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Slippery Slope

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Maggie hurries down the hallway as fast as she can, skipping a little bit to keep her feet off the cold cement floor. It is, ironically, one of the only true inconveniences of living in a prison. Or at least one of the last things that she and Glenn still complain about to each other.

They don't complain to the group. Not ever, not about something like this. After everything they've gone through...

Lori died on this cold cement.

Maggie shakes her head, firmly shoving grim thoughts to the back of her mind. Today was a good day—her arms feel about ready to fall off, but between sunrise and sunset the fence crew cleared at least half of the walker herd snapping at their gates. That doesn't mean there won't be more tomorrow, or the day after, but... No. Today was good.

And now Maggie's scurrying to the shower to scrub off the grime and walker guts that managed to soak through her clothes. The prison showers aren't ideal; there are no curtains on the stalls, for one, and more than once Maggie's gotten an eyeful that she never, ever wants to see again. But it's easier than the men and women taking hasty turns in a frigid stream, and here the water is almost always lukewarm, sometimes even steamy when the day is hot enough. And although Maggie grew up on a farm and was far less concerned than her sister about getting herself dirty, in this world it's just nice to be clean; hell, it's a damn luxury.

Maggie's thoughts are so deeply turned to the anticipated sensations—water sluicing down her naked body, the easy glide of soap, the heavenly artificial scents of shampoo—that it takes her a few steps into the showers to hear it. It takes her a few steps more to realize she's not alone.

She recognizes the sound the moment it registers—a steady clap like a hand slapping a pig skin, deep groans and breathy moans rising to accompany it.

Sex. Someone is having sex.

Maggie freezes where she is, hand clapped over her mouth so she doesn't give herself away. It's not like she thought she and Glenn were the only people in the whole prison who have sex; the only ones on their cellblock, maybe, and she's knows she'd know if anyone else had paired off because even when she and Glenn are as quiet as possible they still get dirty looks in the morning—so it could be two of the Woodbury folk, people she doesn't even know.

Or maybe one of their group's been stepping out. Maybe someone has a fuck-buddy and doesn't want the rest of them to know about it.

It's this thought that stops Maggie from fleeing straight away, and she feels a bit of her old daring bubbling up: The foolish childhood urges that sent her into the night with boys, that brought her and Glenn to a pharmacy floor. Daddy has always called it “gumption,” the same word whether it's accompanied by a chuckle or an exasperated shake of the head. She knows it's one of the qualities that has kept her alive this long, the willingness or even the desire to charge head-first into danger, and the rush of adrenaline it brings her now propels her forward on silent feet.

Maggie thinks about what Beth would do in a situation like this, and if she weren't trying to be stealthy she would laugh out loud. Beth's grown up a lot since they left the farm—they all have, even the grown-ups—but for all that she's brave enough to stab a walker through the fence, anything sexual would have her running for the hills. Maggie understands the reticence Beth displayed with Jimmy, God rest his soul. Beth has always been a daddy's girl, and the thought of having sex beneath her father's roof probably scared poor Beth more than doing it in a church would. And besides, they had enough to think about back then.

But even now in the relative freedom of the prison, Beth doesn’t seem inclined to give sex a try at all. Since they found out Maggie was married, Beth's had all the Woodbury boys of a certain age snapping at her heels. Maggie watched closely to make sure none of the boys got fresh, and so did the rest of their family; she'd seen Daryl on several occasions standing steely-eyed near the entrance to the mess hall, staring down the gaggle of boys gathered around Beth as she, quite oblivious, fed Judith small spoonfuls of porridge.

Maggie was glad when she saw Beth and Zach growing closer together; out of all of the boys he's the one Maggie would have chosen for her sister. Maggie knows they're more than friends. She caught them kissing in the library several weeks ago, sitting side by side on the ratty sofa beneath the window, pressing their lips together in a way that would make John Hughes's heart melt. But Maggie's never seen a sign of anything else. If it were her (and if not for Glenn, if probably would be her) she would have gotten him on his back in the first secluded spot they could find. But not Beth. Even when kissing, Beth keeps a studious distance between them, and as the weeks have gone on Maggie hasn't seen them in any more intimate positions.

