by Naomi & Kathryne

Diary Entry, Mina Murray

Allan and I returned to London, bringing with us with Doctor Moreau as Mr. Holmes had requested. Our headquarters are now back at the Museum, as it is now... no longer compromised. Our treasonous fifth - I nearly wrote 'filth'; my pen betrays me - has been dealt with by Mr. Hyde. How he was 'dealt with', I do not know; I have not had the chance to speak with Hyde, and the others are not forthcoming with details. Although this should probably ward me off, the reticence only makes me more determined to find out exactly what transpired between Hyde and that bastard, because I can't help but feel that it was the violence done to my person, rather than the treachery, that truly provoked Mr. Hyde to whatever terrible rage he vented upon our former comrade.

I find that my own reaction to this development is rather complicated, and not exactly pleasant. I confess - within the privacy of these pages, at least; and probably only within these pages - that part of me was pleased to hear that he had been dealt with. Not even the detached kind of satisfaction one ought to feel at justice done, or the achievement of a teammate. The deep kind of satisfaction-as if the world has been put to rights, in an old eye-for-an-eye sense. (These thoughts are bordering on monstrous; am I still a little bit of the monster Jonathan had feared I remained? I am reticent to even note this down... but my diary has always been the one place for absolute honesty, so I shall not censor myself now)

How strange to think of Hyde as an avenging angel...! Even if I disregard my own... encounter with him, I would still be able to say, with absolute conviction, that the Invisible Man was not a gentlemen. He was a violent, disgusting, amoral traitor with no soul to speak of...

And yet, I can't accept this grim pleasure until I know exactly what it was that transpired.

Nemo and Moreau are working down in one of the Nautilus' labs on whatever it was that M had requested of them, and Allan is sleeping off the exertions of the past week, leaving me to my diary, and these thoughts. Perhaps, now is the time that I ought to go and speak with Mr. Hyde -- while the others are otherwise occupied, and less likely to intervene and potentially make a scene. They do not comprehend the strange rapport Hyde and I have established... how could they, when neither of us seems to understand it, either?


Mina closed the slim volume, setting it and her fountain pen down upon her desk. She rose from the chair, and moved to the full-length mirror (giving that silent prayer of thanksgiving as she always did) to examine herself, make sure she was dressed for visiting. A few locks of hair had come out of her bun; once they had been righted, she left her room to seek out Mr. Hyde.

He could be anywhere, could even have gone out, but she tried his room nonetheless; knocking firmly upon the door, and calling out. "Are you within, Mr. Hyde? It's Miss Murray; I would have a word with you, if it is convenient."

She heard movement inside the room, and the door swung open. Hyde had obviously been resting; the bedcovers were crushed and rumpled, and Hyde himself was clad only in a pair of trousers.

"Miss Murray," he rumbled, drawing aside in a parody of chivalry to allow her into the room. "To what do I owe this unexpected visit?"

"I've disturbed your rest, sir; I apologize." She hesitated on the threshold. "Would you prefer I returned at a more convenient hour?"

"Oh, that's quite all right. You've piqued my curiosity," Hyde said. Indeed, everything about Wilhelmina Murray had piqued Hyde's curiosity, from the very moment they met. She was a fascinating mix of vulnerability and steel, and the fact that she alone out of the League looked at Hyde without horror or pity in her eyes endeared her to him in some strange way. Some part of him - perhaps Jekyll's weak presence in his psyche - wondered if the way she regarded him would change now that she knew he had killed Griffin for her.

He hoped it wouldn't; he didn't know what he might do to her if it did.

Mina's lips curled in that fearless little smile she had, and she entered his room. "I've been meaning to come and talk with you since my return. I do apologize for taking so long to seek you out."

She waited until he had closed the door before continuing, looking up at him thoughtfully for a long moment. How best to phrase her curious statement? Hyde would prefer bluntness, she was sure. What she had to say would surprise him, she knew, however she put it, so she might as well just spit it out.

"I believe that I owe you my thanks, sir... for taking care of the traitor."

There was a restrained ferocity to her voice, but to finally articulate that gratefulness for his avenging her... it was almost a catharsis, a way of absolving herself from the guilt she felt at being glad that the bastard was dead.

