prisca: (WD - Daryl 1)
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Title: Goodbye
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Character: Carol Peltier, Daryl Dixon
Length: 686
Rating: PG13
Warnings: mention of character death
Author's note: please keep in mind that this fic is not entirely series conform




She finally found him at the landing stage of the lake. He was standing there, staring at the water, ignoring her footsteps on the old wood. She wasn't sure if he just didn't notice her presence or if he had decided to ignore her. Both of it was kind of disturbing.

Silently Carol stepped by his side.

„Glad I finally found you,“ she said.
„I started to worry.“

Daryl had always been strong; always ready to do the right thing. Even if this meant to kill his friends, to abandon his brother. He was not deadhearted but smart enough to not let his feelings win over his surviving instincts.

Until Beth had changed everything for him. Carol had watched the close bond between them with growing concern. They risked too much. The moments they spent alone in the woods; the nights they sneaked out of the camp for a stolen hour at the lake. A split of a second of abstraction and it could happen. Carol hadn't been ready to lose them to the zombies. She had already lost too many people who had been close to her heart.

But like everyone else she hadn't seen it coming what finally happened. Beth died while trying to save others, by a mistakenly shot in her head. Dead without return. A shock and a relief. They didn't need to make a decision; they could mourn about her; bury her, as she deserved it.

But they had reckoned without Daryl. Last evening, the evening of the final goodbye, he vanished. And he took Beth's dead body with him. Maggie was almost freaked out, had treatened to find and to kill him by her own hands.

„She was my sister,“ she had yelled.
„He had no right to take her away from me.“

Then she was broken down, and Glenn had carried her back into her room.

:::

„You shouldn't have come here all on your own. You know, there is a group of walker around.“

At least he was talking, his voice surprisingly gentle.

„Does this not apply to you, too? The group needs you, Daryl. She wouldn't have wanted you to risk this."

Finally, he turned around to her, his eyes so dark and lost. It did hurt to see him in that state.

„I needed to do this. Alone. She deserves something better than to get buried somewhere in a dark hole in the woods. She was someone special. She loved the sun and the sky, the beauty of the world. Despite everything around her."

„She did,“ Carol agreed, feeling tears burning in her eyes. It wasn't fair. It was never fair.
„I've never met someone like her. But we need to let go her now. And move on. Because this is what she wants us to do."

Daryl kept quiet and turned back to the lake. The water so blue, so clear; the trees and the sky reflecting on the still surface, some last sunbeams were gleaming orange and golden. Such a peaceful place, as if nothing bad could ever happen here.

Suddenly Carol noticed the lonely boat swaying in the middle of the lake.

„She was like an angel forced to live in hell, but she never gave up hope that one day heaven might come back.“
With a steady move, Daryl grabbed for his crossbow, set the front end of the arrow on fire.
„I will give her the peace she deserves, at a place she has loved.“

There was still a last short moment; then he lifted the crossbow, aimed and shot. Like so often, he never hesitated when he had the crossbow in his hands. The arrow was glowing in the twilight when the wind fanned the flames even more. Then it reached its goal; with a hushed explosion the boat turned into a fireball.

Carol winced involuntarily, Daryl let the crossbow sink, his eyes dark and inscrutable while he watched the fire devouring the boat until it finally was gone. And the lake was blue and still and peaceful again.

Beth could finally rest.

THE END

October 2017

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