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Hell from Above, Hell from Below, part 3

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All of them had darker circles around their eyes the next morning. If Connor were to guess, he'd say the lad - John, savior of the whole fucking world - looked the worst for wear, but Murphy, who had his share of bags already, was right there. Connor showed his concern by lighting a cigarette for the both of them and they led the others to a diner for breakfast and coffee.

They sat across from each other in silence for a long time, the clack of porcelain against the table shared between them. "What next?" Connor finally said and it grated him. He was used to he and Murph moving on their own accord (God's agenda, if you'd rather), not to someone else's. Even when Rocco told them where to go, it was their choice.

This was bigger. Fucking huge.

"We need to move," John said before Derek could speak. "Then we need more guns and we need to move fast and find Kovacek." The chip maker.

Murphy stared at John for a good few seconds before a smirk slipped on his lips. He turned to Connor. "Did you hear that, brother? Johnny boy here said we need guns ..."

Derek lifted a brow while he watched the two seemingly conversing by just sharing a look. He figured it was a twin thing. "Guns, then we need a safe place to stay." To stress what John said.

"Aye, we heard ya." Another look at Murphy and Connor started to move. At least that, they knew.

~~

They sat across from the man they knew only as the gun guy. He looked back at them all, concentrating on Derek and John, then looking back at the MacManuses, eyebrows raised in question. Did they trust them? If they did, he would, then the stock room would be at their disposal.

Connor nodded at him. They were good men.

So the lights were flipped on and the gate opened; the arsenal was at their disposal. Without even stopping, Connor went to the wall to grab a coil of rope.

Derek stepped into the room and looked slowly around. He stopped short of John then leaned in to whisper. "This is like our bunker back home." Fuck. He missed that storage room. That was his fucking life. He looked at the wall with a slightly widening smile. "This … is a fucking arsenal."

"What the fuck is it with you and that rope?!" Murphy clipped Connor upside the head, rolling his eyes. "I'm not going to carry that rope for ya. It weighs a lot!" He even tapped his brother with a fist to his arm.

"You know we've used that fucking rope," Connor told him and went to where he always did. Pistols, one for each hand. And ammo. Lots of it. In between, he slapped Murph upside the back of the head.

Wow. So they weren't the only ones who stockpiled. John took a good look at the back of the room, the Irish flag. He wondered if his mom knew about the Irish contingent. The idea of Sarah meeting Connor and Murphy had him hiding a smile.

Derek had already started throwing ammo and guns in a bag. No need to consult John, the kid would know that Derek would get what they needed. He looked over his shoulder at the brothers who kept cursing and hitting each other. Derek rolled his eyes.

"I don't want any part of your stupid rope." Murphy dumped the guns he had in his bag and then he went to Connor and pushed. "What we need is a knife. Didya see what John-boy did to that fucker?" He looked around, a hand fisted in Connor's collar. "There! Knives!" He pulled his brother toward the weapons.

"Get your stinkin' hands off me with your tuggin'. Trying to be all masculine now are you." Connor had to smirk as he let himself be tugged. They needed a knife to cut down from the rope. Ha.

John-boy now. John rolled his eyes. He stood out of the way; he appreciated the need for guns, knew how to use them, but that didn't mean he liked them, or got off on them like Derek and the brothers did. He watched Derek, watched Murphy wave guns in his brother's face and be called Rambo. Clearly, those two watched a lot of movies.

More than enough guns and ammo in his bag, Derek zipped it up and then he crossed the room to be with John. "You should pick a gun. And get one of those knives that strap to your ankle." He pointed toward the shelves on one side of the room. He'd rather John be really armed around here.

After Murphy threw more weapons in his bag (knife included) he was so hyped up that he started to playfully punch Connor. "This is what I'm fucking talking about. We can do that, aye? Kill all those robots." He made a gun with his hand and pretended to shoot at Connor. He knew his brother was somewhat worried about this new 'mission' they had. So was he. But they were good, right? Yeah … they were good.

Swatting at his hands, Connor scoffed. "Not robots, Murph. Cyborgs," he corrected with a waggle of his eyebrows at the other two. See? He was paying attention. Cybernetic Organisms, Derek had said. Yeah, Connor had been paying attention. Then he launched himself at his brother, working to pin him on the floor.

