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Chapter 44 – Safe in Our Room at the End of the World

 *~*

The moment she set the bolt across the door, Beth felt the tension seep right out of her bones and slide to the floor at her feet. It didn’t take away the fact that she and Daryl were still surrounded by stranger people in a strange place, or change how they didn’t really belong here no matter what Greg wanted them to think—tossing that invitation out there like some shiny new toy they shouldn’t be able to resist. But that heavy wooden door and the rasp of metal reminded her of the door at the cabin, so much so the impression of that safe place superimposed itself onto this one and she couldn’t quite shake that comparison.

So maybe they didn’t belong, but they were safe enough, at least as long as that door stood between them and everything outside it.

Everything and everyone. Oh, Greg probably didn’t mean them any harm. At least, whatever instincts she possibly might’ve possessed about these things weren’t prodding her in the direction of crying danger just yet, and she didn’t get that sense out of Daryl, either. Greg wanted to use them, for sure. For their strength, their skills, or whatever else that sharp-eyed gaze had spotted in them. These days you took advantage of whatever resources you could get your hands on and she couldn’t hold that against him like she might’ve done once upon a time. When she thought about it like that, Beth could almost appreciate being considered worthy of bringing on board, and not just as Daryl’s tagalong, either, but somebody useful in her own right.

Almost.

She had more worth than what she could do with her crossbow, something Greg Hunter had no way of knowing or appreciating and if she had her way he never would. She and Daryl would be out of here as soon as they could, back to searching for—and finding—their family, and Greg wouldn’t even get the chance to know what he was missing.

Because—and the uncertainty of it all clenched now in her gut, like somebody’s fist twisting its bony knuckles into all the soft parts and not letting up—what if all of this was just a big ruse? What if the things Greg wasn’t saying meant the difference between staying here long enough to rest up proper, and getting the hell out of here while they still could? What if—

Beth gave her head a hard shake, shutting her eyes tight against the throb pounding again behind them. No.  No. She had to stop doing that. Caution was one thing. Caution was good,  but being cautious didn’t have to also mean paranoid. And besides, there was that something else needling at her, too, pulling her in the opposite direction with tiny insistent tugs. Some leftover thread of faith or something woven too deep inside for the stuff on the surface to unravel it, for that twisting fist to grind entirely away, and against her will that part of her wanted to believe they could trust Greg as a person and Hunter’s Lodge as a whole. Trust that she and Daryl truly did have a choice in all of this, no matter what Greg wanted them to do and why.

Dane wants what Dane wants, and there isn’t much he won’t do to get it.

Holding them hostage to keep them here, to force them to help when the conflict came to its inevitable explosive head, didn’t feel like a thing he would do, but when it came right down to it, Beth didn’t really know Greg Hunter at all. He was a stranger. Kind, well-spoken, generous on the surface of things and seemingly well-thought of by the people here, but a stranger all the same. A stranger looking out for his family first, just like those men in that field. Just like Rick.

How many people have you killed?

She could nominally trust him not to hurt them, at least outright or cruelly like the other group already had, but that glimmer of trust was a delicate creature. Like a butterfly’s wing, or a translucent pane of glass ready to crack at a moment’s notice and shatter to a million sharp pieces at her feet.

Nothing these days came without sacrifice. Not food, not freedom, not room and board, and if she and Daryl weren’t going to stay forever, if they chose to move on rather than getting caught up any deeper in all this, what then would Greg expect from them in exchange for his kindness?

It was too much for her aching brain to handle right now. Far too much when that nice soft bed sat rumpled and ready not so far behind her. Beth tried to stifle her yawn into the back of her hand, lifting it away from the bolt to do so, but the yawn powered through anyway, drawing out so long her head swam a little by the time she was done. There were too many unknowns, still, and the idea of indenturing herself further to Hunter’s Lodge made her teeth ache, but that would have to be tomorrow’s problem. Greg had already sent them off for the remainder of the day until the meeting later on. Told them to rest up, help themselves to whatever food Mrs. Hunter left out in the private kitchen, and to look for Sandrine or somebody called Walter if they needed anything.

Southern hospitality at its finest, and even if Beth didn’t fully buy it, the chance to rest was nice and she wasn’t gonna waste it. They had already accepted the offer of another night’s stay and it was too late to change their minds on that now and hope to get far enough away by sundown, so she best take advantage. Stomach still uncomfortably full from that rich breakfast, all Beth really wanted to do was sleep. To shut her weary eyes on the world for a little while longer, as she’d have gladly done this morning had they gotten the chance, before the whispering ache inside her forehead could bloom into something much worse.

Here in this room it was just Beth and Daryl again, and what lived outside might as well not exist, with that heavy door between them. The concrete in her lungs crumbled to dust and blew away at last, and the crawling creatures living in her spine settled in for a nap, now that she and Daryl could just be without the pressure of dozens of strange eyes watching their every move.

