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Requiem (Casualties of the Human Condition)
Supernatural / Sarah Connor Chronicles, Ellison, Henrikson, spoilers through "Jus in Bello" and "The Demon Hand". Not mine, just playing with them. Don’t sue. Banner courtesy of the awesome attempt_unique.
Soldiers on strange battlefields, and the only ones playing by the rules.

He sits at the bar, nurses his drink without really tasting it. It’s quiet tonight, and he wishes it weren’t – he comes for the clatter and the chaos, the white noise. Makes him sharp, focused. Helps him concentrate. Silence just lets him stew.

He's half-tempted to head out, but he'd sworn off taking his work home long ago.

"Hey Sal," he calls, nodding to the television, "set me up here, huh?"

She flips on CNN, and he opens the folder at his fingertips, flicks the end of his pen just to hear the click. It’s still not enough.

Footsteps walk the line of the bar, heavy and even, and for a second it's perfect – he squints at the file and thinks to the beat, thumb working the end of the ballpoint. When they stop, close behind, he can't quite keep up.

"Twelve years out, and you're still sittin' in this hellhole." The voice speaks at his shoulder, laced with vague amusement. "Thought you would've moved up in the world."

"If it ain't broke." He'd look up, but he already knows what he'll see, and he's had his fill of smug for one day. "The place is convenient."

"I meant L.A.," Henrikson chuckles, sliding into the stool on his left without an invitation. "But I am curious, now that you mention it. Thought you stayed off the sauce." A hand snags the glass - he inhales in a swirl of clinking ice, coughs a laugh after he sips. "Got to wonder about a man paying good money for club soda. Just not right."

It lands in the center of a pile of paperwork, carving a ring in the intake form, and he takes a long pull before he moves it away, feels it blaze a carbonated trail down his throat. They've been playing this game since Quantico.

"Alcohol is a depressant." Impairs the mind, dulls the senses. He's never had a taste for it, in more ways than one. "That's not a mood I want to help along."

He turns in time to see two fingers motion to Sally, mouths along with what he knows is coming. Vic's always loved his scotch.

"And what brings you to my neck of the woods? Last I heard, you were chasing Leopold and Loeb all over God's green earth."

"Just paying my dues. Not all of us can be local boys who made good." Sally brings his drink, and Henrikson sits back and lets it breathe, pulling at the knot in his tie and flashing a smile that calls her sweetheart without saying the word. "Cold lead."

Flat can't hide the bitter, and he nods in answer, understanding. Aren't they all. "How's, uh..." He blanks for a minute, blinks, tries to conjure this latest one's name.

"Don't hurt yourself, now. I wouldn't know, anyway."

It's gotten hard to keep up over the years, and he can't help but wonder if he'd ever known her name at all. "Sorry to hear it."

The shrug is almost imperceptible, and the scotch finally gets some attention. "Whatcha got?"

"Kid capped at a chess competition," he answers, turning back to the file.

"Crips have gone geek. What's the world coming to?" There's a snort, so full of derision it grates. "Gotta be a POI if they gave it to the golden boy."

He shakes his head, more for the thinly-veiled insult than anything. "The vic's a local computer whiz, off the radar. It's the shooter we're interested in." Fingering the mug shot, he stares into John Doe's dead eyes. They didn't change in the flesh - deliberately vacant, defiantly fixed. Perfect cover, since they also didn't miss a damn thing. "No prints, no priors. No name. Guy's a ghost in the machine. But he's somebody, has to be. This was a professional hit."

Even money says the kid hadn't even blinked when he'd drilled a hole in Andrew Goode's skull, squad-style.

"So you bend him 'til he breaks."

"Already did." He pinches the bridge of his nose between his fingers, presses them into bleary eyes. "We got blindsided. Whoever his people are, they broke him out in transit from county. Neutralized two of my men."

"Well that's always fun. I can do you one better." He flicks his gaze over in time to see Henrikson suck down half his scotch, lips twisted into a grimace. Something tells him it's not the single malt. "Not only did my guys slip out of Baltimore lockup, they vanished from max sec without a goddamn trace."

