His heart hammered as he sat up, the grisly images still looping through his head as he shook, darting up to cast blue eyes on the figure sleeping on the bed across the room. Even in a small motel room, with beds an arms reach apart, he felt like there was a valley between them. He was by the door, always. If someone came in, they were going to have to get through the older twin if they wanted Murphy- and no one was going to be making past Connor. Not if he had a say. He let his eyes train on Murph's sleeping form, heart stilling as he reached out, fingers barely brushing the ones hanging off the side of the bed. The contact helped him breath as he dug out a cigarette from Murphy's pack on the table, fishing out his lighter and moving to sit in the chair behind the door, his iron in his lap as he smoked. They would be coming. He knew they would, and he had to be ready to fight. To protect his brother. It was all he ever really knew. That no one was going to fucknig touch the brunette, not if the blonde could help it.

The sounds of passing cars made him jump, drawing his gun in preparation. He was aware that they were not on a mission here. They were just HOME, visiting, but that nagging fear was always there. His eyes found his scarred wrists, remembering the time he'd almost failed Murphy. If he hadn't been able to free himself, there wouldn't be a brother to protect. But then, there would be no Connor. There would never be a Connor without Murphy. He lived for his twin, always. Everything was for him. To protect him, comfort him, help him. He didn't know any other life, and he didn't want to. He had been teased at work for never dating. But there was no point, not when he'd still spend every moment at the side of his better half. No girl could compete, and it was unfair to pretend they could. He knew he was the one who was so fixated, that Murphy didn't feel that way, but he couldn't help it. It had been that way since Da left when they were three. He was the protector.

The smoke seemed to rouse the sleeping twin a bit, making him moan in annoyance as he pulled his covers over his face. Connor laughed to himself, slipping over to flip off the light, whispering to Murphy to go back to sleep. And just like that, when matching orbs locked and the sleepy smile split the younger MacManus' face, all the worry faded. Smiling at his brother, in that one moment, everything was still and right on the Earth, and all he cared about with in the face of the man quietly asking him to lay beside him. The gin was set beside the smokes, blankets peeled back to allow the second body to slip in, arms encircling the smaller man, lips touching a bare shoulder as Connor snuggled into his twin's body, eyes closing. The fear would be there for the rest of his life. The worry that in a second, if he slipped, he'd lose. But when Murph would give him that look, blue eyes so full of love- it could wait. His brother needed him, and that's what he lived for.

For his other half.