Now that they could breathe.

“Here.”

Beth turned from the door to find Daryl standing behind her, holding out a glass of water in one hand and a couple of smooth brown tablets in the other. Like it had been doing all morning, her belly jumped the moment she laid eyes on him, mostly drowning out the clench in her heart at the sight of his battered face. Mostly, ‘cause no matter what he did to her just by being there and being Daryl, she couldn’t rid her mind of the memory of those bruises, his scars, that gash in his side so deep it needed layers of sutures just to close.

It was that vision which had her shaking her head as she eyed the pills. “You take them. You’re more hurt than me.”

“Got enough for both of us.” He tossed his shaggy head back toward the first aid kit still spread out over their little table where they left it last night and jiggled the pills in his hand, wearing something of a smirk, as though he had expected her protest. “I will if you do.”

Figures. Despite the haunting images still floating in her head, the flutter in her belly deepened into something even warmer. Something that swooped and threatened to soar right up and out in one of those uncontrollable little giggles. “Now who’s playin’ dirty?”

“Mmm.” The sound rumbling from deep in his chest did nothing to stop the swoopy feeling, but she couldn’t say that she minded all that much. “That’s always gonna be you.”

And he liked it, even though he didn’t say. Liked when she teased him, liked when she took the lead even if he was starting to try, and Beth heard that loud and clear in the spaces between his words. She plucked the Advil from his outstretched hand and chased them with the glass of water, eyeing Daryl over the rim as she gulped it down in deep swallows, his smirk bringing a flush of warmth to her cheeks.

When she finished, he swallowed his tablets dry, and afterward the expression on his face shifted into a warm little smile that unclenched her heart for good. With that, the swimming warmth in her belly floated up to fill in the spaces left behind. A splash of pink coloured Daryl’s cheeks, too, and Beth liked the thought of his insides swimming and swooping right alongside hers, like a pair of birds soaring in the wind out over the lake sparkling somewhere beyond these cream-coloured walls.

Out there, this morning’s conversation had felt like a dream, like a song stuck in her head. Something rambling and familiar, an old folk tune playing over and over again on loop through the scratchy radio in Daddy’s old truck. Pleasant and warm, but distant, like the memories of lying in the hayfield on a summer’s afternoon, or wading into the duck pond in her Sunday best. But here in this room, the song played brand new again, loud and clear, its warm rhythm pounding through her veins, lighting her up from the inside out, as though she and Daryl had only just now risen from the bed where they spoke their hearts and shared their bodies.

Daryl plucked her empty glass from her hand to set it down on the counter next to her crossbow with a little thunk, and glanced over her shoulder toward the door. “Whatcha think?”

Beth knew what he meant, and why he was asking, but the question jarred her anyway. No, not now. Not here. Not while they had another chance to grab a few hours together in peace, something they might not get much of for the next little while, and before he even finished speaking she was already shaking her head, fighting against the throb blooming again behind her eyes. Trying to keep her reluctant brain from treading right back down the path it didn’t want to go.

“I don’t wanna talk about it.”

Daryl’s nod was slow, shallow, but he didn’t prod. Just took a sliding step forward to cut the space between them down by half and reached up to touch her face. “All right. Don’t gotta.”

Beth let her eyes drift shut, skin tingling softly in the wake of his fingertips brushing across her brow, sweeping away the loose strands from where they had escaped her half-hearted ponytail.

“I don’t even wanna think about it at all.”

“Mmhm.”

Daryl’s fingers kept moving. Touching her. Marking a feather-light path with invisible ink, a gentle roadmap of her face drawn with rough fingertips down her cheek, along her jaw, to her chin and all the way back again. Same as he used to, out in the woods, when it was her turn to lay her head in his lap and sleep, but even with her body screaming at her for rest, the desire to do so kept getting pushed further and further below the surface. A tingly rush spread over her scalp, down her neck, across her shoulders. A warm wave breaking against the wall of exhaustion and toppling it over as though it was never there at all.

No, it wasn’t sleep on her mind, not anymore. Heavy on her tongue, breathy and warm, a little sigh slipped out to flutter the strands of hair still draped down over her face.

Daryl’s answering hum thickened the air around them even more. “Somethin’ else you wanted to do?”

The lilt in his voice, that brand new hint of teasing sliding in beneath that familiar low rumbling, was still so new to both of them, but already one of the best things in the world as far as she was concerned. Beth’s eyes popped open and she was unsurprised to find Daryl watching her, and not at all able to smother the smirk tugging at her lips in response to the one lingering on his.

“Well. Maybe there’s somethin’.”

Without waiting for his response, Beth moved forward until there was no space at all left between them. Daryl lifted his arms away from his sides for her to tuck hers beneath them, a reflex by now, except instead of wrapping them around his back like she normally would, Beth slid her hands down from his hips and around behind him to grab hold of his ass, one cheek in each, and gave him a good solid squeeze.

