This is my first attempt at a fan fiction. I know I'm not the first to do a 'What if Hal and Mitchell met' but hopefully I have made this enough of mine not to incur wrath!
Started off as a one-off which is where the length in Chapter one comes from.
As always, Mitchell, Herrick, Hal and everything Being human isn't and never shall be mine. I bow down to the genious that is TW and wish him and the Being Human series all the success in the future. Huzzah!
They were standing in the grand lobby of a London Belgravia townhouse. Dressed up like two penguins about to meet an Old One, Mitchell fingered his collar, he hated getting trussed up like a circus ring master. And to get dressed up and come here, where he couldn't even use his ridiculous get-up to attract a pretty drink riled him even more.
God he was hungry. He shifted his feet uneasily and earned a hard look from the man next to him. Mitchell scowled.
'You better stop that once we're in there.' Warned Herrick, dressed just as smartly, but somehow looking like he was wearing a comfortable silk and feather blanket.
'C'mon Herrick,' whined Mitchell, he knew he sounded like a child, but right now he felt like one. A stubborn, awkward kid in his Sunday best. 'You know how I feel about all this.' His eyes narrowed. 'I look like a fucking clown.'
'Language!' Herrick shot back. Then he blinked, calming himself. Mitchell hadn't seen him this worked up in a while. But then again, an Old One was a big deal. 'You look,' he said slowly, 'Like you are supposed to look. And you will act,' he warned, coldness coming into his voice, 'Like you are supposed to act. Is that clear?'
Mitchell nodded. He knew better then to push. It was never worth it. 'I just don't understand why we couldn't have got something to eat first.' He muttered mutinously.
'Because, Mitchell.' Herrick said patiently adjusting his perfect bow tie. 'With you it is never just one something and I need you focused right now. There's no dealing with you right after a kill.'
Mitchell set his jaw.
'Look,' said Herrick with a sigh, removing an invisible bit of dust from his recruit's lapel. 'Afterwards, if this goes well, we can go out and rip this city to shreds, but we need his,' Herrick indicated the huge doors they were waiting outside of, 'approval first. I've got a good relationship with the current man who runs this town, but everyone says he's on his way out. This meeting, is to discuss who is to follow.'
'So we're not here to see the London guy?' Said Mitchell with a frown.
'No Mitchell,' Replied Herrick with a sigh. 'As I said on the journey over when you swore you were listening,' Mitchell rolled his eyes, 'We are here, to met the man to will decide.'
'Looking to expand are we?' Mitchell grinned.
Herrick smiled. 'London could be a step up,' he conceded, 'but there are many that have to agree first.' His eyes turned hard, 'Like the man through that door.' He said pointing to the large black doors that lead into the main reception room.
'Okay, okay I get it' Mitchell said raising his hand in supplication. 'No worries. I'll be your poster boy, I'll say all the right things.'
Herrick cleared his throat. 'How about we keep talking to a minimum from you. Last thing we need is for you to shoot your mouth off with him around. He's not as forgiving as I am.'
'I can't imagine that,' grinned Mitchell.
'I'm serious Mitchell,' Herrick warned.'You put a finger out of line while he's around, and he will hold your entire hand in a bowl of werewolf blood until there is nothing left but a stump.' Mitchell blinked. 'He's done it before.'
'Okay.' nodded Mitchell. 'Message received.'
Herrick placed a hand on his shoulder. 'Look, If I don't get selected someone else may come along who we don't have such a great relationship with.'
Mitchell rolled his eyes. Politics really weren't his thing. Never would be, far too much of a headache.
The big oak doors in front of them opened and a smart non-descript man stepped forward. He looked over both of them and then moved to the side. 'Mr Yorke will be up shortly. Please come in.'
Mitchell bit his bottom lip and frowned, Jesus, he was hungry.
Mitchell had been a vampire for thirty-one years. There was no humanity in him, it had been drowned in the blood of every man, woman and child that caught his eye on his European tour.