All John did was raise his eyebrows at Derek. They were the more mature here, clearly. But he did as requested, finding a gun and a knife, doing as Sarah would want, checking the slide and the feel in his hand. It had been a 'game' when he was a kid. No more.

"Fuck you!" Murphy scuffled with Connor on the floor, trying to unseat his brother from atop him while kicking his legs and throwing punches. "They're synthetic skin over endoskeletons, made with a bad-ass material called coltan. That's your fuckin' cyborg." He growled, pushing at Connor and finally rolling them over, panting at the effort. See? He was listening, too.

Derek's boots scuffed along the floor and then he stood, towered over the brothers. "Are you both done horsing around? We need to get John out of here." His voice was low and gravelly, his eyes intense on Murphy and Connor. It said one thing: Derek meant business.

Oy. It was like back in Catholic school, without the nuns, thank Christ. Connor gave Murphy one more slap at the head, and then let him up. What Derek didn't know is when it came time, the MacManus boys could be serious as shit. They were underestimated at the moment. Not for long, though.

Weapons in bags, they were back on the street. Connor and Murphy led the way, sunglasses in place, in "uniform" of jeans, black turtlenecks and their peacoats. An illegal tenement was where they headed to hide John. Off the map. Their steps were matched and Connor handed Murphy a cigarette. John followed with Derek bringing up the back.

The walk up was a dump, but it had running water and a door that closed and locked. "We can get you mattresses and the like," Connor offered, looking around at the paint peeling from the concrete walls. "No one will bother you here."

"Don't worry about the beds," Derek said, placing the bag beside one of the mattresses with a heavy thump. He took in the one giant room, the toilet exposed in the corner -- it looked newer, like it didn't belong with the rest of the rusty plumbing from the open showers that lined one wall. He turned to John with a private, teasing smirk. "Guess there's no modesty for you while we're here." A brief burn of lust lit Derek's gaze and then when he blinked, it left as quickly as it came.

"It's just like gym class," Murphy offered with a grin. "Connor might peek, though." He laughed, flopping on the other mattress, clutching his sides because that shit was funny, right?

"Fuck you!" With that, Murphy got another clock to the back of the head and a boot to the gut for good measure. And as much as it bugged him to ask, ask he did, "so what now?"

Feeling his face heat despite himself, John cleared his throat and said, "we go looking for Kovacek."

The and how do you expect we go about that? went unstated. Connor just waited. These two didn't seem to go without a plan. Of course, his boot was still in Murphy's belly as he stood there.

"Git your stinking feet away from me!" Murphy shoved Connor's boot away and then he looked at his brother then at John, knowing what Connor was thinking so he was waiting for more information as well.

"We have a few leads," Derek stated. "We can talk about all that later." Rest, maybe food, and as airy as that shower was, it was starting to look good to Derek. He sat on the floor and started to unlace his tall boots.

Well. It looked like either they were going to get a peep show, or they were being dismissed. Connor shared a look with his brother and shrugged. They could do some looking around on their own, too. Kovacek couldn't be that hard a name to track down. He missed Rocco with a physical pang.

"We can meet later," John said, forcing himself to look away from Derek. "Dinner, maybe."

Murphy made a face at Connor. It sure sounded like they were being dismissed. "Yeah. We'll just ask around about your man and see what we can get, eh?" He slapped Connor with the back of his hand. "Tell 'em where to go." For food, for dinner, he meant.

Directions were given - a good Spic place a few blocks away. Then Connor and Murphy found themselves on the other side of a steel door, hearing the lock slide into place. "Well," Connor drawled to his brother. "Looks like we're on our own. Make sure to get out your knife, Rambo."

"Fuck you." Murphy slid the knife from the holdster hidden at his side, under his peacoat and it shimmered when it hit the light. "That's a fucking beautiful knife, my brother. It can't wait to claim that evil John was talking about." Murphy wrapped his free arm around Connor. "It's better than that stinkin' rope."

"Fuck your knife," Connor scoffed. But he couldn't deny the thrill that came from the idea of fighting true evil.