He groaned and clenched hard, like he a reflex he couldn’t stop. “Shit.”

Her own soft laughter tickled her ears as Beth leaned back, going as far as she could without letting go so she could watch his face while she kneaded the firm muscle in her grip. “Toldja I wanted to. Impressive clenchin’ skills you got there, Mr. Dixon.”

He let out a snort, small but explosive, and tossed his head back, barely holding in the grin trying its hardest to take over his face. “Christ, woman, you’d know.”

Beth sucked in a sharp little breath, her inner muscles squeezing tight all on their own at the mere suggestion. Oh lord, did he really—but he did. He did, no doubt thinking just as she was about the fingers she had clenched around only hours ago. Through the blaze of heat now burning in her cheeks, Beth watched Daryl’s grin grow wide enough to show teeth, and as she kept kneading, he relaxed into it, first letting out a half chuckled huff of breath as his butt muscles unclenched, before bringing his arms up, finally, to drape across her shoulders.

Without stopping, Beth ducked her too-warm face to fit her head beneath his chin, ear pressed to his chest and the steady thump of his heart. “This okay, Daryl?”

He wasn’t breathing hard, but his chest rose a little higher than before as he stroked the side of his thumb down the back of her neck. Pressing his chin down into her hair, he murmured his answer, which rumbled out under her cheek.

“S’all okay, Beth.”

Good. Good. Taking care to be gentle, with both her sore face and his banged-up body, Beth nosed at his collarbone, following the long line of it from his shoulder to the notch in the centre of his chest, where he still smelled of the soap they washed with last night. “Anythin’ I want?”

The subtlest of shudders rolled through him, and the hand at her neck slid up into her hair. “Mmhm.”

Beth stood there with him for a long moment, hands lying still now along the curve of his ass over top of those amazing jeans. Breathing in into the skin at the neck of this borrowed shirt, breathing him in, scalp tingling as he tugged gently at the hair caught between his fingers. Enjoying how it felt to be there with him, his big frame wrapped around her smaller one like a Daryl-shaped shield, like the warmest of blankets. Her own stone wall keeping the rest of the world away. She almost had to force herself to release him a few minutes later, to step back out of his arms and reach for his hand.

She held hers out, palm up, fingers spread and waiting. “Lie down with me?”

He took it. Slipped his fingers in between hers and squeezed, and let her pull him across the room even before he hummed and bobbed his head in answer.

She didn’t ask before starting in on her buttons, but with the promises made this morning once again swirling thick in the air around them, undressing felt like the thing to do. Her belly gave a pleasant little thump when she glanced over at Daryl and found him doing the same thing. She took her time, watching him side-on, not worrying about whether or not he noticed. Which he did, because he was Daryl, because he was watching her, too, and there wasn’t anything to be ashamed of in that. Not before and not now, when the lines they had crossed a long time ago were drawn out bold behind them in permanent ink.

So they undressed, piece by piece. Slow, like neither one of them was in any particular hurry to get naked even though that thump in her belly got a little more excited with each new inch of skin he revealed, each piece of clothing she dropped to the floor. They made a pile at their feet, half hers, half his, one more mess to add to the rest of it strewn around the room like every abandoned place they’d ever scavenged and she didn’t care. Not about the mess. Not about the ache in her head or the throb in her shoulder, not about the strangers out there or any of the bullshit that came with them. Not about anything except being here, now, with Daryl.

Together, just how they wanted to be.

Daryl wasn’t hard, not fully anyway, when he dropped his shorts to the floor, but somewhere in between. Cock hanging thick and heavy, interested in carrying on with this moment they were tumbling toward. When she climbed into bed, he followed, wincing at the pull on his stitches as he settled carefully onto his side. Though the placement of the skylight kept their faces out of the bright sun, the damage to Daryl’s chest and flank stood out like a Technicolor beacon in that rectangle of light. That he was even thinking at all about anything other than sleep was just as much a statement of his strength as it was deeply thrilling in a way Beth couldn’t quite explain, not even to herself.

He stared at her across the pillow, the same heat shining in his eyes as she felt coiling in her belly, pulling tighter the longer they looked until it thrummed through her veins with a beat all its own. In her peripheral vision she watched Daryl slide the heel of his hand down the length of his cock, cup himself, and squeeze, bottom lip caught up in his teeth and a thick whisper of breath slipping out around it. Her heartbeat trembled in her belly, an electric sort of pulse shivering inside, shooting down, down, to beat hot and slick between her legs. Looking at him, looking at her, that tether strung taut as ever between them. Making her want. Making her wet.

Wetter, ‘cause she’d been sliding around in her panties since at least the last half of that goddamn tour and a fresh surge of moist heat gathered there now. With another fluttery jump deep inside, Beth shifted back onto her knees, the weight of Daryl’s gaze following her as she moved.

