Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. You can bet that series 2 and 3 would have gone much differently if I did.
Rating: M (or R)
Synopsis: (UK version)Tag for S1 Ep 6 (the final ep) What happened in that room after the transformation? WARNING: Disturbing subject matter. Please Read Author's Notes before reading.
Authors Notes: This is a very self-indulgent one-shot. I wrote it for me, to get it out of my system. I have debated posting it for … well, almost two years. And frankly, I'm posting it today for myself. (I'm having an internal war with myself, and I've decided that I'm going to win. Posting is part of that.)
There are two or three things that could easily gross people out in this fic. Actually, this fic is pretty much all about the gross-out. If you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to think twice about reading this. Just saying.
Lets face it, folks, George ate somebody. He ripped him apart, and ate him. I get why the end of the ep only sort of alluded to that fact…and I think it was good decision, but my twisted brain would not leave that room alone….
Any comments, good, bad, or ugly, are completely welcome. *whistles western theme*
The room had gone quiet almost fifteen minutes ago. The sudden silence was heavy, like a pressure pushing against Mitchell's inner ears, almost painful in its abruptness.
Still, he didn't back away from the door; if anything, he braced himself harder, no matter that his shoulders were screaming from hours of doing the same. It wouldn't be the first time the wolf had gone still for a time, only to charge the door, throwing itself against the barrier with all its might. Holding a broken metal door shut against three hundred pounds of enraged werewolf was not easy.
It had been a long damned night.
Annie looked at him, eyes blinking wetly. She'd been crying off and on most of the night. She'd done okay for the first couple of hours, while Nina was still here and asking questions, but then Nina had fled, muttering about how it was just too much, and Annie had been left with nothing to focus on except the sounds of unrestrained rage and insanity inside the room.
The sudden quiet made her look hopeful.
"Do you think that's it?" she asked, taking a tentative step closer. "It's got to be morning by now. Do you think it's over?"
"I don't know," Mitchell admitted. "I…I don't think so. Not yet. Not completely."
"No?" Annie said – demanded really, lips trembling. "Why not?"
Mitchell closed eyes so dry and tired that they ached. "Because he has to change back, first."
And just about then there was a groan – deep and jagged and animalistic…yet fading toward something more human toward the end.
The sound caught on something in Mitchell's chest and burned there.
He turned his back, leaning his shoulders against the cool, grungy metal, his body shaking with fatigue, as inside that dark, cold room his best friend twisted and broke and died… and came back.
Annie leaped forward, pressing her eye against the peephole near his shoulder.
Excitedly, she grabbed at his arm. "He's coming back, Mitchell! He's coming back!"
He heard the wariness in his own voice, and winced, even as Annie turned shocked eyes on him. "That's a good thing, Mitchell," and there was a warning note in her tone.
"I know it," he snapped. "But… do you seriously want to watch him wake up in there?"
She frowned at him for a second, not understanding – she was still so innocent, even after being murdered, and everything that came after – then a slow crawl of horror filled her eyes. "Oh, my God. We have to get him out of there, Mitchell!" the hand on his arm had gone from clutching to pinching. "It's… We can't let him see…!"
"See what, Annie?" he demanded mercilessly. "See what he did?" Mitchell rubbed at his eyes. They both knew damned well what that room looked like – what the wolf had done to Herrich. Hell, the truth of it was painted all over the walls. It was an abattoir, in there. The wolf had killed, yes, but it was much worse than that. The wolf had been locked in the room with the corpse for the last nine hours. Wolves got bored, they played…and they ate…
And how the hell could George live with that? How could Mitchell help him? Mitchell had killed as a soldier, and he'd fed as a vampire; he'd murdered, and even played a bit – but that, what the wolf had done in that room, was so far past any of that…
The wolf, the monster, had been given free reign, and it had enjoyed the hell out of itself.
How the hell did he help George cope with that? How did he even cope with it himself? Other than just getting them all as far from it as possible – that was how he'd always coped with the things he'd done. Just get the fuck away from it as fast as possible.
"We can't get him out until he's finished changing back," Mitchell finished tiredly, almost to himself. "It's not safe. But we have to get him out before he realizes, before he remembers, do you understand?"
Annie nodded, eyes locked on the door. She looked almost sick.
