Wow, I'm sorry this is so late. I just started a graduate program, so I got kinda swamped there. We're nearing the final stretch now, though, just a couple of chapter left! Thank you to everyone who's stuck around to read this little story!
Chapter Eighteen—We'd share each other like an island, until exhausted, close our eyelids
Connor stops the car at the docks, his mind a whirlwind of fear and sadness. But when he looks to his side, at Murphy, who is watching him with eyes the same shade as his own, he feels also hope, though it is tinged with trepidation.
And of course, as always, there is love.
Murphy is quiet, studying Connor, and the blonde smiles at him to let him know that he's okay. Then he uses his good hand to pull his darker half closer, and presses their foreheads together.
He inhales deeply, and feels Murph do the same.
"We'll be alrigh', dear heart," he whispers.
Murphy grasps his knee and squeezes. I know.
The boys get out of the car a few minutes later, and each grab a bag. They head to the boat that is docked at the harbor, and each of them keeps an eye out for workers, or anyone who could catch them and have them thrown out.
They toss their bags over the fence surrounding the docks, and then slowly and painfully climb over it, as neither can climb well with only one hand. Then they run for it, as quickly and quietly as they can.
After sneaking onboard, and avoiding the skeleton crew—they must not have too many people working on the weekend—the boys steal down to a lower level.
Connor wishes they could've just bought tickets, but neither he nor Da has that kind of money. And he knows Murph doesn't have it. All the money Da gets from his hits goes to the club. He keeps only a little for himself and Connor.
The boys find a deserted corner in a large storage room in a lower level and hunker down there. It's cold, but not unbearable, so they huddle together to keep warm.
They don't know where this boat is going, but as it's trans-Atlantic, they guess that it'll land somewhere on the American continent. From there, they can travel to Boston by working odd jobs or some such thing. Connor has no doubt that they'll figure it out.
The rest of the day and the night pass slowly, and the boys fall asleep against each other. They're woken when the boat rumbles to life the next morning, and Connor realizes that he's starving. Neither of them has eaten since before the hit.
He hears Murphy groan a bit, and he looks over to see his brother grasping his arm in pain. He must've slept with it at an awkward angle, because it fucking hurts. Connor quickly grabs his bag and digs through it, finally pulling out the pills that help with the pain. He pours two onto his palm and holds them out to Murphy, who takes them slowly, and then swallows them dry.
"Tanks," Murphy whispers painfully, and Connor nods, though his brother can't see him because his eyes are closed again. "'m fuckin' starvin'."
"Aye, me too. Give us an hour, and I'll sneak around an' try te find sometin'. Don' wanna be too close te shore, in case they catch me an' turn around," Connor replies softly, and Murphy nods. Before Connor can say anything else, Murphy is fast asleep again.
Connor reaches for his bag awkwardly, as Murph is leaning on his shoulder and he doesn't want to dislodge him, and rifles through it until he finds his black wool coat. He pulls it out, and drapes it over his brother's slumbering form. Then he lays his cheek against Murphy's dark hair, and keeps watch, the boat rumbling beneath them.
Murphy wakes a few hours later, a bit groggy, but in less pain. When he sees Connor in the process of sitting down, grasping a small box, he realizes what woke him.
He can't believe Connor's leaving hadn't roused him.
"Whatcha get?" he asks, rubbing his eyes to help himself wake up.
Connor gets comfortable next to him, taking his sweet time in arranging his legs just so, and delicately placing the box on his lap, before he answers.
"Dunno. Jus' went te the kitchens, grabbed somethin', an' ran," he says with a grin, and Murphy barks out a laugh.
"So, fer all you know, it could be napkins in there? Or plastics forks?" Murphy remarks, and Connor's face falls. He quickly becomes indignant.
"Oi, I know how a box o' food feels, an' this here's a box o' food. I'd bet me life on it," Connor says firmly, but Murphy just chuckles at him, shaking his head.
"Alrigh' then. Open it, if yer so sure."
"Fine. I will open it," Connor says, and he reaches for the lid dramatically.
He opens it slowly, and Murphy leans over him as best he can to look down at the contents.
Connor grimaces, and Murphy bursts into laughter.
There are plastic knives inside.
"Oi, Con, at least if they find us down 'ere, we'll 'ave somethin' te defend ourselves wit!" Murphy sputters through his guffaws, and Connor reaches over quickly to smack the back of his head.
