Fic: Do You Dream, Daddy?
Rating: PG-13, Sorry, no smut this time.
The door began to pull back, revealing the youthful beauty of Katherine Reimer. She hesitated midway, her blue eyes staring deadpan at the familiar gentleman standing at her stoop. Tom tried to read her as best he could. She wasn't surprised exactly, or angry or alarmed which was a hopeful start. Whatever hint of emotion she displayed was as fleeting as her hesitation and the door continued to open.
“Doctor Jackman,” she acknowledged him in a polite tone. Tom had never seen her dressed casually; sweat pants, tee, and trainers. She was nearly a different person, except for her tone.
“I'm sorry to bother you. I didn't know where else to turn.” He held her gaze as long as he was able but soon felt her probing glance was too much to challenge.
“No bother at all. Please come in.” She stepped aside, granting him access. “I wish I could say you're looking well. Unfortunately, you're looking… well, rather much like old times. He's come back, hasn't he?”
“Yes.” He didn't wish to elaborate… never wished to elaborate when it came to the beast. Even so, Katherine should be used to his vague responses and the change of venue didn't amend that preference. He stepped just inside and watched as she shut the door behind them. It was one thing having her share his space when he never accepted the flat as his to begin with. It'd been Hyde's realm, and at times, his prison. But it was quite another situation intruding on Katherine's territory. Even with their rather intimate arrangement, she'd always managed to maintain her privacy and Tom preferred to avoid trampling whatever she had left. So he waited for her to lead him within her sanctuary. As they continued inside, he noticed the hall was lined with boxes, some marked with locations like ‘bedroom' and ‘kitchen'.
“Forgive the mess.”
“Are you… relocating?” Due in some part to her involvement in his affairs but he wasn't about to mention that. His guilt was already thick enough to cut.
“Yes.” There was a flicker of sadness in her profile. “I'm afraid I can't pretend to be surprised to see you, Doctor Jackman.” She glanced to her companion keeping pace beside her. “We made such little progress in our understanding of Mr. Hyde, it was foolish of us to end our arrangement so prematurely.” The underlying scolding of her words was so familiar, comfortable even.
“I'm well beyond the need to understand him.”
Katherine turned to face him, concern clear in her eyes. “Are you alright, Doctor Jackman?”
He could only offer a helpless shrug. “Honestly, I don't know what I am anymore.”
“And your family?”
“They're safe for the moment. I'm keeping my distance to… to keep Hyde distanced.” The admission obviously pained him.
“From my experience, I don't believe he'd mean your family any harm, Doctor Jackman.”
He smiled at her terminal professionalism. “I think we've graduated from formalities. It's Tom. Please, call me Tom.”
A shy smile curled her lips before dissolving into her usual professional composure. “Hyde cares for your family as he would his own.”
“Because he's claiming them for his own.”
“And that bothers you.”
“Of course it bothers me.” The statement came out harsher than he'd intended it. He raked his fingers through his curls, waiting out his temper before continuing. “Sorry, I didn't mean... It's been a bad week.”
“I'd gathered as much considering the condition of… is that blood?” Her eyes went wide with shock as she inspected the holes within the shirt, carefully pulling back the blood encrusted fabric from his chest. “My God, are you alright?”
“Yes, it's not… it's nothing. They're healing,” he responded grimly.
Suddenly aware of her uninvited closeness, she pulled back to put some space between them. “That appears to be the remains of a soldier's uniform. I take it Klein and Utterson have decided to recover Hyde?”
Katherine directed him through to her kitchen, a tidy and small space furnished with the barest of necessities and little else. She offered him a seat at the opposite side of the counter as she busied herself with rummaging through a stack of papers. “I suppose Hyde did what he does best to avoid capture?”
“To an extreme.” Tom took a seat and watched her search through the files.
“I'm sure it was necessary in the end.”
“Nothing Hyde does is ever necessary. He doesn't know the meaning of restraint.”
“Perhaps but much of his previous actions were a result of his devotion to your family.” She could see he wanted to change the subject. “I've kept what records I collected from my time with Hyde. You're free to review them if you like.”
