Daryl had actually had a full night's sleep for the first time in ages. His time spent with Beth had made him feel oddly peaceful.
When Daryl had seen it was Merle's birthday, he had been at a loss as to what to do but Beth had gently guided him in the right direction, knowing instinctually what Daryl had needed before he even did.
Daryl was on the same schedule as everyone else today. Normally he had risen and left the prison before anyone else woke up. But today the majority of occupants were bustling around eating breakfast.
Daryl caught sight of Beth, talking to Carol as she fed Judith. She looked up when he walked in. Daryl wanted to catch her eye and convey how much yesterday had meant to him. He hadn't had a real opportunity to thank her yesterday before Maggie had dragged her away.
Beth briefly captured his gaze but then to his surprise, she looked down hurriedly. Daryl was confused. Beth's shoulders had gotten tense and she was starting to blush. Granted it didn't take much to make the colour flare in Beth's cheeks but normally she was at least embarrassed or uncomfortable or even aroused. The last one definitely wasn't an option right now but he couldn't begin to guess why she would be feeling the other two.
To Daryl's absolute astonishment, Beth hastily disposed of her food and practically bolted out of the common area without so much as a backwards glance.
Maybe no one else would have picked up on her strange sense of timing but Daryl wasn't stupid. Beth had run away from him. His heart picked up a strange rhythm. Was this how she had felt all those times he had pushed her away? Daryl was an absolute bastard.
Dazed, Daryl wandered over to take a seat across from Carol. He still couldn't process his shock at Beth's bizarre behaviour.
Carol took a look at the expression on his face. "You alright? You look kinda out of it."
Daryl blinked and tried to focus on the conversation. "Fine. Just over slept I think."
"Well your body needed it, I'm sure," Carol said with a smile.
"Probably," He agreed. "I should get back to it."
"But you haven't eaten anything," Carol pointed out.
"Not hungry." He shrugged. His stomach had dropped with Beth's exit. Daryl couldn't begin to think what he might have done or said to cause this reaction from her.
"No rest for the wicked?"
Daryl looked at her sharply, wondering what she meant by that but Carol's attention was on the baby. He tried to relax. It was a common expression and Carol liked to tease him. That's all that was going on.
Daryl collected his crossbow, having a deep urge to shoot something. Today would be a good day to cross paths with the Governor.
As he walked outside, he ran into Michonne. Without thinking he grabbed her wrist, tugging her along behind him.
Michonne didn't know how to react. It wasn't like Daryl was a genuine threat so she couldn't just lop his arm off but then again what he was doing was very out of character.
"C'mon, you can help me hunt for footprints."
"Why?" Michonne asked.
"Two sets of eyes are better than one," Daryl answered curtly.
Michonne's stoic face didn't shift much. A tiny widening of her eyes let Daryl know that Michonne thought he had gone bat shit crazy.
As soon as they cleared the gates and prying eyes, Daryl rounded on Michonne. "Why is Beth avoidin' me?"
Michonne raised a single eyebrow. "You dragged me out here to talk about your girlfriend?"
"Beth ain't my girlfriend." Daryl looked awkward and added, "But essentially yes."
Michonne looked exasperated. Or as close to exasperated as Michonne could get. "I have no idea why Beth's avoiding you."
"Neither do I," Daryl confessed, feeling like he was in high school all over again. Feeling petulant, he said, "I'll just find her and make her tell me!"
"Interesting," Michonne said slowly.
"What is?" Daryl asked suspiciously.
"I remember you feeding me this spiel about how you were gonna respect Beth's decisions. Looks like it's her decision to stay away from you right now."
That comment brought Daryl up short. He wanted to argue with Michonne, tell her it wasn't like that at all. But in the end, it was. Beth needed space for him. He would honour that, even if it was going to drive him insane.
Beth hadn't been able to face Daryl that morning. She had seen the way he had sought her out when he first entered the room and Beth had to fight her natural instinct to smile.
But Glenn and Maggie were in the room and Beth knew Daryl wasn't the only one watching her. Normally it would have thrilled her to have pulled his gaze so immediately but now she knew every look, every conversation, was going to feed in to Maggie's conspiracy theory. Though was it really a conspiracy theory if most of it was true?
So Beth had left in a hurry, without a backwards glance. Her heart twisted sharply in her chest but she had to remind herself that she was doing it for him. Daryl would understand when she had the chance to tell him. He'd probably thank her.