"I'd like te see you do better. Go on, then, Macho Murph, show me how it's done. Let's put yer sleuthin' skills te work, eh?" Connor replies snidely.
Murphy stops laughing, and his expression becomes one of determination. "Fine."
Connor shrugs flippantly. "So, go."
"I will," Murphy says hotly, and he uses his good arm to struggle to his feet. He marches off without another word.
Connor thinks about going after him, but he decides that seeing Murphy come back with his tail between his legs will be more entertaining.
After thirty minutes pass, Connor's smugness has been replaced with anxiety.
By the time the hour mark comes and goes, he's frantic with worry. He wants to go look for him, but where the fuck could he be? He doesn't even remember how the hell he got to the kitchen before, he just ambled around until he stumbled across it.
And now he has no idea where Murphy is.
Connor is pacing, and is two seconds away from going off to search for his brother anyway, when Murphy comes strutting back in.
Connor is irate. "Where da fuck have ye been?" he says loudly, and Murphy's eyes widen as he stops in his tracks.
"Shhh, Con, they'll hear ye!" he hisses, but Connor is way past caring at this point.
"Ye had me outta me mind wit worry, an' all ye can say is 'they'll hear ye'?" His voice is rising in his temper, and Murphy does the only thing he can think of. He moves forward quickly, dropping the bag he's holding to the ground, and claps his hand over Connor's mouth.
Connor licks his palm, but Murphy just sneers at him. "Ye really tink doin' that's gonna make me let go? Ye've done it in far more interestin' places." He smirks when Connor's eyes narrow. "Will ye listen now?"
Connor nods reluctantly, and Murphy slowly pulls his hand away and smiles at him gently. "I'm sorry I worried ye. I got lost, then when I found te mess hall, it was packed, so I had te hide out and wait fer it te clear. I got us some food."
Connor's eyes widen, and he looks around, apparently not having noticed the bag Murphy had been holding when he'd come in. His gaze lands on the bundle on the floor, and then shoots back up to his brother, who is smirking triumphantly.
"Ye bastard! How'd ye manage it?" Connor says. He can't decide whether to be indignant or impressed.
Murphy chuckles as he moves towards the bag. "Told ye. I waited 'em out. Then I snuck in, grabbed a couple tings, shoved 'em in a bag, an' got te hell outta there," he says as he picks it up and goes back to their corner.
Connor joins him as he sits down, and they dig into the bag together.
Murphy smiles at Connor's happy expression. "Bread! Oh, an' cheese, fuck, I love ye Murph," Connor says reverently as he pulls out the items. He puts them on his lap, then leans over to press a quick kiss to his brother's lips. Murphy smiles against the kiss, resisting the urge to deepen it. It's not like they can do much here, on a ship full of people.
Plus, he's bloody fucking starving.
The boys dive into their impromptu meal, and when they've eaten every last crumb, sit back, eyes closed in happiness at finally feeling full.
Murphy's contentedness ends when the aching in his arm worsens. He hadn't thought about it, because he'd been so hungry, but his arm has never really stopped hurting. Connor cracks his eyes open when he feels Murph's distress, and he clucks his tongue.
"Hurtin' again?" he asks softly. Murphy shrugs. "C'mon then, love. C'mere."
Murphy looks up to meet his brother's eyes, and sees that the blonde's arms are held out in front of him, ready to embrace his twin. Murphy smiles reluctantly, and moves gingerly across the concrete until his back is against his brother's chest, and his head is tucked into the nook of Connor's neck and shoulder.
Connor kisses Murph's high cheekbone, and whispers to him. "Sleep now, Murph. I got ya."
And Murphy does.
The days pass in this fashion. Murphy ends up showing Connor the proper way to steal food, so he doesn't have to make all the trips himself. They remain unnoticed, and only have a few close calls, until the ship docks in the port of New York City.
They walk off the boat as if they're meant to be there, and only receive a few passing stares, curious eyes following for a moment before they move out of sight.
They step off of the dock and into the city of Manhattan, and they look up at the buildings on the small island, their eyes wide. Even though Connor grew up in the city, he can't quite wrap his head around the size of the one around him. Murphy is in awe, never having been to a large city, besides short trips with his Ma, and, of course, when he was kidnapped. But he's never seen so many people in one place before. It's unreal.
