Beth knows it's just her own insecurities rearing their ugly heads after so long forgetting about something as trivial as breasts. She knows she's being irrational and downright silly, but she can't stop the tears late at night, in her bunk, tucked under a pile of blankets when she remembers the scene she stumbled across a couple of days ago.
Life was getting better. Settling down. The group were getting better. They had more people in because of the Woodbury refugees, they had more supplies and smiling kids and crops. The fences were solid and they even had a council, which was working really well. They had stopped running and were growing roots, which was good for everyone's spirits.
Even when Zach died, Beth tried not to let it shake her too bad because it wasn't serious and she wasn't in love. It was just some fun, some flirtation since there was room for such things now. People still died, just like they did in the old world, that was a given. It was just that the odds were stacked against the human race now more than ever before.
So, she tried not to be too upset by it and mostly she succeeded. It was Daryl Dixon that shook her that day, bad as it sounds to admit. Not Zach, not his death and the fact that she never said goodbye, never gave him that little bit of comfort. Daryl, towering over her with his height and cocooning her in his warmth when she wrapped her arms around him.
Which is why when he gets in from a two day run with most of the Woodbury guys, Beth follows after him, hoping to express how happy she is that he's made it home and offer to stitch him up since he usually comes back with some form of new cut or injury. Down into the boiler rooms, he goes and she's ready to pull the door open to follow when she hears a rising collection of voices, thrown in with some hollers and cat calls.
The door is thick, heavy metal, so she can't hear too well without pressing her ear into the slim crack, which she does, curious despite herself. There are a few voices, people she doesn't recognise which means they're men from Woodbury she hasn't met or spoken to. There's idle chit chat, boring stuff ready for a while and Beth plans to leave.
Until she hears someone say, "so, you got them mags, Luke?"
Curiosity gets her again and she stays put, tilting her ear to the voices.
"Yeah, dude. Got a whole bunch of 'em."
There's a thump like he deposited a heavy book to the table, but Beth's sure it's the aforementioned magazines. Pages start flipping and then a man whistles low under his breath, "look at them titties. Fat an' juicy."
Beth frowns and for some reason, glances at her own chest as if they're purposefully demeaning her smaller breasts. More comments are made about the women in the magazines that she can't see. They don't talk about her or anyone in the prison for that matter, just the women on the pages, but she can't help feeling personally attacked.
Still, she stays and she's glad she did because suddenly Daryl's voice rasps, "you're all fuckin' perverts."
Someone snorts. "C'mon, Daryl, what'd you like, huh? Big? Small?"
Daryl's silent for a moment until he says, "ain't a problem for me."
"Why, 'cause you're gay?" Someone snipes.
There's a whimper and the slap of flesh, sharp and loud enough to make Beth wince. Daryl's voice again, a little firmer says, "nah, just ain't no fuckin' pig like you guys."
She's heard enough, so she leaves. All the way back to her cell, she thinks about how stupid she's being, getting upset over something that wasn't even about her, but she's always felt insecure about her breasts, since puberty when they didn't grow as fast as all her friends. At the time she thought she would wait until she was older to see if they grew a little more.
They never did and so she thought maybe a boob job when she was old enough, but then the walkers came and it was such a trivial, pathetic thing to worry about and was never going to happen either, so she never did think about it again. Never had the luxury of it because she was too busy fighting for her life or trying to find food to eat.
A lot of those months running was spent worrying about her daddy's old age out in the middle of winter and how slow he was when they had to run away and quite frankly, it was the most terrifying time of her life. Now though, her life and the groups, is settling down.
They're staying here. Maybe not for long, maybe not forever. Maybe this is a beautiful illusion that will shatter soon, but regardless, right now, she has the time and the luxury to feel insecure over her breasts. So she wallows in self-pity and starts to wear jumpers, even in the heat, so her tiny breasts are not on a pitiful display in any tank tops.
On the night, she allows the misery to swallow her up and she lets it out in the form of fat, hot tears.
Beth's acting weird.
Daryl's not sure how he can really tell because before he told her that her boyfriend was dead, they barely had any interaction at all. Running together though, even in a group, means you pick up on people and their moods, their expressions. Most likely it's Zach's death that has her so down, but his gut's telling him that isn't it.
For days he's watched her, wondering what it is that's making her so mopey until finally, he can't take the curiosity anymore or if he's honest with himself, the worry. He barely knows her, hasn't spoken to her much, but she's Beth and people don't go through shit together like they all did in the winter without forming some kind of bond.
So, he approaches her, finding her sat out on the grass, just looking into space. He crouches down and sits beside her, clasping his hands around his knees. "You wanna tell me what's got you so down, girl?"
Beth startles like she didn't see him before and is now just realising he's sat beside her. "S'nothin'," she murmurs.
"It Zach?" He asks and then grows uncomfortable because he didn't really think this through and he's shit at trying to cheer people up. "'Cause s'alrite to be upset, Greene. He's dead, ain't comin' back an' you never said bye."
She turns to face him with a raised brow. "You ain't really good with this kinda stuff are you?"
Daryl flushes, trying to beat back the spike of anger. "You wanna talk or not? Ain't gotta ask you what's wrong, just seems like no fucker else has."
She stares and then a wary smile lights her face. "Well, thanks for askin', but it ain't Zach. It should be. That's somethin' I should be upset about."
"But you ain't?" He asks as she slips off into silence.
Beth shakes her head. "Don't tell anyone, okay?"
He nods as seriously as he can, his gut dancing that it's going to be something bad that he can't keep a lid on. "I…" she stutters and then takes a deep breath, clenching her sleeves in her fingers. "I heard you an' those Woodbury guys talkin' 'bout women with big breasts an' I realised I was gonna die alone and unloved, 'cause no one wants breasts as small as mine."
Daryl frowns to try and beat off the blush because he doesn't know what the fuck to say about a teenage girl's insecurities. "What'a 'bout Zach, an' er, that kid on the farm… Jimmy?"
Beth snorts and curls around herself tighter, pulling her knees into her chest. "Just tryin'a get their dick wet probably."
There's no way he can stop the heat in his face after that. Who the hell knew Beth Greene had such a filthy mouth? "Zach really liked you," he mutters, despite his body telling him to run the fuck away from this conversation.
She sighs, still looking out and away from him. "Don't matter, he's gone an' there ain't nobody else that's gonna want me like… like this," she says almost violently.
Daryl snorts. "Girl, ain't no man in this prison gonna say no to you. Hear guys all the time talkin' 'bout you."
Beth turns with surprised, wide eyes. "Really?"
He dips his chin because it's true. "Just need to see it for yourself, what they see."
She's silent before she whispers, "you think I'm pretty, Daryl?"
He turns to face her and stares, unsure on how to communicate what he thinks because he doesn't fucking understand it himself. To him, her tits are perfect little handfuls that his large palms could swallow if he wanted to. She's stunning, on the cusp of developing into a beautiful woman, still some childishness to her cheeks.
Daryl can't say shit like that though, not when she's barely even eighteen if she still keeps track of her age. Apparently, he doesn't have to say anything because Beth murmurs, "oh."
After a deep breath she whispers, "would you wanna fuck me, if I asked you?"
His lungs feel like they've been stamped all fucking over and her eyes are so blue, the air so charged that he has every right to be breathless when he says, "come back to me in a couple'a years, when you're old 'nough, then we'll see."