?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Title: Fall Right In
Author: Abelina/Abby/Abelinajt
Fandom/Pairing: The Walking Dead - Beth Greene/Daryl Dixon (Bethyl)
Setting: Season 4, Alone-divergence.
Warnings: 
Rating: E/NC17
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 taken from lyrics to Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. Please note the rating change from M/R to E/NC17.

All Chapters Here
Fall Right In
Chapter 20 - Under the Light of a Thousand Stars Part 1/2
(Part 2/2 here)
*~*
When the sun dipped below the trees, Daryl tucked his face into her neck and held on a bit longer. He breathed deep, the way he always did, the point of his nose sliding up toward her ear and back down, leaving a trail like thousands of tiny bubbles tickling her skin. She wondered what she smelled like—sweat, probably, and trees. A hint of soap, maybe, left over from yesterday. Each deep breath he took had her drawing one of her own, and she imagined turning around, tipping her face up to drag her nose under his jaw, press her lips to his throat, drinking in the taste and the scent of him. The thought of doing that sent a shiver rolling through her, and she almost asked, then and there while her desire to act warred with those nagging, circling doubts.

Had her mouth open and everything, the words there on her tongue—Where are we goin’, Daryl? What does this mean? Are you feelin’ it, too?— but they stuck and refused to move from thought to reality. For all her pleading, it seemed they would linger here in limbo for yet another night. A pleasant limbo—warmth like bath water bathed her cheeks and filled her chest, pulsed low in her belly—but limbo nonetheless.

In the end, the rumbling of her stomach was what drew them apart, and they lit a little fire to cook their squirrels and sat shoulder to shoulder in the deepening twilight, eating and gazing out over the landscape below.

It was funny—or maybe it was just them—how they could go from a moment like the ledge to this easy silence, even though she could still feel the brush of his nose at her neck, the warm tickle of his breath. It was there, along with the little tremble in her chest, but Daryl was there, too, beside her as he always was. As much as he stirred her up inside, this quiet togetherness happened without effort, and simply having him there with her set every worry, every dark thought in her head at ease.


As she pondered that, how he could be so many things to her at once, Beth nibbled the last of the meat off a tiny thigh bone and dropped it into the coals of their fire. She sucked the juices from her fingers and broke off another chunk to nibble on, pulling the meat off the bones with her teeth. It wasn’t the meatiest of beasts, squirrel, but it tasted wonderful after a long day of travelling.
Beside her, Daryl snorted—the first purposeful sound he had made since whispering her name into her hair. He was smirking when she turned to look at him, driving the spike of breathlessness down beneath a spark of curiosity, and she watched as his gaze drifted toward the ribcage she was gnawing on.

“What?” she asked, unable to stop the smile pulling at her lips.

Daryl chuckled lowly and his smirk shifted toward a smile of his own as he pointed to her dinner with the half-eaten squirrel in his hand. “Here I thought you were tryin’ to civilize me. Now you’re chewin’ on that squirrel like some backwoods woman and I’m thinkin’ maybe I uncivilized you.”

Oh, lord, he was not wrong. They both had squirrel grease dripping down their chins. Even in this light she could see it glinting there on Daryl’s face, caught in his beard, and knowing he could see the same thing on hers made tip her head forward and laugh.

“Maybe we’re just meetin’ in the middle,” she said, when the laughter settled into bubbly giggles. “Half-civilized forest people.”

“Nah,” said Daryl, bumping her shoulder with his. “Think I’m gonna make a proper redneck woman outta you.”

She tossed the now meatless ribcage at him, a fluttery mixture of playfulness and heat building in her chest. There were a lotta ways he could do that, after all, and not all of them involved devouring squirrels like carnivores. Beth didn’t think she imagined how Daryl’s eyes widened as he watched her suck her fingers clean, when their meal was finished and it was time to set up camp. If she exaggerated a little to see just how wide they would go, well, who could blame her?

Daryl was quick to get to his feet when she finished, digging through his pack for the alarm to string up at their backs. A slow pulse of arousal spread through Beth’s belly, suffusing her with just the right amount of brazenness to quiet the worst of the doubts plaguing her about Daryl’s side of this. She was hardly gonna attack him, but she could tease him a little. Maybe even work up the courage to get her face in his throat like she wanted to earlier. Clearly he wasn’t completely oblivious, the way he was eyeing her from beneath his hair as he untangled the twine.

