Summary: Annie, George, and Mitchell walk the line between Life and Death, trying desperately to figure out what it means to be Human as they struggle to accept that they no longer are. Over the course of their journey, they discover that Human isn't a species. Being human is a process, a state of mind. it's nothing solid you can point to and say yeah, that's it, that's human. It's something you have to watch, see it all play out. You have to feel it to understand.
A/N: This is a largely reactionary fic that follows Canon almost exactly, unless otherwise is directly stated. The story is largely meant simply to take the story as it's presented and look at it from a different angle. This chapter is set immediately after the events of the first episode (Flotsam & Jetsam), and assumes Canon.
Also: I'm using Clara as a means of having a constant in Mitchell's field of interaction that can untangle his thoughts a bit. She is not self-insert.I was going to make her a straight up reporter but that felt too much like a Moonlight cross over and Beth Turner annoyed me. She had to be a writer though, no one in any other occupation could possibly be as nosy or as able to suspend their disbelief as well as a writer could, nor would the have the extensive understanding of humanity required to trigger some of the conversations Clara and Mitchell have, and she had to be someone Mitchell trusted in a similar manner as, but different circumstances than, Josie, hence the the love interest thing. But that doesn't mean she's an end-game romantic player in this, her involvement isn't additional so much as it is complimentary to the story's actual Canon events, she's practically not event there.
The other reason I'm using Clara as something of a love interest is to explore the idea of Mitchell condoning a S2 GxA thing, because Nina really irked me and my only real tweak of Canon in this story is going to be that fact that George doesn't scratch her (which, granted, changes almost everything, but she'll still be an active force, just not as strong of one).
The Curious Case of the Vamp in the Daytime~
Death is something natural, something inevitable, something human.
It's natural and final and so beautifully mortal that the most human thing to do when facing Death is to run away, to cling desperately to Life with the whole of the ferocity that the spirit could dig up out of the Dark. In running away from Death, a person experiences Life in entirely new ways. So little separates Life from Death, and skirting the line can reveal dimensions of reality that can't be comprehended by mere mortals.
But Death doesn't like to be cheated.
At some point in history, Death added a caveat to level the field of those who dipped their toes into the Dark. They were forever tainted, contagious. In order to maintain their immortality, they had to perpetuate their immortality, their curse.
The first vampire, the first werewolf, the first wandering ghost, the first of any sort of unnatural, enduring, eternal creature chose their path. In walking along it, they were bound by nature of their very existence to take others along with them, to drag innocents into the Dark.
Everyone deserves a Death.
Death is like the punchline that makes a joke funny, even when you see it coming. Death makes Life mean something. Without Death, Life is nothing. To live without Death devalues Life, makes taking a life by force mean nothing, accrue no cost, and killing becomes little more than an act that reminds an immortal that they're alive.
Even the innocents who were dragged into their immortality by force feel more at ease around Death than any mortal ever could. Places where the two worlds collided, where Life and Death met face to face on even ground, were the places that immortals found themselves seeking asylum from the rest of the world. Places like churches, graveyards, nursing homes, funeral parlors, and hospitals or anywhere that Life and Death exist in tandem attracted the people who didn't belong firmly on either side of the line.
They found it comforted them to stay within the grey . . .
John Mitchell and his best friend George Sands worked the graveyard shift at the hospital for a few very important reasons. One of the main reasons was their predominantly nocturnal natures, but the very base of the matter was that at two in the morning, aside from the odd emergency, the hospital was a very quiet place to be. Even during the rush of a major happening, the porters were people that moved through the hallways as obtrusively as shadows.
They were ghosts that no one much cared to talk to.
Except for today, apparently.
"What can you tell me about the recent unsolved incidents surrounding this hospital, you know, the disappearance of Lauren Drake, the brutal alley-way murder of Becca Harris, and now the broad-daylight exsanguination of Annabel Cooper?"
Bubbly and tenacious, a young woman with honey-brown hair that looked dull under the hospital lights had been systematically making her way through all of the nurses and porters and even some of the doctors that were working the graveyard shift.
"Not much," Mitchell told her was a shrug. "Just what I already gave to the police. They were all pretty new to the staff."
