Title: Skin Deep
Summary: His own punishment at the man's hands was just the start.
Warnings: Violence, torture.
Notes: I know I have a bazillion stories right now that I'm working on and they will be coming back but this one came on tonight and it's image was so strong it had to be written. If you are a fan of my other stories, they aren't abandoned. Just having a rest. :)

The room was mostly dark, a small amount of light crept in through the blinds, and some peaked round the edges, given the room deep shadows.

The chair Daryl was strapped too was deep in those shadows. It was a heavy chair and he hadn't been able to escape when he'd first been tied to it. Now, he had nothing left to fight with.
Sweat covered him, seemed to dribble down his spine as he sat against the chair, nowhere near far enough gone to let unconsciousness claim him but willing it because blackness, nothingness, was so much better. But his own punishment at the man's hands was just the start.

His head hung low because he couldn't bare to look at Merle.

The chair Merle sat in seemed to be bathed in light, made sure every detail of Merle's punishment was visible to Daryl.

Because as much as the punishment was dished out to Merle, the results were for Daryl.

The Governor was telling him things.
Telling him; this is the power I have, this is how far I can go, how far I will go to protect what is mine. This is just the start. This is your destiny.

Even without looking, Daryl could still feel it. Merle's pain. Agony.
Merle's breaths were laboured and rasping. And when he had looked, he could see the pain on Merle's face. And that was bad enough because Merle was always good at hiding his fear and his pain and acting like the biggest badass around. It wouldn't help him any more.

Wouldn't help either of them.

The Governor's voice was one of the few constant sounds in the otherwise quiet room. He liked to tell Merle what he was going to do.

And every time Daryl had watched, he'd seen with sickening clarity that The Governor wasn't one to mince his words.
He carried out each threat with unbidden glee. He'd turn to Daryl often enough to make sure he was watching, to make sure he saw what was happening.

And then he was slipping away.

The noise, The Governor's voice, all started to dim down. And he knew he wasn't hurt that bad, he wasn't about to die, but maybe he could wake up and Merle's torment would be over. And he'd welcome that.

But he was jerked back to the present by a muffled cry of pain from Merle. He was trying not to yell out in pain but this time he just couldn't hold it back.

Daryl's head snapped up, eyes shot to Merle, to what was happening. But The Governor blocked his view, bent forward over Merle and then, he was taking steps backwards and Merle let out a sound that was almost a whimper to Daryl's ears, but his brain refused to believe that his brother could make a sound like that.

Next thing he knew, The Governor was in front of Daryl, lifting his head up and he wasn't sure when it had dropped again. His hand held Daryl by the jaw, not as harshly as Daryl would have expected. It was almost gentle. Warm.

"You need to see this," The Govenor said, his eyes steady as he looked to Daryl.

Daryl was flushed with confusion, his body burning with the heat and he didn't noticed straight away what he was supposed to be seeing.

So The Governor guided him. And he looked down at the wet, warm mass that was laid across his legs. And he stared at it, unsure and frightened of what it was.

But looking to Merle he could see now.

The arm where he'd mutilated himself all those months ago, his right arm, was a bloody mess and Daryl knew what The Governor had done. He'd skinned part of Merle's arm.

And the skin and flesh he'd removed was laying across Daryl's legs, the blood seeping into Daryl's jeans, mixing with the sweat on his skin.

He didn't mean to call out to him, because he'd stayed silent the whole time since this torture began. The both had mostly but it slipped out before he could stop it. "Merle?" he called softly. Because he couldn't hear him breathing any more.

Couldn't hear anything really, everything in his head seemed to be too loud.

Maybe Merle answered, maybe he didn't. Either way, Daryl didn't hear.


A/N: So... yeah, they'll most probably be more. I can't really leave Daryl and Merle in such a bad place, can I? :) R&R please. :D