But then it was business, going to people they knew to trust, asking if anyone knew someone by the name of Kovacek who was into robotics. They spoke English, Spanish, Russian and Gaelic and it was close to time to meet John and Derek that they got a solid lead: A Russian who was doing doing top secret tech stuff. They got an address and on the way out, Connor hugged an arm around Murphy's neck. Fuck yes, they did it.

Water was still dripping down Derek's body, the shower now shut off, the only sound in the room the echoing drip-drip of the water from the shower head. Completely naked, he walked over to where their things were, shoving his hand in the bag and pulling out a towel to toss to John.

"Is there even any hot water?"

Of course, the minute that the question left John's mouth, he knew he'd screwed up. Derek had story after story about how there weren't even any showers in the future, blah blah blah. "Never mind," John quickly added. He stood up and kicked off his boots, slowly pulling at his clothes too, unable to look away from Derek's body. Bracing himself for the cold, he headed for the shower.

Derek was rubbing a towel vigorously over his head and he stopped abruptly to watch John, his brow quirked. "There's a little bit of shrinkage but nothing to worry about." He was teasing, but Derek's face remained stoic, his eyes fixed on John. "Maybe we should get a place like this in LA …" What? A building like this would make a great safehouse for John.

"I bet there are roaches," John muttered as he turned on the water, toes curling against the floor - cold water, ugh. "We should call my mom," he said before kissing in a breath to step under the stream. "Let her know what we've found." Which wasn't much. Two Irish brothers with access to a weapons storehouse.

"They took the bait," Derek nodded, pulling on his clothes without looking away from John. "I bet you they'll have something for us later." He looked solemn, nodding his head. "They know the place like the back of their hand. They know the people. They know where to ask, where to look. We're getting somewhere." He felt it.

They'd call Sarah as soon as John was done. That was left unsaid and understood.

John suffered under the cold water as long as he could, and was shivering, skin goosepimpled when he toweled himself off, scuffing his skin to warm himself.

The towel around his waist, he sat down next to Derek, elbows on his knees. "Think we'll find him?"

Derek turned to John and very slowly he wrapped both his arms around the shivering body, rubbing his hands up and down for the friction to warm him. "We'll find him. We'll stop him."

Even under the soap, John could smell Derek, that distinctive smell. John closed his eyes. If Derek believed that they'd find him, John would believe it too. He nosed up a little higher, right behind Derek's ear.

The downy hairs, still damp, at the back of Derek's neck stood on end at the slightest feel of John this close. His breath stuttered and then it was tough to resist to move his head just that little bit to take John's lips with his. It was brief, but it was more than enough to quell the hunger.

"Get dressed," Derek whispered, voice raspy. "Then we'll call Sarah." He didn't readily let John go and John didn't readily move away.

But slowly, they separated and John slipped on a t-shirt and boxers, then jeans, socks and his boots. They called Sarah and were reminded that they weren't on a vacation, as if John would think that. But still, it hurt to hang up the phone; he missed her.

They still had two hours before they were to meet the MacManus brothers. John looked at Derek; they were still sitting next to each other on the mattress. What now?

Oh, Derek had those unwelcomed, but missed, thoughts about what he wanted to do between now and before they would meet the twins and none of them involved "work." He stared at John for a very long time before he released a deep and controlled breath, his eyes closing. "We have to go. We'll follow what leads we do have. Maybe we can get something before we meet with Beavis and Butthead."

John snorked out a laugh - Beavis and Butthead - even if it was a little breathless. They had to go, okay, if Derek said so. But when, he couldn't help but wonder, would they have a time like this again? Alone - completely alone, no mother or Cameron on the other side of a door?

He reached up, fingers tracing along Derek's stubbled jaw. Later, he promised himself. Later.

Derek's hands were quick. They caught John's and while staring into his eyes he dragged his stubbled cheek against John's palm until his lips were pressed there, kissing. His expression conveyed the thought he'd been fighting. Is this was you want?

The shudder was visible, making John's skin goosepimple again. His pupils flared big, but he didn't look away. God, that was what he wanted more than anything else. He used his thumb to trace along Derek's lips.

