A/N This story will be unashamedly Daryl and Beth fluff, with a possibility of more characters later. For the first three chapters I have borrowed some of the best Daryl and Beth scenes from "Still" and "Alone" and woven them with some new ideas. Assume everything that happened in the show before these episodes is pretty much the same ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own The Walking Dead or any character associated with the show but I thank AMC for creating characters with such depth that people want to read and write about them in any way possible.
Warning: This story will contain bad language, explicit sex including mild BDSM eventually, mention of child rape and child abuse, amongst other adult themes. Please do not read if this will offend or affect you in any way. (You may also not want to read unless you really ship Bethyl)
I think that covers everything... enjoy and please review. xx
No Going Back
Chapter One - 'We Should Burn It Down'
They sat on the veranda, the humid evening air heavy around them, only the sound of field crickets interrupting the silence. It was a more comfortable silence than the ones from the past few days. They had been awful, tense, oppressive ones. Daryl had been in a bad place, he'd been full of hate and anger. Beth hadn't been much better, she was running on empty. This felt more natural, easy even. Neither felt they had to fill it, neither felt pressure from the other to speak. It was just enough to not be alone, to know that someone else was living the exact same moment as you, had been through the same crap and had come out the other side and survived.
"Seems stupid now, but I always imagined daddy would go on forever. I thought Maggie and Glenn would have a baby, we'd spend the summertime outdoors in the sun havin' picnics and daddy would just sit and watch, happy to have his family around him." Beth sounded sad as she reflected on the dreams that had died the same moment the Governor had killed her daddy.
"Ain't stupid." Daryl offered, still looking at the ground, but trying to make her feel a bit better. He knew she was thinking about Hershel. He knew she was hurting.
"Is though, ain't never gonna happen is it? They're all gone now, you were right Daryl, we ain't never gonna see 'em again."
Daryl looked at her, she was still so innocent. She looked tired and pale, her face tearstained. He wondered if he'd done the right thing by going back for her at the prison. He knew she had a slim chance of surviving very long out here, even with him, he would do what he could to protect her, for Hershel as well as for her sake, but he knew it would be tough.
Beth's pensive, smiling voice broke his train of thought "You're gonna be the last man standing, Daryl Dixon."
"Stop." Daryl could hardly bear to look at her, his eyes falling to the floor once again, embarrassed and saddened at just how true that might be.
"You are, you were made for this world. You were livin' like this long before the world went to crap; huntin', trackin', survivin'."
"You ain't a happy drunk at all are ya?" Daryl tried to force a smile to keep the conversation from getting too damned depressing.
Beth studied him through her long lashes, eyes wide, taking in everything that was Daryl Dixon. She hadn't really noticed how good looking and totally hot he was until recently, sure he was older and all, but he had a young almost childlike quality to him. She knew first hand he could be a mean and moody jackass when he wanted to be, but she also knew there was a softer, gentler, caring man underneath. He would never admit to it though, mainly because he wouldn't accept he was any of those things. She suddenly wondered what he'd do when she was gone. Then realised he'd probably just carry on doing what he does, surviving, until he found another group. People would always need Daryl, he was capable and he had something to offer.
"You're gonna miss me so bad when I'm gone Daryl Dixon." Beth stated, matter of fact, as a slight smile crossed her lips, her head falling back onto the pillar she was leaning against.
At that moment Daryl thought how absolutely beautiful she was, the moonlight shining on her blonde hair as her loose curls fell around her shoulders. Her huge blue eyes filled with tears; for Hershel, for Maggie, for everyone they'd lost. His heart broke for her. He didn't know what to do though, he'd never been good with women or tears. He knew what she said was true though, if she left him he didn't know if he could go on. He'd lost so many people. He was running out of fight. She was the only light left in his darkness now, the only remnant of the life they'd all made, she gave him hope for a future and a reason to keep going. He never wanted to be on his own again, without her, that much he knew.
"I want to tell you somethin'." Beth paused as she took a deep breath. "So you know that you're not the only one bad things have happened to. Those things that happened to you Daryl, they don't mean you're bad and they don't mean you're broken or that they were your fault neither." Beth spoke in a soft voice, eyes cast downwards, her heart pounding at what she about to say.
She remembered all the things he'd told her about his past and she didn't want him to feel alone or to blame himself anymore, it wasn't his fault and he wasn't worthless, he was all she had left now and she wanted to make him feel a little better. She had a feeling no one else had ever bothered, and that made her sad. She'd always been surrounded by people that loved her and her heart broke to know he'd never had anyone like that, even as a small boy.
Daryl didn't speak, just sat looking into the darkness, twisting and stabbing his knife into the post next to him.
"It was a Friday afternoon in July. I remember 'cos it was so darn hot, I couldn't wait to get home for the weekend and cool off. I was on my way home from school. I always walked back on my own. It was safe around our way, you know how isolated it was at the farm. No one ever came by, nothin' ever went on so Daddy never worried 'bout anythin' happenin' to me, he didn't think he had to…Then they took me, two men, I don't know where they came from, they were just suddenly there, in front of me. I tried to run, scream, kick, but my legs and voice wouldn't work, they were holdin' me down and coverin' my mouth." Beth began her story, her voice quiet but steady as she exhaled softly.
Daryl had stopped messing with his knife now and was looking straight at her, eyes filling with heartbreak. He knew where this was going and really didn't want to hear the rest. He couldn't tell her to stop though, God knows what courage it must've been taking for her to tell him. So Daryl stayed silent and carried on watching her as she continued. Wishing, hoping that he was wrong.
