Yes, started another one. Could be a one shot...could continue...let me know. I know for some Merle and Beth seem like an unlikely combo, but to me...seems like a logical choice. I'm gonna try and refrence some of this in my other two "stories" so check there if ya wanna see some more. Thanks...and please...if ya like it...or want it to continue...REVIEW.


It was the first time she felt something for him other than fear. They were in the cellblock, and Judith was crying mercilessly. She had fed her not too long ago, and burped her and changed her, but the girl just wouldn't stop wailing.

She was still only a couple of months old and her wails were high pitched and nonstop, with the irritating constant rhythm of a car alarm. She usually relied on Carol to help her during times like this, but with Rick, Carl and Michone, on a run, they were shorthanded. Carol was probably out on watch.

"Christ sake girl," he said as he walked out of his cell, and leaned up against the wall. "Can't ya get that thing ta stop crying?" It had been at least five minutes, and that little thing was starting to become more of a danger than a nuisance.

Beth was scared. She didn't know much about Merle Dixon, but she'd had a good look at Glenn when he'd gotten back from Woodberry. That, and the tales she'd heard from the group, where nearly enough to send her blood running cold, whenever he came near.

"I'm…I'm sorry," she stammered out, rocking the now nearly hysterical Judith from side to side, "I'm trying, I just…usually I."

His steal blue eyes narrowed as they fixed on hers, and she noticed that as he pushed off the wall and approached her he had one hand fiddling with the straps of the apparatus on his arm. She turned her back quickly, rocking the baby from side to side, but not before she saw him pull at the thing, and heard a loud thunk on the table.

"Give her here." He said as he approached. Not that he wanted to go anywhere near that thing, but her screaming was gonna draw every walker for miles closer in. "Come on girl," he repeated, "give her here."

Beth turned to face him, her clear blue eyes wide with fear, not knowing where to look. She didn't want to look at his face, his eyes were just…too damn mean, and they stared right into hers. And now he had that…thing off, and his arm, though it was neatly wrapped, she didn't know where to look. "I…." she started "I can usually…."

"Yeah, well ya can't now, so give her here…" he nodded his head and motioned with his good hand, "come on girl…"

"But…" she stared, backing away slowly.

"But I only got one hand, an' I'm meaner an hell, an whatever else ya can be thinking girl, give me the damn kid 'fore I take her from ya…" he got right up to her and extended his good arm, while keeping the other bent near his middle.

Without knowing what to do, without any other option, Beth gave one quick look around the block, in hopes of finding someone, anyone that could intervene, before reaching out with trembling hands to hand the wailing infant over.

"Now lay her here, girl," he instructed with a nod of his head and a pat on his arm. "Come on, aint got all day, thing's about ready ta pop my brain. Lay her right across, head towards my elbow, go on, face down… there ya go." He instructed as Beth tremulously placed the screaming baby across his maimed arm, belly down, face resting near the inside of his bent elbow.

He hadn't held a kid like this since it'd been his brother. Sure he'd held other's…time and again he'd been with women who'd been saddled with one or two of these things. But a new kid, like this one, just a teeny little thing…it had been years. It had been Daryl, impossibly small, and squirming like a little bug, in his arms as he'd struggled to hold him.

"Is she…." Beth asked, hovering her hands over the child's back protectively. She didn't know if this brute of a man had ever even seen a baby before this one, much less held one. And that strange calm look he always wore…it made her nervous.

"She aint gonna fall." He rasped out with a chuckle, as he placed his large hand over her back, and started patting it slowly. "Only thing she might do is quit this wailing, damn girls got a set of lungs on 'er."

Merle turned his broad back to her and careful adjusted Judith, he fiddled with her little kicking legs, and adjusted her head off to the side before he started a slow rhythm of pats on her tiny back. "Ya, aint got to stare at me like that," he called out softly over his shoulder, as he began pacing, "aint gonna kill her ya know…" his voice became lower and lower and her wails very quickly dissolved into disgruntled whimpers, as he paced across the room.

"Hell girl," he whispered rhythmically to the bundle in his arms, "ya can't be sreamin' like that no more… no ya cant." The whimpers started quieting even more as he continued, "ya, gonna get us killed little thing…can't do that now….aint gonna be anyone left here ta take care of ya…"

To Beth's surprise, when he turned his broad back to face her, Judith was lying perfectly still, a little leg and arm, hanging over each side of his arm, her face smushed into the crook of his arm, his large hand still patting her back.

"Sometimes…" he started, with a shrug, "all these things need is a change of …."

His sentence was cut off by Carol's hurried footsteps, and worried call, "Beth…? Beth… is Judith…"

"Hush, woman." Merle called out to Carol, as she slowed to a stunned skid upon entering the block. "I damn near got this thing ta sleep, an yer rushin' in here screamin'….Christ sake!" he finished angrily.

Carol's rifle slid off her arm, as her eyes locked for a moment with Merle's. What the hell was this really Merle Dixon? If it wasn't shocking enough that he had actually said two words to Beth, she was positively stunned to find him holding Judith.

She'd never even seen him without his arm guard off, couldn't imagine him in any way other than a ruthless killer, let alone with a baby pressed up against the crook of his ram, cradled up against his chest. She chuckled to herself as she gave a knowing glance to that hold he had her in. Only people with a colicky baby knew that bizarre hold. Had Daryl been that way she wondered.

In his arms Judith squirmed, and started whimpering, "You hush too," he whispered patting her again, "we aint gonna start that shit again, or I'll put ya down…yeah…" he continued, pacing up and down, "aint gonna like that, are ya…"

Carol, raised an eyebrow, and locked eyes with Beth. The girl was caught, silent and wide eyed like a dear in the headlights. "I just couldn't get her to settle." She said with a shrug.