Hyde was startled into a laugh, a sharp, rasping bark. Thanks? That was certainly not the response he had been expecting. For a moment, his assessment of Miss Murray leaped upwards; then he calmed, realizing that she was probably not aware of the circumstances surrounding Griffin's death.

Still.... He looked at her closely, studying her resolute face.

Still, to come here and thank him was an incredibly unusual response for anyone to have, and there was something in her eyes that suggested to him that she was slightly more than just relieved at the news.

"Ah, well, it was my pleasure." He allowed a wide, unsettling grin to spread across his face. Yes, it certainly had been a pleasure. "And certainly no more than the bastard deserved, was it?" he added, interested to hear how Miss Murray would respond.

Mina felt a slight pang in her gut at the smile he gave her, and his choice of wording. She found herself mentally backing away from the genuine lack of regret she felt from hearing of the death of the invisible man -- not regretting it wasn't the same as taking pleasure in it...

But she had been pleased. Silently and privately. Although, apparently, not as secretly as she had hoped.

"It is... traditional, to execute traitors. While he lived... he was a liability," she said finally. The part of her that still clung to propriety, to being acceptable, quailed a little at her honesty, but she was transparent to Hyde on this, it seemed. To lie to him would be an act of utter disrespect, especially when they both knew he'd see through any pretty lie she cared to tell. The dark truth was written all over her face, and he could read it like a book. They both knew that.

"You are practical, aren't you," Hyde said admiringly. Something in him wanted to see just how far he could push this strange woman; he wanted to find out how similar they really were. "I don't know if I'd call it an execution, though," he mused, sitting down on the bed and causing it to creak alarmingly. "It wasn't really as clean as all that. Took him quite some time to get around to dying, actually. Did you know that his blood turns visible once he dies? I found that out while I was eating dinner," he confided. "Had it all over me. Made quite a mess."

Mina paled a little. But the words that came from her mouth were not the lady-like protests she ought to have spoken; nor was the queer voice in which she spoke wholly recognizable as her own. "I knew a man - a Count... once upon a time... who would have scolded you for wasting that blood." A wry, bitter quirk of a smile -- Once, because of him, I would have scolded you for the waste, too, Hyde, she thought, but left that unspoken.

Was the woman entirely unflappable? Hyde wondered. He was rather fascinated by this time. "Oh, it certainly wasn't wasted; no, it came in rather handy." He nodded, although Miss Murray had made no comment. "I thought it quite appropriate that a man who found his pleasure in raping and abusing women should meet his end being abused just like a woman." He folded his arms contentedly and gave her a placid smile.

"Now you're trying to provoke me," she commented, her distant, memory-clouded green eyes returning to his face. "Do you want me to say that deep down, I'm horrified? That he didn't really deserve pain and suffering, he was a human being?"

Her slightly shaking left hand rose to tuck an imaginary loose strand back into her bun. "He was raping a child when I first met him, Mr. Hyde. God only knows what saved me from that particular fate." A bitter twist of her lips, a parody of a smile. "Maybe I'm not young enough or pretty enough for him, but he -- "

A sudden realization dawned, and she stopped speaking for a moment, looking at Hyde until she was certain she had read his motive correctly. And then she nodded, speaking slowly, thoughtfully, "No... you don't want me to pale, be horrified and say you're a monster... you ... want me to say 'thank you' again, even after hearing that. Don't you?"

Hyde leaned towards her, watching her intently. "No, not quite," he said slowly. "I want... to know if you still want to say 'thank you'."

"Yes." There was no hesitation there, even though her voice was pitched very, very low. The barest ghost of a smile turned the corners of her mouth up just enough. "Isn't that wicked of me?"

Mina didn't dare imagine what Allan, or Nemo... or M might make of her for that dreadful confession.

Hyde felt a thrill run through him at her admission. The speed with which she replied was unexpected, but the slight quaver in her soft voice was more than pleasing. Was she wicked? Perhaps, in the accepted social context of the times; to Hyde, it simply made her more of an enigma, one to which he desired to find the answer. "We are indeed kindred spirits, are we not? Someday," he said thoughtfully, "I should very much like to hear of your adventures with the other beast you encountered."

