Disclaimer: A nod to the genius Robert Kirkman for creating this wonderfully dark, post-apocalyptic world. I do not own or have rights to any of the characters/plot of this series. I'm simply a fan indulging in my post-apocalyptic fantasies.
THANK YOU to my amazing BETA Nicole for editing this! She's the best! XOXO
I got invited to write a oneshot for a fic exchange! First ever! This story was inspired by the prompt (Jealous Daryl) I was given by Quickfinger82 for PrintDust's holiday fic exchange!
A/N: I didn't get any writing done this past week, but I wrote this little oneshot two weeks ago and I decided to post it for my Sunday post. I'm hoping to have the next chapter of H.O.P.E. complete this week and I'll post whatever day it's finished. I'll also be posting my writing schedule so you guys can know when to expect updates!
Also...I decided to start writing my own book! I'll be posting more information about it on the next chapter of H.O.P.E., but to anyone and everyone who has encouraged me to try my hand as something original, THANK YOU! You guys have been so amazing and I cannot express my gratitude enough!
In case I don't get the chapter of H.O.P.E. written by Thursday to post I just want to say...I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS (or whatever other holiday you celebrate this time of year)! I love you all and thank you for being such loyal readers! XOXO
Daryl sharpened his blade against a whet stone in an attempt to keep his hands busy. The group that had left for a supply run was over a day late. It wasn't normally that much of a concern for those out trading supplies to be a little past their scheduled return, but a whole day was worrisome.
"Any sign of 'em?" Rick asked as he entered the guard station.
"Nah. Been quiet all afternoon," Daryl answered making another long swipe down the whet stone.
"I'm sure she just wanted to stay and visit a little longer," Rick stated confidently.
"Yeah," Daryl wasn't completely convinced.
"Beth's knows what she's doin'. She's been in charge of the supply runs for over a year and been goin' out there longer than that. She'll be alright," Rick patted his shoulder and Daryl appreciated the gesture.
"I know she's capable," Daryl huffed, "It's her worryin' for everyone else's safety instead 'ah her own that concerns me."
Rick's soft laughter only further annoyed the brooding redneck.
"Sounds like someone else I know," Rick squeezed his shoulder and pulled away, "I'm sure she's just spendin' some extra time with her nephew. They'll be back soon."
Daryl glanced up and squinted his eyes.
Off in the distance he could see a few horses in the distance and rose from his seated position.
"Seems you're right," Daryl said walking past him to stand at the gates.
As they approached Daryl realized the wagon was missing while Rosita pulled a horse behind her and suddenly there was a sense of urgency in their arrival. A flash of blond caught his attention and he noticed that Beth was riding without a saddle, on a different horse than she usually rode, bracing someone between her slender arms. There was a rush of voices barking out orders to have people ready for the group when they reached the gates.
"What tha' hell happened," Daryl asked as he helped the younger man out of Beth's hold.
"We ran into 'ah herd," her tone sounds as exhausted as she looks.
Handing the man off to be taken to their med bay, Daryl reached back up for Beth. She slid into his arms and had it not been for his hold, he was sure she would have collapsed on the ground. Her clothes clung to her and her hair was soaked around her face from her exertion, mirroring the appearance of her horse.
"Brody's horse bucked him off. I jumped down to keep the walkers off of him, but there were so many," her voice took a hollow tone, "I held Doc's reins, trying to keep him away from the walkers, but they got him on the leg."
Doc had been Beth's favorite horse. When she wasn't at home, he could find her at the stables, making sure her horse had food and water. If it had been after a particularly long supply run she would take extra time to groom him; cleaning his hooves, bathing him to wash away the sweat and grime, and trimming his mane and braiding his tail to keep it out of the reach of walkers as best she could. Daryl sometimes found himself being jealous of that horse.
"I made it quick," her voice shook as she pulled the pistol out of the holster on her hip and Daryl knew one of the bullets had been used for Doc, "While they were…busy with Doc, I cut the horses loose from the wagon and Rosita helped me get Brody on one of 'em. She pulled the other behind her."
Daryl knew she was putting up a strong front and likely fall to pieces as soon as they were behind closed doors, but he was proud of her nonetheless. She had acted quickly and likely saved the lives of not only a member of Alexandria, someone's child and older brother, but also some of their livestock. She had sacrificed a piece of her heart to get everyone back safe.
"Come'on. Let's get you cleaned up," he could tell her mask was beginning to crumble and shifted her arm over his shoulder to support her weight.
Little did Daryl know that the incident with Beth was already being spread through the community and the loss of Beth's horse would be the least of his problems.