She placed a thick notebook before him, an orderly, scientific account of secrets he had yet to discover. He stared at it with dread for what it might contain, both thankful and apologetic for her having the dedication to craft such a work.
“Thank you. Perhaps later.” Or never, he thought.
“Since I'm in a transition, of sorts, the house isn't as accommodating as I'd like. In any case, you're welcome to stay here.”
“I can find something in town. I don't want to be any trouble.” They shared a glance then both smiled at the ridiculousness of the statement. “More trouble.”
“You've never been trouble. Hyde, yes. You, never. You'll stay.” It was a statement, as if she'd made the decision for him. “Sorry, I'm not much of a hostess interrogating you like this without offering you so much as a cup of tea. Can I get you anything?”
“I could use a change of clothes and a shower.” He hesitated before dipping within his pocket and handing over a blood stained slip of paper. “I'll need these as well.” Her eyes went wide with disgust upon noticing the blood but she quickly recovered and accepted the paper. Tom studied her reaction as she reviewed it.
“There are some dangerous antipsychotics on this list, particularly when taken collectively. At least one of these is still in trials, considered experimental, actually. And the dosages you're requesting are far beyond what's traditionally prescribed.”
“I think we're both agreed it's not for a traditional patient. Can you get them?” In fact, Tom could get every one of the pharmaceuticals he requested even without her help. But she'd be less likely to attract attention in doing it.
“I can manage, though to be honest, I'm not sure I support this course of action. There's no telling how these will affect Hyde or you, for that matter.”
“He's become unmanageable since his return. I can't cope with him physically. My only alternative is… is this.” He gestured to the list, pleading gently for her help.
“I'll remind you that this option is as much physical as it is mental. And the side effects could be… well, we've faced side effects before, or don't you remember?”
“Acceptable risk. I need to control him, Katherine.”
She considered the request for a long moment before respondng. “Promise me you'll only take these under my supervision.”
Tom smiled, thankful. “Actually, I was counting on you to keep me alive while I… um, experiment.”
“Something tells me Hyde will do that for you. It's his reaction that concerns me. He might consider this an attempt at a cure.”
Tom stared down at the thick Hyde file begging investigation. “He's brought this on himself.”
“And you?” She stared, awaiting an answer like a teacher with a troublesome student. “Have you brought this on yourself?”
He bit back his initial response, his jaw clenching in discomfort under her sharp scrutiny. “Thank you, Katherine.”
Just as before, she'd accept his elusiveness for now. “You're welcome Doctor… Tom.”
Katherine returned home to hear the shower shut off just as she came through the door. It hadn't taken long for her to discover she could measure Tom's distress level by the length of his showers and this certainly classified in the dire range. Whatever happened with Hyde had rattled him more than he would ever admit to. Obviously it was more than blood Tom was trying to wash away.
Katherine decided to review the spoils of her short but victorious shopping spree on behalf of her former employer. She took her time arranging the items on the kitchen counter for her guest; aspirin, a note pad, a selection of pens, a new Dictaphone, a disposable cell phone, tea… the one he liked, the only one she would ever serve him. All there was left to do was present him with the clothes she'd found at the local charity shop. She gathered up the garments and headed down the hall to the guest room.
“Doctor Jackman?” She knocked softly on the door.
“Come in, Katherine,” he responded. She let herself in, glancing around the room for him as she entered. “Any problems getting the supplies?” He called from the bathroom.
“No. Luckily, I've kept up my professional connections.”
“I don't suppose you noticed if you were you followed?” He came out of the bathroom carrying the blood stained military uniform folded carefully within his arms.
“I'm by no means an expert at stealth but I believe I managed well enough.” She had to hold back her giggles at the short sleeve, lavender robe draped skimpily over his lean frame. He looked quite adorable, disheveled hair still damp as was his glistening chest. “I made up the bed while you were tidying up.” She nearly lost her composure at the sight of thick, dark hairs peeking out from the silken ‘V' of the collar.
He glanced down, checking the coverage was enough to preserve his modesty. “That bad, eh?”
“Not at all. It rather suits you.” Catching Tom with a smile was rare so she savored the moment, allowing herself a smirk to match his.
