Alright, so this didn't come out over the weekend like I said it would, but I'm proud of myself for actually finishing this thing rather than letting it sit for a few weeks like I normally do. No excuses really, just got caught up in life and all its wonderful perks. Ha, that's one way to put it. Anyway, this is the third and final part of AIW, so I do hope you enjoy it. I warn that it is neither happy nor a chapter filled with good feelings. It's a tragedy, folks. Maybe not the best of kinds, but still an unhappy, depressing baby of a story. I actually got a little sad writing this, which is a first. I also spent my weekend watching sad movies. (Where the Wild Things Are made me cry like a baby.) Ye be warned, all. Tears and sadness may occur. Or not. Depends on the person. But moving on, I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support - you all made my past couple of weeks. Thank you so very much. You might see me around more often, I have a few story ideas in mind for later. As I think that is all and without further ado: the end. Enjoy - RJL

I know we both have gone
A long time being denied
Instead of being favored
You know, I'd like to dream
In dreams, in dreams
We never say goodbye

Last Favor: The Finches

Part Three

He was frozen. Ever fiber of his being was ordering him to move. A voice was shouting in his mind, ordering him to react. The adrenaline coursing through his system begged to be released. He swore God was screaming at him, demanding he move. Connor knew he should be moving, lifting his arm and pulling back the trigger resting beneath his finger. He knew that. And yet he stood, transfixed in horror as his arm hung limply at his side and he watched the bullets rip through the body before him. He heard the shots and saw them fly slowly towards the woman before him who was shielding his body with her own.

They stood, not even a foot of space between them. He could reach out a hand and touch her bloody wounds if he could only make himself move. Only seconds passed by. The blood started to wet her shirt as her body responded to the assault. Down the hall, he knew there was still a threat to be dealt with: a sinner that needed deliverance, but he could not bring himself to care. He couldn't look away from Vera, shock and horror showing brightly on his face as his body slowly found itself trying and failing to catch her before she hit the floor. His body moved, but his mind was elsewhere.

He was confused. It made no sense. He had heard the shots, even seen the shooter before Vera had switched their place, but nothing of the past eight seconds made any sense to him. She was an innocent, a woman who had risked not only her life but her family's as well to help his own. She wasn't a murdering man, or a lecherous drug dealer. She hadn't killed anyone, or kidnapped a child. She had never threatened another human being's life. She was a good person. A good person did not deserve to die. God did not allow for good people to die.

He was positively terrified. Never before had he seen such peace on a person's face. As her knees buckled and she fell to the side, head bouncing off the carpet, Connor was convinced she was already dead. Her eyes were lidded and a faint, haunting smile shadowed her lips. The rest of her face was blank and quickly paling. Blood was pooling around her, forgoing the boundaries of her clothes to blanket the carpet of the hallway. A hand lay over her stomach, doing nothing to stop the red rivers. Connor felt himself fall beside her as a shot above his head forced the world to come crashing down around him.

He was moving. Without a thought, his arm whipped up and the man at the end of the hall was silenced. Dull eyes blinked up at him as he let out a stream of words, nothing of any comprehension. Vera could feel herself getting lost as Connor hauled her to unsteady feet, wrapping his arm around her waist and draping hers over his shoulder. As she listened to his mutterings through the haze, she laughed quietly – so much like his twin. Speaking in tongues without notice. She winced when the laugh resulted in a bloody cough. She spat it out in a flower pot as they stumbled around the corner, painting the leaves red. Connor punched the call button and hefted her up, earning a moan of pain from her.

"I'm sorry, love," he said softly, loosening his hold slightly on her. She shook her head before resting it against the corner of the elevator molding. She didn't say anything, but closed her eyes and focused solely on breathing. Her dangling arm came to wrap around herself and she jerked it away in surprise. So wet. Her eyes looked down before looking away with a cry. Connor's hand tightened around her bloody one and she tried not to notice how it slipped on the blood. "Yer goin' te be fine, darlin'. I promise ye," Connor said, leaning forward to click the call button another few times impatiently. His eyes caught hers for a moment and he recognized the look he found there. She was losing consciousness. His finger pressed the button quicker, a curse slipping from his lips.

