd realised. He'd become her kindred spirit in a way. It had just taken the two of them being literally thrown together to figure that out.

    The smile didn't leave her face, but her eyes were glazing with tears again. She was so happy to see him. Beth had missed Daryl, but it was only seeing him now that she realised just how much. They'd become even closer since living in Pandora, and it'd felt like missing an arm when he wasn't around. This wasn't the same Daryl she'd lived with all those months, but it was still the same man. And she loved him.

    "Well, I'm here now." Beth took Daryl's hand in her own, and each gave their canine friends a scratch behind the ear. "C'mon. Let's go see Aaron and Paul. I'm sure they're wonderin' where you are."

     
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  5. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

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    He could see the slight glaze to her eyes and had to look away, his throat still a little too tight. Wasn’t no way he was cryin’ out here in the middle of the street – and anyway, wasn’t nothin’ to cry about. Beth was here, now, right in front of him and alive and well and that was all he’d ever wanted. She seemed happy here and if there was one thing Daryl appreciated bout Pandora it was the fact that it seemed to give his friends a place to start over. To have a life that their old world wasn’t never gonna give ‘em.

    He grunted, a soft agreement as Beth grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze, glancing down at the dogs who seemed pretty damn content with this whole thing. Was good Dog had a friend now – hell, had two, cos he’d taken a shine to Aaron’s dog too. See – this world wasn’t just good for the humans Daryl cared about.

    He nodded. “Pfft, probably think ‘m out in the woods,” he said – he knew his loner tendencies weren’t no secret – anyone who knew him knew he preferred bein’ out in the woods, but lately – hell, lately he liked being a little closer to everybody. Checking up on ‘em, making sure they were alright – like if he kept himself out there too long he’d come back ‘n find ‘em gone. “Should probably make sure Paul ain’t tryin’ to leave ‘fore he’s ready though,” Daryl said. ​
     
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  6. Beth Greene

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    Beth giggled, knowing that he was probably right. Some things never changed. "Still," she urged. "I'd like to see them." She'd seen Aaron only the other day of course, but it had been many months since she'd seen Jesus. It was with a jolt that she suddenly remembered that he'd have no idea who she was.

    "That's true," she added, knowing Paul's tendency to push ahead in spite of how he felt inside. He didn't like to rest, wanting to keep morale and himself up as best he could. He was good and selfless like that. She led Daryl back toward the house while Bailey followed obediently by her side. She watched the two dogs absent-mindlessly, silent as her thoughts took her elsewhere.

    "... Will Paul know who I am?" She asked hesitantly, not wanting to put Daryl on the spot. It wasn't that she'd expected to be spoken about, or at all, but a part of her -- maybe the selfish, narcissistic part -- hope that she hadn't been forgotten completely. That in some way she'd made a difference to the world and the people around her. Beth understood perfectly how difficult it was to speak about lost loved ones so held no grudge, but now and again, she thought it was good to remember. To keep their spirit alive.

     
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  7. Daryl Dixon

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    Daryl grunted, giving a little nod. He had a hard time leavin’ his family alone here. Kept checking up on ‘em like a mother hen, and he didn’t think he’d be able to go back to self-imposed exile in the woods if he tried, not when they could disappear into thin air for no reason. He didn’t know what checkin’ up on ‘em was gonna do to stop that, but he was gonna keep doin’ it.

    He headed toward the house, still glancing at Beth from the corner of his eye every so often. She was here. She was alright. He kept repeating that to himself. The memories of her death had faded in time - though that didn’t mean much - they still felt pretty damn clear. All the shit they’d been through, for it to end like that? He’d been angry and destroyed for a long time after it. But life had moved on. And on and fucking on.

    He blinked at her question, gaze turning to her fully. He licked his lower lip, chewed on it a bit before he shook his head. “Don’t think so. Or - I ‘unno. Maybe.” He frowned. “Where - when he came from, I’d only just met ‘im. He knew who you were when I came from though,” he said. He was sure Maggie had talked about her - she’d had those paintings of Beth ‘n Hershel ‘n Glenn up in her office over at Hilltop, even if Daryl had never had that conversation with him. ​
     
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  8. Beth Greene

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    Beth could feel Daryl's eyes on her, and she wondered what was going through his head. She couldn't blame him for being a little shook. It'd been eight years for him. Eight years. She'd been dead and buried so long, it would give even the toughest of men a shock.

    But Beth could hardly imagine a world without Daryl. Those few months without him had been enough to last her lifetime. He was her person, her best friend. Daryl's friendship had been the one good thing to come out of The Governor's takeover. Out of all the horrors that day -- losing Daddy, their home, their safety -- Beth had lost everything, except Daryl. And now in Pandora, with so many of their family still gone, he'd become her rock.

