AN: This is a thought that's been playing around in my head for a while. I just never really knew how to write it, or how I wanted it to play out. Sorry for the angst.
As usual, I disclaim everything and wish that Troy Duffy was actually making a third movie.
"Did you and Connor get into a fight?"
The words were spoken with a child-like innocence, and a fear that was uncharacteristic and unexpected coming from the Irishman's mouth.
The writer looked up from her spot, pale face lit by the screen of her laptop as she sat at the kitchen table, nursing a glass of beer and writing as she waited for her Saints to come home for the evening.
"Did Connor say that we got into a fight?" She asked in return.
Murphy shook his head and slumped into the kitchen chair at the head of the table, fishing a cigarette from the package in his pocket and lighting it. Blaise watched him carefully, closing the lid of her laptop so that she wasn't distracted by her deadline and the work that she needed to get done. It seemed like there was something that they needed to talk about.
Murphy reached across the table to pull the ashtray closer to him as smoke trailed up from his mouth, his cigarette gripped expertly between his pale lips. He stared at his friend, blue eyes meeting her aqua ones. She looked more tired than usual, but Murphy assumed it was because she was on a deadline she hadn't been expecting and had been sleeping less than she usually did. (Which, if Murphy was going to be honest with himself, was not very hard to do since she didn't sleep much to start with, though it was neither here nor there in the current situation.)
"You wanna tell me about it?" Murphy asked solemnly, ashing his cigarette as he did.
Blaise smiled softly. "No' much t' tell. Did you ask Connor?"
"If Connor doesnae wanna talk about it, he's no' gonna talk about it," Murphy replied. "So I figure tha' if I wanna know what th' hell happened, I'd either have to beat the shit outta him, or come an' ask you very politely."
Blaise laughed and took a sip of her beer. "Aye, that sounds about right."
"So are you gonna tell me then?" Murphy asked.
"I'm no' terribly inclined to, Murph."
Murphy reached over the table and took the pint away from his friend, sipping at it with his cigarette balanced between his fingers as they wrapped around the glass. He gave her a look over the edge of the glass, a pleading look that never seemed to fail to get him what he wanted with anyone. Hell, it even worked on Connor half the time.
Blaise growled in exasperation and ran her fingers through her unnaturally red hair. "What d'you want me t' say?" She asked, tiredly.
Murphy set the half empty glass down, running his thumb across his mouth before taking another puff of his cigarette. "I jus' wanna know what's goin' on."
"It doesn't really concern you," Blaise pointed out.
"It does if m' brother is sittin' alone in th' pub, drinking an' refusin' ta' talk about it, and no' wantin' to come home."
"I like how this is home to you now," Blaise replied with a smile.
"Don't see what else I'd call it," Murphy replied with a tired shrug. "We spend more time here than we do at our own place."
"I'm okay with this," Blaise assured him.
"So, tell me?" Murphy pleaded.
Blaise groaned under her breath, tired and not wanting to get into a lengthy discussion with Murphy; especially not about this. She'd known this was how it would be with the brothers. She'd always known that when one wouldn't talk, the other would come to her for advice. It wasn't a surprise that they were a set like that; that one's problems weren't necessarily the others' but that didn't seem to stop them from sharing, even if it was indirectly. This wasn't the first time Murphy had come to Blaise when Connor was distant, or when there'd been some mild disagreement betweent he brothers. Hell, it wasn't the first time she and Connor had argued and it didn't surprise her that Murphy was here, asking why, desperate for a way to help his brother.
"It wasn't a fight," Blaise admitted slowly, taking her drink back from Murphy.
Murphy eyed her as she took a sip of her beer. "No' a fight?" He repeated. "Connor sure as hell is acting like it was."
Bliase shook her head. "It wasn't even really a heated discussion. It was really more of a truth that he hadn't thought of, and isn't ready t' come to terms with."
"Truth about what?" Murphy asked, worry creeping into his voice.
The situation was sounding more serious as the seconds ticked on. He'd been perfectly fine with his brother finding a girlfriend; he was happy for the two of them, and he loved Blaise as much as Connor did, though not in quite the same way. She'd been a rock in the stormy waters of their lives for years; a friend, a medic, a sister, a companion, a voice of reason and a merciless enabler. She'd never turned them away, even at 3 in the morning when they were lost and drunk and needed stitches from fighting with men twice their size and armed with knives. He hated to see them struggle, and he'd been there to comfort both parties when something had gone sideways. He'd seen the heartache in his brother when she would leave for whatever reason, business trips, usually, and he'd known that this was more than merely a passing infatuation.
