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Title: Fall Right In
Author: Abelina/Abby/Abelinajt
Fandom/Pairing: The Walking Dead - Beth Greene/Daryl Dixon (Bethyl)
Setting: Season 4, Alone-divergence.
Warnings: Language 
Rating: M
Summary: If Beth hadn’t interrupted him when she did, calling him back with the melody of her voice, he might’ve done something dumb like opening the door for a doomed dog and maybe dooming them both while he was at it. Beth and Daryl escape the funeral home together. An Alone-divergence Bethyl story.
Notes: Chapter title and lyrics in the chapter taken from Two of Us by John Lennon & Paul McCartney.

All Chapters Here
Fall Right In
Chapter 8 - Longer than the Road that Stretches

*~*
Nights were becoming darker, deeper, a hint of richness to the lack of light that didn’t exist in the summer. It wasn’t autumn yet, not quite, but with the days of summer waning fast, Daryl couldn’t quite ignore the growing knot of anxiety in his gut. Autumn in Georgia weren’t near long enough with the future so uncertain. Inside the cabin never got bright, with just the one small, well-screened window, and at nightfall the dimness turned to absolute dark. Warm though. Cozy. Comfortable. Beth had the window covered, the fire smouldering away in the stove, and a ring of candles lit by the time he got in from checking the snares and traps one last time at dusk.

Daryl never thought much about candlelight before. Weren’t really a thing on his radar, candles. Never had much use for them. What a campfire couldn’t light, a flashlight would do, and there weren’t no such thing as a candlelit supper or even a Halloween jack-o-lantern in the Dixon house growing up. The only things lighting up there were cigarettes and tempers.
Candles were a little like campfires, though, now that he had some experience with them. Not for the obvious reason, but for the way the flickering flames deepened the shadows, hid away the ugly and unimportant parts of the world in inky blackness. It had always been like that, out in the woods, him and Merle or sometimes just him, back before all this started. Even when he was small and the darkness hid a different kind of monster than it did these days, the crackle and glow of the campfire kept the badness at bay as long as he remained in its light.

The glow of the candles did the same thing, like dozens of tiny campfires all around him, little pockets of flickering life in the dark, casting an orange-gold glow over just the important bits and leaving the rest to shadow. Like only the things that mattered were good enough to exist in it, and the rest just bled away into nothing.

Beth’s hair glowed like a candle, too, owing mostly to the row of them on the headboard behind her. The ones on the wood chest in front of her lit up her face and the quiet concentration written there. His own presence within the circle of candles brought his theory into question a bit—but then who was he to be making theories on shit like that, anyway? He could hardly expect to work in the dark even if he thought sometimes he belonged in it. Accustomed as he was these days to dim lighting, the candles gave off more than enough to make his new bolts.

They both used crossbows, the man and the woman who’d belonged to this cabin. Beth found her crossbow alongside another one, ancient but well-maintained and heavy as hell compared their newer bows. Daryl could see it had been an expensive one, back in its day. Beth’s ran high-end, too, and that might’ve been out of place for a pair living off the grid like this, except it made sense to him from a practical standpoint. A person whose livelihood depended on what they could hunt would need a weapon that could perform.

That explained the bolts, too, both the making of them and the quality of the components. Front-weighted carbon shafts, wicked sharp low-profile broadheads, both new and used ones in excellent shape, and really all the parts he’d have killed for back when he used to make his own bargain bolts. When assembled, all the pieces formed strong bolts of an optimal length and weight to get the most out of using them with any of the three crossbows. This was a damn sight better than a sporting goods store raid and far superior to the few shit bolts he had left.

It felt good, making something with his hands again, building with these calloused, dirty fingers far too used to destruction these days.