Sipping his soda, he smirks without humor. He knows all about the ones that got away. "How close are you?"

It sinks into the air, settles, and for a moment he sees the boy he'd known way back when, eager but unsure. Liked him more then, but respect has its trade-offs.

"Not as close as I am tired."

He's more than a little familiar with that, too.

"The ugly ones always get to you," he offers, but it's nothing they don't both know already. "Greed, revenge, even the zealots. That's easy. It's by the book. There's no code of conduct for crazy."

Henrikson's been bobbing his head, smearing the condensation on his glass with the pads of his thumbs. "And these boys are batshit crazy. Get their rocks off digging up graves and carving up girls, all in the name of doin' dead Daddy proud." He barks out a laugh, and it's an ugly sound - too thoughtful, too appreciative. In too deep. "But Daddy taught 'em too well. They've got brains in those sick heads. Only thing more dangerous than insanity is intelligent insanity."

"Truer words." He drinks again, tries to pretend he's not disturbed. It's not easy. Briefly, he envies his John Doe.

"But what can you do, right?" That grin is back, ever-changing. Conspiratorial this time, trying to smile away the slip. "Pavement gets pounded 'til the job gets done."

He cocks his head in agreement, eyebrows raised. "Idle hands are the devil's playthings."

"You and that book," Henrikson muses, and it's pointless to correct him. "Let me ask you something. When you get up in the morning, what do you strap on first – the badge, or the cross?"

"The badge," he replies. "Cross doesn't come off." His level look earns him a chuckle, deep and droll, but he's not surprised. In their line of work, a world of black and white and nothing in between, faith's either deep or it's dead.

The phone that peals isn't his, and he turns away while it's answered, tracing the lines of a barcode in black ink and committing the numbers to memory. He's missing something.

"I want a team there yesterday." It snaps above his head, making him turn back, and the very air has changed. "I'm on my way. Nobody makes a move until my say-so. Are we clear?" There's no wait for an answer, just the flick of a wrist and new hunger in dark eyes. He's gotten those calls. It's not hard to guess the context.

"Back to the grind." A hand claps at his back, falls solidly between his shoulder blades. "Good luck with your Keyser Soze, Jimmy Boy. And thanks for the drink."

This time, the wide smile is the last word.

And just like that, he's gone.

The place is dead again – half-empty, too quiet. He sits down anyway. He's got a hell of a headache, but there's a hand in his freezer and a heap of questions at his feet, and he's in no hurry to get home.

Sal's seen him coming, cues up CNN before he can even ask. She's already got his soda waiting.

He's brought a different folder this time, stuffed thick and worn thin. He can recite its contents from memory, and spent enough time doing just that, in the years when it filled his days and kept him up at night. But dedication's just another word for obsession, and the best are always gluttons for punishment – judgment's errand boys, shaping their lives from other people's sins.

It opens over the drone of an announcer and the clink of dirty glasses, noise that's less help than hindrance. The file is too familiar under his fingers, the picture clipped to the first page.

Her eyes are sharp, if world-weary. Always have been.

"In Monument, Colorado, a ruptured gas main is believed to be the cause of a massive explosion that destroyed the local sheriff's station."

It permeates the barrier he's still trying to build, and he spares the screen a glance. There's enough bad going on in the world without freak accidents chipping away the numbers on his side.

"The blast rocked the small community in the early morning hours, killing everyone on the premises. Among the deceased: FBI Deputy Director Steven Groves, Agent Calvin Reidy, and Special Agent Victor Henrikson. The local death toll has yet to be finalized, but at least six officers and staff were on duty at the time. Two fugitives, in FBI custody and awaiting transport, were also killed. In national news..."

The face is a flash in static, there and gone again, so like his own that it catches him off guard. It shouldn't – half the Academy had thought they were related. He'd always waved it off, chalked it up to bald and black.

