[Summery] The circumstances of Hal York and Nick Cutler's first meeting were not a-typical, nor overly dramatic. Simply business as usual. A one-shot detailing Mr Cutler's first mortal death.
[A/N] I know quite a few lines in this are from the original program, and I don't claim them as my own; this is just me filling in the gaps and getting a grasp of the characters in preparation for a multi-chapter fic I'm planning. Enjoy !
(Mild Warnings; bit of language, bit of blood ^^;'')
~ Cell No.02 ~
Outside he heard the prison gate unlocking, and his index finger twitched with a movement too slight, and too subtle for the human eye to see. Hal had been waiting in his cell for less than twenty minutes in relative calm; but now, his mind and his stomach had become connected, communicating in impulsive conversation. His stomach was telling his mind that it was hungry - starving, shrinking and expanding, hollow and empty, as its yearning waters growled in protest - eager for, and demanding satisfaction. Within him, it moaned, a small, watery, eking moan that made Hal still his breath. He exhaled, slowly and quietly through his nose, as if to hold a single finger to his lips and hush his cravings. He would pacify them soon enough.
It was growing late, and the silence of the dark hours breathed through every wall of the prison - lit and unlit - like a spirit, leaving every mind therein to wander through their own internal ramblings, to places they'd much rather leave uncharted, and unthought-of.
Steps outside approached the small gloss painted cell, and his composure strengthened. The lock shifted in the heavy door at the opposite side of the room, before it swung open to reveal a tall, and strong featured prison guard, impeccably dressed and solemn. He and Hal shared an empty glance before the guard stepped aside to reveal his summoned guest. Hal smiled tightly - his stomach rippling over with overpowering hunger at the sight before him.
His guest was a lean young man, dressed in a somewhat creased pinstripe suit. He stood there for a moment, hunched over as if the heaving pile of papers and folders balanced on his right arm were inhumanly heavy and burdensome. Hooked in his right hand was a small brown-leather satchel, and in his left, a pen, which he rolled subconsciously between his fingers, in awkward, inelegant fiddling. Quickly, his eyes scanned over his papers, before he looked up with focused attention. Speaking both systematically and courteously, he said:
"Mr York, my name's Nick Cutler." he paused, as if assessing him. "I believe you asked for me."
"Mr Cutler," Hal replied smoothly, as his eyes filled with a peculiar and seemingly unwarranted contentment. "I have heard, so much about you."
Then he smiled, a beckoning, eager and secretive smile, that seemed to pull Nick Cutler into the room subconsciously - almost like hypnotism to witness - though, to experience it was much more like the motion and pull the moon has over the tides of the sea. The prison guard followed him, his steps echoing like bell tolls in the silence of the cold, tiled walls.
The lawyer was quite unsure what this man could have heard about him - that in itself was troubling - or why he should ask for him specifically, as caution and suspicion crept through him like icy water.
Cutler reassessed his client: He sat, legs crossed and hands folded tidily, as if someone else had arranged him there, like a doll; his suit was smart, and very expensive looking with its dark, rich colours of red and blue (the colours of blood, inside and outside the body) set in immaculately tailored fabric. But it was his face that struck him first - very pale, with skin as clean and white as candle wax, with full, slow-moving, purplish lips, and drooping dark, brown-green, invasive eyes, that seemed so deep, and so dark, a man could find and lose his mind within their depths.
His appearance was quite exceptional. Both the way he held himself, and the way he dressed were very fine, almost regal, and very commanding. Surely, Cutler suspected, a man of this status and calibre should have his own lawyer, criminal gambler or not. Hal sat still and silent, gazing loosely up at him for a moment. In that short second, Cutler gained that this man was no ordinary client, and that this would not be a quick and easy case. A cold sense of unwelcome unease embraced him, like a coating of liquid. It was already so late…
"Your work on the Kennedy case was really quite incredible." continued the man, with the same content, though unsettling tone and expression. "Truly something to marvel at. Why, it even perplexed my friends on the force for a short time."
"Right…" muttered Cutler dismissively, slightly tensed by the man's knowledge of him and his dealings. "If you could please explain your situation to me Mr Yor-?"
"It's really quite baffling, isn't it?" continued Hal, in his finest conversational English tones. "How you managed to get her through that entire trial, unconvicted of any crime whatsoever?"
Cutler briefly bit his inner lip, before sighing resolutely "That's hardly relevant to your case…"
"Did they ever find the missing limbs?" he asked curiously, casually, with a strange false concern that - to Cutler's ears - sounded more like sick intrigue. "That part did perplex me… Tell me."
"No. They didn't." he said, firmer now, as the man's eccentricities seemed to be wandering further away from grandeur and closer to superfluous arrogance. Bloody upper-class criminals. "Mr York we really should-"
"Now that really is marvellous, isn't it?" interrupted Hal again, with a kind of calm admiration "Truly brilliant."