That was answer enough for Derek. He wouldn't have insisted, even suggested (though his expression might give away his thoughts most times) that they did this. It was always John's call. But as soon as Derek had that, he was quick to take over. A slight push and then he had John on his back on the lumpy mattress. "Don't think." Derek murmured. Just feel, was left unsaid.

This … was their time.

Derek could have done this before John got dressed. That was what John thought, before he was done thinking. He fisted a hand in Derek's t-shirt, rucking it up his back, a leg hooking around his hips.

There were times when he felt alive, usually because he was scared. Not this time. This time, he felt the blood pulsing through his body, throbbing between his legs. Yes, he whispered.

There was still color in his cheeks when they slid into the booth across from the MacManuses. "What'd you find?"

Connor cocked an eyebrow, exchanging a look with Murphy. Then he slid a piece of paper across the table. The name and address.

Murph got that, yeah. Not a whole lot slipped by the MacManuses, alright? He nudged his brother at the knee under the table and left it there, pressed against Connor's leg. "We should hit the fucker now. Like Charlie Bronson in Death Wish." He was slowly nodding his head.

Derek took the piece of paper from Connor, looking at it before pushing it toward John. They have to watch the guy and then formulate a plan.

Connor wasn't going to say that he already had a plan; he had a way into the building and a way to get to the Kovacek asshole. He and Murph had hashed it out on the way to the Spic place. "Take him before he suspects anything." Yeah, just like Charlie Bronson.

"We have to find out what he knows," John said quickly, shaking his head. "We have to find out where he's working and with who so we can get all the information we need. We can't just … I don't know … take him out. It doesn't help us to do that."

"We can't kill him on the spot?" Murphy thought of something he'd seen on TV before and he was slowly nodding his head. "It's still Charlie Bronson, Connor. Like 10 to Midnight when he was interrogating the naked guy. Aye. We could get behind that."

"Charles Bronson and a naked guy …?" Derek would never understand these two and he turned to John now with concern. "Yeah. Yeah. We're going to interrogate him first and find out what he knows. We need the information to puzzle a lot of pieces together."

Interrogation. Yeah. Connor could get behind that shit. He nodded, grinning big at his brother. They were going after bad guys. Fuck, yeah. After some nachos.

~~

The address was an office type building, dark since it was nearly midnight. But Connor and Murphy insisted that the information they got was good. They led the way into the building from the basement. That at least was going with their original plan. Then up twenty flights of stairs. That wasn't part of their plan and Connor was fucking winded when they got to where they were going, giving his brother a venomous look. Not a word!

John was behind Derek and he was breathing a little hard too, but his fingers were in Derek's back, keeping him close.

It was good to feel John holding on to him so Derek knew exactly where he was at all times. At. All. Times. He wasn't going to let anything happen to John and this was unknown territory. They hardly had intel -- knew nothing about this guy and they were going off on trusting the brothers that they knew what they were doing. He kept his gun in hand, ready.

And Derek? He wasn't panting.

"Fuck me." Murphy's chest was heaving and from the narrow stairwell everyone could hear his heavy breathing. "Remind me to never do this again." He poked Connor's back and then he looked at his brother with a smirk. "At least I'm not carrying thirty pounds of rope."

"Shut it!" Connor smacked Murphy over the back of the head with a gloved hand. "Right," he gasped. "Let's go." And he headed off, arming away the sweat from his brow, toward the corner office area they were told Kovacek squatted at.

A finger hooked through Derek's beltloop, gun in his other hand, John followed. The hallway was quiet and lit only by peripheral lighting. He was scanning for cameras.

Derek wrapped his free hand around John from behind just to make sure he was there. He kept looking back, too, because John brought the rear and he wasn't comfortable with that. He didn't trust the twins enough to protect John if and when shots were fired. Because Derek? He'd take a bullet for John with no hesitation.

Murph was pressed to Connor's back and they were being sneaky. Slow and quiet footsteps and then when they were by the office door, he looked back at Derek and John with a finger to his lips. "Shh." Just in case he two needed any more reminding. "See if you can hear anything," Murphy told Connor, the finger on his lips moving to point to the door.

