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She flutters, somewhere in the periphery.

Beth doesn't need to scold. The little girl stifles herself, small hands pressing against her mouth with care as the gun cocks, the shot fires, the dead fall. It's been a long time since a herd has passed through, especially with how far North they've come. It's the height of summer, though, and for all they'd hacked frozen, incapacitated walkers to pieces over the winter, fresh stock still wandered up come spring.

Judith had spent her life being silent. She was quiet, cool, unassuming from the day she learned to express syllables.

“Walker,” Daryl had taught her, pinching her plump cheeks, pointing to the hordes pressing against the old prison's fences, “Walkers bad. Uncle Daryl and his crossbow, good.”

They thought she didn't remember the prison, but she did, she definitely did. It was where she'd learned to walk, toddling on the concrete between Beth's clutches and Daryl's waiting arms. Right before the alarms had sounded, right before the flood of shambling, stinking bodies.

Her daddy had died during that fight. So had the lady with the sword. So many folk had died, then. It was when Daryl had taken over, urged the remainders of their group North, and North had been safe for most of the year. Still, her grandpa had died, Aunt Carol had died, Sasha and so many innocents from Woodbury had died. Judith knew this mostly because they'd told her, but she also remembered, dimly, the soft voice of a woman from long ago. The rough scruff of white beard-bristles, the prayers of a mother who'd already lost a child.

Judith remembered. Judith was silent.

“All clear,” Daryl murmured, having swept the upper floors of the farmhouse with Beth. Outside, Glenn was watching the drive, Tyreese and Karen sweeping the backyard. In Carl's arms, little Orion was fussing, but only for a moment. His mother, Maggie, swept him up and hushed him, but Judith knew he didn't need much coaxing.

She was teaching him, the little baby and the five-year-old. She was teaching him to be quiet, like she'd always been, from the time she'd been old enough to stop.

Beth had taught her that. If you were quiet, if you were small, little, if you seemed weak until the last moment, you'd live. You'd survive.

You'd thrust a machete up through a walker's skull and you'd live.

“Alright?” Beth was asking, smiling, offering a hand. Judith smiled, rising from her crouched place in the vestibule, taking the offered hand.

“All my pieces are here,” She trilled, and was pulled inside, into their new home for the chilly, snowy season.

She hoped there'd be bones to gnaw on, come winter.

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