Author's Notes: Alright, this isn't another long story! I have way too many already I need to finish and more I'm still in the middle of writing. This in the other hand is just a series of four connect one-shot stories about two characters per chapter. There will only be four chapters in this, and I'm hoping to finish this extremely soon. Now this story is a little AU at times. Example, Terminus actually is a safe haven, a sanctuary in this story...for now. And it is a large community were our lovable survivors are now residing in. There are some more different things, but I'll let everyone find that out as this story plays out.
Summary: When you can't come back, when you don't want to come back, you need someone to be with you in the darkness. Carl was losing himself to that darkness, and Beth would stay with him till the end.
Disclaimer: Rated T for Language and Sexual themes.
I'll follow you into the Dark
"This is stupid, I'm being stupid." Beth muttered to herself. She was standing outside Carl's bedroom door on the second story of the house he shared with his father and Michonne in Terminus.
She remembered when she was traveling with Daryl and they had first saw the signs for Terminus, at first Daryl had opposed going, but after she had almost gotten kidnapped when her and Daryl had been separated at that funeral home they had stayed at for a night. Thankfully, Daryl had saved her in time and they had taken off before the kidnappers managed to attempt again.
Since then the two of them had decided that finding a safe haven was a new mission they had to succeed, and apparently, a Dixons took missions very seriously. That is when they found signs about Terminus, then eventually finding Terminus, and surprisingly reuniting with the rest of their group from the prison.
There were tears, hugs, and relief filled everyone in the entire group once they realized that their apocalyptic family had all made it out alive after the prison fell. All but her father that was…
Beth shook her head, quickly pushing down the sadness she felt from thinking about her father.
They had all settled into Terminus quickly, everyone finding their own jobs to do. Daryl leading the hunts, Carol teaching the children of Terminus defense lessons with Michonne and Maggie, Tyreese, Glenn and Bob had all joined in the labor of the community, and Rick, well Rick had soon become looked at in the sanctuary as a leader.
Everyone had found their own place in Terminus, everyone but her and Carl at least…
The two of them had not talked much since he arrived, which really wasn't a surprise anymore. Even during the last few months and weeks at the prison, they had fallen out with each other. They had gone from spending hours on end with each other, to never even being seen in the same room with each other for longer than five minutes.
It wasn't as if she didn't know why though…
After the Governor's first attack on the prison, Carl had changed. Becoming colder, more militant, and everyone had seen it, and as for her, she just closed herself down emotionally, hoping that would help prepare her any darker days to come.
She did not want to, it just seemed easier that way... After the group had come back with Andrea's body, seeing such a brave woman like that now gone, it had done something to her. Andrea was strong, one of the toughest in the group, mentally and physically. If she didn't make it, what chance did someone like her have? So she shut down her emotions, put on a fake smile and went about her life.
Around that time was when she met Zach.
He liked her automatically, and to this day, she feels bad that she never felt the same he did. He'd talk about beating the world, making it to the end, starting a life, blah, blah, blah. She liked his spirit though, he was hopeful, something she struggling with…something Carl had given up.
After Woodbury, Carl wasn't the same, everyone saw how the darkness of the world was slowly changing him, but during war, no one could have done anything. The group was too involved with the war with a mad man to take action on what was happening to the boy turned child soldier. His mother was dead, his father had was losing him mind, and all around him was death and destruction. By the time things had slowed down, Carl had already taken his first life.
The new Carl didn't scare her though; it scared the group, but not her. They all saw it as he was changing for the worst, letting the darkness get ahold of him. And maybe they were right, but Carl protected her when she needed him, he stood by her side when everyone was gone, he was her friend. If he would lose himself to the darkness, than she would stay with him.
It didn't work out that way though.