"They took it in turns to…you know, it seemed to last forever. I gave up tryin' to scream and wriggle, it made it worse, it made them mad. So I tried to think of somethin' nice instead, but it hurt so bad, like my insides were on fire. Honestly it was hard to think of anythin' at all except how much I wanted daddy to make it stop. It was awful. They were awful. For a long time I had nightmares, I could smell the whiskey on their breath, hear their gruntin', and feel the sweat drippin' from their hair. I haven't for a while now. It drove daddy to drink you know, the guilt." Beth paused for a moment, lost in thought as Daryl stared at her wide eyed.
"They jus' left me there afterwards, lucky I s'pose, they could have killed me if they'd wanted to. For a long time I wished they had. I laid there for a while staring into the sky. I tried to walk home...but there was blood, a lot of blood and the pain was so bad. I suppose I must've passed out 'cause when I woke I was in hospital, mom and daddy at my bedside. They said I'd had stitches and an operation and that I'd be stayin' in hospital for a while." She finally stopped, tears staining her dirty cheeks as she silently cried.
Daryl had tried not to listen, he tried to not think about what she was saying. What sick fuckin' bastards could do that to another human being? Who could do that to Beth? She'd never hurt anyone, she was pure and innocent and so ducking kind and sweet that he felt sick. His eyes were stinging from the tears he was trying to hold back. He blinked to clear his eyes, one stray tear rolling down his cheek. He quickly wiped it away.
"Beth…I dunno..." Daryl couldn't finish, his voice a shaky whisper and his head spinning. What could he say anyway? Sorry? That always sounded so pathetic.
"You don't have to say anythin' Daryl, it was a long time ago now. I just wanted you to understand that good and bad things happened before the dead started walkin' just like good and bad things happen now. People are just tryin' to survive and there are still some good ones left. You need to have a little faith is all. I still believe there'll be good days again, even if I'm not here to see 'em."
Beth was looking right at him now, her teary blue eyes burning into his soul. He had a mad urge to hold her and make it alright, but he didn't know how to even begin. He wanted to protect her now more than ever, never let anyone look at her or touch her ever again.
"I ain't never gonna have children 'cos of the damage...daddy never told me until I was sixteen. He didn't think I'd understand it properly when I was younger…"
"Younger? How… old?" Daryl interrupted in a hushed whisper. He wanted to know but at the same time knew he wasn't going to like the answer.
"Eleven." Beth stated simply.
He hadn't think it could get any worse. What sick fucks could rape an eleven year old? Beth could see the horror on his face and hoped he wouldn't think too badly of her now he knew the one thing she'd never told anyone before.
"Didn't ya ever think it was strange how I was nothin' like Maggie? Or weird how daddy and her were always so protective of me, never lettin' me do anythin' or go anywhere at the farm or the prison? Weren't just because I was the baby of the family. Since that day everyone wrapped me in cotton wool. Didn't do me any favours though, 'cos I'm a liability now, can't do anythin' for myself." She sounded harsher now and wasn't crying anymore.
"You ain't a liability Beth, you're strong, you didn't let it break ya." Daryl's voice was firm now because he was angry. Angry about what had happened to her, but mainly angry with himself for being a jerk earlier and for thinking she was weak.
"I used to be jealous of Maggie; she was always popular with boys, loud, confident and brave. I knew I was never gonna be any of those things. It took me a while to do anything normal. I had to get used to the fact no one was ever gonna want me, not when they knew I was damaged. Then the zombies came, mom died, Shawn died…I couldn't take any more… that's when I cut my wrist. I wanted it to end, I was scared the same thing would happen to me again but this time I'd be on my own."
"I'm so sorry Beth. It ain't your fault, none of it, ya can't blame yourself for what some sick fuckin' bastards did to ya when ya were too young to do anythin' about it. Ya ain't damaged, yer a survivor. What I said before, l'm an asshole, should never have judged ya. Ain't got the right to judge no one." Daryl offered an apology for the awful things he'd said to her, but he knew it wouldn't take them back.
How could he have thought she was a spoiled princess, cutting her wrists for attention? That she was useless and weak and hadn't deserved to survive? She was so strong. She had lived through more than most ever had to and still saw the good in people. She was... amazing. Sure, he could kill walkers, hunt and live outdoors for months on end. So what, so could a lot of people these days. He had nothing else to offer. Beth could be taught to survive but he couldn't learn how to love or care, how to comfort or trust, he had been broken for too long. He'd been a nothing for too long.
"We should burn it down, this house I mean, it's filled with all our painful memories now, we should burn it and never look back. Start again, you and me." Beth suggested with a revived enthusiasm, all traces of her sadness now gone.
Daryl didn't reply, just stood up and went indoors. He started to cover the shack in moonshine, madly and enthusiastically spraying it everywhere. Beth joined him, giggling as she spilled the alcohol over every surface. It was more therapeutic than she ever imagined. Once they had finished they picked up their stuff and walked into the night. Daryl pulled out a wad of cash from his back pack and Beth lit it with a match from her pocket. He threw the burning cash into the house and they watched as the flames engulfed the building, burning their pain, their loss and their pasts.
Daryl liked it, a part of him felt alive again, purged of some of the demons he'd been holding onto for so long. Beth hoped it would help them move on, forget their pasts and help them find a way forward together. Going back wasn't an option. The past was gone now. It didn't matter who they'd been, it was who they were now that would save them in the end.
They turned to carry on into the night, sticking two fingers up to all the bad shit that had happened to them. Daryl couldn't help but smile, partly glad to be shedding some of the crap he'd been carrying around with him and partly because he realised his life had never been better since Beth Greene had entered it. He was pleased Beth seemed in a better place too since opening up to him, and he couldn't help but think how good confession was for the soul.