"How is it?" he asked with thin disapproval, as his gaze turned sharper.
There was a pause. The Kennedy case had been truly horrific to work on, if not more horrific for the public to watch unfold. There had been national outcry - people vomiting at the thought of the grimmer details, that the news and newspaper headlines had thought better not to mention; both screaming and weeping in the courtroom, and one female member of the jury having to be removed, on account of her fainting at the sight of a particular piece of photographic evidence. It was not the subject of neither common nor civil conversation. Plus, his professional - and somewhat illicit - involvement in the case had remained both quiet and unpublicised. How the fuck, did he know about that?
"Come now, Mr Cutler. False modesty is such a tiresome trait. You should be famous." smiled his client, with true glee shaping his voice, as he spoke slowly, as if every word possessed a fine flavour that must be savoured "Such hard work, such skill, deserves recognition… praise. Praise that - dare I say it - you have not received from the more careful-footed populous, who find treading into such 'unpleasant' subject matters… shall we say, unsafe, or distasteful, under the ever-watchful judgement of society. Allow yourself a little pride, sir."
Cutler stared at him for a moment. The words had tipped so casually from his tongue, it was as if he'd rehearsed them a thousand times before - said them a thousand times before to someone else. How was he to reply to that sort of thing, whilst at the same time suppressing his - until then - much neglected pride and gratification? His client seemed to read all this in his face, and gave a strong, smug smile.
"How's any of this relevant?" asked Cutler, with faltering but enduring patience; his voice keeping to its usual self-paced, slightly slurred, calm quality.
"It's relevant to you." replied Hal, his mouth holding the shape of the last word for a lingering moment that seemed to fix Cutler in place, like a pin into an insect, as the whole world seemed to close in, narrowing down around him.
"And…?" he asked, confused and dissatisfied.
"It must be frustrating." Hal's tone dropped lower, as if to suppress his emotion - as if his words enclosed a secret, as they flowed warmly and slowly, like hot wax. "To be so… brilliant, so skilful, and not be admired; overlooked, like you're standing in the shadows, just touching upon the very rim of the spot-light. To be denied the sweet taste of the recognition you so greatly deserve. You are caged, my friend; smothered and suppressed by the conventions of the society you should be presiding over. Unlike you are now, restrained continually by boundaries both invisible and unchangeable, restricting you from reaching your full potential. That feeling - you may not think it, but I know it well - it burns deep within you, irritating you - a smouldering, glowing, ire." A sharpness formed his last words, making him sound almost bitter, before he continued in a somewhat dulled, murmuring tone: "It is not so weak, so fleeting, as unattained gratification. It's not dissatisfaction. It's a feeling more akin to having grown up in captivity; the seeping realisation that your dreams and ambitions are too big - too rich - for this domestic world."
"-Okay," interrupted Cutler, fearing that this conversation was veering away from the professional and into the personal. His patience renewed. "Are you planning to say anything I can use as your defence?"
"A defence for what?" asked the client - perhaps a little curtly.
"What you were arrested for…" he attempted to prompt him. Cutler peered into Hal's face for a moment, searching for any sort of recognition. He found none. His client seemed to be facing the situation - the legal side of it, anyway - with the utmost unperturbed placidity. "Illegal gambling? Specifically, according to the reams of papers and documents they've found…" He searched through the weighty stack of papers he had been given; over-conscious of the eyes set upon him, he clicked his pen nervously, as if to pinpoint his composure: "Dog fights?"
A short chuckle breezed past Hal's lips, so precise, so accurate, it felt almost strategic: "Don't worry about that."
Cutler broke eye contact, licking his thin lips nervously, his eyes now stinging. This is a fucking ridiculous waste of time - this late on a Sunday night? - This is bullshit. His client continued, oblivious:
"Until recently, any dealings we've had with the police have been dealt with by our family solicitor, Robert Mercer; but he passed away…" he narrowed his eyes, as if looking into the far distance, retracing his steps "…unexpectedly, on the twenty-fourth of this month. So…-"
"Today's the twentieth." Cutler corrected him suspiciously.
"Is it? Hm. Anyway…"
Cutler turned away again, swallowing heavily, attempting to blink the sleep from his eyes. Hal's focus sharpened. He watched him closely. His solicitor seemed unsure where to put his tongue, as it flailed around in his mouth, large and pink, aimlessly, licking his lips - again - sticking on the dry skin for a mere fraction of a second; opening his mouth, taking in more air, as beneath his collar his left carotid rose and fell, filled with oxygen, and blood. Oh, he could hear it thudding in his temples now, powerful and pumping around his body - so hot, so full, and so wet - he could almost feel it breaking over his own dry lips and sliding down his throat, coating him inside, like a lapse in time. Hal's stomach squirmed as 'the hunger' set in there, rapidly growing strong and hard as stone beneath his skin.
