AN: Thus I present the final chapter. A big shout out to OTS, my beta, who did a wonderful job finding my typos. Any missed are solely on my head, (I write usually around 3 in the morning, and then get up at 7 for class).

Another shout out to all those who read it and liked, and those who let me know in some fashion or another.

And remember, I have hinted at a few other plot lines, especially in this chapter. Any you want to see done for sure, tell me in a review!!

And I am so excited. Boondock Saints 2 is coming to a theater in my city on Dec. 11th. I can't fucking wait!!! I am totally going to be first in line……

So, with no further ado, as I really should be studying right now for a lab final exam…


Alone Pt. 3 (The conclusion)

By castiel's drycleaner

Rating T: For all the stuff I mentioned in chapter 1…. Mhwa ha ha ha…


Murphy was sitting on the kitchen table kicking his feet, staring at the clock, a fresh cigarette hanging out of his mouth. An open bottle of whiskey was beside him, but relatively untouched. He rubbed his nose with the hand not glued to the cigarette. He glanced at Smecker who stood near the open window. Murphy assumed it was a subtle protest about the amount of stale cigarette smoke in the air. Murphy didn't care. Chain smoking relieved him. It was either this or get drunk, and he only had ten minutes left for Connor to get back before Murphy was going after him, consequences be damned.

Murphy inhaled. The rush of nicotine did relatively little to calm his rugged nerves. He let out a long breathe and pushed himself off the table. At the same time, Smecker snapped to attention. Murphy was about to snap at Smecker for being a domineering asshole, when he noticed the curious look about the agent's face.

"What kind of car did Connor take?" He leaned out the window and visibly winced. A second later Murphy heard the faint sound of crushing steel and ring of breaking glass.

"What the fuck?" Murphy ran to over to Smecker and glanced out the window himself. His and Connor's brown car was bent against the concrete barrier in their neighbour's spot. "How fast did it hit?" He asked over his shoulder as he was

running to the door.

"Not hard. Saw the brake lights go on after the impact, though." Smecker jogged up beside him as they left the apartment, leaving the door open. "We need to be careful –"

"Yah, wouldn't want to get seen hanging around with the likes of us by the criminals." Murphy said. Smecker's step on the stairs faltered for moment, but he resumed pace. Murphy bit his lip. "Fuck. You mean it may be a trap."

"It could be." Came the disturbingly succinct response. Murphy blew out a breath.

"Fuck it. Let's spring it then." Murphy ran the last few feet, pulled a gun, and burst out the backdoor of the apartment building.

The outside car lot was devoid of life. No angry Russian spilled out of the shadows; no bullets came whizzing at their heads; no mob boss stepped under a street light spouting villainous clichés from those movies Connor liked so much. It was all rather anti-climatic.

"This was too easy." Murphy heard Smecker mutter behind him. The man sounded disappointed.

"Don't say that. Do you know what happens in the movies when people say that?" Murphy laughed softly, cautiously approaching the still-running car. It was too dark to see into the illegally tinted windows, especially at night. "Christ, I sound like Connor."

He heard Smecker laugh softly. "Hail Mary, full o' grace." Murphy amended.

Murphy walked up the driver's side door a peered through the glass. His heart pounded loudly in his chest. The back of a blonde head rested on the blood streaked glass. Murphy rapped on the windows. Connor didn't stir. "Fuck!" He stepped quickly up the front of the car and broke off the wire antennae. He step to the back window and cracked against the back corner of the window. Safety glass shattered into perfect squares. The dark haired twin reached around and under his brother's body and flicked up the door latch. He slid his arm out again, which was now splotched liberally with blood. Murphy was more than a little disturbed at the complete lack of reaction from his twin. Smecker put his hand on the door handle.

"Get ready to catch him." Murphy squatted down to get level, and maneuvered around the opening door. He brother fell bonelessly into his arms. Murphy pulled him the rest of the way out of the car and laid him down onto the concrete.

In the pale yellow lamplight, and the dim glow of the moon, Connor looked like a corpse. His skin was pasty white and translucent. His lips were too dark in colour. His face was slack and unresponsive. Murphy's heart pounded harder until he saw two signs of life. Fever bright highlights on his brother's cheeks, and the slight hiss of too rapid breathing. "Dumb bastard's alive."

"We should get him to a hospital. Now." Smecker crouched down at Connor's side, a frown etched into his expressive face.

