Whenever Murphy gets hurt, Connor is the first to panic—even if Murphy doesn’t: even if Murphy keeps a cool head and deals with the injury, Connor is on him in a second. He checks the wound, checks Murphy’s eyes--‘Ey, ‘ey, look at me. Look right here. You got a concussion, ya damned idiot? What’d ye go and do that fer, eh?—holds Murphy’s head in his hands, puts their foreheads together and prays.
Because that’s just how Connor is. He’s the big brother (whether Murphy wants to admit it or not). The idea of losing Murphy—it makes his blood run cold.
Whenever Connor gets hurt, Murphy’s the one likely to deny it. Murphy’s the one to keep fighting. The one to shout every curse in the book at his brother—Aw, come on. Get up, ya prick. The fuck are you doin’ layin’ around fer? The hell d’ya think you are? The bloody queen of England? Get up off your ass and keep going, you stupid son of a bitch. Murphy’s the one to try and keep a level head an just look at things: to pick his brother up in his arms and carry him somewhere safe. He’s the one to torture himself over it. The one to blame himself for every scrape on Connor’s body. He’s the one who, when things get serious: when Connor doesn’t wake up or Connor won’t stop bleeding, he finds it hard to breathe. He holds Connor to himself and whispers broken, empty encouragement in his ear. You’re fine, you ass. You’re gonna be fine, alright? Look at it. It’s jus’ a scratch. C’mon. You had worse than this when you was a Kid, Con. Christ.
Because that’s how Murphy is—ready to take the blame. Because Connor is his brother. Shit, Connor’s all he’s got. The idea of losing him? It makes him feel sick.
They’ve gotten used to dragging each other back to their apartment, or hotel, or ratty little hole in the wall—whatever they happen to be staying at, at the time. Gotten used to taking turns putting each other back together.
Connor has gotten accustomed to the mechanical way Murphy goes about it: patching him up without words, his mouth tight-lipped and his brow furrowed. It took him a while, but Connor has gotten used to the way Murphy won’t look him in the eye until he’s all bandaged up, until he knows Connor is okay. Only then does he take his brother by the back of the neck, pull their foreheads together and breathe in his air.
Connor pretends he can’t feel Murphy’s fingers shaking. Instead he always smiles and tangles his fingers in his brother’s hair.
“S’alright, Murph. I’m alright.”
Murphy has gotten used to the frenzied way Connor tends to him: like any second he might bleed out, no matter how shallow the wound. He used to complain or try to brush Connor off, but it only made the other man even more frantic. Now, he just sits quietly and lets Connor play mother hen, let’s Connor’s hands fly everywhere: his face, his hands, his hair, his neck. Connor presses his lips to Murphy’s forehead at least a dozen times before he’s done, just so relieved to have his brother here, breathing.
Murphy notices the way Connor fights for breath, the way he looks utterly spent and exhausted even when he’s not the one hurt. So, he reaches out and cups his brother’s face, bringing their lips together because Connor needs it: needs it to know he’s alright.
“Geez, Con. You’d think you’re the one they shot.”
But Murphy—when Murphy kisses, it’s a whole different game. There’s nothing mechanical or methodical about it. Nothing calm or controlled. Murphy kisses like the world is ending. Murphy kisses the breath from Con’s lungs and the pain from his wounds. Murphy kisses like a mad dog let off his chain. He bits and he licks and he sucks at Connor’s lips. He kisses down his jaw to his throat and all but throws him on the bed.
He tears off Connor’s shirt, fast and impassioned and always mindful of Connor’s wounds. He straddles Connor’s hips and kisses and licks down his stomach. He’s more mouth than hands. And fast. He braces himself with a hand on the bed on either side of Connor’s chest and lowers himself down to kiss, to bite, to nuzzle his nose into the soft spots between Con’s ribs and make a home for himself there.
Connor—Connor is the methodical one when he kisses, as though he always has to think before he starts. He watches Murphy’s face: the quirk of his lip, the twitch of his brow. He comes in slow and careful, bringing their lips together soft and slow: setting up a rhythm so their mouths open as one and his tongue slips inside Murphy’s mouth as if that’s where it belongs. He searches Murph’s mouth like he’s reading a map: thorough and gentle and reverent.
He pulls Murphy down with him, on top of him, just kissing. He takes his time rolling them over—content, instead, to crane up to kiss: to reach for the hollow at the base of Murphy’s neck, to hold Murphy’s hips and just look at him.
When he does roll them over, he pulls Murphy’s shirt up like they’ve got all the time in the world. His hands rove up and down Murph’s sides in a kind of worship, taking all of him in. He’s more hands than mouth, tracing the angles of Murphy’s body and trailing slow kisses after. He works his way down at a pace that drives Murph nearly mad, arching up against him, groaning out in want.
But Murphy never hurries him, just like Connor never slows Murphy down.
Because Connor needs the chance to worship him—every inch of him. And Murphy needs the chance to take all of him in—to devour him whole and make sure he’s still there.
And, though it has never been spoken, they both understand that.
Because they are twins, but they are not the same.