Just a little two shot in the middle of SM!
Driving on the bike in the rain is a fresh kind of hell that Beth's never experienced before. Icy cold needles that drive under her flesh and burn through her veins, bringing her viciously ironic heat just beneath the surface of her frozen skin.
The only saving grace is Daryl's hot body, his broad back and shoulders acting as a buffer from the howling winds that threaten to peel the very skin from her face. They've been driving for hours but the tank's low and Beth's not sure how much longer they can pull this off.
Daryl found the bike outside a towering apartment building nestled in the outer edges of the city three days ago and he's spent all that time fixing it back to standard condition. He said there wasn't much he could do, not without the parts. He's worked hard though.
Working from morning to night for two days straight, declining most drinks and meals until Beth had to snap at him to eat. He just about peeled himself away to catch the meat, the least he could do was consume it. Now they're running on empty and like Daryl said: it's only a matter of time before the bike falls apart.
Beth squeezes his bicep under her hand and shudders at how warm his skin is, despite the icy sheets of rain. He doesn't acknowledge her but she knows he's looking for somewhere to stop. The bike slows several times at different buildings and Beth can only assume that Daryl's trying to determine the plausibility of bunkering down in each one.
Finally they pull up to a small flat, one level building that used to be a Sheriff's office judging by the sign that hangs rusted and broken in the howling winds. Beth raises her eyebrow at it but doesn't comment as she swings her leg off of the bike and stands on shaking knees. It's hard trying to remember how to walk after being on the bike.
The vibrations ride her bones all the way to her teeth with each step she takes. An old station isn't the most welcoming of places but the weather is awful and they're not prepared for it. The windows are smashed in but boarded over and Beth wonders if someone tried to hole up in here before.
It doesn't give her much hope for hers and Daryl's safety and if she was alone she wouldn't even attempt it, but as he swings his leg off the bike she remembers she is with Daryl and there's no one better to be running with. He knows what he's doing and for some reason, he begrudgingly lets her come along for the ride.
"Damn bike's done in," Daryl grunts as he gives it a little kick. It seems to be the death penalty for the scrap of metal because it shudders and falls. He glances up at her with a wary face. "Looks like we're walkin' tomorrow."
Beth gives him a small smile back. "You think it'll be safe here?" She has to shout over the wind and sheets of rain tearing at her clothes and flesh.
Daryl's hair whips around his face, masking his eyes and revealing them every couple of seconds as he grabs his bow and bag. "It'll do. Ain't nowhere else. C'mon."
He reaches his hand out to her and she slaps her palm into his as she tugs her own bag onto her free arm. His skin is so warm that she shudders, huddling closer as they fight their way into the station. The door is hanging open so she doubts there's walkers inside but Daryl keeps a hold on her hand as he raises the crossbow and glances around.
"Try an' shut that door will'ya Beth," he murmurs softly. "I'm gonna check s'all clear."
"Okay," she agrees as she lets go of his hand. "Meet me back here."
"Call if you need me," his departing words drift to her as he walks deeper into the station.
Beth turns back to the door and fights with it to shut, pressing all her body weight against it until she can press it into the frame and force the lock through. The minute she does it falls blissfully silent. It's a heavy security door and it seems to block out the shrieking winds. They whistle a little bit through the boarded up windows, but it's not too bad.
It's a little chilly as she looks around so she hugs her arms around her ribs, her bag pressing into her side. It doesn't contain much: a spare pair of jeans and two pairs of panties. It did have some snacks in there from the funeral home but they ate everything earlier on. The thought reminds her of how hungry she is and her stomach grumbles into the silence.
"Daryl?" She calls quietly, uncrossing her arms so one hand falls to her knife. "You find anythin'?"
He doesn't answer and her spine prickles with awareness. She spins to look behind her but there's nothing there, only the creaking boards over the windows as the wind gets more vicious. The door is solid though and doesn't move so she ventures further away from it, her eyes taking in her surroundings.
It's not all that late but with the dark sky and the covered windows there's barely any light to see by. Daryl has some candles in his bag but right now she doesn't know where he is. She tries not to panic. It's an old habit that she wants to shake. They've been through situations like this enough now for her to know he's just scouting around.
