On cue, his hands drift down of their own accord, ghosting over her bare torso. Overzealous fingertips slide over ribs and lean muscle. The weak bedside lamp doesn't provide much light, but he doesn't need it he's memorized every inch of her skin over the last few months. He feels the scars, the worst ones stand out sharply on her face; still pink and jagged, even after all this time.
It hadn't started like this, the sex. It hadn't been easy and she'd not opened up. It was a bit of a blur but he remembers the pain of watching her - the blood dribbling down the corner of her mouth to pool in the hollow of neck. It's sharp and painful, the flash of memory. The bullet ricocheting off the side of her head, her weight sagging, the burning pain of carrying her dying body down the never ending stairs of Grady Memorial.
Though the panic is what he remembers most, a cold river of anxiety threatens to pull him under, even to this day. He looks at her and is reminded that she survived, he doesn't know how and it wasn't an easy process but he took care of her.
This time though, she's fussing over him.
Daryl hisses at the burn of ice against his beaten skin, flinching away and banging his elbow on the edge of the kitchen table. Beth tuts rolling her eyes, handing him the tea towel -wrapped cold compress to do it himself. He always makes the worst patient, Beth reminds herself - every time.
He can't help but stare, it's been happening more and more often since she came back to herself. What he sees is familiar, but different somehow, it's something he can't quite place.
She's blonde-haired and blue eyed, she's petite and she's standing filling a kettle to make tea because they have electricity in Alexandria apparently and it's strange. But he doesn't care, in fact he's trying to work it out - what's different. Even over the unfamiliar noise of the kettle boiling he hears her say "You were stupid today, I can take care of myself..." with a gesture to his black eye and bruised knuckles.
He looks at her eyes narrow, echoes of their voices in what seems like another life in his head and;
"You like strange guys trying to put their hand up your skirt then?!" the words are sharp and pointed as daggers and as they leave his mouth he instantly regrets it.
He watches her, she's still and silent and he finds himself scared, scared she'll leave. He doesn't know why.
"Here, let me," It's not a shout, in fact it's gentle. Her voice comes from his left, it's a little shaky and as she steps forward he realises that he's been fumbling with the towel.
A small noise of protest escapes him, but it's too late; Beth's already in front of him, so close he can feel her breath against his face as she takes the towel and he makes a mental note not to flinch, or move when she pushes the ice down with a steady hand. He can smell the light floral scent lingering on her, and underneath hints of sweat and earth that feels safe. Home. It's hits like a freight train, the shame. They've been through so much and he's shitting all over it with an uncomfortable blush and hot rush of blood that makes him shuffle awkwardly in his seat and he hopes to god she doesn't notice the tightening of his jeans. Soft fingertips graze his neck when she retreats with the ice pack, to return and fold the collar of his jacket back down. He can't stop the shiver at her breath surprisingly warm against his throat.
Goosebumps erupt in waves across his skin, every nerve alight and crackling with electricity, and for a moment - one brief, never-ending moment - the blood and bone and muscle of him contracts in a surge of pure, unadulterated want.
And then, the palm of Beth's hand presses over his chest.
"Shh.." He goes to speak, but she shushes him letting her eyelids sink shut
The kiss is soft. A flutter of warm, soft lips against his rough chapped ones but the contrast makes him swallow hard, gulping down the fear and taking the plunge.
They're breathless forehead against forehead from the chaste of kisses. It's the first of many that are to come but right now he's lost in the feeling of the smooth texture of the pads of her fingers as they slink up to stroke the hair at the nape of his neck. He misses the contact when she pulls back, she doesn't go far in fact if he was to move his chin a touch his lips would be pressing back against hers.
Her breath hits his wet lips and he can't breathe, he can feel the blood rushing in his ears. Just when he thinks he's about to bolt, gentle fingers touch his chin tilting it up and there, right there are two endlessly blue eyes that once upon a time he thought he'd never see again. The shock is so massive that it overrides everything else and all Daryl can do is struggle for breath and stare.
She was dead. Blood splattered over her pale skin like a child's painting, her eyes shut to the world. After, she wasn't the same. Dark circles under her eyes; headaches, insomnia, she'd slept less than a few hours at a time and never without nightmares. She lost eight and a half pounds, clothes hanging too loose, she barely ate only when he and Maggie insisted. But she made it, she's strong she's here.
"Daryl.." Beth murmurs in a voice as soft as cashmere, and in that one word, he feels everything.
He decides then, in that instant, that everything; every feeling he'd ignored, every loaded glance had been leading to his and he wasn't going to ignore it again.
