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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.
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 Fire Woman by The Cult.
The references in this chapter to the calls of specific birds are based solely on listening to samples of those birds’ different calls online and trying to translate that in my brain into word form. I make no claims to accuracy but I did attempt to represent the sounds as I heard them.  Also, I didn’t pick peaches for the orchard fruit just because this story is set in Georgia. I picked them because they’re both delicious and juicy.

All Chapters Here
Fall Right In
Chapter 24 – Twistin’ Like a Flame in a Slow Dance, Baby


Though she had wanted rabbit, Beth declared their feast of peaches, fresh and ripe from the orchard trees, an acceptable substitute. A small mountain of them lay on the floor between the two of them, alongside a growing number of pits, and they were so damn delicious Daryl decided he’d risk getting the shits just to keep eating them. Weren’t every day they had access to fresh fruit, after all, least of all perfectly ripe peaches right off the tree.

On their search of the house—looting, as Beth joked—they each filled up a cloth shopping bag full of whatever caught their eyes as being potentially useful. Now they sat facing each other in the centre of her circle of tea lights, eating peaches and sorting through the spoils of scavenging.

“Rice crackers,” said Beth, pulling the package out and placing it down beside the peaches. “All sealed and everythin’. Might not even be completely stale.”

Sorting this shit provided a bit of a distraction from the lingering heaviness in his head, though Beth drove most of it away before and did a little more each time she smiled at him from across the circle. They had the time, shut up here inside the barn, and figured they might as well make a game of showing off their prizes. Suited Daryl just fine. Too early to sleep, and besides, he liked the way Beth’s eyes widened in anticipation whenever it was his turn to show her what he found.

He reached into his bag and sure enough, Beth’s whole face lit up like this was fucking Christmas morning or something. The prize this time was a ratty Ziploc bag full of double-A batteries, which he set down in the not-food pile.  “Maybe some of ‘em ain’t dead.”

Beth’s eyes got impossibly bigger and she squeaked out a high-pitched oh before plunging her hand into the depths of her bag, searching around a moment and producing a little flashlight. “Ta-da!”

“Think you win that round,” he said, cracking a little smile at her enthusiasm, at the little pulse of joy it stirred up in him, seeing it.

“It’s your turn.” Beth reached for the batteries like she was gonna start testing them. “What else you got?”

But Daryl shook his head and set the bag aside. “Gotta show me again, first.”

Beth placed the batteries and flashlight on the dirt next to her and rubbed her palms together. “Which one?”

“Show me all-clear.”

Beth slid her palms together again, then carefully arranged her hands the way he showed her. Taking a breath, she brought her clasped hands to her face and blew into them, but the sound was wrong and she paused to breathe a minute before trying again. On her second attempt, the whistle of her breath through her hands and the correct motion of her fingers made the tee-weet sound he taught her. A sound similar to the call of a tanager, a bird common enough to use for these bird call signals.

He nodded at her, rumbling a bit under his breath. “Again.”

Beth repeated the call, this time getting it right on the first try. She picked it up quick, like she did most things he taught her. The half hour they spent working on this earlier stuck with her.

“That was good, right?” Beth asked, her hands now clasped in her lap as she looked at him expectantly, all wide-eyed and toothy-grinned.

Rather than answering—‘cause he couldn’t very well turn into a simpering idiot every time she did something right, at least not on the outside—Daryl brought his hands to his mouth and echoed the bird call back to her, so she could hear how they were the same.

Beth smiled in that way she did when she was pleased with herself and she caught his eyes when he dropped his hands back into his lap. He couldn’t help but smile back at her, though his stayed little where hers grew wide. Daryl knew, logically, that he wasn’t supposed to worry any more about what happened today. Beth had moved past it, said what needed saying and pulled his head out of the ground while she was at it, too. Making it up to her wasn’t about beating himself to a figurative pulp, it meant not doing it again, but he wouldn’t know if he’d learned his lesson until the next time he was tested. For now, though, he had this. Was her idea, having a way of communicating without words, and it was a damn good one. Least he could do was work on it with her.

