Author's Note: About 24 hours after I posted my first BDS one-shot, The Angel and the Saints, a new character had made her way into my head. I didn't know her name or her story; all I knew was that she was fascinating, that she was demanding my immediate attention [homework be damned], and I wanted to explore her potential.
It took me a day for the two of us to beat out a rudimentary plot [during which time, I was speaking in an Irish accent that I couldn't for the life of me shake off] and to give her a backstory. It took longer than it usually does for me to find a story; this girl was extraordinarily particular about the kind of story she wanted, and what she would and would not allow me to write for her. The very last thing I learned about her was her name; I knew more of her twin's story than I did of this character's, and it was murder trying to find the perfect name for her [stubborn, demanding brat… I love her]. Besides this, she and her twin got into the [annoying, headache-inducing] habit of routinely revealing plot twists after I was already halfway through writing a chapter, meaning that I'd have to go back and rewrite parts of chapters I'd already completed. Not to mention that I would have to revise future chapters [which, believe me, got to be a huge pain in my arse].
For most of the process of writing the basics of the plot, I thought I would be naming this story Light and Dark, and that my theme would be exploring good and evil, hope and despair, secrets and knowledge, which is how I decided the names for my two female leads- one means "bright"; the other comes from a Gaelic surname meaning "black one". Obviously, I decided upon a different title, and the theme has gone in a slightly different direction than I intended. But I did try to incorporate my original thematic motifs into the story.
I've done my best to not make one sister's story more dominant than the other's [which at some points royally fails, but I tried]. I didn't want this to be the story of the character who originally came into my head, where everybody else is seen only through her eyes; I wanted all four main characters to be equally important, and for each of them to have their own voice. I will say, though, that while I did my best not to make one main character more dominant than the other three, there are cycles where one plot will take dominance over another. But I tried to integrate the girls' stories as best I could. Additionally, the story really follows the sisters more than it does the MacManus boys, though I did my best to make them all change and grow through the course of the story. I guess you'll have to judge for yourself how successful I was.
As always, I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. This includes [but probably isn't limited to] Connor, Murphy, Ma and Da MacManus, references to the movies or anything that remotely resembles anything else you might have read of any other BDSFF. Though I'm sure some of these ideas have been done to death, I promise all my ideas came from my own head. I do, however, own the MacCoy family [I promise, I didn't steal their name from the famous feuding McCoys of US History], as well as a few other secondary and minor characters.
This story is rated M for violence, some sexual references, and a lot of swearing [which you should have been expecting; it is the Boondock Saints, after all].
Special Thanks: My friend George, aka the Lord of Awesomeness, put up with me through this entire writing process and ended up serving as my beta. He was absolutely essential when it came to writing Connor and Da POVs, he was always helpful when I bounced ideas off of him, he helped me make agonizing decisions of all kinds and of all measures of importance, he dealt with me when I was complaining about how difficult everything was being, and somehow he kept me from killing the MacCoys when they messed all my plans up [which they did, with great delight, at least twice a chapter]. So this story is dedicated to him, with many thanks and promises of dozens of backrubs.
Murphy MacManus was irritated. Cross. Exasperated. Piqued. Disgruntled. Pissed off. Put it how you will, he was annoyed, and he wasn't going to stand for it anymore.
He had woken up late in the afternoon and gone into the surprisingly spacious kitchen of the flat in the Irish neighborhoods of South Boston that he, his brother, and his da were less-than-legally squatting in, only to find that he was alone in the apartment. Normally this didn't bother him; he was used to the senior MacManus' habit of coming and going as he pleased. He was even used to his brother running out on errands at odd times of the day. What he was not used to was the new habit Connor had developed, of disappearing for hours on end without explanation.
Murphy didn't approve of Connor's recurring vanishing act. Not at all.
The elder MacManus remained unconcerned, saying that whatever Connor was up to was his own business, and that if he wanted to tell them, he would do so in his own good time. But Murphy couldn't adopt his da's complacency. From the time Murphy was 17 until not many months ago, Connor had been the only family he'd had. Even when the boys still lived with their family in Ireland, he'd always been closest to his twin. They'd always had each others' backs, confided in each other. Until now, they had never kept anything from each other.
