Sunlight filtered through the leaves and the grass, and Murphy woke up damp and cold in a ditch. The horror of what just happened hit him like a ton of bricks the moment he opened his eyes.
Murphy gave Connor the glass of water. Murphy chose the of poison for his self.
Only, he didn't.
The bastard lied. Connor drank the fucking poison and died in front of him. Connor died thinking his brother killed him.
Murphy forced himself to get up. He pushed down the pain and exhaustion weighing him down and took a good look at the unfamiliar highway around him. He didn't know where he was, or how to get back to the fucking drug dealer's house, but he choose a direction and followed it. It didn't matter that he had no weapons. He would kill those bastards with his bare hands if he had to. They were going to die.
As the sun began to peek over the eastern horizon Murphy realized he was headed North. Cars passed more frequently as the sun rose and if any of them saw him walking they didn't think to slow down. It didn't matter. Murphy would walk all the way to Canada if he had to.
A blue cavalier pulled over to the side of the road and the driver leaned over and unlocked the passenger side door.
He was probably somewhere in his forties, dark hair and a few days worth of beard. A chain smoker, Murphy could smell the smoke in the car. After Murphy got in the car, the dark haired man waited a moment. Up close it was easy to see the blood on his new passenger's shirt and the bruises on his face and neck. "You okay?" The man asked.
The answer stuck in Murphy's throat. I'm fine. He couldn't say it. Couldn't even come close, because he was anything but fine, and he would never be fine again. "No." He rubbed a hand over his face to hide the tears he couldn't stop from forming. "Can I have a cigarette?" he asked, and the man passed one to him along with a lighter.
"What the hell happened to you, man?"
"Bar fight." Murphy whispered. "Bastards dumped me out here afterwards as a joke."
"Some joke. Do you want to call the cops?"
"No. No police. Where are you going?" Murphy asked.
He took it as a sign. He needed to take some time to think. He needed weapons. If he went back to Juan Martin's house now it would be suicide. He needed to push down the grief and pain threatening to engulf him and finish the mission first. Only then could he take time to mourn and make the decision of what he would do next. Only then.
The dark haired man dropped him off at a gas station where Murphy could walk the rest of the way. Of course he had no fucking keys and had to kick the door in. The feeling that came over him at the sight of their apartment was more than he could handle. The fucking dishes were still in the sink. Two plates and two glasses because the last time they ate, there were two of them.
All the pain and rage boiled inside to the point where Murphy couldn't push it down or hold it in any longer. He needed a release, and he took it out on everything around him. When he was done, he was kneeling in front of the only thing left. Connor's bed. Where Connor would never sleep again. No more dreams, no more nightmares. No more cursing at Murphy in the middle of the night to stop snoring.
No more Connor.
And Murphy knew that he didn't want to just kill himself, he wanted to take those bastards with him. Every single one of them.
After getting over the fact that there seemed to be a team of hammers pounding in his head and his throat hurt like he had been drinking crushed glass, Connor opened his eyes and started to think.
He was in a hospital room. There was no mistaking the sterile smell or the chipping white paint on the walls. There were tubes going up his nose and into his arm and out from the blanket.
He lost the fucking bet. Murphy gave him the fucking poison.
Connor thought about Murphy kneeling beside his chair, asking for forgiveness. They lost the fucking bet. He could hardly believe it. Murphy chose himself. Not that he was angry about that, really it was kind of a relief to know his twin had at least some kind of self preservation instinct.
But then, shouldn't he be dead? And what about Murphy? And what the fuck happened after? There were flowers in a vase beside his bed with a card sticking out of it. He reached over, having to twist in order not to pull on the IV in his wrist. The envelope was blank, he tore it open and inside was a small generic flowery card with Get Well Soon printed on it. On the flip side there was hand written in block letters: YOU WIN.
No he didn't. He fucking lost. Murphy chose himself.
A friendly looking nurse walked in, she smiled at seeing him awake and inspected his chart. "You're lucky you're friend brought you in when he did, you almost didn't make it."
"I don't know. Who ever it was, he hasn't been by here since."
He looked at the card again. YOU WIN. "Was anyone brought in with me? A man my age?"
"No one has been here?"
"No, I'm sorry."
"I need a phone."
She shook her head, no. "There is a payphone down in the visitors lounge. Dr Jacobs will come check on you and then we'll see about getting you out of bed."
Connor glared at the paint peeling off the wall and thought about the YOU WIN. If he won, then why was he poisoned? Were both drinks poisoned? Did Martin lie? So many fucking questions and a note card with YOU WIN written on it was just fucking inadequate.
Everything took too fucking long. He needed to use the phone. He needed to find out what happened to Murphy and he wasn't going to do that stuck in a fucking hospital bed.
Murphy wasn't dead. There was no fucking way he could even think about that. No fucking way. Murphy was alive, and that Martin fucker must have lied about what glass the poison was in. The only explanation for the damn flowers with the YOU WIN message, was that the glasses had been switched and Murphy had meant to drink the poison his self. The real shocker was that Martin honoured the bet and saved Connor's life by taking him a hospital. Connor counted on the fact that meant he'd let Murphy go as well.