The first time Daryl noticed a boost in Beth's popularity was when she'd gone to the 'market' to restock their cupboards.
They'd never outright discussed sharing their residence, it had just happened. After Maggie and Glenn moved to Hilltop, Beth found herself at his place more often than not. She didn't like to be alone any more than he did and with space beginning to get tight as more and more people joined their community, Daryl had come home one day to find a blond haired, blue-eyed girl unpacking all of the meager possessions she had owned from her tattered backpack. After that, Beth never left, and Daryl didn't mind.
He was standing across the road, getting a report on the herd that had attacked Beth's group a few days earlier when he noticed a younger man offering to help her carry her items home. It had been the same younger man Beth had brought back home, unconscious, and had ultimately cost the life of her precious friend. The look on her face was one of confusion and she politely declined his offer. Daryl hadn't had time to fully process the situation because it had been just a few moments later that she had unloaded one of the woven baskets they owned, full of vegetables, in his arms and they were walking back home.
He'd grumbled under his breath the entire way, but Beth had seemed oblivious to the extra attention. Brushing off the incident when her fingers laced through his as they walked down the road, Daryl had spent the rest of the day trying to keep her occupied and the memory of a certain dark brown, quarter horse out of her thoughts.
Even with the horse dead…he still had to compete with Doc for Beth's attention.
The second time Daryl had noticed that Beth had an admirer was a common occurrence over the course of the next two weeks. Beth had been spending extra time with her supply runners as well as meeting with the herders to make sure their runs always coincided after the walkers had been lead away from the trade routes. He knew the meetings were a necessary precaution, as their last encounter with the undead could have been much more volatile, but it seemed like every time he saw Beth…that guy was at her side.
It hadn't bothered him at first, because they were in the same group after all, but then he'd seen the way her shadow looked at her. Beth, being Beth, was completely oblivious to the man's longing stares, but Daryl had noticed. He had noticed how close the supply runner would walk beside her or how the younger man continued conversing with her for as long as he possibly could. He'd even had the nerve to come 'escort' her to one of the meeting while Daryl had been standing right beside her. She had refused, explaining that she wanted to spend a few extra minutes with Daryl before attending the meeting, and her admirer gave a nod, and Daryl a quick once over, before turning and walking away.
Daryl had been ready to jump the guy when Beth tugged him into the shadowed alley way between two buildings and they'd made the most of the few minutes of free time she'd had left. Mollified, Daryl had tried to push the fact that he hadn't been seen as a threat out of his mind.
Beth's fingers in his hair and name on her lips had made the task effortless.
Daryl's mood had gradually begun to sour during the past month. The past few days he'd been more on edge, especially short fused, and had even verbally lashed out at Beth a few times because of his pent up frustration. However the third and final straw for Daryl in regards to Beth's not-so-subtle admirer happened at the gates.
She'd lead a group on another supply run, the first since the incident with the herd, and as they approached the gates the man, who had become the bane of his existence, hopped down from his horse and offered Beth a hand climbing down from her saddle. She had ignored his offer and climbed down on her own, but Daryl had seen the way the man's hands had lingered close by.
Daryl clenched his jaw so tightly it made his head hurt and balled his hands into fists. The moment her eyes found his, she turned to the younger man beside her said a few words, and then made her way to him through the crowd.
"Hey," she said with a smile.
Daryl's glare turned from the man down to Beth.
"Are you still mad about the other day?" She asked while her eyes danced over his face.
In all honesty, he couldn't even remember what the argument had been about, but he knew they had parted on bad terms. It had killed him the entire time she was gone because both of them had been too stubborn to make things right. The thought of something happening while they were out there, kept him up at night. He would never be able to live with the memory that in their last moments together they had been fighting. The worst part was he knew he had jumped at the first opportunity to fight with her because he didn't know how else to address the uncertainties he was dealing with. Thus, seeing her at the gates, alive and well should have been a wonderful moment, if he hadn't let a certain supply runner ruin it for him.
Realizing Beth was still expecting an answer and not trusting his voice, Daryl shook his head to say 'no.'
"Umm…good then," she furrowed her brows, obviously not buying his answer.
"I've got to drop off the report to Rick. Wanna' come with me?" She pulled a folded up piece of paper from her back pocket.
Daryl didn't bother replying and turned to make his way toward Rick's quarters.
Beth fell into step beside him, not bothering to try and make small talk, and he could feel her dejection from their reunion. She'd been gone for three days, taking supplies to Hilltop as well as visiting with Glenn, Maggie, and her nephew Hershel. It was the longest she'd been gone in a while and though he'd never admit it to her, it had been nearly a solid seventy-two hours since he'd been able to sleep.
