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beth writing 30 days without

FIC: The Walking Dead: The Solace of Your Voice (PG) (Bethyl)

Title: The Solace of Your Voice
Characters: Daryl, Daryl/Beth implied
Rating: PG
Summary: While traveling with Joe's group Daryl is haunted of Beth and struggles with who he is and who he was.

The Solace of Your Voice

‘You know ya wanna go with them, brother. Stop fightin’ yer nature. It’d be just like the good old days when it was just you and me. Where’s your balls boy? You always were a pansy when the tough really started gettin’ tough.’

Daryl woke with a start, his body aching and chilled from the hard ground. Merle’s voice in his head had become a constant companion, tormenting him, teasing him, waking and sleeping, until he was beginning to think he was going crazy. Not going. He was. So crazy with worry than he couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. He forced himself up each morning before dawn to go through the motions of hunting, because it was the only time he had to himself. The only time he could let down his guard and allow the waves of guilt and misery to wash over him, engulf him, and drown him. Then he would force the bland expression back onto his features to face the day with the Joe and his band of marauders or ‘claimers’ or whatever the hell they chose to call themselves. His body numb with fatigue, hunger and self-loathing.

Joe kept talking about ‘us’ like he was already one of them, part of their pack, at the bottom of the pecking order. And Daryl kept denying that he was ‘us’. Denying it to Joe. Denying it to himself, and deep down in his soul trying to convince himself and his brother’s ghost that he was not one of this ‘us’. And, yet, it was like Joe could hear Merle’s haunting voice too. Like Joe understood exactly what Daryl was deep down in his gut. Like he knew Daryl had been lying to himself this past two years, convincing himself he could be something better. Like he knew Daryl had had the gall to begin to imagine he would ever be good enough for her. That she would ever want him.

His stomach roiled with the thought of her and the fear of what might have happened to her. And didn’t’ that just prove that nothing had changed. He was no better than the white trash that had rolled out of his home town following Merle, following his brother from one pile of trouble to the next. It was his responsibility to protect her, and he’d failed miserably, letting her slip through his fingers. He lost her because he’d been stupid, because he got careless and didn’t peek through the crack in a door to see who was waiting on the other side. Because he wanted to see her smile by catching that damn dog. He lost her because he thought he was better than he was.

‘There are still good people.’

He started and looked wildly over his shoulder, convinced for that one moment that the words he’d heard were spoken in her sweet voice. That she was here, alive, with him, her delicate, warm fingers intertwined with his coarse, calloused ones as she leaned against his shoulder.

He felt his chest and throat begin to constrict. Felt the heart rending sob building. He couldn’t stay here. He rose quickly, grabbed his bow and slipped silently under their alarm line and into the still woods that were just beginning to grey with the coming dawn. He had to be out of Joe’s earshot before that sob built to its full agonizing fury. When he finally stopped moving he stood with his back to a tree, doubled over, a miserable wretch lost in a world of misery. There was nothing he could do to change it or himself.

‘You’re a good man, Daryl Dixon.’

“I tried. I tried to be a good man,” he said softly. And in his heart he grabbed on to the memory of the sound of her. The way her voice rose with anger when she was shouting at him, the tipsy lilt when she was half in the bag drunk on moonshine, her singing, the single soft “Oh” when she suddenly realized what he could not bring himself to say. He clung to the sound of each delicately spoken word, each precious syllable and then he pushed back at the ghost of his brother. He would not let Merle lead him back to what he had been. He could change. He did change. He wasn’t worthless. He would not succumb to the brutality of Joe’s rules, he was not one of his kind, his “us”. He was good people. And he was going to find her if it took the rest of his life so he could prove to her that he believed.