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06 January 2011 @ 04:15 pm
Part 2 of 3 for Halo  
 As quickly and as quietly as she could, she ran up the stairs and into her room. The mirror on the bathroom wall proved to Anna that Ottilio had, in fact, hit her hard enough to bust her head open.

“Fucking bastard.” She muttered again as she reached for her first aid kit.

Quickly, Anna set to work of washing out the gash on her head, placing a band-aid on it to stop the bleeding. She moved to her shoulder, and groaned when she realized she couldn’t lift her arm. Remembering a movie with Patrick Swayze (Black Dog) Anna snuck into Doc’s storage room. When she found the gun powder, she laughed to herself when she noted the date: 1926.

“Old geezer can’t throw anything away, can he?” she softly mumbled.

Once she was back in her bathroom, she stripped off her blouse and used a knife to cut her tank top off. She set to work on inspecting her wound. The bullet was still lodged in her shoulder, and she knew she needed to get it out, so she took her tweezers and lit a match. After sterilizing the tool, she tried to dig out the bullet.

Wincing in pain, she let the tears fall down her face as she dug it out. Once the bullet was lying in her sink, she cleaned out the gash and placed a bag of ice into an old towel and placed as much pressure as she could on her shoulder, trying to stop most of the bleeding.

After a few minutes, Anna pulled the blood-soaked towel away from her shoulder, poured the gun powder on the wound and lit the match. Again, she winced in pain as she placed the match to her shoulder. She never screamed, but the tears rolled down her face and she gripped the counter as hard as she could, until the pain stopped.

Once her shoulder stopped throbbing, she wiped the tears off of her face and climbed into the shower. She vigorously scrubbed the blood off of her body. Once she was satisfied with the lack of red water running down the drain, she stepped out and into a new pair of jeans and another blouse. She couldn’t move her shoulder at all, causing her problems getting dressed.

“Anna!” Doc called. Anna groaned. “Anna, come down here! I need your help!”

Anna nodded her head and let her hair hang loose down her back.

“Coming!”

Doc greeted Anna on the stairs, giving her a questioning stare.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Th-th-th-the b-b-b-boys are back.” Anna found herself smiling before she could stop herself. “I n-n-need help g-g-g-getting f-f-food r-r-ready.”

“I’m on it, Doc.” She brushed past him before he could stop her and ask questions.

Anna walked into the kitchen and grabbed several plates and other dishes. As she worked, she felt a presence behind her.

“Yes?”

“Why were ye wantin’ to know if we were still at the Silver Peso?” she heard Murphy move to stand behind her.

“I wanted to know so I knew if I needed to get food for you guys. You wouldn’t have to wait like you are now.” She silently thanked Doc for putting her to work to give her an excuse.

Murphy’s hand was on hers in a moment, stopping her movements. “You’re hurt. You shouldn’t be working.”

“Doc needs my help.” 

Murphy tilted her head towards him and traced a finger down the gash on her face. “That needs stitches.” He whispered. “Doc wouldn’t want you cookin’. We can order pizza. Now come on, we’re surprisin’ those detectives tonight.” He smiled and then surprised her by kissing her gash. “I’ll help ye stitch that up later.”

Anna nodded and let him lead her out into the bar. She smiled at the boys and then slipped behind the bar.

“What do you boys want to drink?”

As they talked about the hit and Connor’s show of “Spiritual Guidance”, as Murphy called it. Anna just sat and listened. When Murphy glanced at her, she could see concern etched deeply into his smoky blue eyes. She brushed it off at first, figuring that he was just concerned about a possible concussion. But as the night wore on, and Murphy’s expression never changed, she realized that he really was worried about her. That confused her.

“Hey! They’re coming!” Romeo cried, “Get behind the bar!”

~*~

Murphy and Connor jumped over the bar and crouched down, signaling for Anna to do the same.

“Ye wanna have some fun?” Connor asked.

“We’re gonna shock the hell outta these dectives!” Murphy’s smile was infectious, making Anna smile as well.

“Ok!” she nodded. “What can I do?”

Murphy grinned wider and handed her a soda sprayer. “When we say so, jump up with us and spray the shit outta them!” he said excitedly.

Anna nodded. “OK!”

She heard Dolly start wigging out and tried not to giggle as Duffy started yelling back at Dolly.