It's frustrating even as it is a relief, Maggie thinks as she inches forward, moans growing louder with every step. It's not like Maggie wants her baby sister running around letting boys touch her. Maggie wasn't a virgin at Beth's age but sometimes she wishes she had been; had waited a little longer, avoided a bit of heartbreak. But at the same time, Maggie just wants Beth to grow up—to stop being Daddy's little princess and get on with it already before there aren't any boys left for her to do it with.

Maggie shakes her head, imagining the horror in Beth's face were she faced with a similar situation as Maggie is now, before pushing her little sister firmly to the back of her mind. She's gonna see who this is. Unless it's someone like Rick or Carol, who she respects enough to deal with in the morning, give them a proper dressing down for it, too. It could have been anyone walking into these showers, after all. Lizzie or Mika or god, what if it was Beth... it wouldn't be appropriate at all...

Maggie finally comes to the corner of the stall the sounds are coming from. The water from the shower beats a steady rhythm to the couple's ragged pace—wasting water, that's another problem with all this, what are they thinking–

It takes Maggie's eyes a few seconds to focus through the stream of water and the slight mist it gives off, and a then a few moments of wondering whether she should pinch herself to see if she's dreaming all this. She was picturing Rick or Tyreese, maybe someone from Woodbury she doesn't know that well. But this...

Daddy told her about the scars. Not in so many words, but when the man was recovering from his tumble in the woods Dad made sure to take Maggie and Beth aside and let them know to always knock before going in his room, to bring him a t-shirt along with a towel when he might want to shower. It reminded Maggie of the pains Dad took when they were younger to hide himself, to shield them from what they were too young to understand. Maggie's seen her dad's back a few times in the years since, when he changed quickly out of a dress shirt to help birth a litter of kittens or grew too hot on a summer's day. She's seen them, but they were nothing like this...

Raw red lightning strikes across skin tanned only through fabric. Lines that don't end at his hips but go down, wrapping round his thighs and buttocks like snakes. Nothing to hide them but a slim set of legs–

Moments after Maggie's gasp rips out she realizes that it coincided with a deep groan from Daryl's belly, that she didn’t just give herself away. But it doesn't matter to her state of mind. She feels lightheaded as she looks from the pale calves wrapped around his hips to the equally pale arms clutching his neck and ribs, fingers digging into his skin like they want to leave scars of their own, the cascade of dripping blonde hair tumbling over his shoulder that jerks up and hits the wall behind with a smack, the flushed face it reveals, arched towards the ceiling–

Maggie wants to wash her eyes out with acid. Who cares if she'll never see again. If she can get this image out of her mind...

Beth, her baby sister Beth, clinging to Daryl Dixon for dear life as he plows into her, making up with enthusiasm what he lacks in finesse. Because, in the calm, rational corner of Maggie's mind (the only bit that's still functioning), she notes that Daryl doesn't seem very practiced at this at all—his thrusts are unbalanced, out of rhythm, feet constantly scrambling to find better purchase.

She never would have expected Daryl to be good at sex, not that she ever thought about it. He's the only man outside her blood family she's ever known who hasn't once spoken to her tits instead of her face. She remembers in their winter on the run that she always felt most secure when Daryl kept lookout over the women when they bathed. Not just because he's they're best fighter, which is true, but because it never embarrassed her. When a loud noise made him glance toward them she never thought to cover up; he just didn't seem to see women that way. Men either, from what Maggie's observed and Glenn's told her, but now...

Maggie can't see his eyes from where she stands but she sees Beth's; hears Daryl mumble something that brings Beth's head down, locks her gaze with him, makes her face fall into something Maggie doesn't recognize. Like a million thoughts are scrambling through Beth's head and a thousand words upon her tongue but she doesn't need to voice them, not a single one, because the way Daryl must be looking at her...

Beth's eyes squeeze shut and she bites her lower lip before groaning, loud, louder than Daryl had been; she ducks her head again to mouth at his neck and suddenly his hand is on her shoulder, pushing her back hard. She cries out in muffled pain when her head bangs back against the wall, and Maggie is halfway to stepping forward and ending this when Daryl ducks his head too; brings his hands down and must grab Beth by the ass because suddenly she's hoisted up even higher, legs clinging to his slippery skin desperately as he raises one hand and cups her breast, pushing it in line with his mouth–

Maggie turns around but not fast enough to escape the sound of suckling, Beth's keen that fills the entire shower block. Maggie walks back towards the door, forgets about being quiet and lets her feet slap against the cement, but the sounds still chase her—they're saying each other's names now, throaty and helpless and God please help her get out of here before she has to hear her baby sister have an orgasm–

She closes the heavy door just as those noises begin to climb, stopping just short of slamming it but collapsing against it nonetheless.

