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being human, dark_fest, fanfic, george, herrick, mitchell/annie, mitchell/josie, nina
Fic: God's Blueprint
Title: God's Blueprint
Fandom: Being Human
Characters/Pairing: Mitchell/Josie, Mitchell/Annie implied, Herrick, mentions of George
Rating: R for mentions of sex and violence
Warnings: no warnings apply
Prompt: Written for the dark_fest prompt "assisted suicide"
Summary: Mitchell looking into the cracked mirror of his past, and choosing the path of his future.
Notes: The BBC owns the vampire, the ghost, and the werewolf; I make no profit. Spoilery for seasons one and two. A liberal interpretation of the prompt, and "dark" is a matter of perspective - this is Mitchell's.
He'd held them as they died, cradled them close as their blood sang copper, sang to his hunger, his tattered black soul. Josie, with her clear-eyed love, and Lucy, yearning towards her vengeful God. But Annie, oh, his Annie - death had taken her twice, and she'd been so alone.
Herrick mutters something scathing beneath the bitter Welsh wind, but Mitchell can no longer make out the words; a relief of sorts, but he takes it as a warning. Old Thomas has been quite persistent of late, for a vampire reduced to naught but ash and bone. Something's coming, something big, and if the devil walks in silence there will be no portent till he's nigh. The bugger's already struck, far too close, far too deep. Mitchell remembers the woods of Ardennes, striding hell-bent through war's horrors while eternal horror lurked unseen.
Whatever it is that's coming, it's worse.
You better believe it is, Mitchell me lad, worse than God, worse than the Devil, worse than me on my very best day. Hell is coming, and I'll be right behind...
Slung across his right shoulder, Mitchell's burden weighs like lead. Mist oozes over the rolling gray moor, the moon curses his path with silver, and he's slouching towards salvation, the twisted ruins of Bethlehem. Even the landscape's a bloody cliché, but it's mixing the metaphors and he's the wrong beast - the werewolf lies warm in his bed this night, and Mitchell walks alone.
Dark means to bright ends, and George would definitely not approve.
Josie had once likened him to a wolf, on a London street in humid twilight, in the blur of his kaleidoscope past. Forty years ago, and yesterday. Music had floated from a street vendor's speakers - walk a mile to drink your water...let's go living in the past - and he'd been hungry, so hungry, a dry and constant burn...
"You're hunting, you have that look again, eyes all fierce and focused. And I'm not in them, you don't see me, Mitchell, not when you're like this.
"This isn't me hunting, Josie. You already know what that looks like."
She'd stopped then, under a street lamp, the crowd eddying around them like ghosts, and their house of cards had come tumbling down. Hope, and mercy, and the lie - save me, and Josie had tried, with all her wildflower heart.
"You should be."
He'd walked away without looking back, and Josie had saved herself. Until she couldn't, until the years had claimed her, until she'd found him again, cancer's pitiless teeth gnawing swift at her bones.
"Please. It's your turn to save me, my love - I'm afraid to die in pain, in this lonely place. Not of you, Mitchell. It was never you I feared."
But it was...she'd seen him, all of him, and the fear came slinking in.
Mitchell shifts his cargo to the left, swallows the tang of thick night air, sharp as peat bog whiskey. Only another mile to go, and dawn sleeps hours away. Herrick capers at the corner of his vision, gleeful, persistent, a vaudeville minstrel with a shredded shark-toothed grin.
"Ever the romantic, Johnny-be-good, the boy-o on the burning deck staring cross-eyed at a simple kill. Be honest, for once in your wretched life - it's all about the blood. It's always about the blood..."
A door into summer, that's what Josie had been, that first time, every time he'd buried himself inside her. A hot sun promise, sleek and sweet and so alive. Not at the last, when he'd left her empty, drained her tomorrows, stolen her warmth. She'd tasted of winter, wilted roses, and the bitter thing that lived inside him rejoiced as he drank her dry.
Mitchell had never really doubted which part of him would win - he's a very good liar, but denial frays ragged as thrift shop denim the eighth or ninth decade in.
He knows Josie wouldn't see it that way, had believed that her killer had worn love's face. Maybe that matters, just a little; maybe it's true, maybe it tips some cosmic scale. Tips him scrambling towards hope, the worst of all evils, but Mitchell sinks his fangs into hope's white throat and drinks like a dying man.
Where do I belong? Where do I fit? Who are my people? Where do my loyalties lie? You can piss your whole life away trying out who you might be... It's when you've worked out who you are that you can really start to live.
Mitchell has found his tribe. He knows what he is. Not Herrick's left hand, not some whip-scarred penitent, just a sodding existentialist monster carving out one blind choice at a time.
George and Nina have left the porch light burning, a beacon flickering at journey's end. They sleep uneasy in each other's arms, but he's spared them this particular nightmare; Mitchell's dreaming this one solo. He settles the woman on the flagstones, gently, and she stirs but does not wake. Her tangled hair smells of misery, cigarettes and stale despair; she'd been a beauty in her day, and once upon a kinder time she had dreamed of being a star. She'd told him her name was Helen, bartered for morphine's slow voyage - she hadn't known her Ferryman would take his toll in blood.
There are worse lies, and Mitchell has told them all.
"I want this..." Lucy had moaned, as if begging a lover, and leering Death had obliged...
In the end, it had been him who led Lucy to that door - not Kemp and his pious stake, his grief-stained bloody bible. She had come to Mitchell, come to die, had nowhere else to go. Her epitaph is still visible, a dull stain in the shape of a shield; George hasn't been able to scrub the slabs clean. Lucy's faith pronounced them demons, different - werewolves, vampires, ghosts, those who bore the tainted mark. Herrick had believed the same lie, just the Devil's version, worn thin.
They were wrong. Mitchell knows this, as sure as he knows Annie's laughter, the cool-breeze silk of her skin. Technology, religion, fire, opposable thumbs, all the tools of the Chosen army, all the glories the prophets trumpet as humanity's ticket out of the ooze...they merely serve as better armor, better weapons, better reasons to kill.
We are all God's children, but God is a bit of a bastard isn't He?
And the human race His by-blows, every one. Good and evil, light and dark, all just seeds in everyone's garden, all sown with the will to grow. It's which savage sun you choose that matters, and Annie is the measure of his. His tribe. It's Mitchell's turn to play at savior.
You need a key to open a door.
Fangs delve into wrinkled flesh, and Herrick awakens, flexing charred muscles as his smile blooms red and broad.
That's it, bucko, though you could have found someone a bit more...toothsome. Wave your pretty excuses and hunker down on your knees to pray. God isn't listening, and something else is coming...
The blood sears his mouth, sour wine aged in wormwood and anguish. Mitchell banishes the taste, the voice, summons memories of Bristol, Annie's head upon his shoulder, George cheering Colchester United, and endless cups of tea. Helen rises, gazing down at her body with the bemusement of the newly dead; he offers a gloved hand and she takes it, her fingers slipping through wool and bone. She doesn't seem to notice, peers up into his face.
"Such a kind young man."
Mitchell doesn't think he remembers a time when that was true, but the door stands open now and he picks up the staff, the coil of hemp. He's met them once before, the men with sticks and rope - knows enough to fight fire with fire, enough to bring Annie back. Maybe. It's all he's got left, this need, this connection, this thing he's afraid to call love. Mitchell thinks he might have to name it before this long night is through.
One foot inside Death's threshold...Mitchell hears the rustle of black feathers, the whisper of black wings. Herrick, chanting beneath the wind, his voice restless now, uncertain, rising towards indifferent stars.
It's always about the blood...
The sound of familiar footsteps, the kiss of snow against his cheek...