Murphy smirked at Anna and Connor nodded. The three of them jumped up and started spraying the three detectives with soda. Murphy held the sprayer as far away as he could, avoiding getting his cigarette wet. Connor cried happily at the detectives, spraying away and laughing as the three were startled shitless.

Anna smirked as she shut the soda sprayer off and Connor and Murphy followed suit.

“You don’t write?” Connor cried as Murphy giggled – yes… GIGGLED – “You don’t fuckin’ call?”

“Ye should be ashamed of yerselves!” Murphy pulled his cancer stick away from his mouth long enough to chastise his friends.

Dolly dropped to his knees and crawled over to a red-haired woman. Anna glared at the woman. Who the hell was she?

“You fucking bitch!” Dolly muttered as he hugged her. She laughed and petted his head. “Thank you!”

Greenly and Duffy looked between themselves and then at Anna and the boys. “You knew?” they asked at the same time.

Anna nodded and smiled. “Well I knew they were here. Not that you didn’t know.” She smirked and winked at Murphy who chuckled.

“Well I’ll go get some food.” Anna started, but Murphy grabbed her by her elbow.

“I told you we can order pizza.” He nodded to behind the bar. “If you feel like you need to do something, I guess you can make drinks.”

‘No way he knows me that well…’ Anna thought to herself. How would Murphy know that she has to keep her hands busy or she goes insane? Instead of thinking too much on it, though, Anna just nodded and moved back to the bar.

She quickly poured the boys and detectives their Guinness and then pulled out shot glasses. “You boys want some shots?”

“Is that a question?” Greenly teased her.

She smirked and placed one of the shot glasses back. “Well if you’re gonna be like that…”

“Hey now!” Greenly went to grab at the shot glass, making Anna giggle.

“Alright alright!”

“May I just have tequila?” the red haired lady asked.

“Sure.” Anna nodded at the lady, not happy with how close Murphy had perched himself to her.

“Anna, this is Eunice. She’s helping us.” Duffy explained to the young girl.

Anna nodded again and finished mixing the drink, trying not to move her shoulder too much. Once she placed the drink in front of Eunice, she stood back and watched as they boys and Eunice all got down to business. She tried to keep up, listening to what they were talking about, but she couldn’t keep her mind focused. All she could think about was how badly she wanted to knock Murphy off that damned stool and shove him away from Eunice.

Whoa! She thought, stop thinking like that!

Suddenly, though, Connor, Murphy, and Eunice were walking out the door. Anna wanted to jump up and follow, not happy at all that Eunice was hanging on to the boys, especially Murphy.

She huffed and spun around, quickly picking up the empty glasses and dropping them into the sink before quickly leaving the room.

~*~

She thought she heard Duffy call her name, but she couldn’t be sure. She was too pissed off to care. As she stomped up the stairs, wanting to rip that little bitch’s head off of her shoulders, she nearly tripped and fell, but she was able to stop herself.

“You shouldn’t be this upset, Anna!” her brain yelled at her. ”You should be concerned more about how you’re going to tell them that you’re with Ottilio. Eunice already knows it’s him that’s after the boys! They deserve to know that you’re with him!!!”

“I can’t do this anymore!” she groaned as she sat on her bed. “They need to know. I have to tell them…” she moved to stand up again, forgetting about her shoulder for a moment, placing all of her weight on her left arm.

The surprise of the sudden searing pain made her cry out and fall back onto her bed, holding her shoulder. “FUCK!” she cried as a few tears slipped through her eyes. “God fucking damn it! Fucking hell!” she squeezed her eyes shut and curled into a ball, still cursing.

A hand on her arm startled her and she opened her eyes to see Murphy standing over her, “What’s wrong, Anna?” he asked. Anna swore she never heard anyone hold so much concern over her in her life.

“My fucking shoulder!” she muttered. “Help me sit up, please.”

Without a word, Murphy gently helped her into a sitting position before sitting down next to her. “What’s wrong?” he asked again. “What happened to your shoulder?”

Anna shook her head and simply sat in silence.

Murphy moved to kneel in front of her. “Anna, talk to me. What happened?” he brushed a strand of hair behind her ear in order to see her face better. “Anna?”