A faint smile came over Vera's pale face. "What language was that?" she murmured, eyes fluttering closed as they waited. Everything ached without feeling. She knew that there should be pain, but only her mind told her that. She couldn't feel the pain, but she knew it was there and so she made herself feel it. If she could feel, it meant she was still alive. She needed this pain.

Connor shot her a confused look. He hadn't even noticed his slip in languages. "I don't even know. What'd I say?" He looked behind them at the sound of a shutting door, hand dropping hers to grab the gun from the waistband of his denim jeans. No one came into the hall, guns blazing, but he did not return the gun. He turned his attention back to Vera just as the elevator finally arrived and she repeated his swearing in a terrible accent that made him smirk. Helping her into the elevator, he pushed the second floor button and leaned her against the wall, not releasing her. "That would be Italian," he answered finally as Vera nodded her head slowly. Her head felt like it was going to explode at any time, plastering the small metal elevator with her brains.

"You and Murphy speak a lot of languages," she slurred, head starting to hang limply to the side. Connor watched the numbers slowly growing smaller and smaller as they dropped to the second floor. He glanced at her and prayed for a faster journey.

"Ní leor teanga amháin," he said, the Gaelic running smoothly off his tongue. Her head lifted to him in confusion. "One language is never enough," he clarified. She only nodded her head in understanding.

The elevator slowed to a stop and the chime dinged as the doors opened. Careful of her wounds, Connor helped her out and started down the hall as the doors slid close behind them. Her feet refused to respond to her orders and she found herself fumbling to even remain on them. "Connor, stop," she commanded weakly, legs buckling beneath her almost instantly. He caught her this time, hooking his arm behind her knees and pulling her into a cradle. She could see his black shirt shining from her own body's blood. She didn't understand.

Why was this happening to her? Nothing made any sense to her anymore. She wished to go back in time, to eight months ago – to when life was simple and didn't require any thought than ridiculous wonderings. She wanted to go back to a time where her baby brother didn't need to worry about anything besides his upcoming lacrosse game and filling out college applications. She wished to go back to when her family was simple and happy. A time before the mob, before the house arrests, before the imprisoned man in her bathroom. Vera stopped herself. Did she want to forget him?

He filled her mind, blocking out the pain. His accent and the way he smelled of cigarettes despite not having smoked one in weeks. The way his eyes spoke more words than any that came out of his mouth, his aggravating half smile and smirks. His inability to tame his temper and his passion for the family he had been torn away from. The tattoos that laced his arms and the justice in his hands. He frightened her more than any one else in the world, but she had never felt safer than when she stood beside him. He broke her world in two and she didn't know where she loved or hate him for it.

But she knew that forgetting him would be worse than never knowing him at all.

Without pausing, Connor opened a door on the side of the hall, slamming it shut behind him without a glance. Long legs carried them across the empty apartment building and he pushed open a window to step onto the fire escape, much as Vera had done only days before. He managed to keep a hold on her as he stepped one foot onto the ladder and dropped them down, stepping off before they hit the ground. Her arms wrapped around his neck as the cold air hit her face. Eyes closed on their own accord as Connor stopped behind a dumpster, kneeling down to set her on the asphalt. He knelt in front of her, hands going to her bloody front, pressing against the wounds. She felt nothing.

"Love, Vera, I need ye to keep yer eyes open, alrigh'? Ye need to stay awake. Murphy and yer bro'der will be here any minute and then we'll get ye to a hospital. Just stay awake. Vera!"

