Author's note: Hello there! This is my first Boondock story, so go easy on me haha. ;) Just a random little idea that popped into my head after watching the end of the second movie. Hope you enjoy!
The Saints of South Boston sat shoulder to shoulder with cuffed wrists and bemused expressions. Their eyes were dark and tired; crow's feet pulled at the corners and the dark circles underneath made them appear much older than they were. Dressed similarly in black clothes and with their dirty deeds preceding them, they looked every bit the prisoners they were meant to be.
And yet they smiled at her as soon as she walked into the room.
The gesture was meant to be polite, and in any other situation it was. Unfortunately, behind the thick concrete walls and barbed wire fences of the Hoag Maximum Security Prison, it was almost menacing. Virginia Ackerman took it all in stride, smiling weakly back at them in attempt to hide how truly nervous she was. She now held the coveted "honor" of being the first civilian to speak with the vigilante Saints and the reality of that had just begun to sink in.
Her hand clutched a Styrofoam coffee cup tightly as she headed into the almost colorless room, her pumps clicking against the linoleum. Her other hand was fixed firmly around the straps of her purse and she turned to face the officer who had led her there, forcing another smile.
"I think I can take it from here."
She could tell he didn't think that was a good idea even before he said anything, his gaze bouncing between each brother. Behind her, Virginia could hear the slightest laugh. She shifted her weight to stand at an angle and tilted her head.
"I don't know if I can do that, Miss…"
"You'll be right outside the door, won't you?" Virginia asked him. When he nodded, she continued. "Then I think I'll be fine."
"If you're here, Officer, that will impede my interview. And am I correct in assuming that window to my left is a two-way mirror?"
The man heaved a sigh and took one final look at the brothers before turning to her.
"All right. All right—but one little thing goes wrong, and I'll be back."
Virginia nodded. "I wouldn't hold it against you, Officer."
She didn't wait for his reaction, instead turning back to her interviewees. They stared back at her with a strange, almost detached interest. Virginia surveyed them for a moment before walking toward the table and sinking down into the fold-up chair across from them. She set her cup of coffee on the surface and they stared at it for whatever reason, watching the steam curl into the air. Virginia bent down to rummage through her purse as she spoke, trying to ignore the significant knot that had formed in her stomach.
"I apologize for being a bit unorganized, but…" She heard her voice echo slightly in the room and cleared her throat, deciding to get down to the point. She straightened up and looked at them, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear.
The one on her right raised his eyebrows. "Oh, she's from The Globe, Murph. You don't suppose anything we say will be liberal?"
Virginia scowled as the brothers laughed, her fingers clutching at the reporter's tag clipped to her belt.
"I was hoping we could speak to each other civilly."
"We are," he countered with a grin. "If I wanted to, I could be saying 'fuck' every other word. And that wouldn't be civil, would it, Ms. Boston Globe?"
Virginia pursed her lips and pulled the black-rimmed glasses from her face, folding them up and setting them aside. The brothers grinned between themselves as she rummaged through her purse again. She tossed a notepad and pen on to the table as the one named Murphy spoke.
"You're being too rough on 'er, Connor."
The other nodded. "Aye. It's not every day they send a woman to do a man's job."
Virginia clenched her jaw and her stomach twisted further with anxiety. It was a test; they were doing it on purpose. Luckily, she'd come prepared. She narrowed her eyes as they laughed again in their surprisingly boyish voices.
"Is that really how you feel?"
Connor shrugged only one shoulder. Virginia reached into her purse and procured a small red and white box of cigarettes, rattling it a few times. Their eyes practically lit up and she smiled.
"Honestly, Mr. MacManus?"
"If I'm the Mister, he must be the Missus," His eyes never left the box, even as he jerked his head to the side. "But you can call me Connor, Ms. Ackerman."
Murphy swatted at him. "Fuck you."
Virginia couldn't quite hide her smile. She dropped the box on the table and they each reached for it as best they could with cuffed wrists. Murphy frowned slightly, the cigarette bobbing between his lips as he spoke.
"You've got a light?"
Virginia nodded. "Of course I do."
