The Seeds we've sown.
Introduction: What you remind me of,
To the unwary vict… excuse me, the reader,
Humble writer here, with a warning in tow.
For starters… this is an M fic and very much an AU. My notes uncensored as they are definitely mark this as an M piece, there will be occasional acts of sex, blood, gore, and crude language, it's the last as well as some ideas in the rough draft that have made me pick this ranking. As such you are warned. And I hope you read this, as I'm not likely to repeat myself until I get to the lemony bits.
Now, to the warnings of a nonconventional slant. Congratulations, you've wandered into a mad lab of sorts. As such, this fic is an experiment, I don't know how far it will go… but I want something I've never seen before. I want to prove the impossible possible in my humble little way. In fandom and original work, I've never seen this done, ever. I want a melding of two conflicting genres. To top it off I want something of length. I also hope to present a protagonist who, while sympathetic, is as much antagonist as the villain on the opposite side of the fence. And I want it all in the same story.
I'd also like a raise, to be paid for per word, and other unlikely yet similar things of the like but… well that's not happening either, is it?
Oh well, let's see if I can do this.
"Subject: You; what you remind me of.
I recall you, not face not hands, nor bitter voice, or cold demeanor. Your shadow's touch, I recall that.
Do not pity such a paltry recollection.
The holes of my memory's surely parallel the holes in your head.
And those connected voids are all that keeps your heart in its breast."
Looking up from the papers, doctor considers patient, one black eyebrow raised. Without words, she says the obvious, "Poetry, for me, how sweet". Between them, lies a wall of glass with all the proper descriptors. Reinforced, bulletproof, all the standard bells and whistles. It does a fine job as fun mirror too, all its alterations distort his reflection, fade hers.
Thiers images, conjoined by the mundane median, are not a pretty picture.
The metal tray, that slides under between them upon the table, is the sole ingress between the translucent wall. It's the unspoken parley between his complete isolation and her pseudo freedom. She pulls the tray, his words from today's analysis lay before her. The snap as the flap shuts, it's reinforced too, on his side, to prohibit a more… brutal ingress than words on the paper.
A predecessor of his was creative, cruel, and that's why there's an opening now. An opening to work, mind, not an actual one.
She'd doubt her safety were there an actual opening… except with this one. Sardonic morbid humor aside, he's not as cracked as his peers and predecessors. He's not as cracked as he's deliberately striving to appear.
She's sure of it.
"You really must like the food here."
"Hmmm?" His gaze has canted onto the side, perusing some nearby shadow just over her shoulder for information. "Yes, it just has that…" He twists his lips, half moaning, half making a noise that was nearly pornographic, as if partaking the flavor of something positively succulent. "that flavor…" He sighed… lustily.
It's hard not to think of his voice as an invitation. It makes the man (mad or not ) a walking one way ticket to carnal misadventure whenever he opens his mouth. That god-damned pitch, silken, low, voice. It's the complete juxtapose to his…
He's laughing to a punch line she's missed. Nails on chalkboard, raspy, with exaggerated hisses interspaced throughout. Ah, and that is why he never scores with the ladies. An awful laugh, brimming humor, and the misfortune to love to laugh and to laugh at himself with gay abandon.
When the fit's passed –save for his eyes, they gleam, glitter with a softer mirth than that which he vocalizes- he smiles at her, ever careful not to show his teeth.
"So, Clarence, how goes it?"
"I'm torn, between tearing out my hair in frustration at your asinine refusal to re-assimilate into society or correcting your awful Hannibal Lector impersonation."
"Ohh… correct correct…"
Figure's he'd try, and fail (as he always does) to get her to "correct" He's well aware of his effect on her, his voice, which is why she suspects that he's pitched his tone to a nearly childish whine right now. Or, considering the fact that he's tucked his long legs against his chest (one equally long arm wound about them for support) he rocks back and forth, eyes wide, teeth not bared but grinning despite the handicap, he could be trying to enhance his "I'm being so childish" line right now.
