Warnings: Angst. Spoilers for seasons 3 and 4 of Whitechapel. Personal demons. Dark!Kent. Violence. Mentions of an abusive relationship.
Summary: Something rotten is festering inside the mind of DC Kent. Something malevolent which feeds on the horrors he sees each day, magnifies his weaknesses, amplifies the hidden, darker parts of his nature. And he can't fight it whilst everyone else is throwing it scraps.
I just couldn't get my head around why Kent would go from pretty normal at the end of season 3, despite the whole Morgan Lamb thing and the 'bad cop' comment, to being a great deal darker, angrier, and less forgiving in season 4. Could the whole thing with Morgan have gotten to him more and more with time, or did something else set him off? Also there's the whole 'what have you heard?' thing between Chandler and Miles when Miles is gesturing towards Kent and Erica is s4 ep1. Anyway, hope you like it!
All mistakes are my own. Whitechapel and its characters belong to ITV. Any script from the series is also not mine.
Emerson has always strived to be good. Good for his mum and dad, to let Erica be the wild twin. Good for his teachers in school, because God knows they had enough trouble with the other kids. He's never been in trouble with the law. He's polite, hard-working, and reliable. The only difficulty is that that's not him at all. Not really. He has to fight for it, has to fight himself every step of the way; he knows what he'll become if he doesn't.
At aged seven, he'd pushed the class trouble-maker, Tom Buckley, down a flight of stairs when no one else was around. Tom had been teasing him about his hair, something stupid, and Kent had been so, so angry, so he'd reached out, and pushed, and Tom ended up with a broken leg. A nasty, open fracture. The boy had screamed and screamed, crying out that Emerson had done it. But the teachers only had ears for Kent's seemingly panicked call for help, only had eyes for his little hands trying to stop the bleeding. They'd told him he was so brave, so good for helping someone who had been upsetting him. Tom had avoided him after that, along with some of the other kids. Kent used to think that some people, those who were sensitive to that sort of thing, could sense that there was something wrong with him, something twisted. Maybe that's why his aunt had gathered Erica into hugs every time they'd visited, but eyed Emerson warily. His parents thought she was mad, seeing as it was Erica who was generally getting into trouble. Even Erica couldn't see it most of the time, though on the rare occasions he'd snapped at her, he thought that he'd caught a glimpse of fear in her expression, before she glossed over it and teased him for getting mad.
Then there was Luke. His first boyfriend at Uni, they'd been in a band together, played a couple of gigs. Started off as friends and then developed into more. Luke was a possessive, controlling lover. As soon as they'd started dating Kent had belonged to him, and him only. Every aspect of his life was controlled. Then came the violence. Luke would get drunk and they'd fight and next thing you knew Kent would have bruises that no one else could see. Until one night he'd calmly pulled out a serrated knife, and with empty eyes held it to Luke's throat. After Luke left he'd told himself that it was self defence, that Luke would have eventually killed him if he hadn't done something.
The truth was that there was something in Kent's head. A rotten, festering mass which he managed to keep from proliferating and metastasising for the most part. It's part of the reason he'd become a Policeman, joined the Met. He thought that if he was catching other monsters, doing the most good that he could in the world, that maybe the darker parts would recede into the shadows, like a nocturnal creature, shrinking from the light. Things were going well until DI Chandler came. The new Detective Inspector had a sort of radiance to him, something that couldn't be marred by the horrors of Whitechapel, or the demons which plagued the man. If anything these only served to brighten the light that the DI carried round, illuminating the team and their little incidence room. Kent had wanted to be like him so badly; he knew that if he could please the DI, some of that light he carried would help him to overcome his own internal battles. Then came the Krays. The striping, the accusations of betrayal. His more malevolent side had begun to sniff the air, revived, like a leech at the first taste of fresh blood. Then came Morgan Lamb. He couldn't bear for the boss to be so dismissive of his ideas, of him. And Morgan herself, her words; she saw straight through him, and he loathed her for it.
