There's something seriously wrong with her.
Okay, so maybe that's an overstatement but Beth knows that after Grady she wasn't the same. If she's being honest with herself, the change started way before Atlanta, it began with him. It was the little things at first, not flinching when Daryl stuck a knife in the fleshy parts of a walkers head, not wanting to puke anytime she saw half bodies dragging themselves across the forest, and then it became not being afraid to kill a walker on her own, she’d always been strong but she hadn't been fully capable until her time with him. And then finally the little things added up until one day it became murder, Beth’s never liked sugarcoating anything and that's exactly what she did.
She’d killed two men at the hospital, even if they had been the lowest of the low, they’d still been living people. And she would have killed Dawn if the other woman hadn't shot her first.
So yeah, maybe Beth has been changing for a while now, just like Daryl had said but she's pretty sure what she's feeling now is completely new. It's something a little dark and dangerous, which is laughable because the entire world now is dark and dangerous. But this new desire has Beth feeling all sorts of ways she's never have before, it would seem silly to anyone else but deep down Beth is still that girl on the farm and Daryl is still kind and gentle.
It all starts one day after she has a talk with Carol. The older woman asks her about her time with Daryl and Beth gives her the heavily edited version, it's not like anything bad went on but she knows that people would talk if she told them about the way Daryl had treated her in that moonshine shack. She can't imagine what they would say if she told them about the way he used his strength, the way he tried to intimidate her by using force. And even then, Beth knew Daryl would never hurt her, he’d just been frustrated with their situation and it didn't make it right but Beth understood.
So she can't even think about how scandalized everyone would be if she told them that she’d like it. Not then of course but after, in the cold dredges of Grady she had laid in her bed and replayed that day over and over. She remembered the way his thick arms felt going across her chest, how easily he’d pulled her outside. It was the first time a man had stood so close to her, a man , not Jimmy and not even Zack had felt that way. Daryl had felt solid and big and warm against her back, she remembered the way his belt buckle had dug into her lower back and sometimes in between those lonely nights when she could see Gorman’s lecherous eyes in her head she would think about Daryl instead, and imagine how things could have easily gone a different way.
Maybe if she had been a different type of woman she would have pushed back, her eyes full of fire, easily mistaken for desire. And then maybe if Daryl had been a different kind of man he would have shoved her against the rickety wall of the shack, he would have used his meaty hands to squeeze her tits and Beth would have bit and scratched and the two would have fucked like beasts with a dead man watching.
But at the time it had been a fantasy, something that felt like it had happened to someone else, and then Beth was shot and she didn't see her family for nearly a year. And now, those kinds of thoughts seem out of place; they seem oddly disturbing in the picket white fence sort of place that is Alexandria.
And Daryl, sweet gentle Daryl, who would never think of intentionally hurting her; Beth can't fathom what he might think of her sordid fantasies. But if there's anything she's learned about him is that she can tell him anything and he won't ever judge her for it, more often than not Daryl will go along with whatever she wants. So after her shift on the wall she decides to go looking for him, she'll talk and he’ll listen and they’ll go from there.
Only her plan is botched when she reaches their little house. Daryl had picked it out for them, the farthest from the rest of the people in Alexandria; it's practically in the woods, and he's sitting on the back porch, smoking.
Nothing out of the ordinary, really. But the way he looks sitting in the wooden rocking chair they set outside, with the low, red, light of the setting sun making his dark hair look like fire. His sprawl is completely relaxed but to Beth he looks like a big predator, legs spread and forearms heavy on the armrests, the only movement coming from the almost hypnotic gesture of his forearm lifting and the cigarette touching his lips. He inhales deeply and it only makes his sharp cheekbones even more prominent, Beth feels herself give a tiny shudder and she almost moans when he finally speaks.
“You gonna stand there all day?” he asks, his voice scratchy and deep.
She could have stood there for hours, watching him if he'd only let her. But she shakes her head and walks up the remaining steps on the porch, only to drop to her knees between his spread legs.
His free hand automatically goes to the nape of her neck, “Y’aright?”
She nods, “Hmm-mmm,” and places her hands on his thighs. He takes another drag off his cigarette and blows the smoke upwards, so it doesn't hit her face. Beth nuzzles her face against his thigh and Daryl keeps running his fingers through her hair, the touch isn't meant to be sexual, it's intimate and soft but Beth can still feel that familiar tingle start up between her legs.
“You sure y’aright?” Daryl asks again, and she can't blame him for sounding so worried, she's hardly said two words when normally she would be talking up a storm of the things she saw while sat high up on the walls.
“Yes,” she responds, her voice slightly muffled, “I’m just---”
He waits for her to continue but when she doesn't he gives her ponytail a tug, “What is it?”
Beth lifts her head from his thigh and looks straight at him, “You trust me, don't you?”
He nods without a second thought, and it makes Beth smile, “And you trust me to give you the things you like, right?”