Time seemed to slow to agonizing levels. Each heartbeat was too loud, too long. The next few minutes seemed to take hours. But slowly the cracking of bone stopped. The groaning tapered into very human whimpers… then, finally, silence again. Different this time, though. Softer, somehow. More natural.
Annie met his eyes once more, biting at her lip – then stood up on her tip-toes to peep through the glass again. "He's him. He's asleep and he's him again."
Mitchell doubted that George would ever be 'him' again. He could never be the same as he was before last night. No one killed and remained unchanged. No one let the monster that deep in, and came all the way back. But he didn't say it as he hurriedly rubbed his face clean of tears, flung open the badly dented door, and stepped into the room.
He ignored the drying blood – on the floor, the walls, dripping in thick little clots from the ceiling – just as he ignored the occasional crack and pop of bone shards under his boots, the little bits of what had once been his mentor, his master, his maker….
Mitchell shook his head, refusing to feel the burn in his eyes get worse, the ache in his chest pull tighter – or the throb of anger and loss and confusion that made his head pound. Now was not the time for his issues. He had all of eternity to grieve and hate and revile his maker. He had to focus on George, now. George was all that mattered.
George lay, breathing steadily, curled up in the corner like a worn-out puppy.
He was deeply, blessedly, asleep.
Mitchell knelt next to limp form, feeling the slickness of blood on cement under his knees. Reaching out, Mitchell stroked his knuckles over his too-pale, too-cold cheek. His fingers left trails in the blood around George's mouth. The man was so covered in gore that he looked like he'd been rolling in it.
Which, you know, he had.
Mitchell swallowed hard, jaw working.
George's eyes flickered at the touch, and he groaned, the sound raw and torn, his throat almost gone from both the screaming and the change. Mitchell had only seen George in the immediate aftermath of a change once before, back when it had happened in the house. The next morning, Mitchell had had to pull him off the floor, and help him upstairs to bed. The curse had left George achy, disorientated, and incredibly sleepy. It was not unlike what Mitchell had seen patients at the hospital suffer after an extreme seizure, and George had been so out of it that morning that he'd barely remembered he was in the house, let alone what had happened overnight.
And Mitchell hoped to hell that kind of disorientation would happen again, now. George never remembered clearly what his body did while it was in wolf form, only bits and chunks. So there was a chance, if he could get George out of this room quickly enough, that he'd never have a clear memory of what he had done inside it. Oh, he'd remember Herrick being with him, and he would be able to work out that he'd killed the man… but he would never have to know details.
But only if he never saw. The mess…was too easy to interpret, and George's brain was far too big. If that oversized brain saw what was left of Herrick and guessed at what the wolf had done…
Frankly, Mitchell feared for George's sanity.
If George wasn't so damned big, Mitchell would just have carried him out. If he was unconscious rather than sleeping, he'd have dragged him. But as it was, he needed a little cooperation. All Mitchell could hope for was that George would be so loopy from the change that he would have no real idea what was going on.
Taking up a position right in front of George's face, blocking as much of his view as he could, Mitchell tapped him on the cheek again, coaxing this time, "George, mate, c'mon. Time to get out of here, yeah? Can you wake up for me? Just a little?"
The young man moaned, his head shifting away from Mitchell's hand as his eyes squinted.
"That's it," Mitchell encouraged. "Don't bother to open your eyes. Just help me a little, just help me get you up, and we'll get you out of here and home, okay?"
George's head moved like his neck hurt. His eyes opened like they barely worked. "Wh-what? Mitchell?"
The voice was rust and ash, and the words slurred, but there. And slurred was good. Dazed was better. "It's me, mate. I'm right here. So's Annie. Everything's fine, but we have to move, George. Okay? We have to go. Can you help me?"
Keep him focused, keep him preoccupied. Don't let him think. Just get him out, and let him pass-out in the car.
- If they could get him all the way upstairs and to the car, naked and dazed and soaked in blood and other… things, as he was.
Well, they'd eat that horse when they came across it.
Behind his shoulder, Annie squeaked softly. "Is that…guts? In his hair?"
George's blank eyes blinked, and his gaze began to clear, seeking through the post-change lethargy. "Annie? Wher-" He broke off, his eyes starting to drift past Mitchell's shoulder –
Mitchell took the back of his neck, keeping his head from turning. "George! No! You look at me, you understand? At me, George."