Reaching the gate to Rick's house, Daryl decided to wait at the gate, giving a small wave while Beth passed along her information. By the time she'd finished, Daryl felt calmer than he had when they arrived. As they walked home, he tried to think of a way to start his apology. He knew he needed to explain his behavior, but everything he imagined in his head failed to grasp the full extent of his inner demons. Beth was unusually quiet as well which did absolutely nothing to boost his morale.
As their house came into view, Daryl steeled himself for the calamity that would occur as soon as they entered their home.
"What tha' hell is goin' on with you?" Beth huffed as she closed the door to their house.
"I dunno' what you're talkin' about," Daryl grouched while marching to the bedroom.
He did know, however he hadn't come up with a way to put his apprehensions into words.
"I'm talkin' about the whole 'I look like I'm ready to kill somethin'' vibe that you've got goin' on lately," she replied as she followed behind him. "Everyone knows you can be an ass, but this has gone on long enough."
"I could give a shit what everyone else thinks 'ah me," Daryl spat, dropping his crossbow with much more force than necessary.
"Daryl…" Beth sighed, "What's wrong?"
Taking a deep breath he turned to her and scowled. When her face, full of genuine hurt and distress, didn't falter, he felt his glare slip.
"Talk to me," she urged barely above a whisper.
His shoulders sagged in defeat, "I jus' don't like him."
"Who?" Beth's brows furrowed in confusion.
"That…guy…one that you brought in on tha' horse that one time," Daryl threw and arm up as he spoke.
"You mean Brody?" Beth questioned in a tone of disbelief, "He's part of my crew. I think he's got a soft spot for me-"
"Oh he's got more than that for ya'," Daryl grumbled.
"-but he's just 'ah friend. I 'saved his life' and he feels like he owes me or somethin'. I dunno'. It's nothin' t'worry about though," Beth tried to sound comforting.
"You see it that way, but I seen tha' way he looks at you," Daryl hissed and ground his teeth together.
There was a lull in the conversation before Beth let out a small laugh.
"Daryl Dixon," she planted her hands on her hips and held a smirk on her lips, "Are you…jealous?"
"I ain't jealous. I jus' don't share well with others," Daryl countered immediately.
"That sounds exactly like jealousy t'me," Beth sassed.
"Tha' prick needs t'go find his own girl t'chase. Should be pretty obvious you're spoken for," Daryl grumbled with his arms crossed, "And I ain't jealous."
Since the day she had returned, unharmed and completely capable to taking care of herself and her group, Daryl had felt uneasy. It wasn't the fact that she was capable, but the fact that he no longer felt like she needed him. Add to that all the attention Brody had been giving her, the time she'd been spending with the supply runners to ensure that what had happened a few weeks ago never happened again, and the fact that he had his own responsibilities in Alexandria that kept him from being able to watch her back on those runs had all begun to weigh on him. Brody was there for her when it should be him. Beth must have connected the dots between his words and his thoughts from the change in her expression.
"Ya' know…I think that's the most romantic thing you've ever said to me," Beth's teasing smirk quickly turning into a full smile.
"Yeah, well don't get used to it," Daryl brushed off her sentiments while they tugged at his heartstrings.
As Beth approached him, renowned Greene determination expressed clearly on her features, Daryl held his ground.
"I'll talk to Brody tomorrow and make it very clear to him that I'm not interested. I'll tell him t'back off," she said while standing in front of him.
"Do whatever ya' want," Daryl shrugged, but he knew Beth had seen right through his nonchalance.
"A lil' jealousy is healthy. Means you're afraid of losin' your significant other," she said with a lilt to her voice while rising up on her toes to reach him, "Also sounds like you need a reminder on where I keep my heart."
Any reply to her statement was swallowed as her lips pressed against his. With each step she took forward, he matched taking a step back, and it wasn't long before he felt the edge of the bedframe press against the back of his legs.
A gentle shove and Daryl found himself sitting on the plush mattress, while bright blue eyes shined knowingly as she climbed onto his lap. His thoughts melted away as warm hands began roaming and soft lips left trails of fire on his skin.
Daryl had claimed that he wasn't afraid of anything. That he was used to things being bad and he didn't need to depend on anyone for anything, but that had changed. She had become such an irrevocably important part of his life that the thought of her no longer being by his side…no longer being his…was inconceivable. So there was in fact one thing in this world that he feared…
Daryl Dixon was afraid of losing Beth Greene…and he might've been a little jealous.
A/N: Hope you guys enjoyed this and have a restful holiday season!