A/N: My first foray into the Being Human fandom.
In the days and weeks after George and Mitchell moved in, Annie would not stop asking questions. After so long being starved of any human contact, she couldn't stop herself.
"So, what's it like, working in a hospital?"
"Since you're a vampire, can you actually eat?"
"And with the werewolf thing, does that change your, you know, abilities for the rest of the month?"
"Tea or coffee? Ooh, I can do hot chocolate?"
"If your first name's John, why do you just go by Mitchell?"
This last question Mitchell didn't attempt to answer for a moment.
She appeared directly in front of him from where she'd been calling from the kitchen, her curiosity piqued by the momentary silence.
"Yeah, yeah, Annie. I'll tell you."
He sat up on the couch to let her sit down. She grinned and took the seat, only barely perching on the edge. It was an odd sensation, thinking that her muscles should be tensing, but only feeling the echo. And had she always been this distractible when she was alive?
Mitchell sighed. "I was twenty six when I got bitten, in the year of stalemate, 1915. And I stopped being human, right there and then." There was a pause as he collected his thoughts. "You see, I was married."
Her eyes widened like saucers. "Really?"
He chuckled. "Sure. It would have been more surprising if I wasn't, given where I came from."
"Who was she?"
"Lizzie," he smiled. "Lizzie Taylor. She was so fair, and she had the brightest blue eyes, y'know? People said we made an odd couple, dark and light together."
His gentle voice painted the picture far more than his words. Annie could imagine Mitchell all done up in a tux, coming out of a church with confetti everywhere. She realised her little daydreams were set in entirely the wrong time period, but she wasn't about to quibble.
"And the way I remember her in the autumn of 1914 is waving me off to war, telling me I'd better be back before Christmas or God help her she'd come and drag me back herself."
"She sounds… fiery," Annie commented.
"She was that," Mitchell agreed. He paused. "She was a bit hormonal."
Annie smiled. "Hormonal and waving your husband off to war, good mix."
He looked at her. "She was pregnant, Annie."
"Oh my goodness, you're a dad!" she exclaimed. Then she stopped. "Um, were. Um, are you?"
He slid down in his seat. "I don't know," he confessed.
"You don't know?" she repeated incredulously. It was a bizarre concept. She and Owen had planned their nursery, and they'd chosen names, and they hadn't even been trying yet!
"I don't know," Mitchell confirmed.
"Uh, how don't you know? We could look him or her up!" she suggested excitedly. "Him or her?"
"Her, and don't."
She jerked herself back from ideas of teary reunions. "Why not?"
He closed his eyes. "It's not my life anymore. I got the letters telling me she'd been born, that mother and daughter were well. I had those letters in my pockets when I was bitten. I had Lizzie's ring on my finger. And as soon as I realised exactly what this new life was, I threw them all into the mud."
Annie sounded almost personally offended at this turn of events, and he knew she was picturing her Owen doing the same as soon as she was dead and buried. He wondered exactly how furious Lizzie would be if she knew the truth.
"You gotta understand, I honestly thought I was, oh, I don't know, a monster. Something different. Not human. And I thought I was gonna be like that for the rest of my days. I didn't think there was a way I could ever be human again, and Herrick wasn't about to suggest it." He looked at her. "You don't think of me as a vampire, do you?"
She frowned. "Um, I s'pose…"
"You don't. You think of me as a person. Same with George, you don't look at him and see a rabid beast."
"Of course not!" But she was starting to understand. "You didn't think you were a person, did you?"
He snorted. "Worse. I didn't think Lizzie was. In the vampire world, there's a very strict hierarchy. Not just within our society, but for everyone. And humans and vampires are on completely different planes. They're prey. We're predators. You and George fall somewhere in between, aware of the supernatural, not food, but certainly not on the same level as us."
"You thought like that?"
He grimaced. "Sometimes I still do," he admitted. "I got used to it. I thought it was true."
"But you're here," she pointed out.
"Yeah," he said with a small grin. "I'm here. But that's the answer to your question," he went on more seriously. "John Mitchell was a human man who married the lovely daughter of the local blacksmith. Not me. Not anymore."
"Right," Annie said vaguely. That cleared up her original question, and only provoked about three dozen more.
"Anyway, I'd better get off to work," Mitchell said, pushing up from the couch. "I'll see you later, yeah?"
He turned back. "Yeah?"
She was standing now, too, twisting her hands in her long cardigan, which had suddenly become thicker. Mitchell still didn't understand how her clothes could change so sneakily, though he was starting to learn how to interpret her moods by how her clothes appeared.
"When… when you were bitten. Did you… were you… well, did you die?"
His face crumpled ever so slightly. "Yeah."
She shook her head. "I mean, did you see…?"
"I saw," he confirmed. "I know what you mean."
For a minute, they were united in death as they never would have been in life.
"I thought I'd have to live with that forever," she whispered. "For a year, I was watching those people and thinking they had no idea..."
"Don't think about it," he advised. "You'll go mad, and forever's a long time to be mad."
"Will I really be around for forever?" she asked, still subdued.
"I don't know," he admitted. "I've known ghosts that have been around for centuries, and I've known ghosts that disappeared after only a few weeks. I don't know the specifics."
She bit her lip and nodded.
"I'd…" He gestured to the door.
"Oh! Yes! Um, I'll cook dinner tonight. See you at seven?"
"Make it half past," he said, and just like that they were normal housemates, swapping schedules. "See you later."
The door swung closed behind him, and Annie was left alone. But not quite as alone as she had been before.