"And you do you suppose I'll explain this?" Murphy gestured at his brother's body. "Got sick and fell down a flight of stairs, did he?"

"You'll figure out something." Smecker said calmly. Murphy swore again.

The young man eased up behind his brother and gently lifted his brother's limp shoulders off the ground. "Get his legs, will ya?" Murphy's hand dug in harder. He heard a wet squish of fabric from his right, followed by a low groan. Murphy pulled right hand away. It was covered in drying blood. "The Fuck is that coming from?" He showed his hand to Smecker.

"Can't take him to the hospital till we figure out what that is." He angled his brother's body higher off the ground and slid his arms around Connor's torso. Murphy felt his shirt soak through. Murphy stood slowly from his crouch, Smecker supporting Connor's legs. They walked slowly back to the apartment, Smecker and Murphy keeping watch for curious onlookers, or opportunistic criminals. They made it back to the reinforced steel door that led to back entrance for the building. Smecker slowly set down Connor's legs.

"Where's the keys?" Smecker asked.

Murphy swore. "Front pocket on the right. On the jacket." He quickly added. Smecker retrieved them professionally and held the door open and Murphy dragged Connor inside. "Spending so much time carrying your ass around, gonna' get a fucking hernia." Connor chose that time to mumble something incoherently and flop his head around. Murphy rolled his eyes. "Knew he'd respond to that."

Smecker just raised one eyebrow. They pulled Connor up the stairs. Surprisingly no one bothered to check out the commotion at 3:30 in the morning on a week night. Thank God for small favours.

The group of three made it into the apartment. Murphy nodded towards the kitchen. "Lay him on the table. See what's wrong with his back before we make decisions."

Smecker pursed his lips but agreed.

Connor lay face down on the table with Smecker supporting his head and neck, which hung off the end. Murphy cut off Connor's clothes with a pair of First Aid scissors, pea coat included. Murphy winced at the waste of a good coat, but knew the chances of ever getting the blood out it were slim. Personally, he never wanted to see that particular coat again, once the damage to Connor's body was revealed.

The already obvious split in the back of Connor's scalp still wept blood. Blood caked down his spine, pooled, and then hardened in the small of his back. The wound from which it originated made Murphy turn white, then interesting shades of purple.

A neat little bullet hole lay directly above Connor's right shoulder blade. There was no exit wound, and it certainly wasn't a graze.

"Gunshot wounds get reported to the cops don't they?" Murphy asked in quiet voice.

"It's unavoidable." Smecker confirmed.

"He can't go then." Murphy said softly. "If he gets worse, I'll have to take him. But right now..." He closed his and walked over to a drawer and pulled out a large first aid kit. He laid it open on the nearest kitchen counter and looked at its contents. He sighed softly. "Connor awake?" Smecker dropped to his knees and looked up into the face of the head he was supporting. Smecker switched his grip to free one hand and lightly slapped the younger man's face.

"Think he's unconscious."

Murphy pulled a small suture kit out of the white box. "Good."

"You can sew?" Smecker laughed.

"Better than our Ma." Murphy snorted. "It was the only way fer us to get our stuff fixed. The woman was shite with a needle." He looked back at his brother. The harsh white light in the apartment did nothing to improve the look of his brother's skin tone. "Let's move him back a bit. Rest his head on the table so you can put pressure on his back while I stitch his head up." Murphy set his stuff back down on the counter, and between his and Smecker's efforts, they got Connor propped on his side slightly so that Connor's airways was open, and Murphy could get at the back of his head. They washed the blood away with a bottle of saline, and cleaned the area up with iodine. Connor's hair was parted away from the gash, which had begun bleeding again in earnest. Murphy laid a piece of gauze against it until he was ready.

Murphy bit his lip anxiously, wishing to go get a smoke. They'd never sewn each other up before, not from this anyway. Cauterization had always been the first method they tried, but that wasn't going to work on a head wound. Also, Connor would be pissed if he woke up to find all the hair singed off. Murphy was too angry to even consider the idea to be revenge.

Murphy settled down in a chair behind Connor and felt eyes burning into his face. He lifted his gaze to Smecker's. He sneered at what he saw there.

"Do you want to switch?" Came a response filled with genuine concern. Murphy looked down at his shaking hand that held two forceps clasping a sterile needle.

