Bad Decisions: A Walking Dead Oneshot
Takes place directly after s4e12, "Still". After burning down the distillery, Beth is still a little out of it. Just out of it enough to want to make some bad decisions with Daryl. But will Daryl let her? Daryl/Beth. Don't like, don't read!
After they set the distillery on fire and flipped it off, they kept walking into the cold night, and Daryl found himself smiling. This was the same stupid kind of shenanigans he and Merle had got up to as teenagers, he thought. Breaking things, raising hell, not giving a damn. Being optimistic about life. Yeah, he remembered when he was like Beth – before life, loss, and the apocalypse had beaten it out of him. That was why he had let her drink, and all of that. Why not? The whole world was gone to hell anyway, so why not let the kid have something that made her smile?
Daryl, up til this point, hadn't had reason to smile in awhile. Mostly, he'd been trying not to cry. His brother had always told him to be a man, and men don't cry. They tough it out. They keep the same, surly face on and stay pissed off at the world. He could leave Beth her coping mechanisms, because they were no worse than his shoot-everything strategy for feeling better in this new, goddawful world. When he shot walkers with his crossbow, or those smug bastards' portraits with darts at the country club where Beth found the Schnapps – No way he was letting her have stupid, fuddy-duddy drinks like that – he felt good. If drinking and flipping everything off made Beth feel good, he'd let her go for it. Good was so hard to come by these days.
He'd gotten pissed off at her, earlier, when he was drunk, because he always thought she'd had more good in her life than him, and yet she thought she had things so bad now. She didn't get it.
Or maybe she did, a little. They'd both lost everyone else – Rick, Carol, Michonne, Maggie – Daryl had been willing to accept that he'd never see them again, now. Beth….She hadn't, tho. She still believed. Or at least, she tried to. Daryl had been surprised to hear her admit she wasn't all happy and junk, after all. But then, who would be, in a world like this, where everybody was dying and nobody was staying dead?
Daryl thought he'd rather be by himself, so he wouldn't have to feel the pain of losing anybody anymore. He'd lost his brother not too long ago – the person he'd been following aimlessly his entire life. But now, Beth was aimlessly following him. And he couldn't just leave her, could he? She wouldn't leave him alone. She'd made him admit who he was before the world went to shit. She'd made him talk about how he really felt, and admit she wasn't the one he was really mad at. He was mad at himself, for losing everybody. He'd thought about just being by himself, but it occurred to him as he walked silently beside her in the cold Georgia night air that he didn't want to be without her. He'd prefer not to lose her, too.
He didn't say this to her, of course. He didn't say anything. He'd always been a man of few words. He shouldn't have talked so much tonight. He shouldn't have screamed how unfeeling he thought she was for acting like she didn't care that two of her boyfriends were dead. Of course she cared. He should've known that. She just didn't show it. He didn't show much, either. They were quite the pair, weren't they? He remembered, through the alcoholic haze he'd put himself in, that he might have called her a bitch during their little fight. He supposed he should apologize for that. He didn't really mean it. He'd told her he was a dick when he was drunk. He tried not to be as much of a dick when he was sober.
He really should learn to shut his mouth, he guessed. But…it had felt so good when he opened it, told Beth everything, got it off his chest. And if he thought about it….It had felt good when she had grabbed him and hugged him from behind, wrapped her arms around him and tried to comfort him, even after all he'd said to her. He wondered why she was so nice to him. Was it just because they were the only ones out here?
They were alone together. In all off the supply runs and walker fights, all of everything, he wasn't sure he'd been alone with just her for this long before. It felt strange, but he realized it didn't feel bad.
"You wanna make camp for the night?" Beth asked, stunning him out of his reverie. They were in a clearing in the woods now. He supposed this was as good a place as anyway, so he nodded at her wordlessly before setting up a campfire.
"We gonna be eating snake again tonight?" Beth asked with a grimace. Daryl rolled his eyes. It was all they had, wasn't it? She should be lucky he had kept leftovers from lunch. He handed some to her, and she took them. Yeah, she'd eat them if the alternative was starving, wouldn't she?
"You need water?" Daryl asked, holding up the old coke bottle half-full of water he'd been carrying around.
"Nah," Beth replied.
"You're not still a little…y'know, are you?" Daryl asked with a sigh.
"Drunk, you mean?" Beth chuckled. "What if I was?"