She could hear Connor's voice, fighting over the dull roar coming from behind her ears. Her lips moved as she muttered something, but even she didn't understand what she was saying. Shouts made her wince and her head lolled to the side as she let out a feeble sigh. She wanted to sleep. She couldn't feel the pain anymore. She couldn't feel anything. Not her toes, her fingers, her head. Nothing. She was sitting on air. She didn't understand. Was this what it felt to be dying? Or was she already dead. God, she didn't understand.

Connor didn't know what to do. This was not how things were supposed to happen. His hands pressed against her side tightly, doing little good against the gaping holes he tried to cover. Three holes, scattered across her abdomen, no doubt having torn through everything on their entry in. It was a miracle she was still alive. His almost laughed at the thought. A miracle. fuck, this was no miracle. This was a fucking tragedy. His head hung as he held back a sob. He didn't even know this woman. She was just a girl, someone who got caught in the cross fire and was being served the according punishment. No, not punishment – she didn't deserve punishment. Consequences. These were the consequences. Everything had consequences, every choice, every action.

They had chosen this life, accepted their calling and gone ahead with their duty. Connor hated himself in that moment of realization, hands covered in her blood and choking back another sob. This was not Vera's punishment, this was theirs. What had they done?

Running footsteps made him look up, hand going to the gun behind him. Murphy stopped short at the sight of his twin, covered in blood and with remnants of tears on his face. His face paled as he took a hesitant step forward, hand outstretched. "What happened?" he asked slowly as he came closer. His eyes ran over his brother's form, searching for injuries, gun shot wounds, broken bones, anything to explain the amount of blood covering him. He was aware of Jesse behind him, but didn't pay any attention to him. Connor was all that mattered. He took another step closer, coming around the side of the dumpster and felt his stomach and heart both hit the pavement. No. His feet pedaled him backward in shock at the sight of Vera, bloody and broken on the ground. He grabbed Jesse around the shoulders before the boy was able to get a good look, but he saw enough to break.

"Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck," the words came out repeatedly and in quick succession, leaving no room for breathing. Jesse felt his world falling. His hands fumbled for the cell phone in his pocket. He would not let this happen. The tears fell down his face without notice by any. His hands shook as he dialed and he forced himself to breathe as he walked away to talk, leaving his sister's life in the hands of two Irish men sent by God. If they could not save her, then there was no hope left.

Murphy forced himself to drop down beside Connor, ignoring the jolt of pain that course through his body as his knees hit the pavement. He was at a loss of words by what lay before him. His brothers hands were pressed against the bleeding abdomen of the woman he had come to love, a woman who was staring at him through half closed, tearful eyes. A woman who sat before him, dying as she leaned against a wall beside a dumpster. His hand went out to wipe away the single tear that fell down her cheek. She deserved more. This wasn't supposed to happen.

"Tá mé leithscéal."

The apology came from his right, a side that had for nearly a month been void of the proper occupant. Connor looked at him with such sorrow that Murphy couldn't look at him for more than a moment. He nodded his head as he turned back to Vera, and lifted a hand to comfortingly squeeze Connor's shoulder. "This was not yer fault," he said quietly. He did not know what happened, but he trusted that Connor would have never have let anything happen to her purposefully. His hand brushed away a sweaty strand of Vera's bangs and her eyes flickered.

She wanted to jump to her feet and wrap her arms around his neck before running to do the same to her brother, but she couldn't bring herself to move a finger. Her body was made of lead. She couldn't move. Nothing worked like she wanted it to. She opened her mouth to speak but all that erupted was a bloody cough that wracked her body in pain. Eyes wide, her hand grabbed at Muphy's, holding as tightly as she could, though she was sure he barely felt the pressure. She felt nothing as he returned the hold.

She was scared. She could feel herself losing. She heard Jesse yell something about an ambulance, but it made no sense in her mind. Nothing made any sense. Why did things have to be so complicated? Her eyes focused on Murphy's lips as she saw them moving without sound and she frowned in confusion. She looked down to see her hand slip out of his as both his hands came up to grab her face, forcing her to look at him. His face was so close, their noses almost touching as he spoke to her. She didn't understand why he was talking, didn't he realize she couldn't hear him?