Beth threw herself into chores, trying to keep a neutral face. She kept having to stop herself from biting on her lip or fidgeting. Good thing everyone else was on edge too so her behaviour blended in but that had more to do with the potential threat of the Governor than her love life.
Beth started to feel resentful of Maggie and knew that wasn't fair. Her older sister was just trying to protect her, like she had done all her life. It was like her and Daryl never got a break. If it wasn't his inner demons messing it all up, it was always something else.
Beth was mostly worried how he would take her perceived slight. Daryl was sensitive even though he tried to hide it. If he thought she was turning her back on him and rejecting him then there was no telling how he would act. Beth had to find him and soon.
Her opportunity came that afternoon. Beth had caught Maggie and Glenn sneaking off to the guard tower and that could only mean one thing. Beth figured she had at least an hour before they rejoined the real world.
Beth had been tending the garden but she dropped what she was doing and made a run for it, with a hasty promise thrown back to Karen that she'd return when she could.
Beth found Daryl cleaning a small squirrel. It wasn't much meat but it was all they really had to look forward to. The deer had been an anomaly.
Beth wasn't sure how to approach him. She expected him to be snappy and mad but when he looked up at her arrival, Beth found she couldn't really read much of anything on his face.
"We need to talk," Beth said. She didn't have time to hedge around the subject.
Daryl paused with the bloody knife in his hand. 'I figured."
Beth could see he was steeling himself. It suddenly occurred to Beth that he had no idea this was about Maggie and Glenn. Daryl was preparing for the worst.
Forgetting that she was on a deadline and that this spot wasn't really private at all, Beth bent down to kiss him. It was just a swift press of her mouth against his but she wanted him to remember that when she started talking.
Daryl was sufficiently stunned so Beth barrelled into the conversation.
"Maggie thinks you like me and if she suspects we're anything more she'll go runnin' to Daddy. It's likely that he won't take too kindly to it."
"Fuck," Daryl swore succinctly. "Let me get this straight. Maggie thinks I have a crush on you. What does she think you feel 'bout me?"
"She thought I'd be scandalised. That's why she hasn't mentioned it before."
"What would big sis think if she knew how things had transpired between us?" Daryl asked dryly, clearly not impressed to be categorised as an old perve.
Beth blushed. "If it came out, I'd tell them the truth. I wouldn't let them think you had taken advantage of me."
Daryl chuckled darkly. "'Preciate that. But I don't think it'll matter what you say."
There was a pause and neither of them could think of anything to say. Beth understood why Daryl had been so concerned about people finding out, why he had been so frightened that people would turn against him. Now that it was her family on the line she shared his fear.
Daryl visibly swallowed. "So what now? This the end?" Daryl wouldn't meet her eyes.
Beth was aghast. How could he think that? Even worse, how could he just sit there and accept it.
"No!" Beth said. "God, I just wanted you to know so we could be more careful! Do you want it to end?" Beth had her hands on her hips, glaring at Daryl, her chest was rising and falling furiously.
Daryl started to laugh. Beth had a second to be completely shocked before Daryl was standing up to take her in his arms. It was a gentle kiss, his hand coming up to cup her jaw. Beth's fingers curled into fists in his shirt.
Daryl pulled away and rested his forehead against hers. "Any more stupid questions?"
"None," Beth answered breathlessly.
"So we just be a little more subtle." Daryl grinned ruefully at how silly that sounded since they were pressed up against each other. "Startin' now."
"You idiot, thinkin' I could just walk away from you," Beth said, stepping away from Daryl.
Daryl looked at her cheek closely. "I got blood on you." He moved to wipe it off but then reconsidered, looking at both his soiled hands.
Beth rubbed at her own face to remove the offending stain. Seeing blood on her face would panic the residents of the prison.
"We ain't being so discrete right now so scat." Daryl made shooing motions with his hands.
Beth giggled, liking the playful way Daryl had decided to send her away. Now that they had talked Beth felt she could breathe easier. They had always been sneaking around but inexplicably, talking about having this secret, making this decision to keep it together, actually turned Beth on.
She was reminded of her decision to take charge. A little smirk played on Beth's mouth. Maybe this was the perfect opportunity for a little mischief.
Daryl had stayed out in the woods well past when he should. It had gotten dark and he had missed dinner time. Daryl didn't mind because he hadn't particularly wanted an audience while he was eating, counting the times he looked at Beth.
But he was exhausted now. Daryl dragged himself past the people still awake, grunting a greeting, and fell down on his cell bunk.
Daryl had objected to sleeping in a cage but when all the Woodbury residents moved in, the idea of having a more secure place to sleep appealed to him.