And there had been many. His first has been the hardest, he still remembered the freezing tentacles clasp him right before. Was he actually doing this? Could he? He had cried, a dry sob echoing through is chest as he leaned in, stroking away Arthur's hair, whispering to him 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry'. The rest were easy. Next had been a dirty French whore, he didn't even know her name. He liked it that way. He didn't like to get too personal.
'Give it a decade, you'll want to take your time with them, there's art to the kill.' Herrick whispered to him. It had taken less than that though. Like a starving man, he had gorged, it was food, and he was never full. Eventually he found he wanted to delay that moment. It wasn't about the kill – well not all about the kill – it was about the conquest. And the conquest was that much sweeter when you delayed it.
Mitchell lived for those moments. If he wasn't feeding, he was thinking about the next time, he wanted to have a 'project' on the go all the time. His eyes would scan for his next meal before the last had hit the ground. He had already forgotten whatever-their-name-was, why bother the brain cells? Once or twice he had looked down at the crumpled tangle of limbs and clothes and wonder where they were now. Somewhere he wasn't that's for sure. But somewhere he and seen a glimpse.
He had tried to ignore it, at first. He remembered dying, the cold moving around his body like morphine, filling his veins as his warm blood was drained away. He had seen the men on the other side, shadowy figures that swung thick ropes and fingered chains. Then a tug, like a rope tied around your middle, yanking him back, and then… this.
1917 - Herrick had been there, staring down at him. 'Finally awake soldier?' Grinning ear to ear, cleaning his teeth with a dirty fingernail. 'Sorry about the mess' he remarked leaning down to move a young private's body off Mitchell's cold, numb leg. 'We got a bit peckish waiting for you.'
Mitchell lay there, looking around him, he remembered the cold, he remembered Herrick, he remembered Herrick's promise.
'They're… you're…' his throat was dry, like he hadn't drank water in a week. His mouth burned. 'You said you would let them go.' He chocked.
Herrick blinked, looked down at his new recruit and then at the mass of bodies around. 'Well,' he said, a look of exasperated innocence on his face 'We let most of them go,' he did a mental count. 'I think.'
He leaned down and effortlessly pulled Mitchell onto his unsteady feet like a father with his toddler. 'Anyway, no point worrying about all that now.' He said, 'We've got to go catch up with the others. There's this great little whore house about five miles south that I think should be every man's first time. Le Petite Fleur, wonderful place.' He slapped Mitchell heartily on the back, grinning.
Mitchell wasn't listening. So many bodies, he thought looking at his feet. There's Frith, and Bobby and… his own thoughts trailed away from him as he focused on private Bobby Yates. They had been from the same village, not joined up together, but Mitchell knew him. But that wasn't what he was thinking. White noise had filled his ears, his hair was tingling, his mouth burning. He was looking at Bobby Yates' face, blank eyes, dried blood down his cheek, resting on his neck… it smelled like nothing he has ever smelt before.
He blinked, and suddenly saw the blood in a whole other way, vivid colours, shining, whirling and twisting on itself as it moved, it was glowing with life like a tiny river of fireflies; the colour his black, predatory eyes could now see. He felt his teeth change, his jaw open to make way for sharp enamel that had grown out of nowhere.
'Hold on there soldier' Herrick said, placing a small but firm hand on Mitchell's chest. Mitchell blinked, he saw normally again, blinked again, not sure what had just happened, hoping it wasn't what he feared … he was one of them. 'Let's not start with yesterday's leftovers shall we.' Herrick said quietly.
He gingerly put his hands on Mitchell's shoulders, turning him around. 'You'll remember your first forever. I think we should have something a little more pretty, yes?' He said encouragingly.
Mitchell was numb, in shock. He stumbled away obediently, letting his maker lead him away from the smell that had taken hold of him. Mitchell took a shuddering empty breath, What'is happening to me? He turned his head back towards the pile of his former friends. I died with them, he thought emptily. At least we died together.
He turned to look at Herrick, still two hands firmly on his shoulders, propelling him forward to go knows where.
He was dead, I died because of him. He killed my men, my friends. A wave of nausea overcame him, he half wretched, half stumbled himself away, spinning and crumbling to the ground.