She helped him set up camp, though, because no matter how on-edge she felt, no matter what delightful ideas her brain thought up, they still needed to keep safe through the night. She helped Daryl with the alarm, securing it back a bit in the trees to give them ample warning, though they both doubted walkers could navigate the slope. Daryl made a quick circuit along the ridge, since both of them had neglected to do so earlier. Though it wasn’t a good thing, in a practical sense, Beth’s mood was high enough to feel a beat of pride that Daryl could be so distracted by wanting to hold her that he would forget his own rules.

By the time he returned, just a few minutes later, Beth had the fire smothered and their big canvas mat laid out over the thickest patch of moss, and was standing near the ledge, looking out at the horizon. Light still glowed where the sun went down, a pink haze overlaying the pale blue, which darkened gradually until the nights’ first stars twinkled into existence on a field of deep cerulean overhead.

Beneath that, nothing. The expanse of trees faded off into a grainy monochromic blur in the distance. That part was the same, she suspected, as it always was. But a few years ago, even way out here, she would’ve seen the evidence of people there in the darkness past the trees. Lights flicking on as night fell, the glow of street lamps, neon signs, traffic lights, all mixing together to pollute the beauty of this twilight scene.

Maybe some things were better at the end of the world, though she felt a little bad for thinking it.

Beth didn’t turn her head as Daryl came up beside her, but she felt him approach as clearly as if she had been looking, his presence there in the quickness of her pulse, in the warmth blazing inside her, the tingle rushing down her spine. He brushed his knuckles against hers again, and Beth did the same. It was new, that gesture, but she liked it. It was a tiny anchor, that point of contact. A little reminder. I’m still here. Or maybe—and her belly pulsed warm as she heard his voice in her head, low and raspy, whispering the words in her ear—I got you. Beth slipped her hand into his, smiling when he threaded their fingers together.

“I was just thinking,” Beth said, still staring out ahead, “about how I used to lie out in the fields at night in the summer, with Maggie and Shawn.”

Jimmy, too, though there were several reasons why she didn’t mention that. Daryl hummed, her cue to continue, and Beth put Jimmy out of her mind as she remembered those endless summers of her childhood.

“We would just look up at the stars for hours, and sometimes we’d take sleeping bags and sleep out there,” she said. “The farm was far enough from town that I used to think the light didn’t really get in the way, but I was wrong about that. I think the stars are brighter since this all started, don’t you?”

“Reckon you’re right.” Daryl hummed again quietly, his fingers squeezing hers a little. “Used to be a place kinda like this, back when I was a kid. I’d go there sometimes, if I needed outta the house for a while, or whatever.”

Beth would never fully understand the depths of the badness that was Daryl’s childhood, and she could scarcely imagine how much worse things had to get than they already were for Daryl to need to escape. She didn’t comment, because what she thought about it wasn’t something Daryl needed to hear, so she just squeezed his hand tighter.

Daryl let out a little grunt. “Weren’t no daddy’s field, but...”

He used that dismissive tone he had sometimes, times Beth knew he was slipping back toward that place in his head where he just wasn’t good enough, where he squashed the importance of his own experiences to nothing in favour of everyone else’s. She tugged on his hand until he looked at her, swept her thumb along the length of his, back and forth, hoping to soothe away some of the darker thoughts.

“But it was still yours,” she said, trying to tell him with her eyes, if not her words, that he was good enough. That that he didn’t need to prove it because he already had a thousand times over. “I’m glad you had a place to go, when things got bad.”

Some of the distance faded from Daryl’s eyes, and they regained that intensity she was used to, even in the low light. They took her right back to that night in the kitchen—that tiny, candlelit moment in time before everything went to hell—and every single moment since when he had looked at her as he was doing right now. Her heart pounded as it had then, as it always did for Daryl these days, and her head spun in a dreamy, pleasant sort of way with the echo of his words unspoken—You. You changed my mind—and other things he had voiced. Confessions whispered into her neck when he didn’t mean to—I only made it ‘cause of you—and promises, given with intent, not to let go. To stick together no matter what.