He slapped his thighs and rose, signaling the end of the conversation. He had achieved his goal and managed to rattle her as badly as her composure had rattled him; not by revealing anything about him, but by showing her a part of herself. The fury he normally felt at his utter inability to comprehend her had faded into a sort of pleased satisfaction, and he wanted to run her out immediately, both so that he could savor his victory, and to force her to contemplate how she felt about her revelation.

He allowed himself to touch her once again, placing a hand on her back to usher her out the door, and almost expected to feel her flinch away from him. "You're quite welcome," he added suddenly.

Mina turned back, looking up at him, intending to take her leave of him. Intending to bid him a pleasant rest. But when she opened her mouth, something quite different came out. "What do you know of vampires?"

As soon as the words had left her lips, her eyes widened a little in genuine surprise.

"Vampires?" Hyde's eyes darted from Miss Murray's face to the blood-red scarf wound perpetually about her neck and back to her face. "They are... not one of my areas of expertise. They are dead humans, are they not? They drink blood? I believed that there were none in England."

Suddenly he wondered... but no, he had seen Miss Murray in the sunlight, and weren't vampires restricted to the dark of night? Then again, he wasn't sure. He could feel the blood pumping through her body where his hand rested, though; she was undeniably alive.

"There have been none for nearly two years." She watched his eyes shoot to her scarf. 'Well done, Mr. Hyde,' she thought. 'Allan has seen the scars, and he did not make the connection. Well done indeed.'

"My ex-husband, two doctors, a nobleman, an American and I saw to that extinction... before I became one." This was not something Mina spoke of, ever, and yet the words were tumbling out freely. The story, phrased vaguely, but the whole story, nonetheless. She found herself speaking even of Lucy, dearly departed Lucy: "My dearest friend in the whole world succumbed to that fate. They put a stake through her heart, and cut off her head."

And they would have done the same to me, had the bites taken - only that, did she leave unspoken.

"I must admit to having wondered what qualifications you had that made you part of our group. Vampirism, I suppose, would certainly fill our strange criteria." Hyde paused. "This vampire you encountered... the beast who made you what you are. He bit you; yet you are still human, are you not?" The fact that he had to ask was proof of how much she had, once again, startled him. How did she keep doing that; how was there so much to this slip of a woman? His frustration mounted.

"I imagine the others have wondered, too, but I trust you to keep this between you and me," she said simply, before nodding at his question. "In answer to your inquiry, yes, I am still merely human, but... the incident is my... qualification for our group."

"Fascinating," Hyde breathed. "I did not think such a thing was possible." Many of the things about Miss Murray that had perplexed him were becoming clearer. But vampires! He never would have guessed. Amazing.

A faint, rueful smile. "Once upon a time, Mr. Hyde; neither did I. Now --" She caught herself fingering the scarf, and let her hand drop back down to her side. "Now, I cannot forget."

"Indeed." Unbidden, a vision of a disheveled Miss Murray, her mouth smeared with blood, rose in Hyde's mind. He found himself, uncharacteristically, completely disconcerted; he wanted nothing more than to chivvy her out of the room, but he refused to let his loss of composure show in his face. "I am, ah, sorry to hear of that." He wasn't, not really; it was due to this vampiric experience that Hyde had been able to connect with her, after all.

"I haven't been able to talk about this since before the divorce; since Dr. Van Helsing left England," she admitted. "I don't think that I've spoken of that time freely ever, really."

Mina looked up at Hyde, a sudden frisson of fear in her veins. "Please, speak of this to no one. Not Nemo; certainly not All -- Mister Quatermain." An inward groan; she was sure that she'd just put her foot in it in the worst possible way. Since getting back, she had been very careful to avoid referring to Quatermain as 'Allan' around the others - Nemo would disapprove, but Hyde... she really was not sure at all how he would react.

Ah! Hyde zeroed in on the slight stutter. She was always so observant of proprieties, but he was certain she'd almost said 'Allan.' Since she and Quatermain had returned with Dr. Moreau, something had been different, but he had been unable to place exactly what had changed. Now he knew, and he felt the balance of power shift back where it belonged; in his favour. "Oh, no, we wouldn't want Allan to find out about any of this, would we? Couldn't have him consider you... unclean," he spat.