“While I do enjoy the freedom of the occasional frock, please tell me you were successful in acquiring some clothes of a more masculine variety, preferably something much less frilly.”
“I'm afraid the selection of men's clothes is limited.” She placed the stack upon the bed. “I can take care of those as well, if you like?” She gestured to his previous attire.
“Actually, I have plans for them,” he explained and set them on the floor in the corner of the room.
“I see. Well, I hope these are passable. Definitely not as flashy as the robe and much more inconspicuous.”
“These should be fine. Thank you.” He examined the oversized flannel shirt and jeans with a raised brow. “Courtesy of a friend of yours?”
“No. Continuing professional engagements of recent years have kept me rather busy to have enjoyed any casual relations, Doctor Jackman.” Katherine smirked, amused by his prying. “I purchased the clothes from a small charity shop in town.”
Tom cursed under his breath for his thoughtless assumption. “I wasn't… I didn't mean to suggest…”
“I figured dressing like a local may keep prying eyes at bay.”
“Yes. Good.” Nothing he said would make things any better so he distracted himself with unbuttoning the shirt in preparation to dress.
“Yes, well, I'll just leave you to it, then.” She turned to leave.
“Katherine, I'm sorry I never…” Suddenly the words escaped him, slipping from his mind as he stared at her deep blue eyes. “After the incident, I thought it best to try and forget.”
“You mean ignore.”
Again, that tone unbalanced him yet was so familiar, like old times. “I owed you more than that.”
“More than nothing, that's something.”
The flannel shirt provided an escape from her stern stare. “What I'm trying to say is that I wish this reunion was under different circumstances.”
“I'll take what I can get,” she mumbled under her breath.
“Hmm?” He glanced up, uncertain he'd heard correctly.
She gestured to his chest in an attempt to change the subject. “Any lasting damage? Perhaps I should take a look at your injuries.”
“There aren't any,” he admitted softly, almost ashamed.
“I should think that is at least one benefit of having an alter ego with Mr. Hyde's abilities.”
“It's not the visible scars that hurt.”
Katherine was dying to find out what had happened to send Tom spiraling into such a bout of self pity.
“In any case, it really is remarkable, the ability to heal as he does. Would it be too much to ask for a look, scientific curiosity and all?”
Tom's brow creased with uncertainty as his face blushed at the challenge to his modesty. But he could see the determination in her stare and certainly owed her that much. “I'm nothing more than an oddity to you, aren't I?”
“Well, the wages were an added bonus.” She smiled and approached him, interpreting his response as permission.
“About that...” He'd forgotten to mention the recent financial downturn.
“I'm off the clock, Doctor Jackman. Now, let's have a look, shall we?” She stood before him, waiting as a nurse would for her patient to comply. After a moment, Tom's bothered expression melted into a grin and he pulled back the robe just enough to give her a glimpse.
“See, nothing worth mentioning. Barely a scar enough to boast to the boys at the pub.”
“I'd heard he took a barrage of bullets but there's no evidence of such violence left.” Her gaze lifted to meet his. “You were there, weren't you?” Tom seemed confused by the question. “You know how some girls like their gossip? Well Min was marveling over Hyde's insight to her pregnancy. She said before you left you said you were pulling a double shift or something. I thought it meant you were both on duty, as it were. That would mean you were there when it happened. You were with him when he…”
Katherine could see there was pain buried deep within those eyes. “It must have been terrible for you.”
“You would think. Truth is I had only two things on my mind at the time.”
“To save the boys and Claire, get them out of there and far from Klein and Utterson.”
“And the other?”
Tom heaved a sigh. “That I would finally be rid of Hyde, no matter the cost.”
“That's desperation getting the best of you.”
“Better it than him.”
“What's he done to you, Tom?” She finally asked with as much gentle urging as she could manage. And for a moment, it seemed as if he was going to tell her.
“Thank you for the room and clothes, Katherine.” He quickly returned to prepping the shirt. She grudgingly accepted his refusal to answer. It would come out soon enough. In the mean time, tea was in order, just the way he liked it.
“I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty of procuring some restraints.” Katherine sipped her tea.
“I hadn't thought of that.” How else could she ensure her safety? It was certainly out of his hands and the helplessness was maddening.