She didn’t have a plan. Didn’t even really know what she was doing as she pressed her hand to his shoulder, firm enough to make him understand and go without protest. His head slipped from the pillow when he landed on his back, but instead of fixing it he just sank down into the mattress, the blue of his eyes catching the light as he gazed up at her from beneath a slightly furrowed brow.

“What’re you—”

The rest of his sentence drowned beneath a breathy little ohhh sound as she swung her leg over to straddle his thighs, grazing fingertips just dipping into the creases of his hips where the pale skin was as delicate and smooth as the rest of him was not. Daryl shuddered in the wake of her touch, a soft little ripple through his body and up into hers as she settled in above him, a warm tickle at her inner thighs that only served as a reminder of how very naked she was.

How naked they both were, in so many more ways than just with their bodies but it was that which she felt the most, here and now, bare from head to toe except for one little necklace, sitting astride an equally naked Daryl. The few sparse hairs on his thighs tickled the smoother skin of hers as he gazed up at her, his poor battered face a mixture of the hundreds of thoughts that must be bouncing around in his head right now. Things he’d never say but didn’t need to because she felt every last one of them in her heart, too. A pleasant surge of heat rolled through her belly, a boldness blazing up through her chest as she hovered over him, her own mind whirling a thousand miles a second with everything they could do.

Anything I want?

Well, she hadn’t had the chance this morning, not really. Not the way the meant when she told him what she had in mind as they lay facing each other in bed.

The sunlight shone warm on her shoulders in the otherwise chilly room, and beneath her, Daryl’s breath shuddered out in little puffs of air that teased her nipples into hard little points when she cupped his balls in one hand and closed the other around the base of his cock. He was still soft enough to squeeze so she did, not even trying to hold in her grin when Daryl blinked up at her, mouth moving around a funny noise in the back of his throat, like a half-swallowed moan that nonetheless sounded distinctly pleased. When words failed him he groaned quietly and reached out to glide his palms up her thighs, resting them there, big and warm, nearly covering her legs beneath their spread.

“Just sayin’ hi,” she said, belatedly, voice loud in the quiet of the room even though she spoke in a whisper.

A slow smile, something she almost wanted to call dreamy, spread wide on Daryl’s face as she squeezed again. Tugged, a little, when he arched his hips up the slightest bit beneath her and swept his fingertips in little circles on her thighs.

His own voice rumbled out at her, that sound she loved so much from deep inside his chest. “Mmm. Hi, Beth.

She let a shiver roll through her, something which started in her belly and rose up to shake through her shoulders. There was no breeze in the room but the cool air felt like one, licking at the slick skin of her inner thighs, at her labia spread wide open, and the aching wet furrow between them, carrying the smell of her arousal up to her nose. She breathed deep, filled her sinuses with her own heady scent, something that always made her feel particularly wicked for daring to enjoy, and watched Daryl beneath her doing the same thing. Her breath stuck in her chest as she took in his hungry gaze, hooded eyes focused on the glimpse of her he must’ve been able to see past the swell of his cock, past her fist where she was squeezing and tugging with little rhythmic motions and the other rolling his balls gently in their sac. Without even meaning to, she tilted her hips toward him, just a bit, just enough, and groaned as his tongue darted out to wet his lower lip.

The sudden desire to sit on his face slammed her in the chest, even though right now that would probably kill him. But the possibility of that—someday, not now but oh, someday—sent a hard throb through her clit, had her muscles inside fluttering with that familiar, aching urge to squeeze. To clench tight around whatever might find its way inside her, and she couldn’t help but look away from Daryl’s face, down to his cock in her hand. The cock that was quickly transforming from interested to hard with each successive squeeze.

And it wasn’t any great mystery that his cock should do that, but there was something sort of special about it happening because of what she was doing. When she looked back up at him, Daryl’s smile had slipped once more into that dreamy one from before, one he probably didn’t know he was even making but which seemed to want to stick around, and it swelled up in her chest like a warm little blaze living right there between her lungs. Just these little tugs must have felt good to him, or maybe—maybe they felt good because she was the one making them.

She smiled down at him, feeling it bloom even brighter when he smiled back, like a reflex he couldn’t control. “I wanna make you feel good.”

“You do.” He tilted his hips again, curled the tips of his fingers into her thighs. “You are.

It felt like she was, at least enough to get him this far, but a few memorable late-night talks with Maggie had taught Beth that what worked best for her didn’t work quite the same way for her sister. If men were like that, well, then she had to know. “I wanna do it right.”

The noise Daryl made in response was some sort of mix between choking on his tongue and trying to swallow a laugh, and he blinked up at her with an incredulous little half smile, still sort of dreamy around the edges. “…ain’t that complicated.”

