[Fanfic] Doppelgängers (1)

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Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Boondock Saints, Blade

Rating: Mature

Pairings: Connor MacManus x Murphy MacManus (yeah, it’s incest, or twincest), Deacon Frost x Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer aka Scud

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, zombie apocalypse

Characters: Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Scud, Deacon Frost

Warnings: incest/twincest, vampirism

Summary: On their journey to the south, Connor and Murphy encounters some of Murphy’s doppelgängers along the way.

Sequel to Methuselahs – might turn into a series

Scud – Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer (Blade II)

Part I. Doppelgänger

“Yer alright, lad? Can ya stand?”

There was something like a jolt of electricity shooting through his entire being once Murphy’s eyes, silver and hidden behind his shades, and the kid’s met for the first time. The very same blue (that both he and Connor had once had) changing minimally when the light was reflected on the irises, Murphy noticed, and he needed no mirror to tell the kid was wearing an eerily exact replica of his own visage, from his suntanned eyebrows, half covered under his long, messy bang, the tip of his nose, to the small dip between his lips and the little mole above his mouth. Younger, but the same. Alive, but the same. Human, but the same. He saw the black pupils boring into his face enlarging as if the kid was on drugs, undoubtedly no less flabbergasted by their uncanny resemblance than he himself was. Yet Murphy masked it better; he wouldn’t have lived for a hundred odd years and was unable to conceal his emotions.

The word ‘doppelgänger’ sprung to his mind and he couldn’t help shaking his head, smiling to himself, which confused the kid even more and it was shown on his face. Feeling a twitch of guilt at that, Murphy repeated his earlier question, offering his gloved hand.

With a wince, the kid took his hand, and Murphy all but lifted him up to his feet, gently and carefully as his inhuman strength allowed. Under the tattered red jacket and baggy khaki pants, the kid was probably quite thin, if his pale gaunt cheeks and light weight were any indications. Murphy felt sorry for the kid who bore all tell-tale signs of malnourishment and fatigue; he might not have had a decent meal and good sleep since forever. Life wasn’t particularly easy for humankind these days, what with the apocalypse and the plague spreading all over the world. A dead men’s curse that was way more sinister than just massacring humans: it turned the infected into mindless starving cannibals and damned them to keep on walking and feeding even when their maggot-infested flesh had fallen off their skeletons. War, hunger and death reigned by its side like the Four Horsemen, making the earth a more dreadful place than Hell.

Connor and Murphy had been going for months without seeing an uninflected human before they encountered this boy. It was Connor who had spotted him, a living scent so thin it was mostly buried under the sea of putrefying smell, yet it struggled, and it fought in a flimsy hope to be detected, to be saved before it resigned to its fate. Connor had always had keener senses and firmer belief than his younger twin, and if there was even one survivor within their sensing radius, it was Connor that found them first and came to their rescue. This time it was no different. The undead had been but an arm’s length from ripping the boy to pieces and making him one of them when Connor tore through the mass of rotten flesh like a furious tornado, Murphy closely behind. And now, while Murphy was speaking to the human to calm him from the shock of nearly losing his life, Connor was putting the rest of the hoard to peace.

They had recently taken this job although the Lord hadn’t assigned them any task concerning it. Their job was to destroy evil, but since evil was too scarce in this apocalyptic world, they took it upon themselves to put any dead souls crossing their path to rest.

“I am Murphy,” Murphy elucidated, his tone assuring as he felt the light tremor where his hand made contact with the kid. From shock or apprehension he couldn’t tell. Maybe both. “That’s me brother, Connor. What’s yer name?”

“Josh…” the kid replied, a mere whisper. He cleared his throat and repeated, fearing the stranger hadn’t been able to hear him, “Joshua, actually. But people call me Scud, like, y’ know, stud.” He laughed nervously. He used to make this statement every time he told people his name, thinking it his trademark default introduction. It didn’t feel right as before, and he felt like an awkward teenager making a fool of himself in front of his heaviest crush.

“Or cuddle,” Murphy quipped. “Aren’t ya tha cuddly type?”

“Close but not really.” Scud wanted to scratch his perpetual bedhead and realized his right hand was still in Murphy’s. Separated by a layer of leather and yet somehow Scud could tell his hand was cool. Like way too cool for a normal human being clad in leather in the early July weather. It should have but didn’t weird him out, and Scud decided he really didn’t mind having his hand held by another; physical contact was so rare nowadays he was almost starving and he wanted it to last as long as he could manage. Besides, he wasn’t stranger to lower-than-normal body temperature after all.

Something else tickled Scud’s spidey sense. The human often prided himself on having exceptional survival instincts; otherwise he wouldn’t have made it to today, having wormed his way through the dangerous underground world of vampires and now zombie wonderland; the incident today was but a chink in his luck. That was to say Scud could sniff it out when danger was rearing its ugly head, which was about now. There was nothing ordinary, or if he dared think, human, about his saviors. From their ubiquitously pallid skin tone, Murphy’s unusually low body temperature to the ease with which his brother Connor laid waste to the zombies with no weapon other than his gloved hands. These mindless walking corpses didn’t possess much more strength than their former human selves; still, what made them the single mass-destruction force were their gargantuan number and unrivaled savagery. Scud had had the privilege to witness them decimating a whole club of suckheads, and till this day, he had never had a more harrowing experience. Yet here none of them had been able to lay a single decomposing finger on Murphy’s brother. As a matter of fact the remaining ones appeared hesitant in attacking, milky, soulless eyes darting back and forth between their destroyer and the disembodied parts scattered around their feet in a too-human manner. If Scud didn’t know so well he might be convinced they were scared.