His eyes looked so scared, so fearful. Bright lights bounced off the alley walls but she ignored them, opting to return his gaze with hazy eyes. She wanted to take away his fear, make him understand that she didn't feel any pain, that if this was dying there was nothing he could do to stop it. She felt her own fear disappearing as she fought for the ability to comfort Murphy. She needed to make him see that this was out of his control. She needed to tell him that she loved him. The thought came suddenly and without doubt in her pain induced haze, but she knew that it was true. If she was certain of nothing else in this moment, it was that she held love in her heart for Murphy McManus, and he alone.

A sudden fear washed over her as gray seeped into her vision. He needed to know. She couldn't leave without telling him. She fought against the impending fog with every ounce of her will, screaming. Whether the screaming came out vocally or not, she didn't care. She needed to tell him, just once. Just once, and she could die peacefully and without regret.

Just once, please, she whispered, hoping her prayer would be heard by the God so many trusted in. Just once. If God could not give her this one thing, she would truly be terrified of the world she would be entering after death. She fought against the gray fervently, pushing against it and beating as she screamed. Tears almost burst out as she saw it ebbing away. She continued to push, clear vision slowly coming back to her along with the fiery pain in her abdomen. The consequence for her request, she could have cared less about the pain. She could see him.

She was staring up at him, being pulled along on a gurney, still in the alleyway. His hand held hers tightly and she smiled down at it, ignoring the drying blood that covered hers and the fresh wetness that covered his. Focusing on their connected hands, she clamped hers down on his, managing to squeeze it limply. The effort proved effective as he looked down at her with a look of relief. His hand came to gently brush a thumb across her cheek and she closed her eyes at the contact, relishing it and trying to memorize the feeling. Thank you, she prayed.

Reopening her eyes, she made sure her eyes were locked with his before she spoke. "I love you."

The words were soft, raspy, and in a voice that was not her own. But he heard her and that was all that mattered to her. Her eyes closed without her consent, his mixed look of hope and despair burned into her brain. She didn't start crying until she could no longer feel his hold on his hand and everything was taken by darkness. She was alone.

The coffee tasted horrible but Connor forced himself to drink it anyway. He would have expected himself to have grown used to the horrid taste after a week of drinking it, but it wasn't so. Taking another sip, he started down the hallway, another cup in one hand and a bag of donuts under his arm. He nodded to a few of the passing nurses, sending them small smiles and courteous looks of acknowledgment. They all knew him by name, along with everyone he had left back in Vera's room. Everyone in the hospital knew them, or at least knew of the woman they were constantly visiting.

The night of their escape, the news had been plastered with photos of the Waker family. Every station had jumped to cover the story and as Vera had gone into surgery, the hospital parking lot had been filled with TV crews and vans. A few reporters had tried to catch her parents as they pushed their way into the hospital, but police escorts kept the crews at bay. As the week pressed on they slowly drifted on to other news, but every few hours a reporter would call the nurses station, asking for an update. It was the same answer every time. Veronica Anne Waker was surviving solely on life support and there were no changes in her condition. Doctors weren't even sure she would wake up.

None of them said it, but all of them knew. Vera was gone.

Connor knocked lightly before letting himself into the hospital room, handing Murphy a cup of coffee to match his own. Jesse nodded to him from his place beside the bed and returned to watching SpongeBob Square Pants with half closed eyes. In the corner was Mrs. Waker, curled up and asleep in a small arm chair. The change in the woman was remarkable, or so Jesse had claimed. To Connor she seemed the ever worried mother, doting to her children's needs and doing her best to remain calm and collected despite the upsetting circumstances. He wondered what she was like before everything happened.

"Did ye get ahold of Da?" Murphy asked quietly, as to not wake up Carol. His eyes were watching with half interest as the yellow sponge ran across the television screen, chasing after a clarinet holding green alien. He didn't understand how kids loved the show so much.