Beth repeated the call once more, getting it right a third time, her smile still pleased when she lowered her hands. She clasped them together in her lap again and tossed her chin toward his bag. “Okay, now show me what you have.”

Daryl reached in blind, closed his fingers around the first thing they touched, one of the many random boxes of shit he picked up. This particular one revealed itself as the tampons found tucked away in a closet in the bedroom downstairs. Figured he best grab them for Beth since he wasn’t sure when she might need them. Didn’t think she had yet—unless she was sneakier than he thought—and he hadn’t seen any at the cabin. “Uh. Here.”

He tossed her the box, which she caught without effort. As she studied the writing on it, an odd expression passed over her face, just a flash of something that was gone too soon for him to even hope to decipher it. Wasn’t sure he should even be looking at her while she was holding tampons, with the way some of the other women used to make a covert mission out of acquiring these, like the fact they bled was some sort of top secret classified information. But Beth didn’t seem to think anything of it when she tipped her head up to meet his eyes a moment later, box still in hand.

“Maybe we shoulda saved the thread and used one of these for your forehead,” she said, making what could only be described as an inserting motion with her fingers.

He thought he was gonna choke on his tongue, but Beth only laughed as she thanked him and set the box down beside her pack, then reached into her shopping bag again.

“Daddy had one of these,” she said, pulling out a thin leather object about the length of her palm. “Shawn, too. I think it’s a pretty good one.”

She passed him the thing, which was actually a little belt-loop sheath, stamped on the outside with leatherman in gold letters, snapped closed over the multi-tool hidden inside. Daryl had one of these once, an old one he took on trade for some game he caught but didn’t need, and even beat up and missing a couple of parts it was a damn useful little thing. Pliers and blades, wire cutter, screw drivers, all kinds of things that came in handy when he least expected it. This one looked brand new, shiny silver, super sharp little blades, twenty-one tools altogether when he opened it up and counted them. A decent tool, too good to be left behind at the end of the world but a damn lucky find on Beth’s part.

“Where’d you find this?”

“It was all wrapped up, like a gift,” Beth said, with a small shrug. “Hidden in the back of a drawer in that little sewing room. I almost didn’t open it.”

That explained it being forgotten in the rush to leave. He slipped the tool into its sheath and passed it back to her. “Good thing you did. Here, put it on your belt.”

Her fingers closed around it, but she kept her hand hovering in midair. “You don’t want it?”

Daryl shook his head. “You found it, it’s yours.”

Beth gave a little nod, then got up on her knees to unbuckle her belt and slip it through the leather sheath, attaching it at her left hip, opposite her knife. When she sat back down she looked across the circle at him, hands clasped in her lap.

“I wanna show you another one,” she said, wiggling her fingers. “You pick.”

He wasn’t going to ask her, not until later, but her taking the initiative didn’t surprise him one bit. “Come-now-help,” he said. “Show me that one.”

She was just as careful now, in arranging her hands, as she was with the first bird call. Instead of one breath she took several, fingers moving in a scaled down version of how they would do when she blew through them. When she did attempt the call, the urgent pip-pip-pip like the shout of a startled swallow whistled out, loud and insistent and perfect.

He knew he did a terrible job of keeping the look of pride off his face, considering the way Beth’s cheeks flushed and she smiled, not in that proud-of-herself way, something a bit gentler than that. Less put-on and more like something she couldn’t help making. Since he was caught anyway, Daryl did nod at her this time before repeating the call back to her as he had done with the first.

When he lowered his hands, Beth was still looking at him across the circle. Her smile stayed gentle, and though it wasn’t the half-mast look of before, there was something still a bit dreamy, and more than a little warm, in her eyes as they gazed at him. That fluttering in his chest rose up in answer to her as he met that gaze and held it between them. He hoped she would never stop looking at him like that, like nobody ever had before.