    Beth nodded, contemplative. "I didn't think he would," she replied, trying not to sound too disappointed. "Not that I expected everyone to sit around and talk about me," she added quickly, not wanting Daryl to take it the wrong way. "It's just... We were good friends once. Here, I mean. It'll be strange to see him again and have him not know who I am. Then again, it was ten times worse when I met you. Younger, angry you." She flashed him a grin.

    "He does?" Beth wasn't sure why that took her by surprise. "He is close to Maggie?" God, she missed her sister. She'd been here once, but losing her at been just as traumatic as the prison. And then it was Glenn, Carol... Sometimes Pandora reminded her of home in the worst kind of way.
     
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  9. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

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    As distrustful of Pandora as Daryl was, he couldn’t help but be a little grateful to the place. Their world never brought nobody back, but here? Here Beth was alright, had been living for a while now it seemed, happy. And Paul? Paul was here, and it stood to reason that any one of the people they’d lost along the way could turn up sooner or later. Daryl tried not to get his hopes up too high, but he couldn’t help the slight curl of hope in his chest at the idea of Rick Grimes showing up.

    Daryl was all ready to give some sort of grunt of acknowledgement – talking about the past was more pain than it was usually worth, specially when they had so much stuff to deal with, day after day, but ain’t none of ‘em ever forgot Beth – but her words brought him up short and he eyed her, a puzzled frown on his face. “I was here?” he asked, curiously.

    He nodded. “Yeah, he's - was her second, I guess. I never spent too much time there, but they were good friends,” he said. He wondered if Maggie had ever gotten the news bout Jesus dying back home – wondered why she hadn’t come back if she had. Hell, he wondered a lot of things, but none of that mattered here in Pandora. ​
     
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  10. Beth Greene

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    Beth's grinned widened and she nodded, eyeing him right back. "Oh yeah," she said. "You were livin' in the woods when I found you -- well, Bailey found you. She was chasin' a squirrel or somethin'." Beth giggled, giving her a tiny pat on the back. "Or maybe she just caught your scent. Either way, you had no idea who I was and I had to try and convince you that I knew you."

    The lightheartedness in Beth's voice faltered slightly, having no real words to describe just how difficult that entire experience had been. She'd spent weeks hoping to bump into Daryl and find him after the calamity, but to meet him before he knew her, before everythin'... Beth hadn't known where to start. It had hurt to look at him and see no recognition in his eyes, no affection no comfort. Just blank, emotionless eyes full of distrust.

    Something about the way Daryl was talkin' made Beth pause and she glanced sideways at him. "Was?" Then something else registered that made her stop in her tracks. "Wait, you're not all together anymore? Where were you?"
     
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  11. Daryl Dixon

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    Daryl side eyed her, trying to wrap his head around being in Pandora before - his younger self - and havin’ no damn recollection of it. Was weird as shit, but then again, when wasn’t Pandora? He snorted. Was glad that younger him hadn’t stuck around - he’d been a prick back then, suspicious of everyone, unwilling to let anyone in. He was willing to bet he’d been an asshole.

    Could tell he had by the look in her eyes. He was just glad he was here now.

    He frowned.

    Shit it was confusing, trying not to say too much about where they came from. Like a field full of damn mines. He chewed on his lower lip. “There was - was a few places. Alexandria - that’s where we all were at first. Then we found Hilltop, The Kingdom - places that already had people. Were trading with each other. We kinda spread out among ‘em but we weren’t - we still saw each other.”

    He swallowed. For the most part. Best not get into how the group had splintered, how Maggie was off with Georgie, how Rick was gone. How he’d hid out in the woods for fucking years. ​
     
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  12. Beth Greene

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    Daryl seemed contemplative. Both from the peculiarity of having a younger self appear and disappear, and from the way Beth was looking at him. She stared, her heart suddenly dropping into the pit of her stomach. Maybe it was naive, but she'd always figured once they'd found each another again (which they did), that the group would stay together just as they always had. Where would Beth be? With Maggie? With Daryl? On her own?

    Beth couldn't imagine the group so far apart, so separated. Even in Pandora they'd stayed close. A familial bond that would never break. Or so she'd thought.

    Daryl was trying to reassure her, but Beth could tell from the way he fell over his words, the chewing of his bottom lip that there was more to the story. She especially couldn't imagine Rick wanting the group to split. Unless there was no Rick... She looked to the floor, not knowing what to say. "How often did you see each other?" Beth asked quietly. "Why... Why did you guys splinter?" She looked up, blue eyes full of sadness.
     
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  13. Daryl Dixon

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    Daryl felt something sink in his stomach like a stone. He could only lie to Beth so much ‘fore it got too complicated to keep it up. He had to choose which ones he was gonna keep. He huffed, avoiding her gaze for a moment or two as he fought against the wave of sorrow. So much shit had happened t’all of them. So much fucking shit.