The change made him loopy and weak – but not enough. Those wandering eyes sharpened at the tone, at Mitchell's dread. "S-s-something's wrong?" George shivered. His skin was much too cool under Mitchell's palm. His eyes were locked on Mitchell's, and they were beginning to fill with a dull fear.
Annie squatted down next to them, looking repentant. "It's fine, George. It's good. We just need you to trust us. Close your eyes, okay? Stay awake, and close your eyes, and trust us to get you out of here, okay?"
He swallowed, obviously struggling to understand her through his muddled brain. Then he froze. Swallowed again. Tasted. And the look that seeped into his eyes made Mitchell's heart twist.
"No," Mitchell hissed, tugging at his neck, trying to catch his eyes. "George, no. Don't. Don't think about it."
He started shaking harder under Mitchell's hands, shuddering as if he was going to come apart. He looked up and his eyes, his eyes were fully aware and so…full of horror, of repulsion, that for a second Mitchell couldn't draw breath for the pain of them. "George..."
Those haunted eyes flicked over Mitchell's shoulder, to the room…and he went even colder under Mitchell's hands, even as a massive shudder tore through him, leaving him gasping.
"What did I do?" George whispered, but the knowledge of it was already in his eyes, in the way he shook, weighing the words down like cold, hard stones. "What did I do?"
"It wasn't you," Annie said, almost sobbed. "Oh, George, it wasn't you…."
George didn't seem to hear her. He gasped, gagged, then suddenly it was all Mitchell could do to hang on as the werewolf lurched drunkenly to the side and started vomiting.
George was too weak after the change to manage alone. Mitchell held him, one arm around his chest, one hand holding his head, keeping him from falling into the mess as George coughed up a gush of rust-brown fluid. The smell of rot and copper filled the air, and Mitchell's own stomach churned. It was the reek of congealed blood, of dead blood, the leavings of a vampire.
George sucked a quick breath, and his body heaved again – and this time it was thicker, chunkier, as George's body freed itself of pieces of flesh and organs and bone the wolf had consumed.
Mitchell winced, holding Gorge as best as he could, trying to offer comfort as well as support as the mess splashed and soaked into his jeans. It wasn't the worst he'd ever knelt in. God help him.
"Let it happen," he murmured to his miserable friend, his voice carefully calm, even as his arms started shaking from the weight. "Just let it go." The soothing pieces of non-sense fell from his tongue automatically, the long suppressed instincts of comforting boys in battle coming back involuntarily. "It's okay. You're going to be fine. Just breathe, George."
It lasted…forever. The bouts seemed never-ending, as George's body attempted to purge itself. They fell into a rhythm, George heaving three or four times, then a second – not much more than a heartbeat – to whoop in a breath, and back to heaving. And each time, more of the filth came up – tissue and blood, and what Mitchell was fairly certain were ragged hunks of grey-mater, and George would never need to know that.
At one point, George choked. Mitchell felt it as a hitch, a break in the rhythm they had fallen into, and for a second he thought George was finished…but then, George missed his chance for breath.
"George?" Mitchell called softly, but though George jerked in his arms, nothing else happened. And that's when Mitchell realized something was wrong. Really, really wrong. And George started to struggle, bucking weakly in Mitchell's arms, fighting for air, for release, for it to end. Something had caught in his throat on its way up, blocking everything below, stopping his airways, interfering with his ability to breathe – and his abdominal muscles spasm again, hard, under Mitchell's arm, but for the second time, nothing came up, not even a noise. Fluid started to trickle from George's nose, just a little, and George's struggles began to weaken – and Mitchell's own breath caught at the very real fear that his friend was about to choke to death on his own vomit….
"No," Mitchell growled, panicked. "No! You breathe, George!" It wasn't a request, it was an order. He shifted the limp, cold, half-conscious body of his best friend so that George was half draped across one arm…. and Mitchell slammed a fist down, as hard as he could, right between his shoulders. And again. And again.
George made a rasping kind of noise, and retched, and just a massive mess broke free of his throat – including a chunk of bone, one that would have been fine for a wolf gullet, but was too large and too sharp for a human.
