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It’s dark, the only light is the waxing moon hovering in the sky outside her bedroom window. Beth is sitting on the edge of the bed tugging on her boots. The quiet is too quiet and it feels like she’s suffocating in the unyielding humidity. Rubbing the gauze bandage on her wrist to ease the relentless itching she reminds herself to breathe.


The old farmhouse used to be a safe place, her home. It’s the only one she’s ever known. But when the sun sets and darkness falls it’s no longer the sanctuary it once was. It’s walls and a roof, doors, and windows, it keeps out the nightmare that world has become.


At least for now. But it won’t last. That’s what Rick told her daddy. And she believes him. In fact, after she made the choice to live she also made the choice to stop holding onto the childish notion that her daddy can save her.


No one can save her. She’s gonna have to save herself. She’s going to have to do what she needs to for herself. And right now what she needs is to get out of this house.


She isn’t allowed to have a weapon. Of course, no one is going to trust her with one given that she just cut her own wrist with a piece of broken glass. It was a pathetic attempt at ending her life which she really didn’t want to end at all. So she can’t blame them for that logic. But if she’s leaving the house she needs something…


There’s a baseball bat in her closet. She took it from Shawn’s room when they first started seeing things on T.V., things that tested their belief in reality. She takes the bat and holds it against her body- a weapon. Albeit a simple one.


She can feel a difference in the house as she makes her way down the stairs, avoiding the ones that squeak under pressure. It’s because of the others, Rick’s group. Some of them are staying in the house. It’s not just her, Maggie and their daddy anymore. The rest are out there in the RV and tents. There’s some comfort in that.


Outside it’s easier to breathe. The night air isn’t as heavy. Not like it was in the house. Maybe it’s because out here there’s space and fewer things filling it up. She can see the stars and something about that makes it easier to pretend that there aren’t things ambling around out in the woods that used to be people. People she knew.


Sticking to the shadows, she quietly slips between them, the bat held tightly against her thigh. Her blood is humming with a low key nervousness. She’s never actually killed one of them yet and she’d like to believe she won’t have to. But that’s as foolish as thinking her daddy can save her.


Coming up on the barn the door opens easily. The latch is broken. One of the men, Shane, he broke it. The things that came out used to be people too, people she knew, people she loved. Her brother, her mama. Thinking about that just makes it harder to breathe and the whole reason for sneaking out of the house was to breathe.


Beth hears Nellie’s soft nicker from one of the stalls as she ducks inside the barn door. It’s a familiar sound and the smell of the dust and hay are familiar too. There’s nothing to remind her of what this barn housed a little over two weeks ago except her memories and the broken latch on the door.  Relaxing her arm she leans the bat against the wall intending to go to Nellie, maybe brush her, rub her nose. But then there’s another sound, one she didn’t hear at first. A soft grunt and labored breathing, taking a hold of the bat again she takes a couple of steps toward the back of the barn.


The hay door in the loft is open and moonlight is spilling in. Keeping as quiet as she can she kneels down and peeks around the corner of the last stall. Daryl Dixon, the man who carries the crossbow and never says much. But he watches her, she’s seen that. He’s leaning against the stacked bales of hay. The noises he’s making are alarming and she wonders if he’s hurt if he was in the woods and…


He turns just a little and she can see where his hand is, what it’s doing, why he’s making those noises. Her eyes widen and she bites down on her bottom lip to keep from gasping. She softly exhales the breath she was holding.


What would he do if he catches her watching? He’s always kind of angry- at everyone, and if he sees her or hears her… it probably won’t be pretty.


But she can’t make herself turn around and leave.


Because Daryl’s leaning against the hay bales and his jeans are unzipped and pushed down around his hips. His cock is in his hand, fingers wrapped around it and he’s stroking it slowly up and down.

As she watches he swipes his thumb across the tip, rubs a bead of pre-come in a spiraling circle around the head. Then he’s thrusting fully into his fist, raspy breaths coming quick and tight.