Which meant Murphy was out there somewhere thinking that he'd killed his brother.
Fuck. He needed to find Murphy.
After waiting hours to see the doctor, he was informed that he wouldn't be allowed to leave the hospital until the next batch of toxicology tests were in.
"What are the chances I'll drop dead if I leave?"
"You need to rest." Was as much of an answer as he got and he interpreted it as, no you will not drop dead, and that was good enough for him. He signed the paper releasing him against medical advice and by then it was already nightfall.
They'd talked about it before; what they would do if something happened to the other. They made each other swear, if something happened and one of the died, the other would go back to Ireland and take care of Ma.
Suicide is a mortal sin. Connor remembered having to remind Murphy of that...
Phoning the apartment from the hospital only resulted in a disconnected signal, it didn't even ring. That only served to ramp up the panic already growing in Connor's gut.
Their current apartment wasn't much different than what they'd had back when they worked at the meat plant. Different building; same kind of people. Neighbours who knew how to mind their own business and a neighbourhood in dire need of someone to take a stand. By the time he got there the three story climb upstairs might as well have been Mount Everest. Three stairs and rest. Three stairs and rest. It took fucking forever, but he did it.
The door was open.
Connor pushed it and hesitantly stepped inside. "Murph?" He called out. The place was trashed.
The phone was in pieces.
There was only the one room, a ratty old couch in the corner facing a TV that rarely worked, a table and two chairs by the kitchen counter, their beds and a long dresser and beyond that was the bathroom.
Beer bottles were lying around; broken glass in the corner and a gouge in the wall. Broken dishes in the sink. The TV was on the floor, the screen cracked. Murphy's bed was flipped over, his personal belongings strewn about; clothing all over the floor.
Connor's bed was untouched.
The dresser lay on tipped over on the floor, revealing the section of wall they cut out behind it and the bag of extra guns was gone.
He turned out the lights because the glare was making his head ache even worse than it had been before. In the dark, Connor sat down on his bed, exhausted and hurting. He started to pray. He prayed that his brother would be shielded by God's presence and no harm would come to him. He prayed that Murphy would find his way back home safely. He didn't mean to fall asleep.
The door slammed and bounced back open. It slammed a second time, this time staying shut.
Murphy was home. He stumbled in off balance, not bothering to turn on the lights as dawn lit the sky and illuminated the room in dim shades of black and grey. The black duffel bag of weapons was slung over his shoulder, and he didn't bother putting it down before collapsing on the couch. Frozen in place, Connor stared at the blood splatter on Murphy's arms and shirt. His knuckles were raw and bleeding, his right eye nearly swollen shut, and blood crusted the side of his face and neck from a fresh wound on his temple. In that moment, Connor didn't register any of it. All Connor could see was his brother; alive. All of it was just a fucking testimony to their mission that God had seen fit to see them both through it and together again.
How to go about the next bit, Connor wasn't exactly sure. Here he was just feet away from his brother without a clue what to do, and Murphy was so far oblivious to the fact he was there at all. Murphy opened the bag still slung over his shoulder and spread the guns out on the couch beside him. He studied them and gently picked one up, turning it over and over, just about caressing the barrel. He found a grip, finger resting lightly on the trigger, and then turned it on himself.
Connor sat up. "Murph." He watched his brother flinch at the sound, and the weapon immediately redirected his way, and then clattered to the floor as soon as Murphy saw who he was pointing it at.
"Hey. Brother." Connor moved as quick as he could and wrapped Murphy in his arms. Murphy didn't pull away, but he shut his eyes tight and started whispering prayers of repentance in Latin.
"It's okay. Everything is going to be okay." They sat together like that until Connor felt Murphy relax, and when Connor next moved, he realized his brother had fallen asleep. Carefully he extracted himself and gently pulled the bag of guns from around his brother's shoulder and half carried, half dragged Murphy over to his bed and laid down beside him. The rest could be dealt with in the morning.
It was full daylight by the time Connor woke next. He'd turned onto his side in the night, and was facing his brother; his blue eyes open wide and staring at him intently.
"You okay Murph?"
"Conn." He whispered his brother's name like a prayer. "Am I dead, dreaming, or just completely fucking insane?"
Connor sighed and gently reached out to touch the bruised side of Murphy's face.
Murphy flinched as Connor's fingers came in contact with his skin. "Are you going to tell me which it is?" Murphy asked again.
"You aren't insane, and you aren't dead or dreaming."
"I killed you." Murphy whispered.
Connor sat up and was just about pushed right back down when Murphy wrapped his arms around him. Connor hugged him back. He could feel Murphy shaking in his arms.
"Connor, I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry." Murphy whispered.
Connor pushed Murphy back slightly and held his face close to his own. "It's okay. It's going to be okay." Connor pulled Murphy back into his arms again and whispered in his brother's ear. "We're going to kill every last one of them."
Murphy did pull away at that. Looking up at Connor again he nodded grimly. "I already have, Conn. Every last one."