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Title: Five Times Beth and Daryl Weren't Virtual Strangers Before the Prison Fell (and the One Time They Still Weren't)
Author: Abelina/Abby/Abelinajt
Fandom/Pairing: The Walking Dead - Beth Greene & Daryl Dixon (friendship/pre-Bethyl)
Setting: Seasons 3 and 4.
Rating: T/PG13
Summary: A series of (eventually) six ficlets set during the prison-era, showing interactions between Beth and Daryl. I don't buy into the theory that they never spoke, despite what little we saw of that on the show. They spent the winter as part of the same small group, and were both part of the core group setting up the prison.
Notes: I wrote this before I went back and watched the episode it’s set around, so it doesn’t fit as nicely into canon as I like, but I’m going for it anyway.  This is set during the season 3 episode Seed, as a missing scene. Although during the scene where they’re settling into the cells, Rick says they’ll search further in the morning, let’s say they give it a day to clean up their cellblock a bit before they search for the cafeteria and infirmary (during which time Hershel gets bitten and they find the other prisoners). This would then be placed the afternoon after that cell-picking scene but the day before they explore the prison and Hershel gets bitten.
All Parts Here

Five Times Beth and Daryl Weren’t Virtual Strangers Before the Prison Fell
(and the One Time They Still Weren’t)

1 – A Dog with a Bone

Beth heard the echo of footsteps long before the door to cellblock C creaked open. She looked up from the stack of clothing to find Carl on his way in, and smiled at the boy as he approached.

“Beth,” he said, grinning wide. “I found something for you.”

He pulled his hands out from behind his back, holding a somewhat scraggly bouquet of wildflowers inside a makeshift vase. The thing looked like a mix of plumbing and automobile parts with a bow of twine wrapped around it, and with a little smile she realized Carl must have made it.

“Oh, they’re so pretty, Carl, thank you!” She took the flowers and their Frankenstein vase and set them down on the table where she was working.

Carl played it cool, tried to keep his grin minimal while he nodded and gestured vaguely toward the prison yard. “Found them while I was out running the fence. You know, checking for breaches. Making sure we’re as safe as we can be in here.”

Beth knew very well that he hadn’t just found them, but she wasn’t about to spoil that for him. Nor was she going to comment about the bragging, either, because Carl did help do all those things—when he wasn’t picking her wildflowers.

Instead she flashed him a big smile, because it was a nice gesture. “I’ll find the perfect place to put them once I’m done here. But you should get back to the fences, don’t you think?”

Carl adjusted his sheriff’s hat and gave her a nod, his expression turning serious. “Yeah, you’re right. Wouldn’t want anything getting in.” He turned to leave, but spun back around just before he reached the cell block door. “See you later, Beth!”

Beth couldn’t help flashing him another smile as she waved. “Goodbye, Carl.”

Shaking her head a little, Beth returned to her task, which was sorting through the stack of clothing scavenged from a strip mall during run they’d made a few days ago, but hadn’t had the chance to sort through since finding the prison. The clothing, most of it men’s shirts, was the last of it. Now that she had the time, it was easy enough to figure out which shirt should go to which man.

These smaller t-shirts would fit Carl, and Beth folded the two of them up into a pile for him. Carl’s crush on her didn’t seem to have diminished since setting up here, even with all the work he’d been doing, and it was very sweet how he always tried to look out for her. He reminded Beth a little bit of Shawn, sometimes—aside from the crush part—always checking up on her even when she didn’t really need it.

“Ain’t he a little young for you?”

Beth whipped her head up, not having heard Daryl enter the cellblock. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, since Daryl always moved about so quietly, even on floors that echoed as these ones did. He probably ducked in through the door just as Carl was leaving, and now stood by the wall a few feet from the table she’d dragged in here to work from, crossbow over one shoulder and about five or six fat rabbits tied on a cord over the other.

Beth tried to smother the startled look she was sure she must be wearing, but the little smirk on Daryl’s face when she looked up told her he had noticed anyway.

Caught, but not too bothered by it, Beth shrugged and placed a neatly folded t-shirt on Rick’s pile. “Oh, it’s harmless. I think it’s kind of sweet, actually. Well, mostly.”

Daryl grunted in a way that sounded amused. “Don’t know the kid’s seein’ it like that.”