"I'm not with the police," she explained. It was obvious to him that she wasn't with the police, but Mitchell needed to keep a low profile in regards to that matter. "I know it's not really a pleasant thing to think about, but I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me what you know."
"If you're not with the police, then who are you?" Mitchell asked, his voice curious and without any trace of darker suspicion. "This isn't exactly the sort of thing most people would just want to chat about over a cup of coffee."
The girl peeked up at him, like she was a school-girl that had a secret she wanted to trust him with. To encourage her confidence, Mitchell rested his chin on the hand holding the top of his mop steady and smiled.
"What if I told you I knew Annabel?"
Frowning at the unexpected news, Mitchell hurried to say, "Oh, I'm sorry."
"She was kind of a bitch," the girl said with a shrug. "But I did know her. And I know that before her death, she was involved with some pretty suspicious people, and that she, like the other two victims, had a crush on you."
"You think the different cases are all connected? And that I had something to do with it?" Mitchell asked, some of his concern showing on his face. He was, to his intense guilt and anguish, entirely responsible for the first two incidents. However, he'd only heard about Annabel's death when he'd shown up for his shift as the sun set on the day she'd died.
Honestly, Mitchell's first thought was that it had been Lauren again, but Herrick should have had Lauren under control after the incident with Becca. At the same time, Mitchell could think of nothing that would amuse Herrick more than turning Lauren loose to torment him.
"Oh, I know all the cases are connected. The victims are all new hospital employees, and they were all involved with you," the girl pointed out. "I'm just not sure how they're connected, exactly. You could be the killer for all I know. Or you could be the victim of one very dedicated and psychopathic stalker. Or something else entirely."
"I'm not the killer," Mitchell promised, the honesty ringing in his voice.
The girl smiled at him. "You seem like a nice guy, John Mitchell."
"I try to be," Mitchell responded.
"Don't we all . . ." it was said under her breath, but Mitchell heard it all the same. Then, brightening again, the girl asked, "Can I just ask you one thing? Get one real answer from you?"
Mitchell shrugged. "I'll be as helpful as I can."
"Did Annabel ever tell you anything about her Nomer friends?"
Biting her lip self-consciously, she clarified, "her vampire friends."
"Did you just say . . ." Mitchell's mind was racing. Vampires didn't make friends with humans. That much was non-negotiable. Vampires either killed or Turned humans. Even Mitchell had given up on holding any sort of legitimate relationship with a regular human. He still held out hope to fall in love, but he'd never tell a woman that he was a vampire before he was sure that she wouldn't go blabbing to her friends about it.
"Yeah. I said vampire," the girl said. "I know it sounds ridiculous but that's what Nomers are. Well, sort of. It's a slang term for a certain sort of gothic psychopaths, the sort of people that think they're vampires. Some people extend the terms to werewolves, zombies, and whatnot, all the sort of things that treat the human species as Noms."
"What's a 'Nom'?" Mitchell was entirely baffled.
The girl stepped back, looking him over critically, as she asked, "Have you spent any time on the Internet? Like ever?"
"Not really, I mean what exactly is there to do on it?"
Her eyes narrowed and she leaned a bit closer to him. "How old are you?"
"How old do I look?" Mitchell asked, keeping his cool as she got even closer. He could hear her pulse pounding through her, smell it just beneath her skin, even feel it in the warmth radiating out of her.
"Too young to have gotten so little exposure to Internet culture," the girl told him simply. "So, you gonna answer my question or are you just going to keep changing the subject to avoid giving me a straight answer?"
"What question was that again?" Mitchell teased with a charming smile.
Laughing, the girl reiterated, "Annabel, did she ever say anything to you about any creepy friends?"
"Sorry, she never said," Mitchell replied.
The girl sighed. "I'm not letting this go because I believe you, you know. I've just got some other stuff to take care of before the sun comes up," she explained, leaning back from Mitchell ruefully. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and started to walk away, calling out behind her, "I'll see you around, then, because I'm not done with you yet."
He called after her, "You know, I didn't get your name."
"Jesus," Mitchell breathed, staring after her.
