The countryside was full of rolling hills as far as the eye could see with nothing above it but blue skies and the bright sun. There was always a nice breeze, the weather was always friendly and calm (except when it wasn't) and there were even birds chirping. No shit. Chirping fucking birds.
For a lot of people, they'd consider it someplace close to paradise. But only some.
"Do you fucking smell that?" Murphy sniffed the air then he looked at Connor, wrinkling his nose. "I think one of the sheep just took a fuckin' dump. I'm tired of smelling sheep shit."
"Don't know how you can tell a difference," Connor sighed. It always smelled the same to him. There was sheep shit everywhere, all the time, caked to the bottom of their boots and dried, even.
Maybe he was still in culture shock or some shit. They weren't in Boston anymore. This was safer; the FBI and US authorities who didn't see the wisdom/righteousness of what they'd done would never find them here.
Fuck, Connor thought. Who'd want to find them here?! He reached over smacking the back of Murphy's horse to spook it to trot. They needed to make sure their flock was all right. Sheep. This was their life. Fuck.
Burying the trunk had been the hardest. They were burying who they were with that, with each shovelful of dirt.
Being away from everything they knew was difficult. Murphy tried not to complain too much about it. It sucked, thought. A lot. He turned to Connor and mumbled, "maybe Da could let us go to the city, you know?" Find a bar. Have a few drinks? His eyes and the look he gave his brother said as much.
The look he got back told him that wasn't going to happen. At least not yet. They were lying low, what with being international fugitives and all that. Connor made a noise and their horses started walking. They needed to check the sheep.
But later, at least they had whiskey and the barn to themselves. Connor took a swig and handed the bottle over, gesturing with his finger for Murphy to take his shirt off and turn around.
Even the fucking barn smelled like shit. Murphy grumbled under his breath and then he tugged his shirt off before sitting on the stool in front of Connor and he sat down, back to his brother. He took the bottle, then, taking a swig then scratching the fucking beard he was growing. "Why the fuck can't we shave?" He asked even though he knew the answer to that, so Connor didn't answer.
But he took the sharpened ball point and continued on the design he'd started that they'd agreed upon, done in the flickering of the lantern. He was getting used to the quiet, slowly. What he was having trouble with was the fucking boredom. Christ.
It was killer. Murphy didn't like the quiet and was sure he was never going to get used to that. He liked the street noises, loved the sounds and smells of Boston that he missed it with a pang.
Every now and again, the pang turned to outright pain and Murphy's eyes would wander over to that spot in the barn where they buried that fucking chest. He missed Doc and the guys. And Rocco. Fuck, but did he miss Rocco. "How far along are ya?" Murph asked again if only to fill the void with the sounds of their voices.
"Got the cross outlined. You in pain, you fucking pansy-assed bastard?" Connor asked, grinning even if his brother couldn't see it. "Can't take a little fucking pain?"
"Shut the fuck up!" But he was in pain and it was good that Connor couldn't see the wince on his face when he was working right above his shoulderblade, poking with the tip of the pen. Murphy took another long draught of the whiskey before handing it over his shoulder to his brother. "Remember to color inside the lines, asshole."
"What a pansy-assed baby," Connor taunted. "Can't take a little pain like a man, can ye? No, gotta whine about it like a fucking girl." Fuck, it was probably pathetic that picking fights was better than being so fucking bored.
"I'm not a girl! I'm not a baby!" And just like that Murphy was reaching back and grabbing Connor by the head heaving him over his shoulder until the both fell on the floor. "Oof! Fuck!"
Murphy punched Connor in the ribs and then he had their legs tangled, wrestling with him. "You fucker! Take that back!" They were rolling around on the dirt floor of the barn, kicking dust and gravel around. "You motherfucker!"
Fists and dust were flying and Connor finally got his brother pinned, stradding his hips. "You're messing up my artistry, asshole," he panted, leaning in close. "Quit your fucking bitching!"
"Oh now I'm a bitch?!" Murphy struggled with Connor until he could pin him on the floor, his whole body covering Connor's and he was pushing his brother's wrists on the dirty ground. They were looking at each other, both panting. "Maybe it's my turn, huh? Let you sit here and be a little bitch while I draw on your back, hmm?"
"Bet I won't cry like a fucking girl when you do it, either," Connor answered, digging his bootheels into the ground to push up, trying to dislodge him. "Fucking take it like a man."
"Oh, fuck you!" Connor bucking a bit made Murphy slip down that his ass was pressed down on Connor's groin. It made him jerk and then he pushed down, letting Connor's hands go before he got to his feet fairly quickly. "You take your shirt off and we'll see, eh?" Murphy found the pen on the floor and he blew on the tip as he settled with legs splayed on either side of the stool.