That seemed to be the last of it… of everything. George's body still spasmed, but it was only dry heaves; there just didn't seem to be anything left in him to come up. Mitchell let himself sink back onto the floor, pulling George away from the mess. He held him, unconsciously rocking, hushing him.
"It's okay, George," he muttered after a few minutes of this, knowing the man was only half conscious as it was. "It's all out. It's gone. Stop now. George…c'mon, man. Relax…"
"I don't think he can," Annie said, wringing her hands. "Mitchell…"
The last syllable was a squeak, as George once again began to choke up blood…not a lot, but this was bright and fresh and Mitchell could smell the life in it. "Oh, Christ."
"I thought he was done!" Annie dropped down next to them, eyes wide and worried.
"This is new blood. His blood. He's torn his throat or his stomach or something." Mitchell held him tighter, fighting the urge to shake him like a rag doll. "George, mate, you have to calm down. You have to stop. Now."
George didn't seem to hear him, so lost in his misery that Mitchell wasn't even sure that he knew he wasn't alone. He writhed weakly, his body caught in a mindless need to purge itself without pause. George's flesh was still far too cold, but he was no longer shivering; he was still vomiting, but his eyes were closed and he was as limp as a new-born puppy, not even trying to keep his head up and his airways clear.
He was going into shock, his body literally ripping itself apart, and Mitchell had no idea of how to stop it.
Helplessly, he looked up at Annie.
She looked so… solid. So strong….
And then she disappeared.
He flinched. He couldn't help it, stupid as it was. "Annie?"
But she was truly gone, leaving him and George alone in the blood. "Damn it."
Not her fault, Mitchell reminded himself. She was still learning. Still working on being the monster she wanted to be. But there had just been too much for her tonight – too much pressure, too much upset, too much had happened. He'd been lucky she made it this long without going back to the house, honestly.
Mitchell gritted his teeth. It changed nothing. He still needed to get George calm, then get him out of this room, and then home, and then…
Well, he'd worry about that 'then' when it happened.
"Okay, George, we can do this, right?"
George only shuddered in response.
Mitchell shifted awkwardly, trying to get a grip on him that wouldn't leave him drowning in his own blood. He could lay him against the wall, if he could get him over there; then run upstairs for a gurney. He'd have to leave George alone for a few minutes, which was not something he liked…but he wasn't sure he saw a better option.
He started to work them both over toward the wall, pointedly ignoring the trail they were leaving in the gore –
The door banged open.
Mitchell jerked like he'd been shot, the sudden noise hitting him almost physically. But even with the massive amount of adrenaline pumping through him, he could only blink as Annie walked back into the room, followed by an anxious looking Nina.
"Annie?" he asked, helplessly.
"She works just upstairs. I went to go get her."
Nina was carefully not looking. At anything. "Annie said he was getting sick?"
"He can't stop," Mitchell replied numbly.
"Good thing we're in a hospital then, isn't it," Nina said, pulling an already prepped syringe out of her pocket. She knelt next to George, uncapping the needle. But Mitchell took her wrist before she could stick him.
"That will stop him getting sick?"
"This will knock him on his ass for the next ten hours."
"Good," Mitchell said, and let her go.
She was quick with the needle. "Give it about ten minuets to kick in, and he should be better. He'll be stoned out of his mind, but better." She fussed over George for a moment, as slowly the heaving faded into hitching breaths, and then into nothing as he went totally limp. She ran a professional hand over his face, checked his pulse. She took a careful breath before speaking again, softly. "He's in shock, you know?" She didn't raise her eyes.
"I know," Mitchell said.
"It's not surprising. This, what you had him do here, was sick –"
"This was not something I 'had him do'," Mitchell snarled. "Don't ever think I would hurt him like this… that I would ever do anything like this to him. Because I never would. Never. You understand?"
He didn't know if his eyes changed or not, but the human cringed a bit. Still, Nina was a fighter, and as soon as the first flush of fear passed, her own eyes grew hard. "So how did he end up here, then? Like this? If it wasn't for you?"
The words hit Mitchell like a stake, and his heart bled with the truth of them.
"It was for Mitchell, not because of him," Annie said, and there was steel in her voice. "It was for me. And it was for you too, Nina. Herrick threatened… everything. And George stopped him. For Mitchell. For me. For all of us. And that's enough."
