Prompt: Merle found a red scarf (Carol's) that fallen from Daryl's pants when they were walking back to prison. For againwhatgaaah on tumblr.
"Whoa-ho, baby bro, what's this?"
Daryl stopped in his spot. Merle's rugged, raspy voice surrounded the woods around him. They'd been quiet since leaving Woodbury; that was something Daryl wasn't going to spill anytime soon, something he'd prefer not to talk about until Carol pried the details from his cold fingertips in the depths of the night.
He turned around, mouth ready to spew an insult along the lines of "Even if it's some walker's ass it's better than your face," but swallowed the nasty words as he saw Merle holding a light, pink-red scarf roughly in his hands. The thin material flowed through his callused fingers, slinking over his wrist and almost touching the wet grass. "Been wearin' lady-shit? Gonna find a skirt when we get back?" A grim smirk played at the corner of his lips. "Though I ain't believin' this color suits ya. Y'need more of a baby pink."
Daryl muttered, "Fuckin' Merle," under his breath and yanked the scarf from his brother's hand. "It ain't none of your business." His tone was harsh as he jammed it back into his back pocket. He had completely forgotten he still had Carol's scarf—after she'd… disappeared, he almost always had it on him. He just hadn't remembered to give it back to her, and it had gone with him to the daycare and back. Woodbury and back.
If Daryl weren't stupid, he'd call it a good luck charm.
"'Course it's my business! I'm your older brother, think I gotta deserve to know what that," Merle gestured his stub to Daryl's pocket, "was. Gotta girlie? Wait, y'ain't got a girl—forgot, this is you I'm talkin' 'bout!" He laughed, eyes crinkling in hilarity.
"Haha. So damned funny, you are," Daryl said sarcastically. His eyes were peeled to the surrounding around them; dark and the woods didn't mesh well together, and they clashed even more with the walkers wondering around. He continued to walk. When he spoke, his voice was a quieter and less ragged. "Ain't got nobody there."
"Oooooh," Merle howled. Daryl shushed him harshly. Didn't his brother know to be quiet? Then again, 'quiet' probably wasn't in Merle's dictionary. "Ya do! Let's see. Is it the one long haired one? Gah, what's her name—Lauren? Somethin' like that. The skinny one." Merle racked his brain to remember more of the girls back at the quarry almost a year ago. "Or the black one? Nah, I've taught you better than that," Merle snorted.
Daryl blood boiled, heat radiating off his skin. There was the Merle he knew. He spit at the ground and shook his head. "No."
"No? Damn, brother. Who else? Unless ya'll met a new chick I dunno... wait, there was another older lady there, right?"
Daryl froze. "What?"
"Holy fuck—the one wife. Not the Mexican one. Dunno her name, didn't catch my attention never to get it. With the scrawny daughter and fat husband? She didn't do much?" Daryl turned once again, eyes squinted and glaring daggers at Merle.
"Don't start with Carol, Merle," he grumbled, deep breaths fringing his words. "She does a lot now."
"Carol, that's her name!" Merle joked. "Thought that bitch'd be long dead."
Daryl couldn't restrain himself. There was the whole mess of Sophia and the comforting it dragged, the Cherokee roses and helping her get over her past, the loneliness that came in almost losing her and relief he constructed in finding her. He'd told her stay safe, and all he'd been thinking was that he'd been the who'd broken the subconscious promise.
White flashed across his eyes and he was bellowing before he could swallow his words. "Shut up, Merle! Just shut up—y'know, she's done more than you've done to me, ever, or Daddy. She'd been there even when I'm all pissy and, although she can annoy the living shit outta me, we talk. Yeah, we're friends—somethin' I won't stop ignorin' anymore, and, you're right," the words felt sour on his tongue, admitting Merle was right, "I care for her. So if ya wanna talk bad about her, screw yourself with a knife.
"She's stronger in a sense that you'll never be," Daryl finished, rolling his eyes and lumbering through the brush bitterly. Merle stayed behind, smirking.
"Ya'll's names rhyme. Ain't that cute."