He pushed everyone away; he was just too angry, angry at seeing everyone die. In the span of one year the poor boy had been shot, watched Sophia die, caused Dale's death, forced to put down walker Shane, lost the farm and lived on the road for 8 months, having to watch his own mother be torn open then having to kill her so she wouldn't reanimate, the war with The Governor, killing his first living person, and finally having to watch as the war ended over Andrea's sacrifice.
She didn't blame him though; he had gone through too much to ever be normal again.
He pushed her and everyone else away and only spoke with her father, Rick and Michonne.
Maybe that is why she was here, standing outside his bedroom door, hoping to actually be able to rekindle some form of friendship with him.
She brought her hand up to knock, but stopped just as her fist was about to hit the aged oak door. She released her fist and let her fingers trace down the wooden door. Sighing, she muttered, "I'm just being stupid." And turned to walk away.
Just as she felt her self-esteem fading away, she heard his door open from behind.
"You know, you walk pretty loud." She heard him calmly saw from behind her.
She spun around and came to face with his icy blue eyes.
"Maybe I wanted you to hear me." She challenged, a teasing tone in her voice.
Carl just stared at her for a moment, taking her all in. After thirty of the longest seconds of Beth's life, he finally started to talk.
"What do you want?" He asked bluntly.
Beth automatically rolled her eyes. "God, you sound like Daryl."
For the first time in months, she saw the hint of smirk on Carl's face. That little hint, made her smile a little as well.
Carl raised an eyebrow, and looked at Beth questioningly. "What's behind your back?"
Smiling a devilish smile, one that she had been sporting ever since she had burned down that house with Daryl, she pulled two clear jars of moonshine from behind her back. "I thought maybe we could share your first drink…"
A beat passed between them in dead silence.
He then shrugged and opened the door wide. "Sure."
"Man, that burns." Carl muttered downing another swig.
Surprisingly the teen had a natural taste for liquor. The first swig he had fought down a gag, then second his third time he had barley mad e a face, and now it was just the burning of the liquor that affected him.
She was hoping that the moonshine would loosen them both up a little bit to talk, but the he had just had just accepted the drink and had only offered small words and blank stares.
Finally, Beth just decided just out right state what was on her mind. "Why don't you like me anymore?" She asked bluntly.
Carl looked up from his drink at her, a look of confusion on his face.
"You've been here for a week and haven't said two words to anyone besides your dad or Michonne." She looked down at her jar, stirring it around with her finger. "I miss talking to you."
Carl just looked down and stared into his drink, taking another silent sip of it.
So Beth took that as her cue to continue. "Did I do something wrong?"
He didn't answer her.
Beth's head hung low, and she took a long sip of her drink. "It was me wasn't it?" God, she was a sad drunk. Daryl was right.
"I'm sorry." She mumbled under her breath. "I'll go now." She pushed herself off the chair she had been sitting on and went to slug away in shame and self-pity.
"It wasn't you." Carl said just as her hand had grasped the doorknob.
She turned around and looked at him closely, not really sure she heard right. "What?"
Carl looked away from her strong blue eyes, biting down on the inside of his cheek. She watched, as his face became an unreadable mask. "Things happened on the road…it wasn't easy."
Beth let go of the doorknob and walked back over to Carl, hoping that he would continue, but the young soldier didn't utter a word.
She walked closer to him till she was invading his person space, he tried to back away from her, but she stopped him by placing her hands on his shoulders.
"You don't have to shut me out anymore." She says gently to him.
He looked up at her and it was only then that Beth noticed the newly acquired scar on his cheek, a chill went down her spine when she looked into his cold eyes.
She saw him struggle to find the words, shame and rage danced on his face as looked at her. She grabbed a nearby jug of moonshine and brought it close to his lips.
"It'll help," She leaned in close and touched their foreheads close together, "I promise."
He took a long swig and then swallowed the fiery liquid down his throat, the alcohol loosing up his emotions and tearing down the concrete walls he had built up.
For the first time since before the war with The Governor, before Lori's death, and before the prison, she saw how much he needed someone's help.
