Title: The Horrible Request
Character/Pairing: Dr. Horrible, Dr. Herbert West, West's assistant
I don't own Dr. Horrible, etc.
Summary: Dr. Horrible/Herbert West: Reanimator crossover. Dr. Herbert West meets the infamous Dr. Horrible, who wants to make a request...
Word Count: 934
A/N: Set after Act III (and thus spoileriffic) in Dr. Horrible, and somewhere around part V of the Reanimator short story, though Reanimator's timeline's been jumped up so he's not in WWI.
In my long years of work with Dr. Herbert West I have seen many horrible things beyond the ken of normal men. The sights and sounds that haunt my dreams even now are too many to list and too horrifying to describe. Most of them are connected to that physician’s greatest and most secret lifework: his experiments in bringing about the reanimation of the dead.
For many years I worked alongside him in his terrible experiments. Though most were delivered to a permanent end shortly after revival, some still wander the earth. This fact causes both of us great paranoia, especially in the middle of the night, when the slightest scratch on the door seems to herald the return of any number of horrors.
But more horrifying than our experiments, in my view, is Dr. West himself. Though what could be called a friendship endured long between us, it is now simply a coerced partnership. That he calls and I answer now comes from his repeated demands for my assistance; from the knowledge of the incriminating information he has on my participation in his work; and from the fear that without a ready gun at hand, his experiments may join his others that have survived. One, who ripped apart 17 bodies, 14 of which were living, now rests in an asylum. It is the only surviving experiment that we can be sure of – the others committed horrible acts before we lost track of them.
And yet, as I have mentioned above, it is Dr. West himself who most terrifies me. I still recall the fateful experiment that forever hardened the soul behind those cold blue eyes. In this awful event, the subject was still alive before being subjected to Dr. West’s scientific curiosity. It is that experiment which he so callously mentioned today, as he spoke with what may become our most convenient source of bodies yet.
“Dr. Horrible, as a villain and a member of the Evil League, I’m sure you won’t mind knowing that I did no such thing—” for Dr. Horrible had assumed that West, as per my writings about him, had revived a preserved cadaver. “I paralyzed a living male subject, placed him in the experimental area, removed the paralyzation, induced death, and only then proceeded to reanimate him. There was no post-mortem preservation of the cadaver. I’m not certain such a thing would work.”
I saw some part of Dr. Horrible recoil from this revelation, and it fascinated me, for all know that the Doctor is indeed a callous man. There are few who remain unaware that he murdered the love of his life after finding that she had slept with his enemy. But nonetheless this recoil was so quiet and quick that I may well have imagined it, for soon enough he grinned that twisted grin for which he is so famed.
“Of course. I see. But that means you haven’t yet experimented with someone who’s been – well, preserved.”
“I told you, Dr. Horrible, I have no further interest in reviving whole cadavers. I have found what I needed. My research in that area is complete.”
“Yes. I am currently experimenting with dismembered corpses, attempting to find if the vital aspect can be revived in individual parts, and whether these parts have any communication between them… none of which I can use a complete body for, I’m afraid.”
“Do me this favor and the League will provide, Dr. West.” Horrible steepled his fingers and let out a deep and chilling laugh. I realized then how similar the two looked. Both blonde, both blue-eyed, both very young in appearance. I say in appearance, for while Dr. Horrible is yet a young man, West has seen many years that refuse to show anywhere but in the hardness of his expression. A hardness that Horrible shares.
“Very well, then. How was the body preserved?”
“My freeze ray. It stops time for the subject. Difficult, of course, to maintain it indefinitely, but with my robberies I was able to get an advanced power source and afford the supply for it, and—”
West waved him off, which showed how perfectly driven the man was. Nothing, not even Dr. Horrible, could faze him. “How long after death did you apply the ray?”
“A few minutes.”
“That may have been too long. Hard to say.”
“Could you try?”
“You’ll want a containment area for the results. And a… well, I suppose you would use a death ray instead of a simple gun, wouldn’t you?”
Again that hint of recoil. Horrible’s eyes widened slightly. I was sure he regretted now not wearing his goggles down in his usual fashion, which would have hidden those emotions he had more effectively. It was almost a thrill to see – the idea of two Wests in the same world had chilled me to the bone. The thought that one of them still had a trace of humanity, albeit twisted humanity, was a relief to me.
“Will I need to kill her—that is, I mean, terminate the experiment—so violently? I was hoping to keep it around.”
“It depends on how much sentience we can regain. And if this is, as I presume, the body of someone you’ve killed – I’m sorry, I forget myself; you villains prefer I say ‘viciously murdered’ – “ Again, that shudder. “—then the reanimated creature might attempt to avenge itself on you.”
“Not her. Never her.”
“It is still best to have the option on hand. Shall we try, then?”
“If you will.”
“Then bring me to the corpse.”