Beth’s fingers, almost just as dirty and calloused as his now, but still delicate in a way despite the strength he knew lay hidden inside them, moved with great care as she assembled her own bolts with patient precision. The seriousness with which she took the task would’ve impressed him, had he not already expected it of her. It weren’t a game to her, learning the crossbow and the skills that went with it, and now, forging her own ammunition. She loved the hell out of it, no mistaking that, and some not insignificant part of him grabbed onto that and refused to let go. But she respected it, too, with the sort of depth that couldn’t be taught.

Daryl leaned against the bed frame, watching as Beth tested the fit of a nock before lining it with glue and inserting it into the back end of the shaft, tip of her tongue just poking out. It wasn’t a complicated task, but she took her time with each one, ensuring a square fit, aligning the parts as he showed her to ensure her bolts would fly true once fletched and fitted with broadheads. She had about eight of them with the nocks and inserts glued in, to his fifteen or so completed bolts. Weren’t a bad thing, though, taking her time, getting it right.

She hadn’t spoken much after this morning’s polar opposite moods, from jittery excitement to teary realism, but her silence wasn’t a tense one, nor was it absolute. Something about it spoke to Daryl, though, how they could just navigate the course of the day without filling it with unnecessary words, a sense of peace in knowing he could speak, but didn’t always need to. She looked over at him, as always seeming to know when he’d been staring again—a bad habit he was finding hard to break—and met his eyes across the hazy glow between them, hers full of little catchlights dancing in the shadows. Her eyelashes fluttered as she blinked, making the specks of light flicker while she smiled gently at him. The one he offered in return came easy, sorta slipped into place without him meaning to, and Beth’s lingered even after she turned back to her bolt making. He couldn’t quite see the colour of her cheeks, but he felt the simmering warmth in his all right.

During silence like this, this gentle sort of undemanding quiet, he could breathe deep and let the thoughts in his head run amuck without trying to rein them in. He still didn’t know what all of this meant, the warm flutter in his chest, the way he couldn’t look at her without breathing so deep he felt it in his spine, all the way to his fingertips and the soles of his feet. How she got right down inside him, like he were some damn open book just waiting to be read, or maybe a novel waiting to be written and she, wielding the pen. Didn’t understand it except that he knew it was something beyond his control, and the farther he got from the night of the moonshine, the more it unravelled, the more it slipped through his fingers and came to life on its own.

It was fucking terrifying, what was happening to him. But in the shroud of silence, in the warm tranquility and the flickering light, in the wake of Beth’s gentle smile, the terror couldn’t quite reach him. Could only skim the edges, hardened like armour by the part of him hanging onto this feeling with everything he had.

Beth kept working, not minding his watching her. She knew he was, could see it in the way her own breath ran slow and deep in time with his, in the little glances and subtle smiles, but she didn’t falter. Her fingers danced over her bolts as they’d danced over piano keys, nimble, capable, as quick a study as he ever knew. A shadow gathered between her eyebrows, a little furrow of focus as she lined an insert with glue and set it in place, smoothing out again into a soft expanse of orange-gold skin once the piece was complete.

Beth laid the half finished bolt down in line with the rest, a full dozen now in a tidy row. She looked over her work a moment with a small nod to herself, then lifted her legs onto the bed and swivelled to face him. “So, I’ve been thinkin’...”

Her arms slipped around to hug her knees to her chest and she tipped her head a bit to the side without looking away. Daryl hummed lowly for her to go on, his voice not quite ready to come out and play just yet.

Beth rested her chin on top of her knees, fingers tapping softly at her denim-covered leg. “At the funeral home, before, you said you were thinking we could stay there?”

He couldn’t quite see her eyes, but felt their gaze on him anyway, sensed she was waiting for some sorta response from him. So he grunted again in a way he meant to mean yes, and Beth stopped her tapping to lace her fingers together across her shins.

“Did you mean that?” she asked, in a voice barely louder than a whisper.

There was more than just a simple question buried in her words, and what lingered unspoken was something Daryl had been trying to figure out, too. Because what did it mean, when stopping, sticking around some place made ‘just him and Beth’ into a conscious choice instead of merely the hand they were dealt?