Beth raises her hand, pressing over Daryl's wildly thundering heart as if in reassurance, but whatever it is, it feels as though a breezeblock has been lifted from his chest. He sucks in a shaky, shallow lungful of air.
"That's it." Beth sighs, smiling lightly.
It's a breath, muffled by her pink lips as he lets go stumbling awkwardly off the stool letting his instincts take over.
They're trapped against the island and table, the chair is digging into his leg but he can't feel much of anything but her; she's slim and warm so warm under his cool palms. They dip questioningly under the thin material of her top, it's sheer and coming untucked from the skirt he'd seen the Monroe boy diving under earlier. It makes him mad, forcing his lips to claim Beth's in a feisty wet kiss that continues in kitten licks down her jaw. Beth stands, chest heaving, her breath coming out in laboured pants of shock and want. After a minute Beth becomes distantly aware that she's trembling. Her arms wrap around Daryl's frame, he's strong that she knows, but this time his muscle and those arms are all for her.
A first kiss, so innocent and almost childlike has spiralled. It's all teeth and tongue, furious and desperate and hard. Beth's dextrous fingers have an almost desperate hold in his hair but he couldn't give any less of a damn, fisting his own in the back of her shirt pressing every inch of himself impossibly close. She gasps feeling everything and fuck does it make him so much harder, watching her pant and squirm against the counter. Then it's her, sucking his tongue into her mouth and Daryl can't help but moan, fingers digging harder.
Beth lets him grab, lets him push and pull and take what he needs, what's been building. She's surrendered to it, letting him bite and drag and graze, she lets him tug her bottom lip out between his teeth and devour her whole because she loves him.
And then Daryl whimpers.
It's unmistakable. A sound between passion and pain. That's when Beth takes the lead, want flooding through her at the thought of him wanting her this much. His eyes open just as she glides her hand over his stomach, firmly under the bottom of his shirt and it's as dark as his eyes when they look at one another for the first time in the dance of theirs.
"I love you.." he chokes out, the words jagged and crackling like broken glass, a declaration weighed down with so much agony that she swears she can feel it in her own chest. It's no less shocking than the first time she heard it - she was hanging on the precipice of life, clawing her way back to them;
Come on, open your eyes! Don't leave me, I love you Beth..
After all this time, he's laid bare before her gaze.
Beth's chest heaves, hot tears brimming over and spilling down her face but she doesn't care.
She barely has time to think about responding before she's being pushed back into the island, the cold water from the melting ice pack seeps into her shirt as Daryl presses her hard against it.
His tongue is warm and wet and she can't help but purr into his mouth, thinking of all the places it could end up. Her hand is still under his shirt, she can feel the soft scattering of hair climbing up his stomach and she can't stop herself from curling her fingers and sliding teasingly until they hit the hard leather of his belt. It's a fumble, considering their position but she manages, they both huff a laugh.
It's cut short into a groan, she bypassed the fabric of his underwear entirely confidence gaining as she touches soft hard skin with a steady hand. Oh my god. He's hot and heavy and hard for her.
She isn't shy, there's no hesitation. In a split second the man that shoved her, that took her mouth was whining and moaning under her touch. His hair tickles her neck, he's bowing forward running the scruff of his beard against her sensitive neck. He bites when she flicks her wrist, squeezing her hand around his head of his cock. instantly she's rewarded by a long groan and a hard sloppy kiss.
Sparks shoots across her skin and the breath hitches in her throat, his hand is wrapping around her wrist, pulling it roughly out of his pants to pin both of hers behind her back. He has all the leverage, bending her backward until their lips are a whisper apart.
She sighs when her face is cupped in a large palm, eyes closing. It's quiet, neither of them want to spoil this moment with words. It's simple but it makes her tingle all the way down to her toes. Never, in a wordless touch of skin to skin have they said this much. Daryl slides his fingers under the delicate shell of Beth's ear and into her hair. Silvery blue eyes open, burning, pupils blow wide: His heart skips one, two and starts again.
"I love you too.." Beth can barely get the last word out before she's enveloped in warmth. Powerful hands grasp her ass, grabbing and pulling their waists together. It's a display, he's showing her how much he wants this, wants her and she's overwhelmed by the throb between her legs.
And that's where he found his favourite spot, well one of them anyway.
Beth doesn't really know how they got here, a tangle of limbs, a pile of discarded clothes strewn over the kitchen.
The bed is barely big enough for both of them. Beth instantly regrets the choice of a downstairs bedroom, it was a necessity back then, closer to the door easier to escape.
But now, in the tiny double bed she wishes they had more space.
Daryl's hands slide up and down her legs teasing and testing. It's soft like a feather but like riding a rollercoaster for the first time. Addicting and terrifying.