That sounded like a dare. Connor tore his shirt off and tossed it aside, then he settled on the stool and looked at his brother from the corner of his eye. "All right, ya pansy. Do it." He'd show Murphy how a man handled it.
"Quit calling me a pansy, you asshole!" Just for that Murphy pushed the tip of the pen a lot deeper than he should have. He put his one hand on Connor's shoulder to steady him and his leg, so that he had a bit of leverage, he lifted it to the stool, knee butting up on Connor's ass. "I'm warnin' ya, Connor. Shut the fuck up or this will end up lookin' like the devil."
The answer he got was a growl through Connor's gritted teeth. Fucking Murphy. Fuck if Connor was going to give him anything. It wasn't anything like a hot iron. That's what he told himself. Fuck. It hurt.
Okay, so, maybe Murphy was a little bit more vocal about the pain. He tried not to be, following after Connor's example all the time. It was kind of like those times where, if Murphy was being beaten up, Connor would just yell out encouragement, tell him he could take the guy down. And, well, he always did.
Murphy's hand kept moving rhythmically, pressing ink right under Connor's skin, tracing the crown of thorns. "Almost done with this part," he assured, leaning down against Connor's lower back, his face close to his brother's ear, feeling the way Connor's breath hissed with each push of the pointed tip.
There was something that happened. It was interesting. It was like the pain kind of turned into a buzz and Connor's chin fell to his chest and his eyelids got heavy. It was almost like he was drinking. Then when Murph was done, he turned big-pupiled eyes to him, licking over his bottom lip. "How's it look?"
"Like shit cos you keep twitching." Murph threw the pen on the rickety makeshift table of rotting wood next to them and then he put his hand out and laid his palm flat on Connor's back. He slid his hand up and then down the expanse of skin, feeling the area he just tattooed to be a lot warmer and redder than the rest of his brother's back. "It's better than the piss poor job you're doing on my back." He was grinning though. Teasing.
"Ah, fuck you. As if you even fucking know." But Connor's eyes were still heavy and he arched his back into the touches. "If it looks like shit, I'm taking it out of your ass." And he grinned too. It sounded like a whole different kind of promise.
Murphy hugged his brother with one arm around and across Connor's chest, his back pressed to Murph's body and Murphy had to turn his head to meet his brother's eyes.
"As if you even fucking know. I just might have made a demon … " Murphy laughed and then pushed Connor hard enough he'd lose balance on the stupid stool. Then he bolted, running toward the doors of the barn to get the hell out.
From drawing guns to playing tag. This was their life now.
Regardless, Connor gave chase, tackling Murphy to the ground. "Make you roll around in the sheep shit," he rumbled, making sure that his brother was flat on his stomach on the earth and Connor straddled him again. Maybe then, Murphy could feel what the tattooing had done to him. Not pain, no. Something else.
Murphy was laughing so hard and too much that he could barely make fists to punch Connor. He hugged his belly, rolling on the ground in something that was close to a giggle. But as soon as Connor was atop him was when the laughter slowly died down and then he turned his head, smiling, still, staring at his brother. "If I let you - how're you gonna take it out on my ass, hmm? Do you, Connor? Do you have the balls to take it out on my ass?" Murph taunted.
Ah, there were so many ways to take that comment. Connor grinned, bending down to murmur the words right by his brother's ear. "Not where Da can see us," he said and with that, he got up and he held out a hand to his brother. Take that how he may.
They clasp hands and then Murphy was helped off the ground. They were both covered with dust and sweat that Murph wrinkled his nose again. "I fuckin need a shower." He turned to Connor who was equally covered in grime. "You do, too. I'm not sharin the bed with you all dirty."
No complaints. And at least there was warm water. Connor was already shedding his clothes and starting toward the shower. His erection had mostly gone away and he stood under the warm stream, face up.
Murphy moved a lot slower and it wasn't because he was being a pervert or anything. Maybe he peeked a bit, and maybe he wondered, and compared, that was all. Everyone did that, right? Next to Connor was the other shower and he turned the water on, stepping under the still cold spray. "Ah, fuck. I don't have the soap." Murphy turned to face Connor.
But Connor did. He looked back at his brother and held the soap in a fist. "Still think I did a shit job on your back? Brother?" He'd have to ask for the soap real nice.
Murphy frowned, cocking a hip and putting his hands on it while staring down his brother. He sighed deeply, still under the shower. "Still think I'm a pansy?" He didn't really like being called that, no thanks.
Scoffing again, Connor shrugged. Murphy wasn't a pansy. He just had no sense of humor was all. Ireland killed his sense of humor. "Quit being a baby about it," he said, though.