Would you really be okay if it’s just you and me?

A long moment passed, Beth’s shadowed eyes locked on his. Daryl swallowed. Nodded. “Yeah.”

He cleared his throat a little, watching as Beth’s tongue swept slowly across her bottom lip, and dragged his gaze away from her. His row of bolts lay on the floor by his knee and he picked one up, turning it over in his jittery fingers, feeling the weight of Beth’s gaze on him even though he couldn’t see her.

A soft sigh, a rustle of fabric from behind him. “We could stay here.”

Her words drew him back in, and when he looked up at her, though she hadn’t moved except to sit cross-legged, the distance between them seemed to have shrunk by half.

“I mean, it’s perfect, isn’t it? Good roof over our heads, everythin’ we need inside.” Her fingers started tapping again, thumping out some sort of tune against the bed’s wooden frame. “But I’m afraid it’s too good to be true.”

The thought had occurred to him—how could it not, after the disaster at their last supposed safe haven—and he drew his lips into a tight line. “Mm.”

“I just—” She sighed again, this time with a bit of an edge to it. “Just when I think we should stay, that we’d be idiots not to, I start wondering, what if they’re still out there?”

She worried her lip between her teeth, and despite the question in her tone Daryl sensed she wasn’t quite finished. After a moment, a couple of deep breaths that flared her nostrils wide as she breathed out, Beth pulled her knees back up to her chest again, wrapped her arms tight around them.

“Staying here, just you and me, it would be okay,” she said, nodding a bit like she was assuring herself as much as him. “I’m so tired of running, and we could make this work, Daryl, like you said. We could.”

Hearing her put his thoughts to voice only made the desire to stop running pulse louder in his chest. Staying here, staying somewhere indefinitely, it wouldn’t get back what they lost, who they lost, but it would be something. Something that was theirs, his and Beth’s, and they could breathe and remember how it was before and never let it happen again. They could make it work—were already making it work. There were far worse fates out there than spending his days with Beth Greene and for some reason beyond his reckoning he didn’t think she minded his company all that much either.

But. He could hear it there, in her voice and in the one inside his head. In that other force tugging at him, too, maybe not as strong, but insistent in its own way. He let his gaze drop to the bolt in his hand, took in a breath that reached right down to his toes. “You ain’t ready to give up on ‘em yet.”

She coughed, a forced little sound he thought might’ve served as camouflage for something else. “No. I’m not.”

Rick was dead, Daryl had long accepted that, ‘cause there weren’t no goddamn way he coulda got outta that field alive. But Michonne, he hadn’t seen her get killed, could imagine her getting away amidst the chaos. Glenn, Maggie, Tyreese, fucking Bob even, any of them who’d been in the yard could’ve made it. He and Beth got out, why not them, right? And Carol. Oh, god, Carol. Did she even know?

Neither of them spoke for a while after that, Daryl staring at the twirl of the bolt in his hand, Beth just breathing behind him, the watcher now instead of the watched.

“Maybe it’s stupid,” she said, voice steady again as she broke the silence. “Maybe they’re all dead and it really is just me and you left. I just, if they are out there, but even if they’re not, I think we should at least try, you know?”

Daryl recognized the weight in his chest for what it was, the coolness of it in the otherwise warm room. He realized he’d been hoping she would decide to stay, even after everything. But if they were out there, he wanted to find them, for her sake and maybe his as well, and the truth of that beat louder than anything else. So he slid around again to face her, found her sitting there with her face tucked into her knees.

“What if we keep lookin’ for a while?” Daryl slipped his arm onto the bed to tug at the hem of her borrowed jeans a couple of times until she peeked out at him and he pulled his arm back down. “We don’t find them, can always come back.”

Beth uncurled again, this time letting her legs dangle over the edge of the bed. “You can find the cabin again, if we go?”