Plus, if he's not grunting and making noise, it means he hasn't found walkers to kill and that's always a positive. She lets her hands drift over the reception desk, her fingers skittering over the random papers and files, avoiding the shattered glass from the computer screen and the crusted blood on the edges.
Looks like someone hurt themselves here or hurt someone else. There's little, dry puddles of red beneath the corners showing her she's most likely right. She grimaces and looks around at the upturned tables and chairs that she guesses used to be the waiting room. Other than that there's a door that has a ripped sign on it.
From what Beth can make out it used to say 'employees only'. The door itself is ajar and with nowhere else for him to go, she can only assume that's where Daryl's gone. When she passes through the door she comes out into a small hall that breaks off into three different directions. Straight in front of her is a bank of cells lined up neatly, ending in a window.
This window seems to be the only one that's not broken in the whole building but despite this fact it doesn't provide any more light. In fact, it's colder back here and Beth abandons her knife to clutch at herself again. It's creepy around here but she's pretty sure Daryl's just got distracted by something so she fights the fear.
It's too silent for her to not have heard him get involved with a walker or even a person. Before the row of cells there's two heavy iron doors that are hanging open and to her left is a closed door with a frosted glass window pane. The writing on the door is intact and clearly reads 'security' but she's too chicken shit to open it so she lets her imagination fill in the blanks.
Probably the CCTV camera footage and stuff in there. Certainly not Daryl so she takes the third option and turns to her right, her hand reaching for the door knob there when it swings open. Beth lets out a yelp and reaches for her knife but then a flash light blinds her and she curses, dropping it to the ground.
"Beth, s'me," Daryl says as he takes her arm, stopping it from punching him in the face.
She flushes and bends to her knife with a huff. "You scared the crap outta me. Where'd you go? I was callin' you."
"Couldn't hear you back there. Was in the evidence room, s'all heavy metal an' shit."
"Can you get that outta my face? You're hurtin' my eyes," Beth grouses as she slides her knife back. "Hold on, evidence room? What were you doin' back there?"
"Sorry," Daryl answers, directing the beam up to the ceiling. "Checkin' for walkers. Thought they might'a got locked in there. Was 'lectric though, some kinda swipe card."
She hums, gripping at her bag. "You find any food? M'kinda starvin'."
"Er… na- actually, yeah. Couple breakfas' bars. Kinda stale but," he gives her a wary smile, "not like we got standards anymore."
Beth snorts and then follows it up with a shiver as a gush of wind teases at her damp clothes. "C'mon then before I freeze to death."
"Hold up," Daryl rumbles as he squeezes her bicep to stop her from turning away. When she looks at him he's wearing a shit eating grin the likes of which she's seeing grace his face more and more lately. "Look what I found in there."
Beth doesn't have to squint thanks to the flash light to see the plastic baggy he's holding. It's thick and bursting at the seams with pre-rolled joints and buds of cannabis. She raises her eyebrow and lets a small smile light her face.
"You wanna get high?"
Daryl snorts and lowers the baggy. "You? Get high? You even smoked a cigarette before?"
"Once," she answers defensively. "I choked on it."
He laughs and shakes the bag again. "No way you're gonna be able to handle this."
She rolls her eyes. "Ain't you learned how stubborn I am yet, Mr Dixon?"
Glancing at the bag again, she opens her palm. "Gimme one. You have a light?"
"You serious?" Daryl laughs. "You wanna get high?"
"Don't you?" Beth challenges. "'Sides, s'better than gettin' drunk right?"
The laughter drops from his mouth and she sighs softly, placing her hand against his arm pleadingly. "I ain't tryin'a be all wild an' reckless. I just wanna try it."
At his unconvinced face, she tilts her head back and holds his eyes. "Are we really in the position to turn down new experiences? I've been a good girl all my life. Where's it got me?"
He glances down at her hand on his arm and then the bag again. "Y'sure?"
Beth gives him a teasing smile. "I can make my own choices can't I? I'm sure. Besides, don't pretend like you ain't never gotten high."
He smiles as he nudges into her before they turn back to the reception area and she smiles back. "Thought you learned your lesson 'bout makin' assumptions?"
"Am I wrong?" She giggles as he takes her hand again.
"Didn't say that."
The giggle spirals into a full laugh and she bumps him with her hip again. "Let's get high."
Daryl's tone is slightly disbelieving but in agreement when he repeats, "let's get high."