Title: The dog in the woods
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Characters: Daryl Dixon / Beth Greene
Prompt fan_flashwork: Dog
Prompt Gen Bingo: Animal
Word Count: 522
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
They found the big, black and white dog in the middle of the forest, alone, half starved, his fur matted. He stared at them for a while with dark eyes, growling slightly. Daryl had already lifted his crossbow when Beth put her hand on his arm to stop him.
Only a gentle touch but it made his heart beat faster. He was not sure if he liked this; no one beside her had ever made him feel like this.
„Don't,“ she whispered.
„He's not a danger; he's just afraid of us.“
And before Daryl could stop her she hunkered down and reached out with her hand.
„Hey, come here.“
The dog's snout trembled visibly but he didn't make any try to snap shut. Beth smiled while she gently touched him. He snuggled closer, wagging his tail.
„Oh, that's such a good boy.“
Then she turned back to Daryl who was still watching the scene warily.
„See, no need to be afraid of him.“
Daryl smirked and finally lowered the crossbow again.
„I never was afraid of dogs. When I was about ten years old I owned one.“
„Yes! For some days. I did hide him under the porch. Shared my meals with him. Until … “
The smile on her face vanished and he almost regretted that he had told her about this.
„What's happened,“ she asked.
„One day he was gone.“
For sure he wouldn't tell her the whole truth.
„I'm sorry,“ she said. And it somehow felt as if she meant it. Though she actually didn't know anything. Which was a good thing. She was grown up on a farm with a caring family around and not with a father who was always drunk and hit his wife and his two children until the loss of consciousness. Despite everything that was going on around her she still was able to find some good in the world. She had to be an angel.
Suddenly he couldn't bear his overwhelming feelings any longer.
„Maybe we should better go back to the prison. Before the others start to worry.“
One last stroke over the back of the animal, then she nodded.
„Guess you are right.“
When she stood up the dog looked at her hopefully.
„No, you can't come with us,“ she told him, her voice apologetic.
„As much as I like you, the prison is not a good place for a dog. Better enjoy your freedom.“
„Seems as if he's of another opinion,“ Daryl said.
„Can't blame him. Obviously, he's lost his heart to you."
„But Rick won't appreciate it when we bring home a dog instead of some rabbits and vegetables for or lunch.“
Daryl put on one of his rare smiles.
„Don't worry. I will tell him, that with a well-trained gun dog the yield will be much better next time.
C'mon boy, let's go home.“
The dog barked once, while Beth's eyes sparkled softly. It was long ago that Daryl had felt that good.