"You okay there?" Sally peers at him, oblivious to the dead man who'd been right here with him just yesterday.

She hadn't paid attention. People never do.

He runs a hand over his jaw and flips the file closed with the other, shoving his soda away.

Two fugitives. He nearly laughs – bastard couldn't fail at anything.

There's another odd look when he orders, but Sal doesn't question it, and he has one in hand in seconds. It burns going down, a hot trail that pools in his stomach until he's breathing fire and blinking out smoke.

He drinks until it's done, knocks it back until there's no scotch left on the rocks, and stares into the facets of ice he's left behind.

Rhonda. Her name had been Rhonda.

His hands fumble for the file, a failure that may not be his yet. He nods to Sal, tosses a crinkled bill to the bar, next to his drained glass.

The other is still full when he leaves.



( 65 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 11th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
Damn. It's just as good as I thought it'd be! *Sniff*

Mind if I link to you?
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
Not at all.

I still blame you for this. But thanks for the thumbs up. :)
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
Mar. 12th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 12th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Much appreciated. :)

I had to break down and make one. Ideally, I'd love one with him and Henrickson - maybe next time.
Mar. 12th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
This is exceptional. I think what I like best is how spare it is in real detail, how much you imply, how much we read between the lines. I love that there are points at which it's hard to tell which of them is speaking, and I'm guessing that's the whole idea, right? Because obsession is obsession is obsession. The final reflections of Ellison are great, too, because they signify that he hasn't really learned a thing from Henrickson's death, just that there's nothing *to* learn. He's already accepted that this case will be the death of him.

Exceptional work; the writing just *snaps* with tension.

Mar. 12th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
I love feedback like this - it makes me blush and makes me giddy all at once.

You hit on the very reason behind my writing this fic. I think they're both so focused on their differences (not to mention the underlying current of competition that's always flowing between them) that they don't see how alike they are, how they're essentially two sides of the same coin. I tried to let the unsaid say it for them - the pronouns, the speech patterns, even sharing the same glass - and I'm so, so glad that it came across the way it was intended.

I think there's a bad moral to this story. Ellison's inspired by Henrikson's death, in a way, but it's for all the wrong reasons (lest we forget, he doesn't even know what actually happened). That it falls in line with his acceptance of Sarah Connor's claims was a big bonus.

Thank you so much for your insightful feedback. It's very much appreciated.
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, wonderful. Except Henriksen isn't dead. He just isn't. I refuse to believe it.
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
Oh, my Henrikson... *sniffle* Where's a Crossroads Demon when you need one?

Thanks for reading. :)
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
Okay, I was right. This story was as completely awesome as I thought it was going to be. I love Ellison and Hendrickson's world-weariness, and how they never let that stop them. Actually, they used that to spur themselves on. Love this story. I'm so glad you posted it!
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
It was a blast to write - my guys needed some love. :) Thank you for reading, and for leaving your thoughts.
Mar. 12th, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
Marry me.

My two favourite Feebs together. Awesome.

I love what you did with them here, their strengths, their frailties *twirls*

Reccing lyke whoa.
Mar. 12th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
I'll need at least two carats. Ascher cut. :)

I just had to get these two together. It was so tempting, and had so much possibility. Thank you for the rec, and for your feedback. Too sweet of you.
Mar. 12th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Have not seen SCC, but am looking forward to its making its' way to my shores. Just want to say how well constructed this fic is, the dialogue so fluid and the emotions so true. You could see two guys bonding in a bar, world-weary souls still battling for what they believe in.

