Saturday, 22 September 2012
06:53:26 PM (GMT)
Aiden Fairnington had been explicitly described as a great many things. Cruel,
callous, proud, stubborn among them, but never sentimental. Never kind, or even
misunderstood. He was simply a man, and a man who wanted nothing to do with anyone,
nor anyone wanted to do with him.
And yet, he never thought of himself as lonely. Alone, yes, but that was different.
Lonely implied that he was alone and wanted or needed company. Aiden did not. He
was aware that he had no one, and with no one he quite content to remain.
He wasn't particularly wealthy, neither particularly poor. Not good looking nor
ugly. He was, by all accounts, perfectly ordinary with his slightly curled dark
brown hair framing his face, the parting on the left being the only sense of order he
had over it. It stuck up at odd angles, curling in unnatural ways, and he had always
hated it. Green eyes that were neither green nor any other sensible colour, and the
only description of them had been by his mother, saying that they looked like
In the past, Mr Fairnington had been aquainted with women, although this was mainly
due to his mother and each relationship had ended with him breaking it off rather
harshly. Only once had a woman had the courage to speak up and tell him (and the
rest of his family) what an "Arrogant brute" he was. She then promptly proceeded to
storm out of his home, slamming every door behind her and leaving the parents of
Aiden Fairnington bewildered. The boy, however, simply stood and retired to his
room, picking up a novel and started to read, completely unfazed by the whole scene.
Numerous arguments between mother and son enaminated from this, of which the majority
ended with Mrs Fairnington more insulted and upset than her boy. Only twice out of
their arguments had Aiden ever actually been visibly affected. The first time, his
mother expressed her feelings of betrayal in having such a useless heir, and the
second she said that she regretted ever having a child or getting married, since her
husband was so often away with the Marines, and her son always concealed in his
studies, or else away. Both times he cried. Quietly though, and only when the
argument was over. It wouldn't do for a man to cry over a silly little argument,
least of all one with his mother. No. Always alone, and always unnoticed.
His door was locked more often from then on. He wasn't interested in anything
outside of his own gain because why should he be? He had no desire to marry or have
children, so he needed please no one. Instead, he focused. He focused so intently
that he didn't hear the knocking on his door that day. He didn't hear his father
attempt to introduce the man.
It was nearly half an hour before he looked up, and the man was still stood in the
doorway, hat tucked under his arm and his once white shirt stained and unironed.
"May I help you?"
The boy stood for a moment before leaning against the doorway, still watching Aiden
as intently as Aiden was watching him.
"I said, may I help you?"
"I heard exactly what you said."
"Then why don't you answer me?"
More silence. Aiden rolled his eyes, impatiently turning to dip his quill back into
the ink, "Look, sir, if you have nothing of interest to say to me, I must ask you
"Not so fast."
Aiden frowned, looking back up at him. The man looked a few years older, but not old
enough that Aiden couldn't treat him with improper respect. Not that it would matter
anyway. "Get on with it, man!"
"I've heard you're reputation."
"And I was wondering if you'd come with me."
"Why would I do a thing like that?" Aiden asked, slowly rising either to close the
door or to leave, yet undecided.
The man looked him up and down, assessing him, "Because you're bored. You haven't
seen the sun in weeks, and I'm your ticket to something more exciting?"
"What could you possibly offer me?"
This puzzled Aiden for a moment. What was he talking about? He already had a life,
of course he did! "I am alive."
The man chuckled, his blue eyes filled with a spark of mischief, "No no. You're
existing. You haven't lived in a long while."
"And... What do you propose?" Aiden narrowed his eyes, curious despite himself as he
took a step forwards.
"There's been a death, Mr Fairnington. A poisoning, to be more precise, and I..."
He paused, choosing his words, "I'm in need of an observing eye."
"And you are?"
"Doctor Salem Whelan. Please, come with me, Aiden. I promise it'll be worth it."
Aiden froze, mid-step. True, his curiosity was overwhelming, and he did have an
interest... With a sigh of acceptance, he pulled his overcoat from the hook on the
back of the door, as well as his hat, donning them both.
"Very well, Doctor, show me how to live." There was a touch of humour in his words,
or disbelief, even. And yet the smile on Salem's lips intruigued him, and there was
something about Salem Whelan that made him think. Not about mathematics or
chemistry, but about people. Maybe... Just maybe... They weren't all so bad after