From the minute he stumbled around that corner and found her, in the prison court yard, Daryl should have known they would end up here.
Exhausted and dirty, skin flayed open and soul raw, they were nothing but a stolen moment waiting to happen. The funeral home is for all intentions and purposes: safe. Warm and quiet, sometimes ghostly. When Beth sings it carries into every corner of the room.
They balanced on the precipice, at least, before they tumbled down into the dark chasms of uncertainty.
Their fingernails clawed into the sharp edges of the cliff they were sliding right down, but in the end they lost their grip. The only thing to do was to clutch at each other and hope the ride down didn’t fuck them up too bad, that when the time came: they could get out.
The dog interrupted them.
They spent some time feeding it scraps and Beth insisted on bringing him in after that, to clean up and brush as best as she could, lay down and cuddle at the fire. Daryl had grimaced as she used their one comb through the mangy tangles of the mutts fur.
It’s one they have to share as it is, but he’s never had the cleanest life, or a prim one, not like her at least and if she could learn to share her brush then he could too. She took herself for a wash after that and he felt it in his bones, the need to see her.
When he creaked open the bathroom door and saw her stood in the mirror, wrapped in a towel with her hair a halo of gold, she merely looked at him. Her skin was caramel in the candlelight and made his mouth water.
Maybe his eyes said something too, said how hungry he was. Something only she could understand because she just kept looking at him.
Then she dropped the towel.
When he scooped her up, he wasn’t graceful and when he slammed her back onto the slice of bathroom counter under the sink, he knows he probably hurt her. But she didn’t complain. They fucked hard and rough and desperately, rattling the walls.
He barely undid his jeans or caressed her skin and she wasn’t any less vicious with him: ripping at his shoulders with her nails and sinking her teeth into his earlobe. When he cum, it was all over her belly and for a moment it was sickening, to see it.
Compared to Beth, he was such a dirty old man and the way he fucked her made his gut clench with guilt. She didn’t feel guilt, as far as he can tell. He wonders even now what she thought of his pounding thrusts. She never came, so whatever it was couldn’t have been good.
He wants to do it right, this time.
Looking at her in their nest of stolen sheets and blankets, like feathers and twigs of a birds nest, under the flickering candle lights, he wants to be good for her. He’s still naked. He stumbled up to take a leak but standing in the open air makes him shiver.
Part of him wants to dress. So stupid, to lie vulnerable and exposed, soft belly laid out like a feast should a walker get in here. They set up their usual alarms, but it’s pounding rain outside and he’s not sure even he could hear them rattling.
Hazard though it is, there’s something peaceful to it. The air is always so stiff and thick, now it’s split open. He likes it. Feels like there’s more air to breathe, more life to pull into his body. Still the same scent of decay but an attempt at cleaner air.
The blankets are pulled down around Beth’s hips from where he untangled them. She doesn’t look cold, but she will be if he keeps standing here staring; freezing himself. It’s warm there, in their little pit with the fire dying beside Beth’s body.
At her feet, trapping the sheets and caging her body heat, is the dog. It’s cleaner. Looks more domesticated. Homely, almost. He ain’t got the heart to tell her that thing is at least six or seven. Ain’t gonna keep up with them back on the road.
Then again, might surprise him. Survived this long, found them. He wants to keep it alive for her, but then again he wants to keep her alive for him and he knows who he’ll choose, even if she hates him for it. He pads closer but then he stops again.
He wants to be back in her sleepy embrace, in that nest that calls to him but it looks so clean, so soft. He don’t feel like he’s good enough to be there. He don’t feel like he’s good enough to be there with her especially.
Braving it, he barely lets his feet ghost along the floorboards back to her, stepping over the dog that lifts its head in curiosity and presses its wet nose to Daryl’s ankle before it lays back on its paws. He moves to slide back in next to her, then pauses.
She looks gorgeous.
When they relocated from the room where she sang him to sleep, finding a larger, empty room in the back of the property, not too far from the kitchen, they put sheets over the windows. It’s partially worked, but the muted moonlight still glows on her.
It’s a battle with the candles: the silver versus the gold. They dance and embrace across her skin and all he wants to do is touch her. Not wake or disturb her, not while she sleeps so soundly in this warm nest; the rain her lullaby.
From his side of the bed he slides in and pulls the blankets up over himself before he slides downwards and smoothes his palms over the generous slope of her back. Her ass is so peachy it raises the sheets on its own, but he’s had his time to be rough.
All he wants is to explore her now. Map her skin and the dips in her flesh. His fingers feel like satin on her, even though he knows they’re rough and calloused, destroyed from thorns and the several incidents they’ve been caught on the edge of a knife.
Beth shivers in her sleep and he glances up from the base of her spine to her turned face. Her eyes are still closed but flickering, mouth twitching and he almost feels guilty for waking her but he can’t stop himself now.
Her legs are slightly parted and between them he smells heaven. Like golden nectar, all he wants to do is soak it up. Drink it down. His mouth curves from the base of her spine and over her ass cheeks, his hands soft as can be on her thighs.