"You know how to do this?" Smecker shook his head negatively. "Just watch his face, see if he starts to wake up."

"His breathing..." Smecker trailed off.

"I know. He was wheezing before, but this is new." Murphy began stitching up his brother's head with steady hands. "Maybe he's just sicker. Stupid fucker shouldn't have gone without someone there. Not as he is."

Smecker leaned over the table to apply a liberal amount of pressure to the hole in his twin's back. Smecker frowned. "His eyelids are twitching."

"Well at least he's not so far gone, he can't feel pain." Murphy said softly. "Idiot probably wishes he was." Murphy finished putting Connor's head back together. He snipped the threads with a smaller pair of scissors. "Wish I could have taken out whatever was in there that put the idea in his head in the first place. For all we know, some angry Russians are going to break the door down tomorrow and fill us full of lead."

Smecker started to laugh. "That worked so well last time."

Murphy grinned ruefully. "That was one well-thrown toilet." He turned back to his brother. "Fuck." Connor's chest still twitched up and down with exaggerated effort. Murphy wondered if Connor was getting air at all. His twin was practically hyperventilating. The gauze Smecker held was soaked through. "Think he's lost too much..." Murphy trailed off.

"Not a doctor. By the time I see gunshot victims, they're already dead. I only know what that looks like."

Murphy placed his fingers on his brother's throat beside the cartage, trying to feel for a pulse. "Can't even feel one." He swore again. He studied his brother pale, sweating face. "His lips are still blue. What the fuck does that mean?" Murphy opened up a small bundle wrapped in green cloth. Small stainless steel instruments came into view. He shook his head at Smecker's inquisitive look. "You can buy anything if you know the right guys. I don't know what half this stuff is for, though." He picked up another set of forceps and motioned for Smecker to back off.

Murphy locked his jaw and pushed the end of the instrument down into the hole on his brother's back. Fresh blood started to ooze from the wound again. He swore softly. "Can't feel a bullet." Smecker looked at him. "No, I don't want you to try." Murphy bit the inside of his cheek. He laid the forceps back on the green sterile cloth, and picked up a scalpel. "Saw this on TV." Murphy half laughed. "Shite like that always comes out of Connor's mouth." He placed the scalpel's blade along the wound and cut a cross into it. Connor's breath hitched in a small moan of pain. "Easy, my dear brother." Connor's back muscles twitched and his head jerked.

A low voice sound from Connor's throat. The accent was extremely thick, and the words ran together. "Murphy. You alright? What's going on?"

"Do you guys have any painkillers?" Smecker asked quietly.

"Nah, the drug dealers don't really like us, you know." Murphy answered in a flat tone.

"I get some for you." Smecker said softly.

"What, how?" Murphy looked straight into Smecker's eyes. "You'd do that for us?"

"Letting you two get away with multiple homicides isn't enough?" Smecker smirked. "I'll tell the doc I hurt my back carrying something heavy." Smecker looked meaningfully at Connor.

Murphy snorted. "Yah, tell me about it."

He had already returned with forceps and had them back into the wider wound on his brother's back. Murphy gritted his teeth in concentration and felts the forceps hit against something small and solid. He adjusted the angle and felt around the edges of what he hoped was the bullet, and locked the object between the prongs. With as smooth of a motion he could make, Murphy pulled it out slowly, and a wet slurping noise was heard. The offending piece of metal became visible. Murphy looked at the flattened piece of metal. He hoped there weren't any remaining shards. Not that he could do anything about them if there were. He wiped away the blood, and started suturing up his brother's back.

Smecker was looking thoughtfully Connor's face. "There's a diving equipment store down the street. Opens at seven."

"Yah, so?" Murphy asked.

"They sell oxygen tanks." Smecker glanced towards Connor. "Looks like he may need it." Smecker walked to the sink at washed blood off his hands, and Murphy taped a large gauze bandage to his brother's back.

"I'm gonna' clean him up." He picked up a cloth, dipped it in water, and started to wipe drying blood from his brother's back.

Ten minutes later, he was done, and Connor was wearing a new pair of sweat pants. Smecker and Murphy gently lifted up Connor's lax body and carried him into the bedroom. Murphy tucked him into bed, covering him.

"He's still feverish." Smecker noted, one large hand covering Connor's forehead in an oddly affectionate move.