Carl cringed, his face darkening, and eyes beginning to water. He opened his mouth to say something, but the only thing that came out was a choked out sob as he finally broke.
When Beth heard when happened on the road…what those men had almost done to Rick and Michonne, what one of them attempted to Carl…she cried for him, holding the Grimes boy close to her body. She didn't want to let him go, she just wanted him closer.
She didn't know what to say, anyway to make him feel better.
"I'm a monster." He whispered into her ear as she cried.
Beth wanted to argue, wanted to say that he wasn't a monster, that he was just a kid, that he wasn't too far gone from the innocent boy he use to be.
She knew that was a lie though, he wasn't a boy anymore. He stopped being a boy after he killed his mother. He was a soldier, a survivor.
"You're not, God, you're anything but." She cried as she hugged him closer.
He tried his best to not look at her, but Beth forced his face to meet hers. When their eyes met, she saw everything that he had hidden all this time, his pain, suffering, and turmoil, all the emotions he had tried to convince everyone, even himself, that he didn't feel.
"I don't want to be this way," He hoarsely whispered, "But I can't be any other way, Beth."
Beth crushed her body against his again, sobbing, but not for herself, but for him. "Why not?" She cried into his shoulder. She didn't want him to suffer like this.
He hung his head low, letting it rest on her shoulder, finally letting his own tears slip out of his eyes, regretfully though. "I have to be this way, a monster. It's the only way to survive anymore."
The saddest thing was that Beth didn't have an argument for him. The only reason she hadn't been kidnapped was because of the brutal things Daryl had done to keep her safe, the reason that Rick, Carl and Michonne had survived their ambush from the marauders was because of the monsters things they did.
Carl wrapped his arms around Beth, finally accepting her presence, but he was still shaking, still trembling, and she didn't even know over what he was still upset. There was just too much for this kid to handle.
However, she wasn't even sure he was a kid anymore. He was older, stronger, and so much colder…
"This world…me, it's all too fucked up for someone like you to deserve." He quietly said into her neck.
"No you're not!" she insisted pulling away from his chest and holding his face close hers. "You're a soldier, a survivor, you'll whatever it takes to keep everyone safe, and that's why I care about you…that's why I…I,"
She was struggling to say it, say the words that she had fought down forever. She noticed her feelings for the first time when they had arrived at the prison, the small smiles and long talks they had, being the only ones who could relate, but then things changed, they changed. More people came to the prison, and it felt like things had to go back to normal. And normal wasn't the two of them being right for each other, but now? Now there was no point in trying to act as if they were someone they weren't.
He wasn't Zach or Jimmy; he was wiser, tougher, and more adapted to this new world than anyone she had ever met in this nightmare. That's why she…that's why she loved him. Because he wasn't trying to go back, he accepted you couldn't come back and you had to keep moving. It broke her hear to see such innocents die, but she also loved him for the fact of still wanting to be better, and trying to at times.
"You'll do whatever you have to do, Carl." She whispered bringing his face closer to hers. "No matter where you go, what you become, I'll stay by your side. I promise…"
Carl finally stopped shaking, and maybe its just cause he didn't want to fight it anymore, or that he wanted to believe that someone out there cared for him as much as his father or Michonne, he just wanted to feel happy, for once. He inched his face closer to hers, lips trembling, and slowly closed the gap between them.
It was his first kiss, he wouldn't lie. He felt almost pathetic in admitting it, even if it was to himself, but it was true. He didn't care though, he had wanted to do this for so long, and now he just needed to do this.
Beth let him lead the kiss, allowing him to enjoy the new experience. She wasn't an expert herself, she had only had two boyfriends in her entire life, and both of them had never gone beyond kissing. She just never had loved them that way. But Carl was different. Him, she loved.
She wanted him to feel better, to know that someone loved him and accepted him for everything he was and would be, but she wanted to show him, to express love beyond words. So she depend the kiss, opening her mouth and exploring the insides of his own.