After a long time, Beth’s smile shifted just a touch, and she dropped her gaze for a second to reach for another peach from the pile. Wiped it down with one of the hand towels she grabbed from the bathroom, and, catching his eye again, took a big bite of the ripe fruit.

Juice dribbled down her chin, and Daryl’s eyes followed the path of the glistening liquid as it trickled down her neck. She was doing that on purpose, ‘cause she eyed him over the curve of the peach before taking another bite and didn’t bother wiping it clean, just let second stream of juice join the first. A braver man might take care of that for her, and Daryl could see how that would go in his mind. Her head tossed back, eyes shut, a little delighted hum vibrating through her neck as he lapped at the stickiness, the combined taste of peach and Beth like ambrosia on his tongue. Like the sweetest nectar he ever knew, and he’d close his lips over the place where her pulse beat, fast as a bird’s, just beneath her smooth skin…

He didn’t move, but his own heartbeat quickened just thinking about it, and the warmth inside him that was all her doing, the warmth he didn’t suspect would ever really disappear, deepened, pulsed thick and shimmering through his veins.

“Uh—” He cleared his throat, cursing his inability to act and cursing her all-too-knowing smirk. Woman was a fucking tease but he couldn’t say he didn’t like it, no matter that he couldn’t work up the courage to do something about it.

Beth lowered her peach, still only partially eaten, and used it to gesture to his lap. “Whatcha got in there?”

Whatcha got in—Oh. She meant the shopping bag, all but forgotten there in the space between his crossed legs. Face flaming, Daryl grumbled something even he didn’t understand and averted his gaze to search through the bag, fully aware of Beth giggling at him from her side of the circle.

He dug through the crap he collected, most of it likely to get left behind anyway, but then his fingers closed around the little roll of Life Savers at the very bottom. Whoever used the office had a secret sweet tooth—the bottom drawer in the desk was full of empty wrappers and a single roll of these.

“Ooooh.” Beth, still nibbling at her peach, eyed the candy with interest. “You gonna share, or are they yours because you found them?”

Daryl tossed the little roll in his hand and considered how he wanted to answer that. Beth kept her eyes on him as she took dainty little bites of that goddamned peach, like she was some delicate lady at teatime or some shit. Beth Greene was a lotta things, but she weren’t no teatime lady, that’s for damn sure, no matter that she could probably act the part.

“I’ll share,” he said, after a minute of watching her take those tidy little bites, noting the peach juice still staining her face and neck, dribbling down her wrist. “So long as you’re good.”

Beth gave that little giggle again, the soft one, the one that tickled his insides and only deepened that warmth. She lifted the peach up to her mouth again and fucking slurped at the juices beading out of it. While his face did god-knows-what in response to that, Beth just flicked her eyes toward the candy in his hand and then back up to meet his.

“Daryl,” she said, eyebrows raised above those big doe-eyes, expression completely serious. “I’m always good.”

His chest gave a fluttery lurch, and what was already trending toward hard got a little harder. He groaned, and she laughed again, and before he knew it she had crawled across the circle and hovered there in front of him, the hand with the peach in it raised up between them.

“And I can share, too,” she said, before lifting the peach right up to his lips.

He had no choice—or well, he did, but there wasn’t gonna be another one made—and took the bite she offered, sinking his teeth into the juicy yellow flesh while his own skin prickled with heat, eyes locked on hers over the fuzzy curve of the fruit between them. This woman was going to be the absolute death of him.

She left him with the peach, though, sinking back across the circle with a little smile on her face, just when he thought he was going to burst into flames under that stare of hers. Like she knew—and she probably did—that he had no fucking clue how to handle any of this. But it was mercy, not pity, which pulled her back. He sensed that in the look she gave him, kind and warm and yeah, heated the same way he burned inside, but he didn’t feel mocked. Belittled ‘cause she clearly had more experience with this kind of thing than he did. He just felt warm—and turned the hell on, but pleasantly so, with those bursts of energy lighting up in his belly and spreading out along his nerves.

