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Mornings were the hardest without her. In those first few moments of consciousness, before reality set in and panic swelled in his chest, he would think that it was still just him and her, on the run, looking for something but running from everything. He would think of the funeral home, the casket he lay in soft and warm, her voice echoing throughout the halls. Or, hell, sometimes he would think he was back at the prison, and would hear her singing sweet melodies to Judith in the early dawn light.

Now, mornings are nice. Quiet. Still. Usually, they sleep outside, under the trees. He’ll wake with dew on his fingertips and his nose in her hair. She’ll stir, stretch, and burrow her face into his collarbone, lips murmuring against his threadbare flannel. Camp is always quiet around them, save the crackling of the fire and the shuffling of whoever is on watch. His bones are tired, worn and weary, and he wants nothing more than to hold her in her arms from the time the sun rises and sets.

This morning, he muses, he might get to do just that, if only for a little while.

His eyes blink open slowly, his eyelashes blurring the cedar planks and window panes above him. His limbs are heavy, fingers twitching as he wakes. His lungs inhale and exhale as he lightly stretches his limbs under the soft cotton sheets.

Daryl turns his head and places a soft kiss on the crown of her forehead and lets his lips rest there.

He’s never felt so relaxed, never felt more thankful for this cabin in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere, South Carolina. Never felt more thankful for Rick and Glenn’s stubbornness in not allowing him to take watch that night. Daryl, you’ve taken watch more than any of us combined, they had argued. You need to rest. And when she had taken his hand and lightly pulled him towards the staircase, he hadn’t obliged.

He closes his eyes, letting them rest for a little while longer. He starts to smile when he feels the bed shift, a low feminine grunt, and a yawn that follows.

Wrapping an arm around his waist, she pulls herself closer, her head resting on his shoulder, her nose burrowing into his neck. She kisses his collarbone softly, her lips working their way up his neck. She stops at the juncture of his neck and jaw, tugging the skin between her teeth.

His breath hitches when her hand crawls its way down his chest and abdomen and into his boxer briefs. She takes him in hand, and he can practically feel the blood vessels in his cock swell. He can feel her smiling against his neck as she rubs him up and down, the foreskin moving back and forth in her palm. He groans as she grips him tighter and speeds up, her pace causing the burn in his lower stomach to intensify.

However, he knows that this isn’t all for him. Not wanting her to have all the fun, he smoothly flips her over and kisses her deeply. He pulls back, and he feels something warm come over him as he stares into her sleepy, lake water blue eyes under him. She pulls him back down for another kiss, her lips moving soundly under his. He smirks as she inhales sharply against his mouth when his fingers wiggle their way into her panties and over her damp slip.

He knows what she likes. He knows - although she pretends otherwise - that she likes a little bit of teasing, how his fingers move lightly over her labia, how they tangle with her pubic hair. He knows she likes it when he moves his palm slowly but firmly over her clit, how she would rather take it slow and hard than fast and fleeting. He knows he’s doing his job right as her mouth forms a perfect O shape, how her eyes threaten to flutter close but stay steadily trained on him.

She clenches her jaw and pushes his hands away, tugging her panties down her legs frantically. He follows suit by pulling his shorts down below his ass and lightly grips his rock hard cock in hand, lining it up to her cunt. He glances up at her, and when she nods her head, he pushes in.

The whimper he pulls out of her is music to his ears.

She lifts her legs and lock her feet behind his lower back, allowing him to fuck her deeper. Her tight, wet heat around him is almost unbearable. He doesn’t even want to think about the noises she’s pulling out of him.

She pants and whimpers, her pitch getting higher the faster he fucks. When he sneaks a hand down to her clit, she pulls his face down to hers to muffle the moans against his mouth.

When she comes, she flutters around him, her cunt squelching and gripping him tighter. She keens and exhales noisily as her orgasm takes over. He kisses her pebbled nipples, drawing another moan from her.

His incoming orgasm tugs at his abdomen. He grunts and pulls out, wrapping a hand over his cock and spilling on her lower stomach. She’s still panting and quivering as he settles down on top of her, cradled between her thighs, careful not to crush her petite frame. She hums and scratches the nape of his neck lightly with blunted nails.

“Good morning,” Beth murmurs, muffling a yawn in his shoulder.

Daryl smiles and places a kiss on the corner of her mouth. “Mornin’.” Settling up on his forearms, he reaches to the bedside table and grabs a tissue from a dusty Kleenex box. He gently wipes his come from her stomach and - after a moment - his as well.

Beth smiles all the while, and after he’s tossed the tissue onto the table she pulls him back down again, pushing him onto his back and curling up on his chest. “This is nice,” she exhales, settling her cheek on his warm chest.

He grunts in agreement.

They lay there listening to the quiet noises of their family downstairs. Daryl closes his eyes, opens, and stares into the skylight above the bed. “Looks like rain,” he comments, pulling Beth closer.

Beth hums. “Weren’t we supposed to go hunting this morning?”

He smirks. “Yeah. Let’s go later.” The words feel foreign on his lips, but there’s nothing more he’d rather do than lay in this bed, listen to the rain, and hold his favorite person in his arms.