“Seeing as I don't have a steel reinforced chair, I can only suggest chaining up to the old radiator in the den and that's where you'll find a heavy gauge chain and shackles. I've already packed up that area for the move so there's nothing left of value for Hyde to… you know. ”
“With any luck, we'll keep him caged with these.” Tom gestured to the numerous bottles on the table before him. “What would you suggest for an appetizer, professionally speaking, of course?” He sipped casually at this tea, much too casually for Katherine's tastes.
“These aren't sweets or aspirin and not to be taken lightly.”
“You're right. Sorry. Just feeling a bit… I suppose eager would be the best way to describe it.”
“Alright then, ground rules: keep accurate records, times and dosages. Consult me before changing anything, no matter how insignificant. If you feel a change coming on, secure yourself to the radiator or alert me so I can make preparations otherwise. There's a Dictaphone and disposable cell phone for you to make use of. I shouldn't have to say this but use the cell phone sparingly and with caution since Klein and Utterson are still pursuing you.”
“Agreed. Anything else?” He reached for a bottle and she grabbed his wrist, stopping him. Her eyes were stern yet filled with concerned.
“Yes. Talk to me, Tom. Not your usual dismissal, I won't accept that. Not as long as you're playing Doctor Jekyll with his potions. I need to know what's happened, what we're dealing with. Not as an assistant, but as a friend.”
“What do you…” He stuttered, clearing his throat, “What is it you want to know, exactly? You want details of his viciousness? That he's maimed, tortured, killed?”
“None of that changes my intentions in this, if that's what concerns you.” She gave his wrist a tender squeeze. “I believe I've earned the benefit of your trust. And while such acts of violence are terrible and regretful, they aren't what are eating away at you. Tell me what Hyde did to you.” He hesitated, his gaze escaping to the many warning labels on the prescriptions. Katherine decided to push further. “Did he hurt your mother? Did he hurt one of the boys? Did he hurt Claire?” Tom's eyes shot up to her. “Oh, he… I'm so sorry. Is she alright?”
“He didn't hur… hurt her.”
“What did he do?” She could read the answer in his eyes, desperate, helpless sadness. There was no need to make him say it. Suddenly it seemed so wrong to be touching him. She retracted her hand as subtly as she could. “I don't know what to say.”
“It was my fault. I should have heeded the warning signs.”
“Dreams, I'd had dreams before Hyde returned, each more intense than the previous.”
“What kind of dreams?”
“He'd come to me, speak to me, threaten me. But mostly, warn me he was coming back for her.”
“Is Claire okay? I mean, did Hyde…” She went silent, unsure how best to ask.
Tom shut his eyes, nauseated by the recollection. “I came to beside her. We were… it was obvious they'd been together. Consensual, if that's what you're asking.”
“I still don't see how this is your fault.”
“I should have known it would happen. It's all about her, always has been.”
“Hyde had suggested once, in his usual carnal candor, that you feared arousal would bring on the change. Pardon me for asking but what did trigger his return?”
“I don't recall, exactly. It certainly wasn't intimacy. I've barely managed to touch her without… I‘ve come to avoid it altogether.”
“Perhaps the lack thereof?”
“Must we discuss this? It's bad enough I have to conduct my own drug trials, do we have to turn my relationship into a bloody therapy session?”
Katherine could see he was incredibly tired and the stress certainly wasn't helping matters. She selected two of the bottles from the group and retrieved two pills from each, placing them before Tom. “Document them then go get some rest. If you have any odd sensations, no matter how seemingly unimportant, tell me.”
He nodded and tossed back the pills with a gulp of his tepid tea. He stood and stared at her for a long moment before speaking softly, “I do trust you, Katherine. That's why I'm here.”
She thanked him with a smile. “Goodnight Tom.”
“Goodnight.” He remained there a moment too long, as if wanting to say more. Without another word, turned and walked off to retire to the guest room.