"Yeah, he's goin' ta lay low for a bit and meet up with us in a few weeks. He said there's no rush to get movin'," Connor replied, taking another sip of his coffee with a grimace. Vile drink. "Smecker met up wit him the other night, they're gonna take of everythin' for us. Ye don't need te worry about anythin'."

Nodding his head, Murphy let out a deep sigh and leaned back in his chair, observing his brother. Dark circles were bagging his eyes and he was in desperate need of a shower and clean clothes. The blood soaked jeans and t-shirt had been thrown out days before, but even his then clean clothes were baggy and wrinkled. His arm was wrapped from where a bullet had lodged itself but it had been a clean shot with no complications. Murphy knew that neither of them were getting much sleep, though he'd managed to get a good few hours for himself earlier in the day. With a tired sigh and small smile, he sat back forward and clapped his brother on the shoulder, grabbing his attention.

"Go to the hotel, Conn. Get a shower and some sleep, ye look like shit," he said seriously. He ignored the offended look shot at him and shook his head. "There's nothin' for ye to do here anyway. Ye need te get some sleep. I'll call ye if anythin' changes," he promised as Connor looked at him reluctantly.

It was clear that Connor didn't want to leave him, but in all honesty, Murphy was tired of being constantly watched. He needed time away from Connor. As odd as the words sounded in his mind, they were true. For the last week he had little time to himself and no time to think or breathe without his brother there to hold his hand. He wanted space and a few moments alone. He needed that. He needed to think, to have the chance to comprehend everything that was happening.

Thankfully, Connor seemed to understand at least a small bit of what he wanted, and nodded his head before standing up. "Call me if ye need me," he said softly before walking out of the room, closing the door softly behind him. Murphy watched him leave and waited a few minutes before following him out, turning the opposite direction down the hall.

His hands found their way into his jean pockets as he wandered through the halls, barely paying any attention to where he was going. He didn't care much where he was going, he simply needed to leave Vera's room, where the only noise came from the steady beats of the machines and the quiet sobs that came from Mrs. Waker during the night.

Small talk had long left the room, as did any other talking. There were moments when he wanted to stand up on his chair and scream, but he always remained seated and silent. Even Jesse had given up on trying to lift the silence. He simply sat through the day, eyes on the television and hand resting on his sister's cold, unresponsive one. He let go of it only when he had to leave for the restroom or when the nurses pushed everyone from the room to check vitals and do other tests. Then, the moment he was given permission, Jesse would rush back into the room and resume his previous position, hand on hers once more. The nurses would only watch him with sad shakes of their heads before exiting the room to continue on to another room.

Murphy allowed his feet to carry him through the hospital and he found himself unsurprised where they stopped. Pushing open the doors of the small empty chapel, he welcomed the calm feeling that washed over him. After dipping his hands in holy water and crossing himself, he stepped into a pew and knelt down with hands clasped. His mouth moved, sending wordless prayers above him. He didn't even know what he was praying for anymore, the words simply fell out of his mouth without thought or consent. He wasn't even sure why he was praying, how was he to know that anyone was anywhere to hear him? His prayers sped along faster as his hands started to shake and visions of days past came barreling into his mind. He gripped his hands tighter together as he closed his eyes and rested his forehead on the pew.

For the first time in his life, Murphy felt himself growing angry with God. He didn't understand at all. Where had he gone wrong? What could he have possibly done to deserve such pain? He shook his head, ignoring the tears he was aware were falling down his face. Never had he strayed from his calling, never had he turned God away or refused to do his duty. Doing what was asked of him without question or complaint. Everything he had done for the past two years, every person he had killed, every life that he had ended, had been for God. Everything.