He quashed his thoughts. In less than a second, he forced them down, knowing he could not keep them contained for long, like holding a thumb over uncorked champagne, with a tremor.
"Therefore, we need a new legal representative," Hal announced calmly, though grinning "And destiny has decided; it's you."
Cutler laughed a wheezing, exhausted, impulsive laugh. This is ridiculous. No one just says that. "Destiny"? - Bullshit. He must be high. He must be on something - cocaine, probably, by the look of him.
"I don't think you're really in the position." he replied, attempting not to sound overly mocking, his words paced and slightly slurred again. "I already have a job."
"But you're bored, Mr Cutler." he smiled. He had him. Oh God, he had him. This was like reeling in a baited fishing line "In your lifetime, how many people have told you you're going to achieve great things?"
He could see it in the lawyer's eyes - he was not really looking, really perceiving anything. Hal had him, body and mind, swaying and trapped in the palm of his hand. He could sense his instinctual fear growing, sensing what he really was, flourishing in his ribcage. It would only take a few more words.
"That you are destined to become, a History Maker."
He said these last words with true potency, coolly watching for the reaction. Nick Cutler's breathing slowed, his eyes widened: "Listen, this is hardly…" he stammered - Ooh, was that panicking? He loved it when they panicked - "I don't know; a few. Know can we just -!"
"- The thing is," Hal interrupted sharply, impatience dripped at the back of his mind, as his stomach ached with anticipation, for the imminent, rich, full, sustenance - the rapture - that was soon be upon him. "You agree."
Cutler's back straightened, his eyes widened, pale blue and shining in the buzzing electric light. His jaw twitched. His mind fogged over with thoughts of fear, ambition and fate - a thick confusion that rendered the whole of the situation almost unreal. How could he know any of this? He certainly didn't know him. It was as if his soul, heart and mind were written on his skin, waiting for this enigmatic stranger to read, and use against him. He was struck dumb, as a sudden and illogical terror paralyzed him, working outward from his chest and seizing his limbs. Hal's gaze intensified.
"Roy…" he breathed, soft and smooth as a rung of silk. "Would you mind shutting the door…?"
The prison guard's expression remained unchanged, as he stepped backwards from the room, and Cutler's eyes snapped from him to Hal and back again, only to see the heavy painted door seal in front of him. He could still see the glint of the shining copper keys in his mind's eye. The image sparked tantalisingly vivid in his brain. They had hung loosely from the guard's fingers the whole time - but it was too late now. Hearing the lock fix and clang back into place was like a hard blow to his chest, as every hope and nerve he had frayed apart, and diminished.
Cutler stood, petrified, as he felt a firm hand grip his shoulder and slowly turn him away from the door. Hal York stood before him, uncomfortably close, with an expression unreadable except for the deep, and penetrating hunger in his eyes. Underneath his gaze, Cutler opened is mouth to say something - anything - but the words collapsed and died in his throat.
"Shh…" Hal hushed him, with the intent to soothe, or sedate, but the shaking his 'hunger' caused him gave his voice more the lilt of a snake. It was taking him from his core now, running hot in his veins. He needed the strength to keep it under control. This was not to be a ordinary meal - he needed to change him, properly. Seeking his resolve, he kept eye contact, drinking in the fear that swam in Nick Cutler's eyes.
As the folders and papers were lifted from his arms, and his pen and satchel loosened from his grasp, Cutler felt weightless, almost as thin and delicate as an eggshell. He heard everything so clearly through the silence - the crinkle of the papers as they were taken, the light thud as they were set down, the slight hitch in Hal's breath as he looked away. The room began to quiver in Cutler's vision as light and shadow separated and simplified in his tears. There was a sense of a third person in the room - he could feel it, a third power - and he was sure that it was his death. He turned his head to the side. He closed his eyes. His mind was shutting down, he could feel it, as Hal pushed him back slowly, but firmly against the wall.
"It's at this moment," he began, speaking low, so that the heat from his breath was greater that the sound of his voice, tremoring slightly "…that I usually start to enjoy myself - play with my food, as it were. However… I feel that would spoil you - a mind, a body, ripped asunder, like petty rags; ruining your potential - and for what?" His voice was truly shaking now. It took great strains to keep it in check, -
"The things I'd do to you…" he paused, flexing his fingers, his palm stretched taut and flat over Cutler's chest, feeling his heart beating like a panicked rat's beneath his beast. "…would send you mad. And what good would you be to me, mad?" He gripped the man's shirt and heard his victim's breath stop completely - giving him such an intense rush, his mind seemed to shrink with the force of it. He swallowed hard. "Truth be told, I don't think I have the restraint to hold back… that side of me, but we'll see how we go, shall we?"