It felt good and that wasn’t something he’d ever had much of before her. She made him feel all sorts of things, Beth did, but above all he felt good, even if it terrified him. Even if he didn’t know how to react sometimes when she did things like this. But she wasn’t teasing to make him uncomfortable, not in that sort of sense. Whatever reaction he managed was something she wanted, and it felt fucking good, knowing that. Knowing it and feeling it and believing that if he ever got up to doing even half the things she made him think about doing, Beth would be right there waiting for him.

He finished his half of the peach, and she passed him the towel to wipe off with. The urge was there to suck his fingers clean, to follow the trickle of juice with his tongue where it ran down his wrist. And maybe he longed to see the look in her eyes if he did it, wanted to know how it might make her breath grow heavier, colour her cheeks an even deeper pink in the candlelight, but he still couldn’t bring himself to do that, either, and relegated the fantasy to the depths of his brain where the rest of them lived, now that he let himself consider them at all.

Beth let her gaze fall from his and reached for her shopping bag again. Out of it she pulled a clear plastic carton thing full of ribbon, little coils of it in different sizes and varying shades of purple and pink and sparkly. Setting the carton on her lap, she slipped out a length of a very sparkly one and twirled it around her finger, the glitter in it picking up the orange glow from the candles around them.

“I thought these might look nice in your hair, you know, when I braid it for you,” she said.

Daryl eyed the sparkling thing in her hand. “Don’t think sparkly’s my colour.”

Beth snorted and grinned very wide. “But, Daryl, you won’t know until you’ve tried.”

He was about to tell her what he thought of that idea when she darted over and got a handful of his hair before he even knew she was gonna move. She evaded his attempts to grab her around the waist by slipping behind him, dropping the ribbon in the process. The thing fluttered down into his lap as he whirled around to try to catch her, but Beth scrambled to her feet.

“Come on, Daryl,” she said, circling around behind him, just outside the ring of candles. He craned his neck to watch her, taking in the growing width of the grin on her face. “You’ll look real pretty, I promise.”

“You tryin’ to aggravate me, girl?” he asked, knowing she’d see through the gruffness.

She did, and her smile grew even wider. “Yep. Gonna do something about that, Mr. Dixon?

Any doubts he ever had about whether she knew what she was doing when she called him that were long gone, vanished amidst nibbled thumbs and ripe, juicy peaches, fingers in his hair that still smelled like her and a pair of kisses that went on forever. She knew, all right, and he couldn’t see what his own face was doing but he sure as hell saw hers, those wide eyes, that smirk, the suggestion of colour splashed across her cheeks. As her path brought her around to face him, Daryl set his bag to the side and got to his feet, not taking his eyes off her. In the midst of all that, Beth shifted her balance, loosened her stance.

Getting ready to run.

They hadn’t practiced this in a few days, and they wouldn’t always have an empty barn to work with. He owed it to her, anyway.

“Safe in here,” Beth said, reading his mind yet again.

“You sure about that?” he asked, and charged.

She managed to make it almost half way around the floor before he caught her, pulling her back against his chest with his arms tight around her middle, locking hers to her sides. Beth struggled and pulled and stomped her foot down on the toe of his boot, not too lightly either, but he held on this time. They made a game of it before but he was all too aware of how he let her down today, and the resurgence of this game of theirs cemented it further in his head.

Just like he couldn’t lock her in a barn and deal with the fallout later, he knew first hand that even standing just feet away didn’t mean he could get her out of a tight spot. If she hadn’t had that gun, hadn’t fought through the fear with enough clarity to do what she did, who knows what might have happened to her. He couldn’t protect her from the Gormans of the world, not like that. She said it herself, back at the cabin.

I’d have to like, hurt you, hurt you, wouldn’t I, if I wanted to get away for real?

