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By the firelight

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"I'm bored as hell."

Daryl grunts where he's sat several feet away from Beth, staring into the open flames of the fire he crafted and let her pretend she helped make. 

"Can we do somethin'?"

He looks up and Beth goes solid as if she's refusing to quiver under his eyes which lately, he's been allowing to pin her more and more. "What? Get another drink?"

She scowls and sheds a twig she's ripping up, throwing the bark into the fire. "If you weren't so shitty at bein' sarcastic I would be more pissed."

He snorts under his breath. "Find somethin' to do then girl, I ain't no damn babysitter."

She glares at him, pausing her shredding. "You're close to pissin' me off."

"Shakin' in my boots," he mutters.

Beth sighs as she throws the remainder of her stick. "Why you gotta be so antagonistic? Can't you just converse like a goddamn human?"

He rolls his eyes and brings his knee up to rest his forearm on, staring at her across the fire and through the heat waves. "What you got in mind?"

She shrugs. "Never have I ever."

Daryl's tiny smile -that he's not willing to recognise as joy because their bickering warms him- melts. "No."

Beth rolls her eyes. "Man up you damn baby. It won't be like last time."

"Quit talkin' like Maggie, you ain't always gotta act like her."

Beth's mouth opens in surprise and Daryl represses a wince at the over stepped remark and instead rolls his neck on his shoulders.

Sighing, he grumbles lowly, "sorry. C'mon, might 'swell get this outta the way. But no bullshit questions like last time."

"Got it."

He continues to look in the fire when she's looking at him, but when she turns her face away in contemplation, he glances up at her through the strings of his hair, hoping she won't catch him. It's been like this for a while, all this damn staring. She probably thinks it's because he don't know what the fuck to say and she's right, he don't.

But people always underestimate him, always think he's a dry barrel where leaves scatter and tumbleweeds roll. Truth is, there's so many fucking words in his head that they fight and crowd and push to get onto his tongue and out of his mouth, leaving him with aggressive headaches and an even more aggressive temperament.

Since their fight, something's been different. Something changed. He can't pinpoint it, he can't understand it, but time and life isn't the same any more and with the days coalescing into one giant, sticky mess of uncertainty, his only constant is Beth. Yeah, she's just a kid and yeah, he has to do most of the work around here because that girl is damn tiny.

But it don't change nothing. It don't change the fact that he values her opinion, that he lets her call the shots nine times out of ten. It don't change the way he's been looking at her lately, though that definitely has changed. She still looks young, inexperienced in handling this shitty life but he's been watching her grow up, right before his eyes.

A wisdom sits in the sparkle of her blue eye now, a laugh line crinkling along her face as if she's already hit his age. Just the other day, she skinned a squirrel in exactly the same manner that he showed her without fucking up once. Beth's changing and with her, he is too. He tries to be less gruff, tries to be compassionate and shit because he knows she's scared.

Hell, he ain't saying it aloud but he is too. He don't want to do this alone no more. He found a family in Rick, in Carl and Michonne, Carol and that goddamn baby, all the others too. In some messed up way, they've made something and it's something deep down, he's always craved.

He never got it from his daddy, he never got it from Merle. Now just when he was closing his hands around it, the whole thing exploded in his face and left him dizzy with the shock. He can't do this shit alone and he has no fucking clue how to bring Beth along for the ride.

Except, he don't feel alone with her. She doesn't let him. She talks and sings and hums no matter what she's doing, like a twisted Cinderella, calling forth the animals of the woods with the lull of her voice and then capturing them for dinner. That girl is something else, becoming something else and he knows he ain't really got to worry about her.

He just wants to keep her alive until they find the others again, so he can look Maggie in the eye, deliver her baby sister and know he did something good.

"Okay, never have I ever made out with someone in public," Beth suddenly says, making him jump like a little pussy.

Trying to play it off, he grunts and shuffles a little on his ass. "What, we ain't gonna do this with a drink?"

"Oh yeah, you got one stashed up your ass?" She remarks.

Daryl chews the inside of his lip because it both annoys and excites him when she gets sassy. "Alrite, what're we gonna do 'stead of drink?"

Beth thinks for a while until her cheeks visibly heat up. "Could take off our clothes. Like strip poker."

He snorts, thinking she's fucking around as she's prone to do, until he notices her tense jawline and squinted eyes. This girl is goddamn serious. Don't she give a damn about how old he is? That if they ever get back to their family he'll be the biggest perv going? He's about to open his mouth and shut her down, until he thinks it through again.

Girl doesn't get any fucking entertainment as it is, might as well be allowed to have a laugh at his whipped back and scarred chest. If she ends up with her clothes off, he'll just look away. Finally, he dips his chin in a nod and indicates she should carry on.

"Different question though, you gonna be sexual an' shit I'm gonna be naked way 'fore you."

Beth raises her brow at him through the fire. "That a challenge?"

He raises his brow too, leaning forward a little in what he's going to pretend isn't eagerness. "You think you done more than me, girl? What are you? Sixteen?"

Saying it aloud makes his mouth dry out. Shit, she's just a fucking kid and they're about to play some fucked up version of strip-never have I ever.

"Eighteen actually, I think."

