A/N: So the other day I was going through the Walking Dead kink meme and saw this beautiful, but very short crossover fic with the Boondock Saints, the prompt essentially being that the group finds Connor, who's lost Murphy some way or another, and Connor ends up latching onto Daryl since he looks just like his brother. And as I said, the fic was done beautifully, but it was really short. That amazing fic is here: http:/ twd-kinkmeme. livejournal. com/1353. html?thread =732233 (remove the spaces). After showing it to a few of my friends and lamenting over the shortness, I started getting a bunch of ideas and decided to write a sort of continuation for it. (So if the author of that fill happens to see this, please no that I'm not trying to take credit for your work or overstep any boundaries- I just couldn't help myself, because your fic was so fantastic it left me wanting more!) That said, I really hope you all enjoy this :)
WARNING(S): Language, violence, character death.
Disclaimer: The Walking Dead and The Boondock Saints belong to Robert Kirkman and Troy Duffy, respectively. I own no part of either.
It's been four months since Connor joined the camp and Daryl still doesn't know too much about him. None of them do.
It's not like the man is by any means anti-social, but he almost never talks about himself or what happened to him after the dead started walking. Daryl doesn't exactly care either way, but it is a little annoying to not know much about the man who follows him around like a puppy and calls him by his brother's name. It's mildly creepy to know that he shares the exact same face as someone he never met or knew, but more than anything it's just an irritation.
He thinks that Connor must know that he's not really this 'Murphy', because there are times, mostly at night, when the blond is crying and Daryl thinks that he's got to be crying for his family. Why else would he be? Granted, he never actually asks, because the redneck does not know how to deal with grown men crying. His upbringing taught him to keep his distance from emotions, and he's not going to go around being touchy-feely with someone just because they cling to him like a newborn to its mother.
Despite the way the Irishman acts, Connor isn't Daryl's brother and he's not obligated to care.
The smell of dead bodies is overwhelming, almost bad enough to make him gag. But they need to keep going, need to move, get away from the groans that are coming from the bodies that got back up. Connor and Murphy are doing a good job evading them so far, but the fucking things come out of nowhere and in a city as big as Boston it's hard to avoid them for long.
The world may have ended months ago, but Connor's doesn't end until he hears a pain-filled scream in a voice all too familiar. Fear and panic course through him and when he turns around, that's when everything collapses around him. The sound of his own voice shouting for his twin and the rapid thumping of his heartbeat fills his ears as he runs towards Murphy, who's been caught by one of the abominations and having his shoulder ripped into. A well-aimed shot is all it takes to get the bastard off, but it's too late and he knows it.
He grabs his twin and pulls him into a nearby building, barricading the door with furniture and collapsing on the floor in front of it, cradling Murphy against him. Blood is gushing out of his shoulder and the base of his neck, and nothing Connor does makes it stop. Tourniquets are no good, he knew they wouldn't be, but that doesn't stop him from trying because his brother is fucking dying and he can't do this, he can't lose him-
Murphy grabs his arm weakly and stares at him with blue eyes just like his own, which are far too bright right now. He opens his mouth, face contorted in agony, and tries to choke something out as he coughs up blood. "Conn…Conn, I…"
"No, no, God please no- Murphy don' talk, just keep breathin' fer me-"
"'s okay Murph, everythin's gonna be okay, don' talk, just breathe, don' leave me."
"Connor…" The brunet can't say anymore, gasping erratically and clutching his brother's arm tighter, eyes boring into Connor's. His breathing quickens while Connor begs and pleads with him, with God, with anything and everything, and his pleading dissolves into screams and cries when the breaths stop coming altogether.
Hours pass, he doesn't know how many, because the world's ended and everything's broken and Connor doesn't care anymore.
Then Murphy opens his eyes.
Except it's not Murphy anymore. The thing that opens cloudy, not at all vibrant eyes and lets out a weak groan, skin so pale and tinted blue, isn't Murphy. His brother is dead, soul already risen to Heaven, and the thing slowly raising his head isn't him. Connor tells himself this over and over again, even as tears spill down his cheeks. Everything hurts and he doesn't think he can do it, but then he remembers their promise. The promise he and Murphy made to finish each other off if this ever happened to either one of them.
The memory of this promise makes him pull out his gun and aim at not-Murphy's head, hand shaking. He whispers, "Tá grá agam duit, Murphy."
There's a snarl cut short by the sound of a gunshot, followed by a shaking sob.