'Get away from me' he rasped, his throat was so sore as he scrambled away, the ground spiky and rough scraping his skin on his palms until he rammed into the back of a tall pine tree. 'You killed them!' he was shaking, breath coming fast, panic was replacing shock… he clutched his chest, Why isn't my heart hammering? He looked down. He felt nothing through his stained jacket. I'm dead, no heart, no breath. He looked back at Herrick. 'You killed me.'
'Now, calm down.' said Herrick warningly, raising both hands up as he walked slowly towards him.
'You killed me!' Mitchell shouted, pointing at him, using the tree to force himself up. He had to get away.
'Yes I did,' Herrick said patiently, his voice as calm as if he were talking to a baby. 'But I've given you so much more.' His face broke into a big smile. 'You have no idea John.' He took another step closer. 'I've given you more than anyone else could ever give. I've made you a god.'
'No,' Mitchell said, 'You're a monster.' He said, blinking away tears, he could see his friends behind Herrick, he could smell them. Why did he want to run and bury his face in their dried blood?
'John,' chuckled Herrick. 'If I'm a monster, then so are you now.'
Mitchell shook his head. 'No,' he whispered. 'No I'm not.' He edged around the tree backing away furiously, tripping over a root. 'Leave me alone. I'm not like you.' He said gasping, 'I'm not.' he pleaded.
He turned and ran. Through the trees, away, he had to get far away from this monster. He had to get back, he had to get away from this nightmare.
'You'll come back,' Shouted Herrick after him. 'We're all you've got now John!'
William Herrick hated the whore house. He looked around at the floor, the walls, the flea bitten furniture. Don't get me wrong, he thought to himself, as he cleaned his nails, lying on the cleanest looking chaise long in the room; it was quite nice when we got here, a place for officers, not squaddies. But now there was dust, and blood and mud everywhere. Not to mention broken furniture, ripped material, a discarded shoe, spilt wine, crushed glass, broken mirrors. We really are animals, he mused.
They had been here a week, of course the domestic staff had been the first to go, hence the state of neglect. But with the five of them around, and only three more humans trapped in the downstairs basement they would have to move out in a day or so.
Herrick heaved a sigh. He had hoped his recruit would have turned up by now. The others had wanted to kill and move out three days ago, but they wouldn't do anything without him, and he wasn't ready.
If John Mitchell is going to come back, we need to be here at La Petite Fleur. He thought nodding.
But it has been over a week. No new recruit could last that long without feeding. He had seen the look on John's face at the sight of the bodies, the hunger. There is no way he could ignore it for long.
Maybe he got blown up, Herrick considered. Either getting back or once there, it wouldn't be the first time.
He stood, crossed the room, skirted around the remains of a blood stained gown and moved to the window. The curtain was torn, he distastefully pushed the flowery print faded aside to look out at the street. His insides stirred.
There he was. There's my soldier. Herrick smiled.
Mitchell was staring up at the building before him faded pink with a half broken swinging sign that proclaimed it to be the one Herrick had told him about.
He breathed hard, pain, nausea, confusion and panic written all over his face. He didn't want to be here, but he had no where else to go. His first mouthful of blood had been like heaven, pure ecstasy. He drained his friend dry and almost cried when there was none left; the icy hand around his heart had melted way as a soft, beautiful fire filled him from his toes to his tingling hair.
He couldn't go back, there was no going back. His eyes met Herrick's staring down from the window of the whore house. If I go in, he thought, There's no going back. I've chosen.
But, said a warm, calm voice in his head, Haven't you chosen already?
He swallowed and stepped forward towards the door, he wanted to run to it, to run to them, but he stopped himself.
Herrick was waiting, the door open. Behind him were the four others he had seen in the forest before, all grinning in the shadows.
Herrick's wide smile welcomed him in, his arms outstretched. 'Welcome John! We're so glad you're here.'
Mitchell stepped forward, allowing himself to be hugged but not returning it. I've made my choice, the warm voice said again.
'Call me Mitchell.' He muttered.
'Ahh Herrick. How nice of you to pop by.'
A rich clipped voice echoed from within an open hidden door where stairs descended into what Mitchell assumed was a cellar.