She wouldn't bite; ask him about his childhood like all the others. She'd read his files. He'd been caught out spinning spiel after contradictory spiel by the last team (yes he'd earned his own team of professionals to better dissect his "insanity") and after being classified as a pathological liar had all been forgotten.
Until up come the rookie.
Save she wasn't the initial rookie.
He'd hated her predecessor with a nearly maniacal glee. Threatening all sorts of obscene things, but not the usual. Not the rape, torture, sessions some of his wing mates of Cycloid's Institute of the Deranged and Mentally Challenged would have. Not even the threats of murder, mayhem and bodily harm had passed from his lips.
Had they been, well the solution would have been a tranq, or a drip, depending on duration of hostility and the like.
No, he'd started telling her stories, innocent seeming things at first. Silly things that she'd banter about in the break room (screw confidentiality, when in the building gossip was gossip, beyond it they were professional) stories about a dog. "Fido" chewing the rugs, waiting on the top stairs for Mistress to get home, ecetera ect.
"Creepy how my little Elbert was just on the stairs, racing down to greet me. Hasn't done that since the arthritis got to his forepaws."
It was the last time she'd ever told one of the "stories". At least in the break room. There'd been one tale, one session with this "patient" in which Samatha Biggithin had come out in tears. Running out of the room in tears, she's raced to the Head's office and…
And she'd left work early, hadn't been back since…
Fire said the rumors, house fire, and coincidence, just happened that day.
Despite all the comforts of logic and the rational Samantha couldn't be coaxed back.
So Claudia Belmont had been given good old Sammy's heels to fill.
Well to try to fill.
But isn't, not really, not until someone else comes along anyway. At least that's what the condescending glower of the institute's head keeps assuring.
Amazing really, what you can say without words. Just a gaze.
Click, snap. The breech, was closed, for now.
Her expression, which is both cold and bold by turn, summons forth an almost toothy smile. All the rocking stops and he uncurls, not wanting to hurt her ears (he's well aware the effect of his laughing, so he tones it down "cus I likes you shweet heart" he serenaded to her, first day in, first wince he'd summoned) he keeps his laughter inside.
She's had him express this resolve before, clocked him matter of fact. His record is at five minutes tops.
"Wasn't for you, for her, you understand? No hard feelings?"
And despite it breaking protocol, she smiles, nods.
They aren't supposed to give him anything you see, anything for him to draw on. No personality to like, no expression to read.
His intuition was almost psychic.
A guard walking by could almost expect to be hollered at "How's the kids? Jimmy-boy" the head of the institute had made one visit and left ashen when with utterly false sympathy -she's seen the tapes you see- the patient had offered his condolences of the director's wife's demise.
This, from the man who hadn't seen a newspaper, or talked to someone unrecorded for a year running and had no contacts beyond his doctor of the moment.
"Grrreat.. 'cept I ain't a tiger and can't abide the ultra sweet stuff. So don'ts sell me out, or try to." It isn't wide, you can't see his teeth at all, (save the edges, yellowed and brittle one and all) but there is a warmth to his ice blue eyes when he smiles, meeting her gaze all the while.
He'd be a charming man, an attractive one, and if it weren't for the little allusions of the reality of the situation seen by the eye at every moment... The pea green uniform tha marks him as one of the deranged and dangerous. How the fabric falls over his slender shoulders, obscuring his once fuller frame in it bulbous descent. The fact that he's allowed a belt (it's wrapped about his waist twice, except when while whim strikes him, and it isn't) because he needs it to hold up the massive pants he… doesn't favor… but insists upon. The dark rings, black shiners gifts of chronic sleep deprivation ("Its Charles ya see, a screamer, and not in a good way…") the odd laugh, the absent "s" tagged onto words that don't need it…
"Did you have a nightmare last night?"