"Yeah, well maybe it will keep him from dying off shock." Murphy said sarcastically. "And overwhelmin' stupidity." Murphy propped Connor up a bit with both their pillows. Smecker nodded. "I'll go to the emergency room now with severe back pain." He huffed out a sigh. "I'll see you later, Murphy, when I have everything."

Murphy nodded goodbye, and pulled up a chair to watch his brother. Everything he didn't want to say when Smecker was there bubbled to surface. He stood suddenly, and the chair fell over. "What the fuck were you thinking?" He turned around and kicked his own bed. His foot twinged. "Seriously man, what the fuck?" A strangled sob noise left his throat. "You almost fucking died." His throat was starting to hurt. His own eyes burned. "You can't just go leaving me alone."

He strode up to his brother's face and looked down in Connor's eyes. They were open and confused. The pupil's were pinpricks, despite the darkness of the room. The large blue iris swiveled around the room and locked onto Murphy's face.

"Murph...." His breathing was louder now; it hitched harder. "Murph... It's okay. I'm here." A racking cough overtook his frame, and he curled in on himself. A cry of pain screamed from his mouth, and he jerked his body back flat. Murphy rushed up the help his brother into a sitting position.

"Breathe slowly, Conn." Murphy wrapped his arms around his brother's torso, and rubbed his lower back, far below the farcical attempt at surgery. "Breathe with me, okay?" He guided his brother and got him breathing back to a normalized manner. It was still too fast and too shallow, but it was better than the wracking coughs that were causing him too much pain. "You're doing good Conner."

Connor's stiff body sagged instantly in Murphy's arms. Murphy still felt the warm puffs of air against his own neck, so he rearranged the pillows to a higher stack. He laid back his brother after examining the gauze. Amazingly, Connor's coughing hadn't re-opened his wound. "Thank god." Murphy glanced at the clock. It was five am. He rubbed his eyes. It was too fucking early in the morning for this shit. Murphy laid back on the chair, his anger and guilt pushed away for the minute. Connor had been amazingly reckless. That was a fact. He had gone off nearly gotten killed. Fact. He knew he would have no back up. Fact. However, he'd made it home fast to enough for Murphy to save him. At least Connor wasn't acting like he was suicidal.

Murphy scratched at the two burns on his neck. Connor was a rat bastard sometimes. His brother had always had a sucker punch up his sleeve. They would fight over the toys as kids, they would both be looking at the same girl – hell they'd both be going for the same piece of pie, and Connor always out maneuvered him. Usually Connor would share his spoils, the toys and the pie not the girls, but he was always just a little bit quicker on the draw. Murphy made up for with his own tenacity.

Connor was still breathing. His face was still pale. His lips were still pale and cyanotic. Murphy wasn't going to let him go. Not until Connor was properly aware. Fever gone, conscious and alert, so Connor could properly understand why Murphy's oversized boot was up his skinny arse high enough to taste shoe leather.

Go out alone to do a hit.

"What an idiot."

"You're bedside manner is pretty awful." Smecker said from behind him.

Murphy leapt to his feet and wheeled around.

"Didn't hear you come in." He admitted softly. Smecker held a metal canister with a diving mask attached, a white paper bag rested on a chair near the bedroom door.

"I'll set up the oxygen." Smecker nodded at the paper bag. "There's quite a few Percocets in there.

Murphy pulled out a large orange prescription bottle. And then he pulled out another. "What's this one?"

"I also had a raging infection. Thought it would be good to get some antibiotics into him. Maybe get rid of his pneumonia." Smecker's pager went off. "Fuck. Looks like they found your brother's mess." Murphy felt a spike of dread go through him. Did Connor screw up and leave any evidence behind? The man had definitely not been thinking straight, even before a head injury and a gunshot to the back.

"I'll do what I can to help." Smecker nodded. "Call me if anything changes. Don't wait too long if…" Smecker paused, "If you have to take him to the hospital."

With that, the agent left, shutting the door softly behind himself.

Murphy was left alone with Connor.

He turned to face his brother. The regulator for the diving mask had been set to open, and the line was taped to his brother cheek. Already, there was a bit more color in his brother's lips, and under a closer inspection, in his nail beds.

Murphy relaxed.

He could deal with this.


The next few days were difficult.