A smartly DJ'd Hal dabbed at his bottom lip with a starched white handkerchief before placing the now blood speckled item into a hidden pocket in his dinner jacket as he came to the top step. Behind him were about three or four other similarly dressed men.
Mitchell looked at this legendary vampire. He was shorter than him but not by that much. Mitchell though they looked to have been recruited at roughly the same age although that had nothing to do with how old they were.
He was stood one pace behind Herrick, as always when entering an unfamiliar place. He stepped carefully when in this type of company. He took his lead from his maker, and right now, he could tell that Herrick, although appearing his normal cool, collected and jovial self, was anything but. He had been warned about this vampire.
'Lord Harry,' said Herrick, a tentative grin snapping onto his previously shocked face. He took a step forward in front of him raising his hand to shake.
Hal looked down at the proffered hand then flicked his eyes back at Herrick. The smile was thin, the eyes cold.
'Ah yes sorry,' Herrick said with a nervous laugh, 'My mistake.' He cleared his throat and withdrew the hand.
There was a pause, Mitchell looked behind this new man at his henchmen behind, all waiting to see which way their master would go. They were scared of him, he looked over at Herrick, Herrick seemed scared of him too. This was new to Mitchell, the muscles in his neck tensed.
Hal broke into a large smile with a laugh, stepping forward and putting both hands on Herrick's shoulders. 'Only jesting William!' he announced, before clapping him a little too hard on each arm. 'And it's Hal now. Harry is a bit last century don't you agree?' he continued, guiding Herrick toward a small group of furnishings to one side.
The men behind him all grinned and started to disperse around the room. Herrick's shoulders slumped as he returned the smile in wary relief. Mitchell shifted his feet, he wasn't quite ready to stand at ease yet. He kept tensing and relaxing his shoulders, he didn't like the tight cut of his suit, he hated the scratchy collar and would have kissed anyone that said he could untie the blasted bow strangling his neck.
His eyes met Hal's for a second. They were cold, dangerous and turned his cold blood icy. This man made him seem like a useless human again, he looked away first.
Herrick hesitated, although he didn't pull away. Hal's eyebrow raised in question. 'Please,' said Herrick, raising his hand behind him to where Mitchell stood. 'May I introduce John Mitchell to you?'
Hal's head turned towards Mitchell. His eyes swept over him, taking everything in from toe to face. They looked at each other, this time Mitchell held his gaze.
Hal looked back at Herrick, then stepped away, removing his shoulder grip to look fully at Mitchell. He blinked and a small smile creped onto his face. 'Pleasure, John Mitchell.' He said as he raised his hand up. 'I've heard good things.'
Mitchell shot a quick look at Herrick who was looking between the two with blank surprise, then his eyes rammed into Mitchell's hard. Mitchell turned to Hal and took his hand as warmly as he could, shaking once before he was promptly dropped.
Hal flicked a perfunctory smile and then indicated them both to sit down at a group of intimidating wood and fabric furniture in a corner opposite the door.
Mitchell and Herrick obeyed, this was no request. They unbuttoned their jackets as they sat, much to Mitchell's relief, One button closer to comfort, the thought. Herrick took the sofa, Hal at the head of a small but beautiful wooden table that was in the middle sat back into a high backs arm chair. Mitchell took a chair opposite his maker, lowing himself down slowly.
'It's a shame you couldn't be here earlier.' began Hal lightly, leaning back into his chair, one elbow resting on the arm. 'We have somewhat of a little wager going on downstairs.' He extended his hand to the side, palm up where a small beautiful sherry glass was placed and a decanter produced.
One of the men that had followed Hal up into the room hovered, pouring thick dark, glorious liquid into the crystal. Sitting where he was Mitchell could smell the warm bloody still retained it's gorgeous life spark. This was drawn barely half an hour ago, it made his eyes burn and mouth water.
'Please,' offered Hal as two other filled glasses were handed out to Herrick and Mitchell. Again, he looked at his maker for a prompt.
'To your health, Hal' announced Herrick with a small tip of the head as he sipped. Mitchell inwardly groaned, he hated sipping anything, what was the point?