Beth shrugged her shoulders as best she could while her hands were occupied. “Well, I know, but—”

He tightened his grip on her thighs, and something about the timing of it made her stop before she could get to what came after. When he spoke his voice went soft, a rough whisper she almost had to strain to hear. “Was good. This mornin’. What you did.”

His throat moved as he swallowed, and the next words came out a little bolder. “Real good.”

Beth felt herself nodding, the acknowledgment only fuelling the growing fire inside her, deepening the burn in her cheeks that had already begun to spread down her neck and beyond. She looked once again at Daryl’s cock, at her hand as it moved in one full stroke from base to tip and back again, and let out a shaky breath as her muscles inside clenched in deep, tight squeezes completely beyond her control.

When she looked back up at him, he was gazing intently at her, staring not at her hand as she had been but at her face, as though he was waiting for her to keep speaking. “There’s gotta be somethin’ that’ll make it even better.” At the shrug of his shoulders, Beth squeezed a little harder, grinning when he hummed his contentment. “You know, instead of just jerkin’ at you hopin’ for the best.”

He laughed. No attempt made to hold it in this time and it boomed out, loud and unbridled and about the best thing she had heard in a very long time. “Shit, girl. You even know what you do to me?”

Although he was still chuckling lightly, tightening her grip made him groan, too, turning both sounds into some jolly mix of the two which tugged at her heart in the loveliest of ways. She wanted to look down again, but she locked eyes on his face instead. “That’s what I’m aimin’ to figure out.”

A full groan this time, deep and weighty, and he lifted his hips off the bed, pushed his cock into her hand and seemed to harden just that much more as he did.

Beth’s turn to swallow now as something about that thickened in her throat. “I wanna know how you like it.”

His hum this time came along with a familiar non-committal mumble, and he shifted his gaze away from her face to watch her hands without offering anything else in answer. Almost pointedly not looking at her now, as though—oh. As though he didn’t really know how to answer to her question. Highlights from a conversation she’d had with herself, on a night that felt like ages ago, drifted back to the forefront of her mind. Musings on Daryl and intimacy and all that went along with that. So maybe he didn’t know, for any number of reasons, good or bad, but that was okay. Maybe this was something they were meant to figure out together.

With that notion in her head, Beth dropped her gaze back down and kept it there, aware of Daryl’s eyes watching again now that she had looked away. She let go of his balls, wanting to focus now on what she was doing. On the feel of him as she glided her hand up the full length of his cock, fingers pale against his darker shaft. On the sight of him, that smooth pink head just beginning to peek out of its foreskin as it retracted on its own the harder he got. She hadn’t ever seen anyone intact before, never really knew what that meant until this morning and she stared now, fascinated by this sheath of skin and the way it moved. Stretching tight over the head with the littlest of tugs, then slipping away to reveal it with a push the other way.

At the sound he made—a pleased little rumble—Beth flicked her eyes back up to his face, to that dopey smile pulling again at his parted lips. His gaze slid up to meet hers, the momentary sense of awkwardness fading beneath the surface of his growing pleasure.

She was already speaking before she realized she meant to, before it occurred to her just how often her words alone could draw those sounds out of him. “Remember what I said this mornin’? What I wanted?”

An involuntary twitch wriggled through his legs, followed by another breathy little ohhh. “Mmm?”

“You know.”

And the smile he gave her told her he remembered very well everything she had said to him. “Remind me.” His voice had that gravelly edge to it, rough and thick in a way that always caught inside her lungs, and the knowing smirk only added to that feeling.

Yeah, Daryl. Play along.

“I wanna hear you,” she whispered, tightening her grip again as she pulled back up toward his head, licking her lip when he hummed beneath her.

His hips left the bed again, pushing his cock into her hand. “Mmm, yeah.”

“I want you to tell me how good this feels,” she said, and tightened her grip a little more.

Again, he arched into her hand, this time alongside the littlest of whimpers, a helpless sort of sound accompanied by the deeper press of his fingers into her thighs. Beth braced her free hand on the bed beside him, and with the other held his cock firm in her grasp as she leaned forward, leaned over him, watching his eyes grow wider the closer she got.

“I want to hear you moan so loud your throat burns.” And he moaned, he did, a little one still but a moan all the same, sailing out on a breath to tickle her nose, her spit-moistened lips. “And I wanna hear you come.”

Daryl shuddered hard and squeezed his eyes shut, sinking back somehow deeper into the mattress. Giving in, maybe. Giving himself over to her to do as she promised and it felt so good, knowing he wanted that. As good as his cock felt in her hand, and with that thought, Beth pulled back upright so she could watch what she was doing, see and feel him grow harder and harder with each slow stroke. His foreskin slid how she was sure it was meant to, up and down his shaft in the circle of her hand. He mumbled at her, her name and a little breathy curse and she had barely begun but already his fingertips dug into the flesh of her thighs and his parted lips quivered as he breathed.