“Even better,” he said, trying to ignore the way the curve of her calf rested against his arm. “I’ll make sure you can, too.”

The candles lit up her smile, and for a second Daryl entertained the fleeting thought that it could’ve been the other way around. “If we come back, I’ll lead the way.”

“Holdin’ you to that, Greene.” He bumped her leg with his shoulder, then reached past her to take one of her bolts from the top of the chest, bringing it close to his face to inspect. “These ain’t bad.”

Beth poked at his hip with her sock-covered toe. “Says you. Yours are almost done.”

Daryl passed the bolt to her, tipping his head back to see her face instead of just turning. “Wanna fletch yours now?”

“Okay.” Beth slid off the bed to join him on the floor, and he followed her movement with his eyes as she settled into the conveniently Beth-sized space between him and the chest. “Show me how that thing works?”

Daryl picked up the fletching tool from the floor on the other side of him, released the cap, and pulled out the last bolt he made, completed now aside from the broadhead, which he would screw in later. He never used one of these jigs before, but it made quick work of placing the vanes, once he figured it out. He reached for another of his un-fletched bolts, and glanced back over at Beth. “Red or green?”

Beth chuckled. “Green, of course.”

He picked up three vanes, two green, one white, and dropped them into Beth’s waiting hand. “Should save the green for you, Greene.”

She snorted softly and nudged his shoulder with hers. “Daryl Dixon, did you just try to say something funny?”

He hadn’t thought it particularly clever, really probably something she heard a billion times before, green for Greene, but... “Yeah. Thinkin’ of startin’ a stand-up comedy routine. Call me Daryl the Crossbow Guy.”

That got her laughing, so hard and sudden she dropped the vanes in her lap to cover her mouth with both hands, eyes squinty and crinkled and finally closing tight, and she sort of just fell over against him, shoulders shaking as her laughter turned from bubbly giggles to the deep, silent kind. It pulled at his chest, too, seeing her so consumed by it, but the noise creaking out of him, rusty like old hinges, couldn’t quite do the sensation justice. It made Beth look, though, made her drag her still-shuddery self up to stare at him with wide eyes and a wider grin.

“What?” he said, as a last little chuckle popped out.

“I-I—” Beth was still fighting it, giggling a bit and fanning herself with one hand. “Oh, Lord, Daryl. I totally just imagined you shooting hecklers with your crossbow.”

He snorted, because he could picture that, too. “That’s—”

Terrible.” Beth took a couple of deep breaths, the kind that came out with a little whooo of voice at the end. “It’s really, really not funny, but, just, the look on your face…”

He probably should’ve been even a little bit irritated by that, but the only thing he felt was the goddamned flutter in his chest at making her laugh so hard and a glow of warmth in his gut, and when he bumped her shoulder with his, because he couldn’t fucking stop doing that, Beth just giggled harder. After a minute, though, she got it under control, aside from the little smile that didn’t seem to want to go away. It stuck around while he talked her through fletching a bolt using the fletching tool. Seat the nock down inside and make sure it sat squarely, place the vanes in the jig, the white one into the off-coloured arm—that was for the cock vane—apply a thin line of glue to each vane, close the tool and secure with the cap to let the glue set.

“Got it?” he asked, when she opened the cap and pulled the fully fletched bolt out a minute later.

“Yessir.” The still-smiling Beth saluted him with the bolt, then handed it back and hauled herself onto the bed again to get to work on the next stage of bolt making.

Daryl planned on fitting more of the shafts with nocks and inserts while Beth fletched her bolts, since they had the supplies and might as well use them. Told himself that’s what he was gonna do, and he got a few of them done before Beth’s humming derailed his plan altogether. It weren’t much at first, just an occasional note rising above the subtle sounds of their tasks, but pretty soon it swelled into a tune, hummed, but not in the normal way of humming, that grating thing people did sometimes. No, despite the lack of words it rang out like a song, just sung in a different way.

