Chapter 1: Trapping & Waiting.
It was a quiet Thursday night. Or was it Monday. Being higher than a kite and completely losing all memory of the last two days had really screwed with Merle's head. It would make more sense that it would be Monday since the weekend would be more likely the time Merle would lose but it just didn't feel like Monday.
" 'Ey Daryl, what day is it?" Merle yelled from the kitchen.
"It's Wednesday," Daryl yelled back from the living room.
It's worth mentioning that the description of quiet had a loose meaning at the Dixon household no matter what day of the week it was. That was the one thing that never changed.
"Could ya feed Mo while you're in there?" Daryl hollered.
As soon as Merle picked a box of cat food with only the slightest shake of the kibbles a longhaired, rather grumpy looking tabby cat, Mo, appeared from thin air as well as a black lab and a fat beagle.
"What 'bout Rocky and tha stupid one?" asked Merle.
"Just Mo, everyone else just needs to be fed in the morning."
Everyone else meant the two dogs and all the other cats. In Merle's latest absence from the Dixon homestead of about a year, Daryl had apparently woken up one morning and decided he wanted to get an early start on being a crazy old hermit so now his hair was a few inches away from making him a damn hippie and anytime you opened a cupboard or a drawer, there was a good chance of finding a napping half feral cat inside.
"Could ya give 'er a insulin shot? Just in the scruff of the neck. All the stuff is in that plastic bag by the cat food."
Merle filled up a needle from the bag with a clear vial of liquid and stuck Mo with it as instructed. The cat did a cat version of a growl but went back to eating her food after giving him the stink eye for a second. She was probably planning on attacking him in his sleep later tonight.
Seeing there was nothing for them. The dogs led the way down the hallway, back to the living room where Daryl was all but writhing in pain on the couch. The lab, Rocky, jumped up on the end of the couch and lay on his master's feet. The beagle tried to climb up next to him but couldn't jump on to the couch on its own and started whining about it, stupid thing.
"Louie, quit it." Daryl moaned to the upset puppy. "I can't pick ya up. Remember that next time you hork down somethin' outta of the garbage."
Merle sat back in the recliner. He had forgotten what he had went to the kitchen for before.
"Why the hell do ya have diabetic cat?" asked Merle. Tending to Mo had really distracted him from whatever he went to get.
"She didn't have diabetes before. What was I s'pose to do?"
"Not let a bunch of wild cats in the house," stated Merle, he picked up Louie who had waddled over and tried to climb up on the chair with him. "An' get a damn haircut."
"I had Mo long before the others. Haven't had to set out rat poison or mouse traps for years 'cause a her. She's more than earned her golden years. What's wrong with my hair?"
Daryl gritted his teeth and squirmed uncomfortably, squeezing his eyes shut and started breathing out of his mouth in quick little breaths like he about to give birth.
Speaking of taking care of sickly things.
"Yer feelin' worse, ain't cha?"
"No, the same."
Merle could always tell when Daryl was lying and that was definitely a lie. Daryl had been in pain since this morning but it didn't knock him on his ass till three in the afternoon. He hadn't seen Daryl get up since (Daryl basically believed he'd be able to recover from cancer if he lay still long enough). It was going on nine o'clock.
The Dixon brothers have an unspoken pact. Whenever one of them gets sick or injured, the other one has to look after them. A few winters ago, Merle was sick as a dog with a nasty flu and Daryl force-fed him soup and ginger ale for three days even though Merle threatened him with everything under the sun when his brother's hovering got to be irritating as fuck.
Merle started to think that the best way to take care of Daryl would be to take him to a doctor and get him checked out. In theory, it should take most the responsibility off of him. The tricky part was getting him there. Merle had asked him earlier if he thought he should see a doctor and found another thing that hadn't changed; Daryl's pathological fear of hospitals.
No one ever said he had to consent to going to the hospital.
"Y'know what I haven't had in long time?"