But now Connor was up to something. He had a secret, something he refused to share with his twin.
Murphy didn't like it one bit.
It had all started two months ago, on July 19. Connor and Murphy had gone to McGinty's to celebrate another successful assassination. Coincidentally, it was also the anniversary of the day they left Ireland- a day both twins viewed with mixed delight and sorrow. They'd been industriously guzzling their whiskey, sometimes singing rowdy drinking songs, sometimes quietly sharing memories of the people and places they'd left behind. At about 2 AM, Connor had left his brother, saying he fancied a walk along the Boston Harbor. Murphy had gone home alone and gone to bed, expecting to find his brother there when he woke up.
Connor hadn't returned until 3 o'clock the next afternoon, and then only to shower and change before heading out again. He'd kept that up all weekend, and not a single word what he was up to; matter of fact, Connor had hardly spoken to his brother or da at all.
Murphy would have been content to write it off as Connor attending a convention for rope lovers. But several times in the ensuing two months, Connor had pulled this disappearing act again. And every time his brother vanished, Murphy's irritation grew. It wasn't possible for anyone to love rope that much. Not even Connor. There had to be another explanation.
What could Connor be thinking, hieing off by himself? They had made plenty of enemies as the Saints of South Boston; what if Connor got himself captured, or worse, killed?
Or what if he was executing justice on his own? Murphy wouldn't allow that; the Saints worked as a team or not at all. Besides, he didn't want to miss any shootings.
Murphy hated being left out. Anytime he didn't know something he wanted to, his curiosity drove him insane until he learned it. He badly wanted to know what Connor was up to. Plus, though he'd never admit it out loud, he missed his brother. He missed their pointless bickering, Connor's comforting, solid presence, his constant mockery. Lately, even if Connor was around, he seemed lost in his own world, and barely noticed anyone else's presence. Murphy liked that least of all.
There was only one thing to be done. The next time Connor went out, Murphy would simply have to follow him.
Once his plan of action was decided upon, all he had to do was wait.
Murphy was horrible at waiting.
Fortunately, though, Connor arrived before Murphy lost his mind with waiting- about two hours after he decided upon his plan. Murphy conspicuously buried himself in the Boston Irish Reporter, his senses tuned to the sounds of his brother showering and dressing. Without saying a word to Murphy or going for any of the guns stashed around the apartment [which Murphy took as a very good sign], Connor walked out of the flat. Tossing down the paper, Murphy grinned, grabbed his peacoat, and followed his twin.
He made sure to keep enough distance between them so that Connor wouldn't get suspicious, while staying close enough that it was easy to tail him. As far as Murphy could tell, Connor was headed towards McGinty's. Once he'd ascertained that, Murphy relaxed, allowing himself to enjoy the beautiful twilight that settled over South Boston like a benediction. Murphy lit himself a cigarette, smiling to himself when he saw Connor do the same. They had always been prone to synchronicity…
He waited on the corner, giving Connor a good ten minutes [and three cigarettes] before approaching the bar. Praying to high Heaven that he wouldn't be spotted, Murphy walked to the bar and peered in the window.
The bar was full, of course. Through the crush of people and smoke and dimmed lights, Murphy spotted Connor on a barstool, a cold glass of Guiness in his left hand. There was an open, charming, happy smile on his face, the likes of which Murphy hadn't seen in the past decade. That wasn't the face Connor wore when he was hunting for girls… but he was most definitely not alone.
She was petite, leggy, and fair, just Connor's type. Her softly curling hair, blond with just the faintest tint of red, fell past her shoulders and obscured her profile, but Murphy had no doubt that hers would be a lovely face. She was dressed in a black skirt that hit her mid-thigh, knee-high black stilleto boots, and a crimson halter top. Even from where he stood, Murphy could see the Celtic cross tattooed on the inside of her right forearm.