Mar. 12th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Have you tried streaming them from Fox (or downloading from iTunes)? I wholeheartedly recommend it. The supporting cast is especially strong, hence my Ellison love. :)

Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts.
Mar. 12th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed your story.
Mar. 12th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Why thank you.
Mar. 12th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, NICE. I love the idea of SCC and SPN crossing over and Henricksen and Ellison meeting up is just too perfect. This story was touching and lovely and oh so sad. Great job.
Mar. 12th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
The bunny took hold and would not let go. And I can't complain - I love the idea of interaction and history between them, and it was a blast to write. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.
Mar. 13th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
This was awesome. I love the idea of it, and the execution of the idea just rocks. I love how you capture their relationship to each other and to the job.
Mar. 13th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I loved the idea of them together so much that it practically wrote itself. It's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed it.
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
This was excellent; thanks!
Mar. 13th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. Thanks for reading.
Mar. 13th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
OH THIS WAS GORGEOUS. I loved the camaraderie and the pitch perfect dialogue. These guys would have been great friends, and even greater allies if they teamed up after their forced epiphanies that scary monsters and evol robot overlords were hactually real.

Mar. 13th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
I'm beginning to get violent and angry again when it comes to Henrikson. He would've been such an amazing hunter. Then there could even be "where did he go wrong" fic from Ellison's end, as Victor appears to switch sides. *sniff*

Thank you for the lovely compliment, and for reading.
Mar. 13th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh that is fantastic, well done and the voices feel spot on. May I rec this?
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
...I'm sorry, I was a little distracted by your icon. Spuffy and Angel/Cordy? Yes please!

I'd be flattered if you recced. Thanks so much for reading, I'm glad you liked it.
(no subject) - theatervine - Mar. 14th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 14th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
These are two characters that practically beg for a crossover like this, and you did it all so well.

The setting is perfect; while most people go to bars to get a drink and relax after the workday, this is simply the place these two go to continue their obsessing after-hours. That's a nice touch.

And while you hit all the relevant points of them being so damned similar, you also mentioned the one respect in which they're notably different -- faith. Because as equally obsessive (and, to a certain extent,interchangeable) as these two are, it's interesting to wonder what might have happened if the Winchesters had been chased by the man of faith, and the Connors by the man of 21st century rationalism.

Thanks for taking the time to share a great story.
Mar. 15th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
They absolutely were begging for it. It had to be done.

The bar was the first random thought to pop into my head (the idea of these two in a what should be a social setting, still talking shop), and it turned out to be perfect for what I wanted to do. And you make such an interesting point about what is, for me, a fascinating angle - their outlook on faith. We know that Ellison is a man of God (and I love that they've pulled it off without hitting us over the head with a sledgehammer, or altering our view of the character), but I really think that Henrikson is someone who would've become jaded by all he's seen. In my mind, he trusts his instincts and believes in the realities of human nature. I don't think he has any use, or patience, for faith.

Thank you for reading, and for your insightful feedback.
Mar. 16th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
Oh, this is kind of fabulous.
Mar. 16th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Why thank you. I'm kind of fond of it myself. :)
Mar. 16th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
This was really fantabulous - do you mind it I link to?
Mar. 16th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'd be flattered. Thanks for reading.
Mar. 17th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Holy cow. That was awesome! Your prose was rough around the edges in a totally calculated and professional way. Just like the characters.
Mar. 20th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's great to hear that it's being enjoyed, as it was so much fun to write.
Mar. 20th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, I really really loved this.

There's no code of conduct for crazy."

Damn right.

"The badge," he replies. "Cross doesn't come off." His level look earns him a chuckle, deep and droll, but he's not surprised. In their line of work, a world of black and white and nothing in between, faith's either deep or it's dead.


I love the point of view, seeing both the SPN and TSCC 'verses through the eyes of these two men, rather than the usual protagonists.' Also admire your ability to keep the two character voices noticeably distinct (and true to their portrayals), rather than just fusing them into an "FBI guy" category. Also this:

He'd always waved it off, chalked it up to bald and black.

cracked me up. ^_^
Mar. 21st, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Why are you anonymous? I want to thank you by name for the glorious feedback. :)

I've never approached a fic from a non-traditional POV before, though I've always wanted to. When I needed a little writing exercise, it seemed like the perfect time to try. And crossing fandoms with these too was just too intriguing to resist. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it (even anonymously).
Apr. 16th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
All the SCC episodes are waiting on the dvr for me; I haven't had a chance to watch them yet. I'm familiar with SPN, and curious what you'd do with Henriksen.