It's almost evening, so they stop at the first bank they see to convert their money into dollars. They ask the teller where they can buy tickets to Boston, and are told to head to Penn Station.
Connor leads the way back onto the street, about a hundred dollars folded up in his pocket. He can only hope that it's enough.
They walk the city, unwilling to spend a penny of their money on transportation, and find their way to Penn Station within a couple of hours. At the ticket office, Connor and Murphy wait in line for a few moments before they're called to the window.
"We need two tickets te Boston, please," Connor says. The woman behind the glass partition doesn't even blink at his accent; she just types into her computer for a moment before looking back up.
"First class or coach?" she asks.
"Te cheapest ye got, ma'am," Connor replies, and the woman grunts at him.
"Eighty-seven fifty," she says after a moment, and Connor breathes a sigh of relief before peeling off the necessary cash and handing it over. He can feel the warmth of Murphy's arm pressed against his own.
They'll make it there. Soon.
"It leaves from terminal fifty-three at ten o'clock tonight, but you'll need to be at the terminal at least thirty minutes before departure. You'll arrive in Boston at 4:30 in the morning. Here are your tickets. Please present them to the driver," she says quickly, and hands them the folded envelopes that hold their tickets.
Connor takes them eagerly along with the change and thanks her. He moves away from the window and meets his brother's bright eyes.
We're gonna be okay.
Murphy nods, a smile on his face.
The bus pulls in to South Station in Boston before the sun comes up the next morning. The boys hunker down in a corner of the station rather than leave at this early hour. There won't even be enough people about to ask for directions, and they doubt there would be anyone at the bar even if they did manage to find the way there.
They take turns napping until the sun come up, and then they head out onto the streets of Boston.
It's not nearly as big as New York City, but it seems older somehow. To Connor, it feels more like home.
The boys decide to wander for a while, to get a sense of the city they're now to call home, rather than asking for directions. They spend nearly the rest of their money on breakfast and lunch, and finally decide to track down the bar when their stomachs tell them it's time for dinner.
The sun is about to set when they find themselves wandering downtown, on a large street called Boylston. The sidewalks are packed with shoppers, and Murphy's arm is jostled more than once as the boys try to get their bearings and figure out where the hell to go.
Connor finally just says, 'fuck it,' and pulls his brother into a large supermarket, Shaw's, and walks up to the first employee he sees.
"Hey, lass, I gotta question fer ye," Connor says, laying on the charm. Murphy rolls his eyes and smirks as the girl's expression becomes a bit glazed. Even with greasy hair and week-old clothes, Connor can still melt honey off a tree.
"Sure," she answers, her smile bright and flirty.
Connor grins at her. "Me brother and I have a friend 'ere in town. 'e works at a bar called McGinty's. Ye heard of it?"
The girl's head nods quickly. "Yeah, I know where it is! It's about twenty minutes from here if you take the bus."
Connor's face brightens. "Could ye tell us 'ow te get there?"
"Of course!" she says, and then walks towards the entrance of the store. She points to the left. "Walk down this street until you reach Brookline, and turn right. You'll walk for about ten minutes, then you'll hit Comm Ave. Take another right and in a couple of blocks you'll see Kenmore Station. You can't miss it, because it's right in the middle of the street. The buses meet there, they pass right through the station. Don't go underground, because that's the T, and it's faster to take the bus for where you wanna go."
Connor nods along as she speaks. "Right, right. Which bus'll we take, then?"
"It's number 57. I take it all the time to get home. The wait area for each bus is different in the station. 57 is all the way in front; just look for the sign. The bus costs two dollars each, and you'll stay on it for maybe fifteen minutes. The pub you're looking for is on Washington Street, near Market Street. If you get off at that stop, you should be able to see it. Did you get all that?"
Connor smiles at the girl, and looks over at his brother, who is slipping a piece of paper in his pocket. The blonde narrows his eyes suspiciously, but Murphy just gazes at him innocently, so he shrugs and looks back at the girl. "Yeah, lass. Tanks a lot, we appreciate it."
"Anytime!" she answers cheerfully. "Good luck!"
Connor smiles and nods one last time before heading out of the store, hands shoved in his jeans pockets.
"She was nice, eh? Bit o' good luck, findin' a girl that knows where te pub is," Connor remarks, and Murphy scoffs. Connor looks at him, a smirk on his face. "Wha'?"
