Hey there, I'm back with another one. I want to apologize to everyone for the long wait. Work has been kickin my ass lately. From now on...I will be updating once a week on Tuesdays. That is the plan. Once again thank you all for the amazing reviews. So many well thought out one's...so amazing to read them all. Thank you. Writing is my dream, and you all are making it a reality. Ok- next does ANYONE wanna help me out with my next chapter ? At least to read it...I'm heading towards some lovin' and I'm just the worst at that sort of thing, PM me if ya think ya can. I try to stay one ahead so its ready to go. Ok...well needless to say, there's not much Meth in this one...but believe me its a slow building fire...and the next one is all them. :))) Hey please don't forget- if ya like it...Review

BROKER A TRADE

For the first time since they had moved into the prison, the group hadn't gathered for dinner. Carol had taken her meal alone in her cell, and so had Merle. Maggie and Glenn had eaten there's up in the tower, while on watch…and Beth had sat tight-lipped besides her father, her large blue eyes fixed on the bowl of food in front of her.

"I haven't seen you and your sister not speaking to one another since you were girls." Herschel had commented nonchalantly to his youngest daughter.

Beth had merely shrugged, "I haven't done anything wrong daddy…she's the one who's not speaking to me."

Herschel had nodded sagely, his hand pausing above his bowl of noodles, his eyes looking down the hall to the older Dixon's cell, before resting on his daughter's. "Maybe she thinks you need…guidance… protection."

"Well, she's wrong." Beth had whispered firmly, before picking up her bowl and standing. "You know daddy," she had whispered softly, hoping the others couldn't hear. "Sometimes unexpected things happen." With that she quietly headed into the comfort of her own cell.

Daryl, had sat on the steps, listening to the exchange among the Greene's he's seen the old man's eyes linger towards his brother's cell and had seen the slow pink blush creep on Beth's cheeks. It hadn't been too hard to put two and two together, that goddamn shit had happened for the better part of his life.

"God dammit!" he muttered under his breath, setting down his plate of noodles and heading down the block towards his brother's cell.

"Care to tell me what the hell happened here today?" Daryl asked, stepping inside, knowing he'd probably do best to ease carefully around the topic of Beth.

Merle shrugged, shoveling the last bite of cold noodles down. With the threat of the governor looming, there hadn't been much time to hunt, they had been resigned to eating pantry items only, and Carol's refusal to cook this evening hadn't helped matters much either.

"Well somethin happened…aint no one eating together, and even Carols all up in a huff, that woman don't ever get ruffled." Daryl continued leaning up against the table in his brother's cell "What'd you do?"

Merle shook his head and frowned, now why in the hell did his little brother always assume he had done somethin wrong. "I didn't do nuthin'….why don't ya ask that Chinese kid….or the farmer's daughter?"

"That what happened to your hand?" Daryl nodded towards his brother's bandaged limb, "a whole lot of nuthin?"

Merle chuckled and took in a long breath, "Hell brother….I spent my day beatin' on some trucks…. figured y'all rather I do that then beat on that Chinese kid again."

Daryl looked at the ground, how in the hell did he ever think this was gonna work out in the first place, "ya break anything?" he asked, nodding towards his brother.

Merle shrugged and held out his hand, he grimaced lightly as he flexed his fingers. "Hurts like a son of a bitch….but that lil darlin' wrapped it up good enough."

Daryl nodded slowly, and flitted his eyes nervously in between his brother and the floor. He knew Merle, and he'd seen Beth at dinner, for Christ sake his brother was old enough to be her daddy, her granddaddy where they came from, what in the hell was he thinkin. "What's goin on there?" he asked quickly, "I seen the way you look at her."

"Pfft," Merle smirked, and folded his arms across his chest, "Lookin and touchin are two different things brother…you of all people should know that."

"What in the hell is that supposed to mean?" Daryl scoffed.

Merle shook his head slowly, "Have ya even laid a finger on that woman of yers….or is lookin all yer good for? Hell boy….when's the last time ya laid yer finger on any woman?"

"Fuck you Merle, she aint my woman." Daryl snapped, "And besides, you best keep yer hands to yourself when it comes to Beth, your bound ta get a bullet in the ass over that one."

Merle laughed, "I'm bound ta get a bullet in my ass over just about every dammed thing I do with this group, so that don't scare me none…and that woman….Carol, maybe you best tell her ya aint interested then…let somebody else move in." He smirked, applying some pressure on his little brother.

"Don't you fuckin worry about Carol?" Daryl snapped, looking up and squaring his shoulders. "you just worry about yerself….an' keepin yer hands outta that one's pants."

"Pfft," Merle shook his head and scowled at his brother. "Y'all got the craziest mother fucker ready to tear these walls down and kill us one by one, and all you can think about is whether or not I keep my dick in my pants….shit brother, what the hell's this group done to you?"

Daryl shrugged uncomfortably. He'd spent most of his life takin' orders from Merle, lookin up to him. Hell, even when he thought he was a useless son of a bitch he looked up to him…Merle was larger than life. But now….Christ , he saw him as he was…a man. He didn't know how to process that, how to wrap his head around the fact that he didn't need to be following' Merle around like a lost puppy any more.

"Ya gonna tell me what went down today brother ?" Merle asked, fixing his eyes on Daryl, "what really went down."

