Maggie’s view on things…
As the oldest sibling, it was my job to look after the younger ones. And I did, growing up. I was wonderful at my job, with my fierce protectiveness over them. Until the turn happened, and I failed.
I couldn’t save Shawn. Hell, I wasn’t even around at the time. I should have been. I should have known better than to let him go outside the house that night. But he got bitten, and when the fever finally took the life out of my vibrant step-brother, he changed and bit his mother. I failed again.
I vowed after that to protect Beth and Daddy with everything I had. That is why I was so hard on Beth at her darkest moment. I couldn’t lose her, especially by her own hand. When Daddy got bit and Rick chopped his leg off, I had already given up hope. But Beth held on. She had quickly became the strongest one of the group. Maybe not strong physically, but strong mentally, and that was something good. Something beautiful. Something human, to keep us human as well.
I failed again as I watched the Governor murder my Daddy in front of the prison gates, in front of my eyes. It was the worst thing that I could ever witness, and it broke me that Beth had to witness it, as well. In the mist of the flying bullets and soul wrenching grief, I remember worrying about my sweet, strong little sister would revert back to how she was when Annette was put down as a walker. That is, if she survived this.
But she was so inexperienced, and weak. So when I found the bus filled of dead bodies, Glenn and Beth nowhere to be found, I presumed she hadn’t made it out. I failed big time. I didn’t trust her, didn’t have faith in her, gave up on her…so many terrible things. I searched for Glenn, but not my baby sister. Not the girl who had been my best friend for years. Not the blonde slip that would follow me around, big eyes glowing, when I was younger. No. I was a horrible sister.
Part of me acknowledged that it was just too painful to think about. She was just gone. She could have had a quick, painless death. She could be safe, somewhere, and happy. Or she could have countless horrors bestowed upon her, and I just couldn’t think about it without wanting to die myself. Glenn gave me strength. But Beth was strength. Her being gone was too horrific to even imagine, so if I didn’t…it didn’t hurt as bad.
For all my failures, for all the times I have let myself and my family down, there was someone who didn’t. There was someone who was there for Beth, who protected her, who saved her, who cared so deeply for her. Someone who beat himself up even harder than I did myself.
Daryl was a broken man when he recounted getting out with Beth, only to lose her. Sitting, slumped over in the filthy train box, voice breaking in a way I didn’t know the tough, strong bowman was capable of, he choked out the tale of the car with the cross on the back of it. The car that stole my sister from a man who could very well love her. Maybe not romantically, maybe not traditionally, but I could tell there was a love for her in him.
After all, who couldn’t love Beth?
Days of being contained in such a small container started to do something in all of us. The humanity that Beth found so beautiful, worked so hard to keep, started to flicker out as rage and revenge started to settle in. Rick, Daryl, Abe, and Glenn plotted constantly. Plotted how to get out. Plotted how to kill the fuckers that did this to us. Plotted where to go next. Plotted how to get to Washington. Plotted how to save Beth.
Daryl wouldn’t stop plotting how to save Beth. This touched me so much. This is what cemented the fact that I was such a failure. I had been ready to give up on Beth-had given up on Beth. But Daryl would never, ever give up on her.
He proved just that when we managed to escape. The escape had not gone to plan, by the way. Teaming up with the people who locked us up was insane. Killing them in their sleep or any second of the goddamn day was what I had to keep myself from doing. Right now we needed them. Soon, we wouldn’t and they would be dead. But no matter what, Daryl searched for Beth.
Every car we passed, he searched for a cross. Every blonde walker, he put down, then searched the face. Every blonde walker with a grey sweater, which wasn’t many but one or two did occur, he would cry a little when he put them down and desperately searched their faces. He would deny it, of course, that he cried. But those tears were the most pure tears I have ever witnessed. He had to love her. And he had to find her.
When Carol and Daryl went off, chasing the first lead we have had on Beth, I don’t think my heart started working properly until they came back.
Then it sank the deepest it ever had.
But damn, if the scene of their reunion wasn’t the most uplifting, amazing, human thing that anyone has ever seen, pre- or post-apocalypse, then I’ll be damned. There wasn’t any grand displays. No running into each other’s arms. No big kiss. No yelling each other’s name. No, that wouldn’t even begin to fit the emotion, the level of relief that they had. That we all had.
It didn’t matter to me that Beth went to Daryl first. That my own sister chose to stay by Daryl, to sleep by Daryl. That only Daryl could comfort the night terrors she had. It didn’t matter because I knew I let her down. Even if she didn’t think so, even if she didn’t know the constant ways I have failed her. It didn’t matter because she had found a good man.
No man was good enough for my little sister. Until Daryl.
Their relationship wasn’t the same as Glenn and I’s. Daryl and Beth have their own relationship, separate from how anyone else acts. But in the deepest level, it was the same. The love, the passion, the deep connection that only those truly in love can form…they had it all.
“Damn it Daryl, I’m not made of glass. I made it, don’t you see? I. Made. It. And if I want to go on a run, I very well can. You’re not the keeper of me!” Beth screamed, so mad that Daryl tried to keep her back.
“I am the keeper of you if you choose to make dumbass decisions! You need rest, and I damn well know you didn’t get any last night, or the night before. You need to think, Beth. Just fucking think for once. You won’t be safe if you went out like this. If you got hurt because I let you go. If you got bit…God, what would I do without you?” Daryl’s voice finally cracked, the emotion getting the best of him. “I can’t do that again…”
“Oh, Daryl…” Beth melted, and reached out and laid a hand on Daryl’s rough cheek. As he moved his face into the warmth of her hand, pinning it between his cheek and shoulder, Beth sighed. “I’ll stay.”
It was subtle. Until it wasn’t. The extremes of it kind of gave me whiplash, but to see my sister so in love. So happy. So protected and cherished was worth it. To have someone that wouldn’t give up on her, who didn’t. That was worth everything. It didn’t matter that they were night and day. Light and dark. Young and…not so young. Do those factors ever really matter when it comes to true love? I didn’t think so. I would support them with my last breath. My sister’s happiness is all that matters.
And she was happy. They brought out the best in each other. It had taken Daryl a while to be reassured that being in love wasn’t a weakness, wouldn’t get Beth killed, and that he truly didn’t fail her the night she was taken. I told him countless times that he didn’t fail her. He was the only one who didn’t fail her. He then told me to get over my dumb bitch self and forgive myself and stop giving him advice.
What can I say, this is still Daryl we’re talking about. He is rough and senseless and doesn’t always say the right words. But when he is around Beth, it is like he is a different person. The roughness is still there, but he tries so damn hard to be gentle. To be caring. He doesn’t know what he is doing, and that just makes it even sweeter to watch.
No, I have failed her. But where I have failed her, Daryl had the opportunity to step in and be the hero, the knight in blood caked leather that she needed, that she deserved. So, in the end, my failures when it came to Beth was actually a good thing. A blessing in disguise. And I will always be happy she found him. For with him, she will be the last woman standing, hand-in-hand with the love of her life.