And he couldn’t do anything else but twist around to watch her again. Her eyes flicked toward him, acknowledging without stopping what she was doing, neither fletching her bolts nor weaving the wordless little tune into the air around them. Her lips curled up just a bit as she closed the fletching tool around her last bolt and secured the cap, and when she took a breath during a natural pause in the song and glanced back at him, Daryl nodded, twirling his bolt in his fingers like a miniature baton.

Beth breathed again and began to sing, fingers tapping out an accompaniment on the wooden chest.

Two of us riding nowhere
Spending someone’s
Hard earned pay
You and me Sunday driving
Not arriving
On our way back home
We’re on our way home
We’re on our way home
We’re going home

He thought maybe he heard it before somewhere, a hazy memory from a life that didn’t exist anymore, but the spike of recognition was secondary to the words, words so very reminiscent of the conversation they just had, and the one they skirted around.

Two of us sending postcards
Writing letters
On my wall
You and me burning matches
Lifting latches
On our way back home

Still, as she kept singing, he could see why it had been on her mind. It weren’t word for word true—no Sunday driving or postcards nowadays—but there was a journey in those lyrics just like the one they’d decided to take, the two of them, and if they found their family that was as close as it got to going home.

You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead

After another verse, one about wearing raincoats in the sun and getting nowhere, the song ended with a bit of whistling, and her tapping fingers softened their strikes until they both faded out like he imagined the record had. Beth looked up from her fingers, lying still now atop the chest, a ghost of a smile lingering on her lips.

“It’s been in my head all afternoon,” she said, with a shrug and a downward sweep of her eyes. “It was one of the songs Otis liked. He’d play the guitar, Daddy would tap his feet, and I’d sing.”

He didn’t say anything, just nodded around the thumbnail in his mouth. But Beth was looking at him again and he mumbled out something about the song being nice, and she just smiled and reached over to squeeze his shoulder.

“Thanks for letting me sing, Daryl.”

He wanted to say about a million things, just about as much as he wanted to say nothing at all. But his mouth decided for him, when he shrugged and the words just came. “It don’t annoy me, you know.”

A soft sigh, an even softer smile that matched the little lights dancing in her eyes. “I know. Remember the part where you can’t fool me?”

Oh, he remembered, all right, and he really couldn’t fool her most of the time. Sometimes, he almost thought he didn’t want to. “Mmm.”

Beth pulled her hand away from his shoulder to clasp both of them in her lap, and she surveyed her line of now fletched bolts, a few of them with the broadheads in too, before sweeping her gaze back to him. “I think I’m gonna get some sleep.”

There was a question there, too, and he held the eye contact a moment before deciding how he was going to answer.

“Gonna work on these a while,” he said, and Beth nodded, like she expected that response. “Light won’t bother you?”

“No, it’s fine. I like the candles.” She pulled off her socks, dropping them into the tops of her boots, and slipped beneath the quilt. “Night, Daryl.”

“Night, Beth.”

She turned onto her side, facing away from him, and after a few minutes of quiet rustling as she settled, the only sound from behind him was that of her breathing. Daryl moved a few of the candles closer now that Beth didn’t need them to work by and got lost for a while in the repetition of gluing the pieces into the shafts.

You’re good to me, Daryl.

No matter how many times he heard her voice in his head, since she said those words to him that morning, it still felt like something he made up, dreamt up maybe in the part of his brain that still wished for things despite his determination not to after years of knowing the hard way that wishes never came true. Beth believed it, though. She had to know how her words would trickle right down inside him and she weren’t the sort of woman to play games with people’s feelings. And right now he was torn between trying to understand what he’d done to make her believe it so fully, and figuring out how to carry on without letting her down. Mostly, he just felt warm inside, the sort of warmth that ran bone-deep. The sort he felt with every breath he took.

When she spoke again, he thought at first it was just the Beth in his head, until the drowsy voice repeated his name again and Daryl looked over his shoulder to see her lying on her side facing him.