Rick had gone over the details as soon as they'd returned. The Governor wanted them wiped out, there wasn't much more to tell. Much more that Rick wanted told anyhow. He'd made his choice, on who got to know what….Merle wasn't in the loop, wasn't much Daryl could do about that. "Ya heard Rick tell it." He said.

"I want you to tell it." Merle snapped quietly. "I want you to grow a set and tell it to me straight."

Daryl's hand went up to his mouth and he started working on his nail. Dammit, Merle was his brother, he knew Woodbury and he knew that goddamn son of a bitch the Governor, of all people he should know what was goin on, but Rick wouldn't hear of it. He thought Merle was hot headed and only out for himself, that his temper would jeopardize the group's safety and integrity. Daryl was caught up between two loyalties again, and he wasn't quite sure he was willing to take more of this.

"He's willing to broker a trade," he said quietly, his eyes settling on his brother's. "Rick don't want no one to know about it yet."

"Go ahead." Merle nodded. This should be good.

"He wants Michonne." Daryl said, shifting his weight uncomfortably, "He'll let us be if we deliver her."

Merle fixed his eyes on his brother for a minute, before hanging his head back and letting out a long slow smile. That Governor was just a tricky son of a bitch, he wasn't any better than a damn Coyote; he was surprised that his brother couldn't see right through that empty offer. Rick was a dumb ass, crazier than a shit house rat right now, the pressure of leading this rag tag group had cracked him right down the middle…but his brother, and the old man…damn they both had brains left didn't they.

"He aint gonna let y'all be." He drawled out long and slow. "Don't matter none who you deliver. He'll take Michonne an you won't even wanna think of what he'll do to her…bet he's getting set up now… tools and things to keep her goin' while he takes her apart bit by bit." He brought his head back up slowly, and set his eyes on Daryl's cold and unflinching. "Now, I aint particularly a fan of that woman myself brother…but damn that's cold for you all to even be considerin. Not that it would matter anyhow, he'll kill whoever delivers her…he'll be hoping it's me or you… and then he'll take the prison. Aint no human sacrifice gonna stop that brother….you should know better. Best it'll do is buy us a bit of time…gather up ourselves and move on….live to fight another day."

Daryl shifted again and looked down. He knew his brother's knowledge could be counted on. Rick wasn't thinking straight right now, and the group knew it, but he was in a tight spot nonetheless. "Aint nuthin been decided yet." He mumbled.

"That so?" Merle asked sarcastically. "Aint Rick made a decision for the group yet brother? Well I'll tell ya what, officer friendly, he's done decidin' for me. Last decision he made lost me my hand….I'm deciding for myself." He walked across to his brother and stood not two inches away from him. "I'll deliver that woman if y'all want…but I think the best course of action here is to take that mother fucker out ourselves. Let him think we're contemplatin' his offer…then strike when he's unawares."

Daryl shook his head lightly. "That aint the plan Merle, ya can't go against the group on this one." He stepped forward and rested his hand on top of Merle's shoulder, "we gotta stick together." He said hanging his head but setting his eyes up to look at his brother. He wanted Merle to side with him on this one. He had to; there was no taking sides anymore. He wanted his brother, and he needed the group/

Merle shook his head, what the hell kind of pussy move was his brother pulling now. He shrugged Daryl's hand off his shoulder, and scowled, nodding his head up once. "I aint part of yer damn group brother," He said coldly, "I can think for myself."

Daryl watched as his brother turned his back on him and started methodically arranging clips and guns and stacking them neatly besides a small duffel bag on the table.

The conversation was finished. Merle didn't really appreciate his brother coming in all halfcocked and questioning him about the events of the day. He certainly didn't need to be reporting his actions to no one, especially not his baby brother. And he hadn't appreciated being kept out of the loop neither. That officer friendly was about as dense as wet bag o' cement. thinkin he could trade that Samurai Warrior for the freedom of the group. Thinkin' they'd go on as neighbors, livin right down the road from one another, in peaceful harmony. Didn't he know nuthin about treachery and deceit? Didn't he know nuthin about reality?

"Go on now." He said with a nod of his head, without lookin back. Christ sake the way Daryl was actin', boy was liable liable to hug him if he even set eyes on him. Somethin had gotten into his head, some goddamn end of days mood and he was tryin' to reconcile every damn wrong they'd ever had between them….he'd need more than one lifetime to get through that.

He didn't want Daryl hugging him, didn't want him touching him for that matter. There'd been an awful lot of touching and an awful lot of emotions commin his way lately. It wasn't something he was used to dealin with on a good day, much less during a goddamn zombie apocalypse. He didn't see no need to discuss the goddamn ins and outs of every damn thing. But this group Daryl had saddled himself with, they were more than likely gonna talk themselves to death before the governor even got to them.

He wasn't planning on sticking around for that. Went through too dammed much to stay alive in this world they'd been left with to give it all up on account of someone else's insanity. Hell, he'd just found his baby brother again. Found him all grown up, and turned into his own man…he hadn't even gotten the chance to know him again, he wasn't about to lose him. And then there was that girl, and she was nuthin really…but that didn't mean he wanted to see her dead…or worst.

Yeah, so that son of a bitch wanted to broker a trade. He'd have one ready for him alright. He wasn't gonna wait for that pussy ass friendly to make up his mind. He had someone to wake up and he'd be out by first light.