And maybe he was right—maybe this wasn’t so complicated after all. It was just so nice seeing him like this, not relaxed exactly but open. Vulnerable in a way Daryl so rarely was, so rarely could be, but he was now. He was for her, but even more than that, he wanted to be, and that was the part which mattered most.

Beneath her, his entire body trembled like a cable pulled taut. Eyes shut tight, neck arched back. Chest heaving as his moist lips worked around little groans, little whispers of encouragement all mixed up with her name in various stages of raspy. She had done that, was actively doing that and another round of sparks fired off down low in her belly. This is what she wanted—just this. Daryl’s pleasure rolling out into the quiet of the room like they hadn’t a single other worry in the world.

Beth tried hard to swallow down the whimper curling in her throat but the reaching tendrils of it sneaked out anyway. He was beautiful like this. So fucking beautiful. His face. His broad chest rising deep. His cock in her hand, so thick and hard, and that perfect slick glide through each firm, slow stroke, now aided by glistening beads of precome welling out from his slit.

She gathered some with her thumb, swiping the pad of it over his head before stroking back down, and Daryl let out a different sound, like a groan caught in his chest unable to get out.

“Y-yeah. Like that.” Without opening his eyes, he slid one hand up toward her belly to paint trembly little swirls on her skin, down low where she was already so, so warm.

Warm and growing warmer with that ache inside, that needy, empty, clenching ache, but she had to push that aside, had to ignore her throbbing clit and everything else because this was about Daryl, not her. Not right now. She dragged her thumb up along the underside of his head this time, holding in a little whimper at the gasping sound Daryl made, only to let it out for the rapid-fire of nonsense words which followed, when she enclosed it in her fist and squeezed, over and over again until she couldn’t make out a single word amongst the volley of sounds spilling from his lips.

“That feel good, Daryl?” Her voice wobbled, wobbled hard, more breathless than she realized as she returned now to those longer, slower strokes, hoping to prolong this as much as she could.

It made him laugh, another choked chuckle followed by a flash of teeth as his smile widened. His hooded eyes opened to slits and caught on hers. “You gotta ask that?”

Laughter bubbled up in her chest, too, up and out, and she dropped her gaze back down to his cock, rigid and purpled and jutting up so eagerly between them, and her hand moving slowly up and down its length. “I don’t wanna assume…”

Jesus.” He snorted, hips moving in rhythm with her strokes now, fingers on her thigh pressing in deep. “Assume whatever the fuck you want just—ohh—don’t fucking stop.”

The need in his voice had her heart pounding, every muscle in her body humming. “So I’m doin’ somethin’ right, then?”

A near blinding grin split his face, and whatever else he might’ve wanted to say got lost to a groan so loud she felt it in her chest. Precome spilled down over her knuckles in a slick little stream, coating his shaft, collecting in the hair at the base of it, glistening, making everything glide just that much smoother, and Daryl arched his neck again, driving his head into the mattress beneath him.

She imagined her answering smile looked the way her heart felt at this moment, bold and bright and alive. “I’m gonna make you come so hard, Daryl Dixon.”

He shuddered hard. “Fuck, Beth.”

Beneath her his thighs trembled, and behind his heels swished against the bedding. His hand fell from her belly, chest shaking he was breathing so hard, eyes cracked open again to look up at her as he pushed his fingers through the damp curls of her pubic hair. No finesse, just desperation, his questing fingers slipped over her swollen, throbbing clit and it sparked off like fireworks bursting in her belly, shooting from the depths to light her up all the way to her toes. A low moan dragged out of her, a sound she felt more than she heard, surging through in the wake of the sparks alongside the pounding of her pulse in her clit and the trembling, empty flutter inside, all thrown into focus by Daryl’s shaking fingers. For a minute she had to brace her free hand on her own thigh to ride it out, the sensation so sharp and sudden she couldn’t do anything but hold on and let wash over her, hold onto herself and hold onto him and—no.

No. This isn’t what she wanted at all even though she did and before she realized what she was doing, Beth had dragged his hand out from between her legs, barely holding in her gasp at the sudden loss of sensation. Her need for it pounded through her clit, clenched inside her vagina, throbbed up into her chest, but she pressed his hand down into the sheet, tightening her fists around both his wrist and his cock until he grunted.

“No.”

Beth wasn’t sure where that came from, or why, only that Daryl froze beneath her, eyes wide, chest heaving, hands fisting the sheets and cock almost throbbing in her grip, and something wicked surged through her belly.

Her pulse thundered in her ears, dizzying, as she let go of his wrist to slide her body higher, to press her thighs tight to his hips and arch her back until the head of his cock dragged against her belly, leaving a smear of precome to glisten on her skin. When she spoke again, the words were a shiver in her chest, a foreign taste on her tongue except she felt them with every inch of her body, every bit as bold as that rush blazing through to her fingertips.

“Don’t. Move.”