Anna glanced at Murphy. He was waiting patiently for her to tell him what had happened. She sighed, realizing that he was going to find out… She might as well tell him the truth. “He… he shot me…” ”FUCK!” she cursed herself. “You have to tell him!!! Why are you stalling!?”

She watched Murphy’s eyes narrow and heard the low, primitive growl he let out. “He shot you?” before she could respond, Murphy was already unbuttoning her shirt, no doubt to see how bad the wound was.

“What – What are you doing?” Anna asked, jumping back from him.

“Hold still – I want to see how bad it is.” His voice was drawn and tight, obviously trying to hold in his anger.

“It’s fine, Murphy. Just let it heal.” Anna tried to stop his hands, but he brushed her hands away.

“I still want to see. And your head still needs stitched… God I’m gonna kill him. Who is he?” he snapped his head up to look her in the eyes.

Anna shook her head and grasped his hands. “Don’t. Please. I’m fine. You have other things to worry about now, Murphy… You’re taking out Yakavetta in less than two days. Don’t worry about me.” To herself, she quietly added, ‘Since you’ll be taking out Ottilio in the process…’

“Anna, tell me his fucking name and where I can find the fucker. He’ll regret the day he ever set a hand on you, much less…” suddenly, he was speaking in Gaelic, earning a confused look from Anna.

“Murphy?” she asked once he was silent. He just looked at her, having stopped trying to get at her shoulder. “Murphy… Please…”

He just continued to stare at her. “What if he had hit your heart?” he asked quietly. “Or shot you in the head? You’re lucky he hit your shoulder. Do you realize how close that is to your heart? Inches, Anna. That bullet was inches from killing you!” his voice was calm, quiet, and it scared her more than Ottilio pointing a gun at her own head.

“It didn’t kill me, Murphy.” She whispered. “I’m right here. I’m safe, I’m fine.”

Slowly, Murphy leaned up and gently placed his hand on her face. “I don’t know what you did to me, Anna, but I can’t lose you.” He whispered softly. When Anna didn’t back away, he softly placed his lips on hers.

Anna closed her eyes, enjoying Murphy’s gentle touch and soft kiss. She leaned into him and started kissing him back, forcing herself to not think. Some part in the back of her head told her that if Ottilio ever found out about this, she was dead, but she ignored that voice and slowly ran her good hand up Murphy’s arm.

When he felt her move her hand up his arm, he slowly continued to unbutton her shirt. She didn’t refuse and instead shifted so he could pull it off of her. As carefully as he could, he peeled the fabric away from her left shoulder, not wanting to hurt her any more. Once her shirt was on the floor, he shifted to sit next to her on the bed, never breaking the kiss.

Once he was sitting next to her, Anna shifted to sit in his lap, silently begging him to hold her close. She would never admit to needing to be comforted – she was far too proud for that. But at that moment, she wanted to be as close to Murphy as possible, needing to feel comforted and safe. Murphy picked up on this and wrapped his arms around her waist securely, holding her as close to him as physically possible.

Anna ran her hands through his hair as she felt him lick at her bottom lip again. She didn’t hesitate to let him deepen their kiss; instead, she nipped at his lip and played with the hem of his shirt. Murphy pulled back from Anna, earning a whimper, but he just smiled and gently picked her up and laid her on the bed, mindful of her shoulder. Once she was lying down, he quickly removed his shirt and shifted to lie next to her.

“Come here,” he murmured, as he leaned over her and kissed her again. Anna tried to sit up again, missing the close contact that they had before, but Murphy kept a gentle hand on her good shoulder, preventing her from moving.

She whimpered again, earning a small chuckle from Murphy. “Patience, Anna, love. Patience.” He whispered softly as he trailed a line of kisses from her lips to her shoulder. “I have every intention of taking this as slow as I can.”

Anna’s mind froze for a moment as she processed exactly what he was planning on doing. But it wasn’t until he reached for the button on her jeans that made her snap back to reality. Her hand suddenly found Murphy’s and stopped his movements. “Stop,” she heard herself mutter before she could stop herself. “Please.”

Instantly, Murphy stopped moving and leaned over her, “Did I hurt you?”

Anna shook her head. “No… I just…”

Understanding lit up in Murphy’s eyes and he smiled kindly. “Have you ever done this with anyone?”