Getting his brother to drink was extremely challenging, especially given the flavour of the saline. Murphy knew Connor was in real danger from the shear blood loss, and being anemic while hurt and ill was dangerous. Smecker had thought ahead and dropped off a couple protein shakes and bottles of Gatorade. Murphy had diluted them with the saline and pushed it down Connor's throat anytime he was awake enough to swallow without choking. Connor was still only half aware, and had stubbornly protested that Murphy was trying to drown him again. The lighter-haired twin had never forgotten or forgiven him for the incident when they had both been sixteen.

Even with the antibiotics Smecker had procured, the fever raged on. Connor was too hot one minute and over racked by chills the next. His needs for more blankets or an ice bath had Murphy constantly on and off his chair. His brother also had a unique ability to sense from his restless sleep any time that Murphy slid out the window onto the fire escape for a smoke. Connor always awoke at the precise time, truly needing something. Murphy only had his leg out the window the last time Connor had come awake demanding Murphy turned up the heat in his bedroom.

Connor's dive into the ocean had come back to bite him firmly in arse. His cough persisted and Murphy was sure that his brother had gotten pneumonia. The stitches had ripped two days after Murphy had put them in. The coughing fit had been so rough that Connor had pulled a muscle in his ribcage. Murphy knew from his own experience that the feeling was worse than having several broken ribs. Murphy had to keep Connor drugged up to his eyeballs, his pain was so bad. Unfortunately, the reduced awareness made it harder to keep Connor hydrated and fed. Murphy knew better than to start pouring liquid down an unconscious man's throat. He played a game of chicken between Connor being in too much pain to eat, and Connor being too dopey to eat.

Murphy had thrown up himself the second time he sewed up his brother like a rag doll. Connor had been awake and delirious with fever and agony. He had struggled like a possessed man. Murphy had been forced to tie him to the bed to keep his twin still long enough to fix his back. The restraints had only made his brother struggle harder, cursing at Checkov, apologizing to Murphy for getting him shot in the head. Murphy tried to talk some sense into his brother, not that that had worked for days, but after more screams of fury and misery, Murphy decided getting the procedure done quickly would have been less traumatizing.

Murphy had never taken care of an infant before, but he was starting doubt why anyone ever had children. He'd say thank you to his mother the next time she starting in on her tits hanging down to her ankles routine. Murphy tried to banish the memories pertaining to those specific times before they formed.

Murphy stood musing by the door, utterly exhausted himself. He let himself sleep occasionally just after Connor had fallen asleep with the help of the opiates, but never deeply, because he couldn't trust that Connor would not start throwing up again, or coughing. Murphy was too scared of waking up to his brother dead from choking on his own vomit or phlegm. Murphy moved to his own bed and sat down. He looked at his watch. It was an hour until he had to wake his brother for the next round of antibiotics and liquids. He walked out of the bedroom and put his hand on the hole in the wall next to the bedroom door. Murphy rubbed his mouth. If Connor ever did this again...

A soft moan caught his attention.

He turned around, and a wrenchingly familiar sight greeted him.

Connor had come awake from another nightmare, whimpering softly, his left arm around his head with his eyes scrunched shut. Connor occasionally had migraines, ones that left him so completely out of it with pain, and it twisted Murphy up inside it was so hard watch. Murphy felt a familiar burning feeling in his stomach, and he knew Connor had to be in the grips of one. Murphy knew he could not give Connor anymore pain meds for another four hours. It was frustrating to sit there, knowing Connor was hurting, and he could do nothing.

Murphy could patch his brother up, give him medicine, throw on just one more blanket, and keep Connor company. But he could do nothing for this.

Tears started leaking from the corner of Connor's eye lids. Murphy rushed forward and slipped behind his brother and onto the bed. He rested Connor's thin ribcage against his chest and gently placed his brother's head down on his own shoulder. He didn't make a sound, knowing anything would amplify and drill into his brother's head harder. He simply sat there with Connor until his twin passed out again.


Connor's fever broke that night.

Murphy came into the room, and Connor was sweating enough that he had soaked through his sheets. Murphy, who had become quite good at replacing them, rolled his brother over and set about his tasks. He mopped sweat that was pouring off his brother's body. Connor was moaning incoherently again. "Sorry."

"It's alright brother." Murphy absently replied.

"Sorry."

"It's alright Conn. Go back to sleep." Murphy repeated. Connor forced open his eyes.

"Ma?"

"It's me Connor. Your Murphy." Murphy rolled Connor to his other side to straighten and tuck the sheet to the other side of the bed.