She tugged him hard. Daryl whined. A desperate sound caught in his throat and there, again, that feeling bloomed, growing higher and higher the longer the whine lasted.

Before it even stopped, Beth pressed her hand to the jut of his hip bone, where there wasn’t even a hint of a bruise. Pressed him down, with her palm, with her hips when his wanted to lift beneath her. He was so wet, all on his own and she didn’t know that was something a man could do but it was glorious and slick and warm and she wanted to taste it. Taste him. Get her tongue on him. Her mouth. Her goddamn teeth but she couldn’t even eat a biscuit right now without giving herself a migraine and—later.

Later. So many laters, but this right now was good. So good, Daryl whining once more beneath her as she worked him, grabbing at the sheets and releasing them, mouth gaping wide while his eyes hovered between shut tight and cracked open. Little blue slits just catching the light from above as he fought not to move just because she told him not to.

His whole body quaked beneath her, that taut cable fraying at the edges as he tried to hold on. Before, she couldn’t stop looking at his cock but now she couldn’t drag her eyes from his face, from the pleasure written there in broad, bold strokes. The sounds he was making, rasping, gasping, nearly shouting out and pouring freely like he couldn’t hope to contain them and she hoped he never, ever would. Their own sort of music, the best song she ever heard. A lover’s serenade meant for her ears alone and she’d never, ever stop wanting to listen.

Beth wasn’t sure when she began rocking above him, swirling her hips in time to the jerks of her hand, clit just barely brushing against his balls every time his cock struck her belly. Not enough to get her anywhere, not enough to soothe the aching need for friction, but enough to drag a whimper out of her with each impact. Daryl let out a ragged moan and arched up beneath her and she couldn’t stop him this time, didn’t want to anymore and didn’t try as he lifted her in the air right along with him and fell back to the bed with a strangled groan.

“Beth—fuck—I’m gonna come. You’re gonna make me—”

He groaned again, louder this time, burying the rest of his sentence beneath the gravel in his throat. Beth tightened her grip—with her hand, with her thighs—until the ripples in his body shivered up into hers, an advancing wave growing stronger and stronger with every shuddering breath. “Come on me, Daryl. C’mon. Come all over me.”

He all but threw himself down onto the bed. Back arching, head snapping back, mouth wide open and working around a soundless moan that rippled through his body like a tremor in the earth. When the sound came it was deafening, no build up, just a sudden explosion of noise, her name—oh, god, he was calling out her name. Loud and rasping, sobbing, as the tremor became a quake, and Daryl was coming, coming hard, coming all over her while she jerked him through it, warm spurts of semen painting streaks on her belly, her breasts, coating her hand.

He collapsed back onto the mattress, body still shuddering, and a long few seconds passed before his eyes cleared, before he saw her, before the orgasmic haze slipped into something which burned as his gaze slid from her face on down. Beth didn’t know why she did it the first time and she didn’t know where the urge came from now, either, but she wasn’t sure she could stop. Keeping her eyes locked to his, she released his spent cock and used her sticky hand to spread his come around. Smearing her breasts until each little peak glistened, pinching her taut nipples until they stung before drawing a shimmery path down between them to her belly and making herself into an absolute mess.

She didn’t understand it. Didn’t understand it at all but she liked it, wearing Daryl’s pleasure all over her like that, working him into her skin just like the man had worked himself into her heart. Daryl’s eyes burned up at her and before she was finished, before she could spread him over every last inch of her belly, he reached for her. Hauled her down by the forearms so fast she barely managed to keep from landing on top of him as she fell, tipping to the side at the last minute to spare his bruised body the pain of impact. No sooner had she bounced onto the cool sheet beside him did Daryl turn over, catching a handful of her ass to pull her to him and crash their lips together so hard it jolted all the way through to the back of her head.

Beth gasped into his mouth, stunned for only the span of a single held breath before she fell into kissing him. Hard and messy, desperate in the same way their first kisses were, and like a bellows to the embers already smouldering inside her, the warmth of Daryl’s mouth and the taste of the whimpers on his tongue brought everything she put aside before roaring back to life. It surged through her, a fire in her belly, blazing higher and higher until even her fingertips burned. Burned for this, for him, for Beth and Daryl in this perfect soft bed.

Daryl’s big hand closed around the back of her thigh to sling it up over his hip, and she hooked it around his leg, levered herself closer, whimpered into his mouth when his thumb ghosted over her clit, and again when his fingers parted her, dipped deep into the river of wet between her swollen labia. Sliding, teasing her aching flesh with the same desperate discord as his kisses, until he wasn’t. Until he drew his thumb in a tight, hard circle on her pounding clit and sunk a single thick finger deep inside her.

