They headed back to the hospital. Connor and Murphy found their way in the same way Connor had before, through the service door where the employee's took their smoke breaks. The doors weren't locked.
They found who they were looking for shortly after. George was mopping floors in the cafeteria. He saw them as they walked in and nodded in greeting, then focused on Murphy. "Good to see you doing better."
Murphy looked about to say something but Connor placed a hand on his shoulder and stepped forward. "I need an address."
George looked from one brother to the other. "And what are you going to be doing with this information if I give it to you?"
"We're planning to send a thank you card to Murph's doctor."
"For all the fine care he gave me while I was his patient." Murphy added.
George looked down at his mop for a moment, seeming to deliberate, but when he looked up he was smiling. "Meet me at the smoking doors in an hour."
Connor glanced at Murphy briefly and Murphy nodded.
George went back to mopping. "I look forward to watching the news tomorrow."
Connor filled Murphy in on the plan along the way. The doctor lived fairly close to the hospital. It was a wealthy new apartment building near the park with an underground parking garage.
"He's an idiot if he falls for it."
Connor raised his eyebrows. "When haven't my plans worked out for us?"
"You mean when have they ever worked as planned?" Murphy laughed. "This is ridiculous."
"It is not." Connor retorted. "Fucking brilliant is what it is."
Murphy sighed and followed Connor around the side of the building. They waited beside the underground garage entrance and snuck in behind the next car to enter. From there it was as simple as catching the elevator to the eighth floor.
Connor knocked on the door. "Doctor Reuben?" He called. He heard a vauge answer from inside and he disguised his accent to sound American while Murphy did his best not to laugh out loud.
"You sound like ye've got marbles in your mouth." Murphy whispered.
Connor glared back at his brother and continued. "This is Bob from the seventh floor. Remember me? I got some of your mail in my box." Connor waited, making sure to stand to the side of the peephole so that his head would be visible but turned away. Nothing suspicious.
The lock on the door clicked, and Dr Reuben opened the door slightly. Connor passed him the letter and smiled, and a second later Murphy kicked the door open with his boot.
The door swung inwards, catching Dr Reuben in the face and pushing him backward. The brothers stepped inside and locked the door.
"See?" Connor said to his brother.
Murphy shrugged. He pulled out his gun and aimed it at Dr Reuben's head. "On your knees." The darkness surrounding the doctor stretched out, seeming to recognize and reach out towards him. The shadow inside him amped up its struggle to get free, and his finger tightened on the trigger in reaction to the onslaught of pain in his head. "I remember everything."
Connor saw what Murphy was about to do and pushed his arm off target just as the gun fired. Thankfully the noise was muffled from the silencer, but Connor had to wrestle the gun out of his brother's hand and push him back. "What the fuck are you doing? This isn't the plan."
"I didn't agree to any fucking plan."
Connor placed himself between Murphy and the doctor and placed Murphy's weapon on the table. "How do we fix my brother?"
The doctor blinked owlishly and crawled backwards until he hit the wall. "Mental illness is a complicated issue. If he returns to the hospital for further treatment I promise he'll receive the best of care."
"Stay the fuck back, Murph." Connor leveled his own gun. "We know everything. We know what you did."
The doctor stopped feigning innocence, he licked his lips nervously and smiled at Murphy. "The police are looking for you. I had you reported as suffering from violent delusions. Even if you tell them what happened, no one will believe you."
"We know how to avoid attention." Connor assured the doctor.
Again the doctor focused on Murphy. "How did you figure it out? You were so sincere about wanting to get better. You really were the kind of patient doctors like myself yearn for; the kind who will participate in any kind of treatment, and do everything they are told to get better. There were times I really did wish there was something I could have done for you."
Murphy stayed quiet, so Connor answered for him. "You fucking did enough don't you think?"
"You were supposed to die. I didn't know what to do when you showed up in my hospital. There was the detective coming around all the time, asking me if your amnesia was real, he gave me the idea to suggest it was your brother. But then you didn't go for it, and then you told me about your hallucinations. Do you remember what you told me about the orderly? The one you attacked?"
"He killed a patient." Murphy answered.
"Do you remember what you said?"
"He would go into her room at night, and rape her. He would hold a pillow over her face so she couldn't scream. And he suffocated her."
Doctor Reuben nodded. "It was the detail that convinced me. I knew what happened because it was my idea to cover it up; can you imagine the scandal that kind of incident would have on our hospital? We could have been shut down. We would definitely have lost some of our funding. That's how I knew you were the real thing. When you told me what you saw when you looked at me, I knew I had to do something."