Connor pulls his rosary out and does the same with Murphy's, reciting the family prayer and making the sign of the cross over his brother's body. He gently removes his twin's rosary from around his neck and slips it over his own head, numbness spreading through him. As much as he'd like to turn the gun on himself, or even just walk outside and let the monsters tear him apart, he can't. Suicide is a mortal sin, one he could go to Hell for, and if he goes to Hell he'll never see his brother again.
He has to survive, even if it's just going through the motions.
He has to go on living, even if he's dead inside.
"Come on Murphy, yer gettin' lazy 'r somethin'- ye shoulda been able t' get tha' one on yer own. Still need big brother t' save ye?" Connor teases, and Daryl shoots him a look of sheer annoyance before sending a bolt straight through another walker's eyes. There are more geeks around than he'd anticipated, and he'd just missed one because he'd been too busy fending off two others. Grudgingly, he appreciates Connor's help, but the fact that he always fucking messes with him about it grates on his nerves. He takes it out on the remaining walkers, shooting and then hacking away until it's just him and Connor. There's a stupid, shit-eating grin on the Irishman's face and Daryl throws a punch at him, starting up a fight that lasts several minutes before Rick and T-Dog show up, dragging them away from each other.
Connor's laughing and Daryl glares fiercely at him before letting out a huff and muttering at Rick to let him go, which he does when he deems there to be no lingering threat of violence. He stomps back to camp and Connor follows quickly after, making Daryl twitch. Finally, exasperated, he turns to the blond, getting him to stop in his tracks.
"Look, I lost my fuckin' brother too, alright? I get it, you miss him. But I ain't your brother, no matter how much I fuckin' look like him, so you gotta stop this. I'm not Murphy, I'm Daryl- I ain't even Irish. So get that through your thick head, dumbass."
Silence follows for a few moments, the expression on Connor's face unreadable. Daryl does not feel guilty for what he's just said, no matter how vulnerable the other man looks right now. Then, so quietly that he almost doesn't hear it, Connor murmurs, "I know. Just lemme keep pretendin', please."
Daryl didn't expect this and now he doesn't know what to do, feeling like a deer caught in the headlights. There's something raw in the other's gaze right now, something that makes discomfort rise inside of him. He wants to say no, he should say no, because this is all kinds of unhealthy, but- "Whatever. Fuckin' weirdo."
The tension fades and Connor's smile is back in place, but Daryl doesn't want to look at him right now because he doesn't want to acknowledge what he's doing. He tells himself that it's to keep the other man from having some sort of breakdown and screwing them all over, that it has nothing to do with pity or sympathy or whatever the fuck other sappy emotions one could list.
Glenn and Connor are bonding over Clint Eastwood movies and even though Daryl's pretty fond of Eastwood himself, he merely listens and cleans his crossbow, rolling his eyes at the way the two are interacting. Idiots, both of them, but it's nice to have Connor paying attention to someone else.
"Come on, yer tellin' me ye've ne'er seen Tightrope?"
"No, but I've heard he pretty much plays Dirty Harry in that movie, so I don't see what's so bad about not watching it. You've never seen Escape from Alcatraz!"
"Murphy, tell th' kid wha' he's missin'- 's fuckin' ridiculous!"
He rolls his eyes again, glancing over at the two bickering men. A smart ass retort is on his lips, because he doesn't really like playing along with this bullshit, but he surprises himself by saying, "You're both fuckin' retarded. Pale Rider's his best movie."
Connor and Glenn look at each other before shaking their heads, but Connor looks pleased nonetheless and Daryl mutters to himself before going back to his crossbow.
"It's really sweet of you, you know," Carol says to him one night at dinner, while Connor is playing a game with Carl.
He looks up at her, eyebrow raised. "What're ya talkin' about?"
When she looks pointedly at Connor, Daryl suddenly knows what she's going to say and is quick to cut her off before she can get the words out. "There ain't nothin' 'sweet' about it- I just don't want him goin' crazy on us. It was bad enough when we found him and tried tellin' him I wasn't his Murphy whatever. Just don't feel like dealin' with that again."
There's a knowing look on her face that makes him feel all the more defensive, because she always acts like she can see right through him and the worst part is that she kind of can. It's that motherly instinct of hers or something. "That doesn't mean that what you're doin' isn't very kind. I know it must be hard, but you're keepin' him sane, Daryl. He looked fit to die when we found him in that church, but he's healthier now, happier. It's all because of you."
Daryl still doesn't really know how to deal with things like this, and god if he doesn't feel really uncomfortable right now. "It's nothin'," he grumbles, shoveling down the rest of his food so that he can escape this conversation as soon as possible and take refuge in his tent.
