This is just something I really needed to write.
She still has nightmares sometimes that leave her murmuring and fighting something off in her sleep and she is pushing and trying to run and he tries to wake her as gently as he can, taking her arms, saying her name again and again until he breaks through and her eyes flutter open. It takes her then another second before her brain registers what her eyes are seeing.
She whispers his name then – always – a mixture of relief and exhaustion and she circles her arms around his neck, holding onto him as if he's the only thing still solid and standing and if that is what she needs from him then that's exactly what he'll be. He'll be anything and do anything she needs.
It's getting colder out and they'll have to move inside soon enough but for now, they are still living in their tent away from the others, in one of the back corners of their fenced in space. He wishes there was some way that they could stay out all year but it would be too damn cold and the last thing he needs is her getting sick from the winter. He just enjoys the tent for as long as he can.
They have made it their own. Sleeping bags and blankets and a few pillows as well as his crossbow and their change of clothes folded neatly in a corner, a lantern, her journal, her hatchet and a couple of books they have both found on various runs. It's their home, their own little space, and no one even thinks about entering their tent. The only one who has been in there besides one of them is Judith and that's only when she's taking a nap and Beth decides to nap with her.
They have secured the gas station and have made it safe but they never stop. If they ever come across anything that can be added to the fence, they grab it and know they'll never stop adding to it. At the prison, they had gotten too comfortable and had convinced themselves they were safe. They are safe enough at their new home but they are always working and always on watch and they will spend the rest of their lives being on their toes, always preparing themselves for something to go wrong because they were so used now to nothing good ever staying for long.
He has nightmares sometimes, too, that leave him sweating and his heart racing as if he's about to have a heart attack and he snaps his eyes open to Beth there, her fingers lightly brushing hair back from his face and murmuring soft words of comfort. He looks at her for a few minutes, letting his heart rate attempt to slow down, and the he grabs her and holds onto her tightly because almost always, the nightmares about her – about a black car with a white cross and sometimes, it's his dad of all people driving her away from him.
Daryl goes on runs as often as they need something and it seems like the always need something. Sometimes, Beth comes with him and sometimes, she stays behind. He's scared when she comes with him, feeling like he can never absolutely concentrate because he's always looking to her, making sure she's alright and he likes her staying at the station, safe.
He trusts those around him. They are his family – more than family if such a thing exists – but when she doesn't come with him, he always feels a little unsure because no one quite knows him like she does. She is always able to anticipate his moves before he makes them and knows what he needs her to do. They are partners; a well-oiled machine and he doesn't share that with anyone else – not even Rick, Michonne or Carol. Just Beth.
"Need anythin'?" He asks her as he slings his crossbow strap over his head and across his chest.
She smiles and shakes her head, keeping one eye on Judith as the toddler runs around her in circles on her still somewhat shaky legs and looks at him with the other. "You know me. I'll think of it the second you're gone," she says.
"You were shiverin' last night. I'll try to find another blanket," he decides.
She smiles at that and steps to him, her body brushing against his, and she tilts her chin up so she can look into his eyes and he sees that even her eyes are smiling.
"That just means I want you sleeping closer to me," she says in a soft voice and he smirks a little, his hand lifting to her cheek, his thumb brushing across the deep scar.
It is one of his favorite places on her body to touch because even though he hates the sight of it because it only makes him think of how she has gotten it and how he has failed her in keeping her safe, it is also a reminder of how strong she is and how she has made it. His girl isn't just another dead girl.
"Dixon! Stop defiling my sister-in-law and let's go!" Glenn calls out from across the yard, standing next to the pick-up truck with a grin on his face.
Both Daryl and Beth turn their heads to look at him, Beth glaring and Daryl frowning. They then look back to one another and Beth is looking amused now.
"Have fun with him today," she says with a slight laughter in her tone.
Daryl smirks a little and shakes his head. "Not lookin' to make your sister a widow but I can't make any promises." She laughs softly at that and he leans in, kissing her on the forehead. "Be safe," he then says as he always says before he leaves.
"Come back to me," she tells him as she always does before he goes out for a run.
He steps away from her then – the first step away is usually the hardest – and watches as she bends down, hoisting Judith up in her slim yet strong arms. He keeps looking back and each time, she smiles at him.
When he finally gets to the truck and climbs in behind the steering wheel, his crossbow on the spot of the bench seat in the middle, Glenn is sitting in the passenger seat, just grinning at him. Daryl frowns at him.
"What the hell you doin'?" He asks as he starts the truck up and he sees Tyreese unchaining and opening the gate ahead.
"Just wondering when you're going to make Beth an honest woman," Glenn says.
Daryl keeps frowning as he drives, giving Tyreese a head nod as he passes and heads out onto the gravel road, heading down the mountain to the main road. They had already picked over the stores in the small town and had moved to scavenging out the houses in the surrounding area.
"Beth say somethin' to you 'bout that?" Daryl asks.
Glenn shakes his head. "You know she wouldn't do that. You two are so close-lipped about your relationship, it's annoying."
Daryl finds himself smirking a little at that. "We figure the group only needs to deal with one relationship being shoved in their faces."
"Hey," Glenn gives him a mock frown. "Maggie and I don't shove anything."