Mina sighed very softly, and swore under her breath in a tone that was even softer than the sigh. "It's not like that. You... misunderstand me, sir." She touched her scarf, her nervous tic, looking up at Hyde, and trying to explain, to cajole him out of any potential unpleasantness. "People... don't see what they don't want to. Mr. Quatermain has... seen my scars. And has still not managed to ascertain the source." Every word picked with the utmost care. "When someone chooses to be blind, it is not fair to enlighten them."

"Seen your scars, has he?" The bastard. "In that case, I wonder if I might...?" The phrasing was delicate, but Hyde drawled the words in the most insulting, lascivious tone he could manage.

Her cheeks coloured for probably the first time since he had known her, and her hands shook as she unwound the scarf, but Mina really felt in no position to refuse. As she slowly revealed the gnarled fang-marks upon her throat, she shut her eyes tightly, as if willing them to have disappeared since the last time she had removed the scarf.

Hyde studied her for a moment as she stood, eyes closed, hands twisting the scarf nervously. He reached one callused finger out and brushed them, almost more gently than he had realized he could; then he slid his whole hand against them, their roughness grazing his palm as he encircled her entire neck. His own words from the past rang in his ears: Sometimes I think I should just rape you and behead you.

She shuddered a little at the soft touch, tilting her chin upwards. Her eyes opened as his hand encircled her neck, and she shivered again at this strange parody of an embrace that they found themselves in. "There," her voice shook, thick with self-disgust. "Aren't they just lovely?"

He could snap her neck with little more than a thought, yet she still stood there and regarded him coolly. Every moment was revealing another layer of this incredibly complex woman. Did she wish to die? Did she find the scars so abhorrent that she hoped he would rid her of them and of her burden of memories? Hyde did not know. Her nearness was disconcerting.

Mina gasped a little as he leaned in, and again at the flash of teeth, catching the motion only out of the corner of her eye; her mind bringing the memories of the vampire suddenly to mind with a vividness that made her tremble a little, even as Hyde's grip about her throat tightened.

He leaned in and sniffed at the scars. They smelled of death. He bared his teeth involuntarily, and his hand tightened convulsively on her neck. "Miss Murray," he said levelly, his breath puffing softly against her jaw line above his hand, "I believe now might be an opportune time for you to leave." He did not relax his hold.

What sort of a woman was she that her heart beat faster against her stays at that terrible threat? The sort of woman who had implored her new lover to bite at her shoulder as he made love to her... Wicked, white hot shame pooled in her gut, and she bit down on her lip nearly hard enough to draw blood at the sudden softness of his breath against her exposed scars.

For that moment it was only his grip that kept her upright.

And that startled her far, far more than any growled threat ever could. Her eyes darted to the door, and her fingers touched his hand. "Y-yes. I should... leave."

At the feel of her fingers against his hand, he stiffened; he removed his hand from her neck with an agonizing slowness, but did not move away. "Good evening, Miss Murray," he said, still in that frighteningly civil tone.

Her heart was pounded in her chest, but - was it insanity? Defiance? A ridiculous desire to see how far she could push him? -she took the time to wrap her scarf back about her throat before making her way to the door. Walking slowly, and pausing at the threshold. Still not entirely sure why she was lingering. "Good evening, Mr. Hyde."

Hyde did not reply.

Mina closed the door behind herself, and leaned upon the wall outside Hyde's room, trembling. She was utterly shaken, down to the very core of her being, by what had gone on-- and what nearly had transpired. (What had nearly transpired?)

She slid down the wall, her knees giving out; and took the moments before she could walk away to ponder the way her heart had been thumping when he touched her scars, at the way it had gotten hard to breathe in that second that she had been convinced he was going to bite her... Then, when her legs decided to function again, she got up, and fled back to her room.

Back inside his chamber, Hyde straightened from his crouch and flexed his fingers. One day soon, he thought, Wilhelmina Murray would not leave when he told her to. It bothered him that he did not know, when that day came, what he would do.


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