The Darkness Inside

Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Toby Whithouse and the BBC, I only borrow them to have some fun with them. No money is made with this.

Tom's right hand hovered above the door handle. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath before he finally pushed it down and entered the room. It still looked exactly like the last time he had been there, which came as no surprise, considering its occupant was chained to the bed and couldn't leave it. Clothes were scattered on the floor, tattered books had been flung into every direction and a chair lay overturned in the corner. The room was a battlefield, a silent witness to the struggle that was taking place in its midst. Tom's eyes wandered to the man sitting on the bed, huddled there with blankets pooling around his legs, his arms fastened to the bed rest. Hal's hair was plastered to his forehead and he had dark shadows under his eyes. He was pale, even for a vampire. Pleading eyes were turned upon him and Tom steeled his heart.

"You need to let me go, Tom. Please, I…" Hal closed his eyes and licked his dry lips. "I need to clean up this mess, it's driving me insane. Just…free my hands and you can lock the door behind me, but let me tidy up." They had tried that, that's how the room came to look that way in the first place.

"I offered to clean it up for ya. You wouldna let me."

"No, it has to be me. You know I need something to do."

"As if that's been helpin' any," Tom murmured. "But look, I brought ya somethin' to eat, so you can keep busy with that." He held up his left hand on which he was balancing a tray with sandwiches and strawberry tea. He placed the tray on the bedside table and bend over to open the handcuff holding his friend's right arm in place. Tom focused his attention on the lock, not wanting to have to look Hal in the eye, and therefore didn't see the subtle change in the hazel gaze. As soon as the cuff snapped free, Hal's hand was wrapped around Tom's throat, squeezing. "Let me go, right now, or I will crush your windpipe." Tom, even though taken unawares, reacted in a matter of seconds and did the first thing he could think of: he punched Hal right in the face. Having one hand still chained to the bed, Hal couldn't block the attack and there was a sickening crunch. He let go and jerked back, blood spurting from his nose. "Damn it, Tom!" He growled. "I think you broke my nose."

Tom was unfazed; he was the one who would soon have bruises on his neck. "You're a vampire, it'll heal quickly." He picked up the chair from the floor and settled down on it, a good distance away. "Now eat, cos ya ain't lookin' that good." Hal had taken his hand away from his face and now his tongue darted out to taste the blood running over his lips. A sight Tom discreetly ignored.

"It won't make me feel any better." His words were muffled by his blocked nose. "There's only one thing that makes the hunger go away."

"Yeah, well, this is the only thing ya'll get, so deal with it."

Hal closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, then knocked his head against it once, twice, in frustration. Tom almost missed his next words, they were so soft, yet whispered with such a quiet intensity he wished he hadn't heard them. "The blood, it's all I think about. In my thoughts I see beautiful women, smiling at me, their long, slender necks beckoning me closer and I can see the blood pulsating underneath the soft, tender skin, hear their heartbeat quickening as I take a strand of hair and tuck it away." Hal's eyes were still closed and he seemed to have forgotten that Tom was even there, so immersed was he in his own fantasy. "There's trust and gentleness in their eyes and all I want to do is sink my teeth into their flesh and drink them dry." A shudder ran through his body, as if he had come up out of dark waters and been thrown into the cold air of reality. His eyes snapped open and he stared at Tom, horrified.

"Tom, I…God," he pressed his hands against his eyes, "can you forget that you ever heard those words out of my mouth?"

But it was too late for that. He had heard them and he wouldn't forget them, neither did he want to. He needed to know the monster that lurked under the surface, because to ignore it could be dangerous, for both of them. In order to prevent Hal from giving in to the dark side, he had to get to know it.

Yet, Tom didn't know what to say, so he just looked at his friend in silence. Hal turned away. "I can't stand for you to see me like this. Please, just go away." Tom stood up but hesitated, words on the tip of his tongue. Hal's head whipped around and he screamed: "Just leave me the fuck alone!"

Tom sighed and left, slamming the door closed behind him with all the frustration that he felt inside. He went to his own room and sat on the bed, staring at his wall of dreams.

A week, a whole week he had listened to Hal raving and threatening him, often followed by apologising when he became aware of his behaviour. At other times he was so angry and intent on killing, he didn't even notice.

Tom couldn't help but wonder what McNair would think about all this. Would he be disappointed, angry that his son was protecting a self-confessed killer instead of just staking him? His father had taught him well, even now after all that had happened, when hearing such words coming out of Hal's mouth, his first instinct was to grab a stake and bury it in his chest. But he wanted to do that as little as Hal really wanted to kill those women. If they couldn't overcome the darker parts of themselves, they were nothing more than monsters and he wouldn't let them be monsters.

Tom rubbed the back of his head, felt the scars running through his short hair and wondered if hell had frozen over at the thought of him having a vampire as a best mate. Really, it was a bit surreal.

Still lost in thought, he jumped when Alex popped up beside him on the bed. "I told ya, you're not supposed to do that!"

"Sorry, bad habit." She grinned. "How's the raving lunatic?"

Tom's eyebrows drew together. "I wish you'd stop callin' him that."

Alex stopped smiling and leaned back on her elbows. "Fine." She was quiet for a moment and bit on her lower lip. She seemed to make her mind up about something and then said: "It's just…hearing him say all those things. I know it's Hal, but I don't want to think of him as Hal, because it makes me so angry! I keep thinking about my body, hanging there in the basement, and I know he's done worse things than that and that deep down, he longs to do them again, and I just want to slap him around the face! But I also know he doesn't want to be that person anymore, so I have to give him a chance, right? I can see how he's suffering and my anger fades and that just makes me angry at myself!" Her mouth twitched in annoyance, and Tom couldn't help but crack a smile. He still had to get used to her occasional rants, but they always lightened him up. They made him forget about other things.

Alex pushed herself up and all of a sudden a small smile graced her lips. "You know what, I should probably just nip over there for a bit and distract him from all the soul-searching he is doing."

Tom knew what that meant and he knew how it would end. "I ain't thinking that's a good idea, Alex. He just kicked me out of the room."

"Hal just needs some tough love, that's all. You're too soft on him." She grinned like the cat who got the cream. "We just need to show him that if he wants to revert back to good old Lord Harry, there's hell to pay." And with that she vanished in the air.

Tom sighed and propped his face on his hands. What had the world come to when he was the actual grown-up in the house? Alex loved teasing Hal far too much for her own good and it always ended in disaster. Tom's thoughts wandered to Annie and Eve and he felt a stinging pain in his chest at their memories. He missed the way Annie made him feel loved and protected and as much as he had wanted to destroy that rota, he missed taking care of Eve, even if it was just taking her out in the park.

Tom desperately wished Hal back to his normal, cleaning-obsessed self, so that they could go back to some kind of normalcy when he heard a crash in the other room. Here it goes, he thought and prepared himself for the screaming that followed. "Do you ever shut up or are you planning to kill me with your endless chit-chat? Jesus!"

"Maybe if you weren't so fixated on yourself all the time, you would actually be interested in what other people have to tell you!"

A desperate chuckle escaped Tom's throat and he fell back on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

If the next few weeks weren't going to be normal, they would at least be somewhat entertaining.

A.N.: I hope you liked it. Reviews are always appreciated. :)