They laughed lightly and waited as she pulled a Zippo lighter from her purse along with a tape recorder, which she set in the center of the table. She flicked open the lighter and lit their cigarettes each before settling back into her seat. With smoke curling into the air, she reached for her pen and paper and hit the 'on' button on the tape recorder.
"May we begin?"
The brothers nodded, no doubt relishing the taste of tobacco. "Aye," they said.
Virginia straightened up as the recorder hummed between them. Murphy blew a thin smoke ring and Connor flicked ashes from his cigarette. She sighed.
"Actually, I don't quite know where to begin…"
"We can be patient," Murphy said.
Virginia tapped her pen against the notepad and watched them a moment, reaching forward to sip her coffee. It was still pleasantly warm and gave her a comfort that urged her to continue. She cleared her throat again and set aside the cup, straightening her grey suit jacket.
"You both have been in prison just shy of three weeks now; how do you feel being kept in a place like this?"
Connor puffed out a cloud of smoke and she arched an eyebrow at him.
"We feel pretty comfortable about it, actually."
"Comfortable?" she repeated, unable to keep the disbelief from her voice.
"A bit bored, too," Murphy added, rubbing his eyes with his free fingers. "They keep us locked away from everyone else. The Warden seems to think it's the best thing to do."
Virginia took a moment, carefully popping the lid off of her cup to set it in the middle of the table as a makeshift ashtray. Connor flicked ashes into it as she asked,
"Why do you suppose that is?"
He looked up at her. "It's not for our safety, I'm sure."
Murphy hummed his agreement and took another drag on his cigarette. The sharp odor of smoke had mixed gently with the coffee aroma as Virginia took another sip, carefully this time. The heat from the liquid warmed her cheeks and she sighed, shaking her bangs from her eyes.
"All right. The first question was a freebie. I'm not going to ask anymore easy ones."
"Ask all you like," Connor told her.
"Aye," Murphy agreed, pausing to blow another smoke ring. "Your little peace offering's earned ya so much."
Virginia let out a short sigh. The fluorescent lights buzzed faintly in the silence that followed, dousing them in harsh light. She wished she could have interviewed them some place else, some place where they would seem more in their element. For whatever reason, she found herself thinking prison truly didn't suit them at all. She blinked and straightened up, squeaking the chair underneath her.
"You may not be aware of it, but the public opinion is completely polarized by the two of you. Either they see you as heroes or they're happy you're here." She paused to watch their expressions, surprised they remained unchanged. "What do you say to all those who—for lack of a better word—admire what you do?"
Murphy fidgeted in his seat and the handcuffs cracked against the table. He flicked the butt of the cigarette and ashes gently floated into the lid.
"We didn't plan on having admirers."
"They're rallying for you to get out of prison," Virginia clarified, "They're protesting the fact you're even here."
Connor laughed. "Power to 'em, then. We're touched by their concern, but we don't want anyone to emulate us, if that's what you're getting at."
"That comes with poor consequences," Murphy finished.
They seemed quite sincere about that, and it made her feel even more uncomfortable. She pursed her lips for a moment, suddenly aware of how tightly she held her notepad and pen; of how her heart was pounding uneasily. Virginia turned her gaze back to them and pressed on in spite of herself.
"So why do you do it?"
The question hung in silence for a moment. Smoke curled softly into the air as the cigarettes burned, still dangling from their fingers. Connor raised his eyebrows.
"She came right out with it, there, didn't she?"
Murphy nodded, seemingly surprised. Virginia moved to repeat her question, but Connor leaned forward, stabbing out the last of his cigarette.
"Let me ask you a question, if I may, Ms. Ackerman."
She crossed her arms. "Yes?"
"Your job—is it something you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?" When Virginia nodded, Connor tilted his head and pointed to her. "How do you know that?"
"…I just do. I chose to do it, and I have to do it. It's my job."
Murphy leaned forward, a cloud of smoke trailing behind him. "There's your answer."
Virginia stared back at them. It all seemed so…simple. She had been expecting some sort of convoluted explanation, some argument between faith and reason, indifference and self-righteousness. They truly believed they were meant to rid the world of evil, one sinner at a time, not because it was what they wanted to do, but because it was what they had to do.
There was something incredibly admirable about that.