He had allowed Rocco to die and had gladly avenged him, but never had he blamed God for his friend's death. He understood that Rocco was a risk, that while his death was horrible and full of sorrow it was also for the best. Rocco had been wild and reckless, fueled by emotions rather than logic and had no celestial belief to guide him. It would have been only a matter of time before he had killed someone outside the parameters of their job and then either Murphy or Connor would have been forced to stop him. Murphy understood this, fuck, he was grateful that Rocco had been killed before he had the chance to stray from the path. He had thanked God for taking away the one task that would have surely ripped him apart. Rocco's death was horrible, but it was necessary. He could understand it, he could cope with the knowledge.

He could not understand why Vera had to die as well.

She was the most unselfish person he had ever known, a woman who had given her life to save another's. She had given everything for him, everything. He had promised to protect her, and he had failed. He had allowed for her to be shot, to have her insides ripped apart and left for dead. He had allowed for her to be hurt, something he had promised never to do. She had kept her promise to him, to care for his brother when he could not, and in return he had practically pulled the trigger himself. Tears continued to flow. He didn't understand.

She loved him. She had taken every bit of him and accepted all of it without question. She knew who he was, the man he was during both the night and day. The man inside that killed and the man on the outside trying to simply make it through the day. Vera had known from the very beginning who he was and never had her faith in him faltered. She was everything he hoped to hold one day, to love in return. And now he would never have the chance. No one said it, but everyone knew. He knew and he hated that knowledge.

She would not be returning to him. He would never have the opportunity to openly return her love. She would never know. She would die, alone and without anyone to guide her, and he would be left behind to mourn and love her memory. He would never have a happy life with her, never grow old with her, never have children and start a family with her. Murphy would never have a normal life. His life would forever be driven by violence and redemption and nothing more. Everything he had was what he could hold in his hands. A gun, a knife, a rosary. A life that needed saving would not fit. A hand, maybe, but never a life.

How long he sat in the chapel, mourning more than he cared to realize, he did not know. Only moments, maybe minutes, it could have been hours. He did not care. He was content with his anger, his hatred for God and everything he had done to serve him, his complete loathing for a life he could never have. By the time he finally pulled himself to his feet and left the chapel with a holy watered cross, he had come to terms. Resigned himself to the life he led. God would make him a martyr, if he hadn't done so already.

The walk back was longer than he remembered, but he still found himself faced with the room door quicker than he would have wanted. Murphy frowned at the shouts coming from within and let himself in without a knock, a course of fear going through him. His eyes instantly went to the bed and he let out a sigh at the sight of Vera, heart monitor still beating at a constant rate. Looking to where Jesse stood with arms crossed and face furious, opposite his parents, Murphy frowned.

Judge Waker looked exhausted as his wife stood slumped beside him, make up running and tears flowing. The first time Murphy had seen the judge, he knew exactly who he was. Vera was entirely her father's daughter, just as Jesse looked exactly like their mother. Tall with light brown hair and eyes that matched one another, only a fool would not see the resemblance of father and daughter. He fought himself not to look away in pain.

"You can't do this," Jesse cried, arms unfolding as they waved frantically in the direction of his sister's hospital bed. He looked on the verge of tears as his father stepped forward, a hand outstretched and face pained. "You can't just let her die! She's not even dead, she's just in a fucking coma. A coma, Dad! She can still wake up! You can't do this!"

Murphy watched as he slowly understood what was happening. He watched as father took son in his arms, both men breaking down without remorse. Within a few moments, Carol joined the mourning and wrapped her arms around Jesse, holding him tightly as she cried. "There's nothing more they can do, Jesse," she said, taking a deep breath to steady her voice. "We can't make her suffer, not when we can help her move on and find peace."

Peace. Who truly understood the word?

"Your sister is gone, son," Judge Waker said gently, though it was apparent that the words cut him just as deeply as they did his son. "She's been gone for while now. We need to let her go," the words trailed off as he seemed to speak only for himself. "We need to let her go."

His world was stopping along with his heart. They couldn't do this. He felt everything falling as his eyes focused on Vera's calm and vacant face. Tubes were coming out of her chest, keeping her lungs from collapsing. She couldn't breathe without them. A tube ran over her face and connected with her nose. A butterfly bandage sealed a gash on her forehead. She was broken. She was dying. And they were going to let her go. He didn't know if he could do the same.