Turns out that he doesn't have to, because Carol's only response to this is to gently squeeze his shoulder, smiling at him before she wanders over to Lori, who's watching with amusement as Connor lets Carl tackle him. This leaves Daryl alone, and when his eyes stray to the Irishman and the child, he thinks for the briefest of moments that he definitely prefers this Connor to the near-empty shell they found five months ago.
Then he gets up and leaves, pretending that he's already asleep when Connor climbs into their tent some fifteen minutes later.
Daryl's on watch and as usual, Connor's sitting right beside him, both of them looking out over the woods from the top of Dale's RV. The blond is smoking, having asked Glenn to nab a pack for him on his last supply run, and the smoke looks a little eerie thanks to the way the moonlight is hitting it. Connor offers him a cigarette and he shakes his head without even looking at him.
"Don't smoke," he responds gruffly.
A strange, sort of uncomfortable silence passes between them and when he glances at Connor, he doesn't know what to make of the expression on his face. He looks confused, like Daryl just told him that he's a vegetarian or something. "What?" he finally asks, irritated and a little self-conscious.
"Nothin'," Connor says, looking back out into the darkness. "'s nothin'. Just didn' take ye fer th' non-smokin' type."
It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines there, and Daryl knows that Murphy must have been a smoker. He's kind of tired of this sort of thing happening, of Connor getting so wrapped up in pretending he's his brother that he forgets that he's not. And while it's sort of his fault for encouraging him, even though he prefers to think of it as just letting Connor do whatever the hell he wants, the redneck feels particularly agitated by it tonight.
"What was Murphy like?" he asks, sharp eyes still watching for any sort of movement from the woods.
"Wha'?" He doesn't have to be looking to know that Connor's gaze is now focused on him- he can feel it.
"Your brother, Murphy. What was he like?" His voice is impatient and he hopes Connor realizes that it means he's not putting up with him playing dumb today.
It takes a little bit, but Connor finally answers him, voice a bit thick, and Daryl just prays that he doesn't start crying. "He was…quieter than me. Got angry faster, but I talked more. He was more o' a smoker than me, but I preferred drinkin'. Ma used t' say tha' fer bein' twins, we were pretty diff'rent 'n a lot o' ways. He was stronger than me, too. 'f he'd lived instead o' me, he'd be…" He trails off and Daryl doesn't press him, because it's more than enough. He has a feeling that when Connor said 'stronger', he didn't mean physically.
"I'm sure he was just as much of a pain in the ass as you are," Daryl says, because he has no idea what else to say. Connor sniffs and he declines to comment on it, feigning ignorance because this is already way more emotional than he's used to and he doesn't want to deal with tears on top of it.
"Go fuck yerself," the Irishman says, relieving Daryl a little when it becomes clear that he's just as unwilling to turn this into some sort of wishy-washy discussion of feelings.
They don't talk for the rest of the night until they're let go from their shift, but when Connor sleepily says, "Night, Murphy", an arm thrown over him that Daryl has become unwillingly accustomed to, the brunet finds that he doesn't mind the name as much as usual.
Everyone is yelling and the air is rife with confusion, panic, and terror. Walkers got into the camp while he and Daryl were out hunting and they'd run back as soon as they heard the first scream. No one's been hurt yet but there are a bunch of the motherfuckers, more than he's seen in awhile; it'll be a miracle if they all make it out of this okay. Rick, Shane, Glenn, T-Dog and Andrea are shooting as many as they can while Lori, Carl, and Carol are up against the RV, Dale covering them with a shotgun. Connor's got his own Desert Eagle out, shooting, discarding empty mags, and replacing them with new ones as fluidly as any trained professional. Daryl hadn't had enough time to grab a gun so he's doing the best he can with his crossbow and hunting knife, but the blond has his back, refusing to let anything happen to his brother a second time.
Carol screams when a walker gets too close and Connor watches as Daryl turns his head in her direction, shooting a bolt with frightening precision so that it gets the geek right through the back of his skull. He doesn't see the two behind him, right on him- but Connor does.
Three shots and they're gone, relief spreading through him for a brief moment before suddenly Andrea is screaming something at him and then there is excruciating pain.
He looks down and sees rotted teeth sinking into his arm. Is this how it felt for Murphy? he wonders for a moment before shooting the monster in the head, but even as the teeth fall free from his flesh, the pain doesn't fade. It still burns and hurts like a motherfucker, but he doesn't let himself concentrate on that yet; the danger's not nearly over and they still need him.
It feels like hours before all the geeks are dead, but Connor barely has the ability to be happy when they are, because the pain is getting worse and he slips to his knees, dropping his gun to grab at the wound. Everyone is running over to him, and all it takes is the look of fear and apprehension on their faces to tell him that even if the wound hadn't been enough to kill him right away, he's not going to make it through this.