Murphy walked the few steps it took to stand under the spray with Connor. "I'm not a baby." So what if he was brooding? He had every right to since they were here with just their Da and fucking sheep and they haven't even had the chance to see their Ma yet. Everything they ever knew was fucking gone. "Shut it." Murphy reached for the soap and just as quickly Connor yanked it away. And when Murphy lunged closer still, well, Connor had an arm around his waist and had him pressed against the wall wicked-fast, pressed together shoulder to hip.
"Baby, baby, baby," Connor taunted. "I came out first anyway."
Something … something happened to Murphy when Connor hugged him close and wet and warm. It was something that pooled between his legs and left Murphy staring back at Connor with wide, frightened eyes. "Just gimme the soap …" Because he'd rather not get a fucking hard-on right now. Or any other time when Murphy was with Connor or any other man for Christ's sake!
Still staring at him, Connor held on to the soap and he used it, rubbing it in circles on Murphy's chest and then his belly, eyes never leaving his brother's face. He didn't say a word. One thing about Ireland; it was really fucking quiet.
Murphy couldn't look at Connor but he also couldn't walk away. He turned his head to face the shower he vacated and then he closed his eyes and bit his lip. Connor's hands felt good over his damp skin, the soap lathering under his hand and it made Murphy's muscles ripple with both pleasure and desire.
"Connor …?" Murphy's voice was uncertain, questioning -- and he still didn't look at his brother.
"Shut up," came the answer, quiet, in Murphy's ear, then Connor rested his forehead against his brother's temple and closed his eyes and let his hand slip lower, the soap falling on the floor. His breath caught as he started to stroke.
"Oh … fuck … Connor!" Murphy couldn't help it, okay? He couldn't shut up. It felt so foreign, so new and so good that it made his brain fizzle and then there was nothing else but instinct that made him move against his brother's wet body while he hugged him back, arms tight as if he was afraid he was going to fall. The water ran down on them, cooling but it didn't matter. Their bodies were so warm that Murphy wondered if steam was rising from their skin. "Oh, God, Connor!"
"Shut up, already! We don't want Da to hear you!" But Connor crooned the words, cheek against Murphy's. Something like this shouldn't have felt so right. It was a sin the Bible told them. But this didn't feel like a sin. He was taking care of his brother. Wasn't that what family was supposed to do?
Murph found he liked it when Connor whispered to him like that. It was soothing and sexy at the same time. But then Murphy tried not to think about how he found his own brother sexy. "Fuck!" One arm around Connor, the other dared to slip between them, and then Murphy had his hand wrapped around Connor, jerking him off, rewarded with a sharp intake of breath.
See? Connor could be quiet, even as how good it felt ripped through him and left him flushed. With his free hand, he turned off the water - it was cold by then - but then he cradled the back of Murphy's head and they stroked in time. Fuck. It was good.
The only sound now was the echoing of the shower spray raining down on the floor next to them and then, there was the heavy panting and the sound of wet skin slicking and sliding against each other. Murphy couldn't even curse now and he could barely hold on to Connor's slippery skin that he had to pull a leg up and hook it around Connor's calf. He was thrusting his hips more and more desperately.
"Fuck, Connor … I'm gonna c-come …!" Murphy warned just before he groaned and then buried his face at the crook of Connor's neck and shoulder. When he came it, there was barely a sound with Murphy's lips clamped on wet skin while he softly mumbled curses between licks and nips of Connor's throat.
Of course, Connor was never far behind. He came silently, mouth against Murphy's neck as be panted through it. He was still panting when he leaned back and looked at his brother. They wouldn't talk about this. it just was. Right?
This was something that was between just them and yes, the wouldn't talk about it. Ever. They were slow to move away from each other, staring at each other's eyes and they didn't really need to talk. It was all right there unsaid between them -- all that and more.
Murphy looked down at his feet, at where the soap fell and then he picked it up, his legs still shaking when he straightened up. "Come 'ere," he told Connor, then started to lather the soap and quietly clean up all the come on his brother's skin.
That was how it started. After that, they didn't seem to mind the quiet of Ireland quite so much. Night's spent exploring each other, perhaps inspired by the few things they didn't know about each other. But they learned. They were fast learners, the both of them.
Their hair grew and their beards too. The tattoos grew, too and Murphy learned to work on Connor last because after that, his brother would turn to him with that heat in his eyes and there wouldn't be any working after that.
On the days the weather was warm, they would stay out in the fields, smoking and just being. Somehow, for the most part, they grew used to the quiet. And they were never bored.
Maybe it could be paradise.