"What is gonorrhea," answered Daryl.
"A baconator." Merle let that little seed plant itself in Daryl's head. "C'mon little brother, let's go ta Wendy's."
"I'm not hungry."
"What? Since when were you ever not hungry? Now I'm really worried about ya."
The not moving was odd enough but loss of appetite was a bad sign. If food wasn't going to tempt Daryl, Merle didn't know what would.
"Ya don't have to be hungry to choke down a frostie. C'mon man, my treat," he continued prodding.
There was a spark of interest in Daryl's eyes. He'd have to be on his deathbed to pass up free ice cream.
"Okay," he agreed.
Merle had gotten him to take the bait but he still needed to reel his baby brother into the boat, or rather the truck.
"You're coming with if ya want anything. I bet you'll be singing a different tune when ya smell food in the drive thru. Be wanting more than a frostie."
Daryl rolled off the couch. He needed a moment to recover from the movement before he could walk the short distance to the front door, holding his guts like he was afraid they were going to spill out on to the floor. He winced when he put on his coat and he needed another rest after he put his shoes on, tying them was out of the question.
"You gotta drive," Daryl panted, pulling the keys out of his coat pocket before Merle had to come up with a lie on why he had to drive.
They climbed into the truck. Daryl pulled his legs up on the bench seat, basically curling up as best as he could in the limited space into the fetal position.
"Where does it hurt?" asked Merle.
"In the middle, right next to my belly button. Must've pulled somethin'."
"I'm no doctor but I'm pretty sure ya can't pull yer belly button."
"Said next to it."
"That sounds like it could be a hernia, maybe you should-"
"Not going to the doctor. It'll pass."
That's what you think. Merle thought.
The right front tire hit a pothole. The truck jostled roughly, Daryl yelped and did another death throw similar to the one on the couch. He didn't take his foot off the gas but Merle watched the road more carefully and tried to avoid all the bumps he could. The truck was far from a smooth ride though.
The static that snapped and crackled over the radio play lessened as they drove into the streetlights. Merle talked about his latest escapades in Atlanta
"Wendy's is back that a way," Daryl said as the truck blew past 32nd street aka the drag that all the fast food places were on.
"Ya can go this way too."
Merle pulled up in front of St. John's General Hospital.
"This ain't Wendy's," Daryl brilliantly observed in a growl.
"It's a good thing yer pretty," Merle pinched his brother's cheek. He got out of the truck and walked around the front and opened the passenger door.
"Merle, I'm not going in there."
"Oh yes you are. Ya can walk in there like a man or I can throw yer sorry ass over my shoulder."
Merle made a move to grab him. Daryl's move to counter him put him in pain. He knew he was licked. Admitting defeat, Daryl got out of the truck on his own.
"It ain't gonna be as bad as ya think," Merle threw his arm around Daryl partly to comfort him, the other part to help him walk up to the building, and also to make sure he wouldn't try to run away.
The automatic doors under a glowing red cross slide open, the receptionist at the front desk was on the phone. She kept the phone up to her ear with her shoulder while she put a form on the clipboard and slid it to them over the desk.
Merle took the clipboard and led Daryl over to the chairs across from the desk, facing an aquarium. The other people waiting were an Indian man with a hand wrapped in a bloody towel, another older man that had a very persistent cough, and a woman with a mystery ailment and three kids coloring at a little table in the corner.
"Do you want me to fill out the form so ya can color?" asked Merle.
Deciding that he could be an adult, Daryl took the clipboard from him and filled it out in a messy scrawl no one was going to be able to read. Merle took the form back to the front desk for him.
"How long will the wait be?" he asked the receptionist clacking away on the keyboard.
"It'll be a little while. Sorry."
Merle went back and sat down on the burnt orange chairs with a miserable Daryl. The waiting room didn't change much in an hour. The Indian passed out, the kids scurried over the benches as the floor had turned to lava, and Daryl had to take a piss every fifteen minutes.