He reached across the table and took her hand in his own. "Blaise, tell me."
Blaise sighed. "Connor asked me t' marry him tonight."
Murphy blinked back his surprise. Connor hadn't said anything to him about it, hadn't given him the slightest reason to even think that he'd been considering it. There'd never been any talk about getting a ring, or even looking for one. And the brothers certainly hadn't owned anything that would remotely act like a wedding ring. Or an engagement ring. Murphy suddenly wondered how long his brother had been considering the proposal and found himself fighting back a wave of jealousy.
"Congratulations," Murphy replied cautiously.
"I said no."
Murphy started, his hand twitching against Blaise's. That was not the answer he had been expecting.
"You said no?" He asked, incredulously, almost angrily and frowning. "Why?"
Blaise looked up at him, her eyes wide and glistening with tears she'd been holding back.
Murphy felt bad for her, and worse for snapping. "Aw, shit, Blaise, c'mere..." He muttered, standing and reaching out to her. He stood, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her off of her chair and forcing her to stand as well. "Shh." He mumbled, running his hand against the back of her head, smoothing her hair down in a comforting manner.
Murphy had to admit that he was a little bit out of his depth as he held the sobbing girl in his arms. His brother's girl. Her shoulders shook once as she let out the sob she'd been holding back all night. He held her close, quietly, really not sure what else he could do, though he desperately wanted to know why she had denied his brother.
After a moment, Blaise pulled herself away from Murphy and ran a hand over her face, wiping away her tears and grinning sheepishly at the MacManus brother. "Sorry," She said quietly, shaking her head. "I.."
Murphy waved his hand, dismissing her apology. "Don't worry 'bout it."
Blaise sighed and ran a hand through her hair, biting her lip nervously. "I feel so stupid."
"For cryin'?" Murphy asked. "Or fer sayin' no ta' Connor?"
Blaise gave Murphy a blank look and beckoned him to follow her to the living room. She flopped down on her armchair and tucked her feet up under her as Murphy took the spot on the couch closest to her chair. He leaned on the arm of the couch and stared her down, waiting for her explanation.
"I feel stupid fa' cryin', Murph," She explained slowly. "Believe me, I didnae want to say no to Conn."
"So why didja?" Murphy asked with a frown. "You have m' blessing if tha's the issue, y'know."
Blaise shook her head. "That's no' the problem."
Blaise stared at Murphy for a long time, trying to decide if he was joking, or if he really was the oblivious to the problem. She sighed and decided that yes, she would have to explain the situation to Murphy, the same way she had to Connor.
"I'm an internationally recognized figure," Blaise began slowly. "I'm in the public eye all the time. I've managed to keep my privacy so far, but when is that gonna end? I mean, I take Duffy with me as my date everywhere because why not? We're friends, have been forever an' there's nothin' wrong with havin' a cop on yer arm at every public event."
Murphy stared at her, waiting for her to continue and not seeing the problem.
"When I start showin' up with a wedding ring on my finger, who d'you think is gonna get touted as my husband?" Blaise asked. "Or if Duffy find a girl for real? Or if I was t' have kids wit' Connor? I cannae hide fer nine months. I cannae hide my kids from the world. Who d'you think is gonna be all in th' papers as my husband and th' father t' my kids? I cannae take you or Connor to a book release! You're wanted criminals, I'd be in jail in a heartbeat an' then shipped off ta' God knows where fer aidin' and abetting or some other bullshit. An' Duffy would get court marshaled and arrested, too!" She shook her head. "I cannae marry yer brother in a traditional way, Murph." She said sadly. "But, if it's any consolation, an' I know tha' it's no', at least, no' fer him, I already did consider myself married."
Murphy frowned, the gravity of the entire situation finally sinking in. He reached across and patted Blaise's hand, apologetically. "I dunno what to say," He admitted. "But Conn understands, he just needs some time ta' process it, y'know?"
Blaise smiled, sadly. "Yeah."
Murphy opened his mouth to say something else reassuring when the door opened. They both looked over towards the front entrance, waiting. Connor stepped into the room, flowers in hand and arched an eyebrow at his brother.
Murphy grinned and stood up. "I'm off t' bed," He announced, giving Blaise a smile.
Somehow, he knew things would work out in the end.