Beth shuddered hard as the sensation tore through her, pleasure so violent it jolted like a shock, like a shot, and he didn’t let up. No fumbling now just determined focus, thumb moving just right while that finger, oh, that finger, slipped gently in and out. Not enough, not nearly enough and not at all where she needed him but it felt so good. She rocked into him, rolled against his body, his hand, clutched at his arm with frantic, sticky fingers. Pulled back from the kiss, catching his bottom lip in her teeth and unable to let go as another hard shudder took her over, ripped a rasping sound from deep in her chest.

Daryl whispered her name as he tore himself free, voice still raspy, low. The kind of voice which pooled in her belly, warm and shimmery. He pressed his forehead to hers, his breath hot and heavy on her face. “Feel good, Beth?”

The bubbling laughter which followed wasn’t something she could control, not really, as it floated up and out and swirled around her head. And she remembered, in that railway building, when Daryl forgot about not knowing what to do and just did it. Teased her, just like he was doing right now. She couldn’t see his face but she imagined how he looked, the little smirk, the blaze in his eyes, the flush in his cheeks as his heart pounded like a Thoroughbred, and kept hold of that vision as she shut hers tight.

Another shudder rolled through her, and Beth let go of his arm to tangle her hand into his hair, uncaring of the mess she might make of it. The answer to his question started with a soft moan, drifting past her parted lips to mingle with his heavy breaths as they washed warm over her cheeks.

Daryl.” The whisper drew a shudder out of both of them, and it was Daryl’s turn to moan when she tugged a little on his hair. “Yeah. Yeah. Feels so good.”

You feel good,” he rasped, sinking his finger in as deep as it could go, moaning when her vaginal muscles fluttered around it. “So fuckin’ hot. Wet. God, Beth…”

For him. All for him and he knew it. He knew it. It was all there in his voice, his trembling breaths. In the maddeningly slow thrusts of his lone finger and the warm chuckle rippling through his chest when she rocked into him, desperate to take him deeper. He relented, added a second finger, two of them now making the same gentle thrusts but the extra stretch was enough to trigger another burst of pleasure deep in her belly as she clenched tight around him, unable to hold back any longer.

“Fuck yeah, squeeze.” Daryl groaned, pushed deeper into her, making her gasp and clench even harder. “Squeeze that cunt, girl. Break my fuckin’ fingers.”

Ohhhh…”

It was a filthy word and through the thickening fog of pleasure, it rocked her like an extra jolt of lightning through her belly. A hard throb through her clit beneath his thumb and a delicious, rolling tremble inside. Of course he’d use that word, oh god, of course, and now that he had she couldn’t imagine him picking any other. He could call it whenever the hell he wanted while he was inside it, when all he wanted to do was give her pleasure like she gave to him, to make her feel so good she could cry.

The pleasure curled through her toes, an icy-hot prickle building higher and higher with every tight circle, every deep, hard thrust. He needed to do this for her as much as she had for him and the understanding of that rolled through as another warm shudder. So she squeezed for him. Squeezed her—her cunt—around his two thick fingers just like he wanted. Clenched so hard her teeth ached and finally, finally he curled them just so. Curled them up and fucked them deep into her, let her greedy muscles pull him in just where she needed him.

The moment of impact her spine went rigid, the breath stolen right out from her lungs, voice lost to the ether as he pushed hard against that perfect spot inside. Withdrew and plunged in again, and again, and again, just right.

“There?”

He knew. He knew but somehow she found her voice to whisper yes as she clutched at his hair, dug her fingernails into his scalp. Daryl’s thrusts grew bolder, harder, more intent, fingers pressing over and over again into that spot while his thumb moved hard and fast on her clit. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, body alight with pleasure unlike anything she had ever managed on her own.

His name tumbled out at the edge of a deep groan, her fingers tangled so hard in his hair now that it had to hurt but she couldn’t let go, couldn’t—and then it erupted through her belly. Climbed in a wave that crashed over her from the soles of her feet to the top of her head and a hard, rocking quake leading right into that deep clench and release as she came, body curled up in an endless shudder so strong, so overwhelming she couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, could only feel the burn in her throat, the rumble of Daryl’s groan where their bodies pressed together, and the ripples of bliss surging through every inch of her body.

Every last everything in the entire world plunged beneath a hazy pool, dim light dancing with spots and a distant hum trembling through her ears, as her body fell limp into the bed.

Awareness crept in slowly, not unlike waking. Daryl had rolled them both over, him on his back, and Beth half flopped over him. An ungraceful splatter of arms and legs and sweaty, sticky skin. The buzz in her ears hadn’t stopped but other things resurfaced from beneath it. Daryl’s breathing, still heavy and deep. The cool smoothness of the sheets and the dull ache through her shoulder where it pressed down into them. The brilliant rectangle of sunlight shining down on them from above and the cool air of the room, once again licking at the wetness on her thighs.

Beth curled into Daryl’s body, and he pulled her close. A strong heavy arm across her back.  Fingertips from the other drifting up and down the back of her leg in a lazy, gentle caress.

She closed her eyes, and in seconds, was asleep.