"W… What are you going to…?" began Cutler, eyes still shut, his voice a wobbling, whispering stammer, as if his lungs were filled with water. Subconsciously, he turned his head to the left, away from the man - the vampire.
Hal smiled and loosened the other man's tie, slowly dragging it free, before popping the top two buttons of his shirt, spreading his collar open, and bearing his neck. As he leaned in, every bone of his body was set aglow. He was in his true element now. He could do this, he could trust himself; as he felt a new composure blossoming strong within him, he whispered into the tight, fleshy folds of Cutler's ear - "I'm setting you free…"
He did not have the ability to wander about this statement. Shock and fear had disintegrated every whit he had. Cutler's body tensed in waves of terrible sensation, as he pressed himself closer to the wall. Never had the promise of freedom made him feel so sick.
"Count backwards from ten - in your head, if you have to." Hal ordered him, though, coming from his mouth, it sounded more like advice "Before you get to three-" he paused "I was going to say 'it will all be over,' but that would be a lie, and I don't wish to lie to you. Before you get to three, you simply won't care, anymore."
His voice faded on the last word, as if he were recalling something long forgotten, retracing his own memories in the dense fogs of his mind. Though, he did not linger there for long. Placing one hand on Cutler's shoulder, and brushing his cheek lightly with the other, he said clearly, - "Count."
There was an abrupt hiss, screeching like a cat's, but truly threatening, almost excited, exhilarated. Cutler's eyes snapped open, but before he could turn to look, he felt a tremendous weight on his shoulder and stomach as he was brutally forced backwards into the wall. He couldn't fight it. The strength holding him there was so awful, it was inhuman; he thought it would break his bones into splinters.
The sharpest pain struck him in the crook of his neck. He braced himself, trying to breathe, waiting for it to pass, but it only intensified. Deep, white-hot pain obscured every thought, and every sense he had. Hal's arched back was all he could see clearly - folds of dark blue stretching out before him, strong and unyielding as an industrial clamp. Cutler forced his gaze to the ceiling and shut his eyes tight, feeling his flesh breaking apart under the pressure of what felt like animal jaws, biting firmly into his neck.
The pain pulsed, in and out, up and down, in short, sharp sucks. Oh god, he was being sucked. His blood was being sucked out of him. He could feel it being extracted from him, leaving stinging dry shreds of skin around the wound, as excess blood rolled down his shoulder, thick and gliding over his sweat, sticking to his shirt. His skin, all over, was red and hot to the touch as the blood rose within him, and his brain filled with warm, drowning static.
Cutler gagged. His chest tightened, as he felt Hal plunge his tongue into the wounds he had made. He could feel the wet, rough texture of it - his tongue - beneath his skin, pushing, and licking, and cleaning, and pushing again. The sound of his slurping scraped at the back of Cutler's skull, sharp and high, and irritating. His jaw went slack. His head began to pound in strong, then gradually depleting thumps, as if he were fading out. As if his mind were fading away… His arms and legs numbed strangely, loosening at the joints, as if they were about to fall away from his body, like over-ripe fruit.
The pressure on his stomach, his shoulder and his neck eased away, slowly. Soon, it was gone. His breath returned to him, but it was painful, as if every breath were to stretch the tender, red flesh of a new sore. All he could hold onto was the intense, throbbing pain in his neck. It pinned him down. It was only pain - pain and fear - that kept him conscious as he slid to the floor.
One thought was on a constant relay in his head. A tapping, sure, steady repetition: He would not die like this. This is not how it would end.
After an immeasurable length of time spent in silent, nauseating darkness, with great effort, Cutler forced his eyes to open. Through narrow, blurred slits of vision, he could make out a tall, dark figure, amongst the swimming backdrop of white tiles. He stood over him. The floor stretched before him, slowly filling with red, as Hal stepped closer to him. His black leather shoes shone so brilliantly - Cutler hoped they would not come crashing down on his head.
"It was, at this point," he mused, high up above him, in calm retrospective tones "That I was given a choice."
He laughed warmly, and Cutler groaned, his hand twitching in a pool of his own blood - a movement too slight, and too subtle for the human eye to see.
"It's not much of a choice, is it?" he continued, his smile - rimmed with drying blood - could be heard in his voice. "But then again, I already know your decision, don't I, Mr Cutler?"
[A/N] Thanks for reading ^_^ !
I've been a fan of the series since it started, but I've never had the confidence to write a fan-fic before now ^^; Any thoughts you have - feedback, good or bad, or any unrelated pairing venting, is very welcome.
My most contrite apologies for any errors you may have spotted *bows*.