Carl at first was shy to the new experience, but adapted to it like she knew he would, that was his talent, to adapt to anything. He wrapped his arms around her small waist, and she slid onto his lap and wrapped her own arms around his neck.
The kissing became desperate, they were both started to shake as their emotions started to seep out through the passion. Tears and sobs escaped as they tried to express their pent up urges and emotions, and that lead both of them to somehow move away from their chairs to his bed and continue from there.
As they continued to express their suppressed feelings, the walls they had put up continued to break down; their cloths were slipping off each other. They just could not stop, they didn't want to stop.
Emotions and hormones had taken control over both of them and they just couldn't fight it anymore.
"I love you." She moans into his ear as they break apart.
He looked at her and he saw that she accepted him. Truly and fully, darkness and everything else he brought to the table. "I…I love you too." He admitted slowly,
Beth laced her fingers through his hair and brought him back down for a passionate kiss.
That was all either of them needed; they needed to feel loved by someone who wasn't family someone who wasn't a parental figure. To know that someone understood them not just as a kid, a farm girl, a survivor, but as a person.
They let go of the last of their restraints, and gave each other fully to the other after that point.
Beth brought Carl closer as she moaned into his ear, loving and embracing the new experience that they were living. This was as new for her as it was for him, yet it felt better than she could have ever dreamed of.
For the first time in forever, Carl didn't feel lost, not with Beth, not when he be could be a part of her in such an intimate way.
Every kiss, touch, and movement, was something both them wanted to hold on to forever. There was a connection now between them, beyond physical or sexual. It was an understanding of something greater than both of them. What was that understanding? Well, that was something only Carl and Beth could comprehend.
Carl's eyes snapped opened and he woke up with a strangled gasp, panting slightly, he looked around his room, cringing almost instantly until he felt a soft part of arms wrap around him.
"It's okay." Beth Says gently to him. "You'll be okay."
He took a couple of shallow breaths, running his hands through his wild, messy brown hair. He looked back at her, uncertainty all over his face. "Even if I can't ever come back?" He asks her sadly. "I can't let go of this darkness, it's mine."
"I know." She replied laying her head on his shoulder. "So I'll follow you into the dark."
Carl walked Beth back to the house she had been sharing with Maggie and Glenn, holding her hand the entire time, but when they got close the door he let her hand slip gently out of his and backed away.
She turned back to him and smiled, knowing that even though they had taken a larger than life step, Carl still needed time to sort through his demons.
"Goodnight." She called out to him softly.
He nodded at her, and smiled in his own way. She watched as he turned away from her and made the walk back to the house he shared with Michonne and his dad.
Rick leaned against the frame of his window, watching as his son walked to their house after walking Beth home, a proud smile was displayed on his face for his boy.
He had always had his theories on his boy's feelings for Hershel's daughter, and he was happy that his son had found something to hold on to. He'd like to think his late mentor would be happy for his son.
A soft knock was heard at the door, and Rick said. "It's open."
Michonne, walked into his room with her hands behind her back, and a sneaky grin on her face. Something that made Rick go pale.
Now against what the rumors around Terminus said, Michonne and him weren't an item, couple, or anything like that. She was just a very close family friend…that lived in his house…and spent almost every waking moment around him or his son.
"Hey," He said to her, pulling himself away from the window. "Need something?"
She just grins wider, then tosses something fast to him.
Reflexes kick in, and Rick catches the object without missing a beat.
He looks down to inspect what was just thrown at him and his eyes widen.
Rick had just come face to face with his greatest enemy he could remember since the world had fallen apart.
Michonne walked closer to him and pointed down at the object in his hand. "Your face lost the war." She says to him calmly. "It's time to shave."
He opened his mouth to object, but Michonne grabbed the electric razor out of his hand and started it up for him.
"You don't get a vote, Rick." She said playfully. "This isn't a democracy anymore."
To Be Continued