She wasn't a supernatural, that much he could tell easily. She was a flesh and blood human, and in that way, not a threat. But Mitchell's heart was pounding in his chest, pumping his black blood through his veins with the adrenaline of attraction.
Whoever she was, she was dangerous.
Mitchell shook his head to clear his thoughts and got back to work.
He didn't think about the girl again until after he'd managed to slip down to the morgue to inspect the body of the hospital's third dead employee. The police had been all over it when he'd arrived. They'd wanted to take it back to their forensics labs for an autopsy, but they had to wait until they could transport the body.
There was only a short window of time between when the police had gone and when they would return to take Annabel's body away.
Mitchell was down there the moment he could be. Herrick hadn't told him anything, but there were rumors around the hospital that there were two puncture wounds on Annabel's carotid artery. Psychopathic vampire wannabes were all anyone was talking about.
In the cold of the morgue, Mitchell lifted the sheet from Annabel's face. She was so pale, a state emphasized by the low lights. It was tragic.
She did indeed have two wounds on the side of her neck, but they were clearly punctures from needles, not fangs. Mitchell gave a sigh of relief. This wasn't his fault. Probably. A vampire could have drained her blood with a needle and syringe, but that was a time consuming process that no vamp he'd ever heard of could be bothered with. Particularly if they were thirsty.
"What's the verdict?" George asked tentatively, announcing his presence at the door. "Was she um . . . you know . . . bit?"
"No. This wasn't the vampires," Mitchell promised.
George almost collapsed with relief. "Well, I guess Clara was right when she said it must be Nomers."
"Who's Clara?" Mitchell asked, confused. "And when did you start throwing around words like 'nomers'?"
"Who's Clara? You know, the girl you spent twenty minutes talking to about an hour ago," George said, looking at Mitchell and wondering if his friend had finally fallen off the edge of sanity. "You'd think that with how much more time she spent with you than with anybody else that you could have at least remembered her name."
"She never gave it to me."
"Did she really have to? I mean, Clarissa Moore? The papers won't shut up about her, 'World Famous London Writer Comes to Bristol for New Book' sound familiar to you?" Looking at Mitchell's expression stay exactly the same as he went on, George continued to monologue, "You really just don't pay any attention to the wider world, do you? I know we've all got our hands full with our own ridiculous lives and everything, but still you should really try to-"
"George," Mitchell interrupted, deciding to cut him off before he really started spiraling away into despair. "We should get back to work."
It took George a minute to refocus after Mitchell derailed his rant. "Oh, right, of course."
Mitchell laughed under his breath at his best friend's ridiculous attempt to calm down and act 'normal'. George was one of the last people on earth who should be called upon to act normal. Mitchell was sure that even before he'd been turned into a werewolf, George had been more than a bit odd.
Replacing the sheet over Annabel and clapping George on the shoulder, Mitchell slipped out into the hall. He jogged upstairs to get back to what he was supposed to be doing. His thoughts were divided between thinking about Clara, and wondering who had killed Annabel. Clara had been right about one thing, and it worried Mitchell nearly as much as thinking that it was a vampire behind Annabel's death. He was the common denominator between the brutal killings of three innocent girls just this month.
Death followed him with every step he took.
It was demoralizing enough to know that people died because of what he was. But this case, with Annabel's death being unrelated to the vampires, made him wonder who it could have been that did it. Perhaps he was cursed even without the black blood of the vampires.
Perhaps he had been as dangerous before he'd turned as George was socially awkward.
The thought frightened him and he squashed the feeling of terror down with a charming smile at one of the nurses. She blushed and smiled back and made Mitchell feel almost human.
A/N: There you have it, just a bit of a different look inside Mitchell's head. Chpt 2 will be largely the same, in terms of how it acts as a reactionary epilogue to the next episode rather than an entirely independent story, and it should be going up in a few days. The story as a whole is finished but I only started it about three weeks ago, so it's being edited at the moment. Also, I'm not entirely sure on the ending. I have two options, one that wraps up neatly at the end of season 1 and one that goes on to slightly warp Canon in seasons 2 & 3 . . . I'll tell you more about that later, & possibly even ask for opinions on the matter.
Anyway Thank you for reading & I hope you enjoyed it!