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Daryl woke up to the sound of her calling his name. His eyes snapped open and he sat bolt upright in bed, searching frantically for the source of her voice. She wasn’t there. He hung his head as reality washed over him. It was like his dreams, his nightmares, really, were coming true. Night after night, her voice would penetrate his mind, calling him over and over, haunting him.

He thought once they’d found her the dreams would stop, the voices would stop, but apparently he was wrong. Had it all been a dream? Was she really back with the group or was it all in his head? He’d heard of people thinking and wishing for things so badly that their mind starts tricking them into believing it had really happened. Maybe he’d done the same thing. He could have sworn he’d fallen asleep with her in his arms. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.

His heart sank, loaded down with guilt and loss, as his mind filled with worry and anxiety. She had been so real.

But then he heard her voice again. Shit…now he was hearing things even when he was awake? He was really losing it now. He shook his head and shut his eyes, hoping that would help, and waited to see if he would hear it again.

“Daryl!” her voice ripped through the silent room. His eyes opened and his head jerked up to see her there, standing in the doorway, an amused but expectant look on her face. “I’ve been calling you for a good five minutes. You okay?”

She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, even with her new scars. Daryl couldn’t find enough air in his lungs to respond. Finally he got out half a laugh and a glimmer of a smile. “Yeah. Yeah, ’m fine.”

“Come on out here. I want you to see this,” she said with a wide grin on her face before turning and walking briskly down the hall.

Daryl threw the scratchy blanket off him and shoved his feet in his boots. He grabbed his crossbow and followed the blonde down the hallway and outside.

“Jesus!” he exclaimed as he stepped out of the front door to the cabin the group had found and shared the night before. “It’s damn bright out here,” he complained as he shielded his eyes with his hand

Beth stepped up to him and grabbed his other hand, leading him to whatever it was he was supposed to see. “You’ve just been in the dark for too long.”

He dropped his hand and looked down at her, then at their joined hands. “You have no idea.”