Malcolm Whitley has one, dirty, dark secret. A secret he has yet to tell anyone in his life. One that his multitude of therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors had yet to hear.
No one had ever known his secret. That is, no one besides his own reflection in the mirror after violent night terrors and days of exhaustion.
He was in love with his father.
His psychotic, serial killer, locked up but somehow still loving, biological father.
It was sick. So, so very sick. Much like Malcolm himself. He had never been called sick directly, but after years of his mother's pitying glances and shoving pills down his throat (not literally.. anymore. she had stopped once he turned 19.) He had figured out that something was seriously wrong with him.
Now, thinking of it, perhaps in love wasn't the right word, the healthiest word, but he knew that it was the correct way to describe the way his soul seemed burst open with feelings when he thought of .. Dr. Whitley.
It was hard to address him as his father in his mind sometimes, even though that was exactly what he was. it was a barrier that he could not cross when his thoughts became depraved. Like now.
He supposed it all stemmed from their incredibly unhealthy relationship, after Malcolm had called the police and turned his monster of a father in to the law's hands.
As a child, he didn't truly grasp what was happening, or why his mother was refusing to let him visit his father.
After many tantrums and countless doctors, he was allowed to see the man again. Even though it downright disgusted his mother.
He had been locked up for nearly 3 years before Michael saw him again. Malcolm had expected him to be furious, to yell and bash his hands against the bars, maybe.
Be resentful towards his son for stopping his spree.
Let out the anger Malcolm felt for himself.
But he wasn't. All he got from his father was a smile that lit up his eyes and a soft "Malcolm.. my dear boy.."
Sometimes he wished his father would be outwardly angry at him. Maybe it would take away the anger he felt at himself. Perhaps it would lighten the load of self loathing he felt at the decision he made all those years ago.
Maybe his father's anger would feel better than his father's disappointment.
Malcolm shivered in a cold sweat, sitting at the end of his too-big bed. Turning his head, he looks at his bedside clock. 3:45 AM. He had taken the restraints off his wrists after roughly 4 hours of pitifully trying to fall asleep.
It was cruel, his body refusing to obey and sleep. It would be 3 or 4 more days until it finally gave up and he would pass out. Then the night terrors would start, and the cycle would repeat. The tremors in his hands were constant.
It was even more cruel for his tired mind to think about things he would rather not, things that he had not allowed himself to think for a decade.
He knew it was because of the copycat case, because he had seen him again. His mind latched onto it, sucked onto it greedily until it was all he could think about.
Until logic had left him completely.
His love for his father had always existed, though at some point in his life it had twisted into something darker, something different than familial love.
It was unhinged, in an inherently unhealthy, sexual, borderline romantic way.
Malcolm laughs bitterly out loud, cold tears already dripping down his face as his mind fights itself. Like romance had anything to do with what he felt.
Though there were times when he thought of laying with Dr. Whitly and running his fingers along his skin, naming each of his bones and telling him how much he loved him, what he would give up to be with him.
Seeing him again, it brought back all of the (mostly) latent feelings he had experienced in his youth, tenfold.
He was more strung out than ever.
His eyes close as more tears of ice fall, his father's face flashing behind his eyelids.
The man looked so different from when he was first incarcerated, even from when he last saw him ten years ago, to now.
Still, he spoke the same. Regarded his son the same. Treated him no differently than the loving father from his memories. It made him seethe.
In the 7 years Malcolm had regularly visited his father, the more unhinged and broken he slowly became.
He obsessed over him, thinking no other thoughts and preparing for their next visit even when they were months apart.
It got to such a point he researched his murders in his spare time, agonizing over every little detail and the precision his father put into his work.
He had been planning on confessing, pressing his face to the bars and whispering his dirtiest secret to his father, straining his neck to kiss his cheek and then his lips and..
However, his plan was put to an end before he had even truly thought of setting it into motion.
His mother found some of the print-outs he had made regarding the cases, and he had been admitted into a psych ward for 6 months because of it.
Malcolm came out of the ward changed, mind different from treatment.
He began working in the justice career, trying to get a job with the FBI. Deliberately trying to go against his father.
He felt like a rebellious teenager, though he was past that stage of his life at the time. Even though he wasn't speaking to him, he was goading him. Hoping, wanting a reaction.
His father's reaction to him wanting to join the FBI is something he will never be able to erase from his mind.
"I should have been more supportive when you wanted to work with the FBI.."
Malcolm laughs, though it doesn't sound joyful at all. It is hysterical. Right. Supportive. His father was many things, but supportive was not one of them.
He goes through their conversation once more, picturing his father in his sweater (covering his cuffs) and how happy he was to see him. How he called him his boy, immediately became concerned over his exhaustion..
The hair on top of his head was curly now, mostly gray but streaks of brown running throughout it. It gave him a strange salt and pepper look, and when Malcom pictured his profile his heart beat in his ribcage erratically.
He was still so handsome. Devishly so. It made Malcom so angry. How dare he look so- so god damn pristine when he was here, out, suffering because of him?
How dare he look so perfect and attractive Malcolm wanted to taste his lips and cut him open and study every inch of him from the inside out?
Malcolm sobs, covering his face as his shoulders shake. He tries to compose himself, wiping his face and staring at his reflection at the mirror affixed to his dresser.
His watery blue eyes staring back at him, identical to his father's.
I will always love you. Because we're the same.
Out of everything his father was, a serial killer, a psychopath, a manipulative abuser, a liar.. He was never, ever wrong when it came to Malcom.
He was always right. They were the same.
And being in contact with his father again made it so much harder to hide that fact.