"Yep," Merle rasped with a laugh, "then ol' Merle came in an saved the day huh?" he said more to the baby in his arms then the surprised women, staring at him. "Aint that right darlin'" he asked feeling positively smug. .

"Yeah…" Beth stammered, "He just took her and she calmed right down."

"Well I was talkin' to the kid darlin'" he said looking up at Beth with a small wry smile and a wink, "but if you'd rather I call you that it can be arranged."

Beth swallowed hard as a hot flush spread across her cheeks. Yes he was positively terrifying, in every way. Big tall, mean and rough, but she had never expected this…I mean the way he had taken Judith , the way he had looked at her…the way her heart had jumped when he said 'darlin'.

Carol folded her arms across her chest and smiled, leaning up against the wall. Well, heck…the whole prison knew there was practically no one that baby loved more than Daryl…but now Merle? Those Dixons never did cease to amaze. Maybe just like Daryl, this big gruff man had something buried deep inside. "Didn't know you had a way with babies." She called out softly to him.

"Yeah well," he answered as he turned to face them, "y'all don't know much about me…" They didn't know shit about him in fact. Spent a couple of weeks together at the quarry, when he was high as a kite, and then he disappeared, only to return one handed, after beating the china man within an inch of his life. Hadn't given this group the best of impressions.

Carol shrugged. "You're right." She said softly, "we don't." Hell they'd spent about a year with Daryl, and knew next to nothing about him.

"Well," he said, as he approached the table and leaned against it. "Daryl was fussy as all hell when he was born. An' with my Ma drinking and my Pop's being out all the time, wasn't I the one stuck dealing with that little shit." He took a deep breath, and looked down at Judith, now dead asleep and breathing out softly against his arm. "Carried him around this way, for the first few months of his life," he chuckled softly, "kids around the neighborhood used ta tease me, sayin' I was holding him like he was a damn football. But he liked it. Was the only damn thing would shut him up."

Carol looked across at him. All those times when Daryl had said "it was always me and Merle." She hadn't figured their bond ran that deep. Didn't realize it had been him and merle since the day he had been born, hadn't realized that maybe Merle had been more of a father than a brother.

"Eventually, he settled down. Got to be where you could actually set him down for more than two minutes without him bawling," He raised his head and motioned for Beth to come near. "He learned real quick, head down and mouth shut…now me on the other hand…." He started laughing and shook his head. "Come here darlin'" he drawled out to her, "come on an' take this little thing offa me 'fore she slobbers all over my arm."

He held his arm outwards for her, but Beth's hand still brushed up against his chest when she reached for the slumbering Judith. He felt like solid steel underneath his shirt. She could feel the heat rising from his body, and her cheeks felt flushed and warm. She refused to look up at him as she fumbled for the sleeping baby.

"Ya got her sweetheart?" he asked slowly his eyes burning into her. He had felt her hand brush up against his chest, felt her stiffen, and pull away hesitantly. He saw the bright flush that spread across her cheeks. She was a kid, scared and nervous sure…but there was something else. She was burnin' up too. He'd been around plenty enough women to know when they was takin' a look. Yeah, he was old enough to be her Pops, but there was no denying that he still looked good. He was menacing and tough, and maybe she wanted to get herself some of that. Somethin' to even out all that sweetness she had.

The baby transferred easily, but started stirring, the minute she settled into Beth's arms. "Ohh, no…" Beth mumbled, as she started bouncing her arms lightly. She was all nerves and fluster. She couldn't understand how this man had managed to have such an immediate effect on her. She could feel the heat radiating off his body, and her stomach curling into knots.

Merle leaned over slightly, and leaned his shoulder into Beth's his large hand reached out and rested on Judith's back. "Settle down darlin'" he said in a soft slow drawl, "ya aint got no reason to be frettin' now." His eyes went from Beth's burning face to the baby. He pressed up a little closer to the girl,and his large warm hand stayed still and calm atop the tiny infant until she stopped squirming, and her breaths grew heavy again.

Beth's heart pounded loudly in her ears. She stayed focused on the baby, and it was as if all her breath left her in a rush. She wasn't even sure if he had been speaking to her or Judith.

She didn't move or look up, until the man besides her, pushed himself from the table and reached behind them to grab his apparatus off the table. She kept her head bowed down, as she heard him fiddling with the thing, afraid to look up, afraid to catch his eyes. Heck, she could barely, catch her breath, the only thing she was sure of was the sudden warmth that had left her side, when he strode away.

"I'm gonna gonna head out to the towers," Merle mumbled as he walked by Carol, who stood immobilized, eyes widened , and mouth slightly open, by the whole exchange. There had been an undercurrent in that slight chat…it didn't take much to see that. Poor Beth had been left practically gasping for air. Christ almighty, she knew that feeling well. She'd been fighting against the Dixon charm for almost a year, but she thought narrowing her eyes, unlike Daryl the older Dixon seemed to know exactly what he was doing.

He paused for a moment at the door before turning, "Ya better keep an eye on that little Angel today," he smirked, nodding towards the two girls in the center of the room, leaving it up to Carol to decide who exactly he was talking about. "seems a bit worked up."

Merle Dixon smiled to himself as he picked up to a slow jog towards the courtyard. Nice to know, he was still able to bring up the temperature in a room with just a few choice words. That little sweet thing, the way she'd shuddered when she brushed up against him, hell maybe she wasn't too young after all. Lord knows, her body seemed all woman to him. A nice new toy for him to play with, never even been outta the box. Didn't get much better than that.

-the end

Allright y'all let me know if you like, and if I should continue.