Stop

It was over a decade ago it had happened.

He was standing over the body of man who couldn't have been more than twenty when he realised it had to stop. He himself wasn't that much older and yet the man just looked so... young. Or at least he had done before. Probably still got called 'kid', probably still had parent's who thought of him as a child, probably didn't even have to shave. And this child was dead.

Not that he was a good man; he would have killed Eliot given half a chance, one could even go so far as to say Eliot had saved a few lives by ending this one.

But standing over the disfigured corpse even knowing all of that, he knew it had to stop. Because it was just too much; he had not quickly and cleanly dispatched the man in self-defence. No; he had known immediately that the man would not be walking away from this one and yet he had beaten the man to death with his bare hands.

All the pain and the rage and the violence inside him had been brought to bear on this man's flesh. It was a force that when truly unleashed no man could survive.

It couldn't be said that he enjoyed it, but there was a sense of power, of control, that he had thrived on... even basked in perhaps. It was a truth he could never admit out loud, and yet he could not deny it either. The adrenaline was still flooding through his system, making his nerves thrum; the exhilarating feeling of being alive had stolen his breath for just a moment.

And although he knew the man could not be much younger than him he felt infinitely older. He had been places and seen things, felt things, that had left him an old man. He would never be young, not even next to a human withered and gnarled by a hundred years; his eyes might be closer to theirs than the body that lay below him.

It had to stop.

That is not to say of course that he would never kill again, no that was a part of the path he had chosen – or perhaps had been chosen for him – a long time ago. What had to stop was the kind of death he had just inflicted.

He would only kill when he had to kill. Sure the man would have killed him if he had been given the chance, but if he had knocked the man out he would have stopped him in that endeavour just the same.

The place for this man might have been a prison, or maybe even the execution chamber; but that was not his place to judge. He needed to be colder and less emotional at these times. He needed to be lead by his head and not by his need to inflict some of his own suffering on another person.

Perhaps this man should have had his spine crushed instead of his life ripped away fist by fist. Paralysis may seem like harsh punishment to some but Eliot had a different morality to what society dictated. Some might argue he had a stronger moral compass than most people; he would not allow certain injustices pass.

As he looked down once again at the man he took in what his hands had done. His skull was visibly deformed and his face a bloody mess; torn and engorged with blood, eyes lost in the swelling and teeth destroyed. As though he had been taken apart by some unnamed monster.

And maybe he was a monster.

So it was this day that he changed, a shift within that reshaped him into something else; not quite human but not the creature he was before either. He supposed it was a revolution, or perhaps an evolution, within him.

It was this day the animal within him was caged, the demons held behind iron bars. Because otherwise his soul would be lost, his humanity or however much he had managed to hold onto would be gone forever. He had been created by evil but now he had to overcome it, bit by bit taking back what was stolen in blood and pain and cruelty. He would never be whole again but he would reconstruct what he could gather.

He found the wallet of the man and took out a license with a name and photograph slipping it into his pocket. This would be his reminder. Funny how one Moscow hood could make such a difference. He didn't know anything about the man other than what was on the card. Did he have family? Parents, brothers, sisters, a wife, a child? What was his job? What were his aspirations, his dreams?

He doesn't feel guilty about the man's death exactly. That would be an inappropriate summation of his feelings. Not that he ever really feels emotions in the same way as a 'normal' person would. Sure he calls his team weird sometimes, or 'not normal' (particularly Parker) but in many ways he thinks he is more of an aberration than the rest of the team combined.

Sure he understands the unwritten rules of social interaction and is the most self-aware. He can blend in with 'normal' people, but he knows he is a wolf in sheep's clothing; a predator among them. Sure Parker stands a little too close sometimes and Sophie lies uncontrollably and Hardison is the biggest geek he's ever met and Nate, well, honest man or not he is an addict and a despicable one at that at times but he is something else.

He can kill a man and feel nothing, feel a man's bones break and still be calculating where next to strike to cause just the right amount of damage. Damage done a long time ago seems to have given him the ability to shut off emotions he needs to silence whilst pouring fuel onto the fire of other. He finds himself wondering if he is capable of love; he wants to be and he has certainly felt deep affection, but he fears love is out of his reach.

Like with Aimee who loved him intensely, profoundly, and yet he could not give her what she wanted what she deserved. He doesn't know if anyone ever loved him as a child because some of what was done to him in faraway lands destroyed parts of his memories. Maybe he did know the unconditional love of a mother once upon a time but he knows for certain if he ever did that it was stolen too early for any child. Maybe if you miss it as a child you cannot learn it later in.

He does however know hate. Many a man has felt the molten wrath of his hate and most did not live to tell the tale... or at least wish they hadn't. Another emotion that was lost in the fire of his past was jealousy; this was a matter of pure survival though. He could not have survived some of the torture had he been consumed with the desire for what another man had; like watching another man eat whilst you starve, really truly starve, and not give in is indescribable. But once you accept you have what you have and it doesn't matter what anyone else has it becomes easier. Applying logic to emotion should not work; it is something almost fundamental to the human race, and yet for Eliot it does. If he does not want to feel guilty, or embarrassed or unhappy; he doesn't.

And thus when he decided to stop letting fury rule in his 'work', he threw away the hate. Sure, there were still vast amounts of aggression, but that is a whole different beast. And it was down to one man.

BOGDAN SOKOLOV

He thought of the name often. Bogdan means gift from God which Eliot felt was oddly appropriate. Perhaps it was divine intervention, or fate, or maybe it was just part of the chaotic happenstance that was life, who knew? It didn't really matter anyway. Sometimes the effect is more important than the cause.

And so...

...It stopped.