Connor's voice caught her attention again. "I'd like to know whose side you'll be takin' when you publish this interview."
Virginia frowned. "I try to keep everything I write unbiased."
"Sure," he replied with a grin, "I have no doubt, Ms. Boston Globe."
Murphy ashed out his cigarette and leaned on the table, blowing a final stream of smoke from the corner of his mouth. Virginia sighed, more than a little annoyed.
"Think of it this way: do you agree with us or them?"
"I thought I was the one asking questions," she told him with a wry laugh. She reached for her coffee cup and sipped at it once again.
"You still are—we'd just like to know what you think. After all, the first published article says a lot."
Connor nodded, twisting one of his wrists in the cuffs. "Murph makes a point. They could have sent any stupid git to talk to us, but they sent you. We know you're smart; we deserve to ask you a question or two."
Virginia pursed her lips and avoided their gaze. Her stomach knotted tighter and she winced. Across the table, the two brothers waited patiently. The cigarettes still smoldered between them; Virginia could hear the buzzing of those damn florescent lights again and sighed, running a hand through her hair.
"You…I agree with the both of you."
Connor and Murphy exchanged an astonished look. Virginia shook her head, unsure why it was so difficult to admit.
"You're right. Anyone can get off scot-free if you have the money and that's wrong." She finally looked up at them. "But there is a reason why vigilantism is illegal. The line between good and evil blurs too quickly."
Murphy shook his head. "Not for us."
"That's the problem," Virginia countered. "Any psycho with a gun can claim he's been chosen by God to kill something. They use it as an excuse."
"But you don't believe that about us."
"Why?" Connor asked.
Virginia gazed back at them, into their tired eyes. They no longer seemed so menacing and cold. She could tell they were good men, sensed it somehow. Their eyes were not those of killers but of brothers; they had been raised to love, not to hate.
"I sat next you both in church," she finally said.
They raised their eyebrows and leaned back in their seats. The silence gave her time to continue. "It was a long time ago…you were both sitting to my right." Virginia nodded to Connor. "I asked if I could share your Bible because mine was missing."
He frowned curiously, unsure what to say. Murphy's expression was similar, though his eyes were narrowed almost as if he didn't believe her.
"I remember seeing the tattoo on your neck…"
Connor prodded the image of the Virgin Mary inked into his skin and she couldn't help laughing. "You mean that?"
The brothers exchanged curious glances before turning back to her. Virginia shrugged.
"Neither one of you looked innocent, but...you didn't look like bad men to me."
She reached for her coffee—relieved it was there to give her something to do—and took a long sip. It felt as though a strange weight had been lifted from her shoulders. They still stared back at her, though faint smiles curved their lips, as if they were thinking a similar thought.
"Well," Connor said, "Isn't that a tasty slice of serendipity for ya?"
"Aye," Murphy agreed with a laugh. "Always nice to meet a kindred spirit."
Virginia allowed herself a real smile. The interview did not last long after that; she suspected the officers were troubled by how well they could carry on a conversation. Two of them arrived to take the Saints away.
Murphy wished her well and Virginia wished him the same, covertly pressing two cigarettes into his hand as they shared a handshake. The tattoo across his hand read: Aequitas.
Murphy left her with a grateful smile. Connor wished her luck and covered her hand with his as he would a friend.
"Make it a good read," he said.
Virginia laughed lightly. "I'll try."
He squeezed her hand a moment and she could see his tattoo read: Veritas.
The officers led them away and Connor fixed her with an almost mischievous grin.
"We'll see ya around some time, Ms. Boston Globe."
He winked at her as one of the officers grabbed his shoulder and guided him from the room. The brothers caught her eye and grinned one final time before they vanished from sight behind the heavy steel door.
Truth and Justice.
Virginia stood in silence for a moment, gently biting her lower lip. She leaned over the table to click off the tape recorder and sighed to herself. She drained the last of the coffee from her cup and put away all of her gear slowly, almost thoughtfully. She took the lid with the cigarettes in her hand and stared at the ashes a moment.
Virginia Ackerman put on her glasses, slung her purse over her shoulder and walked from the Hoag Maximum Security prison, a peculiar hope welling within her chest.