*Merle was 11 at the time*
*Daryl was about 3 months old*
Merle was pacing around his room bouncing a fussy Daryl in his arms. Momma was fighting with Daddy as usual and just didn’t have time for parenting. She never did. She didn’t want Daryl. But Merle would never tell him that. He took good care of his baby brother.
Daryl slept in Merle’s bed with him since Daddy sold Merle’s old crib after he grew out of it. Merle didn’t mind. He loved that baby, the way he kicked his little feet in the air for no apparent reason, the cute little noises he made, and the way he scrunched his nose.
He took very good care of his brother.
He held Daryl up and looked in his little eyes.
"A’right baby, Ima give you your bottle, then you gonna go to sleep, kay?"
Daryl kicked his feet in agreement.
Merle grabbed the bottle off his desk and laid on his bed with his brother in his arm. He stuck the bottle in Daryl’s mouth and he ate happily.
This is about the point in the night where Merle started talking to Daryl and making a very little amount of sense.
"Stop it. Stop doing that." Daryl looked up at his big brother. "You know exactly what you’re doing. You’re being cute on purpose aren’t you?" He kissed his little forehead. "You must be plotting something. Nobody can just lay there and crap their pants all day without having a good reason."
Daryl started to push the bottle away so Merle put it back where it was and turned his lamp off. He repositioned Daryl so they could sleep.
They both stayed awake for awhile and listened to their parents fight and eventually hear Daddy slam the door.
Daryl made a baby noise and Merle put his hand protectively on his head.
"Don’t worry baby brother, I ain’t gon’ let him hurt you."