Murphy didn't come home.

It wasn't a big deal. Connor yawned and sat up. So what if the mattress across from his was empty. That was fine. Murphy had been pissed off at something the night before, Connor didn't even didn't even know what. Murphy needed was some time to himself; fine.

The night before it was obvious something was wrong but Connor didn't think it had anything to do with him. It wasn't like they never argued or fought about anything, but Connor couldn't think of anything recent the other man would be pissed off about, and Murphy certainly hadn't said anything. The pub wasn't the place to start asking questions about it, Connor figured it could wait til morning. He'd left early while Murphy was still drinking.

Connor lit himself a smoke and went about his routine. It was true, Murphy could get into moods where everything and everyone pissed him off constantly. He always came around and apologised for being an asshole. It didn't normally take this long. And Connor was determined not to let it get to him. If Murphy wanted to talk, he'd talk.

He got himself some breakfast, figuring that by lunch Murphy would be back and they'd go grab some lunch over at that sandwich place down the road. He had stuff to do anyway, but he waiting until two o o'clock and he was fucking hungry. He'd go get his fucking lunch on his own dammit.

He almost ordered two plates just out of habit and spent the time reading the newspaper. It was kind of weird being on his own. It didn't happen often. He knew he should take advantage of the peace and quiet while it lasted. He loved Murph, but his brother could be spectacularly annoying at times.

And when he got back to the apartment and his brother still wasn't there, Connor started feeling kind of peeved. The bastard could at least call.

They'd had plans to head over to the ballpark today. So much for that. Connor figured he should just go without him. He had friends of his own. And he would go too. He would. But he'd wait a little while longer just in case.

Connor didn't go. He turned on the tv and lost track of time watching nothing.

The phone rang just after five pm. Connor glared at it while it rang and considered not answering it at all. He grabbed it on the fifith ring. "Yeah?"

"Hey."

Connor glared at the opposite wall. "You been sleeping off a hangover all day?"

"You okay?" Murphy asked.

Soemthing wasn't right. Murphy sounded tired, but there was more to it than that. His voice sounded hoarse and the tone was all wrong. There was no edge to it; his brother sounded vulnerable. "Yeah, course I am. Murph, are you okay?" There was no immediate answer. "What hey? Where'd you got to last night?"

"I don't remember getting here."

The tone of his brother's voice tightened that vicegrip around Connor's heart all the tighter. "Where are you?"

"Uh… Saint Mikes."

"The hospital? What are you doing there?"

There was silence on the other end for a moment. "You'll come?" He heard his brother say something away from the phone.

"Yeah, of course. Where?" Connor listened to more hushed tones speaking in the background and then the line went dead.

Saint Mikes was across town. Connor took the subway, cursing because it was rush hour and the damn train was full and no one moved fucking fast enough, and the brief phone conversation replayed over and over in his head.

A/N: TBC

This story is complete in draft form and will be posted as it is edited. If anyone is interested in beta reading, please message me.