Don't own TWD. Song belongs to Waxahatchee, called "Be Good." It actually is the song Beth sings in 3x14.
"What changed your mind?"
The words echoed in his head as his tired limbs met the cold ground, his tired skin meeting with an equally worn out road, forever travelled by the undead and lost. Daryl was surrendering more than he had ever given up before when he succumbed to his fatigue. Chasing a ghost for hours into morning breaking across the sky will take everything out of you.
His eyes scanned the empty skyline by the way, watching as the wind kicked up some leaves across the road, leaving the scent of unyielding death and weariness. The sun was obscured by overcast, gray and bleak in the early morning. He was glad because the sun only would have reminded him of her hair.
It was unfair of whatever had occurred at the funeral home to be so cruel to those who had only been seeking shelter. Daryl's grip tightened on the crossbow that lay close to him on the pavement. All of the signs of something wrong had been hidden in plain sight. No dust. No rotting smell. Freshly stocked food. It was set up, and he couldn't think of anything that could have possibly been a good excuse to miss it.
"Don't you think it's beautiful?"
He blamed her, but he blamed himself. Because as he stared ahead at an empty road with no promise of a safe haven, he remembered that he had let his guard down and this was why you could never do that. When they had burned down the moonshine cabin, it had been all fun and games.
You ended up all alone in a world that had gone to shit.
A bird's tweet whispered softly and cracked the early morning silence, and the previous days collected in the front of his mind. Beth's piano tune still stung his ears in the stillness of dawn, and he wanted nothing more than to lay in that casket and listen again.
"I thought my singin' annoyed you?"
Everything was a question with her. But as her lean and creamy fingers had stumbled across the first few chords, he found his eyes retracting from her playing form to the ceiling, imagining worlds before and after this disaster they had found themselves in.
Her voice sounded like her skin, smooth and pure, as the she sang words to a song he didn't know the name of.
"It's unclear now what we intend.
We're alone in our own world.
You don't wanna be my boyfriend
and I don't wanna be your girl."
It was nonsense, laying here like this. In the end, he was propped up on one arm, watching her arms as they moved her gentle hands across the old piano, her pallid form glowing in the candle light that reflected off the wooden structure. Her body swayed slowly to her song, and he found nothing more beautiful than her in the moment.
"And that, that's a relief.
We'll drink up our grief
and pine for summer
and we'll buy beer to shotgun
and we'll lay in the lawn
and we'll be good."
He would never fall asleep watching her because there were too many fascinating things. The thing was, running around the end of the world with Beth Greene was frightening and left little time to see her. Most of the time he spent looking at her was a technical and formal nature, treating her as an equal as he taught her to track and hunt.
But now he saw a young woman, trapped in a fucking awful world. He saw long blonde hair tied back and cleaner than it usually was, spilling over her thin shoulders. Her exposed skin was beautiful and creamy and the kind of thing he would have dreamed about when he was still young enough to believe in that sort of thing. When she turned her head to look at him and smiled softly, he saw emotion that was usually void between them.
"Now I'm laughing at my boredom,
at my string of failed attempts,
because you think that it's important
and I welcome the sentiment."
Those were the last words of the song he remembered that night before she had her hand on the side of his unshaven face, gently awakening him.
"You're not going to sleep in that coffin, I hope," she had whispered softly in the dark. The candles had burned down. He enjoyed the comfort that her voice brought to the night.
He had gotten up to sleep in an actual bed, because despite it being comfortable, she had a point. Daryl didn't want to be sleeping in a coffin before he had to. Though odds were, with the way the world was, he never would. He'd be laying on the side of some road with a stake through his head. Hopefully.
Beth had pulled him into bed with her that night, and he obliged. The comfort of having another stable human being with you at the end of the world was growing more appreciable by the day for both of them. Daryl suspected her brightness was temporary every day, but she continually surprised him. Her naturally sweet disposition came because she had someone to share it with.
He supposed he was happier with her than by himself.
That morning when he woke up, Beth was laying on her back, her lips whispering the rest of the lyrics to that song. He just laid there, hoping she would continue.
"And we talk on the phone at night
until it's daylight
and I feel clever
and I hear the slow in your speech.
Yeah, you're half asleep.
When he moved his arm she jumped and immediately blurted out a bunch of "I'm sorrys." He motioned for her to get up so they could go and eat some breakfast. Her stiff ankle was giving her trouble as she tried to walk to the kitchen, and he laughed as he picked her up and carried her.
Only when he sat down did he realize her blush.
Now he thought of it as he sat on the road, alone. Maybe he ought to have been nicer to the girl. After all, she had stuck by him, even when he was a dick. Especially when they got drunk. Definitely when they got drunk.
She was so innocent and resembled the kind of thing that ought to be left in nature to marvel at, because those kind of girls only came around every now and then. Beth Greene had been a shot in the dark for him, and for some twisted reason, he was responsible for her during the end of the world.
The way her eyes had flickered over his face in the candle light as she realized the meaning behind his shrugs and purposefully unanswered questions. The terror on her face as she realized what was happening. The dread in her voice as she had screamed "I won't leave you!"
He tried to remember the moments before their last together. The way her fingers had touched her knee as they talked about old lives in that godforsaken shack. How her blush had lingered when he touched her back, prodding her forward on the trail. When she had grabbed onto him, hurting as much as he was, allowing him to save some face while they hurt together. When her voice filled the empty space between them, giving him a lighter sense of being.
"Don't you think it's beautiful?" she had whispered.
Now I've got friendships to mend.
I'm selfishly dispossessed.
You don't wanna be my boyfriend
and that's probably for the best
because that, that gets messy
and you will hurt me
or I'll disappear.
So we will drink beer all day
and our guards will give way
and we'll be good.