Maybe Scud didn’t know so well as he believed.

And, if he did know better, he too should be scared by this pair of brothers. He wasn’t afraid, perhaps a little bit wary but afraid, definitely not. That Murphy and he were bearing striking resemblance might have something to do with it. To judge a book by its cover, that was Joshua Frohmeyer.

Again, Scud was no stranger to the inhuman. Had served some, had killed some, had screwed some. Had even loved one. All before another kind of undead ruled the world.

“Ya aren’t afraid o’ us, are ya?” Murphy asked, gazing toward his brother, who was sending the last of them to the afterlife.

“Well, not really…” Scud spoke, trying to not sound like he was telling a blatant lie because he wasn’t. “How can you tell? I don’t think I’m shitting in my pants or something.”

Murphy sniggered at the kid’s lack of refinement. “No, yer not. But fear has a smell an’ it’s unlike shit, I tell ya. Yer not reekin’ o’ fear though; yer reekin’ o’ fresh blood.”

Without waiting for Scud’s response and still holding his hand, Murphy rolled up the kid’s torn and dirty sleeve. A deep-red gash that ran from Scud’s upper arm to elbow was revealed to his sight. It looked nasty and it was weeping blood, and though it had the possibility of getting infected, it wasn’t something life-threatening. Fortunately just a flesh wound. The strong alluring metallic scent, however, was rawly fraying Murphy’s nerves. His mouth felt parched, his throat constricted and a tremor passed from his head to his toes; he was very tempted to run his tongue along the gash and gathered all the ruby nectar that was all going to waste anyway.

The mesmerized look plastered on Murphy’s countenance alerted Scud. “Uhm… Murphy?” he called, none-too-subtly attempting to yank his hand from the older man’s vice-like grip. Why was he staring at his bloody gash like he hadn’t eaten for months? What was he, a suckhead?!

At Scud’s voice, Murphy snapped out of his sanguinary trance. Grunting audibly, he let go of the human’s hand and started pacing around the place they were standing, which happened to be a medical facility. After emptying a few drawers out in a devil-may-care manner, he found a bottle of antiseptic, hopefully unexpired, and roll of clean gauze. He poured almost half the bottle on the wound, feeling a sense of guilt budding in his chest at Scud’s hiss, before bandaged the kid’s forearm to his elbow. Thankfully it didn’t require a deft hand or much skill as Murphy hadn’t had to treat a wound for decades, just rolling the gauze up the arm and making sure it was secure enough but not too tight that it hindered the blood flow. Once he was done Murphy was even a little proud of himself. Not the best dressing in the world but this would do in the meantime.

“Ya should thank yer luck that ya didn’t get infected,” Murphy told Scud, his voice coming out an octave lower than normal. “If ya did, I’d have no choice but ta put ya ta rest like ‘em corpses.”

“Thank you,” Scud mumbled, examining the knot on his bandage for a few seconds before covering it with his sleeve. “Must have hurt myself while running for my life. But no, I was incredibly lucky I didn’t get my ass bitten.”

Out of the corner of his eyes Murphy saw Connor approaching, brushing off bits of flesh from his jacket and frowning as they left stains on the leather, and turned around to call out to him. “Come, Connor, the lad’s alrigh’.”

The astounded look on his twin’s face was the same as his when Connor scrutinized the kid for any other injuries than the one Murphy had bandaged, and… perhaps to catch a glimpse of his soul, a habit he didn’t share with his brother – Murphy only dissected a human’s heart when he was certain he would sink his fangs into their neck whereas Connor wanted to see for himself how each person looked like on the inside. Under Connor’s intense gaze, the kid seemed to squirm, a tiny movement one wouldn’t notice if one weren’t a sense-freak bloodsucker. His blue eyes looking at Connor spoke of distrust, his lips pressed firmly and he was clutching his wounded arm in a defensive stance. Apparently he was more comfortable in the presence of a man whose face was identical to his.

Having realized he might be intimidating the young man with his stare, Connor cast his eyes down and he cleared his throat in an attempt to break the tension he had unconsciously created. “Glad ta hear yer unaffected.” He glanced around. “There’s enough fuckin’ body parts ‘round here.”

