BTW this is NOT a SLASH fic!! I am not an advocate of Somerset/Mills, so any hints that you may pick up from this story are purely your own!
Worth fighting for
(From Detective Somerset's POV)
I went downtown yesterday to see him. David Mills, my former partner that was only my partner for a little over a week. The worst he got was at least five years in a correctional facility specializing in the mentally disturbed and traumatized, which, to me, isn't a punishment. After what happened to him, I call that a blessing. The man needs all the help he can get, and he has to stay there until deemed sane. It's been about four years now, and he has made a significant improvement. Which basically means that he doesn't sit in the corner, curled up in a ball, weeping for hours on end and muttering incoherently anymore.
To see a grown man sob like that, such a gut-wrenching sound, turns my stomach inside out. It took a lot to go back the second time. And the third time. Now I've stuck with the habit of visiting him once a week.
He doesn't have anyone else.
Which I think is a shame, really. His parents were upper-class snobs interested in their reputation, and have only been to see him once. That was to tell him that he was no longer part of the family. I guess when he moved out, got married, and started a life of his own in the big city, they hadn't taken to that much. That happens to self-absorbed control freaks, sometimes.
But David is making progress. He responds to my questions and actually attempts to make conversation once in awhile. But he has good days and bad days. It really makes me sad to see him shuffling around like an old man on his bad days; effects of the pills, you know. They double his medication on days when he has 'episodes', as they put it. The medication slurs his speech, too; at least that's what he says. He hates those pills, but he takes them anyway. Not because he's supposed to, but because of the one time he didn't take them.
I don't really know why I visit him so often. Perhaps for many reasons. Perhaps I feel guilty that I didn't stop him from shooting John Doe, but perhaps I would've liked to shoot John Doe, myself. Perhaps I respect Mills for taking his revenge then and not lying in bed the rest of his nights wishing that he'd done it then, letting the bitterness eat at him, consume him, and turn him into something else; something even more dangerous.
Or, perhaps I just want to make sure he's doing ok. Despite our differences, even then I considered him my friend. I'm still a cantankerous old man, and I'll always be one. But I'm one who has lived a long life and experienced a lot of things, and I know that I've never experienced anything as mind-blowing and horrible as Mills has.
So, perhaps I go to let him complain to someone who's not wearing a white coat and insisting that he take his pills. Someone who talks to him like he's still normal.
Talking to him yesterday, I realized just how much that means to him. We were sitting at the table, smoking cigarettes and chatting away like two old men in a nursing home, and he looked at me and said, "You know, Somerset…I've been thinkin'. Why the fuck do you visit me anyway? Ain't I supposed to be crazy or something?"
"I don't think you're crazy," I replied. Honestly. I don't think he's crazy. In the end, anyone, including myself, would have done the same thing, no matter how much he or she would like to believe otherwise. However, normal he is not.
He just laughed and leaned back, staring at me like I was crazy. "See, that's why I like it when you visit me. You're the only goddamed person in this word that doesn't think I've completely flipped my fucking lid. I still haven't figured out why."
I laughed with him and quipped, "Maybe that's because I'm a crazy old man."
"Hah! You got that fuckin' right."
It's good to hear him laugh and joke around. The old David Mills is starting to come back; the one that I only knew for such a short time, but soon found that I missed terribly.
Perhaps he'll come back one day. I'm not rushing him, and I don't think anyone else should, either. Yes it is a shame that his life was ruined, and some people might say that he has to find a reason to live and move on. I agree with this, as well. But they shouldn't expect that reason to just pop up out of nowhere so soon. It will take time, and it will take tremendous healing; healing that this world doesn't seem to want to offer to people in his case. They simply want him to ignore what happened and move on. But he can't.
Each night he goes to sleep and sees the face of his dead wife. The face of beautiful Tracy, who was as innocent and pure as the driven snow, marred first by the realities of how harsh this world, this city, can be. Then marred by blood, the envy of another man.
John Doe may have been trying to make a point. But the sad thing is, he was too late. Each of the deadly sins lies within everyone. The capability to kill, to indulge in different things to the point that it becomes an obsession; all of it lies within each person. And even though I live in this city and I see virtually nothing but the bad, I somehow know that the good is out there, somewhere.
At least, I hope it is
Just as Mills told me yesterday, "Listen up, Somerset," he said in his cocky, smart-ass voice, the one that annoyed the hell out of me at first. "This world is a piece of shit going to Hell in a dump truck. Fuck, we're probably on our way there. But you know something, and I'll tell you these sons of bitches have been cramming this shit down my throat ever since day one with therapy and shit like that; but anyway, like they say, you have to find the diamond in the rough. The one thing that shines out among the rest of the fucking shit; the ring that someone flushed down the toilet, so to speak. You know what I wanted to say to all of them? Fuck you and the horse you road in on. But I got to thinking…"
He stopped for a moment. "Go on," I said, encouraging him to continue. This struck me as one of those 'moment of truth' moments or something like that; the kind of thing that a bunch of happy freaks like to read about at the end of a book.
"It's just that, well, you're pretty much the only person that ever comes to visit and it beats talking to these damn doctors every day cause all they keep asking me is if I've written in my diary and gotten my feelings out, or if I've taken my goddamn pills, or shit like that. God, I hate that fucking shit."
I nodded. There wasn't anything I could say at that point.
"But you know what, and this is just between me and you, okay?" He leaned in closer and fumbled with his thumbs nervously. "I really want the fuck out of here," he whispered. "But I don't, either. Isn't that fucked up? It's like one minute here I am talking to you and feeling like it's a goddamn café instead of a fucking mental ward, and the next minute it's like…oh god I see her in my head and it all starts all over you know what I'm saying? Good God I sound like a crackhead, don't I?" He stared at me with pleading eyes. I remember the look in those eyes, which will haunt me until I die.
"Why didn't I just kill myself at the beginning and saved myself the trouble?"
He waved his hands. "No, no, I'm not going to kill myself NOW for god's sake. I'm too chicken shit to do it now. What I'm saying is, I must have had, in the deepest part of whatever was left of my mind at that point, some reason to live, right? Otherwise I would have stuck the gun in my mouth at the same time I shot that fucking bastard."
I nodded, seeing his point.
"So what's my reason to live?" he asked. "What fucking reason do I have to live?"
I sighed. How the hell was I supposed to answer that question? So I answered it the only way I knew how.
"That's something you're going to have to figure out on your own."
He laughed bitterly. "Goddamit, Somerset, couldn't you give me a better answer?"
Go figure. But it pissed me off; so I stuck my finger in his face and replied, "Listen up, Detective Mills. I've only contemplated suicide once in my entire life, so how am I supposed to answer that? Do you know what kept me from killing myself?"
"The fact that I'd be dead. As shitty as this world can be, it still has a hold on you whether you like it or not. It's different for everyone else. Some people don't have a strong attachment to this world, and only god knows what mine is. For me, it's the same as this damn city. I couldn't leave even when I wanted to."
He nodded and shrugged, deciding to drop it for the time being. "Yeah I guess so." And that was the end of that conversation.
But what he said really got me wondering why he didn't pull the trigger on himself that day. I suppose perhaps a good reason was because he had emptied his gun entirely into John Doe. But a desperate man will resort to desperate things, and sometimes saving the last bullet for yourself can be one of those desperate things.
No matter what the reason, I can't help but be glad that he didn't save the last bullet for himself.
I suppose it's something I'll never figure out.
Bad ending? Yes, no? Reviews would be nice, and maybe, perchance I'll do another if I am so inspired.