That breathlessness returned, pressing like warm wool in her chest, weighted with everything she felt for this man beside her, everything she thought he might feel for her. Beth tore her gaze away to look out over the fading landscape in front of her, aware without seeing of Daryl’s lingering gaze. She hadn’t stopped the motions of her thumb and he was moving his thumb, too. Two thumbs sweeping along each other’s backs, drawing circles over dimpled knuckles, neither fighting for dominance but gliding together in some sort of dance. And it was nothing, just thumbs, but the heat in her belly tightened and burst, rippling out like a wave.

She’d been a little wet all afternoon, the way everything Daryl did and every thought in her head had her on edge, and more so into this evening with the ache of wanting him thrumming inside while she stood in his arms at sunset. Now she was drenched, and all because of thumbs.

Thumbs still dancing, or whatever it was they were doing. Daryl, still looking, sure as shit able to see the deep flush rising up from her neck to heat her whole face. Beth’s breath shuddered out of her and she couldn’t fight the urge to shift her hips, trying to align the seam of her jeans so it hit her just right. Her motions bumped her hip against Daryl’s, and the contact drew her gaze up to his face.

Oh. She should not have looked, because the second she did, her hip wiggle worked, and she couldn’t keep the little whimper down, letting it out through parted lips the moment their gazes met. Daryl swallowed hard, eyes blazing bright even in this flat light. And oh, what burned there.

“Let’s pretend we’re in my daddy’s field,” her voice was saying, deep and raspy, the words unplanned, uttered without permission.

Daryl cocked his head, questioning, but Beth’s body only giggled, a delicate little sound like wind chimes, and tugged at his hand.

“C’mon,” she heard herself say. “I don’t bite.”

That made him laugh, the low chuckle washing warm over her face. “Know a couple squirrels might say different.”

Before he finished speaking, Beth was moving, pulling Daryl along unresisting, her consciousness flowing behind in a stream of molasses while her body acted on its behalf. She wasn’t thinking of Jimmy as she and Daryl stretched out side by side on the mossy rocks, but of what the stars witnessed when they used to lie out in the field beneath them. She was only thinking of Daryl when she bit down on his thumb, not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to make him yelp.

Beth giggled around his hostage thumb, and he just stared, mouth gaping open in stunned silence.  When he finally managed to speak, his words rolled out like tires on gravel. “Thought you said you don’t bite?”

His voice rumbled through her, and before she released him, Beth bit down gently again, thrusting her tongue up against his thumb until he shuddered, too.

“Yeah, but, Daryl,” she said, surprising herself with how raspy she still sounded. “You taste like squirrel.”

Daryl groaned, not even trying to hide it, and muttered, “Jesus, Beth.”

He didn’t move away, though. Didn’t pull his hand from hers when she reached for it. Beth held tight and tried to just breathe, tried to force herself to focus on the stars, to think about anything else but what he might do if she nibbled at his ear. Or maybe his lip. The bottom one, definitely the bottom one, all plump and delicious-looking. Or that bit of his collarbone peeking out from the neck of his shirt, well-defined and biteable and—

Beth Greene, get ahold of yourself.

She was certain her mind didn’t mean literally.

Well, I am a redneck in trainin’, right?” she heard herself say, as though that explained everything.

Daryl was quiet for a minute, during which time he just stared up at the sky. Beth watched him swallow, wondered what his Adam’s apple might taste like if she dragged her tongue across it. Saw him lift his far hand up as though to chew on his own thumb, then think better of it and let it fall back down into the moss.

“Was just jokin’,” he said, in that rasp of a whisper. “You ain’t like that.”

The seriousness in his tone was enough to pull her back down, to shave the edges off her Daryl-high far enough to make her consider her response before she spoke.

“Like what, Daryl?” she said finally, carefully. He grumbled something she couldn’t quite hear, but Beth ignored it to press on. “What’s a redneck, anyway? ‘Cause if it’s hunting and tracking and surviving, eatin’ squirrel with my teeth and bein’ strong enough to keep me and mine safe?”

