Beth had blinked her eyes, hoping, praying, it had been a bad dream. The first thing she heard was here father's voice saying her name. She thought maybe that's what had called her back. She couldn't say exactly where her mind had gone but it had escaped.
Her father was smiling but there was a sadness in his eyes that told her that everything she remembered had happened. Her stepmother, the woman who had raised her and was just as much a mother to Beth as the one who had given birth to her, was dead. She'd been dead for a long time. Despite what her father had said, she hadn't been sick, she'd been a corpse. A corpse that tried to take Beth with her on the way out.
Beth wished it had been anyone but her father's face that she saw. The sight of him made her angry. Maybe that was unfair but she really didn't care. In that moment she hated him for the stories he had told her.
Her whole life she had accepted her father's beliefs at face value, made them hers but she had it thrown back in her face. It had rocked her to her core. What kind of god let this happen to his flock?
Part of Beth knew she was reacting selfishly; she could smell alcohol on her father and knew that he was taking it hard, but she couldn't extend her aching heart to accommodate his grief. Her own anguish was a physical wound.
It wasn't just her father she was mad at. She was angry with herself. Beth had been blind sighted by her own ignorance. Hershel hadn't let her anywhere near the barn. Only him, Otis and Jimmy had been allowed to feed those people, those creatures. When Otis died, Patricia took over. Maggie and Beth were kept very far away from the reality of the situation.
Maggie had seen what they were really capable of in the pharmacy but she hadn't explained to Beth. Not properly. They had protected her and that had made her weak.
Beth was glad that they had brought that man with the injured leg back to the farm. It meant there were less people hovering around her, trying to reason with her. She looked at Jimmy's face and Patricia and Maggie, and she felt nothing.
The pain had eased into a great cavernous nothing in her chest. Beth was numb. She wasn't supposed to feel like this. The only emotion she could truly identify was a tendril of fear working its way through her mind. She did not want her end to be the same as her mother's. She didn't want her last act in the world to be trying to hurt someone she loved before a stranger she never met put a bullet in her brain.
Beth hadn't been thinking clearly when she had taken the knife off the plate of food but as soon as the handle was gripped firmly in her fingers, she felt sure. Beth had never thought of suicide before that moment but as she hid the knife under her pillow she felt a flutter of determination. It was a choice that she could make for herself.
If death was all that waited outside of the walls of the house then Beth could make her own decision about how she wanted to go.
Lori discovered the knife was missing, putting a spanner in her plans. Beth had stared at the woman and she said some nasty things in an icy detached voice that Beth didn't even know she had. Beth had never said a nasty word to anyone in her life but now she was cruel to Lori. She saw the impact her words had but Lori didn't budge on the issue. Beth just ended up with a baby sitter.
Maggie had flown in to her room in a flurry of rage and indignation. But her scolding did nothing to deter Beth. She even tried to persuade Maggie that this was a good idea. Beth blocked her sister out and waited for a new opportunity.
When Andrea walked into the room, she expected more of the same. But something was different. She realised she could see herself reflected in Andrea's eyes. The same hurt and fear. Beth wanted to know how anyone lived like this. The world felt muted and colourless, like it was separated from her by a barrier she couldn't see.
"The pain doesn't go away. You just make room for it," Andrea said before leaving the room.
Beth dashed for the little bathroom. She shut the door with a click, not wanting the sound to attract attention. She locked the door, feeling eerily calm. Wrapping a hand in a towel, she hit the mirror. She had to hit it three times before it shattered.
By then she could hear Maggie's shouts outside the door. There was a pounding on the door and Lori's voice was added to the din. Beth ran a shaky hand through her hair. All this noise was distracting.
She picked up the glass shard, tuning all the commotion out. If they didn't understand now then they would soon. When everyone they loved was dead and that was all they had left in their future, they would see she was right.
Beth's hand trembled slightly as it hovered over her upturned wrist. She knew how to do it. Vertical, down the vein and deep enough.
There was a crack of wood and Beth realised they were close to getting in. With a deep breath, she hastily dragged the ragged glass shard down her skin, pressing hard. She didn't pause or think too hard.
There was a beat where there was no pain, just the captivating sight of blood against her pale skin. Then everything came rushing in and the pain started. While at first the blood had thrilled her and felt like achievement, now it made her sick. The cut hurt more than anything. Whatever wall had been building around her heart came crashing down and Beth could see everything so clearly. Her sister's panicked shouts were ringing in her ears.
And Beth realised that she didn't want to die. It was like a wave rising inside her until it had nowhere to go but to spill out of her body. With a shuddering sob she clutched at her wrist. The door broke down and Maggie's wide eyes took in the blood.
