Fated to Pretend, Part One: The Ticking Crocodile
“I’m not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare
–or, if not, it’s some equally brainy lad–
who says that it’s always just when a chappie is feeling particularly top-hole,
and more than usually braced with things in general,
that Fate sneaks up behind him with a bit of lead piping.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves
A happily human Mick meets Beth on the beach for a picnic lunch where – after some friendly conversation about his first week being human again – she admits she never should have asked Mick to turn Josh into a vampire. She also makes a revelation — if Josh had proposed, she would not have accepted. She strongly hints to Mick that she’s ready to begin a relationship with him – if he’s willing to do something about it. Mick instead goes and talks it over with Josef, who tells him the exact same thing Beth did: Human or not, Mick needs to make his move.
Beth, home from the beach, takes a call from her boss Maureen, who wants her in the office to work on a hot news story. Beth goes back out — and finds Maureen dead of a gunshot wound. Ben Talbot from the District Attorney’s office is on the scene conducting an interview with Beth when Mick arrives. Against Talbot’s orders, Mick and Beth decide to investigate Maureen’s murder. They meet up with Guillermo who tells them that Maureen was either killed by (or near) a vampire. At Maureen’s house they find her cat, but also her thumb drive with her current stories on it, any one of which could have been motive for murder. They take the drive to Logan for decryption, and he points them in the direction of three suspects: a Mayoral candidate, a diet guru, and Josef.
Josef quickly and decisively proves his innocence (invoking Oprah!), while Kent Morrow (the mayoral candidate) and Dee Dee Dwight (the diet guru) appear suspicious. They continue to investigate both leads, but the trail on Dee Dee and the model who died while on her diet, runs a little cold, while the case surrounding Kent Morrow, whose wife died in a car accident under mysterious circumstances, appears promising.
Mick, Beth and Talbot converge on Morrow’s campaign headquarters and confront him, only to see Morrow’s young daughter Bonnie dash away from the room. Mick follows her to the rooftop.
Bonnie appears ready to throw herself from the top of the building – a heavy secret weighing on her heart. She was in the car the night her mother died, and knows it was her father, drunk and angry, who had been at the wheel. Suppressing the secret was now more than she could bear. She throws herself from the top of the building, only to be saved by Mick, who could very well have died in the rescue attempt.
With Morrow’s true crime revealed, Mick, Beth and Talbot now focus their attention back on Jill Button, the model who perished on Dee Dee Dwight’s doughnut diet. On a tip from Guillermo, Mick and Beth have Talbot investigate the coroner’s report, which reveals it was tampered with at the request of Button’s plastic surgeon, Pierce Anders. Mick, Beth and Talbot agree to meet the next morning at Anders’ office to question him.
Talbot, Beth and Mick interview Anders and receive very few straightforward answers to their questions. When Talbot threatens Anders with a subpoena for his medical records, Anders reacts by shoving Talbot across the room, knocking him out. Anders reveals himself to be a vampire and pushes Beth away, then throws Mick through a plate glass desk top and leaves him for dead. Anders takes Beth and Talbot hostage in his warehouse.
After a quick visit to Guillermo to treat his severe injuries as a result of the encounter with Anders, Mick returns home to prepare for the rescue attempt and receives an unexpected visitor – Josef. Josef has come to try and talk Mick out of attacking Anders, but Mick is intent on saving Beth. When Josef proves to Mick conclusively that as a human he stands no chance against multiple vampires in a physical fight, Mick begs a reluctant Josef to turn him back into a vampire.
“‘Smee, he said huskily, ‘that crocodile would have had me before this,
but by a lucky chance it swallowed a clock which goes tick tick inside it,
and so before it can reach me I hear the tick and bolt.’ He laughed, but in a hollow way.
‘Some day,’ said Smee, ‘the clock will run down, and then he’ll get you.’
Hook wetted his dry lips. ‘Ay,’ he said, ‘that’s the fear that haunts me.'”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Fated to Pretend, Part Two: The Awfully Big Adventure
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Mick twists his fingers into Josef’s shirt, pulling him closer, as Josef’s hands rise to Mick’s sides, a ridiculous, unnecessary defense, but the gentle pressure keeping some distance between them.
Josef can barely hear Mick’s whispered pleas, the dark vampire blood rushing through his ears, he hears Mick’s heartbeat, sees the sincerity and desperation in his eyes, feels the breath on his cheek form the word “brother,” and knows, he knows, what he has to do. How had it come to this?
“Forgive me…” he whispers, and Mick nods, bravely lifting his chin, averting his eyes, and Josef lets go, lets the vampire take over – does what the animal inside had been screaming to do from the moment he’d pushed Mick to the wall – and bites down.
Mick felt the life draining out of him. He tried to keep Beth’s face in his mind’s eye, he tried, but the pain, the pain was so great, so overwhelming. He had long lost the strength to try to pull away from Josef, and he was glad of it. His human body’s natural reaction to shrink from the hurt, to run from the terror, had passed. He was dying.
“Don’t cry, pretty human, don’t cry.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Mick was woozy. He knew, intellectually, Josef’s arm was in his mouth, before he actually felt the blood running over his tongue. He knew he had the hunger, the need. He knew it had worked. His mind floated aimlessly, still waking up, his body fully in control of every movement. He felt Josef’s arm move, felt the puncture wounds on his neck closing, felt a new feeling rush through him, pushing everything else away. It occurred to him, he’d once read somehwere, you can have anything in life, if you’re willing to sacrifice everything else for it. He sat up slowly, opened his eyes slowly… and then there was nothing but rage. He had sacrificed everything else.
“He who has a why to live for will put up with almost any how.”
– Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
The fight against Anders’ goons was a blur. It was nothing; they were not important. Josef dispatched the burly one, the larger vampire perhaps assuming he had the advantage of Josef but woefully incorrect. Mick fought the younger, more agile thug, vaguely appreciative of the extra effort it took. The physicality of vampire life was enhanced by emotions and he would be furious for a while yet. The smooth wooden stake in his hand felt dangerous, like all vampire justice.
Mick growled as Anders made a break for the door, and felt, more than heard, Josef’s smug laugh as he took Anders down. After all this, it was over so quickly. Mick swallowed his aggression, tried to put the vampire aside even as he rushed to free Beth. He had to see her face, even if it meant she now had to see his.
Mick sighed, looking down at the five large plates of food and nearly full bottle of wine. Beth was doing her best. She had smiled bravely, tried everything he’d prepared, and complimented his long-rusty cooking skills. He could tell her heart wasn’t in it.
The kiss was an unrehearsed act of desperation, seizing the moment, surprising him as much as it stunned her. He just wasn’t ready to watch her leave but could offer nothing to make her stay. Her short, fragile lifetime, endangered by entanglement with his. It was unbearable; you have forever, I don’t, a knife twisting deep in his gut.
The night air swirled around him. The moonlight at his back, he once again felt so powerful, and yet still so helpless. There was nothing he could do, not right now. Not tonight.
“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Thank you all so much for reading. This episode certainly has an emotional hold on me that I’m certain many of you share. I’d like to especially thank @PNWgal and H50BAMF for talking me off the ledge at least twice this last week. I can’t wait to hear all your thoughts on this episode! And because FtP is filled with SO MANY wonderful moments, here are the JK parting shots, please enjoy…
Just a moment to appreciate this face, because going forward, I seem to recall Talbot gets less nice, and as a consequence, I’m less inclined to find him good to look at. So just taking a moment here.
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
– William Shakespeare