“Forgot to say, I’m gonna wash our clothes tomorrow and patch all the holes.” She pulled her arm out from the blankets and pointed, joints sleep-loose and drooping, at the counter across the room. “I put some things over there that should fit you, and the water pail’s full if you wanna wash up tonight.”

He’d rinsed off in the river this afternoon, but he knew his clothes were a mess and he hadn’t seen a bar of soap in a good while. “You sayin’ I stink, Greene?”

She chuckled, propping her head up on a bent arm. “It’s not roses I’m smelling.”

“Hey, now.”

But, she weren’t exactly wrong. He knew he should wash but it weren’t quite so simple as Beth waiting outside like he’d done for her, not with her ankle the way it was. Didn’t matter how good she was with a knife or a crossbow if she couldn’t run. Like it or not, washing in the dark while she slept across the room was probably the only scenario that worked.

She was still looking at him expectantly, or as best as he could tell anyway in the bit of candlelight that reached her now. He grunted at her and she grinned, and as he got to his feet to put the pail on the stove to warm the water, a little giggle followed.

“That’s enough outta you,” he said, pointing his finger at her, and as he hoped, her smile widened and her giggle turn into something a little more mischievous. “Go back to sleep.”

Beth turned back over, still smirking and mumbling something he couldn’t quite hear, but which sounded suspiciously like yes, Mr. Dixon and that was entirely unfair of her, given the inappropriate way her saying it made his pulse quicken. He let it go, though, because there weren’t anything else to do but that, and while the water warmed on the stove Daryl plugged away at making his bolts, one ear focused on the depth and rhythm of Beth’s breathing behind him.

He waited probably longer than he needed to. Half the bolts were completed now, except the ones Beth had set aside to work on tomorrow, and Beth was long asleep. Taking just one candle with him, Daryl brought the pail of warm water and the soap across to where she set out the clothes. He undressed quickly, having debated on whether to draw the process out by doing this a piece at a time, before settling on just stripping down and getting it over with. Leaving his dirt and blood crusted clothes in a pile at his feet, Daryl poured cupfuls of water over his head, letting the warm rivers run down his back, over his shoulders and chest and beyond before scrubbing hard with the bar of soap.

The single candle couldn’t provide enough light to see the runoff when he rinsed, but he knew how dirty he was. He wasn’t looking anyway, eyes focused on Beth’s sleeping form in the bed as he scrubbed down a second time, watching for any signs of movement. Another man might turn his back to her, but even now, he couldn’t bear the thought of that. Would rather take his chances face to face.

When her legs stretched out, he froze, watching intently for any other signs of wakefulness, but she stilled and he hurried on, a little quiver of panic beating at his chest. A quiver which intensified when she whimpered and curled her legs up again. Daryl rushed to rinse off, barely getting all the soap out of his hair before Beth’s whimpering got louder, ringing out across the cabin, accompanied by the scratch of fabric as she extended and flexed her legs, dislodging the quilt. Damn it, girl, not now. But it only got worse as he struggled to dry off and dress in the unfamiliar clothes that only sort of fit, her legs kicking violently, whimpers becoming words, garbled but frightened and finally, as he yanked the sweats up over his hips—

“No! No! Daryl! Daryl!”

He all but leapt onto the bed and pulled her over, hands on her shoulders as she screamed his name again. “Beth! Beth! C’mon, Beth, wake up!”

Her eyes flew open and she went absolutely still, shoulders rigid beneath his hands, but then she sucked in a huge, gulping breath and burst into tears. Before he could even move, Beth’s arms locked around his neck and she hauled him down, smashing his face into the pillow beside her head.

The arms around his neck pulled tight, locking him in, and for a second a wave of nausea swept through him, a stab of panic bursting out from the middle of his chest that stole his breath and pulled his muscles taut. But then the air rushed back in and the panic left, and what remained was just Beth. Beth holding onto him like she thought he was gonna disappear if she let go, sobbing so hard her whole body shook with it, her tears wetting his neck and her shuddery breath spilling hot on his throat.