"I'm sorry," Beth wept as Maggie took her in her arms. She was aware of Lori grabbing the towel and using it to put pressure on her wrist. Beth hissed at the contact. She could feel everything now.
Maggie held her and rocked her like a small child and that's what Beth felt like. Confused about everything except her sudden need to live. All the emotions she had pushed away were now waring inside of her. Grief, anger, fear.
The look on her father's face as he stitched up her arm gently unnerved Beth. He looked so hurt and bewildered by her choice. Already she felt guilty. There was still the pain too. It was like fire up her arm and Beth welcomed it. It was evidence that she had failed.
Beth hid in her room. She wanted to escape those looks. The pity with an edge of accusation. How could she explain to them what she had been so certain of just a few hours ago? She pulled a seat up to the window sill and looked outside. The sun was setting and Beth couldn't wait for tomorrow. It would be the first day of putting what she had done in the past; she would start to heal the damage.
Jimmy rushed in the door, having just heard the news. He was at a loss for words. That didn't surprise Beth. Jimmy was handsome and kind but he wasn't the smartest boy she knew.
He took a seat on the bed. He was just close enough to reach out and take her hand. His fingers were warm around hers but she couldn't take much comfort from the contact. She could see that despite his sympathy, he didn't understand.
But Beth let him hold her hand because he needed it. Jimmy was convinced he loved her but Beth wasn't so sure. She liked Jimmy but she didn't know if it was love or not. Maybe if the world hadn't ended she wouldn't have even thought about it. She would have just enjoyed being a seventeen year old with a boyfriend. Maybe she had been taking for granted that she still had people who cared about her? She had lost her mother and her brother but she still had more than most. She would feel ungrateful for turning away from Jimmy right now.
Jimmy eventually left her alone, leaving her to her thoughts. She saw Rick and Shane return with their hostage. At the sight of Shane, Beth sat upright in her chair, her whole body going tense.
Beth had never felt such pure hatred for another person before Shane had opened the barn. He had always intimidated her but now she despised him. As if he sensed Beth's glare, he flicked his eyes towards her window but the angle of the sun prevented him from seeing her clearly. The look on his face made her shiver.
Beth tucked her knees underneath her, wrapping her arms around her body. There was so much violence and anger in him that it was a wonder he hadn't done something before now.
Maggie came into her room, taking Jimmy's place.
"Apparently we went to school with him," she said quietly.
Beth looked over her shoulder at Maggie. She looked perplexed.
"I don't recognise him," Beth said haltingly. She had only gotten glimpses of him but she couldn't place his face.
"He was in my year I think," Maggie said, her forehead creasing as she tried to remember. Maggie was a couple of years older than her so that would explain why Beth didn't recognise him.
"There were a lot of kids at school," Beth automatically said, trying to reassure Maggie. She could read guilt on Maggie's face. She knew her sister was thinking that if she knew him then he could stay. That she'd know whether to trust him or not.
Beth had always been good at reading her older sister. They'd been close and Beth had missed her when she'd left for college. They'd had fights before but they'd always passed quickly. This was the first time Beth could remember not being able to share something with Maggie.
"You scared me today," Maggie said softly. Her voice was raw with emotion.
Beth swallowed, wishing she could have come to the conclusion she wanted to live without hurting Maggie but the pain had pushed a revelation on her that she just couldn't have reached otherwise.
Beth didn't have more words. An apology stuck in her throat. Maggie sighed and left her alone.
Beth tilted her head back against the chair and closed her eyes and tried to organise her thoughts. She was alive, her heart was still pounding in her chest but the sadness still resonated in her body all the way to her bones. Wanting to live didn't make those wounds disappear. Beth still had to figure out how to go on. She would just put one foot in front of the other, take one breath at a time, and hope she had the strength to continue.
At the moment, the only thing Beth knew for sure is that she wanted space. Andrea had gotten one thing right; she needed to work things out on her own. If only everyone would stop tiptoeing around her like she was made of glass. Beth knew she hadn't proved anything to anyone by her choice but she wasn't as fragile as they thought.
Later she tossed and turned in bed. Beth knew she should sleep but she didn't feel tired. She'd spent too long lying on a bed recently.
Beth threw back the covers and tried to ignore the twinge of pain in her arm. There would be a scar there forever. Her father hadn't said so but Beth could tell.
Beth was quiet as she moved through the house. She had grown up in this house; she knew every creaky floor board, every corner. She could walk it blindfolded. Beth was careful not to wake anyone.
She opened the front door and walked out onto the porch. She took a deep breath of the crisp night air. Winter was coming, she could feel it. The fresh air made her nerves tingle and she felt good. It was refreshing not to be under scrutiny. With no one watching she could just be how she wanted to be.
There was movement further down in the shadows and Beth jumped. She was still edgy after she had seen what those creatures were capable of.
