Murphy woke to the slamming of the door, jumping a little out of his dream.
"Wake up, Murph!" Conner whispered, only it came out loud and slurring, a stage-whisper to match his wobbling steps. "Hey, you awake?"
"Yeah," Murphy said, sitting up and swiping at his eyes. He shook his head a little, fighting the dimness of the room, only able to see Conner's silhouette—his shoulders and the spiky shocks of his hair. "What's up?"
"Nothing, just wanted to wake ye up," Conner said, and laughed. It was a full-fledged, open laugh, a full and relieved sound that Murphy hadn't heard in a very long time. Recently, neither one of them had laughed for real; it was always bound up with the tightness of worry, anger, and pain. "Did ye have fun sleeping?"
"I slept," Murphy said, and it sounded grumpy even to himself. He bent over and tugged at the laces of his boots, surprised that he'd fallen asleep with them on. "Did ye get what ye wanted, then?"
"Nah," Conner said, flopping down on his bed face-first. "I got t' drinking, got t' telling stories, and wound up closing the place down. The waitress offered, but I didn't want her asking questions about the guns, so I passed."
"Tragic," Murphy said, kicking off his boots and pulling off his socks. "Why'd ye go with the guns?"
"Fucking forgot about them," Conner said, and again that light, happy laughter. "I'm so used to not leaving them in these hotel rooms that I put them on outta habit."
Murphy shrugged out of his shirt and tossed it to the end of his bed. He paused a moment to light a cigarette before moving over to his twin and tugging at his coat.
"What?" Conner asked, boneless as Murphy stripped the coat off of him.
"Yer sloppy drunk, Conner—get some sleep."
Conner sat up and let Murphy help him undo the straps that held his guns down. Murphy carefully stacked them and folded the straps around the holsters as Conner pulled off his shirt and started working at the laces of his boots.
"Fuck," he cursed, nearly plowing head-first into the floor.
"Hold on," Murphy snapped, laying the guns down on the nightstand. He dropped onto the floor in front of Conner and sat Indian-style, pulling his twin's foot into this lap.
"Thanks," Conner said, swaying a little. He put one hand on Murphy's head to steady himself and let his twin get him out of his shoes. "I drank a bit."
"Just a bit," Murphy said, and blushed a little. He stood and gave Conner a little push, smiling with a little mean glee to see his twin keel over and knock his head into the wall. "Go to sleep, for fuck's sake—ye look like yer on yer last wheel."
Conner smiled again and curled up on his side, saying in that same stage-whisper, "Come here, Murphy, ye little bastard. Come over here to me."
Murphy glared at him a moment, then gave in, sighing as he laid down next to his twin. There was nothing quite like home as lying with Conner's scent wrapped around him like a blanket, his heart pounding rhythmically against his back, his breath pulsing against his nape. Conner was home, his twin was his refuge—all he had in a world full of dark and ugly things that sometimes shot back, struck back, got the upper hand. Conner snuggled against his back and nuzzled his nose behind Murphy's ear, his arm folding over his twin in a gesture of protection.
"I love ye, Murphy," he drowsily said, relaxing behind him because Murphy was his refuge in the same way.
"I love ye, too, Conner," Murphy said, settling into that twin-thing, into being in two bodies at once, connected just that deeply. It was a bond too close and intimate for any lover to overcome, any family to push aside—they'd entered this world together and would leave it the same. And the idea of losing the other was a prospect that terrified them both. "I'm just so afraid."
"Yer fine, Murphy," Conner said, his voice vague as he drifted on the edge of sleep. "We'll get ye straightened out, I promise. I helped ye into this mess, I'll help ye find yer way through it."
"I know ye will, Conner," Murphy said, and waited until his twin was fast asleep before he moved to his own bed. It was cold there alone, away from the comfort of home, but comfort came at cost and Murphy understood that. He looked back at his twin, still curled around the hollow where Murphy had lain, his arm loose and his face slightly taut—as if he could sense that Murphy had left him. After all of it, after all he'd seen, all that he knew, he still had not turned from his other self, and that meant more to Murphy than anything else ever could.