Fun as it might be chasing her around, it wasn’t doing her any favours. Wasn’t helping her know what to do to protect herself.

Not too much longer and Beth got the hint and stopped struggling. She sagged back against him, breathing hard, the rise and fall of her chest straining against the bands of his arms. Daryl loosened his hold and as she had the last time they did this, Beth leaned her head back against his shoulder and tipped her face into his neck so her breath poured hot over his throat. And then he wasn’t so much holding onto her anymore as he was just holding her, his big arms around her small middle, hers coming to rest on top.

Despite the spread of warmth in his chest and the erection that he was pretty sure she could feel against her ass, Daryl pressed on to the point of this. “You get in a scrap for real, it ain’t gonna be wiggling or stompin’ on toes gets you out of it. Gotta fight fuckin’ dirty.”

“Okay,” Beth said, voice still a little breathless. She straightened up and turned to face him, still in the circle of his arms and standing so, so close with her palms to his chest. “Show me?”

His gaze slipped from her wide-open eyes, past the flush of her cheeks, still sticky with peach juice, to her lips, parted a bit with the weight of her breathing. Each breath out swirled right into his brain, fogging up his head until the world felt like it was titling to the side. God, he wanted to just pull her in, slide a hand from her back up into her hair and kiss her ‘til her knees got weak, ‘til they fell together to the dirt and kept on kissing. She wouldn’t push him away, he knew that now, standing here with her in the semi-dark of the barn, the flat of her stomach pushed up against his, hands at her back itching to pull her even closer.

But she asked him to show her, and maybe he wanted to kiss her, maybe he wanted a lot more than that, but wanting and doing something about it were two different things. Stepping away from her was like tearing off a layer of skin, but with a little space between them the fog lifted just enough for him to grab a sliver of focus. Beth took a couple of steadying breaths and bobbed her head, like she were trying to clear hers, too.

He weren’t no self-defence teacher. Never learned martial arts or nothing like that. Daryl could fight ‘cause he had to, growing up as he did, and later on trailing around after Merle and his ‘associates’ and all the shit that went along with it. What worked for him maybe wouldn’t work for Beth, she’d have to use her own body however it made sense to her to use it, but he could tell her what he knew from living it. Figure it out with her how that looked for her.

As he explained that to her, Beth was nodding. “Shawn showed me how to throw a punch, once. Thought I should know how to hit since I was so little. He said I should throw my weight into it, that no matter how small I was, if I threw my weight into it I could make it hurt.” She giggled a little, eyes tipping up toward the ceiling as she remembered back. “Had me practice on a side of pork until he thought I had it right, then made me hit him. I gave him a black eye and I cried.”

Daryl had to smile at the picture that scenario planted in his head, tiny little Beth Greene walloping her big brother so hard it brought her to tears. That was just so Beth, and even though he didn’t think punching was what they needed to work on, he couldn’t stop his little bark of laughter.

“If you’re far enough away to throw a punch, might as well just run for it,” Daryl said, after a minute, and this, too, had her nodding her head in agreement. “Your brother had a point, though. You’re small but you ain’t weak. You’re gonna hit, hit with all you got.”

“Throw my weight into it.” Beth bobbed her head again. “And fight dirty.”

“That’s right.” Daryl took a half step toward her again, just close enough to set his hands on her shoulders. “Can’t be afraid to hurt ‘em, Beth. Whatever you can do to them, they’re gonna do worse if you don’t.”

“Like walkers,” Beth said, still nodding. “I don’t kill a walker, it’s gonna kill me. Somebody’s got me, if I don’t hurt them enough to get away, they’re gonna hurt me more. That make sense?”

Daryl tightened his grip on her shoulders just a little. “No, that’s good, Beth. Like walkers. Like Gorman.

She swallowed at the mention of that name, but nodded. “And if I don’t have a gun or a knife?”