"Well, having some water will fix that right up," Daryl suggested, slouching against a tree. "Take it."
"What if I don't want to fix it up?" Beth said, her voice a challenge.
Suddenly, Daryl looked straight at her. At her mussed blonde hair and the crazy look in her pale eyes. She was definitely still a little out of it. Damn, he thought. Figures she'd be a lightweight. Little girl like that.
"If you stay like that," Daryl warned, "You won't be alert. You need to stay sharp when there's walkers in the woods 'round here. It'd be a bad decision to not look after yourself, girl."
"What if I wanna make some bad decisions?" he heard Beth purr, and then turned around and saw that she was standing right in front of him now, looking down at him with a slight grin.
"The hell do you mean?" Daryl asked, backing up. "I'm tryin' to make sure you don't get yourself killed, alright?"
"I'll die eventually," Beth replied. "I'm aware of that. I'm ok with that. But tonight, I wanna live." She crouched down so that her face was right next to his own. "Y'know what I mean?"
"Have some water, kid," Daryl growled, shoving the bottle between their two faces and then standing, trying to get her out of his way. She has no idea what she's saying.
"I'm not a kid!" Beth cried, staggering towards him again. "I'm a woman! I've grown up, not that you've noticed!"
"What are you talking about, Beth?" Daryl asked, trying to get Beth to sit down, have some water, shut up before she said or did something she regretted.
"You treat me like a little girl you got to look out for!" Beth shrieked. "I've proven today that I can take care of myself. I've proven tonight that I'm not as innocent as you think."
"So what?" Daryl scoffed. "What is it you think you want now?"
"You," Beth said softly. "I want you, Daryl." And suddenly she was all up in his face again, throwing her arms around him again, and then suddenly her face was so close to his….she leaned gently towards his lips….
"No!" Daryl protested, turning his head away. "What in the Sam Hill do you think you're doing, Beth Greene?"
"I want you," Beth repeated, unbuttoning the top button of her shirt. Daryl tried not to notice. "Kiss me," she begged. "Hell, do more than kiss me, if you want."
"I want you to stop!" Daryl scowled. He shoved her off of him. "Stop, and think, you stupid girl!"
Beth backed away, eyes wide. She flushed a deep shade of red. "I'm sorry," she muttered. "I'm an idiot. Of course…of course you wouldn't want me like that…."
"It's…..not that I don't want you," Daryl confessed, finally, still refusing to look at her. "Dammit, Beth, it's not that I haven't noticed that you're eighteen now, and that, hell, you look it. I've noticed that your body and mind have changed. Don't think I haven't. It's probably wrong of me. You've got to be too young for me. Your daddy would kill me if he knew how I was looking at you…."
"My daddy's not here," Beth reminded.
"You think that makes it alright?" Daryl roared. "No, it makes it a hundred times worse, because every time I look at you, I think of your old man, I think of how I watched him lose his head, and I think about how nobody is left in this world to look after you, to worry if you're drinking or not, if you're ok with everything's that happened or not, if you're….if you're comin' on to guys twice your age because you're half-drunk and you're too stupid to realize it's all wrong for you or not! Dammit, Beth, you're my responsibility now. I'm all you got. I can't….mistreat you, like that…."
"What if I wanna be mistreated?" Beth asked.
"Shut your whore mouth!" Daryl growled. "Just cuz your daddy's gone and can't shoot any guy that looks at you twice doesn't mean you can start acting like a damn whore and trying to get it on with the first guy you see!"
Beth's eyes widened. She looked stunned, and maybe like she was going to cry. Daryl knew he'd gone too far. This was why he shouldn't be around people, because he said shit like this. How was he supposed to fix this now?
"It's not because you're the first guy I see," Beth said calmly, strongly. She wasn't as fragile as he thought. "It's because you're you, Daryl. You're the only one I want. The only one I've wanted for a while now."
"W…what?" Daryl blinked, taken aback. "What're you sayin'?"
"I'm saying I like you," Beth confessed. "I like you a lot, Mr. Dixon."
"Why me?" Daryl blurted, before he could stop himself.
"I feel safe around you," Beth explained. "I feel like you'll protect me, but I also feel like you won't control me….I like the way I feel when I'm with you. I really enjoyed spending time with you today. Drinking with you, talking with you….I want to do….other things with you. Is that so wrong?"
