Stands there a man with soul so dead?
The waters were calm today. The storm had come and passed over them quickly, leaving only mud and freshness in its wake. A small mercy for once. Behind him, contrast with the constantly rolling sea, the freshly plowed field was still and silent. Even the pumps which usually pumped irrigation to it were off, letting the storm's rain soak in.
He shivered slightly as the spray from the waves blew against him, soaking through his thin shirt again. Tugging the loose sleeves as far down over his hands as he could, he almost missed the suits and the scarves that he used to wear – the countless layers built up around him in a comforting shield. The dull pain that immediately followed drowned all nostalgia for the warmer clothes.
He had shed his armour a while ago. He had moved on – out of necessity if not desire. With each visible layer he had taken off, he had built up another within himself. Every time he turned to greet someone, he fenced himself in a little further from the rest of reality.
If such there breathe: go, mark him well.
Idly, he turned away from the ocean, straightening and looking over his fields. They were barren now, awaiting a fresh crop. They had been due to plant the next experimental set nearly two days before, but he had postponed it until after the storm; wishing to avoid the seeds being washed away. He had several more possibilities to rule out before he could begin synthesising the repellant for the thing destroying the crops.
It was solitary work here on the plantation. Other farms – both producing for science and producing for consumption or trade – allowed for a much larger staff than merely one, but he was content to be alone. He was quite capable of handling the work here by himself – there were other tasks that the humans could be applied to.
He should have looked to and learnt from Adam – Lewis? - when they had met. The other man had remained out of his life since then, turning up at Abraham's grave once, and again as the coder for the first Jaegers – for the mathematician working against the Rift when it had opened. But he had been separate, alone. He moved quickly – staying adrift. He had accepted his fate – it seemed that was more than the younger could do. There were too many graves out their holding the corpses of the few that had truly known him – too many that lay in those graves because of him.
For him no minstrel raptures swell.
There was nothing waiting for him. He could never love another – never allow himself to draw close to another in the way he had Abigail or Nora, or even Abe or Jo in their own way. The mortals would go their way and he must go his – it was like water and oil, and he had not found a way to mix either...
They continued to try. They were children, reaching out to share with him and play with him. He envied them their youth and innocence; and even their age and death. He could only stand by and watch them – trying again to kill himself even when he knew it would fail.
There was no explanation for his condition. It was simply there. He lived and he died and he reappeared in water – never aging, never changing. He healed the same as others and looked the same as others and worked the same as others and even died the same – but it was never static. He would always return. He envied them their ability to believe in an afterlife – to enter an afterlife – and to move on and grow and heal. He felt as if he never healed – as if every wound ever inflicted upon him was ever weeping and decaying behind his unaging skin.
High though his titles, proud his name – boundless his wealth as wish may claim.
He almost missed Henry Morgan. He missed the man's naivety, and his innocence. He missed his ability to keep searching and hoping, to keep fighting a losing war. He missed his ability to care for what happened to others – to be willing to die to save a child. Now? He was either mortal or immortal – he either cared or he didn't.
It was easier not to care. To live alone where he could be the full length of his more than a millennium of years, where he didn't have to feel as if he were destroying another by being Alec, or Daron, or Prescott. To look at himself in a mirror and wonder if he was to wear a simple shirt or a waistcoat because was he Daron or Raymond this decade? The trees and the plants and the waters would not judge him for being different. They were content to be alone. Like him.
Henry would have died many years earlier if Adam hadn't met and manipulated him. He would never have trusted the Detective on his own, and would only have become better at hiding things. At ignoring other lives. At justifying himself. Without the elder Immortal there as a threat, he would not have run after her – he would have grown tired of saving her. He would have simply brushed it away as an inevitable death.
Doubly dying, shall go down to the vile dust from whence he sprung.
But in a way, it was good that he was gone. Henry never should have seen what became of his thoughts to the world. He had stopped practicing medicine merely because he gave up trying to save an already doomed man to protect himself – for yielding to common sense. He worked with the dead to learn about it – killed himself countless times just to try to free himself from his curse.
The Immortal that once was him... He still experimented and he still cared, but he wondered if it really made a difference? Would giving a coat to a single child that would die soon of pneumonia anyway be worth it if those few seconds could be used to save the lives of hundreds of other people?
It was all...detatched from him. He would not have it any other way, even while he missed the friendships he had before. He wondered at his ability to walk past a crying child and never hear her, even as he worked through long nights on formulas and experiments. He sighed for his loss of humanity, for the eternal silence of the clock that ticked for everyone, even as he was finally as close to peace with himself and his condition than he would likely ever be.
"I chose exile for my punishment – but what was it for? I've no evidence of what it was. Only pain, guilt – useless, worthless feelings..."
Henry Morgan was dead. All that remained was the eternal, changing mask.
AN: Title and inserts from an excerpt from a poem of Walter Scott's that was titled 'My Native Land' that I memorised for school. And first from the story The Man Without a Country that was superbe. This was inspired by Samsquatch67's wondering about what Henry would be like a millenia or so after the events of the series; and being way too easy to distract, I began thinking of a character study and voila! This is set about 3081 A.D. and is after Henry Morgan 'dies'. Because he is the same as Adam – it just takes time. I would say that I won't write in the future again, but then it's certain to happen... *smiles slightly * Ending quote is a line in the 2015 film Mr. Holmes which wasn't terrible but could have been better if it weren't for three glaring things. But the quote fits in a way.
Basically, Henry at his simplest is curious. He will go to any lengths to solve something, and he is also one more for the greater good. Choosing between his family and Nora and a ship full of slaves he had no connection to, he risked – and lost – all for them. He also spent many years experimenting on his condition. I think that he is the scientist. He would still be trying to help people – but he would distance himself from it. My apologies... 11-30-2015 Also, as an addendum: I think it highly amusing that I used the Man Without a Country poem with all of its bitter emptiness and coldness for Henry rather than the obvious choice Adam.