Blushing, Anna shook her head and turned away, embarrassed. She heard Murphy chuckle softly to himself before placing a gentle hand on her cheek. “It’s ok, Anna.” He kissed her lips softly. “I’ll stitch up your forehead and let you sleep,”

Her subconscious cried out in fear and Anna found herself gripping his arm as tightly as she could, terror flashing quickly in her eyes, “No!” she cried before she could stop herself. “Don’t leave me alone…”

Murphy watched her questioningly as she composed herself as quickly as she could. “What did he do to you?” he finally asked as he watched Anna carefully place her mask back on.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have to leave, Murphy… If you don’t want to.” She tried not to look him in the eye, but failed.

As gently as he could, Murphy pulled her into a sitting position again and wrapped his arms around her. “I’m not going anywhere.” He whispered. “I’m right here. Know that.”

It might have been the gentleness that she had never known before, or the fact that Murphy was holding her so close, or it could have even been his calming presence, but whatever the reason, Anna’s carefully placed façade fell away, leaving her at her most vulnerable.

He never expected to hear a sob coming from the woman in his arms, but the second he heard the soft sound and felt her body shake, Murphy pulled her closer and kissed her forehead. It killed him to listen to her cry.

“I’m here, Anna… I’m right here.” He kept mumbling, reassuring her.

“He’s been threatening my father, Murphy… Been threatening to kill my father and Doc!” her voice hitched before another wave of tears started. “I tried to run… but I can’t run and watch my loved ones die by his hand…”

“Shhhhh…” Murphy smoothed her hair and rubbed her back, the way his Ma use to do with him and Connor when they were really young and had a nightmare. “He’s not going to hurt you, Doc, or your father. I won’t let him.”

“I wish he would die!”

“Calm down, love,” Murphy started whispering in Gaelic. “Calm down. I’m here...”

After a while, Anna’s tears stopped and were replaced with small hic-ups. “I’m sorry…” she mumbled.

“Don’t apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for.”

Anna slowly pulled away from him long enough to wipe her eyes and search for her shirt. “I’m… I’m sorry, Murphy.”

A hand on her shoulder stopped her movements. “I already told ya. Ye have nothing to apologize for.”

“…are you going to…”

“I’m staying right here tonight.” It wasn’t a controlling comment, like she was use to with Ottilio, but rather, a simple statement. He was concerned for her, and he planned on staying with her to protect her… to let her know he was there for her.

Anna nodded and stood up, planning on hiding in the bathroom, when Murphy was suddenly right next to her. “I still want to stitch up that gash. It’s bleeding again.”

Anna’s hand moved up to touch her forehead and pulled her hand away when she felt the warm sticky liquid that indicated to her that, yes, her forehead was bleeding again.

“Fuck my life…” she muttered, causing Murphy to chuckle.

“Fuck sounds so odd coming out of your beautiful mouth…”

Anna blushed and looked away. “There’s that blush that Doc was telling us about again… hmm... I guess he was wrong, it hasn’t been lost! Look at you!”

“Shut up, Murph.” Anna muttered as her blush deepened. She couldn’t help the smile that started spreading across her face, though, as much as she tried.

Murphy was still chuckling when he lead her into her bathroom. “Where’s your first aid kit?” he asked as he started opening cabinets and drawers.

“Under the sink, next to my makeup bag,” she sat down on the toilet and watched as Murphy made faces when he saw the large make up bag.

“What do you need all that make up for?” he finally asked.

She shrugged. “I don’t use half of it. I just can’t bring myself to throw it away.”

He shook his head as he pulled the kit out and laid it on the counter. “You don’t need to use any of it. Ok, look at me.”

He turned towards her and held up a need and match. “This might hurt, but I’ll try to be careful.”

Anna smiled and watched his hands as he sterilized the needle and threaded it with the white thread. “I don’t think much could hurt more than getting shot in the shoulder…”

“How did you cauterize that wound, by the way?” he asked her as he started to gently wipe the blood away from her wound so he could stitch it

“Gun powder,” Murphy looked at her questioningly.

“Gun powder? Where’d ya get gun powder?” he asked as he raised an eye brow.

Anna smiled. “Doc. He can’t throw anything away.”