But Murphy's safe and that's all that really matters.
Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Daryl is so pissed right now that he can barely see straight.
Because that fucking idiot, that stupid mick went and got himself bit, and they all know what's going to happen, they all remember Jim. All because he was too busy looking after Daryl to watch his own ass.
He just wants to beat the crap out of the Irishman now, give him a real reason to be laying on the bed in the RV, sweating and groaning in pain while Carol tends to him. There are murmurs going around the rest of the group; no one knows what to do. The blond isn't lucid right now, he's probably not even fully conscious, so they can't just ask him. Daryl paces like a caged animal, kicking trees and slamming his fist into the side of the RV, because this wasn't supposed to happen, none of this was supposed to happen.
Carol yells for him and he moves in a flash, shoving past Shane and Rick as he enters the RV and heads into the back. The woman looks up at him from Connor's bedside, eyes melancholy, and whispers, "He's askin' for you."
His eyes flicker to the blond, whose flushed and tortured face doesn't really look like the one he's come to know, and he nods. Carol touches his hand for a moment, a sympathetic gesture that he ignores because he doesn't need anyone's sympathy, not now or ever, and then she's gone, leaving just the two of them in the strangely stifling atmosphere.
"Murph…Murphy," Connor rasps, eyelids fluttering before he manages to focus on Daryl. Except he's not seeing Daryl, and this time the redneck knows that it isn't just Connor pretending for the sake of his own sanity. The fever has gotten so bad that he really thinks Daryl is his long-dead twin and the brunet doesn't know what to do. "Don' ferget, Murph, don' f-ferget our promise."
He closes his eyes for a moment, swallowing hard before he opens them again and asks, "What promise?"
Connor's eyes go a little wild at this, his hand reaching out to grab Daryl's wrist, not even registering when the redneck flinches from the contact. "Y-Ye can'…'f we e'er ended up like this, w-we promised…t-t' take care o' e-each other. Don' want t' b-become one o' th' m-monsters, Murph…ye gotta k-keep our promise."
It hits Daryl what he's being asked to do and he clenches his fists tight, because it isn't fair, not by a long shot, but he knows that this is how it has to be. Even if Connor hadn't asked him to, he probably would have been the one to do it anyways, because it only makes sense, doesn't it? It isn't like he's come to actually give a damn about the man. It isn't like this actually hurts and makes his throat tighten up and his heart throb painfully in his chest.
It isn't like that at all.
"Alright, Connor. I will."
Everything's hazy and every move hurts, but Connor feels a little sense of peace in the back of his mind as he's hoisted from the bed, arm being slung over Murphy's shoulder for support. Weak moans leave him, his throat too dry to scream at all the sharp stabs of pain, but before he knows it he finds himself on his back, cool grass surrounding him and easing the unbearable heat of the fever.
His eyes are only half open and things are a little blurry, but he can make out Murphy standing above him, holding a gun with the muzzle pointed down at his head. He smiles.
A gunshot rings out and the world goes black.
Then Connor hears a familiar Irish lilt next to his ear, a voice that sounds half-amused, half-pleased. "Good t' see ye again, my dear brother."
He grins, hopelessly happy, feeling better than he has in a long while, and opens his eyes.
No one is surprised by the gunshot or the sight of Connor's lifeless body at Daryl's feet. Some are crying, some are just staring quietly in regret, but no one is surprised.
It is a little surprising when Daryl doesn't move for almost five minutes.
When he finally does, he turns to Glenn and Rick and says, "Help me dig a hole for him."
Daryl barely looks like he feels a thing, no real expression on his face, but he makes it clear the second Rick tries to say something to him that he doesn't want to talk. So they dig in silence, the three of them working together for a couple hours before they have a grave long enough and deep enough. It's Daryl who hauls Connor's body over to it, shooting glares at anyone who attempts to help him, and with a little maneuvering manages to get the corpse into its grave. Without even really knowing why he does it, he reaches down and pulls the two rosaries out from where they'd been resting underneath Connor's shirt, remembering when they'd first found the blond in an abandoned church, covered in blood and clutching the two rosaries whilst he prayed like a man possessed. Somehow this memory makes it important that the rosaries be resting in plain sight on the Irishman's chest.
Then he starts piling the dirt they'd just dug out on top of the body, blue eyes focused and sweat dripping down his face. If there are tears mixing in with the sweat, no one notices; or at least, they don't say anything if they do.
And if Daryl feels like he's just lost another brother, he doesn't say anything about that, either.