Daryl just snorts at that and doesn't say anything, watching the road. As he drives though, he can't stop thinking about what Glenn has said. He's honestly never thought of it before and he doesn't know why the thought hasn't crossed his mind. Beth is his and he's Beth's. Everyone knows it. They know it. He just hasn't thought about it past that. And it's not like it is like it was. There wouldn't be anything. Just a ring on her finger and both of them saying they are married. None of it would be too much different than how things are now between them.
They find a house nearly forty minutes away – a newer one-story brick house that looked like one of those houses built just within the past few years before the turn and stuck out like a sore thumb. Daryl only hopes there's a few useful things inside.
He and Glenn do a quick sweep outside and then Daryl enters first through the already open front door with Glenn behind him, both quickly clearing out the rooms, taking out the three walkers from inside. Only once it is just the two of them, Daryl finally takes the time to look around. They aren't the first ones there but they still start scavenging anyway for anything that's been overlooked.
Whoever was here first were amateurs and didn't take the most obvious thing to him. Daryl strips the beds of all of the pillows and comforters and finds a red fleece blanket with pink hearts on it that he knows Beth will probably love. He's in the master bedroom and he hears Glenn moving around in the one next door but before he goes to join him, the jewelry box on the dresser stops him.
Before he even thinks about it, he flips back the lid and begins sifting through whatever the lady who lived her before the turn had had in her collection.
There was a little kid who used to live here – a boy – but it doesn't matter and they take the clothes they find for Lil' Asskicker to wear and they grab some underwear and socks left behind for everyone else.
"Anything else?" Glenn asks.
"Don't think so," Daryl shakes his head. "This stuff is good for winter comin'."
Glenn nods in agreement and it takes them a couple of trips to carry everything outside to toss into the bed of the truck. Before they can leave though, Daryl takes one of the pillowcases from the pillow and walks to the pecan tree at the side of the house. He gathers as many as he can from the ground and branches overhead until the sack is heavy in his hand and he ties it off with a knot.
When they get back to the station, Michonne is at the gate when he pulls the truck in and she locks it securely behind them.
"Gotcha somethin'," Daryl says when he steps out of the truck and the others are coming out to help them unload. He reaches into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a fun-size Hershey bar. Michonne actually grins when he hands it to her.
Besides the blankets, pillows and clothes, Daryl hands off the pecans to Carol but both hers and Tyreese's smiles fade when they find out what it is and Carol hands the pillowcase off to Carl to take. There is also a jar of salt, a box of tea – which Maggie practically squeals over and peppers Glenn's face with kisses – and Rick's eyes are practically gleaming when he sees the fishing pole they have found.
Beth is in one of the bedrooms, on the bed feeding Judith some dinner of mashed rice and the toddler smiles at Daryl, her cheeks puffed out with food.
"Hey, Jude," he says, sitting down beside Beth.
He sits quietly, watching as Beth finishes feeding Judith her dinner and then wipes at her face with a bib they found a few runs ago. Beth then kisses her on her cheek and lifts her from the bed onto the floor, patting her lightly on her bottom, sending the girl off and she goes scurrying away.
"Gotcha somethin'," he says and passes the red blanket from his hand into her lap.
"I love it," Beth smiles just like he knew she would and she runs her hand over it, lifting it to rub her cheek again it. "It's so soft. Thank you."
Daryl nods and doesn't say anything, feeling the other thin in his pocket he got for her. He's not too sure how to do this. The thought hadn't even crossed his mind until today but now, it's the only thing in there, drumming like a second heartbeat.
Beth is looking at him, smiling faintly, but when she begins to get to her feet, he stops her, his fingers grasping her wrist gently. Without a word, he pulls the ring from his pocket and taking her left hand, he slips it onto her third finger. It's a little big but he stares down at it for a moment. He thinks it looks alright. Not that he knows the first thing about any of this.
When he lifts his head, Beth is staring at him, unshed tears in her eyes.
He suddenly feels too hot and he shifts slightly, shrugging. "Only if you want," he says in a low voice, his heart hammering against his ribs almost painfully because he has no idea what he's doing and he has no idea if he has just messed up somehow.
Beth doesn't say anything. She just keeps staring at him and she looks seconds away from crying and then she smiles. Bright and blinding and Daryl feels like he can breathe again when he sees it. Without a word, Beth puts her hands on his cheeks and she leans in, pressing her lips to his. Daryl pushes back against her, his hand on her thigh and his other hand lifting to her cheek, his thumb finding her scar.
When they come from the bedroom and go into the kitchen, where dinner is ready and being served, they don't say a word about it and no one notices the ring on Beth's finger except for Carol and Rick, who both smile at the couple but don't say anything about it either. Beth and Daryl aren't the type to make announcements and once they have their bowls of green beans and rice – they have so much rice, they seem to have it with every meal – they go downstairs and outside, crossing the yard to their tent. She crawls in first and he crawls in after her and the instant they are alone, her arms are around his neck and she is tugging on him, pulling him with her as she lays down and he is on top of her.
"You thought of this today? Just like that?" She asks with a smile.
He gives a slight smirk and shrugs. "You know me. I'm a lil' slow," he says and she laughs softly before pulling him down for another kiss.
Thank you for reading and please review!