The Waker family looked to the door as it slammed shut and Murphy's form disappeared down the hallway. Jesse watched for a moment before following after him, shutting the door quietly behind him and leaving his parents to say their goodbyes.

"Murphy!" he called, pace quickened as he chased after the man. A few nurses and other people glanced at him as he flew by. It took him a few moments but Jesse caught up to him, a hand going out to grab him around the arm. "Murphy, stop, please. You need to come back."

He stopped with his back to Jesse. "I can't go back, Jess." He was quiet and lost. He could not say goodbye. Goodbyes were final. Goodbyes left him with nothing.

Jesse frowned. "Yes, you can."

The hand on his arm tightened and Murphy felt himself being pulled back. He was surprised at himself for allowing it to happen, but he let the younger man walk him back down the hall. "You need to do this just as much as the rest of us," Jesse said softly. He stopped in front of Vera's room and motioned towards the door. Down the hall stood his parents, conversing with his sister's doctor. He looked back to Murphy, who stood staring at the door while making no movements to enter. "Can I ask you something?"

Murphy looked down at him sharply, his face serious as he nodded. "Anythin'."

Looking through the window, he watched his sister breathe. "Is it worth it?" he asked, not looking away from the hospital room. "What you and your brother do, is it worth all this?"

There was no anger in the question, only curiosity and a want to understand. Murphy almost wished he was angry. He could deal with angry. He could deal with violence and a flying fist. This, this he didn't know how to deal with. Letting out a heavy sigh, he gave Jesse a sidelong glance before turning to look in the room as well. "I honestly don't know," he answered quietly. "One day I think it is and then the next, somethin' like this happens. It makes me wonder if what we're doin' does more harm then good."

They were silent for a moment, each lost in their own respective thoughts. Jesse shook his head and took a step back, pushing the door open as he did so. "She thought it was worth it," he said, starting to walk down the hall. "If that doesn't count for something - " his voice trailed off as he shrugged. "Say goodbye, Murphy. You both deserve that much." He then turned and walked slowly down the hall to meet with his parents. They wrapped him in a hug, one arm each, holding him between them as they continued to talk with the doctor. Murphy watched for a few moments before turning to the open door before him and walked through it.

He took the vacated seat next to the bed and reached out a hand to take hers. The monitor beside her beeped steadily and her chest rose and fell in rhythm. She was breathing and that was all she'd ever be. In a few hours, she wouldn't even be that. In a few hours, God would be welcoming her through his pearly white gates and Murphy would have to wait forever to see her again. This was his last moment with her. He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it gently before laying it back down by her side on the mattress. He heard movement in the doorway and knew that the time had come.

Standing up, he leaned over her still body and pressed a kiss to her forehead, closing his eyes for only a moment before pulling back. He ran a hand over his face, taking a last, good look at Veronica Anne Waker, and turned away from her. He passed by her family, stopping only to pull Jesse into a rough hug before he continued out the door without a word. He walked down the hall, hands fumbling for the pack of cigarettes he knew were in his pocket and he tapped one out, putting it to his lips without lighting it. He stopped only when he reached the elevator and pressed the call button with a jab. It dinged open a few moments later and he climbed inside, situating himself between the occupants inside. He watched from down the hall as the doctor left her room, face solemn, just as the elevator doors slid shut.

It was only a matter of time then. There would be no goodbyes for them. He would see her again someday. When the elevator stopped on the ground floor, Murphy exited and headed through the lobby for the front doors. As soon as he walked into the cold, Boston air, he pulled a lighter from his pocket at lit his cigarette, pausing to do so. Looking around, he blew out a breath and let out a sigh. Tonight would call for a beer.

Hope you all enjoyed it, I surely had my fun writing it.
Reviews are loved, as always.
Thank you so much for reading
All Is Whole.
The End.