Daryl turned them over, letting his arms slide around her back as she clung tight to his neck and folded into him in a tangle of arms and legs and pounding heartbeats. Beth cried harder as the minutes ticked by instead of calming down, coming back to herself as she had the last time he woke her from a nightmare. So he whispered her name, good and low like he had at the river, over and over again, dragging his thumb across her back because it seemed like the thing to do, and slowly, so slowly he wondered if she would ever stop, Beth’s sobbing eased and her ragged breathing smoothed and slowed until only the occasional spasm still rippled through her.

She didn’t let go, and the part of him that made his muscles itch and nerves twist in his gut really wished she would. The other part just kept sliding his thumb across her back and tightening his fingers at her waist whenever she shook. A long time passed and they stayed like that, Beth’s face in his neck, her arms tangled up around his head, so much of her body pressed against his that he had to clench his jaw and focus on breathing just to keep his mind off the way she felt there.

If there was a time for those kinds of thoughts—and he knew there weren’t—this wasn’t it.

When Beth spoke at last, her voice was grainy and thin, and he felt the vibration of it across his skin more tangibly than he heard her words. “I killed you. I killed you over and over again, and you were a walker, you were all the walkers, and I-I had to—”

The image of Merle flashed in his mind. Merle, staring up at him over a half-eaten body, cloudy, dead eyes hungry and haunting and everything Daryl hated inside a face he had loved. Daryl shuddered, and it rolled right through him and into Beth, and he tightened his fingers at her waist again, rested his cheek on her temple. “Shhh. Don’t, Beth. Put it away.”

“It was so real,” she murmured, dragging her arm down to rest her trembling fingers on his chest, curled them just a little into his shirt, pressing into the flesh beneath. “Please don’t go, Daryl.”

It felt like one of those moments he oughta be having some sort of internal crisis of indecision. Felt like it, but it weren’t. The pitch of desperation to her voice was a punch to the gut. There weren’t another choice, not when she was so shaken up, and he pressed his cheek a little more firmly against her. “Lemme put out the candles first?”

She let out a shuddery breath, but nodded against his neck. “Y-yeah.”

Beth’s eyes didn’t leave him from the moment he extracted himself from her to douse the candles, leaving a little one burning atop of the stove, until he climbed back into bed. He didn’t quite know what to expect as he got in under the quilt next to her, but Beth’s still trembling hands found his shoulders, pressing until he lay on his back, and she slipped beneath his arm to curl up beside him with her head resting over his heart.

“Okay?” she whispered as she settled in place, and the thought that she would be at all concerned for him and his comfort level right now nearly broke him.

Daryl swallowed hard as the fluttering in his chest threatened to tear clean through his sternum, and he was sure she must feel the way his heart pounded beneath her. What was this woman doing to him?

He didn’t say that, though, and instead settled his arm around her and tried to relax beneath hers where it lay bent over his chest, her fingers curled around the curve where his neck and shoulder met. “Sleep, Beth. I got you.”

Beth exhaled loudly and swept her thumb back and forth over the skin at the neck of his t-shirt, and he tried not to shiver but it happened anyway. His mouth opened up again without his permission, repeating his promise so she would know—or maybe so he would—that he meant what he said. “I got you.”

Beth’s thumb kept stroking, and his heart kept pounding, and into the darkness she whispered, voice already slurring with sleep, “Yeah. You do.”
*~*

End notes: I know nothing about making crossbow bolts, this is entirely based upon Google searching and best guesses. This is the fletching tool Daryl and Beth are using.

to be continued in chapter 9 >>

Comments

( 1 has spoken — take the speaking stick )
slaymesoftly
Apr. 8th, 2015 12:43 am (UTC)
:)
( 1 has spoken — take the speaking stick )

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