A.N.: Holy hell, it's been a long time since I have written anything, but the latest episode of Walking Dead just made me feel the need to write something. Damn, that feels good. Spoilers up to 4x13 Alone, and pure DarylxBeth shippage. I like that boy with Carol and Michonne and Beth and just about anyone really. Poor guy needs some love. ;) This is my first foray into the Walking Dead fiction and I hope I do it some justice. Hope you enjoy, I mean no offense to any other pairing, but I just can't help it, I ship them hard. Thanks for reading, you guys rock!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters; I would be nicer to them.
He's not used to being touched so much. A hand on his shoulder, a brush of knuckles, a fist tightened into the back of his shirt. It's alien to him. He can't help but flinch any time her palm comes to rest on him. He knows it's nothing personal, it's just how she is, but dammit, he hates it. He's not used to the constant chatter of subjects completely unimportant to their current predicament and the need to fill every fucking second with noise. Has she not been paying attention that they are in constant danger? That the more she talks, the more attention they attract? She talks about her favorite TV show before all this happened, her first boyfriend, the time she broke her arm in first grade, the time she stole Maggie's diary and all hell broke loose in her house. He wants to mutter at her to shut up, keep that shit to yourself, but every time he turns her way she starts like a spooked cat and he suddenly feels bad. Like maybe she needs to keep talking to keep her demons at bay.
He shouldn't have drunk anything. That much is certain as soon as he feels his rage flare up, red and hot and all consuming. Jail huh? That is what she thinks of him. Not like it's that far off, but for some reason it pisses him off. Guess he's been playing hero for so long he thought he might have looked the part. Color him an idiot, because of course he doesn't. Daryl Dixon has never been anything but a piece of shit and he needs to come to terms with that. The moonshine is making him fuzzy and her voice is grating on his last damn nerve. Maybe he should show her, force her to see who he was and will ever be. Maybe it's the alcohol talking, but that sounds like a good idea to him.
He's surprised that she doesn't back down, doesn't shrink under his booming voice and unfair accusations, doesn't break when he throws her indifference to her boyfriend's death back in her face. Hell, she gives it back as good as he serves it, the words burning in his gut almost as much as the booze in the back of his throat. He knows he's spiraling, losing himself in the self-hatred and misery, he hasn't felt like this in so long he doesn't know what to do with it. So he yells, he gets violent, he loses his temper and takes it out on her. Guess he's more like his father than he thought. She calls him out, tells him who she isn't and who she ain't and that she knows his façade is bullshit. He has a comeback all ready and then she brings up Hershel. Hershel…he doesn't want to hear his name, doesn't want to see the smile on his lips before the katana cleaved into his neck, doesn't want to think about how much he has lost, how much they have all lost. Then she brings up Sophia and he hears it, the start of a breakdown, he feels the guilt, the failure gnawing at his insides like it's a living thing. He has to get away, has to hide, shove it all down, push her away, deal with this the same way he has dealt with everything before this, ignore it, it will go away. But she doesn't and she won't, she latches on like she is the only thing holding him together, and the way he is crying like he ain't never done it before, maybe she is.
He doesn't know when it started, but he doesn't flinch anymore when she reaches for him, expects that he is going to find out anywhere from 1 to 100 new things about Beth every day. Sometimes she talks about her Dad and he hears how sad her voice gets, but when he looks at her she is always smiling. It's the damnedest thing that she can still smile after something like that. He teaches her how to shoot a crossbow and she teaches him how to trust again…seems like a fair trade.
He might have to kiss her. It's a stupid thought, one he tries to squash the second it enters his brain, but he can't help it. It's not like he hasn't kissed another girl before, but this one would mean something. Something more. In a world where every second they were alive counted more than the last. And the worst part is, he's gotten used to it. He's gotten used to her singing and joking and taking comfort as she provides him with it. He's gotten used to her face and her voice and her foolish cheery outlook on the world. He's gotten used to having someone to protect and someone he cares about and having someone care about him. He knows it's a mistake, but the way she says "Oh" like they have both just realized that something real and good is happening here, makes him want to kiss her. He doesn't realize how far she has gotten under his skin until he makes the rookie mistake of opening the door without looking and finds himself bombarded by walkers. He thinks two things simultaneously, he hopes that dog is okay, and he has to get Beth out.
Everything moves too quickly after that, the only thing he can hear is his pounding heart, the only thought he can think is get out, get safe, make sure she's safe too. Before he knows it he's staring dumbfounded at her black bag and watching tail lights disappear as he screams her name. How did this happen? Could he have done something differently? Should he have kept her with him? Who would take her? How would he find her? Is this just going to be another failure to add to his ever growing list?
He's not used to the silence anymore, the deafening quiet as someone or something struggles in the background. The off kilter chuckle as Joe sees one of his own emerge with a broken noise and a foul look on his face. Joes shares a look with Daryl before shrugging and muttering "Boys" as if that is an explanation for the idiotic behavior of the group, fighting over a bed or a meal or an insult. Really they don't need a reason to fight for anything, someone could breathe wrong and it would be an all-out war in this group. It's like being around a string of lit black cats, once the fire started it was just a matter of time until they all went off. He doesn't trust any of them, he doesn't like a single one of the son of bitches either, they were just a means to an end and a way to ensure he stayed alive while looking for her. He doesn't like how cruel they are, how ruthless they treat each other and the walkers, tying them up and beating them for sport and he realizes, that maybe he's changed. These asshole are exactly the type of people he would have ran with before the end of the world, he would have walked their walk and talked their talk and had a fun time while he was doing it. But that was before. Now he just hoped she was still alive, that someone just like Joe and his crew weren't doing unspeakable things to her while he laid here, hundreds of miles away. Beth Greene may have been wrong about good people being left in the world, but she was right about something else. He did miss her so bad now that she was gone.