A/N (part 1): Shameless, slightly plotless, fluff. Inspired by my "Daryl's Pop-Culture References" gifset on tumblr that made me think that Daryl must have really enjoyed films. And good films at that.
I haven't said it before, but in case it wasn't obvious: I don't own TWD. If I did I'd be Mrs. Rick Grimes at the moment.
This takes place before the start of Season 4.
EDITED: As soon as I published, I realized the title of the book Andrea gives Daryl is wrong (whoops) and seeing as I'll be continuing this into a series anyway, I went ahead and fixed it! ;)
It wasn't like her to roam. Not only was wandering around the prison and its grounds something that didn't exactly appeal to her (not when she had many other chores to do in the cell block) but it was also dangerous. Her father would scold her for wandering around alone and Zach would have insisted on going with her. There was a reason she didn't tell them she was heading out. She didn't know exactly where she was going, but she knew she needed a walk tonight.
When Rick had walked into her cell and taken baby Judith from her arms, assuring her that he'd stay with his daughter for the night, Beth suddenly found herself with so much less purpose and that much more time on her hands.
She tried to ignore the determination with which she went about avoiding Zach on her unexpected night off. Zach was nice, he was sweet and there was nothing wrong with him. It was her, really. Her that couldn't help but pull back when she felt how seriously Zach seemed to take their somewhat-relationship. She wished she had the courage to tell him that sometimes all she craved was companionship, that the thought of devoting herself to another person like her sister did to her husband scared her beyond belief and if she were to ever take that leap of faith in their world, it would most likely not be with Zach. That was cruel, though. And Zach was kind and she would never be able to tell him that. She would rather settle for them to fall apart naturally, like her and Jimmy had long before he died at the farm.
Perhaps it was unconscious (though it was a trek she often took) but before she knew it, she was standing at the entrance of the library and she smiled. A book. A new book is what she needed to take her mind off of a boyfriend she didn't really want, and a baby that was currently teething and proving to have quite the temper.
She'd already read most of the novels in there but she was sure she could find something before drastic measures had to be taken and she considered reading car manuals.
She walked further into the library and panic overtook her when she noticed a dim blue light coming from the farthest end and partially blocked by bookcases. It was an automatic reaction; her hand jerked to her hip where a knife was resting in its sheath and only after a moment's thought did it occur to her that walkers didn't exactly need light.
Curiouser and curiouser she thought, thinking of her latest read and she tiptoed through the library, lest she intrude on anyone. In front of an old couch, the equally ancient television had been rolled out (it sat on a cart and reminded Beth of school days and boring documentaries in class) and turned on, the dvd player hooked up to it. She didn't pay any attention to the tv screen though, and focused on the brown head of hair peeking out from the couch and even in the dim light, she could tell who else had had a similar idea as her tonight.
"You just gonna stand there?" She heard him drawl and she jumped at his voice, even knowing it was him on the other side of the sofa.
"How'd you know it was me?"
Daryl managed a quick glance over his shoulder towards her, before settling his eyes back on the screen.
"You were humming in the hallway."
Beth blushed at that. Sometimes she didn't even realize how often she did that.
She stood awkwardly for a few more seconds; not knowing if she should leave or invite herself in on what was obviously Daryl unwinding. She knew he enjoyed his privacy; even if she didn't know much else about him. He'd saved her life plenty of times while on the run before the prison, they exchanged words over what Judith needed when he went on supply runs, and she was even bold enough to mumble an "I'm glad you're back" to him when he returned to the prison with his brother in tow.
Aside from that, she kept her distance from Daryl Dixon and she found she preferred it that way. The man was silent and intimidating and Beth didn't entirely trust herself to not blush far too much around the man she'd nursed a crush on since he rode into her farm; all leather, cigarette smoke and black motorcycle. He looked the part of the guys her daddy warned her about and the guys she'd read about in Patricia's paperback novels. But watching him take bullets and arrows for a little girl and running off at the drop of a hat for a newborn baby, told her he was much softer than he let on. That made him all the more dangerous; and Beth liked to not dwell on that at all. She couldn't afford to waste her time daydreaming about a man that would never look her way.
Movement from the couch startled her and she saw a bare, muscled arm reach over to pull the crossbow sitting on the otherwise empty side of the couch up and onto the floor.