    “It uh...,” he said. “Everyone was busy at their own place. That’s uh how it started. Just...busy. Then...Rick he uh -” his throat felt too tight and he swallowed, hating the way his eyes were prickling. He wasn’t gonna cry here. Wasn’t gonna. “We lost ‘im,” he forced out. “After that Michonne took over Alexandria ‘n she wasn’t - everyone was hurtin’. We didn’t uh - didn’t see each other for a while.”

    Things had finally come back together, the communities banding together against those dumbass Whisperers, but it’d been a while. Time he wasn’t ever gonna get back with his family, the ones he had left anyway. ​
     
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  14. Beth Greene

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    Beth felt a horrible wave of guilt for pushing Daryl like this, but she wanted to know. No, she needed to know. Why? She had no idea, given she'd never be able to go back and confront any of them. She no longer existed back home. All Beth knew was that she'd go crazy if she didn't know at least the basics, especially when there were others from Daryl's future like Aaron and Jesus.

    Beth saw tears in Daryl's eyes, his voice breaking. She didn't need him to finish the sentence but he did, forcing it out. Beth clasped a hand to her mouth, shaking her head. Suddenly it all made sense. Rick had been the cornerstone of their group, the one who had brought them together and the one who kept them whole. He was their leader. Without him, they'd splintered. It broke Beth's heart. "Rick..." She lowered her hand, speaking his name as though it would bring him back.

    "Oh Daryl." Beth put herself in his arms again, knowing he'd want time to compose himself, but also just to comfort him. They'd been through so much shit, even hearing the bare minimum was soul destroying. He said the names of places she didn't know but had heard about from others. Alexandria, The Kingdom, where King Ezekiel was from. Places she'd never go.

    "I'm so sorry," Beth whispered into his chest. "How were Carl and Judith? Did they stay with Michonne?"
     
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  15. Daryl Dixon

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    Daryl swayed slightly as her arms came around him, his own wrapping around her in reflex. He’d gotten better about physical contact over the years, was miles away from where he’d started the apocalypse. He’d kinda rather not needed the damn skill though, not for this.

    “Aw, Beth,” Daryl said, voice strangled, head ducking as best it could when she was clinging to him. The tightness in his throat only got worse as he realized he was gonna have to tell Beth about Carl. In some ways, losing Carl had been more of a shock than losing Rick - everything they’d ever done, it’d been for them kids. Finding a place to stay, somewhere safe, all so Carl and Judith could have some semblance of a life in that shitty-ass world. He’d always thought Carl would be the one to take after Rick, to lead everything when the time came for Rick to step down.

    And now neither was there.

    “Carl he - “ he shook his head. “Lost ‘im too.” The words felt too tight in his throat and he swallowed again and again in an attempt to loosen it, but it was no use. “Judith though,” he said, struggling to keep it together, voice rough like it’d been scraped backward over rocks. “She stayed with Michonne. Tough as nails, that girl. Rick - he woulda - he woulda been damn proud.”
     
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  16. Beth Greene

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    Beth was glad she'd hidden her face. The more Daryl spoke, the more the tears fell, unable to stop the pain, the sudden grief that overwhelmed her. Carl. Rick. It was almost too much for her to bare. Daryl's arms found their way around her, and this time it wasn't an instinctive, intense reaction to seeing her again, but a response that felt natural, as though he'd done this many times before. Daryl had always had trouble with closeness, but those years with the group had healed him slightly, helped him work through the trauma his father had given him all those years ago.

    If only the rest of the world hadn't messed them all up in other ways, things might've been different.

    Beth felt Daryl's chin graze the top of her head as he ducked his own. Beth squeezed her eyes tight shut, letting the tears cascade down her cheeks. She didn't know what to say. What could she say? It was awful. The whole thing was awful. Carl had been their hope for the future; him and Judith had been the reason many of them had kept going. To lose him... No wonder the group had splintered. The loss of a child changed everything.

    Judith. Beth raised her head, looking up at Daryl with a very watery smile. "He would've. I bet he's lookin' down on her from heaven. Him, Carl and Lori." She tried to imagine Judith as a girl, growing more every day, fighting to survive. It made Beth ache to know she'd never see her. "I bet she has you wrapped around her little finger." She blinked, letting the last few tears fall. They were easing slightly now and she smiled again, imagining Daryl teaching her to fight or use a crossbow. It was a nice thought. Picturesque. One that brought Beth comfort even if it wasn't true.
     