Murphy made a face at his reflection in the window in disgust. All his worry and agitation over Connor, and his brother had gone to chase a skirt, as if he were still 16 and had to sneak out of the house. Equally determined to take the mickey out of his brother for finally getting laid, and to never let his da learn that he'd been spying on his brother, Murphy turned and walked away, leaving Connor to his fun.
It had been two months, and Connor MacManus still couldn't believe his luck. He was absolutely positive that the woman sitting with him at the bar was God's gift to him, a reward for faithful service. Their meeting had been so serendipitous that it simply had to have been willed by the Almighty. What else could explain the fact that they'd been reunited the very night that he'd been pining for her the most?
Two months ago, Connor and his brother Murphy had gone to McGinty's. That in itself was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary; the boys frequented the bar whenever they had any sort of money at all. They had gone to celebrate being alive after another killing, but that too was becoming more common. The more important, and unusual, celebration was the anniversary of their leaving Ireland. The twins had begun their night by fondly toasting their homeland, and their family and friends who lived there still.
The more he drank, however, the more melancholy Connor found himself becoming. Eventually, he hadn't been able to take the company of rowdy drunks anymore. He left the bar and headed for Boston Harbor, pretending to himself that he was walking along the River Suir back home. He closed his eyes, imagining his Geal Súil sitting pretzel-style on the riverbank, skipping stones across the water while whistling a merry tune.
He'd stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a figure seated pretzel-style along the harbor, whistling softly just as he'd been imagining. Connor had blinked rapidly, assuming the phantom would vanish before his drunken eyes. But no matter how much he blinked, the figure remained. Connor narrowed his eyes, determined to free himself from this mirage which was only making his melancholy worse. So he'd chosen to shatter the illusion in the best way he knew how- to call it by the name he knew it wouldn't answer to.
"Niamh?" he croaked.
The figure turned its head, and Connor had known instantly that this was no drunken hallucination. His memory had failed him, he decided in the space of a heartbeat; he hadn't been able to accurately capture her delicate elfin loveliness in his thoughts. Ten years had passed, but she barely looked older than she had the last time he'd seen her when they were 17.
The woman kept his gaze, an amused twinkle in her eye. "Jaysus, Manny, how much 'ave ye had ta drink?"
It was the sound of her high, clear voice, the use of his nickname- the name that only she had used- that convinced Connor that this was no dream. What Niamh was doing in Boston, he had no idea, but he didn't care. All that mattered was that he was seeing his best friend again.
With a wild whoop, Connor ran towards her. Niamh rose with a laugh, flinging her arms around his shoulders as he lifted her off her feet and spun her around- no hard feat, as she was only 5'2" without her heels and no more than 110 lbs.
"Jaysus fuckin' Christ!" he exclaimed. "What the fuck're ye doin' here, Bright Eyes?"
Niamh laughed, her green eyes twinkling at her old nickname. "Lord's fuckin' name, Connor," she teasingly admonished him, sounding uncannily like his ma. "I'm here on business."
"Fuck, I can't believe it!" Connor said, running a hand through his blond hair and staring at her. "Fuckin' hell, I've missed ya."
Niamh laughed again. "I've missed yeh too."
Being the gentleman he was, Connor had naturally suggested that they celebrate their reunion at the pub. They drank and reminisced and laughed and drank some more until the sun was rising and they were broke. Plastered and punch-drunk, they went to Niamh's hotel room and passed out- exactly as they'd done as teenagers.
After that night, Connor and Niamh got together every time she was in Boston. They didn't always drink, but they always reminisced, and they always had a good time, just as they had always done.
Every time Connor came back from seeing Niamh, all he wanted was to see her again. Until he'd seen her, he hadn't known just how much he had missed her. When they were younger, life had been brighter, lighter, and happier for him when he was with her. She was his sunshine, his air, always had been. He thanked God every day that He'd seen fit to bring Niamh back into Connor's life.
Connor blinked when fingers snapped in his face, and refocused to see Niamh laughing at him.
"Am I borin' ye that badly?" she grinned.
"Sorry, love," he said sheepishly. "Me mind ran away wit' me again."