"I only wanted to help you." Doctor Reuben pleaded. "When you told me about the visions and the dreams you are forced to endure, I understood the extent of my failure. That's why the sacrifice needs to die. I couldn't sit by and let you suffer. I couldn't allow another death of one of my patients, so I did the next best thing. Given enough time I could have legitimately upped your electrotherapy treatments to a level that would have caused extensive brain damage. No more visions, no more dreams, no more pain. I would have provided you with the best of long term care. In essence it would have solved all our problems."
Connor grabbed Murphy's arm to hold him back.
"I'm going to kill you." Murphy stated coldly.
"Go ahead. Kill me, I'm not afraid to die anymore. Don't you see I didn't have a choice? I always thought I'd have more time to make things right with God, but my time ran out. That's why I needed you. I'm dying."
Murphy glared at him. "You think that's an excuse?"
"I have a brain tumor. Inoperable, and growing just above my brain stem. I have a time bomb in my head, and it can go off at any time. I can't even describe what you've done for me; I can rest easy knowing my soul is pure."
Murphy laughed. "Not from this angle. You're forgetting what I can see."
"No. It worked, you're lying. I transferred my sins to you through my blood offering, and then you paid the price. Your death set me free."
"I didn't stay dead, did I? Something happened to me during your fucking ritual, something got trapped in my head, but that's all it is, just something that got left behind. Your sin is with you, and when you die, it will still be with you."
The doctor shook his head. "Then it is with you too, that part that got left behind, so that means we're linked. You can't kill me. If I die, you'll die with me. "
"I don't have a problem with that." Murphy stated.
Connor pushed Murphy back yet again. "How do we undo this?"
"Why would I tell you? If the ritual didn't work, I have to do it again. I have to die with a clean soul. You can help me. If you help me your brother will be free."
"Fuck you." Murphy lunged at Connor, and wrapped his hand over Connor's grip on the gun. He took the shot. The doctor fell back, a bullet hole in the centre of his forehead and a spray of blood covering the wall behind.
Something dark filled the room. Even Connor saw it this time, thick black shadows leeching out of Doctor Reuben's dead body, raising slowly into the air like tentacles, and it was coming out of his brother too.
Connor stared at Murphy; their hands still entwined on the gun. The shadow from Murphy entwined with the shadow from Doctor Reuben and curled into each other until becoming one and disappearing.
Then Murphy coughed and let go of the weapon. It fell to the floor making a soft thump against the lush carpet.
Muprhy coughed again and grabbed hold of Connor's shirt. "I can't..." The words were barely audible, but Connor heard them just fine.
I can't breathe.
"Okay, just take it easy. Relax right? Maybeif you relax you'll be able to..."
The look Murphy shot him was enough to shut Connor up. This wasn't a joke, this wasn't some kind of panic attack.
Connor didn't know what to do. He didn't even know enough to know if there was something he didn't know he wasn't doing. And so he stood beside his brother, with his brother's hand desperately gripping his shirt, and held on. He wasn't going to let Murphy go. He wasn't going to let this fucking thing take his brother. His stupid fucking brother who refused to wait long enough to even try and find an alternative solution.
Murphy lost his balance and even with Connor holding onto his arm he couldn't stay on his feet.
"Murph, listen to me, you've got to fight this." Connor pleaded. Of course Murphy was fighting, Connor was watching him fight right in front of him. Fuck, why wasn't he breathing?
Murphy looked up at him, and Connor watched his brother's eyes lose focus.
"Fucking hell." Connor felt the moment Murphy's hand went slack.
He felt for a pulse. Nothing. How the fuck was that possible? It couldn't be happening. Connor refused to let it happen. Connor didn't think about what he was doing. He lied Murphy on the floor and tilted his head back and breathed air into his brother's mouth. He didn't know how many he was supposed to do. What did they do in movies? Three? Five? He went with three. He looked up at the clock on the wall. Nine forty five pm. Then he pushed on Murphy's chest, he didn't even know if he was doing it right. He lost count at twenty. How many was he supposed to do? Three breaths. Lots of chest compressions.
Why couldn't he keep count? He kept watching Murphy's face, expecting him to wake up and start swearing any second, but nothing happened. Three breaths. Chest compressions. He did it over and over and over again. Nothing changed.
Ten thirty pm.
Nothing changed. How long could he keep doing this?
For as long as he needed to.
Eleven pm. Connor wiped the tears off his face. If he could bring Murphy back through will alone, it would already be done. If there was anything he knew of to do that would make a difference, he would do it.
"Fuck." Connor said softly. He took a deep breath and sat back. "Fuck." He said a little louder. He He shouldn't have stopped. He should have kept going as long as he needed to bring Murphy back. He shouldn't have given up. He couldn't stop staring at his brother.
"Fuck." He stood up and paced the room. What was he supposed to do now? He looked back at his brother, as if he would suddenly stop fucking around and start breathing again.