That was the question, wasn’t it? Daryl wasn’t totally sure how to go about answering it. “Guess it depends on what’s goin’ on. What you can hit. How much movement you got.”

Beth’s gaze drifted off somewhere up and into the distance, thinking. After a moment, her eyes flicked back to catch his. “I think maybe it might be too much, tryin’ to think up every scenario, don’t you? Like, isn’t it better to know that kicking you in the balls is gonna hurt, no matter how I manage it?”

That’s it, Daryl thought. That made sense. Beth had already shown herself to have a clear head under pressure, the wherewithal to act where others might freeze up. She didn’t need everything spelled out for her, not if she already had the tools at her disposal.

“Right,” he said, hands dropping from her shoulders. “Nose, eyes, neck, solar plexus, groin, knees, ankles.” He gestured to each point in turn. “Hand-to-hand, those are what’s gonna hurt the most. What you’re gonna do the most damage to. And you gotta mean it, Beth. Make your first hit count.”

“So…” Beth slipped her wrist into his hand, and bent her arm up like she was trying to pull away. “Like this, I have a good shot at your knee.” She mimicked a kick, the sort she’d used with success many times on walkers, meant to strike the joint from the side, forcing it to bend in a way it didn’t naturally bend. “And if you’ve got me too close for that—” She stepped in closer, until her captured arm was pinned between them. “I can hit you in the nose.”

Daryl, still holding her trapped wrist, reached out for the other. “Like this,” he said, guiding her until the heel of her hand pushed up beneath his nose. “You hit me like this, all your weight behind it, hurts like a motherfucker. Probably breaks my nose.”

“And you let me go. Hopefully.” Beth practiced that again in slow motion, first leaning back like she was fighting his hold on her before throwing her body around and forward to make her strike. “And say if you catch my arm before I can hit you or you already have both, I’m close enough now to give you a knee to the junk.”

She mimicked this, too, not just bringing up her knee but swinging through her hips to show that she was throwing her weight into it.

Daryl flinched back out of reflex, even though she stopped well before she made contact. “You do that, girl, and you better get me hard enough that it ain’t you I’m reachin’ for.”

Wasn’t until Beth let out a little giggle, grinning and looking down at her feet, did Daryl realize how he said that and just what it implied. His whole face went hot, and he let go of her wrists and tore his gaze from hers. Maybe now might be a good time for the barn floor to open up and swallow him. Of course it didn’t, and yeah, all right, that particular cat was out of the bag as far as her knowing she had that kind of effect on him. If she had got her knee up she’d have found out he was still half-hard from earlier. Even thinking about it now diverted a bit more of his blood that way, knowing she felt him before, and remembering how she rocked against him while they kissed. So she knew, she knew and she didn’t so much mind, but saying it out loud, even by accident, was too much for his nerves. Just too much, period.

Beth cleared her throat, softly, and before he could stop himself he was already looking up at her, at the flush colouring her neck and her cheeks, visible even in this muted light. Something flashed across her face and vanished just as quickly, but in the wake of it she tilted her head and looked at him. For the first time—because throughout all of this, Beth always seemed so confident—Daryl wondered whether this whole thing between them, him and her and the precipice they were falling over, was just as massive, just as terrifying to her as it was to him.

“Come on,” she said, after a long minute of the two of them just staring. “Let’s keep going.”

Taking a deep breath, willing his blood to flow properly no matter that he was soon going to lose that battle completely, Daryl nodded and took hold of her wrists again, trying and failing to keep his fingers from trembling.

They spent a long time working through different ways she could hit and get out of various holds, ways he was confident would work for her, using her elbows, her knees, the heel of her hand and even her fists, in some instances. She figured out how to launch herself into a head-butt, even against someone as tall as him when he had her from behind, but that only worked when he was holding her around the hips or by her wrists behind her back. They practiced with choke holds, how to get out of them and how to keep from getting strangled if she couldn’t, ‘cause that’s something he did know.

