I'm going to tell you a story.
Our hero was the oldest of two brothers. He grew up in the streets of New York with a mother who died early and a father who deserved worse than hell. The hero took most of his father's abuse of course. He was determined to protect his brother any way he could. Which meant that after his father also died, he looked for any way to keep them together and safe. The opportunity presented itself in the form of the Irish mob.
Which leads us to our villain. He was an only child, and lived a rather idyllic life with his parents up until the edge of ten when he was kidnapped by a family friend. The man kept him in a basement for eight years, torturing him as he saw fit. The villain killed him when he was eighteen. Police found him slightly later, where an officer under someone's payroll taught the boy to be an assassin.
Perhaps they would have never met each other, if not for the hero's younger brother. He was not content to let his brother make all of the sacrifices for the both of them, and became a drug dealer to make ends meet. He managed to make enemies with the wrong sort, and the assassin was called in to kill him. Which he did. The villain was quite good at his job.
Our hero was devastated, of course. His brother was everything to him, in many ways his whole reason for living. So he went on a quest for revenge and began to track the assassin down. It took a year of research and hard work, but the hero found him. And while they were evenly matched, the hero eventually found himself winning. He could have killed the man.
Over the years, the hero would give many reasons why he didn't kill the villain that day. Perhaps it was mercy, perhaps it was a connection forming. It's really hard to say. But the assassin lived, and through the efforts of the hero began to work for the Irish mob rather than against it. Eventually they became friends. And one day the villain arrived at the hero's door with two children.
Something happened inside the hero's mind that day. Somehow, he saw those children and in them saw his brother. They were a chance to make things right, a second opportunity to protect the ones he loved. So although they were technically called the assassin's children, he considered them his own.
Then the younger one, the girl, got sick. Having obtained them by illegal means the two men didn't have many options. While they did what they could, the girl died. The boy moved away shortly after, cursing his parents. The hero once again experienced profound loss.
Life went on like that for a while. The hero worked, not entirely sure what he was doing it for anymore. And he and the villain continued to bond. Though the hero never forgot who he was, what he had done. Regardless of how they felt for each other, he would always be the one who killed his brother. The one who killed his daughter.
But one day, the hero met our heroine. She was cop, lost in her own way, and looking to save her sister. Our hero instantly forged a bond with her, and once again found someone he could help. Once again he failed. But this time he refused to just go back to life as usual. He left everything, secluded himself. Drank away his sorrows. Until one day he came across someone who claimed to be able to help the heroine.
Now, this might be a good time to mention that 'cure' may not be the greatest term. It was long, intensive therapy. And the heroine's mind would always be susceptible to the Evil. but she would be able to function again. Think again. And the hero saw this as an opportunity. He started a blog, brought people in to his story. He introduced them to the heroine, hoping their care would lead the doctor to them.
And like clockwork, the villain came to him.
He put words into the hero's ears, made bloody and dramatic declarations telling him that the hero belonged in the dark. That that was where he would be happy. And little by little, the hero listened. He gave in to the temptation and the promises of this adversary who knew him so well. He joined the Evil, though he never told anyone. He was waiting for the right time, of course. The perfect moment that never came. And the villain was right, he was happy. But it didn't fix anything. So he sought out the doctor himself, and he forced him to help the heroine.
It took a long time. But little by little, the heroine began to return. The hero helped her as much as he could, with the villain lurking just behind. But he underestimated the heroine. She saw how he had come to her, the trail of fear and bodies that the hero had made in order to restore her mind. And she didn't like it one bit.
The hero was reintroducing her to firearms, a favorite of hers before her accident. She held the gun shakily but firmly. The hero asked her a question, looking over at the targets. She answered, hesitantly. And after a muttered 'I'm sorry' aimed the gun at the hero's head.
That was all the time the assassin had to respond.
He launched himself at the heroine, wrenching the gun out of her hands. She responded. There was a fight. While the villain put up a fight, the heroine got a shot into his leg. The hero stood there, trying to figure out what had happened. What the villain did. Even then, that's all the assassin was.
While focused on the injured villain, the heroine placed two shots into the hero's head. She left the villain there, content that he would bleed out.
I can't tell you why I'm telling you this story. Maybe I just think you should know. Maybe it's my last act as the villain of the story, to show you a side of Ronan you may not have known. It's hard to say what the moral of this is. What my husband's life was worth. What it means that he's gone now. But it's the end. Two bullets from a friend. It's both appropriate and an anticlimax, I think.
Stories need to be told.
And this one's reached its end. May he rest in peace.