DISCLAIMER: Beig Human belongs to Toby Whithouse, who, may I add, is a genius disguised a man. A seriously Fabulous writer.
My first being human fic, and I found Mitchell deceptively hard to write, so I'd be interested in what people think of it. I imagine this is set at somepoint after his confrontation with Herrick in Ep 4, which is why he's so, so low. Enjoy!
It was late. Or it was early. It never quite mattered in the dead hours when vacant, sparse people wandered around the hospital with blank, dull eyes. No-one spoke, not even in whispers, they avoided eye-contact, each absorbed in their own little tragedies.
Mitchell wasn't a part of them, he wasn't a main-player in the horror-filled eyes of the Doctors, hurrying from one lost human to another, had no part in the occasional people who wandered around the corridors, escaping the elephant in the corner. Death.
It was methodical, washing the floor. It involved very little conscious thought, and there was something primitively pleasing in the way the mop made clean lines over the tiles. God, he was hungry. He couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten, must've been hours ago. Felt like weeks. And cold. He was so cold. He was always cold, but, he was even colder today. It was seeping into his bones, slowing his thought until he was almost asleep, leaning on the plastic mop.
He was jerked alert by the exclamation, shocking for its shattering of the corpse-like silence and the style of the curse; more old-school Germany than 21st Century Bristol. He snapped his head up to see a girl skidding over the newly-washed floor, head coming dangerously close to the rock-hard ceramic. His reflexes, pin-sharp, meant that he was over by her in less than a heartbeat, catching her just before the moment of contact.
"Oh God," the girl gasped, stumbling upright.
"Are you all right?" Mitchell asked, helping set her back on her feet, watching her anxiously as she put her hand on her heart.
"Yeah, yeah I think so. Thanks to you, thankyou, thanks a lot. I'm always doing that to myself, I've had so many cuts my Dad says my knees are just scar tissue now." She kicked ruefully at the floor, her flip-flops squeaking absurdly. Actually, the flip-flops were absurd, it was freezing outside.
Mitchell laughed softly. "I've got into my fair share of scrapes in my time. Hey, check this out." He pushed up his sleeve to reveal a livid scar across his elbow. "Got that on a milk bottle, tripped down the steps when I was 12."
"I've got one on my foot from stamping on a champagne glass last summer. Had to have stitches."
"Impressive." They smiled at each other. He could see that she was about 15 or 16, and had obviously got dressed in a hurry. Her dark hair looked sleep-messy, and she had on a white-and-blue striped shirt that he suspected was a pyjama top, thrown on with a pair of jeans, scruffy hems just touching the top of her white feet. "Do you need any help getting anywhere? Are you looking for someone?"
"No, not really. My mum's here, one of her old friends is dying."
"I'm sorry," it was pathetic, he knew, but there was really nothing else to offer.
"I've only met her a fistful of times. I don't really know her. My Dad's in London on a business thing so she had to bring me." She was very pale, her dark eyes huge and staring. She paused, messing with her cuff, fiddling around with unspoken horrors of people in hospital beds, reeking of death. "How do you deal with this place? I'm here, what, half a fucking hour and I lose sight of the point to life. A + E I've seen, A + E I can deal with, but, but here? Why do they all look like they've given up?"
"Because they have."
She shook her head, chewing on a short fingernail. "Jesus."
"You stay in this place long enough; you get to see all the dregs of life. You can't help but wonder whose getting a sick little kick out of all of this misery. A piece of advice; never work in a hospital. "
"Duly noted. Is there a canteen here?"
"Thanks." She began to flip-flop towards the elevators. "See you around."
Mitchell nodded, and couldn't help wondering why all teenagers sounded like they were American. Then he paused and laughed introspectively at himself. He was getting old.
He had moved right to the end of the corridor when he heard the elevator creak back open. He didn't know if he could be bothered to turn around. It turned out he couldn't. When he felt someone tap him on the shoulder, he turned, expecting George maybe, or a ghost-faced parent taking a break from their vigil, asking him where the toilets were. He was surprised when he saw that it was her, the flip-flop girl. Except now she wasn't flip-flop girl, she was bare-foot girl, her shoes dangling from her left hand. In her right she held a steaming flask.
"Brought you some soup. Split pea and ham, but I guess it all tastes the same." She held it out with a slightly nervous expression, as if wondering whether it would be thrown back in her face. "You looked like you needed it."
He was more shocked than he could remember being for a long time. The cup was warm. The sentiment was warmer, the sentiment was human. Good human, not the rotting humanity that seemed to hang about him when he got off his shift, the one he felt the need to wash out of himself.
"Thankyou." He choked out, holding the polystyrene cup and letting the contact defrost him.
It's enough to restore his faith in humanity, if only for a while.
Well done if you made it this far! If you hated it/found it dull, I'm really sorry. If you liked it, I'm really pleased. Maybe you could tell me? :)