Nine Lives

Dawn Cooper has always been the one to protect her family. But when Daryl Dixon steps into her life, will she let him protect her? Read this Walking Dead/ Daryl Dixon Fanfiction to follow the zombie apocalypse as seen by Dawn Cooper.

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8. Chapter 7: Beans, Beer, and Beliefs

Chapter 7- Beans, Beer, and Beliefs

After my little discussion with Daryl, I headed outside to see if some fresh air would clear my head a little. Even before the world ended I found that if I was stressed, a walk out in the cool night air would subside my emotions.

I ended up drifting to the patch of crops planted just outside the main gate. Just three days ago it stood there admiring everything, back when I first arrived, and when Alice was still alive. Wadding in my thoughts awhile, I came to the small bean plants which hung like limp fingers among the rest.

"If they're big enough you can eat some."

I jumped at the sound of Hershel's wise voice. For some reason people had an odd habit of sneaking up on me.

"Do'ya think it's plump enough?" I smile, offering the old man the bean. He examined it closely, and I could almost see years worth of experience pouring over that one pod. Finally he handed it back,

"I believe it is." Biting into it; I grin,

"Wow, for a raw green bean, that was better than I'd expected!"

"I'm taking that as a complement." He chuckled,

"But I can't take all the credit. Rick's turned into a good farmer, almost as good as I am."

Hershel Greene is the kind of person that makes you smile whenever they're around. His wisdom and genuine love of life overflows to the point where you can't help but want to be around him more often. Maggie and Beth were lucky they had him, my own father would have rather been in a bar than spending time with me.

"Well I just wanted to check up on ya... If you need anything just ho-"

"Hershel wait." I said desperately as he turned to leave. He turned back to face me, curious as to what I had to say.

"Um would you like to... Uh walk, take a walk with me?" The old man's face softened into a smile.

"Of course honey, where to?"

"Just around the perimeter, you think you're up for it?"

"Hell yeah."

The perimeter of the prison was a good distance around, so we had plenty of time to chat. Our conversations ranged from ordinary topics like farming and plants, to unusual topics like different themes from some of our favorite novels like Fahrenheit 451 and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Once we were about half way around, Hershel was finishing telling me a story about Beth and Maggie while they were still at the farm.

"They're strong girls. I rest easy knowing they can take care of each other." He tells me.

"It must be nice, having your family still in tact." As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it. My face must have shown it because Hershel slowly slipped his rough hand onto mine.

"It's a blessing from God... To have Bethy and Maggie alive and breathing. But I've lost people...people I care about. We've all lost someone, but when we do, that's the time to stick together, to lean on one another. He paused to hold my gaze.

"You are not alone Dawn. This group, these people, they're your family...just as much as Alice was. And nothing, nothing will ever change that."

Tears of love for this man welled in my eyes as he held my hand in his. All that escaped my mouth was a simple,

"Thank you."

We continued walking, almost two-thirds of the way there, when a question I'd been burning to to ask popped into my mind.

"Hershel...the day you have me that cross, the one I marked Alice's grave with...you gave me something else too."

Hershel smiled once more, looking out acids the sky to the setting sun, "The Rosary."

"Yeah, that. When you gave it to me I didn't know whether to except it, because I'm not exactly...religious." I nervously confess, hoping to the God I didn't believe in that Hershel wouldn't be offended by my lack of faith.

"Well, my mother was, but my father never was. He'd... um...he'd always say he was going to beat the Jesus out of her if it was the last thing he did." I said.

"And he kept his promise...one night when he came home shit-faced drunk, my mom told him she was taking Alice and I to church the next morning with or without him." I paused. "We ended up going to the hospital instead... Two broken ribs, a broken leg, and she was purple all over."

"He said she tripped going down two flights of stairs, but he still got time for it, ten years in the Orange County Jail." I grinned thinking about his sorry ass sitting in that cell, probably one just like this.

This seemed to get to Hershel in a way, at the time, I didn't understand.

"I've never told anyone that." I confess.

"Well thank you for trusting me with that information. I'll take it to the grave."

Before speaking again he put his old hand on mine once more.

"Have I ever told you about the first time my wife made me sleep on the couch?"

I shook my head, wondering what this wise man could have done to deserve sleeping on the couch.

He chuckled seeing my curiosity.

"Well my first wife, Josephine, had to put up with a lot of shit from me, back in the day."

"I was terrible to my wife, God rest her soul. One night in particular, I came home so drunk I couldn't stand up straight."

"And then was Josephine waiting by the door. Never once raising her voice, she said, 'husband, if you think you're sleeping in the same room as me while you're this wasted, you've got another thing coming!'" He chuckled at the memory.

"She made me sleep on the couch that night, and every night I came home drunk, until Maggie was born."

"I didn't know what it was to be a father, or a man for that matter, until she was born. So that very day I put down that damn flask and haven't picked it up since." He sighed with what I thought was grief.

"Not a day goes by I don't miss my Jo, or feel guilty for putting her threw what I did."

"You did the best you could after Maggie was born. Sounds to me that you were a great father, better than mine ever was. "

He smiled and shook his head.

"You know why I told you this story dear?"

Now it was my turn to shake my head.

"I told you this story because I want you to understand that among God's people, nobody is above anyone. The same way that no one is below the rest. We all have sinned, some in ways that you can't imagine... But we are all tried as equal human beings before God. Your father... I'm no better than him."

I started to protest but quickly stopped when Hershel held up his hand.

"I am. You may think I am not, but I defiantly am as bad as your father."

"We are all the same... In God's eyes."

We walked the entire perimeter by this time, and Hershel offered to walk me back up to the entrance.

Once up by the main gate, we met Daryl fixing up a boy named Zach's fancy looking car. He was chatting up Bob and Tyreese when we approached.

"What's going on?" Hershel asks Daryl.

"Glenn and Sasha. They're sick, got what Patrick had. It's all over D."

"What?" My expression changed from curiosity to fear.

"Roundin' up a team to get medicine right now."

"Can I come?" I asked.

"I want to do something to help Glenn and Sasha, and I don't think I'd be very much help here."

For a second I thought Daryl was going to protest, and maybe he was, but something stopped him.

"Yeah, alright. You can come. But I'm not watching your ass out there got it?"

"Got it." I said taking the gun Daryl handed me.

Hershel started to walk towards block D, when I stopped him.

"Aren't you coming?"

He chuckled.

"Oh, I'm too old for that sort of thing. I'll be more help here, besides it's going to be a tight fit already."

I smiled, and without thinking, embraced the old man into a bear hug.

"Thank you Hershel." I said.

"I don't know if I believe in God or not, but I believe in you, and that's all that matters right now." I release him from my grip, and find he has a tear in his eye.

All he does is nod, and limp towards the cell.

"You coming or what?" I hear Daryl yell behind me.

I watch as my new father figure turns the corner before replying with a loud,

"Hell yeah! Let's do this thing!"

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