Beth stirs slightly, but doesn’t wake and he doesn’t mind which option she takes. He would like to wake her with an orgasm, if he can get her there and he would like her to wake up to his mouth between her thighs so that she openly expresses her pleasure.
There’s no rush though and not in this place, not between them in this nest. Not with the fire crackling and the rain tapping the windows. Not with this little domesticated scrap of a dog burning his thigh with all its heated fur.
When he reaches the apex of her thighs, he kisses her there. His thumbs are gentle and pulls her knees apart, not jolting her but positioning her where he needs, where he wants and when he goes back, he slides his tongue through her folds.
They’re damp and sweet, leaking juices from their earlier fucking. He likes it. He goes back in, soft, his mouth like a passionate kiss around her clit and his tongue questing into her opening. Beth moans in her sleep, shuffling.
Her hips twitch before they settle back on his mouth and he groans softly, the simple readjustment bringing so much more open heat for him to swallow down. He’s never done this before. Never put his mouth between a woman’s legs.
His cock, yeah. His fingers too. Not his mouth. Not sure why. No preference or disliking, just didn’t. Maybe it was for this. Maybe it’s because it works, being new to this, as he’s new to her body, new to these stolen moments he’s managed to carve out.
Greedy, he swirls his tongue around her quivering opening like the soft whip of an ice cream and Beth shudders, a full moan releasing from her lips. She’s nearly awake and even though he wanted her to wake up to him here, doing this, he’s changed his mind.
He rolls to his knees, his aching cock straining against his belly like it’s own living thing, vein beating in heated desire. Beth settles back into the sheets as he takes her hips, tilting them just slightly so that he can grip his dick and guide himself into her.
She’s so wet and open, her pussy relaxed for him and leaving him to glide in, his hand on her knee as he pushes outwards, towards her chest. This does wake her.
When he bottoms out at the hilt her hand flies back and touches his stomach, her belly and hips tucking upwards on a strangled moan.
“Shh,” he whispers, his hand smoothing over her knee, her thigh, her hip. “I got you.”
She turns her head to the other side, facing the fire and he loves the orange and red flames against her skin more than the sun, more than the moonlight, more than the candles. She’s stunning. Her face scrunches in pleasure as he pulls back.
Pushing into her grasping walls, he slides down her ass, lowering himself onto her, letting her take his weight. Beth moans again, longer, lower and from the rustle of sheets, he knows the dog lifted its head to have a look for the sound, but his attention is pulled back to Beth.
When he pushes into her, he barely moves his body. Instead, he focuses all his core strength into his stomach and hips, into her ass so he can get deep. Her mouth gapes open and her hand slips from his stomach, her fingers sliding through his pubic hair.
Daryl groans above her, tucking his head into her throat, tasting and smelling the sweet tang of her sweat there. When her hands slides to the pile of sheets around their hips, he finds it again, entwining their fingers together the way she did before.
Holding her hand is grounding in the daylight, but at night, it’s nothing but an anchor. If he let go of her, even for a second, he knows he’ll blow away and he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to be anywhere without her now.
“Daryl,” she moans quietly. “Oh God, Daryl.”
His mouth closes over her pulse point. Not biting, not right now, but suckling. The moans turn into a softer whimper and it encourages his depth to reduce and his speed to slow, taking her shallowly, softly. He’s completely cradled around her.
“You’re so beautiful,” he mumbles and his cheeks heat, like this is something more intimate than what he’s doing to her. “You’re so good.”
Beth tucks her chin down and whimpers into the pillow and it means he can slide upwards more, press his own chin to her head, keep her hand entwined with his between her breasts, her knee bent and his hips soft between her thighs.
This is heaven. She is heaven. This moment is perfect. It’s so perfect. Not deterred by the battering wind, not deterred by the crackle and pop of the fire, but enhanced. Everything necessary, everything right.
This is not a moment they will get again, he knows this. This is not a moment he will forget. This is something that he will hold with him until the day he dies and he knows, deep down he knows it will soon come because he’ll die before her, he’ll die for her.
She’s gonna live. When he found her in that court yard and he thought she would be dead by morning, he was wrong because she’s done something to him, something beautiful. She’s peeled away the layers and the parasites with her fingernails.
She’s found him, deep inside, under the crust. She found him, the real him, chained to a boulder of self loathing and hate that his pa took years to lock up behind him and she took the time to break each link. Beth has saved him and he’ll save her.
But first, this.
First, he’ll worship her body. Mouth at her throat, hands clasped tight, heart beating furiously. First, he’ll feel her walls clamping on him, swallowing him, flaying him, opening him wide and first he’ll empty into her, cry into her shoulder, shake.
When he finishes spiralling into heaven she turns onto her back and embraces him, shushes him and even though he wanted to do this for her: comfort her; love her, it ended up being him because he needed it, because they both know what’s coming.
Because they both know this is a stolen moment and there’s not many of those left.