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Drunks

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Daryl’s been around enough drunks to know which one people will likely be and he’s hardly ever been wrong.
His father was the angry drunk who wanted you to know he was. Who punched little children and women to get rid of his pain.
Meryl - Meryl wanted to rub it in your face. He was a smug drunk. A smug addict. As if, by him being drunk, or high, he knew more than you ever wood.
The women who lined the bar his daddy frequented were usually love drunks - trying to find love with men who could care less.
There were tired drunks and hurt drunks, fast drunks and slow drunks.
Party drunks, play drunks, Happy drunks and feel good drunks.
Flirty drunks, never been drunks and sleepy drunks.
He was a never been drunk.
Unlike his father who was given the gift of staying in a drunken haze for days, weeks, months, years even, and Meryl, who could get high on just about anything, he had never been able too.
And wasn’t that depressing.
In a family of drunks, he was the sober one.
What a let down.
But he’s never seen her drunk.
Before that bottle of moonshine that had burned even his tongue he had never seen Beth Greene completely wasted.
And it was, honestly, the best thing he’s ever seen.
Innocent, kind.
She, if anything, became even more interested in him.
She got closer.
When he’d first walked up on the Moonshine House he was pretty sure he had taken a wrong turn and had ended up back in his neighborhood.
The decaying animal carcass - ready for picking.
The moldy plaid shirts and torn jeans, worn for way too long, hanging on the clothes line.
The same old chair that ever’ drunk in Jorga had to have.
And the house that stank of death, blood and fear still smelt of that same burning drink smell.
Tequila and rum, cheap beer and whiskey.
The best kind of morphine for someone tired of living.
He felt bad for taking her there.
Bad that she had seen his pain but she didn’t mind.
And that’s what made Beth different than every single drunk he knew.
She wanted his pain.
She wanted to touch it, burn it.
Carve it out of his heart and tear it up.
She was a yellow drunk.
Her hair, her voice, her face.
The sun.
Does the Earth ever feel honored to be able to travel around the sun?
He, of course, told her everything.
How his old man had once swung that belt so hard, swung it just the wrong way, and how the buckle had cut, ripped a piece of his back out - leaving him gaping, blood red on the kitchen floor.
How he’d lied to everyone, pushed away everyone. Insulted kind hearted, naive teachers, punched well meaning kids and beat Little Johnny smartass who had dared to call him white trash and a stupid hillbilly.
How sometimes he glad that the world’s ending because he doubts he’d ever be able to do what he does now.
Help and protect the people he loves.
That the end of the world gave him that and isn’t that just the right shade of fucked up!
And how he’d ultimately failed to protect any of them.
He told her how Meryl was whispering in his brain and how his back still ached from where his father had whipped marks into his backs. Long angry slashes that looked like the claws of a large angry cat.
And how he never could get drunk.
How no amount of painkillers or drugs could lure him under like they did Meryl.
But what did it matter anyway because she was here.
And she smiled at him, her smile bright, kind, yellow.
“I’ll always be here Daryl, I’m never gonna leave you alone.”

He should’ve known better.
Should’ve known, told her, that in a world where the people you loved came back just to bite the flesh from your bones, you never make promises like that.
And she disappears.

He’s lost without her.
For the longest time he tries to find her but it’s as if she disappeared, car and all, into a puff of hazy smoke.
He curses himself for not running faster.
And he spirals just a little further down.
Because if the sun's not there the Earth stops rotating.

He finds her - eventually.
And she’s there for all of a moment before he loses her again.
A puff of hazy smoke.

He finds her - again.
And their eyes meet, searching for something anything.
But then she’s gone again.
But she hasn’t disappeared.
Not yet anyway.

He’d had this dream before.
Where he’d carried her, dead, cold, limp in his arms.
He’s glad that that dream never comes true.
That, in the end, they walk out together.
Arms tight around each other.

The group doesn’t comment when they don’t leave each other’s sides.
They are a little shocked when they see Beth cleaning his bow, or remaking feathers so they’re easier to spot.
They’re even more shocked when, when they get to Alexandria, they move into a small white house together.
And on the days when Daryl gets too restless, itchy, disturbed, it’s Beth who pulls him towards the motorcycle.
It’s Beth who convinces Daryl to shave and bathe.
Who becomes a housewife almost.
But they quickly learn she’s not just a caretaker anymore.
Her aim is on point, her kicks strong and sure.
It’s as if her days in the forest, after the prison, have severely changed her.
Molded her.
But isn’t that the same for all of them?

And when Beth walks out with a hickey, or Daryl has a bruised lip they don’t question that either.
Maggie takes that in stride and they, she, Beth, Glenn and Daryl are quickly become a regular sight together.

But it’s Beth who asks Daryl to take her name.
Daryl says yes.

Because in a world where they’ve lost everything it’s nice to know that he can still change - still grow past the pain of his childhood.

It’s weird to be a Greene, in a world where last names don’t matter.
But it’s a good feeling.

Beth does eventually give him children, her arms outstretched with a precious gift.
As if she hasn’t given him enough already.
And in between running and fighting (because nowhere is safe for long) they have two baby boys.

And in between running and fighting (because at this point survival is just as unlikely as living is) she sings.
And he watches his children grow.

And they’re at a middle school now, the wire fences better protection than the trees and wind.
And nowhere is safe for long.
But for now, with his children (5 & 7) nearby, his wife close beside him, he thinks he can get through this.

But it’s never been that easy for them before, least of all Daryl.

~END~