"'Tween Charles and the dreams, a man don't sleep well here Ms. Belmont."
Did she mention manners, outrageous and charming in turn?
He's quite the puzzle.
Speaking of puzzles, he looks at her… no past her… playing his "let's read the shadow" role of his dementia.
It's his favorite game, one he peruses despite the literature he's offered, the pens and papers he's given, the music he could listen too.
He's just that well behaved, and that charming, they have to keep rotating his guards, his doctors and the like because he becomes so… well liked.
All accidental, he's not trying to be ingrating you see ("just the charm of my smile") yet turn by turn he repels. There's something subtly off about him. He's never held a job longer than a year, a drifter at heart, compiling to the facts is that not-so-little tragedy that all his friends and family were deceased…
Yet he has none of the signs of being anti social, or sociopathic (save with Sammy). The graphologist gave him a clean bill of mental health (save some ego issues, but hey, who hasn't a problem or two?) he'd openly admitted to "liking" to play with all their heads. So, from time to time he'd deliberately blotch one test or the other, the first move to any opening play session.
But… another off thing is that he rattles them off, talking about his dead and gone without any pain.
Except when it's someone else's dead and gone and he gives a damn about the person in front of him.
Then the pains all there, all too real.
Like the look he's giving her. He swallows it, an exaggerated motion that isn't deliberate, he's slack now, still. Still trying to smile, the expression isn't hanging quite right on his lips. A chill creeps up Dr. Belmont's back.
"Well," His voice is rough, like he's laughed too long and hasn't drunk enough to make up for it.
Save he hasn't, not with her, not today.
She makes sure of it, you see. Checks' his chart, checks with his nutritionist, and shuts him up herself when necessary.
"Something the matter?"
"Naw." He lies, it's obvious and all the more unsettling considering this is a man who's lied to professional psychologists and hadn't been caught until he deliberately let some fact slip. "Just… dreams you know? Bad dreams."
"Like what? Want to talk about it?"
Because if isn't consensual he clams up, it's the first rule he's taught her. You don't force the topic, any topic, with a man who refuses to give a name to anyone. He shakes his head, not quite denying (those are obvious, sometimes profane laced when he's feeling particularly sensitive that day) hesitant to… see her off.
"Keep it, on you, would you?" He nods his head indicating the folded paper in it's tray waiting on her side. He stands, staring at her all the while, never mind he's got nowhere to go he wants to be gone. "Might keep you smiling, a little while longer before… I heard you humming it, heard it on the radio before that… but I don't know all the words, just bits and pieces."
He closed his eyes, against some waking nightmare, smile fading, faded gone. She stood, materials gathered and sorted by unseeing hands. She'd have something to add to his file, that and something to pursue. His note… crinkles in her grip, to that he cracks open his eyes and not seeing her gone yet tries to smile.
It fails, he knows it, she knows it, and nods his farewell. She turns, long black hair whispering at her back. First hers fills her ears, then his, save his makes no sense despite hers being mere sound.
"Your… your granddad… Never a better man to hate... I'd be honored to be on opposite sides of the fence as it were if he weren't such a hard assed, short sighted, bastard. No hard feelings."
She's stopped now, utterly still as her heart staggers in her breast. Her blue eyes are wide and back to him besides he knows it, his tones softens, as do his words.
"Let him know that… that Slogra… before he bites that silver biscuit on speed steroids… tell him… no hard feelings."
In her pocket, clipits of a melody crinkle. The words surly run together, the ink weren't quite dried yet when he'd passed it though the wall. Still the meaning, when she opens it to pursue the words is clear, and isn't.
"So come on baby (don't fear the reaper),
Baby take my hand (don't fear the reaper),
We'll be able to fly (don't fear the reaper),
Baby I'm your man...
Love of two - is one,
here but now - they're gone,
Came a last night of sadness,
And it was clear that she couldn't go on...