Nina had the grace to lower her eyes. It was an awkward moment, too long and too quiet, and too full of dark things straying too close to the light. She was staring at George, at the blood and the mess and the after-effects of the change; and Mitchell couldn't tell what she was thinking.
"He's just a guy," Mitchell said, finally, and not without sympathy. "That's all, Nina."
She rolled her eyes at him. "You sit in this room, in all this…horror, and you can still say that?"
"Yes," Mitchell said, as firmly as he could. "How can you have spent as much time with him as you have, and not say it?"
She half laughed, turning away. "I don't know. Maybe because he just ate somebody." She took a breath, rubbing tears out of her eyes before they could fall.
"Nina, he loves you," Annie breathed, appalled.
She nodded, gazing at George as he dozed in Mitchell's arms. "Yes, he does …and he's a monster." She was looking at George like he was the only water in a desert…and she was pretty sure it was poisonous.
Then she glanced at Mitchell, and back down, like she couldn't quite meet his eyes. "I can't stay here. I-I need to get back upstairs, before they notice I'm gone." It was an excuse. Mitchell could hear it in her voice, even if she couldn't.
She stood, looking nervous and anxious and irritated all at once. Looking like she both wanted to be with them…and never wanted to see them again. "I- I could get you a wheelchair. From upstairs," she offered finally. "I could leave it at the top of the stairs for you, if you'd like. If it will help…?"
"Thanks," Mitchell answered, after a moment that went on too long.
"Okay." She turned to go.
She was running away. It wasn't his place to stop her, and frankly, she'd only do more damage to George if that was really what she thought. But she had done them a favor, bringing the meds. So he called out to her: "Nina? Thank you. For your help. For helping him, even if he is a monster."
The dig might have been unfair, but it felt good.
Nobody ever said he was a nice guy.
She winced, but nodded. "You guys'll be alright? Getting home?"
"We can handle him from here," Annie said, eyes narrowed.
Nina nodded, hesitating. She reached out to touch George's shoulder, but her hand stopped, just short of the blood. Then clenched. "Tell him," she said, her voice sounded thick. "Tell him I'll be by to check on him tomorrow morning, okay?"
She nodded again…then went up the stairs without another word.
And without looking back.
Annie glared after her. "Cow."
"Don't," Mitchell said, holding George tighter. "It's a lot for anyone to deal with."
Annie only shook her head. "I'm just tired of watching people walk away from him over something he has no choice about. I'm tired of people seeing him – seeing all of him – and running. He deserves better." She straightened up, tugging at her sweater. "I'll get the chair, yeah?" she said, and wandered toward the staircase – either to wait on the chair, or possibly to scare the hell out of Nina. Either way was fine with Mitchell.
Mitchell wondered if Nina would really show up tomorrow.
And what Annie would do to her if she did. Or didn't.
He slumped back against the wall, carefully shifting George. "Either way, I think we may be screwed, mate."
George frowned, dragging his eyes open. His head lolled in the vampire's direction. "Mitchell?"
He could smell death and drugs on George's breath. "Right here."
"Did you just, just-just...just say we were screwed?"
"Thought so." And he was gone again.
Lucky dog. It had been a long damned night, and Mitchell was feeling every second of it. Long damned week, really. He felt himself shiver…lack of blood. He was still recovering from the staking. He'd have to drink again sometime soon. Not much, but still. He supposed that made him one of Nina's monsters, as well; being hungry, needing sustenance. He wondered, did that make humans the stuff of cow nightmares? Or pretty much any other species on the planet, for that matter?
Funny how 'monster' could almost be a matter of perspective.
His eyes snapped open to Annie's contrite smile. "Wow. Sorry."
"Don't be. You must be tired." She looked almost apologetic to be bothering him.
"A bit, yeah." George had finally relaxed in Mitchell's arms, and his breathing had become more regular. "I think the drugs are working."
Annie knelt down with them, putting a hand on George's bloody shoulder and leaning her head against his briefly. "We are going to be fine. All of us."
He closed his eyes. "I hope so."
For a few minutes they just sat there. The room was dark, and it was gruesome… but they were together – which made it bearable.