Author's Note: This idea came to me last night at about 2 AM and as soon as I woke up, I had to start writing it. It's quite short and the ending is a little sketchy (like always) but it's something I really wanted to explore, so enjoy! R&R would be lovely. xo.

Warnings: Racist/homophobic language (it's Merle Dixon, after all) and some onesided Daryl/Glenn.


Merle knew what the others thought of him. The rest of the camp thought that he was brash, irresponsible, a good for nothin' loudmouth with wandering eyes. He admitted that the last point was true but as for the rest? To be honest, Merle thought that it was them who were good for nothin'. While him and Daryl went out looking for food, sweating their asses off in the forest for a couple of lousy squirrels and rabbits, they just sat around whining and complaining about all the stuff they missed, stuff like the internet and cell phones and books. Yet the instance they came back into camp with enough food to feed everyone for the week, they all went back to their favourite habit, complaining about Merle just because he'd done something simple like asking that sweet thing Amy how old she was. He hadn't been aware that taking an interest in someone's life was a crime.

No, despite what they might have all thought, Merle wasn't stupid or deaf, which was a fact they seemed to have forgotten when they were running their mouths off about him. For that matter, he wasn't blind either. He'd been watching them all, analyzing their weak spots, what made them tick. For the old man, it was talk 'bout his lady that had passed; for Shane, it was practically anything but that might have been because he was batshit crazy.

And then there was Daryl. Merle had always been cautious with his younger brother, always been questioning about him. Daryl was a good boy most times, kept his mouth shut and knew how to handle his weapon but he was a little too accepting of others, too willing to throw his lot in with whoever would have him. Merle was sure it'd come from their Pa being a completely useless bastard but he wasn't no goddamn shrink.

And besides, he'd been his Pa too and he liked to think that he turned out alright.

To be honest, Merle was worried about his younger brother. He'd been trying to hide it but Merle had eyes; he'd noticed that, almost from the first day they skidded into camp with their truck, his brother has been doing more than his fair share of starin.' Now this wouldn't have been a problem if Daryl's eyes had been roaming over those two sisters or over Lori, although Merle was pretty sure she was Shane's property. Hell, it wouldn't have been a problem if they'd been fixed on the Carol woman, although Lord knew she was damaged goods.

But no. The problem arose from the fact that Daryl's eyes seemed to be permanently attached to that goddamn rice eater, Glenn. He'd never known that his brother had a yellow fetish; all the girls he'd seen him with back home were good Southern ladies, girls that could drink like any man and then go for a literal roll in the hay.

Then again, he never would have thought that his brother had a thing for guys. That thought had just never crossed his head, mainly because it was far too ridiculous. His brother was a Dixon and, quite frankly, Dixons weren't fags.

Apparently times had changed.

Thankfully (and Merle didn't know which party should be more thankful), the kid was too goddamn oblivious to notice anything. While his little brother sat beside him at the edge of the firelight, eyes constantly flicking from the knife he was sharpening to Glenn, the chink occupied himself with Lori's little boy, getting into a spirited debate about some cartoon Merle had never heard of. When Carl burst out into a mad batch of giggles, Merle saw the smile that graced his brother's face for a few seconds.

Christ. His brother was turning into a girl.

Something had to be done about it. He wanted to say that it was because it wasn't good for the group, that it would shatter the dynamics but to be truthful, he didn't give a fuck about what happened to the group. It was still every man for himself and if things went completely ass over tit, he wouldn't have thought for a second about striking back out on his own. No, the real problem was that he wasn't going to let Daryl humiliate himself (and by association, Merle) by going after the kid. He decided that he was just going to have a conversation with his brother, when they were out of earshot of the rest of the group.

He waited until the next day, when Daryl came back from morning watch with a fistful of squirrels in his hand. Without a word to Merle, he sat in front of the fire pit and started skinning, just the way he'd been taught. Even then, however, while his hand sawed away, Merle noticed where his eyes were wandering. Glenn was sitting down beside the RV, head bent over a tourist map of Atlanta. When he raised his hand to rub the back of his neck, Daryl swallowed and turned his attention back to the squirrel.

Sweet Christ, it was even worse than Merle had thought.

"Need some help little bro?" Daryl merely picked up one of the squirrels and tossed it in Merle's general direction, not saying a word. Settling down beside his brother, Merle pulled out his own knife and went to work, trying to establish that it was just an average day for the Dixon brothers.

"You might wanna watch where them eyes of yours are wandering," he finally said casually, blood spurting onto his hands.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Daryl muttered. Even though he tried to look normal, Merle could see that he had spooked him. When Daryl looked up again, he made a pointed effort not to look anywhere in Glenn's general direction.

"C'mon Daryl, you're not one of them, you know I ain't stupid. I've been seeing the way you've been looking at that chink over there-"

"He's Korean," Daryl interrupted, stabbing the squirrel with a rather unnecessary amount of force. Merle rolled his eyes; his brother had just proven his point.

"Whatever the fuck he is, you should keep your eyes to yourself. Wouldn't do anybody any good if the kid just disappeared, would it?" Daryl stopped skinning completely, his fingers gripping his knife so tightly that his knuckles turned white.

"You wouldn't dare." Merle shrugged and started whistling, earning a rather strange look from Andrea. Once he'd given her a small wave, he leaned in closer to Daryl, assuming that the others would think he was just heckling his younger brother.

"I might. Up to you whether you wanna find out." He gave Daryl a good smack on the shoulder and stood back up, setting his half skinned squirrel back on the pile. "Just be smart, Daryl. I know you can do that."

That night, Merle noted approvingly that Daryl's eyes stayed focused on the fire, not looking up no matter what the kid said or did. To be honest, he looked absolutely depressed, like he'd just watched someone smash his favourite toy to bits. The thought of the Korea-boy as Daryl's toy made some rather unsettling pictures come to Merle's mind and he quickly shoved those away.

He had promised his Ma on her deathbed that he would look after his brother as best as he could. He'd promised and everyone knew that you didn't break a promise to your mother. As long as he was alive, he was bound to protect his brother, no matter how he did it. He just hoped that Daryl would heed his advice because they all knew that it was far too easy to get killed in this new world. Besides the Walkers, there were all sorts of more subtle threats; one wrong movement was all it took to be mistaken for a deer.

That kid did wear a lot of dark clothes. Merle would have felt absolutely horrible if he'd accidentally shot him instead of a deer, even if it was a understandable mistake.

But he didn't think it would have to come to that.