Hal smiled again before trying his own. 'Yes,' he continued, he face animated, open and friendly. No thought Mitchell, seeming open and friendly. 'We found a gorgeous pair of twins, beautiful creatures really. Worked at a carnival, they had this wonderful little act.' He paused. 'Or should I say had.' He smirked 'When separated, they were still connected. You showed one a picture, and the other knew what it was. Highly fascinating if genuine.
'So, I wanted to test it myself.' He looked to Mitchell who despite himself was being drawn in. 'So we put them in two separate rooms – sound proofed of course and ran our own experiment.'
'I image not with picture cards.' Chimed Herrick.
Hal gave a small laugh. 'Well we have to put our own spin on things now don't we Mr Herrick.' He glanced over at his four men who were laughing amongst themselves at the other end of the room, a discrete distance away.
'Did it work?' Asked Mitchell leaning forward. Herrick shot him a warning look, 'May I ask?' he added hastily.
Hal's gaze went back to him. 'Sadly they didn't pass the first test, no. The first, Molly I think, or Mary had no idea what we were doing to her dear sister. And that girl should definitely have picked up on something.'
'What did you do,' Mitchell was eager to hear everything, damn it, he was getting turned on! He had ideas, but this guy in front of him had 400 years on him. He would know so much more.
Hal's mouth tugged at the corners he leaned closer, his silky voice low, 'Everything.' Mitchell grinned, his attention fixed. Hal's smile broadened. 'Can you image that?'
Mitchell nodded, his eyes darkening, oh yes, he could image all kinds of fantastic.
'What happened with the second test?' Prompted Herrick, not liking the close attention his recruit was getting. Hal leaned back into his chair again. 'You said that was just the first?' Herrick added.
'We don't know yet.' Hal said simply. 'We will see once she wakes up.' He pulled up his Dinner Jacket sleeve his wrist to reveal small faded bite marks, he licked the end of his thumb and rubbed away a small trace of dried blood, ignoring his guests.
Mitchell blinked. 'You… recruited her?' he asked disbelievingly.
'Mitchell.' Herrick said softly, it was a warning.
'Not for long.' Replied Hal, replacing his sleeve and taking another sip from his glass. 'Just until I see if I've won my bet.'
'What?' Mitchell whispered, glancing at Herrick, ignoring the look of heat behind his maker's eyes. 'You're going to end her?'
Hal shrugged lightly, looking into his glass. 'Have to really. After all that time with her, we didn't exactly leave her mentally intact.' He said lightly, smirking at the glass then looked up with amused seriousness, 'It will be the humane thing to do after all.' And he burst out laughing.
Herrick joined him. Mitchell didn't.
There was silence. Mitchell blinked, 'How long have they been down there?' the cold, icy hand reaching around his heart again, he was starting to think he wasn't going to like answer.
Hal looked at him, his eyes clear, menacing, Like looking into the Devil's Mitchell thought.
'Six months.' He smiled.
Mitchell swallowed. 'Why?' He asked.
Hal gave a small amused laugh to himself, 'I want to know if she can tell her first mouthful of blood is her sister's. Just enough to whet the appetite, then the big reveal!' He indicated the glass. 'then we'll put them in the same room and see what happens.'
Mitchell froze. He was sure if he wasn't so shocked he would have been shaking. It was all he could do to try not to think. But he couldn't stop himself thinking.
He remembered his first kill, he remembered the pain just before, of knowing who it was. Then that smallest of milliseconds after, when Arthur lay on the sofa, eyes closed, slumped like he was asleep. Mitchell had been so high on his first feed. But he had known what he was done. To his friend.
She, this poor woman that Hal didn't even know the name of was going to feel that, for a sister. And she wouldn't have any way of preparing herself before. No moment of weakness where you rationalize it in your own head. Maybe she would be too far gone, he thought. But looking at this casual Devil in front of him now, he knew they would have made sure that wouldn't have happened. Just enough sanity to know.
Mitchell looked at Herrick, panic was setting in. He couldn't be in here. This monster in front of him may have forgotten his first time, how it left, it had been so long but not Mitchell.
His was still raw, scratching at the surface, ready to pounce whenever he wasn't ready.