"It's not just that it's wrong for you," Daryl clarified. "It's that it's wrong for me. I can't take advantage of a girl, a naïve girl who's never even gotten drunk before, whose daddy was a man I respected, who doesn't know what she's doing…."
"It's not taking advantage," Beth promised. "It's what I want, and I'm legal now, ain't I? Or is it that you don't want me," she frowned. "That you're not interested in me, because I'm young and I'm not as mature and sexy as Maggie, or Michonne, or Carol….."
"You're plenty sexy," Daryl argued. The truth was, when they'd hid in the trunk of that abandoned car last night, when he'd spent the whole night with her so close to him, in his lap basically, shaking and scared and clinging to him, he'd…..he'd liked it. Could a man really spend all night that close to a woman's body and not feel something? Damn, he'd been able to feel every last curve Beth had developed. He'd wanted to reach out and touch them, then and there. When she'd wrapped her arms around him earlier, when he was drunk and screaming at her, he'd liked it, and he'd wanted more of her hands on him. And when she'd started playing "Never Have I Ever" in the distillery…damn, of course he'd had to ask where she learned that game! Because every girl he'd ever played it with before had been looking for something, hadn't they? All of their "nevers" had turned dirty pretty fast, and then had turned to "Wanna try it now, Daryl?" and he hadn't said no, had he? Every time he'd hung with those filthy redneck broads his brother liked and drank with them like that. He didn't think Beth was that same kind of girl. She had to be better than that, right? But….
She was staring at him now, eyes full of desire, begging to be touched by him. They were alone, and she was right, she wasn't a kid, she was a woman. And he was a man. A man who had gone without for far too long…
"C'mon," Beth begged. "If you want it, you can have it. Any way you want it. I don't care if it's a bad decision! If the dead hadn't started rising, if the whole world hadn't gone crazy, I'd be in college by now, making bad decisions all over the place! Getting plenty wasted and going home with the bad boys. Staying out late, flipping off anybody who said anything about it, not having a care in the world. That's what being young is about, isn't it? Growing up, going wild. Making a few bad decisions before you get old. Not thinking you're going to die every day and eating snakes in the middle of the damn woods, living like you ain't even human anymore. I don't have a school to party at, I don't have a home to get kicked out of, I don't have friends my age to be bad influences on me, I don't have a boyfriend to fool around with, the only drinking I can do is by stealing from somebody a walker ate. Dammit, Daryl Dixon, you are the only bad decision I have left to make."
"That's true," Daryl grinned. "I may be the only bad boy you got to play around with. And trust me, girl, I want to. But not tonight."
"What?" Beth railed. "Why?"
"You're drunk," Daryl sighed. "You can't really make a decision right now, good or bad. You might not even remember this in the morning, and that's why I ain't scared to say yes, I do want you. But not like this."
Daryl looked up at Beth to see what she was going to say next. But when he looked at her, he saw that she had fallen asleep. He chuckled to himself. Yeah, he did envy her. The way all her life's bad decisions were still ahead of her. The way she was still young enough to not be afraid to make them. The way she was young enough to still believe.
He stood guard that whole night, watching her sleep with a slight smile on his face, as he kept the walkers away. It felt good to smile, for once in a long while.
"Oh Lord, why's the sun so damn bright?"
Daryl woke up the next morning, unsure of when he'd fallen asleep, to the sound of Beth whining.
"My head hurts so much, Daryl!" he heard Beth cry as he sat up. She was splashing her face in the water from their bottle, trying to shield her eyes from the sun with her other hand.
"It happens," Daryl laughed. "Welcome to your first hangover, kid."
"I'm not a kid!" Beth protested.
"Oh…..I know," Daryl replied knowingly. "I definitely know."
"Huh?" Beth blinked. She put her hand down and looked at him. "Hey, what happened last night? Did I say anything strange? I was really out of it and I don't quite remember what happened."
"Nothing happened," Daryl assured her. "Nothing at all."
"Why're you laughing like that?!"
"I ain't laughing," Daryl said. "I'm just thinking, Beth….You're going to make a lot of bad decisions. All young people do. You're just lucky that you got a grown man whose made enough bad decisions already to know which ones are the kind worth making."
"Nothing," Daryl smiled. "Come on, grab your water bottle, let's get going and see if we can stay out of trouble."
Trouble – yes, trouble was exactly what little Miss Beth was going to be. But Daryl found that, somehow, he didn't quite mind.