"Just me," a rough voice said. Beth recognised the gravelly voice. It belonged to Daryl, one of the group.
Beth's heart was still pounding and she had experienced a little hit of adrenaline. It didn't dissipate when she knew who it was. She didn't hate Daryl like she hated Shane, she barely knew him, but he made her uncomfortable. He was one of the people she had the least to do with but what she had seen of him made her wary. He was a loner but volatile. She'd seen him in a mood after her horse had thrown him.
Beth remembered when he had come back to the house, barely standing, only to be shot by Andrea. Beth had brought him some food once but he'd been snappy and she'd not dared venture back in there. She'd hurried out but not before she had seen his scars.
The knowledge of his back made Beth feel awkward around him. She was too aware of what his shirt hid. Beth had never met anyone who had been abused and never knew what to say to him.
"I didn't know anybody else was out here," Beth said in a rush when Daryl made no move to leave. He just leant on the porch railing staring out into the darkness. "I can leave," she offered.
Daryl actually looked at her properly now. Beth caught a glimpse of his face and his flashing eyes. It was like he was only just registering who was there with him.
He shrugged. "'s your house."
He didn't turn his intense stare away from Beth and she shifted awkwardly in the half light. She imagined the effect was diminished by the poor lighting and wondered what it was like to have that penetrating gaze directly on you with no way of hiding.
They lapsed into silence. It was a self-conscious silence for Beth. She felt compelled to break it but didn't know what to say. Daryl himself seemed perfectly content to not talk.
Eventually she ended up replicating Daryl. She leaned her elbows on the porch railing but kept some distance between them. Her injury was aching still and her arm felt hot. She put her other hand on top of the skin. It was cold from being outside and was soothing even through the bandages.
"Ya do that to yourself?"
The question was unexpected and Beth jumped again. She flushed in embarrassment. She didn't want to answer the question, she was just thinking how nice it was not to have to listen to everyone's opinion on what she had done, but he would know the truth by now so there was no point denying it.
She lifted her chin and answered. "Yes," she said defiantly. Something about the way he had asked made her feel defensive. Maybe it was just the way he naturally spoke, like he thought you were an idiot anyway, but something about his tone made Beth think he was being deliberately confrontational.
"You always been weak an' pathetic, or is it recent?"
Beth's jaw dropped open. She didn't know what to expect but it hadn't been that. "Excuse me?" she spluttered.
"Y'heard me!" Daryl's stance had shifted so he was staring at her aggressively.
"What's your problem?" Beth hissed, feeling furious. She knew he was hot headed and often ended things with a fight but this was beyond ridiculous.
Daryl just snorted. "Forget about it." He went to walk past Beth.
Beth was usually a calm person, Maggie was the passionate one in the family, but something about Daryl had gotten under her skin. She didn't know what motivated her but she grabbed Daryl's arm as he tried to push past her.
"What did I ever do to you?" she demanded, trying to keep her voice low.
"Oh I'm sorry, princess. Did you expect sympathy?"
"You don't know me," Beth said, taken back by the venom in his voice.
"I've known people like you my whole life. Life get's a bit tough and you start lookin' for the easy way out, payin' no mind to who's left behind."
Beth had grabbed him but now he stepped into her, invading her space and trying to intimidate her.
"My mother-" Beth stopped because talking about her mother was painful. She swallowed and ignored the angry tears that threatened to run down her face. "My mother has just died. I'm not proud of what I did. I just thought it was the only option."
"My brother was handcuffed to a pipe and he cut off his own hand to survive. I crawled up a cliff with an arrow in my gut to survive. You've had it easy your whole life I'm guessin'. What a waste."
Beth released his arm like it was poisoned. Daryl stalked past her and vanished in the dark. Beth was stunned by the hurtful things he'd said. He was a stranger to her and yet he'd lashed out, making her so mad her hands were shaking. She looked down at the white bandage and the sight filled her with fury and shame.
Beth wanted to scream. She wanted her mother. She couldn't have either so she went back inside and spent a sleepless night staring at the ceiling.
AN: Well hello everybody. I didn't expect to be back posting Deth quite this soon. The spark for inspiration came from Pass the Porn Tea and I have elements of her suggestion in here, but I've probably bastardised it past recognisability and hope she still enjoys it. I just want to admit that I've never been depressed or suicidal so I'm feeling my way along with Beth's thoughts this chapter. I hope I was sensitive enough in my dealings.
Daryl was a massive douche in this chapter but season two Daryl is so different to season three, as is Beth (I imagine), and this is fresh after Sophia so there is a lot of anger floating around. I'm hoping to explore them and take them on a journey that is very different to what I've done before. They're off to a rocky start. Let me know what you think.
As always you can talk to me here or on twitter: EJWadePR