"What the fuck were you thinking, you fucking bastard?" Connor yelled. "We fucking had him. We could have figured something out. You didn't have to..." He drove a fist into the wall, a shock of pain shot through this fist and up his arm. It didn't drive out the pain from the inside. Murphy was dead. What was he going to do? What did any of it matter anyhow?
He needed to think of a way to get Murphy out of the building. He couldn't leave without his brother.
The thought overwhelmed him. How could he get his dead brother out of the apartment of the man they just killed?
He'd have to carry him. Just like how Murphy carried him to the hospital the morning after the bar fight with the Russians. Only he wouldn't be taking Murphy to the hospital.
He wasn't going to take him home to their apartment either. He'd have to figure something out. He'd have to call Ma. He needed to take Murphy back home to Ireland, have him buried with family. They could a ship like the one they came over on. Only this time it would... fuck.
Connor sat down beside his brother and gently entwined his fingers around his twins. He didn't want to be thinking about any of this, and he didn't want to be doing any of this. He wanted to take the gun and follow Murphy. But he couldn't. He wouldn't do that to their Ma. He needed to take Murphy home first, and then he could decide what to do next. Or what not to do. He squeezed his eyes shut against the pain of it all, and didn't even try and stop the sobs from over taking him.
He'd never considered having to live a life without his twin.
And then he felt it. Murphy's fingers twitched.
It could be his mind playing tricks on him. Connor stared at his brother's fingers.
Murphy's hand twitched again, and Connor practically fell backwards as Murphy started coughing.
Connor pulled Murphy up into a sitting position and held him while he continued coughing.
For five whole minutes Murphy continued coughing, and even when he did stop Connor didn't let him go. It took about ten minutes after that for him to catch his breath, and then Murphy tried to sit up on his own but Connor stopped him. "Take it slow."
"What the fuck?"
Connor glanced over at the body in the corner. "You shot Doctor Reuben. I saw it Muprh, all that shadow stuff you were seeing. I saw it come out when you shot him, and I saw it come out of you too."
Murphy stared at the body for a brief moment. "I feel like I got hit by a truck." He brought a hand up to rub his chest and winced.
"You stopped breathing."
"We need to get out of here." Murphy said and pushed himself up again.
Connor didn't stop him this time. He was too amazed at the fact that his brother was moving at all to do much of anything. "Do you remember what happened?"
Murphy shook his head, no. "You're alright? You look like shit."
"You died, you asshole."
Murphy rolled his eyes. "Fuck off."
Connor didn't care. Murphy was alive. He didn't care if he didn't believe him. He was fucking alive.
They took the fire exit to avoid security cameras, and Connor stayed so close he was almost hugging him. They exited the way they came; through the parking garage.
They walked slow and Murphy had to stop and rest on a park bench half way to the subway station. "I'm fine." Murphy said without waiting for Connor to ask. He rested for about five minutes, and then they walked the rest of the way. All in silence.
Their train came and they got on and took a bench near the back. Murphy nudged Connor's shoulder. "Knock it off. You keep watching me like I'm going to croak."
"You did." Connor reminded him.
"I'm not dead, Conn."
"It's fucking true. You stopped breathing for over an hour."
"Maybe I should write a book. Make millions of dollars about dying and coming back to life."
"Do you remember any of it?"
Murphy nodded very seriously. "There was a bright light, and a whole bunch of flowers and people. Maimeó was there, and Móraí. And Uncle Darragh. Others too. They were all standing, ready to welcome... Ow." Murphy laughed and rubbed his arm where Connor punched him.
"Uncle Darragh isn't dead."
He laughed. "All I remember is watching you freak out."
"How about the shadow thing? I saw it come out of you. Do you feel any different?"
"Yeah. It's gone." Murphy answered. "No shadows, no glows, no headache. Nothing clawing at the inside of my skull. You have no idea what a relief it is." Murphy closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat.
"I thought I'd be taking you home to bury you. I understand relief."
Murphy was quiet for a while. "Sorry."
Connor nodded and leaned against his brother just a little bit. "Tired?"
"Go ahead. I'll wake you."
Murphy mumbled something, and Connor watched him for a minute. Not that he expected Murphy to stop breathing again, but maybe because he was a little worried he might. Connor took him back to the safe house. He stayed awake only long enough to lie down and then he was asleep again. No nightmares. Nothing. Connor lied beside him, and if he fell asleep with a hand resting over Murphy's chest, he wasn't going to admit it to anyone. No fucking way.
Everything else could wait for tomorrow. He'd call Smecker and get things sorted out, and they'd go back to their own apartment, and everything would go back to the way it should be.
Tonight he would just appreciate having a living brother.
A/N: This is it. Thanks for reading, and if you liked the fic please leave me a review. Thanks so much for sticking with the story and reading it through, and thanks everyone who has reviewed, it means a lot to me to hear from you. I do a major happy dance every time I get feedback.