Daryl was asleep within minutes. He didn't dream too often, of that he was thankful. The world was a living nightmare as it was, it was nice to have some respite during the evening.
Daryl was woken later by a tickling sensation at his throat. It was still silent in the block so either he had slept right through to the next day or it was still the middle of the night.
Daryl cracked his eyes open and looked down along his body. Someone small and delicate was hovering over him, their lips pressed to his throat, blond hair running along his skin.
He sat bolt right up, almost throwing Beth off the bed. Daryl wanted to shout at her. Not only had she run the risk of him hurting her by accident, this was the very opposite of what they had discussed earlier.
But Daryl kept his mouth clamped shut, his lips thinning into an angry line. If he talked, someone might overhear him and that would get them both in trouble.
Instead he settled for glaring at Beth. Far from perturbed, Beth smiled saucily back at him.
Daryl wanted to pinch himself. Maybe he was still dreaming? Only his imagination would give Beth the naughty grin she was wearing now. And she wasn't wearing anything else. A pile of clothes on the floor told him Beth had started without him. His body reacted immediately.
Beth was straddling him, using her body to hold him down. There was a sheet and Daryl's clothes still between them but they may as well not exist. He could feel the heat her skin was generating.
Discrete, my ass, Daryl thought. He curled his finger into fists to avoid the temptation of touching Beth. He didn't know what had gotten in to her. It was like she was a completely different person. A few hours back she had stood meekly in front of him, telling him that they would have to keep their distance.
And now she was sneaking into his bed, tempting fate, completely careless.
Beth was making it impossible to resist. She trailed her fingers down his chest, exerting a pressure that made him want to hiss.
Daryl had a brief moment to be thankful that he'd only manage to shuck his jeans before falling asleep and his shirt was acting as a barrier but Beth's hands were sliding underneath. Her hands were cool against his skin.
Daryl jerked and gripped her wrists. He actually had to use some of his considerable strength to restrain her. It had to have hurt but Beth's face didn't show it.
Beth sat back on her heels. Now that she wasn't hovering over him, he could see all her beautiful body. Her hair had swung forward around her shoulders, partially covering her face.
Beth's lips looked impossibly pink even in the dim light. The sight of her stole Daryl's breath. His intense gaze gave her pause. Beth looked a bit uncertain and Daryl recognised his Beth again.
Daryl tried to question her with his eyes, aware of how very silent the prison was. Her wrists were pinned at her side, caught in Daryl's large hands.
Daryl had no idea why she had suddenly decided to throw caution to the wind and Daryl knew he should make her leave but he couldn't bring himself to.
Daryl released her, lifting the sheet a little. He couldn't raise it all the way because Beth was still sitting on it but she got the idea.
With a grin, Beth climbed into bed completely with Daryl. He wanted to groan out loud at his weak will.
Beth was still on top of him. Daryl's hand ran up her thigh. The confident gleam in her eye was back. Beth was definitely taking charge. Well if she wanted to play it this way then Daryl was happy to oblige.
He folded his arms behind his head and stared at Beth patiently. He arched an eyebrow, silently inviting her to continue.
If Daryl had maybe thought she would quail he was proved wrong. Beth swooped down to press her mouth to his, kissing him with tongue and teeth.
Moving away from his mouth, Beth feathered his face with far gentler kisses. Her lips ghosted along his cheekbones. She continued to map his face, leaving Daryl breathless.
Daryl's natural reaction was to roll her under him and bear into her until she cried out for mercy. But he fought that impulse, surrendering completely to dominate Beth.
Beth pulled his shirt up and over his head. Daryl watched her face as she examined his torso. He didn't know if it was good to see so much curiosity mixed in with her desire.
Beth lightly traced the scar in his abdomen, from when he'd fallen on that arrow hunting for Sophia. It was about the time he had first met Beth. Her expression was so focused. Was that what she was thinking of?
Daryl took her hand, violating his promise not to move but he was never the passive type. This time he was gentle. He lifted her palm and pressed a kiss there. They locked eyes for a second and then everything sped up.
Beth magically produced a condom from somewhere and Daryl hurried to put it on while Beth attempted to push his underwear out of the way, hands colliding.
Then Beth sank down on him, enveloping him in her warmth.
Beth threw her head back, lips parted. Daryl couldn't tear his eyes off her. She was perfection.
Her fingers dug into his chest so hard they almost drew blood. Daryl's fingers were back around Beth's wrist, clutching her just as tightly. Beth ground down on him, arching her back, leaving her lithe body a gorgeous line above him.
