R_S: Sorry for this long AN, just letting you know it'll be different than what you have seen. It's a little choppy, less of a narrative than a series of moments that show a growing relationship between Daryl and Beth, mostly because I just don't have the time to write another fully fleshed-out story. It has all the characters, but something about Beth or Daryl is in every scene he/she is not present for. They are my OTP for this show (I know; I have a penchant for unconditional pairings), and I want to explore a different take on their relationship and how it would evolve and be expressed.

There are some great stories written for them, but I'm a little tired of how based in sex everyone makes it. While that would undoubtedly be a key issue given their stark differences, it's not how I think a girl like Beth would start a relationship (Daryl, yes, but not Beth). It makes sense given the situation and Glenn and Maggie's relationship started that way, yet Beth is very different from her sister. Maggie's fiery and sexy, but Beth is more refined and motherly. She thinks while her sister does, like the scene where they're all fighting Merle but instead Beth just fires a gun to make everyone stop. That's what would make Daryl and Beth so interesting; he's not as educated, despite being much older, and is an enforcer rather than a planner, whereas she's got some skill sets but wouldn't last on her own the way he could. They're a really interesting balance, I think, and they would be drawn to each other due to their opposing strengths, though perhaps reticent to start something. We already know she respects him and believes the group relies on him; I'd like to explore how the group relies on what she does behind the scenes and how that affects his opinion of her.

Another main difference in this story is the group's reaction to them. Part of what makes this pairing so interesting is the question of age and morality in this post-apocalyptic dystopia. The rationale that we shippers use is that the world is different, so it's understandable that these two might end up together. However, the people exposed to their relationship would have grown up with the morals from pre-outbreak, so I see them having a much more difficult time accepting this. Even though things are different for them, they still grew up seeing a relationship between a teen and a man twice her age as wrong, and I think they would have a much more adverse reaction than most people paint- especially to Daryl. I haven't finished writing the story yet, so I'm not even sure if they'll get a happy ending, that's how difficult I see this being for them.

So I've rambled long enough haha. Special thanks to Mondieu666 for helping me work out some demons/plot issues with this story. If you haven't checked out Damaged Heroes or 18 Miles Out, you absolutely must- they're the best out there!


Bittersweet

Chapter 1

"Beth, honey, can ya pass me those sutures?" The old man did not need to point for his daughter to know what he was talking about, so he kept his hands busy with the wound before him: a deep gash in Daryl's thigh from a hunting mishap. The younger man was lying on his side, wearing a belligerent pout but no pants.

"Sure thing, daddy." She retrieved them dutifully from across the room, from where she neatly folded the discarded bottoms over the back of a chair. She was making a commendable effort to look anywhere but the partly unclothed man on the operating table and blushing all the while. "Here ya go."

"Man, I told you- I don't need no damn stitches. I'm fine!" His gaze met Beth's, and he glared as he noticed she was trying not to laugh at his petulance. He shut his mouth and looked back down, trying not to seem less mature than a teenager, albeit one unusually refined for her age.

Hershel did not look up from where he was stitching the open flesh, "I do believe the gentleman with the medical degree should be calling the shots, Mr. Dixon, and only one person in the room seems to fit those qualifications." Daryl hissed and cried out slightly as the closures went in. It burned to holy hell. He shut his eyes and gritted his teeth but was suddenly distracted by a soft hand gripping his own, causing him to turn his gaze upward. Beth looked down at him, eyebrows drawn together empathetically, and squeezed his hand, offering him a supportive little smile. She was sweet that way, always willing to offer comfort to anyone who needed it, even when her father did not even want her in the room, let alone touching the patient- after all, Daryl was still a half nude man and Beth was still his little girl. He noticed for the first time, as she gazed down at him, that her eyes were not a bright blue like his but more of a grey, like the sky in a storm.

Glenn appeared in the doorway as he pulled away his hand, mumbling about not being a goddamn baby, "You almost done in here? We need to take inventory for the med run."

"Just finishin' up, son." Hershel answered, moving away from the patient, "Alright, I'll take those out in a couple days. 'Should heal up just fine, if ya keep it clean like you're supposed to." As he spoke, Daryl stood and yanked on his pants, pretending his leg did not hurt.

"Yeah, yeah- thanks I guess."

"Who knows," Glenn smirked as he passed him in the doorway, "maybe you'll be able to get them out without holding mommy's hand."

Daryl did not feel sorry about giving him dead arm.


R_S: So, I'll be updating with scenes like this one, some this short but most longer, almost every day. Like I said, each scene is somewhat self-contained, but it's all a fluid timeline that builds into a story.

Please let me know what you think and how you think things with them would happen if they did somehow get together (I know it's not canon, I'm just wondering how you imagine it would play out if they did somehow become so). My theory of how it would happen that ISN'T written in this story: Carol's death bringing them closer, since she's Daryl's best friend and cares for Judith with Beth… Hershel would probably have to be dead too, or else he'd shoot Daryl, probably rightfully so… Basically like Lupin and Tonks after Sirius's death a la Harry Potter haha.

Also, I left Merle alive in this, cuz I wanted Daryl to have someone when he was public enemy #1. Plus it's fun to try and subtly humanize that one haha. Let me know your thoughts, guys!