I was sat imagining various Reanimator-related things and this idea slowly developed in my head, so I wrote it up. I don't usually like tragic fanfictions but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. I hope you like it; remember to R & R!
DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to H.P. Lovecraft, Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, &c. The idea and the words are mine, mine...all mine! But the poem at the beginning (and end) is the beautiful 'Alone', by Edgar A. Poe. Check out his works if you haven't already; he was and will always be a god. I think the poem fits Herbert West quite well. And the 'For every light...' bit is a quote from Richard Montanari. I forget which book ;) Sorry, I'm a quote geek. I have damn near a hundred locked up in my tortured skull. And brownie points for anyone who finds the hidden ironic quote! It shouldn't be too hard.
Anyway, enough about me. Enjoy!
There Are No Words For This.
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were - I have not seen
As other saw - I could not bring
My passions from a common spring...
He had to get out. He had to get away before it was too late.
Dan Cain stood watching Herbert West elaborating and deliberating over his subjects, his small frame flitting about in the poor lighting of the basement, his pale eyes wild. His pallor was white; almost, Dan thought grimly, as drained of life as the corpses he obsessed over every night. He was slender; cold, and slender...gaunt, unchangeable.
Herbert West had flaws, like anyone else. Dan laughed to himself bitterly; it was true. No matter how inhuman his partner may seem, he was as human as the next when it came down to biology. And this fact alone (the fact that his lineage was rooted in that of millions of humans that had gone on before) made him susceptible to flaws.
To name a few? Being cold, calculative, largely emotionless but often passionately aggressive when it came to his feelings. Devoted only to his science, uncaring, hostile, rude, outspoken, sarcastic, cruel and morbid. These were intrinsically inherent in his nature, in his being, and he did nothing to change them. They drew him further into his own depravity and pushed others away from him.
Dan was the only one who'd ever stayed. Who'd ever understood.
He laughed. He couldn't stay any longer. He couldn't understand anymore.
Herbert was asking him to pass something over, but he didn't hear. He didn't see. He felt a horrible guilt gnawing at him, and a pain that was such even he - who had lost so much, experienced so many horrors - was left reeling.
He only snapped back into reality when Herbert shook him, beholding him with an incomprehensible craziness present on his face.
"Haven't you been listening to me?" he demanded, shaking Dan again and again until his eyes finally met his and he swallowed, trying to fight back his tears. Herbert bit his lip, torn; the experiments were behind him, and they could have been alive by now. But Dan was there, and he looked so hurt...like his world was falling apart. "What's wrong, Dan?"
Dan shook his head. He was crying by this point, tears streaking down his face. Herbert began to tremble lightly. His worst terror, his worst nightmare, the worst case scenario - and he was just sat there, helpless, waiting for it to happen: tangible in the air, twisting his stomach, wringing it dry of acid.
"Please," Herbert begged, his voice coarse and strangled. He knelt in front of Dan; his taller friend was sat on the chair, partly engulfed in shadows. His eyes were twinkling with moisture. He shook his head, placing a hand on Dan's knee, his other clutching own thick brown hair out of his eyes, his glasses shaking in harmony with his paling form. "Don't."
Dan smiled. Apologetically. I'm sorry. Imploring. Don't do this. Pleading. Don't make this harder than it already is.
"I have to leave," he whispered. He was practically choking on his own tears. He didn't know what to do with his body; to hug Herbert, to push him away, to shy away from his hands. "I'm so sorry."
Herbert shook his head, trying not to believe that this was reality. He didn't want to have a single particle of his body, of his mind, recognising Dan's words as being 'real'. He dropped his hand from Dan's knee, using both of his hands to grasp his head. There was an aching...such a horrible aching, a terrible throbbing...oh, God...
No words. There were no words. He wanted to say a million things, but he couldn't. He just knew that the man he was in love with was leaving, and he would never see him again. The man that he loved - the man that loved him back. The man that didn't know he returned his feelings. And he would never know...
Herbert cried, quaking violently, holding his head with all of his strength. If all he had to do was squeeze his head, to turn back time, to go back to the beginning...he would have gladly ripped his skull off.
