Penny Dreadful fanfiction.
Disclaimer: I do not own the TV show Penny Dreadful or any of the characters.
Caliban/John Clare/Creature meets an O.C. of mine. She's from an A.U., in another, original, story I've written. Told from Caliban's point of view.
Genre: Friendship/hurt/comfort. Set sometime after the series finale.
It was raining, he realized. Again. Caliban never did like the rain, though he wasn't sure why. Perhaps it had to do with how he was brought to life during such a storm, and, subsequently, abandoned.
That, and how he always seemed to be forced out into it, broken-hearted and alone.
Except, this time, it was different. For once, he was just another face in the crowd. No one stared at him, because they, including himself, were staring at the river.
Or, rather, what had crashed into it from the sky.
A great, burning, metal thing it was. When it had hit the water, the impact was so great that the displaced water went almost halfway up the streets of the immediate area perpendicular to the river. Fortunately for those who lived in that area, though, it quickly receded back to the river.
It sank too quickly to be identified-at least by Caliban. Even as it sank beneath the water and was swept away, downriver, it sent steam and smoke upward into the sky. Only once completely underwater for a good few minutes did the smoke and steam cease to appear.
The main spectacle over, most of the crowd soon dispersed, assuming any rescue attempt or investigation would be taken care of by others. Just as he, too, started to turn away, subtle movement on the near side of the river caught his eye. He paused, squinting, trying to see what it was.
Not what, he realized. Who.
At first, he'd thought it was just someone who had been knocked over by the sudden wave of water. But, upon closer inspection, he realized that was not the case. What he saw was a person, yes. Someone knocked over by the water simply due to chance? Not so.
Someone who had just been knocked over would not have reddened skin, possibly caused by the rapidly heated (perhaps scalding, even) water around the strange object. That, and the clothing was a far cry different than any he'd ever seen before-even when he'd worked at the theatre, there had been no costumes that looked like what this person wore. Due to this, it took him a moment to realize that the person struggling to get up was, in fact, a young woman.
Looking around, he saw that no one had come to her aid. Perhaps no one else had noticed her, since all eyes had been on the object that had hit the water, as well as the subsequent mess it had created. No one had thought that there could have been a person inside the thing at one point, let alone gotten out and swum away.
The way she tried to claw her way up the slippery, stony bank, her skin red and painful-looking, brought his own memories crashing back to him. Memories of his own rebirth at the hands of Victor Frankenstein. The feelings of physical pain, as well as fear, panic, confusion, and loneliness… was that what the person before him might be feeling now?
Without realizing it, he moved closer to the strange woman. He found himself standing just at the top of the riverbank, almost directly above her prone form. Having closed most of the distance between them, he could hear her cry for help every couple of minutes or so. Some were little more than that-cries of pain. Others contained words. "Help," being the most prominent among them, obviously.
Once again, more memories were stirred up in his mind. The sound of his own wails of desperation in his ears. His ears, and no others. How alone he had been when Victor, his creator, had abandoned him.
Studying her more closely, he saw the reason she was unable to get up. Her left leg was clearly broken below the knee, and positioned at a most unnatural angle. How she had managed to swim while having such a badly broken bone was beyond him. Every move she made must have caused her great pain.
She remained unaware of his presence-he had long ago learned how to be stealthy. A few moments later, though, her strength failed her, and she stopped trying to move forward. Instead, with a groan, she rolled over onto her side, lying still and quiet, save for a shaking motion that may have been shivering. Or crying. Or both.
He'd been cold that night of his rebirth, too.
He realized that he saw, in this girl, a reflection of himself. And, in himself, he saw the choice he had to make: either be like Victor, and run off, or stay and help this poor person before him.
As he made his decision, he wished that he could say that it was purely out of compassion that he would help. In truth, though, a large part of why he did it was to prove how he was nothing like Victor Frankenstein. However, he liked to think that, maybe, an even larger part of the decision was made up of compassion and his ability to relate to the strange girl below him than his pride was.
Gingerly, he slid off the edge of the walkway, landing on the rocky bank of the river, the smaller pebbles and dirt crunching under his boots.
Moving toward the girl, he saw that she had grown more still, though her body still shuddered every few moments.
"Miss?" he called out gingerly, voice quiet for fear of startling her. "Miss?"
With one hand, he, after a minute of deliberation, reached out his hand and, ever so gently, nudged her shoulder.
His efforts did not go unrewarded. She turned her head and looked up at him, her blue eyes searching for his own yellow ones.
"Don't be scared," he told her quickly, remembering his deformity suddenly. With hardly a thought, he reached up with one hand and pulled his collar up as high as it could go to cover the right side of his face. "I-I'm here to help."
She nodded, but did not speak.
Caliban tried to think of what to say next, let alone do. He had no place to take her, other than the clinic where he himself slept at night.
"What's your name?" he asked. He had many other questions for her, but figured that most of them would have to wait.
"Emily," she answered quietly.
"Do you think you can stand up on your unbroken leg, Emily? There is a place not far from here, where I live. It's dirty and crowded, but there's food there, and nuns who could help straighten and bind up your leg. Maybe get some cool water for your burns, even."
This time, however, she shook her head.
"Don't think so," she answered, her voice even more quiet. But her movement, as if she were shifting her weight to begin another attempt, told Caliban that she was more than willing to try if needed, despite obvious injuries and exhaustion.
Caliban quickly shook his head, not wanting her to risk further injury to herself.
"I saw you trying to move while you called out for help," he agreed, sensing that this woman did not want to appear weaker than she was. "I can carry you, if you would allow me. Assuming you'd like to go to the shelter, that is."
She nodded, which he interpreted as an affirmative answer to both options.
Before he lost his nerve, he extended his arms out and lifted her up off the cold ground, so she was about level with his chest. He could not help but think that this was the way a groom would carry his bride across the threshold to their new home.
He should have realized that her burns would not be limited to places on her skin that he could see. But the thought occurred to him too late.
"Ah!" Emily cried out, twisting in his hold at the sudden new pain. Caliban was quick to clamp a hand over her mouth to stifle her, lest any passerby think he was trying to kidnap the woman.
Her crying out stopped soon, though, as she adjusted herself to where the pressure from laying in his arms landed on less painful areas. After that, she went limp. He would have thought her unconscious if hadn't been able to see her face at the time. She was awake, but barely. Her eyes were bloodshot, and, from the way she kept widening them, she was struggling to stay awake.
"So…tired," she sighed, and he could feel her warm breath on his throat. "But can't go to sleep."
She seemed to be talking more to herself than to him.
"Yes, you can, Miss," he said without thinking, his voice gentle but insistent. He felt a strange sense of déjà vu, then, as if he'd said something like that to another woman, once. One who was also hurting. But he could not remember having ever said such a thing to anyone. Strange.
At the moment, though, he had more pressing things to focus on.
Despite her burns, she was shivering. Instinct told him that it was not just from the rain.
Holding her more tightly against himself, so as to help keep her from unnecessary pain due to jostling, he hurried off towards the shelter, both of them soaking from the rain.
No one paid the two any heed as the cold, misty, rain became a raging storm overhead.
So, here goes nothing. Please review. Tell me what you think. Did I keep Caliban/John Clare in character well enough?
More will be revealed about who Emily is as the story goes on.