I Don't

Summary: Laurent questions Merrick about his necklace and Merrick gives him a straight answer, one Laurent did not expect. ONE-SHOT

A/N: This was brought about because I saw this clip and it looked like Merrick was wearing a necklace, it wouldn't go away. Yes I know Laurent came in the middle of the afternoon, but I need the timeframe where it is for the purposes of my plot.

The time was close to midnight, not that anyone could tell in the facility. Guards quietly patrolled the hallways and talked amongst themselves. Every now and again a staff member or two would create a small disturbance, knocking something over or sneezing too loudly, but it was quickly rectified. All was quiet…or so it seemed.

Somewhere in the upper levels of the facility, Merrick paced restlessly. He had counted the steps from one side of his office to the other (fifteen to be exact). He had gone through his files and done some paperwork. Still, he could not get to sleep. The whole Lincoln Six-Echo incident had left him sleep deprived. No agnate had entered his office for awhile now. He looked tired and he didn't want to alarm the population and possibly alert them there was something amiss.

Then there was the matter of Gandu Three-Echo, the one he had to euthanize with his own two hands. He had no qualms about sending the clones to their death…but the power he had felt when he shoved the needle into his neck…it overwhelmed him. Just that fact that something had been able to overtake him that easily scared him. He had always been in control of his emotions. He would go so far as to say that he was considered charismatic.

He had to get out of his office. He left, passing his secretary's empty desk and to the bathroom. Once there he splashed his face with water, trying to rid himself of the drowsiness that threatened to overtake him. He looked at his face in the mirror. Water dripped off in rivulets and clung to his glasses. He grabbed a towel and dried off his face and glasses. He checked them, cleaning them with his shirt, before his cell phone rang. He picked it up.

"Hello?" he asked.

"Yes, Dr. Merrick."

"Charlie," he responded.

"Mr. Laurent is on his way to your office," Charlie Whitman said. Merrick sighed, relieved.

"Thank you," he said, hanging up the phone. He placed the phone back in his pocket and walked back down the hall, past unlabeled doors and dark windows. He walked into his office where Laurent stood looking at a large painting next to his desk. He smiled.

"I love that Picasso," he said, causing Mr. Laurent to turn. "Do you like Picasso Mr. Laurent?" He made a face, showing that he was indifferent, that it wasn't his favorite. Merrick sat down at his desk, leaning back in his chair. "You delivered on your promise, well done. I'm very pleased, thank you," he said. Mr. Laurent sat down in a chair across from him.

"What about the clients? Sarah Jordan?" he asked. Merrick shrugged as he opened the file on his desk.

"She's done for. Even if the transplants are a success, her brain damage may be too severe for any real recovery. See, you took too long bringing her back," he said, smiling. That seemed to unnerve Mr. Laurent.

"So the girl I brought in, you are going to harvest her, kill her anyway even though it won't make any difference?" he asked. Merrick shrugged again.

"That's the privilege our clients pay for, Mr. Laurent," he said, getting up. "Now, do excuse me. I have business to attend to." He walked past Mr. Laurent, who played with a pen on the top of Merrick's desk.

"You know my father was part of the Burkinabe Rebellion?" he asked. Merrick turned, listening with curiosity, another uncharacteristic emotion. "And when he was killed, me and my brothers were branded (here he held his hand up to show Merrick the strange scar on the palm of his hand) so others would know we were less than human." He paused for a moment, as if to let this sink in. "I've seen and done things I'm not proud of, but at some point you realize war…" he began to spin the pen, "is a business." He slapped his hand on top of the pen, the point facing Merrick. "So when did killing become a business for you?" he asked. Merrick shook his head.

"Oh, it's so much more than that. I have discovered the Holy Grail of science, Mr. Laurent," he said, as he walked back over. He slammed his file on the table. "I give life." He paused as if trying to explain it. "The agnates, they are simply tools, instruments. They have no souls." Mr. Laurent's expression remained the same as it had been when he had told him about the scar. Merrick was nearly shaking. From underneath his shirt, a thin gold chain with a crucifix on the end of it had fallen out and hung in plain view of Mr. Laurent. "The possibilities are endless here. In two years time, I will be able to cure children's leukemia. How many people on earth can say that, Mr. Laurent?" he asked, throwing the last bit in Mr. Laurent's face. Mr. Laurent shrugged.

"I guess just you and God," he said. Merrick nodded, a smile playing at the edge of his lips. "That's the answer you're looking for, isn't it?" he continued. Merrick chuckled to himself and began to leave once more.

"Mr. Whitman has your check downstairs." He was nearly out the door when Mr. Laurent spoke to him again.

"Is that why you wear that cross?" he asked. Merrick stopped dead in his tracks. "Or do you not believe in God?" Merrick turned, his stare cold. His eyes and features no longer displayed the amicability he had shown him before.

"I don't believe in God, Mr. Laurent," he said. "I believe in what science can prove."

"And miracles? Things that cannot be explained?" he inquired.

"There is a logical explanation for everything," Merrick said, brushing off the topic.

"So why do you wear that crucifix?" he asked again. Merrick fingered the cross and sighed.

"It's from a time when I did believe," he muttered to himself. "Mr. Laurent, I believe you can see yourself out," he said, walking out. Mr. Laurent smiled. Maybe they weren't quite so different after all.

What do you think? Constructive Criticism welcomed and appreciated. No flames please.