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Ain't No Prince Charming

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16 year-old-Beth POV

Beth had always dreamed of finding her prince charming. As a little girl she would dress up like a princess and twirl all around the kitchen. She watched all the Disney movies. She wanted to be just like Ariel or Mulan or Snow White. She would sing Disney songs in the shower as a young girl, belting out the lyrics, a bit off-key.

As she got older, her silly notions toned down, but she would still sit in her room and look out the window at the farm, fantasizing about the boy she would meet one day that would sweep her off her feet. When she watched romantic movies with her girlfriends, she would picture herself in place of the heroine. The blonde devoured Pride and Prejudice like nothing else in her world existed, sighing over the description of Mr. Darcy.

When Beth sang love songs, she felt the words down to her very soul. Every time she spotted a rose, she imagined what it would be like if someday someone cared enough about her to give her one. Her family all laughed, always saying that she had her head up in the clouds, but Beth didn’t mind.

The daydreams were always different. In math class her head came up with scenario where a man of noble birth came riding up on a horse, sweeping her off her feet and they rode off into the sunset. In English, she dreamed about a smartly dressed business man meeting her at a little coffee shop and them hitting it off. In science, she conjured up singing in front of an audience, only to be noticed by a very handsome music producer, who asked her out to dinner. The man and the scenario were always different. However, one theme remained the same, her love interest was always clean-cut, smartly dressed, eloquent, and looked at her with love and understanding.

19-year-old-Beth POV

“What the fuck ya starin at me like that for,” drawls her gruff companion, his eyebrows knitting together, staring at her from across the little fire with could be considered hostility if she didn’t know better.

Never in Beth’s wildest dreams had she come up with anyone like Daryl Dixon as her Prince Charming. He always wore shirts with the sleeves ripped off, his hair hung down in a scraggly mess, and more often than not he was covered in blood and dirt. He hadn’t showered or bathed in who knows how long and seemed proud of that fact. Often, Beth witnessed him walking around with dead forest creatures hanging from his belt like spoils of war. Even when he was sleeping, he was usually armed to the teeth.

“Nothing,” she blushes, too embarrassed to consider telling the rough man her thoughts.

“Hunh,” the older man grunts, as he cleans the sharp end of his bolt on his t-shirt, leaving long streaks of blood behind.

The blonde looks into the fire in front of her rather than directly at his face. She had never imagined falling for someone like Daryl, however, it had just sorta happened. It wasn’t like in the movies or the books, where fireworks went off or sparks flew when they touched. Honestly for the first year Beth had known Daryl she had been a bit hesitant to even talk to the rough archer. During their time at the prison she had come to learn that he wasn’t trying to be mean or rude, he was just normally quiet and to himself except when he had something to say. When Daryl Dixon had something to say though, there was no beating around the bush.

She had come to respect him at the prison, the way he looked out for everyone and worked tirelessly, the way he was always the first to sign up for a mission. Often when the others were sleeping, he would take the watch post, making sure they were safe until morning. Then, she had begun to see his softer side, the way he held baby Judith and chuckled at her like she was his own. The times he would come and check on her and see if she or the child needed anything when he went out on a run.

She thinks feelings first changed from respect to something more when they sat out on the porch after drinking moonshine. The blonde almost wants to laugh at how her younger self would have gasped at the idea of her future romance including moonshine and shooting walkers and talking about people who did drugs from Daryl’s past. That was how it happened though. The young woman wouldn’t trade all the bright lights and pretty dresses in the world for sitting on that porch, listening to Daryl finally open up just a bit about his past.

The blonde smiles over at Daryl at the memory, who is now picking his nails with his pocket knife. She gets up to go through her pack, check her rations and make sure she has enough water. As she opens the backpack, a pretty white flower falls out. She looks at it for a moment before picking it up. She had commented to the archer just the other day about how beautiful some flowers were a ways off the path. He had snorted at her and told her they didn’t have time to make a detour just to look at some stupid flowers. With a grin on her face, puts the flower in her hair and goes and sits down beside Daryl. When he doesn’t say anything, she scoots closer and he arches an eyebrow causes her to giggle.

Maybe he wasn’t the Prince Charming Beth had imagined, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. When he scooped Beth up in his arms or gave her a piggyback ride, she felt like a princess. When he tried to put together breakfast for the first time in probably his entire life, just to make her happy, it was more breath-taking than any fireworks. The looks he sometimes gave her, like at the funeral home table, they told her more than any long, well-practiced speech. When he had first handed her his crossbow, literally his most important possession in the entire world, it was more magical than being given a ring.

The blonde bumps her knee against Daryl’s, which elicts a mumble that sounds something like “whatdoyawant”.

“Just wanted to tell you that you are pretty great,” she says, suddenly wrapping him in a hug that surprises even herself.

The hunter freezes under her touch, every muscle taunt and high-strung. After a few moments, he gives in and wraps an arm around her.

“Ya gone crazy,” he states, when she let him go, spitting onto the ground after he finishes the statement, “always knew it was gonna happen.”

“You really know how to compliment a girl,” Beth replies sarcastically.

“I ain’t never said I was some Prince Charming,” he snorts in his self-depreciating way, going back to working on his fingernails.

“Prince Charming is overrated anyway,” Beth says with a grin, leaning in and giving him a kiss on the cheek.