"That's the third or fourth time you've gone," said Merle. Daryl came back from the washroom again.
"Why ya keepin' track? Creep."
"Hard not ta notice that yer running 'round here like scared puppy whose gonna piddle on the floor," retorted Merle.
He didn't think Daryl's hyperactive bladder was a symptom of whatever was ailing him. It was anxiety. Meaning even though sitting here was the most boring thing in the world, Merle was going to stay with Daryl for moral support and to provide a strong hand for the medical staff if he was going to be as uncooperative as he was when he was little.
At the two hour mark, Daryl had gotten use to the waiting room and was able to calmly sit there when he wasn't going through a pain wave, and watch the fish swim around in the tank.
The nurse in pink scrubs that had taken the coughing man to the back walked out to the reception area. Daryl eyed her up.
"Maple," she called.
The woman with all the kids, who went as well, followed the nurse to the back.
"You feelin' better yet?" asked Merle.
"No," answered Daryl confused.
" 'member when you got pneumonia when you were seven. We were sitting here and you kept trying to tell me you had just made a instantaneous recovery."
"Yeah. And I also remember how awful that was."
"Chill out. They'll just poke at ya bit, maybe take some blood, and give ya some drugs. Be over and done before ya know it. And if ya don't bite any of the nurses this time, we'll go to Wendy's."
Daryl gave him the dirtiest look. Apparently he was still mad about being lied to.
"Did I bite a nurse then?"
"Yeah, Rita Foxworth."
"Foxworth, God that sounds familiar," said Daryl. "Is she related to Hannah and um John Luc Foxworth? They went to our school."
"Yeah that was their mom. Rita had three other kids. So she wasn't too pleased with ya. She wanted to tan your hide."
Daryl grimaced and bent over in his seat. Because, despite what he'd say if asked, his pain was getting even worse.
Really bored, Merle picked up a magazine, some better house keeping thing, and flipped through the pages.
"This woman is pretty fucking excited about clean sheets," commented Merle on a tide ad in a magazine. "She looks like she's havin' a orgasm."
"Wouldn't think you would know what that looks like," Daryl rolled his eyes.
"I know the thought of having people touch ya is freaking you out since you can't even touch you but another word outta ya and yer going to be in a new world of hurt."
"I can so touch myself," Daryl said without thinking.
Merle burst out laughing. Daryl realized what he said and went beet red.
"I always thought you did but I was never sure," Merle laughed.
"Shut up," muttered Daryl.
At one am, they were the only people in the waiting room. Merle had fallen asleep.
The ringing of the telephone woke him up. Daryl was writing in blue crayon on a coloring sheet with a police car. He gave it to Merle.
The last will and testament of Daryl Dixon.
I leave my house to Mo (cat), Rocky (lab), and Louie (beagle) and the strays hanging out for the winter. Merle Dixon, because he is a lying SOB, can only live there to take care of them. This means that he must feed them, make sure Mo gets her insulin in the morning and at night, and get the tennis balls out from under the couch. He must also take Rocky and Louie out for weekly truck rides. The truck belongs to them too.
Any money I have in the bank I leave to starving orphans because as I have stated before my bro is an evil prick.
Merle laughed. He folded up the page and put it in his jeans pocket. "I'll make sure yer last wishes are carried out, brother."
"Good, or I'll come back and haunt yer ass."
"Ugh, won't ever be able to git rid of ya."
They started playing rock-paper-scissors-slap. Which was like normal rock-paper-scissors with the added bonus of hitting the hand of the loser. Maybe both Dixons were overtired but the simple game was a lot of fun.
"Daryl," the admitting nurse called.
Daryl got up in the curled over way he had adopted. He looked back over to Merle.
Come with me. His eyes pleaded.
I had to write a Daryl and Merle piece in light of the recent episodes. It will only be about 5 chapters, with a guest appearance by someone from camp.