"You don't love me," Dan managed. It broke his heart.
Herbert looked up at him. His eyes were hurting; his head was hurting. His life was crumbling around him, and all he could do was listen.
"Dan..." he began. Dan stopped him, his face slightly red and strained.
"No, Herbert. I love you; you know that I love you. And I can't be with you knowing that you don't love me back. Because every time I look at you - " he broke off, stifling sobs and partly failing. He held his face in his hands. He looked back at Herbert, amazed at how such an unemotional person could look so destroyed. "Every time I look at you is a reminder that you'll never care about me in the same way."
Herbert's jaw dropped.
I love you, Dan. I'm in love with you. I could only ever love you.
That's what he wanted to say. That's what he'd wanted to say for God knows how long. All he wanted was to take Dan in his arms, and hold him, and tell him those words. But he couldn't. He'd deprived himself of the love he could have shared with Dan for months, and months...because he knew that if Dan stayed, it would be because he knew they had a relationship. He had a relationship that anchored him to New England, and not the San Franciscan General Physician apprenticeship he'd been offered.
If Dan knew that Herbert loved him, he'd never leave.
And Herbert couldn't cope knowing that he was holding him back.
Dan got up. "I have my things ready," he said , his breaths almost inaudible. He stood tall, but looked withered. Placing a hand on Herbert's shoulder, he hugged him lightly, his heart heavy with a knowledge that this beautiful man - this broken man - would never be his. He inhaled, deeply, breathing in as much of Herbert West as he could. It broke his heart that little bit more with every inhalation.
His lips ended up brushing Herbert's forehead, and he felt his soon-to-be ex-companion loosen. At this point he didn't care if Herbert didn't like it. He needed this.
He trailed his lips from Herbert's smooth forehead, removing his glasses and placing them in the front pocket of Herbert's pristine lab coat. Herbert's hands were pressed against his stomach and he brought his lips so that they hovered over Herbert's.
"Dan, please," Herbert begged. Dan knew that he was asking him to leave; to make it easier for both of them. Dan knew that Herbert didn't want this. Herbert knew that he did.
At first, Herbert thought Dan was going to kiss him anyway. His spirit rose just a little, knowing that they might share their first kiss tonight; the the silent darkness, they the only living things around. The rest of their surroundings comprised of metallic structures and apparatus or things with the potential to live.
And then he crashed back down into his body, back from the romantic ethereal plane; because this wasn't how it should have happened. This wasn't what he wanted. He didn't want to kiss him and leave him, sinking down on to the cold stone floor, alone.
He'd often fantasized; about their first kiss, or their first...anything. On sleepless nights he'd think, and let the vanilla clouds and lavender haze settle over him until it stilled his beating heart, slowed it to a more meditative pace. And then other realities opened up to him, and he was completely submerged in true holiness.
But there was always a flip side. Always a Yin.
For ever light, there is shadow. For every sound, silence.
Another quote sprung up into this line of thought; something to the effect of 'possibilities are ever more horrifying than realities'. And it was true; but it could also be flipped. Possibilities...were beautiful. They gave hope, motivation, countless years of inspiration.
And then they took it away when reality finally returned.
Dan breathed out; Herbert could feel his cool breath on his face. Dan nodded, sniffing. He gave Herbert's shoulder a quite squeeze and passed him coolly, making his way to the stairs. Herbert shook again, trembling violently, knowing that in seconds, Dan would be out of the door, out of the house; out of Massachussets and out of his life. Forever. Days would pass, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred...
And they would all pass without Dan Cain.
His cheery brown eyes. They were hollower lately.
His warm, kind smile. It was thinner lately.
Oh god...all my fault...every, single, moment...
Dan was about to begin his ascent of the wooden stairs when Herbert did the only thing that came to his mind. He whirled around, grasping Dan's arms tightly and pulling them together. He tangled his fingers through Dan's thick brown hair and pressed their lips together, passionately exploring the inside of Dan's mouth, Dan snaking an arm around his waist and pulling him closer.
Herbert realised what he was doing. He pulled away.