Murphy glares at his brother balefully. "You, that's wha'. Flirtin' wit' her te get 'er te help. Yer shameless."
Connor rolls his eyes. "Flirtin' never caused any harm b'fore, Murph. 'Sides, she was cute."
Murphy sneers at him, and his stride lengthens.
Connor's grin widens. He hurries to catch up to Murphy, grabbing his good arm to stop his progress. Murphy wrenches his arm away. "I was only jokin', Murph! Ye know yer te only on I tink is cute!" he laughs, and the raven-haired boy ignores him.
The boys walk in silence, Murphy sullen because of his brother's teasing, and Connor pouting due to his twin's silence, until they reach Comm Ave. "Tink she said te take a left. C'mon Murph."
But his brother just shakes his head, and turns to the right, never breaking his stride.
"Murphy! She said left!"
"No, she didn't ye utter moron! She said te turn right," Murphy calls back over his shoulder. "And if ye turn left, it's not even Comm Ave anymore, it's a different street, anyway!"
Connor sneers at his brother's retreating form and turns his head to look at the street sign that his brother had already noticed. If they turned left, the road became Beacon Street.
The blonde trudged after his know-it-all other half, his mood darkened by his annoyance.
They arrive at the station, and Murphy sits down near the sign for bus 57. He pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket and reads it quickly before nodding to himself and replacing it in his pants.
"What's tha'?" Connor asks belligerently.
"None o' yer business," Murphy answers. Before he can even think of trying to block him, Connor is on top of him, trying to pull him into a headlock. "Oi! Geroff me, ye fucker!"
"No' 'til ye tell me wha' that is!" Connor replies, dodging Murphy's flailing attempts to hit him whilst keeping a firm hold on his twin's neck.
"It's te fuckin' directions, ye retard! I wrote 'em down when she was talkin' 'cause I knew yer dumbass would ferget and try te get us lost!" Murphy yells heatedly.
Connor looks down at his brother's raven hair from where he has his head pinned to his chest, and grins as he gives it a good ruffle. Murphy struggles harder, yelling indignantly, before the blonde finally lets up and releases him.
Murphy smoothes down his hair and glares at a grinning Connor. "Yer a right arsehole, ye know tha'?" he says, and he's walking away before he can see his brother's face fall.
Connor watches Murphy move back to sit down and wait for the bus, and wonders how the fuck they ended up here. Of course, if he's to be stranded in a strange country, there's no one else he'd rather be with than Murph—who he's already pissed off to the point of not speaking to him—but what are they supposed to do on their own?
Besides helping his Da, Connor has never held a job. He can speak a few languages, but what kind of work is there for a teenager who can speak in different tongues? Hell, what kind of work is there for a couple of teenagers at all?
How is he going to make sure that Murph is taken care of?
The bus arrives, and a sulking Murphy follows Connor onto it. The blonde puts money in for the both of them, and they walk to the back of the bus together, and take their seats where they can watch the other riders. No sense in being vulnerable.
As the bus pulls out of the station, Connor's mind is on this Doc fellow that they're going to meet. He doesn't want the man to support them, whether he's willing to or not. Connor can take care of his own. He just needs to be pointed in the right direction.
Murphy is thinking of his Ma. She'd always talked about traveling around the world, and about the places she'd like to see. He knows she mentioned America once or twice, but he doesn't recall specific cities. He wonders if she'd like it here, and if she knows that they're okay. He hopes their Da talked to her.
He wants to see her again.
Grief spreads through Murphy's heart as he thinks of what his Ma is doing. If she even knows how far away her boys are from her. As the bus goes over a bump in the road, his arm nudges his brother's, and Connor turns his head sharply to asses his twin's well being when he senses his distress.
Murphy's head is down, but Connor can feel his pain. He lifts his arm and wraps it around the raven-haired boy's shoulders. Forgetting their fight earlier, Murphy lets Connor comfort him, pushing the pain out and through his brother as a way of coping with it.
Connor can take everything his brother gives him. Whether it's happiness or pain, Connor wants to share it with him.
Ten minutes later, the bus announces their arrival at the stop the girl indicated earlier, and the boy's alight from the vehicle, their shoulders moving to touch automatically as they begin walking down the street. Connor's eyes scan the business names on their left, and Murphy's read the ones on the right, until the blonde grips his brother's arm and nods his head to a business not even a block away.
They've found McGinty's.