She paused, and took a breath, because this next part, this next part he needed to hear. “If it means being like you? That ain’t a bad thing, Daryl. Not even close.”

Beth didn’t wait for his answer before she turned her face up toward the stars, but it wasn’t much longer before a flash of movement at the corner of her eyes, followed by the rush of tingling warmth over her scalp, told her Daryl was looking at her.

He hummed softly, and his thumb swept once along the length of hers. “Ain’t always good, bein’ me.”

In spite of the semi-seriousness of that, it made her giggle, and she tipped her face back to look at him, at the tension in his mouth and the furrow in his brow. “It’s not always good bein’ me, either, Mr. Dixon, but we both have our moments.”

She felt the vibration of his laughter in the air more than she heard it, saw the way it tugged a smile onto his reluctant lips and smoothed the worry out of his face. Her own laugher came easily and seemed almost to carry his, deepening it from the near silent rumble to something richer. And he kept laughing, even when she pulled their joint hands back up to nibble at the wrinkle of his thumb. After a beat he stroked his fingers over her cheek, cool where she was so warm, and Beth didn’t know if the shiver that followed was hers or his or if it belonged to both of them.

When she let him go, he wasn’t laughing anymore, but he was looking, searching her face in the dark. He lowered their hands to rest back between them without letting go, his twice-bitten thumb gliding over hers again. The tremble was hers, this time, but didn’t stop her from joining him, sliding her thumb along his, too. Every stroke pulled another shaky breath out of her chest, and she crossed one leg over the other as she turned her face back upward.

The sky had grown dark enough for the stars to shine, more of them winking into view every second. And though they were beautiful, Beth could barely appreciate them, so hyperaware of Daryl and their thumbs and every other point of contact. She attempted to be subtle, hoping he wouldn’t notice her fidgeting with her attempts to use her jeans or her thighs, just anything, to get even a tiny bit of relief.

But Daryl shifted beside her, enough to rustle the moss beneath him. “You all right?”

She knew the little noise she made sounded pained, and anything but all right. But where nibbled thumbs were one type of boldness, this was quite another—the sort she didn’t possess, no matter how soaked her panties were, no matter how tight her muscles clenched, quivering and empty, around an ache that throbbed deep inside.

“Just—just restless,” she said, on the heels of a fluttering breath.

Daryl shifted again, bending his knees up and planting his feet on the ground. “We walked all day, and you’re restless?”

There was nothing at all girlish about the little giggle that wriggled out of her, but either he didn’t get it, or he was pretending not to. Beth couldn’t find it in her to mind, even if she barely knew what to do with herself right now.

“Seems like it.” She wasn’t at all surprised to meet his eyes the moment she turned to look at him. “Do you ever feel like you just wanna run?”

Daryl groaned lowly, thumb sweeping down to draw a circle on the inside of her wrist. “Beth...”

She shuddered hard, but the words wouldn’t be silenced. “If I ran, would you catch me?”

Her heart was already pounding, and she thought it might just burst through her ribcage and jackhammer its way through Daryl’s when she jumped to her feet. She knew all the reasons she shouldn’t—too dark, too steep, ledge too high and too close, the threat of walkers, however unlikely. But she didn’t care. She had to do something before she exploded, before she started something even more reckless than a game of chase in the fading light.

He was up and following before she even reached the trees. Beth darted between the trunks, dipping into the woods just a few rows, careful despite her mania not to stray too close to the slope on the other side of the ridge. Daryl caught up quick, but she avoided him by weaving a path through the trunks, her smaller frame offering the advantage his large one denied. Laughter bubbled up and out as she dodged his reaching hands, but he caught her just as she broke back out into the clearing before the ledge, fingers hooking onto her belt loops.

She fell. They fell, landing and rolling until Beth came to a stop on her back with Daryl’s arms on either side of her head, his hips pinning her to the ground. And she looked up at him as he looked down at her, both of them breathless and laughing, the joy of it thundering hard in her chest, pumping adrenaline through her veins until even her toes hummed with it.