"Ma. I'm sorry."

"Three."

The next five hours were filled with so much of the same, Murphy could swear that he was stuck in his own version "Ground Hog Hour".

"I'm sorry, Murphy." Connor whispered in a rough voice.

"Cent quinze, je suis désolé." Murphy counted out loud, "Et, quarante-huit appels pour moi, cinquante-sept pour notre mere, et deux pour notre père."

"I'm sorry-"

Murphy cut off Connor. "Et une plus, cela fait cent seize, mon frère."

"What are you rambling about?" Connor muttered and locked eyes with his brother. They were surprisingly clear.

"So you are really awake this time. Good, I guess. You've said sorry one hundred and sixteen times, yelled for me forty eight times, called for Ma thirty seven attempts, and even Dad twice." Murphy summarized with a helpless shrug.

"I'm sorry." Connor closed his eyes.

"That would be one hundred and seventeen."

"Shut it!" Connor snapped.

"Watch yer tone with me brother. I just spent the last five days wiping yer ass." Murphy stood up over the bed. "You're little stunt almost got you killed or arrested." Murphy's tirade picked up steam. "What the fuck were you even thinking? But you weren't fucking thinking were you?" He reached down and grabbed his brother's shoulder. "And worse yet, you fucking hit me with the fucking stun gun, and sneak out like you're going to the fucking prom."

Murphy didn't notice how white his brother's face went. The lines of pain that crinkled Connor's eyes made him look much older. Or the confused and guilty horror in the reflection of what he had done to himself, and more importantly to his twin.

"Murphy, I'm sorry, brother. I'm not sure what happened. I wasn't thinking straight. Are you alright?"

Murphy never heard him. His grip tightened, and his vision went back to the sight of what looked like his dead brother against the window of their car. "Next time, do us both a favor and don't come back. You want to do that alone? Fine. Be alone."

Murphy left the room.

Murphy slumped down in the living room onto his recliner. He shook his head and got up, heading for the couch with a lit smoke already in hand. He watched the black screen for half an hour before the voice of his conscience started registering. Real fucking great, Murphy. You're such a fucking dick. Your only brother nearly fucking died and you rip him a new one for something he did when he was out of his head. Murphy sat there and put his head into his hands. As much as it all hurt him - Connor nearly dying of wounds that could have been avoided, Connor leaving to go kill the mafia boss without him, hell, even Connor hitting him with a fuckin' stun gun - it was that Connor didn't trust Murphy enough to listen to him that was the worst bit. Murphy had told Connor flat out that he could not go. Connor had simply ignored him.

Murphy put his head back against the couch and shut his burning eyes. He inhaled deeply, letting smoke fill his lungs. He held his breath. Then he heard a crash, and sound of a body hitting the floor.

Murphy was on his feet with the cigarette behind his ear before he was consciously aware of it.

He ran through the bedroom door and saw Connor twisted up in his sheets lying on the bedroom floor, struggling to push himself up with one weak arm.

"Fuck, Conn, what are ye doin'?" Murphy raked a hand across his mouth and dropped to his knees, assessing the damage.

"Get out." Came Connor's cold voice.

"Not happening, brother. What do you need?" Murphy put a hand on Connor's bare shoulder, the one that he had unknowingly grabbed earlier. Connor flinched.

"Fuck you." Connor shook his brother off and pushed himself to knees. He started half crawling, half knee walking towards the bedroom door.

"Where are you going, man?" Murphy trailed after his brother, more than a little confused.

Connor locked his jaw, his face sweating and dangerously pale. He kept going. Murphy realized what was going on when Connor turned to go down the hall. "If you need help going to the bathroom, should have asked." He said somewhat cockily, until he remembered what his last words to his brother were. Be alone. The commandment rang in his ears. He felt lightheaded himself.

Connor hauled himself to his feet using the doorknob. He walked on shaky knees around the door and shut it. Murphy heard the lock click.

The phone rang. Murphy glanced at the door his brother was behind. Murphy hoped Connor didn't fall and crack his skull, but he let him be. He walked back to bedroom, and answered the phone. "'Ello?"

"It's just me." Smecker's voice sounded over the phone. "How's everything going? I just finished analyzing the crime scene. I've never been so confused. Connor shot the mafia boss through the both eyes from straight across with two different types of guns. One shot was imbedded in the wall as if it were shot when the boss was standing up; the other shot was as if the boss was sitting. The second shot was fired after the man was dead for at least half an hour." Smecker rattled off the information as if he were still at the crime scene. "And the whole place was contaminated with ammonia."