'Mitchell,' Came Herrick's voice, a firm hand placed on his shoulder. He looked up, Herrick was smiling, but the smile didn't reach his eyes, he knew that Mitchell was cracking. 'Why don't you,' he said, lifting him up from the chair, 'Go out and get something to eat,' He turned Mitchell towards the door and gave him a little push 'and let me and Hal talk for a bit.'
Mitchell lurched forward, he blinked. Herrick has given him a lifeline, an exit out of the Devil's lair, he wasn't going to question.
'Yeah,' he mumbled. Then he remembered where he was, turned back to where Hal sat, as calm and pretty as a picture with his half drunk glass of the twin's blood. 'It was… good meeting ya.'
He turned and almost ran for the door. He had to get out of there, Arthur's face was tearing to the surface, he had to drown it again. He had been unprepared for the memory, he couldn't take it. It had been too long. No projects tonight, just food.
Hal watched as the ex Irish soldier left the room, his face unreadable. Hal knew he was a soldier. Recruited in 1917 in France, he had heard so he'd have to be. But Hal could tell, there was always a difference between those recruited in war and those in peace. When the body is exposed to that much adredaline in life it leaves a lasting impression in death; it fuels you to extremes. The trick was what you did with that fuel, Hal mused, using it to push you to greatness or destruction.
Herrick turned back to look at him. Hal gave a small smile, he wasn't a particular fan of Herrick; far too slimy for him. Herrick had ambition, that was obvious; in charge of Bristol and keeping it showed that. But Herrick was a peace-time ex clerk. He wouldn't challenge establishment, he would to the line, not redraw it; a perennial 'footnote' in the books of history.
'Sorry about that,' Herrick smiled wide, his small eyes creasing jollily. 'It's been a while since his last full meal.'
Hal gave a reflectory chuckle and twirled his glass. He looked at Herrick who had regained his seat. 'Was it something I said?'
'Oh no!' Replied Herrick, raising his hands. 'Not at all, just youthful high spirits.' He laughed and looked away.
There it was, thought Hal. The slime to grease the truth away. He didn't like it. His eyes narrowed. He was daring Herrick to brush it aside.
Herrick saw the look and cleared his throat. 'Well, you know what these young recruits are like, first fifty years they're still trying to find themselves.' He looked up, Hal was watching him.
He had seen the ex soldiers' face. He had hung off every word, wanting to go into every detail of what they had done to dear little Mary's sister Molly. Oh yes, I remember their names, I remember everything. So what had changed? It was the idea of Mary's first mouthful. Something has surfaced in him.
Hal finished off what was left in his glass. 'Tell me, Mitchell's first time? Personal connection?'
Herrick blinked. Hal smiled, hit the nail on the head there. He waited.
Herrick adjusted his seat. 'Funny thing really.' He started, the stress of staying jovial showing. 'As soon as he woke up, he ran off back to continue playing soldier. Not a backward glance. I barely had enough time to tell him where we were based at the time. Always in such a rush of energy.' Herrick laughed nervously. Hal raised an eyebrow, he knew that rush of energy; children born in war. 'Stayed away for a couple of weeks,' continued Herrick. 'Then shows up at our door one day. Never left since.'
Hal nodded slowly, staring at the glass again. 'But not two weeks' hungry.' He shot Herrick a look. He was getting tired of having is questions avoided.
'Ahh no, no.' Herrick stammered. He didn't like giving up any information that may come back to bite him later. He was here to present himself as head of Bristol to an Old One, show off his famous boy, not answer awkward questions. 'An army friend I think. Shared digs in the trenches.'
Hal's mouth twitched. He understood. 'Shame.' He said. 'A first time is always special, always memorable, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you.' Herrick nodded. 'The trick is to not make it too memorable. No lasting impression.'
Herrick smiled. 'Oh I'm sure it's nothing like that.' He said, cringing inwardly at how empty it sounded even to himself.
'Let's hope not.' Replied Hal. 'Everyone has heard of you and your boy's close relationship. I am coming to think it is a necessity. The lion and the lion tamer.' His eyes flashed. 'Let's hope he doesn't turn around one day and bite your hand off.'