Not being able to stand it any longer, Daryl sat up so he could kiss Beth forcefully. His hands ran up her back, pressing her body flush against his.
Beth's movements were pushing him deep inside her and they were both getting close. One breathy moan escaped Beth's mouth. Daryl put his palm against her mouth, stifling any more sounds.
It was taking everything he had not to vocally express his pleasure. Beth was practically purring against his palm. If anything, it was his last action that pushed her over the edge.
The sensation of Beth spasming around him did Daryl in.
Daryl fell back against the bed, bringing Beth with him. He ran his hands feverishly through her hair. Daryl thought he knew her so well but she still managed to surprise him and drive him crazy.
Beth got up silently and put her clothes on. With one last wicked grin, she was gone.
Beth struggled to keep the silly smile off her face. If she kept grinning like an inane idiot someone would catch on.
Beth knew that some part of her behaviour was to rebel against the feeling that she had lost control of her life. She was still her so she stopped short of throwing herself at Daryl at dinner time but she had done the next best thing. Beth knew she was courting discovery by sneaking into his cell but she hadn't cared.
It was the most excited Beth had ever been. It had been electrifying and taking control of someone like Daryl had been wildly erotic. Daryl was so masculine and such a strong individual that having him completely yield power to her had been intoxicating.
When she had woken up she had found a remnant of last night's encounter. There was a line of bruises around her wrist from where Daryl had held her. Beth had been determined and she hadn't felt any pain in the moment.
Beth ate quickly and ran up the stairs to get her knife. She had to get outside to work on their garden.
Beth wasn't looking where she was going and she almost collided with Daryl. He grabbed her elbow to steady her.
His eyes automatically went to the bruises on her wrist and his eyes darkened. Beth expected Daryl's guilt and was preparing to say something to defuse it.
Instead Daryl looked past her to make sure they were alone and then pulled down the collar of his shirt. Beth saw four vicious looking scratches on his upper chest.
"We match," he said with a grin.
Beth gasped. "I did that?" She remembered digging her nails in but not doing anything that would mark him up like that.
Daryl rubbed them absently and looked shy. "I don't mind a little of that," he confessed.
Beth understood what he was telling her. Beth flushed and wondered if this wasn't a case of the blind leading the blind. Daryl was used to taking what he wanted, not having to discuss his preferences with a partner.
His honesty forced her to confront her own wants. Who would have thought that little sweet Beth would like that hint of pain mixed in with her sex. Maybe because she trusted Daryl not to take it too far.
Beth covered his hand with her own. "I liked what we did last night."
Daryl relaxed a little. "I ain't saying every time. You do this too often and I'm gonna have to invent a pet cat to explain all the scratches."
Beth tried not to laugh. "I'll keep that in mind."
Daryl broke away to walk further down the stairs. They had pushed their luck, touching each other like that where anybody could see them.
Daryl looked over his shoulder, shooting her one last lingering look and Beth wanted to tell him right there that she loved him but then he was walking on and the moment was gone.
AN: This update is shamefully overdue. I had a full on weekend and different priorities with deadlines. I sometimes write for the Aussie Reedus Girl fan site (because my fan girl over-floweth occasionally & y'all should check it out) and I've committed myself to this self-designed challenge, so brain space has been pretty taken over. I've also had a family member in hospital (nothing serious) but that's been a whole different claim on my attention.
Ok, this chapter. I thought Beth's behaviour with the sex might have been a little out of character but ultimately I figured she was probably pretty tired of having everyone tell her what to do with Daryl; including Daryl. So she got a bit rebellious. I love Maggie on the show and I'm not trying to set her up as the villain of the piece. As a big sister myself, I know I've been guilty of having one set of rules for myself and one for my little sister. Even though she's an adult herself, I still have the mindset that she's the baby and needs to be protected. I have to make a conscious decision to step back and ask myself if I would have done it.
I also flirted with the barest hint of kink in the sex. I was worried about crossing the line with those bruises but I wanted it to be clear that there was no malicious intent and it was all very consensual. I mostly wanted the opportunity for those two to have an honest conversation about what they both liked. It was a chance to have them expose themselves and feel vulnerable. It was also an emphasis on their growing trust. It's one thing for them to tumble passionately into each other's arms but another to have them discuss the ins and outs – that's a relationship.
Anyway, I beg your forgiveness on this delay. I missed talking to you all and it feels right to be back here, writing Beth and Daryl.