She watches him from the pillows, her legs cage his broad shoulders and she watches with lust blown eyes as his fingers travel higher. They reach further each time and with a little more pressure than before. It's almost as if he's trying to see how far she'll let him go.
In all honestly, she's not sure how far she's willing to go. They shared their first kiss an hour earlier. She touched him for the first time. It should be enough for now, but it's not. Not for her.
It's addictive the way his hands fist in her hair, her shirt. His kiss desperate and hungry. Up against the kitchen table, in her bed. He's a storm, a hurricane, overwhelming and inescapable. It's an exquisite delicious agony, and it's so dangerous she knows after the first kiss she needs to stop but can't and hell, God only knows that deep down she's doesn't want to. She wants Daryl. She wants more.
It's a tilt of her head, nothing more but it's all he needs. His hands magnetise to her hips scooting her down further toward his waiting mouth and Jesus she's so fucking soaked she should be embarrassed but Daryl's looking at her like a meal and it's over.
Beth dares to make eye contact with him, before he disappears between her thighs. She throws her head back with a cry, it's the first time anyone has put their mouth on her and fuck she had no idea it'd feel this good. It's wet and warm and so fucking good she has to grasp her chest and fist the sheet to stop from pulling him away.
He licks harder, going for the kill on every swipe. The rough of his beard and smoothness of his tongue send her reeling, it makes her grind into his face or his tongue as much as she can. He grabs her ass to pull her closer and fucking growls into her pussy when she tries to squirm away. It vibrates her sensitive clit and she comes, hard through gritted teeth.
He pulls apart her thighs, before kissing his way up her body. She's sure she's still coming as he latches onto her left breast nipping and sucking at her nipple, then the other before pulling away to stare into her lust blown eyes. She's more turned on that she ever thought possible seeing Daryl's mouth wet from her slick.
Beth moans, he's licking his lips and around his mouth, before kissing her deep and rolling them over.
She's breathless kissing down his chest, running her hands confidently along his body.
It's almost too much how beautiful he looks. Naked and panting. Eyes shut as her hand moves up and down his dick. She wants so bad to squeeze her legs together and moan at the sight of him. He's all man with light eyes and rough edges. Her thighs are slick just from watching him and Beth can't find it in her to stop herself from leaning down, tongue licking the underside of him. It's as shocking to him as it is to her and he jumps whining and panting her name like a chant.
Beth rubs her thumb over the head, before she climbs on top of him, lining her soft pussy just right to sink down. She doesn't hear the sound that comes out of his mouth, she's overwhelmed by the sensation.
She moves with ease, her slick and his spit more than enough to make it so fucking good.
Something must take over within Daryl. He pushes into her, matching pace and growling like an animal at the cry of his name. The view is magnificent, her hands on his shoulders, the half moons of her nails, head thrown back, it's a better memory he'll remember forever.
The second time she comes is different, it's less white hot but lasts longer than the first. He's shoving relentlessly chasing his own high and pushing her screaming into a third exquisite orgasm.
Beth lies against his chest when she comes down from the high, barely noticing the change in position.
She realizes when he's kissing along her spine. The scrape of his chin, the tickle of his hair against her burning skin, the hands massaging her ass makes her realize. He's whispering how good she looks like this, how soaked and ready for him she is.
She whines, pushing her body back against his fingers. It makes him smile.
Her hands grip the sheets, she's so swollen and sensitive but it feels too good to stop.
The snapping of his hips against her ass and his fingers rubbing her clit does stop too soon. She doesn't know why until his hands are on either side of her hips and pulling her down toward his mouth.
"Fuck! Daryl, oh my god!" Beth cries, letting out a string of curses and she can feel his grin against her sopping pussy.
One of her hands grips the headboard, the other in his hair. His eyes are open and adoring when she looks down. They hold the burning contact as she grinds against his mouth and comes for a fourth time that night. With a cry of his name and an almost violent shake of her body. Daryl follows swiftly after her with a few pumps into her hand.
Neither of them know what time it is when they wake, the light is pale illuminating their naked bodies with bars of shadows from the open blind. Daryl's barely awake when the woman in his arms starts laughing.
"What the? Beth.."
He doesn't know whether he should be scared or not, but finds himself joining in.
"I was only going to stitch up your eye.." She sniggers, for a second he thinks he should be worried she was regretting but it fades as soon as Beth buries herself against him, bringing his heavy arm under her own to snuggle closer together. It's light enough he can see her face and they're both staring again.
"I guess, I do want a strange man putting his hand up my skirt hmm?"
He can't stop it, the deep belly laughs that ensue.
"Yeah, I guess you do.."