"Quit pushin' me!" Connor shoved at Murphy, then did as he was told, ear to the wood of the door. "Tsh!" He hissed again. He couldn't hear a thing. He gestured to his brother to come listen too. They had their masks on their heads, but hadn't pulled them down yet.

Moving beside Connor, Murphy did the same thing, leaning with his ear against the door. Even with his hands gripping both of his guns, he still pushed Connor just to get back at him. "That's pushing... What I was doing earlier was pulling." And to stress it, Murphy kept whispering, "push," while he pushed at Connor, then, "pull," as he pulled his brother by the back of his peacoat. "Push. Pull. Push. Pull." There. Got it?

Derek watched this with abject horror, taking a few steps to shush god damned Beavis and Butthead over there. They could get themselves killed if they kept this noise up but before he could say anything …

Too late. When Connor pulled Murphy to get the asshole back for being an asshole, the door went slamming inward, taking the MacManus brothers with it.

As they went sprawling on the floor, Connor was cursing up a storm, pulling his guns out as he went down. He braced himself on his elbows and started to fire. Even as he was doing that, though, he didn't see Kovacek, or what they were told was him. Fucker must have been in another room.

When the door fell open and the firing started, John instinctively ducked back against the wall out of the way, his heart racing.

"John!" Derek was quick to react, turning around to face John and he pushed him bodily up against said wall. His bigger frame covered most of John and then there was nothing but gunshots, loud and deafening all around them. "Stay out of sight!" He growled at John. Derek needed to check on the twins and make sure they weren't - though he already suspected- dead.

When they fell on the floor, Murphy found himself sprawled over his brother's back. He scampered to get to his knees, straddling Connor while firing shot after shot after shot.

When the room they were in went quiet, Connor hissed up at Murphy to get his mask down and to get the fuck off him. Then they were up and moving toward the back of the suite of rooms.

Watching Derek's profile, John did as he was told. But when Derek started into the room, he took a deep breath and followed, looking around the whole time as he did.

At the next set of doors, Connor looked at Murphy. On three; they both counted silently, then Connor went for the knob as Murphy readied himself to fire; the people on the other side had to know they were coming.

More shots were fired and Derek instinctively ran to the doorway where the brothers disappeared off to. Behind him he could hear footsteps crunching on the broken wood and glass on the floor. Damned John! But it was too late to push him back toward the other door.

Derek grabbed John by the lapels of his jacket and then he pushed him to the floor this time, still hearing guns shooting off in the distance.

The dust hasn't settled and there were still groans and whimpers that was heard in the room and Murphy found himself back to back with Connor, bodies littered everywhere around them. There was one person left unscathed, crumpled on the floor with his arms over his head.

"Get the fuck up," Murphy kicked the man's side.

"You heard him! Get the fuck up!" Connor got a hand in the man's collar and pulled him to his knees. "Eh, John!" He shouted. "Time to ask your questions!" They both had guns to Kovacek's head, but he looked over at Murphy and gave his brother a smirk.

John's ears were ringing and he pushed at Derek to let him move. "I'll get the computers," he said, voice ruddy with fear and adrenaline.

"Yeah." Derek pushed to his feet and then he helped John up by tugging him to stand. "Keep your gun cocked and your eyes open." Not that John needed to be reminded of it. He headed to the room and inside, he had to step over bodies to get to Kovacek. "Sit the fuck down." He pointed to an office chair. "Who has the duct tape?"

Murphy produced it from somewhere, tossing it at Derek before he walked over to where Connor was. He held his hand out, waiting for his brother to drop the coins in them. It was time to send these souls where they belonged.

It was eerily quiet after that, except for the occasional round fired to finish the job. Connor and Murphy went from body to body, laying the pennies and crossing the arms of the men they'd killed, blessing them and sending them to pay for what they'd done.

John, meanwhile, pulled hard drives and stowed them in the backpack he had; he grabbed whatever he could, whatever Cameron had told him Skynet would want in the future. When he went into the back room, he stopped, watching Derek loom over the man and watching the brothers … what were they doing? Blessing them?!