Sudden Murphy raised his voice, startling both Connor and the kid. “Ya wanna come with us? Yer all by yerself, aren’t ya? It’s not easy ta survive on yerself. Maybe next time ya won’t be so luc—”

Murphy didn’t know why he cut himself short once Connor placed a firm hand on his shoulder, but he did shut his trap at once. In the temporary silence engulfing the three of them Murphy already regretted his offer. Not only had acted impulsively again, making big decision without consulting with his brother first, he also had broken their vow to never have a human companion again. A human would neither adapt to the peculiar lifestyle of bloodsuckers nor feel entirely safe in the company of those whom they knew well to have a crave for their vein. Plus, the inevitable agony of outliving the human was something they could do without. Knowing all that and still, Murphy felt the need to take this lonely and vulnerable young man under their wings and give him protection and care so that never again did he have to run for his life or suffer injuries. Part of his rationality doubted if he would bear the same thought if the boy didn’t look more like Murphy’s twin than his real one. There had to be some sort of mystical connection beyond their nearly identical faces; Murphy just failed to figure it out.

Scud’s eyes flicked between his two saviors, neither of whom gave him a total sense of safety, or at least that was what his instincts had been telling him for the last hour; they were far more lethal than the living dead, or even the suckheads he had spent the greener years of his youth living amongst. Despite so, he felt inexplicably drawn to one of the brother. He wanted to trust Murphy, wanted to tail behind him, even if that meant giving up his hard-earned freedom to wear the collar – he doubted he would protest if Murphy were to clasp a literal collar around his neck or tattoo his glyph on his skin, turning Josh Frohmeyer the man back to Scud the pet all over again. And this time he wouldn’t defile his master, he would obey. Better be pet than dead, torn apart and eaten.

Nonetheless, he wouldn’t come with Murphy and Connor, not while he was still breathing and moving on his will…

Still clutching his arm close to his body, Scud fingered the fabric of his sleeve, under which he knew there wasn’t only the damaged flesh but also an unmarred glyph spelling the name of a certain suckhead in suckhead language. He hoped that Murphy only thought of it as an exotic tattoo and nothing else.

Because of it, Scud would turn down Murphy’s offer for protection.

“Nah, thanks, really appreciate it but I can’t go with you,” Scud said, kicking the cooler by his legs with a childish bore. It was the sole reason why he had come here and almost lost his damned life. “Got a place to go…… and someone to go back to.”

Those last words came out light as a breath but Connor and Murphy heard them just fine. Murphy’s eyes widened as his jaw dropped slightly. On the other hand, Connor looked calm as though he had already known the answer, anticipated it even. His hand on Murphy’s shoulder gave a reassuring squeeze, his head nodding.

Murphy felt a little knot in his chest as he watched the kid haul the cooler on his shoulders. It spiked his sense with a strong familiar smell and he briefly wondered what Scud intended to do with it.

None of his business though.

“Ya take care,” said Murphy, fully aware this was farewell. “There’s a thrivin’ human community if ya move ta tha south. We’re headin’ there.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for this information and for saving my ass.”

With that Scud began walking away from them. Murphy’s eyes were on him until the kid’s sight completely vanished. He took little assurance in that Connor had erased the undead in the vicinity and the kid should be safe. For now.

“Wow, that kid looks like yer twin than me. Ya sure ya haven’t fathered any offsprings along the way?” Connor quipped. “Should I be worried there are little Murphies runnin’ around?”

Murphy smacked his brother’s head, laughing hard. “None that ya know o’.” He took a pause to compose himself. “The doppelgänger legend is real and we jus’ saw mine.”

“‘M envious. When do we get ta see mine?”

“Hopefully tha next time we round tha corner, find a distressed human an’ ya got ta put on yer hero hair,” said Murphy. “I kinda hoped tha kid would go with us even though after Rom’s death we swore we’d never take another human. Who knows, he might not have enough luck ta see another day.”

Connor exhaled than took in a breath – all out of human habit than necessity. “‘M pretty sure tha lad has enough bloodsucker in his life already. Saw how he fidget ‘round us?

“Wait, did ya jus’ say there are bloodsuckers other than us?”

“‘M surprised yer surprised, Murph. After all we exist, an’ tha world is swarmed with walking corpses, so I don’t get why the idea that vampires exist is far-fetched. I stole a glance at his soul, didn’t I?

Murphy chuckled. “Wish I had done tha same. That way I wouldn’t be curious by how our ‘cousin’ looks like.”

“Pretty like Twilight, minus tha sparkle,” replied Connor.

(To be continued)

Note: Please excuse my attempt to write dialogues with the Irish accent.

This takes place after the events in Methuselahs, so Connor and Murphy have been vampires (created by Judas’s blood by God’s order) for roughly a century. The setting is zombie apocalypse although it’s not like The Walking Dead (I haven’t watched that series despite Daryl Dixon’s probably Norman Reedus’s most famous role). My initial was that Connor and Murphy encountered many Myrphy’s doppelgänger, or other characters Reedus’s portrayed over the year (like Scud from Blade II, Young Man from Dark Harbor, Travis from Gossip, John Rollins from Messengers II: The Scarecrow), on their way to the south (as stated at the end of Methuselahs). I started with Scud because he seems to be a fun character to write and I ship ScuDeacon pretty hard (blame Deuces Wild for that, fun movie, just watch it); let’s see if inspiration will hit me and I may write more for other characters.

The second part is for Scud and Deacon.

 

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