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  17. Daryl Dixon

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    It’d been years, but standing here with Beth? It brought back all that pain like it’d just happened. It throbbed in his chest, choked down his throat and it was all he could do to cling to her, barely keeping himself from falling apart. Maybe one day Carl would show up here - maybe one day Rick would too - Daryl could feel that hope burning deep down inside him, it nearly hurt. He didn’t wanna hope though, didn’t want to be disappointed when it didn’t happen.

    He swallowed, trying to keep his composure, loosening his grip ever so slightly so he could look down at Beth as she spoke. He sniffed - he wasn’t sure about heaven or nothing - was kind of hard to be after all the shit they’d seen, but if there was - hell, he knew those two would be up there. He snorted, the sound a little watery as his head dipped. “Yeah,” he said, voice rough, but the ache in his chest was easing up some. As much as he’d gotten to see her anyway - he loved her just as he’d loved Carl. He’d have done anything for Rick’s kids.

    For Rick.

    “There was - there's uh - RJ too. We lost Rick but Michonne she was -” his throat tightened momentarily. He hadn’t gotten to know RJ as much as Judith, what with being away from Alexandria so often - and part of it was that seeing RJ, who looked so much like Rick - hurt - but he knew he’d do anything for the kid just like he would his siblings. “Was pregnant. Had a boy. Rick Jr. RJ.”
     
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  18. Beth Greene

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    Daryl seemed to cling to Beth all the tighter, only loosening slightly when she spoke. Beth did the same, not wanting to let him go. As wonderful as Pandora was, it could also be lonely, maybe more so than back home. They'd been practically under each other's feet back in the prison, but now Beth lived alone -- except for Bailey of course -- and at night, when it was dark and cold, she'd long for the sound of another pair of footsteps in the house, another voice to silence her loud thoughts.

    Beth was glad to see the turmoil in Daryl's eyes ease ever so slightly. His voice was still thick with emotion, and his face still wet, but there was something else there now, and Beth hoped that their reunion had healed a tiny part of his heart. Daryl didn't hold on to hope the way Beth did but that didn't matter. Beth would do it for the both of them.

    She let out a gasp as Daryl dropped another bombshell. "Rick and Michonne?! They had a baby?" Beth suddenly felt a tangled wave of excitement and heartbreak all at once, as though she was watching their years apart in fast forward. "RJ," she whispered, trying to imagine his face. "What's he like?" She asked, the thought of another new life bringing Beth comfort. "And Michonne? Is she okay?"

    Beth thought Michonne was probably the strongest woman she'd ever met, both physically and emotionally, but there was a tenderness to her, a mothering nature she'd tried to hide. Beth had seen it the moment they'd spoke, despite Michonne's hardened exterior. Like Daryl, the world had forced her to put up barriers, but over the months, those barriers had fallen to reveal her true self.
     
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  19. Daryl Dixon

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    Daryl nodded, head dipping low. It sucked that Rick hadn’t been able to meet his son but he knew the man woulda been damn proud of the kid. Daryl didn’t know him near as well as he wanted to - he’d spent most of his time outside the walls - but he loved him like he was his own. He was Rick’s blood. The corner of his mouth tilted upward just a little.

    “He’s sweet. Looks like his daddy 'n Judith watches out for him real good,” he said, though there wasn’t no doubt in his mind that Judith would look out for her brother.

    “‘chonne…” he paused, the smile still clinging to the corner of his mouth. It’d been rough there for a while - but he got it. He understood. “She’s tough. She’s alright,” he said, with a nod. His family was barely holding itself together - too many pieces missing - but they were still there. They still had each other (even when Daryl’d been hiding out in the woods). He missed it, the pieces even more scattered here than they had been at home. ​
     
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  20. Beth Greene

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    Beth tried to get her head around the idea of Judith as a young girl, looking out for her little brother. The last time she'd seen her she'd been little more than a baby herself. Now she was strong, intelligent, a little warrior. It was strange but Beth thought she could picture her. Growing up in the Apocalypse would shape anyone, especially a girl who'd never known anything different. Not to mention having Michonne as a mother. The world didn't know what had hit it.

    "Toughest person I know," Beth agreed. Then she looked up a him. "Except for you of course." She grinned, despite the heavy feeling in her heart. "Wow, Daryl. I... I don't know what to say." Beth let the silence fall between for a few seconds before adding quietly. "See? I told ya you'd be the last man standin'"

    She sighed heavily, as though trying to shake herself out this pain, stop it from burying her. She felt both shattered and hopeful. There'd been so much to learn in just those few minutes, and it had changed everything Beth thought she'd known. But she was glad to know, as painful as it had been. At least now if Maggie ever arrived in Pandora, or Michonne, or even Judith, she'd know what they'd been through. At least partly.

    Beth bent down and gave Dog another scratch behind the ear. "I'm glad you had Dog with you. They can make the best companions. I'd always seen you as a dog person." Her eyes lingered upon Bailey.
     
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