Derek met John's eyes and he shrugged then he looked at Kovacek with angry eyes. "This here is John Connor, leader of the Resistance. He's going to ask you questions and you're going to answer them honestly or else I'll put a bullet through you," he pressed the barrel of his gun against the man's thigh. "... until you do."

A sense of calm somehow washed over him. John came closer and looked at the man. He was older, balding, and he looked scared and defiant all at once. He felt Connor and Murphy come up behind him, catching the swinging of their crucifixes as they moved. He didn't need his gun anymore. He put it in the back of his jeans. "Does anyone else have the chip you were working on?"

Kovacek spit and John didn't even wince as Derek hit him across the face with his gun.

"Does anyone else have the prototype or chip you were working on?," he asked, feeling a cold down his spine.

"Пошел на хуй!"

"Нет, ты мудак, пошел на хуй и ответить на чертовски вопрос!" Connor shouted, raising his gun right at Kovacek's forehead while Murphy scowled and pointed his gun at the man, too.

Derek might not have blinked but his face still held the expression that he was pretty impressed. There was no way Kovacek could get away with what he knew now. "Answer the question." Now three guns were pointed at him.

So, the man did in Russian with Murphy and Connor translating, telling John and Derek that Kovacek had the only prototype, that there wasn't anyone else and they could all fuck off and die. That last bit made Connor grin again, then he looked at John. "You get what you needed?"

Sharing a look with Derek, John finally nodded. What they were going to get, anyway.

Derek stood beside John and then he leaned, speaking close to his ear. "We need to call Sarah. Let her know."

Unbeknowst to Derek and John, Murphy was freeing Kovacek from the tape that bound him to the chair. He pulled out his knife and sliced through the duct tape effortlessly. He grabbed the man by the collar and dragged him to the middle of the floor. "Kneel."

Still cursing at them, Kovacek was pushed to his knees. Connor pointed his gun at the back of his head and watched Murphy do the same.

"What are - " John got Derek by the sleeve. "Derek - "

Instead of stopping the two, Derek stood there and put an arm around John's middle. They watched quietly. Somehow they knew this was something that should happen.

"And shepherds we shall be," the MacManus brothers started.
"For Thee, my Lord, for Thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
And teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In nomine Patris et Filii" - they cocked their guns - "et Spiritus Sancti."

Two shots rang in unison. BANG! BANG! And then silence.

Murphy had a reverent look on his face, an expression that he knew, without looking at his brother, that they both held. They moved together to position Kovacek's body, crossing his arms over his chest and then two coins covering the exit wounds the bullet left behind.

They brothers prayed, murmuring in Latin, lifting their arms and faces up to the heavens.

In the barrage of gunfire that had come before, John hadn't jumped. But with those two shots - intentional, deliberate and planned, he jumped. It felt like he was intruding on something. When the room was silent again, he whispered, "we need to go."

"Aye," Connor said, elbowing his brother to clean up traces they might have left. Their masks were off now, pulled off for delivering Kovacek. They did a quick scan for money and weapons, then were leading the way to the door.

They didn't chance going back to McGinty's, so they went back to Rocco's old place with a bottle of whiskey. "You'll be leaving, then," Connor said, passing glasses over to Derek and John.

Derek had never been more appreciative of being handed a drink. It was exactly what he needed after that mission. He looked over at John and then gave the brothers a curt nod. "Before first light, yeah." John needed to figure out the chip and they needed ways to learn to destroy it and its technology.

"We're glad you got what you needed," Murphy told John. "I hope that helps your cause." He lifted his glass of whiskey up and grinned. "We did a good job, lads. I say someone should toast."

Since everyone was looking at him, John cleared his throat and raised his glass. But what to toast to? He wasn't sure there was a God and he knew that, no matter what they did, the future was still coming. What did that leave to toast to? Suddenly, he felt old and tired, worn out from the day and all its revelations. Finally, he just said, "a los hombres buenos." To good men.

"Slainte," Connor said, and he could toast to that. This wasn't the raucous celebration that they sometimes had after. This was different. This was about the end of the world, after all. He felt the whiskey burn its way to his gut, his knee against his brother's, a comfort in the dead of night.