As she shifted to relieve the bite of his belt buckle, she felt him there, the length of him, hard against her thigh. Beth froze and Daryl’s expression tightened into something vaguely pained, his laughter ending in a strangled-sounding groan as he rolled off her to land heavy in the moss beside her. Her breath caught in her chest, squeezing, and she half expected him to retreat even further but he didn’t, just lay there on his back, arms above his head like hers, breathing hard and staring up at the stars.

Beth’s thoughts whirled at ten thousand miles per second. Did he realize she felt him? He must have, the way he reacted. Was he ashamed? Embarrassed? Trying to be a gentleman? God, did he think she wouldn’t be okay with it? That she would be afraid or offended by him being hard, when she had the most raging lady-boner ever? Okay, so he maybe didn’t know that part, unless he figured out what she meant by restless. But despite the—err—solid evidence that he wasn’t entirely unaffected by all of this, she still didn’t know. It was just an erection, not a declaration of any sort, and she was double talking again but that was all self preservation at this point.

So Daryl was hard. Okay, really hard, and the memory of him pressed into her thigh coiled hot and shivery in her belly. It still didn’t tell her anything, though. Still didn’t answer the million questions she had about him and her and them and all of this. It only added more.

A long time passed, with the two of them lying there staring up at the stars, the only noise the sound of their breathing once the cicadas went to sleep. She wasn’t seeing the sky, though, as bright as it was in the full darkness. Instead her vision turned inward, to the easy smile on Daryl’s face as he laughed above her right before it all fell apart. Finally, when the chill of the night settled as goose bumps on her arms, Daryl stroked the side of her hand with his pinkie.

“C’mon,” he said, voice soft, almost gentle in a way she’d never heard from him before. “Gettin’ late. I got first watch.”

They moved together to where Beth had set out their canvas. Daryl settled back against a tree while Beth pulled on the old blue and grey flannel she had taken from the cabin and her knit cardigan over top. Behind her, Daryl rustled through his pack, too, and when she glanced back she watched him slip his vest over top his denim jacket. His eyes caught hers and held for a minute, but in the shadow of the trees it was too dark to read what might shimmer there.

“Goodnight, Daryl,” Beth said, because there wasn’t anything else to say. Or, there was, but she had no idea where to begin.
In the dark, Daryl nodded, a slow bob of his head. “Night, Beth.”

She lay down on the canvas, curling up on her side with her back to him, like they used to before the cabin, only quite a bit closer. Except the gap between her back and Daryl’s legs, for all it spanned just a couple of inches, felt like a gaping chasm, and a prickle of uncertainty kept her from closing it.

Beth shifted a bit, trying to get comfortable, but the cabin’s bed, no matter how old and lumpy the mattress, had spoiled her. The canvas covered moss was not cutting it for muscles achy from a day of walking, and neither was the cold ground in any way a good substitute for the warmth of Daryl’s body or the profound comfort of having him close. This was ridiculous. So ridiculous, considering they had spent every night for more than a week sleeping like spoons in a drawer. If Daryl was trying to keep the evidence of his physical reaction from her it was probably to prevent this very thing, this spike of awkwardness driven down into the centre of their easy closeness. 

She should just do it, slide back against his leg and throw the uncertainty out of the metaphorical window. He wouldn’t stop her. He probably even wanted her to—

Daryl let out a loud breath, and his hand landed on her shoulder. Two fingers pressed in, inviting her to turn over. He didn’t have to pull to bring her closer, she moved on her own, sliding her head onto his thigh and curling her fingers over the curve of his knee. It wasn’t a bed, but it was Daryl, and Beth let out a quiet sigh which he echoed half a second later.

Fingertips brushed her forehead, across her cheek, along her jaw, down and around to the back of her neck to stroke along her spine. Repeating their journey from finish to start, start to finish, the touch so feather-light sometimes all she felt was the shiver he left behind. It didn’t take long, with the warmth of Daryl’s thigh beneath her head, the glide of his fingers absolving the night of its discomfort, for the first tendrils of sleep to wrap around her. The questions hadn’t gone away, but they settled in the background as Beth drifted under, warm and weightless, heart beating out its favourite song.

Daryl - Daryl - Daryl.

*~*



to be continued in chapter 20 Part 2/2 >>

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Paulina Bozek