"Shit, when?"

Beth shrugs, continuing to unabashedly stare at him. "Couple weeks back. I counted for a while, then I lost track out here."

His gut rolls and he doesn't understand the inexplicable need to pick the world up on his shoulders and spin it around just to turn back time for her and give her a decent birthday. When he turned eighteen, Merle got him a stripper and gave him a line straight off her tits.

Most fucked up night of his life, but he knows that decent people did good shit for their kids birthdays, especially their milestone ones. Kid probably would have had something extravagant and real stupid, like a damn pony. Don't change the fact that if he could get one now he'd give it to her.

Trying to fill the silence, Daryl clears his throat. "Give me 'nother one."

"Okay," Beth smiles, a little eagerly. "Never have I ever given oral in public."

Daryl snorts and doesn't move. "Who the hell does that shit in public?"

She shrugs and a tiny little smirk rides her lips. "Me."

Shit. This might not be such a good idea because his balls just tightened.

"Your turn," she encourages.

He struggles a little, ripping chunks of grass up in his hands and shredding them so he doesn't pick at the skin of his fingers, which need a break. "Never have I ever had head in public."

She wrinkles her nose at him. "Who calls it head?"

"Everyone," Daryl grunts. "You goin' or not?"

She rolls her eyes at him and takes off one of her boots with a satisfied smile. "I'm totally gonna beat you."

"Uh-huh," he murmurs, repressing his own tiny smile. "Your turn."

Beth cups her cheek with her hand and tilts her head to the side. "Never have I ever… kissed someone the same gender as me."

Daryl shrugs. "Ain't none of that shit goin' down with me."

"You got a problem with gays?" Beth asks curiously, eyes wide and alert.

He shakes his head, throwing the grass into the fire. "Jus' ain't one."

She shrugs. "Ain't gotta be gay to try it. I kissed a girl."

Fuck.

He's not a red blooded male if that image doesn't light his gut on fire and explode straight into his cock. He shifts a little, putting the one propped leg down to swap with the other one. "You like it?"

She pulls a face like she's contemplating it. "Kinda. I dunno. I don't wanna be with a girl but kissin' one was fun."

"That all you did? Kiss?"

Jesus Christ he's such a goddamn pervert because he's hanging onto every word.

Beth's mouth curves slyly. "No, but I ain't givin' you any clues to get me naked first."

He snorts under his breath, more air than laughter. "Never have I ever fucked someone same gender as me."

She blushes and pulls off the other shoe and Daryl's not sure how the hell he's going to make it through this game.

"Never have I ever done doggy."

He chews on his lip as he pulls off his vest. Between them, they ask the most obscene shit, their questions getting worse and more filthy until finally Beth's left in her jeans and top, nothing else and Daryl's left in only his jeans, the night air cool on his hot chest. It's dark so she can't see the scars and he's fine with that, but he notices her eyes stray down to his chest a thousand times.

He's not an idiot and every time she does it, his balls ache like she's pinned her eyes straight on his dick. Shit, he hopes he doesn't lose anymore clothes.

"Your turn," he prompts her, his gut rolling and squirming for reasons he's not willing to look into.

"Never have I ever eaten ass."

Christ, he's actually blushing. Reaching down, he pops the button of his jeans and Beth starts bouncing on her thighs where she's perched on her knees laughing. "I told you I was gonna win!"

"I ain't commando, girl. I got one shot left."

He's actually smiling. The fucks happening to him? Avoiding her eye, he works off his jeans and stretches back into the shadows, allowing for only his lower legs to show under the light of the fire.

"Y'ready?" He asks and on her nod says, "never have I been spanked." As she reaches for her jeans, he tacks on, "an' liked it."

Fuck.

Beth raises her eyebrow. "That's two."

"Count at as one," he says with a dry mouth.

She pouts as she pulls her jeans off and throws them to the side. "Never have I ever been tied up."

He shakes his head. "Never."

It's true. He couldn't fucking bare to be tied up.

He clears his throat before he says, "never have I ever… thought 'bout fuckin' someone in the group."

His heart skips at her intense eyes. They both know what he's doing, what he's done, but shit he hopes she has some clue to why because he sure fucking doesn't. There's no one for her to want to fuck in the group apart from him and Rick.

No way she would be interested in Glenn, Carl's too young for her, she's not interested in women and the rest are related to her. They both know he ain't including the Woodbury people.

Swallowing, she remains silent as she pulls her top up over her head and Daryl's sure his eyeballs bulge as hard and as fast as his heart is racing because Beth Greene isn't wearing a bra. He gets one look at her nipples before his stomach crawls up his throat and he has to look away, too eager to keep staring when he's not allowed.

"You wanna know who?" Beth whispers softly.

He has no clue how he does it, but Daryl glances back at her and keeps his eyes connected with hers. "Yeah," he whispers, waiting for Rick's name to roll off of her tongue.

Beth's fingers move over the tear in her jeans so she's stroking the exposed skin of her knee. "First it was Rick," she begins and he snorts because, big fucking surprise and then she carries on. "But now…" her cheeks burn fiery red then she looks up at him through her lashes and God, just kill him because she's a mystical creature by the fire light. "I only think about you."