Beth placed the next two shirts into T-Dog’s pile, and shrugged again. “Even so. It’s not like it’s ever gonna be an issue.”

“Hmm.” Daryl’s eyebrows shot up a little, and he set his crossbow down to lean back against the wall. “I dunno. Maybe you ain’t noticed, but the kid’s been sniffin’ around you like a dog with a bone since winter.”

Beth couldn’t help giggling at that, especially remembering the look on Carl’s face when he thought she would like to share a tin of dog food with him. It hadn’t seemed funny then, but oh, Lord, Daryl was probably right. Maybe she should try to put the brakes on this crush of Carl’s before he could get to thinking it was something she reciprocated.

“Believe me, it’s goin’ to stop long before there are any, uh, bones.”

Beth’s cheeks flamed hot immediately, and Daryl just looked at her while she probably grew redder and redder in the face. But then he snorted, tipping his face up toward the ceiling, wearing that smirk again. A smile tugged at her lips, but she turned her focus back to her sorting rather than attempting to meet Daryl’s eyes when he tipped his head back down.

He didn’t say anything else, but Beth was aware of him watching her while she worked. It didn’t bother her, him being there. Daryl was the sort of person who became part of a space instead of just taking up room in it. He was there, but not in a way that disturbed the quiet of the empty cellblock. She didn’t mind his eyes on her, either, because she understood that part, too. The watching people, figuring them out a bit at a time.

“Kid oughtta be lookin’ after his mom,” Daryl said, after a minute. “Bringin’ her flowers and shit.”

That made her pause and look up, dark grey collared shirt halfway folded in her hands. “I know. It’s—he’s in such a strange place, you know? Like, he’s really still a kid, except Rick’s treatin’ him like an adult, givin’ him all this responsibility, and he’s tryin’, he really is, to be a man and all but...”

“But he’s still a kid,” Daryl finished, with a little nod of his head. “You always been so good at readin’ people?”

That drew a smile onto her face, just a little one, and she placed the grey shirt in her hands into the pile she’d made for Daryl.

“You learn a lot about people by just watchin’,” she said, meeting his sharp blue gaze for a second before reaching for the next item in the stack.

Daryl just hummed quietly, and Beth knew he understood, because that’s what Daryl did, too. After all, he’d read her well enough, hadn’t he? Better than Daddy had, shooing Carl out of her cell like he thought that was even a possibility.

Although she was looking at the piles in front of her, Beth noticed the movement as Daryl pushed off the wall and stepped up to the edge of the table opposite her.

“That the stuff from the run?”

“Yep.” She folded the last of the dark coloured collared shirts, set it on the pile and patted them down. “These ones are for you. I left the sleeves on, but the stitching looks like it’ll tear easy.”

She hadn’t meant to tease, but when she glanced up, Daryl just looked amused. “If I need a hand rippin’ ‘em, I’ll know where to look.”

“Just follow Carl,” she said, with a little giggle, which Daryl echoed with another snort half a second later. “I’m all done here, though. Need a hand with those rabbits?”

Daryl looked down at the half dozen cottontails hanging off his shoulder, as though he forgot they were there. “Yeah. All right. C’mon.”

He tossed his head toward the cellblock door and headed for it, pausing to retrieve his crossbow from where it rested against the wall. Beth followed, but not before quickly dashing into Lori’s cell and placing the wilted little bouquet on her table. Maybe Carl might be disappointed, but Daryl was right, and besides, hadn’t she told Carl she would find the perfect place for them?

The rabbits were delicious, cooked out in the yard on a makeshift fire pit after she and Daryl prepared them—a welcomed fresh feast after so long without. Beth made sure to sit between Daddy and Maggie tonight, so Carl had to sit elsewhere. Lori loved the flowers, even brought the bouquet to dinner so the rest of the group could see how thoughtful her son was.

Though she felt Carl’s eyes on her from two places down, it was Daryl’s gaze Beth met across the table. As Carl graciously accepted praise from the others for his thoughtfulness, Daryl nodded and she nodded back, offering a little smile which he returned—a subtle lifting of his lips she wouldn’t have seen, if she didn’t know what to look for.

But she saw it, because she was looking. Just like Daryl saw her when nobody else did. His smile tugged a little more just before he turned back to his meal, and Beth thought that maybe Daryl didn’t mind so much, somebody seeing him, too.



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