Katherine glanced down to the blank pad across the table and shook her head. This wasn't going to be easy, she thought and took it upon herself to begin Tom's medicinal journal. After jotting down the necessary notes, she took up the tea cups and began to tidy up the dishes from dinner. Since she knew sleep wouldn't come any time soon, she decided to busy herself with extending her record of Hyde and reached for the file still sitting upon the table. A quick skim through the pages reminded her of the other man she once worked for, a man capable of monstrous things, all the while wearing a charming smile. No matter the apprehension, she couldn't help but admit that it was an exciting notion to continue her studies of Hyde. The excitement soon paled with the guilt of furthering her interests at Tom's expense. She cared about him far more than he would ever know. It worried her how desperate he'd become, what Hyde had reduced him to. Who could blame him for seeking some solution? She could only hope it lay within a potion of the pills on display before her. Something about the supplies bothered her. A quick cap count revealed one of the bottles was missing. She hit the floor running, sending the Hyde file spilling to the floor.
Katherine didn't bother with a polite knock this time. Instead, she burst through door to find the guest room vacant. She hurriedly scanned the bathroom, also finding it empty, and charged back down the hall to the den. He had to be in there, shutting himself away behind the closed door. Luckily he hadn't thought to lock it. She entered to find the room cast in shadows. The only light came from the full moon spilling in through the window, highlighting a kneeling figure slumped on the floor and a chair situated nearby.
“Tom?” she called out. There was no response, no movement. She tried the light switch but the room remained dark. She tried again to no avail. Her eyes were adjusting to what light there was. “Tom, can you hear me?” His head was bowed forward, arms limp at his sides, and his hands open with the missing pill bottle spilled beside him. Her first thought was in his impatience, he accidentally overdosed. She hurried across the room, skidding to a halt when the light suddenly flickered on.
“Nice,” came a low, slow purr. “Something sweet to eat.”
Instinct and experience sent Katherine retreating to the door as the familiar face of Hyde lifted to greet her. He blinked lazily, working to clear his blurred vision as he got to his feet.
“Where am I?” His words were slurred and sluggish. He advanced towards Katherine only to stumble over his clumsy footing. He righted himself, head bobbing drunkenly as his gaze finally met hers. “Well if it isn't Mary Poppins.” He grinned jovially. “How've you been, Mary? Still sporting those tight skirts and low tops, I see. A bit chilled or are you just happy to see me? ”
“I think you should sit down, Mr. Hyde.” She took a step back, gesturing to direct his gaze to the sole chair beside the radiator.
“And I think you should get naked,” he grinned. “At least one of us should get what we want. It'll be me, you know?” He managed a few steps forward.
“Please sit, Mr. Hyde.” She retreated.
“Please strip, Ms. Poppins.” He pursued until his the chain went taut, digging the previously unnoticed shackle into his ankle. He glanced down, taking a moment to focus in on what held him. “Mmmmm, just like ol' times. Got you right where I want you.” He warned with a sly wink.
“I'll remove the restraints if you take a seat, Mr. Hyde.”
“I'll remove your clothes if you don't, Mary.” He closed his eyes for a moment, still working to clear his vision. “Why is the room spinning?” He panned left then right, his hooded eyes slowly scanning the space. “Don't have the ticket to ride.” He mumbled and shook his head. “Stop moving.”
Obviously whatever Tom had taken was having an effect. “I'm not moving. You need to sit down.”
“This isn't right. My head feels… heavy. Thick, like soup. Thick soup,” he rambled, faltering back some steps. “And the thumping, hot… like blood. Your blood.” Hyde wavered where he stood, eyes drooping shut as his head sank down, nearly unconscious on his feet. “Nice beat. Could dance to it.”
“Mr. Hyde, are you alright?” She chanced a step towards him. His eyes sprang open, black pools fixed like gun sites taking aim at her. She jerked back.
“You're scared,” he rumbled deeply, suspicious. “Why are you scared?”
“I'm not scared. I'm concerned.”
“For me? I'm touched. And you're next.” His lips curled back, revealing a hint of daggered teeth. “What's he done, Katherine? What's Daddy dearest done now?”
“The restraints are only a precautionary measure. He was worried…”
“No! He was scared, like you. Always scared. I can feel it, taste it, hate it, snaking through, uninvited. Something new. Something wrong.” Hyde stiffened, anger fueling his strides toward her. He stretched the chain to its limit, his threatening gaze fixed on her. “Tell me, Katherine, what's he done to me?”