The door was open (and the wind appeared),
The candles blew (and then disappeared),"
When next she sees him, after the news and the private nightmare that's become her life is just appearing she's near but not quite at tears. The world was falling about her ears, he knows that, meets her gaze, blue eyes devoid of the usual mirth that's marked their interactions from the start.
All that remained was a bitter understanding. Without prelude and pomp, he meets her red streaked eyes with his own. His voice is all growls hisses and laughter's croak is in attendance despite his lack of mirth. Form first syllable to last, it's thus.
"It's not like getting your heart torn out. You think it is, but it isn't."
He speaks with such surety, with such careful juxtapose to his previous banter she nearly bolts, surly wishes to run. He's insane, must be. … Even for a joke… this has gone too far…
And it's then, in that moment, she knows how Samantha feels, and why that woman had run.
And why she never came back.
But she can't, she doesn't, she isn't Samantha. Squaring her shoulders, she meets his gaze, this man whose named himself after… after… In Grandfather's deluded, delusional, journals that oh-so-carefully documented his decline (and how she's missed it she can't know, and it hurts, how it hurts to see what she missed too late to help!) after Deaths' right hand man. As if privy to her thoughts his lips lift, baring broken yellow edges. He smiles at her, for once, all teeth in full, brilliant, attendance.
"I'd think I'd know." Another contradiction, the hand he uses to reach out to her that the glass wall between arrests. The hand that he sets over his own heart, is equally tender, as if recalling a memory. "About getting hearts torn out."
What I dream: From the Files of patient alias "Slogra"
Failure, thick as bile, swift as blood. One moment's lack of discretion and then… this…
This… diminishing, this… fading away.
Lesser beings than him would have rages. He… he turned away, foe unmarked, vengeance vows unspoken.
They have no place here.
He finds his way to Father's feet, finds his way to Father's arms. Breathes staggered into final gasps, mouth slicked with life's necessary fluids, both slipping away.
He is slipping away.
Servant, scion, son…
Black, wings as soft as sin –for he knows sin, all seven, has indulged in each and every one- he lets go and is guided into black, through black, each thought a wonder as his essence is saturated in a dark so deep it smothers. And thus he diminishes, as all things must before Death.
But he smiles, orifice twisting into a mannerism he's learned through all the many many years.
And the many many failures.
Death pervades, settling into each vein, roosting into his stilling heart, and there abides, familiar, a comfort.
"He has learned." Speaks the voice, lodged between hollowing vein and stiffing sinew, He resounds louder in the growing gaps of a palpitating heart. "Mathis, of madness, and its cycle. He has learned and thus attempts to supersede my authority. But you..."
Unsaid: Oh son, oh scion…
"You my Servant, shall not fall and rise with him. Never to fall, until the last day, thus stands your destiny. The life I forbade to fall will only be sundered at the death of the Final day, so say the Scriptures. So was promised me. You will not partake this mad dance down hells' darkest spires. The angels conspired to make this world threefold, Mathis aspires to raise hell's place above that of heaven's loftiest towers and crash it all down."
Cool hands slide over the broken ribs, over the collapse punctured lungs.
And though it is agony, though it burns, he must.
Up and to the left (not so different after all) that touch of ice steals over the still heart.
Beat and beaten. Death pulls back, letting the tortured, reformed shell of its own hand right fall. To rest, for a while. Catch his breath, than he'd rise, he'd plan (like father like son) and thwart this morbid dooms hand.
The world couldn't end, not yet, not now.
It wasn't the appointed hour, the cycles weren't complete.
Not by half.
So he does, through centuries. Rocked both forward and back, by time's shattered gyrations of potential's failure, he sleeps.
On a bed of sin born feathers.
Closing A/N: The song is in bold is "Don't fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, it isn't mine, and I'd never pretend it to be otherwise. All copyrighted materials belong to their respective owners, I'm just borrowing a little here a little there and playing with it.