Tangible Schizophrenia


Our Father

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R. Violence and character death.
Pairing: None. Gen. Connor, Murphy, Rocco, Smecker, Il Duce.
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: Does not belong to me.
Notes: AU.
Summary: They make a mistake.


They have no idea at first. No fucking idea—it was just the whine of bullets and hot blood, hot blood because it’s fresh from them and doesn’t have to travel the extra few inches that other people’s blood has to, blood on their hands and faces and in their mouths. Staining their prayers, and God, please hear them now because he’s a maniac, a fucking maniac that’s got them nailed down.

Rocco’s gone down into the grass, trying some commando-shit crawl while shooting, and any second now his skull’s going to get blown wide-open. Murphy’s flopped around behind the pillar that’s too skinny to keep the bullets from biting into his arms, his cheek, and Connor just stands. Says Hail Mary and shoots without aiming.

The silence screams louder. The silence isn’t really a silence because they’re cursing and stumbling, Murphy dropping the ammonia so many damn times and Connor not having the hands to help him because he’s got to hold down Rocco.

“Lemme at him! Lemme show that cocksucker—let me let me letmeletme—”

“No, can’t, got to go, Roc. Come on, get your hand tied up, let’s go.” Connor doesn’t feel the cold pit in his stomach or the crawl in his veins now. Later he’ll think about this moment and remember that he had, but he doesn’t. He’s too busy biting down against the pain, head whirling in searing confusion, and he’s dragging Rocco along.

Halfway to the car Rocco sees his hand again and passes out on Connor without so much as a by-your leave. Drags on Connor’s shoulder so he wants to pass out, but he can’t. Murphy’s bleeding from his arms and can’t drive, and someone’s got to.

They hit the road so it smokes, throws up the smell of burn and blood into the sunny day. They don’t see the slumped figure in the middle of the street, though Connor swerves almost automatically where he thinks it is so they don’t wreck the van’s undercarriage. They don’t see it and they don’t think about it except as a vague nightmare, a white beard and dark glasses flaming death at them.

“Fucking hell,” Murphy says. He winces and wraps himself up into a knot on the seat, skin around his mouth white like ice. “Fucking hell.”

“But we put him down. We put. Him. Down! That motherfucker! That’s what I’m talking about. That’s it.” Rocco’s woken up again and wheels crazily from side to side in his seat, pounding first on the back of Connor’s and then of Murph’s. He finally slams his wounded hand down by mistake and goes howling down, but only for a moment. “This is so great! We’re doing it! We’re killing the bad guys! We’re avenging angels!”

“Yeah,” Connor says. “Too right.”

* * *

Later it’s the weird not-meeting meeting with Smecker in the church, and after that it’s a couple phone calls while they’re all healing up. Connor takes it when the news drops.

*Il Duce,* Smecker says. *Isn’t that fucking great? Some dumbass parole board finally let him out thanks to Yakavetta’s money, and he got sent after you.*

The words don’t come. They’ve turned to nails in Connor’s throat, in his hand so he can’t speak but can’t put down the phone. He knows Italian. He knows it because Ma beat it into them and made sure they knew why with every near-sobbing screech she gave.

*Keep low for a while longer, all right? Il Duce dead has got Yakavetta climbing the walls. He actually started poking around for police protection the other day, so don’t be starting it yet. Let him relax a little.*

“Yeah,” Connor barely squeezes out.

Smecker’s hung up and Connor feels as if he’s been hung. Strung up by his heart. He’s numb all over outside and inside he’s nothing but jagged fragments. He stares at the phone in his hands for a long time, seeing blood, and this blood he knows isn’t going to wash off because it’s his own.

“Connor?” Murphy stumbles in, hair rumpled up and face clear as water. But it starts to cloud when he sees Connor. “What happened?”

And no, not now. Not ever. Connor can’t tell Murphy, can’t say that they were wrong and they didn’t know fucking shit. Faith is such a precious little thing and now it’s in his hands looking up at him with trusting eyes and he can’t break it so the blood slicks his fingers like cold, cold knowledge does his mind and heart.

“Nothing. Smecker. Still warning us off,” Connor finally says.

