Stop My Heart

Note: Another post-ep for Stalker. This story really didn't go as planned, but I guess that's what I get for trying to put myself in the mind of a madman.

"Ask him. Ask Nick. Nick, would you let me stop your heart?"

-- Nigel Crane, Stalker.


They were like insects. Annoying buzzing creatures that all did as they were told, and the ones that didn't were even worse. Battles broke out in the middle of meals. Tenuous peace treaties that had been brokered without having been meant to were broken just as quickly, with inhuman screams from wretched automatons and the sound of knuckles pounding into flesh.

He did as they did, followed them, pretended to be the same. He could afford to in his quest to stay unnoticed, but he knew he was above them all―even if, at the moment, he couldn't find height enough to look down.

He could hear his own heart pounding in his chest, following him wherever he went. He shouldn't be in this place. He couldn't figure out why Nick had not come to get him out yet. A smile played across his lips, menace enough in the small movement to make an inmate across from him, one twice his size, take a step back. Nick would come. A friend wouldn't leave him here, certainly not one as resourceful as Nick.

He would find evidence, maybe, to prove he had done none of those things they accused him off. Sure he had killed Jane, but she didn't count, she was an obstacle and he had no choice but to do what he did. The other guy, he couldn't remember his name, but the one he had sent crashing through the roof of Nick's living room, he had been snooping, spying, spying on his Nick--and no one was allowed to do that but him.

He admitted to those crimes, if the irritating CSIs insisted on labeling them crimes, but they had tried to tell him he had intended to harm Nick. He laughed. As though he would harm his only friend, as though he would harm the only one of them that meant anything at all.

He knew that wasn't the case. If Nick had died that night it would have been for him, not because of him. He couldn't expect the others to understand, only Nick would ever understand. Nick would let him stop his heart, and he had proved that night, when he pressed the gun into his own neck, that he would stop his for Nick, too.

Nick had not let him. If what Nick had been saying, the others had been saying, was true, and Nick was not a friend, he could have stood there and watched him die. He saved him, instead. Nick didn't want him to stop his heart for him; sometime soon, perhaps, Nick was going to stop his own instead.

He was such a good friend. Bars could not pull them apart. Nick didn't answer his letters but he was not concerned, he was sure there was a good reason. He would make sure Nick told him what it was when he was finally free of this place, if he had to use a gun again to get his answers. He didn't like doing that, using the gun on Nick, they were friends after all, but sometimes Nick got so self-involved, so confused, that he forgot his best friend's name.

He didn't like it when people forgot his name. He was so much better than most that they should speak it with reverence, not allow it to slip their feeble minds. Nick was the only one he would allow to forget it without paying with his life, but he was sure, that by now, Nick would never forget his name again. He imagined that sometimes, Nick even whispered it in his sleep.

Nick whispered lots of things in his sleep, but he had such trouble catching the words. They slipped away in the space that had held them apart, and he had been scared to get closer. Scared because Nick was not like the others, not like Jane, not at all. He had to be careful, but he was not careful enough, and now he was here while Nick was still out there.

This wasn't how it was supposed to end, not with both their hearts beating so far apart. He was someone, he was, because he was friends with Nick and Nick was someone. He liked being someone, but none of them here, none of them understood. He'd kill them all if he could--swat them like all like flies.

It wasn't that easy, so he waited instead, hid his aggression in a submissiveness that fooled them all. They left him alone, because as submissive as he could pretend to be, the moment anyone met his eyes--they knew to stay away. They saw what was there, he thought with a smile, when they met his eyes they knew what he was capable of, what he would do to them if they got too close.

He missed his attics. There was no one in this place worth watching. He could shut his eyes and see Nick's rooms, his house, the floors, because he was almost always only looking down. Oblivious, Nick had been so oblivious. So self-absorbed he had not even realized there was someone living in his attic, his best friend none the less.

He had watched him for three weeks. Every time he could, he would sit there staring down from the small holes. He had spent less and less time with Jane until he decided finally that she would have to go altogether. Work became tiresome, and he didn't enjoy it like he used to. He had never watched one person for so long, and he had realized, slowly, how different Nick was. Because Nick wasn't some toy for him to control, Nick was him.

That was the secret Nick shared with him, that they were really exactly the same. The lines between them were imaginary, even if they were the only ones that couldn't see them. This is what the others didn't understand, could never understand. Hurting Nick was hurting himself, and the same was true for Nick.

He sat still, closing his eyes and falling into the dark. He counted the heart beats, and wondered how many were left until it stopped, and Nick's stopped, and they could leave this world together towards something that had to better than this.

The End.