And he'd never seen something that horrified him and raised him so much at the same time.
Dan stared down at him with hungry, lustful, loving eyes, filled with hope. Like he thought that they could forget this night ever happened, and settle down happily together. Cure the world of death together.
Live happily ever after.
Herbert scoffed mentally. Outside, he was shaking again, tears easily making their way down the side of his ghostly visage, like water on porcelain.
"Herbert..." Dan began, his voice comparable to that of a lottery winner; someone who survived a crash, or someone who's spouse or child had survived instead. Incredible joy. Herbert backed away, shaking his head. A look of confusion passed over Dan's features, but he didn't look sad anymore. His world wasn't falling apart any more.
"No, Dan," Herbert whispered, looking at the ground, barely able to stand let alone stare into this renewed eyes. "I only kissed you so you'd stay. I...don't..."
Dan shook his head. His body went weak.
Begin the end of the world.
"Love you," Herbert finished.
They stood in silence for several moments. Maybe days, maybe years. But even years have to end, and then they are forgotten. Almost as though they never happened; as though their very existence had been in vain.
Dan left, shutting the door quietly behind him. Herbert stared into the darkness, blinking, breathing very slowly even though he felt like he'd stopped breathing eternities ago. He couldn't breathe. He felt light-headed. And very, very sick.
He shook his head again and again, over and over, into the shadows.
It's all he could do.
A year passed. Herbert studied, and breathed, and ate, and worked. Nothing really happened. Every day was the same, but a different kind of same. A different, more agonizingly viscous breed. Sometimes, he didn't know where one day ended and the other finished. Time wasn't relative anymore and where one night lapsed into day for others, Herbert West simply carried on as though now time had passed at all.
The only thing keeping him alive was the serum. He'd spent so many years trying to perfect it; in Switzerland, in the Miskatonic, even throughout his childhood. But this was the last straw. He'd go out of this world a young man, with a face not yet graced by age, knowing that he'd lost the only person he'd ever loved and wallowed in the deep, irrevocable pool of mortal insignificance. He had amounted to nothing.
He hadn't cured the world.
He couldn't even cure himself.
He would die, and nobody would care. No-one would remember.
So he repaired to the basement, the tables and jars pressed to the sides of the room, the only light a small candle lit on the stone floor in a holder. He had a few things with him; the first two he positioned carefully, hanging the rope from the ceiling and placing the shaky stool beneath it.
For the last time, he crossed the room. He had left notes detailing the creation of the serum, and certain quantities rested on tables, shining at him with a knowing sadness. He smiled, stroking the glass almost fondly. He laughed bitterly.
Finally he sat before the stool, dressed in the same clothes he'd been wearing a year ago when Dan Cain had left him and never seen or heard from him again. He opened the leather-bound photo album; there were pictures of Dan there, with a wide smile. Sometimes he was with his other friends, or at parties; but sometimes there were photos of he and Herbert, together, sat on the couch or stood in the basement.
Herbert stopped, placing the album down, wondering how many millions of tears he'd spilt. More than enough to constitute every day that album had captured.
On photo fell out. Loose; he'd never seen it before.
He turned it over to look at it closely, over the candle's weary flame as it danced with lethargic, melancholy movements, as though even it was almost drained of the will to go on.
Herbert didn't know who had taken the photo. He himself was sat on the couch, reading a book, oblivious to any photographing going on. And in the corner, barely in view, Dan was stood propped against the wall, staring at Herbert's tranquil frame.
But his eyes were filled with so much love...
Herbert cried all over again. He was stupid. Stupid to let Dan go. Stupid to never tell him.
He had thought about telling him. The other thing he'd brought down here was a letter; adressed to Dan's new accomodation, which hadn't been to hard to find. His heart wrenched; to think Dan was in San Francisco, so many miles away, oblivious to every thought running through Herbert's head. He didn't like to think about Dan's new life.
The letter was simple.