The made Murphy chuckle, “Old geezer,” he muttered under his breath with love.

“That’s what I said.”

Murphy finished stitching her forehead and smiled at her. “Well. That’s all set. Are you sure you don’t want me to take a look at your shoulder?”

Anna shook her head. “My shoulder will be fine. I promise.”

Reluctantly, Murphy nodded his head and turned to walk back into her room.

“Where are you going?” she asked as she followed him.

“To tell Connor not to wait up for me.” He turned back around to face her and smiled. “I’d hate for him to walk in here in the middle of the night, waking us both up.”

Anna giggled, imagining the look Murphy’s twin would be giving them if he would walk in on them.

“I’ll be right back. I promise.”

~*~

When Murphy was finally able to slip back into Anna’s room, after getting teased mercilessly by his twin, Anna was already curled up in the bed and eyes closed. He gently laid down next to her, and pulled her close, trying not to wake her up.

“Murphy?” Anna mumbled into his shoulder.

“Yes?”

“Can I come with you guys tomorrow?” Murphy froze.

“What?” he asked guardedly.

“Can I come with you when you take out Yakavetta?” She asked again, craning her head to look at him. “Please? I can help… be a distraction or –“

“Absolutely not.” It was harsher than he meant for it to sound, but the thought of her tagging along and getting hurt again made his blood turn cold. “Out of the question.”

“But!”

“No buts, Anna.” Murphy tightened his arms around her slightly. “I’ve already told ya, I can’t stand the thought of you getting hurt.”

“I can help!”

Murphy sighed and ran his hand up her side and shoulder to her face. “I know you could help. But that’s not what we need, Anna. If you come with us, all we’re gonna be thinking about is if you’re ok. We would be distracted. It wouldn’t go as smooth as it should, and you would be put in more danger than necessary. Please, Anna, for me, stay here tomorrow.”

He felt her sigh more than heard it, and she laid her head back on his shoulder, defeated. He hated to disappoint her, but she shouldn’t be going with them. She had already been shot and bashed in the head. “And God only knows what else…” he thought bitterly to himself.

“Will you stay here for me?” he asked after a few moments of silence.

Anna stayed quiet for a moment, making Murphy worry that she wouldn’t agree. “Fine.”

“Thank you,” he sighed and hugged her closer.

~*~

The next morning, Anna woke up still wrapped tightly in Murphy’s arms. She smiled softly to herself and tried to move out of his grasp.

Murphy grunted sleepily and tightened his grasp as he slowly woke up. “Wha…”

Anna giggled. “Murphy…” she whispered. “Can you let me up?”

“Why?” he asked groggily as he shifted deeper into the blankets, making Anna giggle even more.

“I need to pee, you lazy Irish bastard.” She teased.

“Oh no you didn’t.” she heard him mutter.

“Oh yes I did!” she wiggled again, still trying to get out of his grasp.

Murphy smirked and laid her on her back as gently as he could. “You did not call me lazy.”

“Of course not.” Anna nodded. Murphy looked at her skeptically before she continued, “I called you a lazy Irish bastard. There’s a difference.”

Murphy smirked and started to tickle her sides, making her squirm and giggle. “You called me what?”

“STOP!” Anna giggled as she tried to push him away. “Please stop!!!”

Murphy smiled and stopped tickling her before leaning over her and kissing her. “I like it when you giggle. You should do that more often.” He whispered. Anna blushed slightly at his comment, making him smile again before kissing her passionately.

Anna slipped her good arm around his broad shoulders and pulled him closer to her, enjoying the feeling of his soft lips on hers. Gathering her courage, she slipped her tongue into his mouth, surprising the hell out of her and Murphy. She heard him groan quietly when she licked at his tongue. He was certainly addictive to her. Her own personal drug of choice.

Just as Murphy started to slowly move his hand down her side, the door slammed open and made the two of them jump.

“Murph - …ohhhhhh!!!!” Connor’s voice filled the room, “Am I interruptin’ something?” Anna didn’t have to look at him to know he was smirking. She could hear it in his voice. She blushed profusely as Murphy rolled off of her to glare at his brother.

“What do ya need?” he asked as patiently as he could.

“We’re leaving. Let’s go.” Connor winked at Anna and walked back out of the room.