“Man. I’m thinking he’s losing the faith the longer we wait. We need to get out there. Finish the mission,” Murphy says.

God in Heaven, Connor thinks. He’s glad that Murphy’s turning away now to fix breakfast, because he can’t keep his hands from trembling. He turns the phone over and over, but no voice comes back on. The line’s dead. Nothing speaks to him now.

* * *

Ireland. Thousands of miles away, a staticky connection and still Ma comes through clear as a bell. She wants to know what her boys have been up to, and Connor could answer her so many ways. Say something lying about shitty work, pretend they’re still at the meat-packing plant. She’d know it wasn’t true.

Say the fact and tell her they’re out killing killers and rapists and criminals. Tell her they’re bringing God’s work to earth like Father O’Banion back home had always loved to tell about and she’d always loved hearing. She’d know it wasn’t true.

Say the truth and tell her they’re damned. They tried to walk the path of the good and then the path of the righteous, but instead they were tricked to the path of the devil. Tell her sorry, that he’d tried to take care of Murph like she’d said when she had let them step onto the plane, nails clawing off them instead of prying off their arms, but that he hadn’t and God, God, can there be any mercy?

“How are my boys?” she cackles, and Connor can’t do any of those.

He curls up on the floor, phone cord tangling in his hair when it should be going for the throat, and the first time he says it he’s sobbing too hard. She’s not cackling but barking, sharp and serious, when he finally gets it out. “We killed Da.”

Silence. A sucked-in breath, taking the life from Connor as it’d given that to him so many years ago.

“Our Father in Heaven,” Ma finally says, slow and level and emotionlessly intense.

And the excuses come babbling out of Connor then: they didn’t know, he was trying to kill him, there hadn’t been a way, they couldn’t, they couldn’t, they—

She’s hung up on him. The words dry up as fast as they’d come and he’s left rocking on the floor, shriveling to match his shattered insides.

* * *

“Shoot him!” Rocco yells.

Connor has the gun on the man and all he needs to do is pull the trigger. But that’s all—that’s too easy. He’s looking at this man, this guy with the receding hairline and pleading mouth and short square fingers splayed in the air, and somehow Connor thinks he should know him. Maybe it’s the wrong guy. Maybe this is someone Connor does know, has seen before. Someone he waves to in the neighborhood. Someone that’s not who he should shoot.

He doesn’t know. He sees it and he doesn’t. One moment the familiarity’s there and the next Rocco is shouting it away, and Connor almost turns to shoot Rocco for some peace and quiet when a gunshot interrupts.

“Christ, Connor,” Murphy says, gun still smoking. “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you shoot him?”

“Because—because—” Connor backs out into the fire escape. Behind him he can hear Murphy trying to explain it away, but vomit can’t be explained away. Hooks ripping out the stomach can’t be explained away, blood can’t be explained away, wrong can’t be explained away. Because after all what they wanted to do was right the wrong and they aren’t. They didn’t. Two wrongs don’t make a right, Ma said once, and now that they’ve committed one how long? How long till—

His feet rattle down the steps. He hears Murphy calling for him, but he keeps going. He runs and he prays and he runs.

* * *

“Our Father who art thou in Heaven,” Connor mumbles into the floor. He kisses the hem of the altar-cloth over and over, then wipes his hands with it but always they come away dirty. He tries anyway.

Someone’s shaking him. A lot of people have done that over the past few hours, but this one is different. This one he hears, and when he looks up, this one he sees.

“Connor, Connor,” Murphy says again and again. His cheeks are wet. His tears are clear on his skin, but when Connor reaches up to touch them, they turn thick and red on his fingertips. “Connor, what’s wrong?”

God, oh, God, but Connor cannot hold it back any longer. He tells it, and then he falls into Murphy, clinging hard to his brother. “Our father,” he chokes.

“Our—our Father,” Murphy echoes, and though Connor is not looking up, he knows there is blood on Murphy’s face. “Our Father.”

“Our Father, who art thou in Heaven,” they say together, bleeding and choking and hoping. They pray, holding each other, and they pray. But there’s no answer. They’ve killed the answer, and now they’re lost forever.