'I guess being the bad cop isn't really me.'
'Perhaps it's more you than you think.'
Years of work, of checking himself over, and over again, ruthlessly hunting for any sign that he was reverting to what he had once been, wasted. Destroyed in a mere seven words. A tiny thing really. And then Morgan had died, he had been responsible for her death, no matter what Miles and Riley had told him when he'd confessed it in a shameful whisper.
After that everything made him angry, everything fed his little tumour. His dark companion. Every wrong glance, every jibe from Mansell, every time he looked at Chandler and saw that haunted look in his eye, it all added to the pile. The scales however, of the good and bad that's inside everyone, remained balanced in Emerson Kent. Until he kissed Chandler that is.
It hadn't even been a late shift. He'd just chosen to stay behind to catch up on some paperwork. The DI hadn't left yet, and after the Bogeyman case Kent was desperate to regain his superior's trust, to claw back some of their previous camaraderie. He'd made the Chandler green tea, steeped just how the boss liked it, and left it quietly on his desk. As he'd turned to exit the small office, Chandler had spoken.
"Shouldn't you be getting home?" He hadn't even looked up from the form he was poring over.
"I don't mind, sir." Kent replied, shoving his hands into his pockets in an attempt to remain casual before he turned to face the older man. "Haven't got anything else to be doing, so I might as well stay and help out."
Chandler made a vaguely dismissive noise.
An hour or so later Kent remained at his desk, concentrating on filling out a report for an incident they'd dealt with the previous week. Unusually, he didn't hear Chandler walk up to stand beside him.
"Kent." Chandler said, his voice tearing Kent away from his paperwork.
"You should go home, get some rest."
Kent thought about this.
"With all due respect sir, shouldn't you be trying to get some rest as well?"
Chandler smiled a small, rare smile, one that barely made it out of the corner of his mouth.
"Perhaps I should." He acquiesced.
Kent smiled back at him, before standing up to put his coat on. He checked his watch: it was late, nearly half 11 in fact.
"Kent," Chandler said, as the DC reached into his pocket for the keys to his moped.
Chandler touched his arm.
"Thank you for staying behind to finish the paperwork, I know things have been difficult for everyone lately, I appreciate your hard work."
Kent smiled again.
"No problem, sir." Chandler's hand remained on his arm. Kent's eyes travelled along the DI's arm, up past his shoulder and his neck, until they came to rest when they locked eyes with that of the older man. He leant further into Chandler's space, watching all the while, giving the Inspector an escape, should he choose to take it. But he didn't, and Kent pressed his lips gently, with the barest hint of pressure, against the other man's. Chandler exhaled softly, and pressed his lips harder against Kent's parted mouth. The young DC sighed, allowing Chandler to take control of the kiss, to take whatever he needed. Joe's hand came up to cradle the side of Kent's face, to tip his head back and press open mouthed kissed to his upturned lips. Kent ran a hand along Chandler's fingers, to his wrist, where to his surprise, was an elastic band. Chandler flinched violently.
"What are you doing?" The DI asked in a suddenly wintry tone.
"Sir?" questioned Kent, bewildered.
"How could you, how could I – "
"But sir – "
"You should leave." The cold tone to his voice had hardened, frozen to shards of ice which fell from his mouth to pierce Kent.
"I don't understand." Kent whispered.
"I don't want to speak of this again." said Chandler, stepping back, distancing himself.
The warm glow that Kent had felt surrounding him moments earlier caved in on itself; compressed into a heavy, suffocating darkness. The rotten part of his thoughts crept into the forefront of his mind, its tendrils snagging on his shattered peace, smoothing over the wound with bitter salve.
The scale tipped, and Emerson Kent was lost.
Okay so that really got away from me in terms of angst and dark!Kent. I'm going to have to write something happy soon to combat this. Let me know what you thought :)