Anna looked questioningly at Murphy. “Leaving? Already? I thought you weren’t taking out Yakavetta until tonight?”

“We aren’t.” he assured her as he pulled her into a hug. “We’re goin’ to get some new guns. Can’t hardly take out the big man with old guns, huh?”

Anna shook her head – boys and their guns… “So you’re going to be out all day?”

Murphy picked up on the slight tone in her voice and smiled down at her. “Yes, but I want you to come with us. I want you to have a gun so you can protect yourself. Do you know how to shoot?”

“Ya. My father made sure I knew how.”

Murphy nodded and kissed her. “Good. Then you’re coming with us right now. Go get ready and meet us in the bar in 15.”

“Fifteen… minutes?” Anna’s eyes widened. “That’s barely enough time for me to put my make up on!!”

Murphy chuckled. “Then don’t put make up on.”

Anna gave him the most repulsed look she could muster. “Hell no. I’ll be quick. But can I have 20 minutes?”

Murphy watched her for a moment before chuckling again. “Ok, 20 minutes.”

As quickly as she could, Anna rushed to get ready, leaving Murphy still lying on her bed, shaking his head. He watched her nearly run to the bathroom, amazed at how different she seemed that morning. She hadn’t fought him when he told her she was getting a gun to protect herself, and was more than willing to go with them to the gun dealer.

He hoped that’s she was acting like this because she had fallen for him, and finally let him in. “There’s gotta be a catch though… she’s too complex to just open up like that overnight…” he thought to himself.

“Murph! Let’s fuckin’ go!” Connor peeked his head back into Anna’s room to find Murphy sitting on the bed staring at the bathroom door.

“Hold on, we’re waiting for Anna. And I need to change clothes anyway.”

“We getting her a gun like I suggested last night?” Connor asked, surprised.

Murphy nodded. “Ya, you were right. She needs to be able to protect herself.” He made his way into the speakeasies room and pulled a shirt out of the bag on the floor. “If she won’t let me kill that bastard, at least she can be protected against him.”

Connor nodded as he watched his brother carefully. “Be careful, Murph. We don’t know how long it will be until one of us doesn’t make it back. Don’t leave her here with a problem too big for her.”

Murphy turned sharply to his twin. “It ain’t like that Con,”

“Well if it gets to be like that – use your head!”

“It’s not going to get to that point. Let’s just get our guns.”

Connor continued to watch as his brother changed his jeans and put on a clean shirt. “Ya know she’s still with her boyfriend. This could get bad real quick if you don’t do something about it.”

Murphy turned sharply to his brother and stalked up to him. “Shut your mouth, Connor MacManus. I know damn well what I’m doing. The only reason she’s still with the fucker is because he keeps threatening her father and Doc!”

Connor’s eyes widened in surprise, “What?”

“You heard me.”

“She’s putting herself in danger… to protect Doc?”

Murphy nodded. “And her father.”

“Do you know who her da is?”

Murphy shook his head. “She hasn’t said anything about him other than that her boyfriend was threatenin’ him.”

“We can protect Doc…”

“We can’t protect someone who we don’t know.”

Connor groaned. “Damn stubborn women!”

Murphy chuckled. “She’s got Irish in her, I’d say.”

“She related to you, by any chance?” Connor snapped.

“Hey, that’d mean she’s related to you too, fucker!” Murphy and Connor quickly found themselves back into a play fight, rolling on the floor, throwing punches and smacking each other as hard as they could, but still not trying to hurt each other.

Anna walked into the room to find the boys fighting. “CONNOR! MURPHY!” she yelled over their bickering. Their fighting stopped and they turned to look at her. “I leave you two alone for 20 minutes to get ready and you start a fucking brawl? What’s wrong with you two!?” the smirk on her face gave away that she wasn’t as mad as she sounded.

Murphy jumped up and walked over to her, “You ready?” he asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist. She nodded and slipped her arm around his shoulder. Again, some corner of her mind warned her that this was bad and wrong, but she ignored it and instead focused on the feeling of being wrapped protectively in Murphy arms.

“Ok, lover birds.” Connor gripped Murphy’s shoulders and shoved his slightly in the direction of the door. “Let’s go!”

Murphy released Anna and held out his arm for her, which she slipped her own arm into, giggling at the formality Murphy was suddenly showing.