My dearest Daniel,
I sincerely hope that you have found happiness and prosperity in this last year. I know I never discussed my feelings much; I know that you understand about that. But I won't be here much longer, and I wanted to at least let you know that I've always loved you. In the same way that you loved me; the same feelings, which you erroneously believed I never reciprocated. I kept my emotions from you as well as I could, Dan. If you would have found out, you would have never left. And you needed to go. To get away. From me...from this house. These memories. I can't trap you anymore...and I can't trap myself, or tie myself to a place that I can't leave, and can't remain in.
Goodbye, Daniel. I love you, more than anything. I hope one day, you'll understand that, also.
The same letter sat next to the candle, with the photo album. Herbert had never sent it. It wouldn't be fair. How could he justify suddenly ripping back into Dan's life and leaving him scarred for the remainder of it?
He looked around. He saw tables, chairs, years of experimentations and attempts.
He didn't see the only thing he really wanted to.
Slowly, he secured his slender neck in the loop, and stood atop the stool.
A year was long enough. He didn't care anymore. The house had memories; so? He'd cope, or they'd move. They'd do something.
Dan couldn't take it anymore. A day was bad enough, a month was torture; but a year, ending and beginning again with the knowledge that another year would only be the same...
He shook his head. He couldn't do it.
So he found himself here, in Massachusetts, New England. Knocking on the door of the spacey surburban home he'd left so long ago, and yet now - he felt like he'd never left. He still remembered the earthy scent of patchouli and sage, of smoky autumn nights and lazy summer days. The moon was a thin crescent, so dainty above.
He knocked again. No answer.
He opened the door; he was shocked to find that it did actually open, giving away under his steady grasp. He entered the hall, unnerved at the darkness.
Leaving his cases in the porch, he moved through the living room, the kitchen, remembering everything; every memory. Everything.
Herbert's bedroom was unchanged; empty. Perhaps he was still at the Miskatonic. Perhaps whatever job he might have was keeping him late.
Dan bit his fingers nervously, wondering what to do with himself whilst he waited.
He spotted the door to the basement.
"I'm so sorry."
"You don't care about me in the same way..."
"I don't love you."
"Herbert. Wake up. Please, god, Hetbert, wake up!"
Dan found Herbert's lifeless body, against the stone floor, the slender neck choked by thick rope that had snapped from the ceiling and crashed to the ground. A small candle was burning, surrounded by papers. Dan held Herbert in his arms, screaming at him, crying. His face hadn't changed. He was still beautiful, still perfect.
Dan gasped. He was still warm!
He looked around, and noticed the reagent. Before he knew what had happened he'd successfully injected 30cc's of the substance, watching it disappear into Herbert's cranium, praying for a miracle. That he wasn't too late.
His heart seemed to disappear into the recesses of his chest again. He shook his head, gripping it as tightly as he could. He held Herbert in his arms, kissing him, holding him, murmuring in his ear.
"I love you. I never stopped loving you."
There were papers rustling at his feet. The basement had always been a sucker for drafts of wind; one happened to curl at his foot and he picked it up, not expecting much of it.
The first words he read were 'My dearest Daniel'.
He read the letter several times. The limp man in his arms never moved, but he seemed to be smiling serenely, unless that was another trick of Dan's mind. Coughs. Fluttering eyelids. Sighs. It's amazing what you hear from corpses.
He couldn't believe it. All along...they'd both been so scared of hurting each other, and had only ended up hurting each other more. He shook his head, his tears landing on Herbert's paling face, his cold hands trembling as they clutched the delicate man as tightly as possible, willing him to wake.
"Please wake up," he whispered. "Please...please wake up, Herbert."
He waited. One second. Two. Three.
He sat silently, waiting. Four. Five.
He held Herbert, injecting another 30cc's of the serum. One second. Two. Three.
Dan held herbert to him, gently and as hard as he could, vowing never to let him go until he was alive again.
He would wait for as long as needed.
Because that's what you do, when you love someone enough.
And sometimes, your dreams come true, and your sleeping love will return to you.
Dan counted. Seven. Eight.
He nodded, gripping Herbert, promising his silent body that he would return to him.
But until then, he would wait.
From the same source, I have not taken
My sorrow - I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone.
And all I loved...
I loved alone.