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Daryl Dixon has no fucking clue how he always ends up in these situations.

When he was six, he overheard his ma talking to his aunt Estelle about a man she slept with. At the time, he didn't comprehend shit like affairs and sex.

When he ma said 'slept' he assumed real sleep, with some other guy that weren't his dad. As far as his six-year-old brain could understand, that meant they would leave his dad behind.

There was nothing in the fucking world that he wanted more at that point than to start a new life and he shot up the stairs to pack his things.

He did that for a week, secretly putting away clothes each night, waiting for his ma to talk about the new man who was going to be his new, better dad who played trucks with him and didn't use the belt.

Until one night, lying in bed, he woke to his parents screaming at each other. Wasn't anything new, neither was his ma crying, but there was something about her sobs that night that turned his stomach and he listened hard to what his dad was shouting over the meaty slap of his punches to his ma's skin.

"Filthy fuckin' whore. Think you can fuck some other guy when your old man ain't gettin' a piece?"

Daryl still didn't know shit about sex or what his dad was saying, but when the cops showed up at the door, he knew it was bad.

The neighbours usually let the Dixon's get on with it because they were all dirty hillbillies who weren't civilized and beat the shit out of each other.

But that night, something about his ma's screams made the neighbours scared. The next day, she came back from the hospital looking the worst he had ever seen her.

A bloated, purple face; black eyes, missing teeth, split lip, broken nose and his dad got locked up for nearly three months, the best months of his life he can ever remember.

Just him, Merle and his ma. She never did tell him or Merle what was hurting her during that time, the full extent of how bad she was injured, but for the blissful weeks they were free of his dad, he saw her clutch her ribs and her belly with a wobbling chin almost every day.

After that, when he was eleven, he heard Merle talking to a friend about a house he had robbed, held the family at gun point.

When he was sixteen, he heard his dad tell a woman he was fucking to 'get rid of it' and he never heard the beginning or the end of the conversation, but he knows that day his dad ordered for the abortion of his brother or sister.

Daryl has always overheard shit he shouldn't have and sometimes they've been harmless, like the time he caught his teacher wanking off in the boy's bathroom.

Sometimes they've been real bad, like his ma and other times, they've just been shit he doesn't want to know, like Merle making plans to rob a bank.

He's gotten used to it. He's quiet and he skulks, turning up in places people don't expect him to, so they go about doing things they wouldn't do if they were aware he was watching or listening.

Once again, he's landed himself in one of those situations because he's caught onto a conversation Maggie and Beth are having.

"- really should tell daddy, Beth. If he finds out himself, he'll be real mad."

"Why? He ain't never gonna see it."

"But someone might an' they might tell him."

"Like who? You think I go gettin' naked 'round here?"

"That's not what I m-"

"Maggie," Beth cuts her off. "Ain't none of your business what I got inked on my body, an' it was way before walkers, a whole other life, so cut it out."

"Hey! I'm still your older sister an'-"

Daryl slowly backs away from the wall he's hidden by and walks away, the damage done. He tries not to give a shit. It's just a tattoo, a secret one but whatever, why should he care?

Except Beth said it was in a place that no one would see and she would have to be naked for anyone to spot it. Where the fuck could that be?

He's been on the road with her all winter, he's seen naked parts of people he never wants to think about again, like Rick's bare ass and a flash of Lori's tits.

He's seen Beth's legs a million times since she's in shorts a lot now and tops that rise a couple of inches off her waist too because she's had a growth spurt and shit barely fits her any more.

It can't be her waist, her stomach or back. Her hips, maybe? Her ass? Her tits?

Shit, he's really got to fucking stop because now he's thinking about parts of Beth Greene he's never thought about before and fuck, he suddenly really wants to see.

"Hey," Beth greets Daryl as he rattles her curtain.

He steps through with a dip of his chin. "Headin' out. Gonna be gone a couple days. You want anythin'?"

She strokes over her book and shrugs. "Some clothes. Anythin', long as they fit."

He nods and she doesn't know why but her stomach flutters when his eyes dip to the t-shirt she's wearing, riding up a little over her hips because she's growing like a damn giant lately.

Whatever it is, a dirty, secret trickle of wetness dampens her panties and she swallows softly, keeping perfectly still so she doesn't squeeze her legs together for some friction.

Daryl hesitates like he means to go but he's debating something. Finally, after Beth's heart has increased to embarrassing levels, he whispers, "anythin' specific, to cover that tat?"

As quick as her heartbeat rose, is as quick as it crashes in her ears. "What?"

He goes a little pink in the face but pushes on, "heard you an' Maggie talkin' 'bout it. Seemed she was on ya case; thought I'd ask 'case I bring you summin' that don't cover it."

Beth's heart pounds in her chest, but she manages to say, "you ain't gonna tell my daddy right?"

Daryl shakes his head with a frown. "Ain't my business."

She sighs in relief. "Thank you, but no, there ain't no clothes you're gonna get me that'll stop me from hidin' it."

He dips his chin again but he still replies, almost violently like he has to force himself, "where is it?"

It's Beth's turn to flush now and for some reason, she has a boost of confidence because she says, "better if I show you."

It's open ended, so he could say no, but he nods. "Alrite."

Standing on shaky legs, she puts her book aside and stands up. When she's facing Daryl, with her face ablaze, she lifts her top.

Daryl's heart comes out of his fucking throat when she pulls her t-shirt up and shows him the tattoo he's been thinking about for fucking weeks.

Almost immediately, his cock is hard as a rock, her skin practically goddamn branded with his name. It's a musical note, shot through with an arrow.

Their symbols.

Her singing and his crossbow, both of them entwined together under her breast, close to her heart like she's already his.

It's madness, fucking insanity, but it's like she's proclaimed herself to be his, to belong to him. All of her. Breasts and tits and ass and God, pussy too.

So he has no fucking clue what gives him the balls to say it, but suddenly he's murmuring, "hope whoever did it is long fuckin' dead girl, 'cause ain't no one seein' this but me."