She can't hear a thing through the door. The prison is silent again. You would never guess that Beth... that Beth and Daryl...

Maggie pushes herself off the door and walks down the hall. Barely keeps herself from breaking into a jog. She's sure that if she went any faster she would trip.

Glenn is asleep when she enters their cell but she can sense him rousing as she flings her clothes off, too rattled to bother being quiet. In moments she's stripped to the skin and is sliding into bed, Glenn's arm settling sleepily around her waist.

“Thought you were gonna shower,” he mumbles, still half asleep. Maggie realizes that she must smell awful, but the thought is fleeting; even the concept of running back to the shower block for a bar of soap is–

“Maggie?” Glenn's fully awake now and Maggie can't find it in herself to feel bad about it. “Are you ok? Did something happen?”

“I... no, everything's...”

He puts his hand between her breasts and she feels it: her heart pounding like she'd just outrun a herd of walkers, breath coming in short little gasps.

“Daryl is having sex with my sister,” she blurts. There's a pregnant pause. “They were in the shower, and she's... I always thought she was a virgin or at least, you know, inexperienced, but it was like they'd been doing this forever and... what is she doing with Daryl? She's supposed to be with Zach–”

“You didn't know?”

Maggie freezes, then turns very slowly in Glenn's arms. He shrinks away from her a little and she knows she must look at least a little terrifying.

“Didn't. Know. What?”

“That... Maggie, they've been together for like a month. At least. I saw them kissing around the back of the prison and Beth said she'd told you already and you were fine with it...“ Glenn trails off, then frowns. “Son of a bitch. They still don't think I can keep a secret.”

“How did they keep it a secret?” Maggie asks. “I would have noticed something... Glenn, she's my sister, I must have noticed–“

“Shh!”

Maggie's mouth clamps shut and she hears what Glenn heard—the quiet padding of a pair of feet and the occasional sound of a boot landing, growing closer. Maggie tightens her fingers around Glenn's arm.

“–get some stuff for her to chew on that'd be great. My book says she should be teething soon and...”

A pause; then, rumbled, “And what, Greene?”

The cellblock goes silent, and Maggie realizes that they've come to a stop near hers and Glenn's cell. Maggie meets Glenn's wide-eyed stare with one of her own. His heart is pounding now too.

“And...” Beth says, stretching out the word. “I can't leave her alone at night if she's gonna be screaming her head off.”

“Why the hell'd you leave L'il Asskicker in the middle of the night anyhow?”

Beth giggles, and Maggie's stomach plummets. She knows that giggle. It's what Beth sounded like after they watched Magic Mike together and Maggie was trying to get her to say which guy was her favorite.

“Dunno,” Beth says, voice lower than Maggie's ever heard it. “Maybe I wanna hold onto something other than a baby sometimes.”

Daryl grunts, a deep breath whooshing up his nose.

“Don't start something you can't finish, girl.”

“From the feel of things I could finish you off pretty darn quick right now.”

Oh my god, Glenn mouths. Maggie can't move.

“You're fuckin' greedy.”

“You love it.”

The sound of kissing filters through their privacy curtain and Maggie shuts her eyes tight as if doing so could shut her ears as well.

Thankfully, it doesn't last long.

“Need to get some sleep. Got guard duty in a few hours.”

“I'll join you.”

“I need to pay attention–“

“I won't distract you! I'll bring a book or something. It'll be like a sleepover.”

Daryl snorts, and Maggie hears their footsteps start up again. “Never went on a sleepover in my life.”

“Maybe it's time you start...”

Their voices fade away and Maggie opens her eyes, sees Glenn blinking owlishly in the gloom.

“You seriously never noticed?” he whispers. Maggie shakes her head slowly. Glenn settles back into the pillow, looking contemplative. “I mean, it makes some sense, right? They both love Judith and they're quiet people... plus, Daryl has an amazing penis–“

“What?” Maggie squeaks.