This is better than any video she might have snuck on her phone late at night back in that world where the internet existed. It’s definitely better than Jimmy’s feeble attempts to impress her with his manhood that fell short of man. But Jimmy isn’t a man, not like Daryl Dixon.


She feels her body flush with a heat that isn’t unfamiliar. It’s not like she hasn’t noticed and thought about Daryl in a certain way. He came riding up to the farm on that loud motorcycle and tried so hard to find that lost little girl. He’s strong and capable and she has the feeling he’d teach her to save herself. Wouldn’t act like she’s incapable. He’s a survivor and she wants to survive.


The hay rustles as Daryl tips his head back, he’s back to stroking himself, strong fingers trailing up and down his shaft, the muscles in his arm bunching and releasing as he moves his hand. With his other hand, he reaches down and cups his balls gently massaging them. Beth finds herself wondering if they’re soft, what it would feel like to hold them in her hand… shivering she licks her lips and presses herself against the wooden stall squirming against her boots.


Daryl’s jaw is clenched and he’s stroking himself faster now. Beth can see a light sheen of sweat glistening on his forehead and he’s grunting as his hips meet his fist. His jeans have slid further down and she can see the taut muscles of his stomach as he pushes his t-shirt up. He’s getting close. He’s gonna finish, he’s gonna come. That thought has her head spinning because she wants to watch, wants it more than anything right now. Squeezing her thighs together her own arousal increasing she sighs without thinking about the sound and her eyes flick to his face hoping he’s too preoccupied with himself to have heard her.


He is. And if she thought he was something to behold riding up on that bike of his, all dangerous and wild, what she’s seeing now is even better. He whimpers as he pushes his t-shirt up even further and leans back a little pulling his cock up against his belly and focusing on the head, rubbing it with two fingers and a thumb until he’s whining and breathing heavy.


“Fuck… yeah.. uh…” He’s saying things and she imagines it's her name on his lips as he comes across his belly body tense against the hay bales. Shifting she moves back a little her own chest rising and falling as he takes a long shuddering breath. The creak of another door alerts them both but Daryl just lounges where he is still gripping his softening cock. His eyes flick to Rick as the man comes around the stack of hay bales. Daryl’s in no hurry to cover himself and Beth cringes back, blushing furiously, this man who is always so guarded is looking at Rick in a way that seems more intimate than what she just saw.


She needs to go, scoot out of here as quickly as she can before she gets caught by the both of them. Sweet little Beth Greene spying on Daryl Dixon jerking off and Rick coming in and the both of them acting like it’s nothing…


“Coulda found someone to do that for you…” Rick’s voice cuts through the silence and Beth refuses to listen to the little voice screaming in her head to just leave and leans forward again. Daryl’s standing now, tucking his limp cock into his jeans.


“Nah,” he says and she can see he’s purposely avoiding the other man’s eyes.


“She’s young Daryl.” This seems to get to him and he looks up at Rick his blue eyes flashing. “Her daddy wouldn’t like it,” he adds.


“Think I ain’t aware a that?! Why the fuck ya think I’m out here jerking off in the barn instead a climbin’ in her window?” Daryl says. “It ain’t like that, she ain’t…”


Beth came outside to get some air, to breathe and that’s become impossible because she thinks, she’s pretty sure they’re talking about her.


She imagined him whispering her name while he touched himself, thought it was just her little fantasy. Something she could take with her back to her room. But she never, she never… Scooting back slowly because now she definitely needs to go.


“You like her.”  But she can’t go. Yet.


“She’s a good thing. World’s a fuckin’ nightmare but Beth… she’s a good thing.”


“Yeah, she is.” Rick’s smile turns her tummy into butterflies and she holds her breath as the two men walk out through the back down of the barn.


Daryl likes her. And she doesn’t think her daddy would like it at all if he knew. But he doesn’t have to know. She decided she was going to save herself and Daryl likes her and if she asks him to teach her… a few things…


She’s young but she’s not a child and Daryl Dixon may very well be the person who can help her save herself.