“And do you trust me to push you into things that might be weird at first, but that I wanna do?”
Daryl puts out his cigarette on one of the armrest, the wood baring many similar marks, “Sure,” he says, looking at her with a seriousness in his eyes that wasn't there previously.
“Even if it might hurt me?”
He sucks in a sharp inhale of breath, and Beth almost stops herself from telling him what she truly wants, but Daryl raises both his hands and cups her jaw, his thumb brushes her bottom lip, “What do you need?”
“I think I should show you first,” Beth responds, her hands go to his wrists and she takes his hands and peppers soft kisses on his knuckles. She turns his hands over and kisses his palms. Beth trails open mouthed kisses from his wrist to his forearm, and finally lands on his bicep, the one with the tattoo.
She bites down hard on his muscle and Daryl hisses in pain. She looks up at him from beneath her eyelashes and his pupils are blown wide, only a thin ring of blue surrounding the black.
“I want you to hold me down when you fuck me,” she tells him, and soothes the bite with the flat of her tongue, “I want you to use your strength,” she says, and the heady taste of his sweat is already making her wet. Daryl is breathing heavily now, his big body heaving with his breaths, he's looking at her like he wants to eat her alive and Beth grins because she was silly to think that Daryl wouldn't like whatever she came up with.
“Y’want me to fuck you hard?” he asks, and she nods enthusiastically.
“Want me to use you?”
“Oh, god yes!” Beth almost moans, and Daryl doesn't leave her much choice when he stands abruptly from his seat. He looms over her like something dangerous, his eyes covered behind his long hair, his body blocking the only source of light from a little gas lamp set beside the chair.
“C’mon,” he rasps, and bends down to pull her up by her arm, just like he did in the moonshine shack so many nights ago.
He pulls her through the front door, shuts it close and drags her to their bedroom, literally, her feet skim the hardwood floor and butterflies erupt in her belly. Beth thinks he might order her to strip, or maybe suck him off first but he does neither. Daryl shoves her inside their room, her boots skidding on the hardwood floor with the force of it all, Beth stumbles and just as she’s about to regain her footing Daryl grabs her by the arms. His fingers tighten painfully on the soft skin of her biceps, his hands so big they can practically span the whole of her arm.
“This what you want?” he asks, his voice shaking with emotion and Beth immediately feels like she’s made a mistake, “You want me to what? Treat you like a whore? Hit you?” and then his voice does break a little and Beth feels tears springing to her eyes. She hadn’t stopped to think about how this would make Daryl feel, she assumed that he would go along with it it for her sake but Beth hadn’t given one thought to what he might think. She remembers what he’s told her of his mother and father, the closed fists and fat lips his mother would sport, he’s told her about the anger and the hate and how he wished he’d been bigger so he could defend his ma.
“It wouldn’t be like that,” Beth tells him, unaware that she hadn’t spoken her reasoning out loud, “Not hateful, I don’t want you angry, I want you whole.”
His grip loosens at her words and he looks confused but at least he doesn’t look a minute away from breaking down. “I don’t want to hurt you, Daryl, I want--” Beth trails off, she looks up at him and in the dim light of their room she can see every single line and freckle and sunspot that adorns his face, he looks tired but he’s still the most handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on. Beth places her hands on his chest, her fingers stroking the skin between the buttons of his plaid shirt.
“I want you to be rough, I might even want you to hurt me a little,” she says, and Daryl’s brow furrows, “but I want to do it because it’s fun , because it’s a little dangerous, but most of all I want to do it because I want you to know how much I trust you.”
He shakes his head, “I already know that.”
“Not in this.”
He looks at her like she just told him the meaning of life, and it dawns on Beth that Daryl might not even be aware of this side of things. It makes sense that he would equate this type of stuff to be borderline abusive, how would he ever have known that this could be a form of playing when all he’s ever known is the bad side.
“Like—like pretend?” he asks, unsure of her meaning.
“Yes! Sex doesn’t have to be soft and quiet all the time,” she tells him, a slight blush staining her cheeks.
“Thought you liked it,” he tells her, chewing on his lower lip.
“I do!,” Beth responds, grabbing hold of his hand, “I like it a lot, it’s sweet, but sometimes I just want… more.”
“But you want me to hit you.”
Yes, well no, no, not like that,” Beth sighs, “I wish we still had the internet,” she mumbles, aware that if she could show him he would understand.
“Okay, can we put this on hold? I’ll figure something out,” she tells him, “I want this to be good for both of us, I know it can be good for both of us.”
Daryl rubs the back of her hand with his thumb, he’s calmed down but she can still sense some of that anxiety within him, yet still, he nods pulls her close and kisses her forehead, “A”right, let me know when you’re ready.”
Beth almost cries with relief, he’s so understanding and she’s been aware of his love for her for months now but she didn’t think it was so deep. In turn, Beth didn’t think she could love Daryl as much as she does in that instant, guess she was wrong.