“Not to you, Mr. Hyde. Doctor Jackman's undergoing treatment for severe anxie...”
“A cure?!” Hyde barked. “The bastard's trying for a cure?”
“No. Not a cure,” Katherine insisted.
“We agreed no cures.”
“It's not a cure, Mr. Hyde. It's medication.”
“And you let him. You're helping cure him, you bitch!”
“No, you don't understand.”
“I understand enough.” His jaw tensed as he tested the restraint, teeth gnashing impatiently.
Keeping her eyes on Hyde, Katherine blindly retrieved a small stun gun from her pocket and held it ready. “I don't want to hurt you Mr. Hyde.”
“I can't say the same for you.” He gave the chain another tug, relentless with his menacing gaze. “Scaredy little Mary's forgotten the golden rule.”
Katherine swallowed down her fears. “The golden rule?” Her voice quivered.
“Never lie to me.”
In a blink, the chain was splintered and Hyde was on her, hand clamped securely around her neck before she managed a single gasp of terror.
“Silly little liar, neck deep in the fryer.”
“You can't kill me,” she choked.
“Sure can, had lots of practice.”
“You need me.”
“Consider this early retirement.”
“We've been through this,” she rasped. “You won't hurt me.”
“Hurt? No. Torture? Yes. There's a difference. The spelling for one,” he snarled.
“You like me.”
“You know what else I like?” He pulled her in close, his hot breath wafting along her parted lips. “Fresh meat.“ He sniffed like a predator assessing its prey. “Sad to say, it's not looking good for the help. Bet you wished you'd gotten naked. Oh well, supper's on.”
Katherine thrust out the stun gun, digging the prongs into Hyde's chest. His eyes went wide and body seized, convulsing with her trapped still within his grip. Sparks sizzled along his skin as the voltage travelled through him. The air filled with the sick scent of burnt hair and scorched flesh. She clawed at his hand, gasping for breaths as his grasp tightened. It was of no use. If she didn't do something he'd soon crush her throat. Desperate, Katherine released the trigger, deactivating the stun gun. Finally, she was freed and Hyde collapsed to the floor. His body twitched for a few moments then fell still. Katherine gasped for breath, arm stretched out and ready to strike again with the stun gun as her free hand rubbed at the sore flesh of her neck.
“Mr. Hyde,” she called out with a raspy voice. There was no answer. Instinct warned her to remain back but Hyde's motionless body begged examination. With numerous medications interacting within him, there was no telling what sort of permanent damage a stun gun attack could cause. Katherine hesitantly approached, slowly inching her way towards Hyde. “Mr. Hyde, please answer me.”
At first it appeared as if he'd simply fallen unconscious but his total lack of movement, breathing or otherwise, and failure to respond to Katherine fueled morbid speculation. Letting her concerns get the best of her, she rushed to his side, stun gun still firm in hand, and knelt beside him to check for vitals. Much to her horror, there was no pulse and no breathing.
“No. This isn't happening.” She tossed the stun gun aside and began frantic chest compressions, working the very spot she'd shocked just moments before. Hyde's face was drawn and ashen, eyes rolled back to white and he remained unresponsive. “Don't you dare do this!” She ordered and checked for a pulse. “Damn it, Tom!” Her hand shifted up to pinch off his nose as she bowed forward to try a resuscitative breath. Suddenly Hyde was staring up at her, bloodied veins splintering from the central black pits. She tried to retreat only to discover her head trapped within his grasp again, his hand hooked firm behind her neck, slowly drawing her in closer to the snarling fangs of the beast below.
“Eat you later.” He whispered and mercifully passed out. She remained still for a moment, untrusting of Hyde's apparent unconsciousness.
“Are we interrupting anything?” A familiar voice called out. Katherine glanced sideways to see Miranda Callender standing at the doorway beside a very distressed Mrs. Jackman. She suddenly realized she'd yet to free herself from Hyde's grip and worked his hand loose.
“It's not what it looks like.” She scrambled to get to her feet and distance herself from Hyde.
“It never is, is it?” Miranda sighed knowingly.