~*~

“Expanded my operations since I last saw you,” the gun dealer informed the boys as they followed him into the gun show room, “Word got out who may or may not have outfitted ya. Turns out, ya got quite the underground followin’. Now who’s this young thing?”

“Murphy’s girlfriend!” Connor teased his brother as he walked up to the guns on the wall.

“Shut it, Con.”

“A girlfriend? No offence, lass, but Murph, do’ya really think ye want a girl around while doin’ all this?” the dealer shifted his eyes from Murphy to Anna.

“We’re gettin’ her a gun for protection, nothing more.” Murphy said quickly.

Anna watched as he turned around to the big guns as well. She thought about joining them, but found a few smaller, more concealable guns that drew her attention.

“Please, gentlemen. Preferred customers select from my private reserve. If I may make a suggestion.” Anna turned and watched the boys walk up to the table as the dealer grabbed two cases and placed them reverently on the table in front of each twin.

The boys just as reverently reached for the cases. The image of Christmas morning flashed in Anna’s head. She imagined it might have been the same way when the boys were young. The shared look of “hell ya!” as they glanced at each other just before opening the cases to discover what they had been waiting for was too priceless, especially when Anna noticed Murphy’s tongue slowly creeping to the side of his mouth in concentration. Anna giggled a little to herself at Murphy’s little antic as her mind went straight to the gutter. “That tongue could be doing sooooo many more useful things right now…” she thought with a slight blush.

The look of pure amazement and joy that spread across the brother’s faces when they saw the new pairs of Desert Eagle .50 cal. “Black Outs” was enough to make Anna herself smile.

As Murphy and Connor affectionately started to pick up the guns, Anna could hear Murphy start talking.

“I feel like that kid who found the Golden Ticket in that candy bar in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” his look was so intent and so distant, like he was lost in his own little world.

Anna tried to hold back a laugh as she watched the dealer just stare at the brother in pure and utter shock. “Charlie.” He said with such indifference, Anna had to cover her mouth with her hand to stop from bursting out laughing.

“Ya, Charlie…” she heard Connor mumble, “And I want an Oompa Loompa now, Daddy! Now!” his voice rose with each word as his excitement grew, just before Murphy cocked back both of his guns.

Anna couldn’t control herself any longer and burst out laughing at the boys just before Romeo walked up, slamming a box onto the table. Anna walked up as the boys and dealer looked questioningly at him.

“I’ll take these.” His voice cracked slightly and Anna raised an eye brow at the Mexican.

Murphy leaned toward him and Connor gave him a questioning look. “Have ye been cryin’ again?” Murphy asked.

“Ya!” Romeo snapped. “Tears of joy!” he looked down at the boy’s guns and made a face. “Those are queer. How much?”

“Oh no no no no no.” the dealer shook his head. “You boys are on the house.”

Connor nodded. “Obliged.”

“Well, let’s see.” Murphy turned to Romeo.

Romeo opened up the case and proudly presented his two .45 cal guns with the Mexican flag on the handle. Connor and Murphy snickered to each other as Anna giggled.

“What?” Romeo snapped.

“Nothin’” Connor turned his head away to stop from laughing.

“What? Are you sayin’ I look gay?” the defensiveness in his voice made Anna giggle even louder.

“No… you just hail from a colorful…” Murphy waved his arms around to emphasize his point.

Romeo turned sharply to the dealer, “Hey you don’t know me. Do these make me look gay?” he held up his guns and made the oddest expression of what Anna assumed he thought made him look tough.

Anna slapped her hand across her mouth, waiting for the gun dealer’s response. After a moment’s thought, the dealer shrugged. “You look like you might have seen one up close…”

Connor and Murphy started laughing, and Anna just died. She doubled over and grabbed her stomach, laughing at the defeated look on Romeo’s face.

After a few moments of the group laughing at Romeo’s expense, he finally had enough. “Ok, cut it out! Fuck you all.”

Murphy composed himself first and walked over to Anna, still chuckling to himself. “Have ya found a gun ye like?” he asked as he slipped an arm around her waist. She nodded and pointed to a Beretta Cougar.

“Good choice.” The dealer picked it up and handed it to her. “It would work well for self-defense.”

“That’s all she needs.” Murphy nodded.