Murphy just stared in shock. What the fuck had happened?

"The aerosolized ammonia might have explained why Connor was having so much trouble breathing, if he inhaled any of it." Smecker thought out loud.

"Yeah," Murphy nodded. "Smecker, you mind coming over and staying with Connor for a bit?"

"I can. What do you need, fresh air or sleep?" Smecker sounded a bit surprised. The agent had made the offer, but as of yet, Murphy hadn't asked for help.

"Something like that..." Murphy hedged and cursed as the crack mind of the FBI genius investigator figured it out.

"What happened?" Smecker asked. The one thing that Murphy had appreciated when time he and Connor had been arrested was the fact that even when Smecker had been interrogating them on the deaths of the two Russians, Smecker had done so with true polite impartiality. That same tone of voice irritated him now. He half wondered if it was because he felt like he should have been called out on his behavior. Self flagellation seemed to be the correct penitence in this case.

"What you mean to ask is, 'What did I do'." Murphy answered.

"Do I?"

"The second Connor appears to be back – you know feeling better, no fever, coherent – I rip into him like I some sort of date he stood up for a better thing."

"I see."

Murphy laughed and did not note the hysterical edge to it. "Do ya, then?"

"You're pissed at your brother for ignoring good advice. And you know it was good advice because your brother returned to you about half an hour away from being dead." Smecker paused. "However, Connor was altered that night. In a court situation, he might even be able to plead not guilty due to his mental state. Normal Connor would have never done what he did, not the way that he did it."

"You sure about that?" Murphy asked in a low voice.

"The questions is can you answer that, not me? Because if you can't, I'd be happy to take time off work and stay with Connor until he is well enough to get by on his own." Smecker replied evenly, with that earnest, polite dead-seriousness.

"I can now." Murphy answered. "I think I need to talk with my brother."

"Good." Smecker hung up.

Murphy clicked the end button on the phone.

He dropped it to the floor, walked back to the bathroom door, and knocked softly. "Aye, it's just me." Murphy heard the toilet flush and the lid clatter down. If he was not mistaken, he heard Connor take a seat on it. "You don't need to say anything, if you don't want to. Just listen to Murph."

Murphy sat on the carpet opposite the door. "I was wrong." Murphy heard a snort and smiled. "Amazing, isn't it? A MacManus admitting he was the one in fault. I was, the night you left. I didn't sit down and talk you through yer plan. Help you see the flaws in it. I just flat out ignored your ideas, and you ignored mine. You were too sick to go, but you didn't realize it. And I was in the wrong until just now, when I realized two things. That it wasn't my fault you went and got hurt worse." Murphy heard a sharp intake of breath from the other side of the door. Murphy braced himself for the round of raucous coughing that was sure to follow. Murphy glanced at his watch. Connor was due for another Perc thirty two minutes ago when Murphy was wallowing in self pity. This was going to extremely painful for his brother.

Connor finally finished, and Murphy released the breath he had unknowingly been holding. He could hear the controlled measured breaths Connor was using to manage his pain and suppress his cough reflex.

"And two, I don't blame you for what happened either. You did what you thought was right at the time. I just wish you hadn't made the decision alone." Murphy blew out a breath.

"I'm sorry Murphy." The door opened to the bathroom. Connor leaned against the doorframe like it was the only thing keeping him vertical. Murphy slipped under his twin's uninjured arm, wrapping his arm low around Connor's waist. Murphy held his brother up.

"So that's one hundred and eighteen times. You're fucking awful at apologizing if it takes you that many tries."

"Oh fuck you. Yer one to talk."

Connor and Murphy hobbled back to the bedroom.

Together.

And shepherds we shall be

For thee my lord, for thee

Power hath descended forth from thy hand

That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command

So we shall flow a river forth to Thee

And teeming with souls shall it ever be

In nomine Patris, et Filii Spiritus Sancti


There it is…..

Reviews feed the muse.

Any suggestions, things you want to see in the future, you must tell me! I am not telepathic…. Though that would be cool…. "Troy Duffy, you must write the third movie.... Now" and "Include angst" And "shirtlessness"

Thanks guys for the ride!!!

~castiel's drycleaner Nov 2009