"The beer affects ya more in yer old age," Niamh nodded.
"Aye, tha' must be it," Connor laughed.
Had it been Murphy calling him old, Connor would have protested and started a fight as a rule. But it was Niamh teasing him, and she was smiling, and Connor would do anything for another of his best friend's glorious smiles.
"I'm surprised at ye, Connor MacManus," she said some time later, taking a long sip of her Guinness.
"Oh? Why's tha', Niamh MacCoy?" Connor asked, copying her actions.
"Two months we've been meetin', and yeh've still not asked me the crucial question," Niamh said.
"And what would the crucial question be, love?" Connor asked.
A stony look crossed Niamh's face before she chased it away with a faint smile. "The one Murphy sent yeh ta find out. How me sister is."
An outraged expression settled on Connor's face. "Yeh think I'm only here t' ask after yer sister? Fuck no! Yeh're me best fuckin' friend, Niamh. I'm here for you, not ta be Murphy's fuckin' messenger boy."
"Don't fly off the handle at me," Niamh returned, visibly relaxing now that she knew Connor wasn't here on Murphy's business. "I saw 'is face in the window, is all. I thought 'e was gettin' yeh to pump me fer information."
"And I'll tell 'im the truth," Connor grumbled, angry at the revelation that his brother had been spying on him. "That she's still in Ireland, married to me brother Éamonn, with two pretty babies on 'er knee, and as happy as can be."
"Bite your tongue, that's awful," Niamh laughed. "Yeh'd do better ta say it's Darragh."
Connor and Niamh shared a conspiratorial chuckle, though Connor noticed that Niamh's was forced, each imagining the explosion of Murphy's rage if Connor told him that Éamonn or Darragh had made a move on Niamh's sister.
"But in all seriousness, yer right," Connor said. "I 'ave been remiss in me duties. How are yer sisters?"
Niamh promptly launched into all the news of her sisters, relaying all the highlights of the past decade that Connor had missed. From the avalanche of information that she supplied, Connor gathered that Niamh's parents Aileen and Pádriac, and her sisters Róisín, Gráinne, Fióna, Líadan, and Aoife, were all doing well. Connor tried to prod Niamh for information about the sister Niamh hadn't mentioned, but Niamh shut that avenue off so quickly that Connor knew she didn't want him passing information about Devin on. It was then Connor's turn to share everything he knew about his mother Annabelle, uncle Sibeal, and his brothers Reagan, Darragh, Jacob, Pádriac, Éamonn, and Murphy that Niamh might have missed in the three years since she left Ireland.
From there, talk turned back to Niamh and Connor. Any time Murphy's name came up, Connor noticed that Niamh would tense up, and subtly re-direct the conversation. He wasn't sure what the reason was for the underlying tension, but he was determined to find out, because he knew that sometime soon, he would have to tell his twin that their childhood friend had crossed their path again, and she was sure to bring her sister with her.
Name Meanings (all names in this chapter except for Annabelle, Sibeal and Jacob come from behindthename . com; I got Annabelle, Sibeal and Jacob from imdb, and Con and Murph obviously come from the movies)
Murphy: from a surname meaning 'descendent of Murchadh' (Murchadh means 'sea warrior')
Connor: 'dog lover' or 'wolf lover'
Niamh: 'bright' (NEE-av)
Guide to Gaelic (tranlsation comes from irishgaelictranslator . com)
Geal Súil: 'bright eye'
Note About Geography: I chose the town I've decided the MacManuses and MacCoys are from based on one factor- Connor and Niamh demanded that they have a special place by a river. So their hometown is located in South Tipperary County, by the River Suir. You can google or wiki it.
Additional Information: I googled a list of Boston newspapers to find the Boston Irish Reporter [see how dedicated to accuracy I am?]. Niamh's play-by is Hayden Panettiere with red-gold hair.
About Posting: I've decided that I'm going to post one chapter of this story for every chapter of the Darkness sequel I get written. Meaning posts are likely to be erratic, but I should be posting once every two weeks at the very worst.