She very well couldn't keep shuffling halfway behind the bookshelf and with a deep breath she walked over to the couch and inelegantly plopped down onto it.
She watched the screen for a few moments until the images started to become familiar and the irony of the film playing was not lost on her. Nicole Kidman, blonde farmer's daughter, pining over the silent, brooding southern gentleman with a heart of gold. She huffed under her breath at her ridiculous thoughts and it didn't go unnoticed by the 'silent, southern gentleman' sitting next to her.
"You seen this?" He asked; she nodded but her eyes were still trained on the screen, trying to disguise her growing blush; this was exactly why she kept her distance from Daryl.
"Yeah. At the farm a few years ago. Read the book." She threw in for good measure though she didn't know why and she saw Daryl nod.
"I can put something else on if you want."
"No!" She said too quickly. "I mean, you picked it out. I don't mind seeing it again." This time she braved a look at him and saw him nod and settle back into the couch.
"Ain't your boyfriend looking for you?" He asked randomly and Beth didn't miss the way he said the word 'boyfriend' as if it were an insult. It didn't exactly surprise her; Daryl didn't seem the type for relationships.
"I hope not." She answered quietly and Daryl stopped watching Jude Law being shot at to look at Beth with narrowed eyes.
"Zach's a good kid." He said and something about the way his eyes studied her, made Beth feel like maybe he understood more than she gave him credit for. Maybe it was just a lucky guess, but his statement seemed to be a direct response to her thoughts about not being cruel to Zach. He was a good guy.
"I know." She responded and then turned back to the tv, only to add, "I just spend all my time with either him or Judy. It's nice to do something different."
She could fell his eyes still on him as he seemed to consider this for a few moments before giving a nod and a vague 'hm' and focusing back on the film.
A companionable silence settled between them, the film filling in the gaps but it didn't take long before Nicole Kidman and Jude Law were passionately kissing in a snowy cabin and the awkwardness settled in on Beth and Daryl. Daryl cleared his throat, and Beth felt compelled to fill the silence with chatter.
"Didn't know you were such a romantic." And she groaned inwardly at what she'd just said and bit her lip, not sure if Daryl was one for jokes. He grunted but a small smile tugged at his lips.
"I ain't. It's just one of the only damn movies in here I haven't watched yet."
Beth smiled at this and although Daryl gave her a confused look, she wouldn't admit to the small triumph it was for her to know this information. She liked to play a game in the prison; to piece together the lives of the people she now lived with and try to imagine the lives they led before. She tried to think of Rick's life as a cop, driving Carl to school or taking him to soccer practice. She thought about Zach and how he was going to college in Atlanta, miles and states away from his family before all of this happened.
So far, Daryl had remained an enigma.
Tonight though, she could picture him in a warm and cozy little house after a long day at work (she still didn't know what he did) and watching a movie. Really watching it, not just mindlessly staring at the screen like people sometimes did. Daryl liked films. It was a tiny bit of him that he'd wanted to share with her and she was more than happy with it; as she had no right to demand any more.
"I've read almost every book in here." She offered, wanting to share something in return. He looked around the library with a raised brow and squinting, skeptical eyes. "Ok, I've read almost every novel here!" The fiction section of the prison library was unsurprisingly sparse. Dictionaries, encyclopedias and text books filling most of the shelves.
He nodded, believing her this time and looked down to pick at the poncho laying on his lap.
"You ever read The case of the missing man?" He asked; and Beth shook her head in utter confusion to which he laughed a little.
"It's some book Andrea gave me back at the farm. I got it, if you want to read it."
She nodded much too eagerly. "Is it good?"
"It's a murder mystery. It's alright." He said with a shrug. "No pictures." He added jokingly, with a glint in his eye and she allowed herself a giggle before they both turned their attentions to the rest of the film.
Beth woke up alone in the dusty library at the first rays of sunlight just a few hours later. Sprawled out along the length of the couch and a poncho draped over her; a book she'd never seen before rested on the arm of the couch.
A/N (Part 2): Please, please review and tell me what you think. I might upload a few more canon-compliant, fluffy one shots of missing moments between Bethyl. But I need to know you all liked this before I keep writing any more. PS: The movie that they're watching is Cold Mountain and if you haven't seen it you really should (rated R, not recommended for youngsters) because it gives me major Bethyl feels and it makes me want to write a Civil War AU!