Solid. At least Victor is, and the reception from his counterpart reinforces that. Well done. And you've made that sit-down and watch SCC a little more imperative.
Apr. 19th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time out to leave your thoughts. I think, once you watch SCC, you'll see why a sitdown like this needed to be written. Ellison is every bit as strong a character as Henrikson is, though that strength stems from completely different places. I hope you enjoy the show.
May. 14th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
This was recced over at Television Without Pity and wow, I'm glad I checked it out. I could hear both voices and see these scenes happening on either show. Great work. Thank you for sharing it.
May. 21st, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
Flattered to hear it was recced, and that you enjoyed it based on that! Thanks for leaving your thoughts.
May. 18th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Really good job on this fic! I wonder if you might allow me to record this for the amplificathon that's currently going on? I would link to the text and encourage comments for you. Also, I'd definitely send you the link to the finished product when I'm done.

I have a bunch of podfics at http://twasadark.googlepages.com/audiofic if you'd like to hear a sample of my work.

Hope to hear from you!

May. 21st, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Now this is a first. :) I'd get a kick out of having one of my fics podded! I tried a poisontaster podfic you did and really enjoyed it. Please link me when you're done - I'm looking forward to it.
(no subject) - twasadark - May. 21st, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - freneticfloetry - May. 27th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - twasadark - May. 28th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - twasadark - Jun. 1st, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this fic - I listened to the podfic but then afterwards I had to come and read it too ^^;

And my gods, I like the dark tone, the atmosphere of this fic and how the writing just flows. You don't explain too much or too little, just enough. In other words, the reader is forced to think and interpret and that's always good - there's so much left unsaid; only bits and pieces you can read in between the lines that it's just... beautiful. Heartbreaking, in a way. This is life and it's not pretty and you don't always know the truth, even when you think you do. You neve have all the facts and everyone views things differently. I love the fact that we, as fans of the shows and all, know so much more than the characters themselves and we are shown their perspective.

Also, the language - I love the language of this fic. The characters felt and sounded just like *them* and also the way you desrcibe little things, emotions and such... well, damnit.

Beautiful in a haunting way, is all.

Weirdly, I've never fanned neither of those guys that much, but this fic made me see them in a whole different light.

My favorite line would have to be, But dedication's just another word for obsession, and the best are always gluttons for punishment – judgment's errand boys, shaping their lives from other people's sins for the simple truth that lies within those words.

Plus, She hadn't paid attention. People never do. -- another solid fact when it comes to human beings.

Anyway, great job!
Dec. 21st, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm so sorry that it's taken me this long to get back to you. Especially since this is feedback to good to be missed.

This started as a writing exercise more than anything, so tone and language were kind of the focus (aside from the "holy crap, this begs to be written - let me do it before someone else does!" aspect. Heh.). I worried about clarity, POV-wise, so it's marvelous to hear that it's all working.

And these men absolutely deserve to be fanned hardcore. Welcome to enlightenment!

I love in-depth reader reactions, and I thank you immensely for taking the time out to leave one.
Sep. 14th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
This is fantastic. These two are a great pair to match up, and how perfectly you tease out the similarities between them. Not only are the both dealing with cases that actually are out of their depth, in a world they don't have full details for but are trying to make sense of, but they are such similar people. It could be the death of them both, and Henriksen's death teaches Ellison nothing. Fabulous tension throughout this. Lovely!
Dec. 21st, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
Pheebs! So sorry for the epic delay in responding to your glorious feedback - and glorious it is. You make such a vital point, in that Ellison learns absolutely nothing. Part of that is not knowing the truth, the truth about anything, really - Henrikson's case or his own - but another part is that tunnel vision that's got him blinded.

Thank you again.
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
That's just a damn good read. Thanks!
Dec. 21st, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
I'm sorry it took so long to thank you in return, but thank you. :)
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