Sweat now coated both their brows and stained their shirts, and Beth’s face looked about as flushed as his felt. As the time wore on they both brought a little more into it, his holds tighter, more difficult to break, her blows a little stronger, her motions a little faster even though she wasn’t trying to hurt him. It was physical work and they were both feeling it, and he knew they’d both be sore tomorrow.

He had her hands pinned behind her back this time, and when she made to get her knee up he got his into her belly instead.

Beth grunted and tried again to lift her knee, but he leaned into her, over her a bit more, bending her spine enough that she couldn’t without falling over. “Bastard.”

“C’mon,” he said, gritting his teeth as she pushed back, resisting the not-too-gentle pressure he was putting on her. “How you gonna get out of this, Greene?”

Beth tugged, trying to free her hands, but he had them pinned good against her back and if she tugged any harder, she was liable to topple over. “I’m. Trying,” she growled, tugging again.

Daryl tightened his grip on her wrists just a little more, and goaded her again. “You ain’t getting away this time, little girl.”

Beth stopped tugging and went still. She clenched her jaw as she started up at him, narrowing her blazing eyes until the look in them sent a chill across his scalp. “I am not a little girl.”

She surged forward, lunging so hard he barely kept hold of her wrists, and sunk her teeth into his neck.

Instead of pain, though, what rocketed through him was a jolt of heat, straight from his neck to his cock, and the sound ripping out of him in response burned his throat from the force of it. Beth tugged at the mouthful of flesh and muscle, biting down enough that he felt the sting of it, ‘cause she was going for the jugular, wasn’t she, except he didn’t wanna play that game anymore. His heart pounded and his blood rushed south, and Daryl whirled them around, letting go her wrists to grab her by the hips. Before he knew it he had her backed up against a post between two of the stalls.

When her back hit she let him go, but instead of pulling away she got an arm around his neck and leaned in, swept her tongue over the sting left behind by her teeth and bit him again, scraping instead of biting down hard. He shuddered, the tremor starting in his shoulders and spreading out everywhere, and Beth nibbled down toward his collar bone with that same scraping bite and he thought he might burst into flames.

Jesus, Beth,” he whispered, a familiar refrain except refraining was the last thing he wanted to do—last thing he wanted her to do, as he stood there all but frozen while she drove him crazy.

Daryl,” she breathed, the buzz of her voice vibrating right into his skin, right into his bones. She hooked her fingers through is belt loop and tugged him closer as she nibbled up under his ear, toward the hinge of his jaw.

When he groaned, she pulled back to look at him, her eyes wide in her flushed face, tongue sweeping down over her spit-shined lower lip.  Both of them breathing hard. Daryl watched her throat move as she swallowed, heard the sound it made loud as the hammer of a gun in his ears. This time when she lunged, it was his lips she caught, hauling him down to her with the arm around his neck even as he pressed her back into the post.

Not for the first time, Daryl thought this woman was built of pure fire. Sunshine. Lava, burning molten in his veins, smouldering with heat unlike anything he’d ever known until he burst into flames. Spontaneous combustion right there on the dirt floor of some old barn. Not a blaze of glory, a blaze of Greene.

If he was gonna die by fire, well, might as well be hers.


Wound up, can't sleep, can't do anything right, little honey
Oh, since I set my eyes on you
I tell you the truth
T-t-t-t-twistin' like a flame in a slow dance, baby
You're driving me crazy

The birds referenced here are the Western Tanager (Dynamicsymmetry had those flitting about all over I’ll Be Yours for a Song, and I like the way the word ‘tanager’ tastes, if that makes sense, so I had to use it), and the American Tree Swallow. The internet tells me that both of these birds are common to Georgia, and as noted above, the word-based representations of their calls are just my best guesses at trying to take what I heard online and make it into letters that could be read.

This is the multi-tool that Beth found. They really are useful, and since it never seems to be a problem for the people in TWD to find useful things, Beth found this ;)

to be continued in chapter 25 >>


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