“I'm just saying!” Glenn says. “I've only seen it once or twice but it's pretty awesome... if, I mean. If you're, you know. Into. That.”

Maggie buries her face in the pillow. “I can't believe this.”

“Can't one dude look at another dude's junk without it being–“

Maggie whips her head out of the pillow. “I don't want to think about Daryl Dixon's junk!” she whisper-screams.

Glenn looks, at least, somewhat contrite. “Sorry,” he mumbles. He pats Maggie's arm awkwardly. “Try to look on the bright side, maybe? If Daryl's showering more often he won't stink up the mess hall anymore.”

Maggie presses her face into Glenn's chest. “Babe... I love you, but stop talking.”

“Ok,” Glenn says.

Maggie listens to Glenn's soft breathing. His arms circle Maggie tentatively, and she heaves out a heavy sigh.

“But she's... she's a baby, you know? Just yesterday Dad was showing me how to change her diaper, and now she's... riding Daryl Dixon's amazing penis!”

“... can I talk now?”

Maggie sighs and brings her head back up to the pillow, meeting Glenn's gaze.

“Yes, babe, go ahead.”

“Ok.” Glenn shifts around, avoiding her eyes for a few moments. She knows he's thinking. “When... when things were like they were before, who did you want Beth to end up with? What kind of person?”

Maggie frowns. “I dunno. Someone with money he earned himself, or at least some land he's willing to work. Nice. Makes her smile.”

“So... someone she likes, who can provide for her and protect her, right?”

“Yeah.” Maggie squints at Glenn. “What's your point?”

“I mean... can't Daryl do that too?” Maggie is silent, waiting for Glenn to continue. “I mean, come on, if anyone's gonna survive all this it's gonna be him. He can fight and hunt his own food. And he never leaves the people he cares about behind, right? Ever.”

Maggie thinks about the drama with Merle, how even with allegiances of blood to contend with, Daryl came back to them. She thinks about all the things that have tried to kill him—kill all of them—that would have succeeded if not for his strength and stubbornness. And his love. Yeah, he's rough, but he loves all of them. Maggie has no doubts about that.

And if he's done all he's done for people he considers family... what would he do for someone who was his?

Maggie's frown morphs into a glare, and she blows out an exasperated breath.

“Fine,” she grumbles.

“Uh... fine, what?”

Fine, I get what you're saying. He's old and rude and has no business having sex with my little sister... but... she could do worse.”

A relieved smile slips onto Glenn's face, and Maggie is struck for a moment by how beautiful he is.

“Right. So it's not a disaster. It's just your little sister growing up.”

Maggie puts her hand on Glenn's cheek. She sees the far away look in his eyes and knows he's thinking about his own sister. If she made it. If by some miracle he's ever going to be able to see her again.

I'm lucky, Maggie thinks. And Beth's lucky too.

“Ok,” she says.

“Ok, what?”

“Ok, I won't castrate him.” She pauses, playing with the edges of Glenn's hair. “They have to get their own condoms though. I'm not sharing any of ours.”

Glenn grins and kisses her, and she kisses back; deep, slow, loving. Everything she's ever wanted from a man, everything she thought for sure the end of the world would stop her from finding.

But it didn't stop her. It brought her him. And maybe for Beth it's the same.

Maggie pulls back from the kiss, stroking Glenn's hair one more time before rolling over, snuggling his hand between her breasts. He fits right up behind her; half-hard, as she expected, but clearly not in the mood to do anything about it. He knows she'll take care of him in the morning.

“Good night, baby,” Maggie murmurs.

“Good night, Mags.”

Maggie closes her eyes, thinking back a few days ago so her mind doesn't dwell on the images seared into her brain from tonight. Remembers Beth standing by her cell, bouncing a crying Judith up and down, trying to soothe her. Maggie'd been about to approach her when Daryl strode into view. Maggie didn't pay attention to it at the time, but Beth smiled at him; flushed a little under her eyes as he leaned in close, brushing his bare arms across hers as he took the baby. How they stood with their heads close together as Judith calmed down, Beth tickling the tufts of hair on her head while Daryl held her. It hadn't struck Maggie as odd at all. Daryl is rarely a person for casual touch, but heaven knows he loves that little girl.

If he loves Beth half as much, Maggie thinks as she drifts to sleep, maybe Glenn's right. Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.