Twenty-Three Years Part Two
Jefferson was sitting on his bed leaning back against the wall staring at the blank white wall to the right of the room when Victor opened the door for their daily meeting.
"How is your eye this morning?" he asked his friend as the Doctor pulled the chair over to his usual spot during their meetings.
"A bit black and blue from where you punched me yesterday during your breakdown, but it is nothing that doesn't make an interesting story for the ladies at the Rabbit Hole."
"Glad to see I can still help you out when it comes to picking up a woman." He said with a small smirk looking back to the white wall as he recalled the only other time he had punched his friend.
"Doctor Victor Frankenstein!" He exclaimed appearing behind Victor in his lab.
"Jefferson… Please tell me Aurora is with you." Victor started forward relived to see his friend alive.
He responded by punching him in the jaw knocking him back against the table. "Aurora is dead and it is all because of you." He grabbed Victor by his jacket and slammed him back against the table.
"Aurora is dead?" Victor managed to wheeze out..
"Don't act so surprised Doc…" He slurred his words as he dangled the pair of magic binding hand cuffs in Victor's face. "You acted like a friend not betraying us to Rumple but that was only because you had already made a deal with Regina." He pulled back his right hand to hit him again.
Victor pushed him back hard knocking his drunken friend off balance to the floor. The handcuffs went flying off to the side.
"I didn't know what Regina wanted the handcuffs for when she commission me months ago. I was only interested in if my science could find a way to stop magic."
"And your fucking science did! It stopped Aurora and me from escaping Maleficent." He growled looking up at Victor.
"Jefferson please, you and Aurora are my friends." Victor went to give him a hand to help him up but Jefferson pushed himself back and used the far table to get back up to his feet.
"Aurora isn't anything, anymore! Because she drown thanks to your wonderful science!" He pointed at Victor as he shouted almost losing his balance and falling to the floor again.
"Jefferson did you hear me?" Doctor Whale asked. "I asked how are you feeling this morning?"
"I feel like I can't breathe." He turned his head back to his friend. "I am tired."
"You haven't slept. The nurses tell me you won't take the medication I left for you. It will help."
"No I am not sleepy… I am tired of this place, this town, these people not remembering, of this whole cursed world." He paused a moment watching Victor flipping through the story book they were making. "Do the stories really mean nothing to you? You don't feel anything when I tell them to you, or you write them down and read over them?"
"Well the Dracula tale is a depressing one... Elizabeth." The Doctor paused a moment a far off look in his eyes. "But the death of someone's love one is an emotional trigger even if it isn't you who really experienced it."
"Yes I know Lizzie hated me but I know she was perfect for you, even if you didn't believe you deserved her love yourself. She was right about me the whole time. I was a terrible influence on you. Me being your friend is the reason she is dead, and you are cursed here to this land without magic away from your brother and your work."
Doctor Whale took a deep breathe staring down at the papers for a moment before looking up. "Well at least I have my Science to keep me company." He sadly joked. "But seriously now, Jefferson, we were making such great progressive. You need to trust me. Relax I am here to help you." Doctor Whale stated as his pulled the chair closer and started flipping through the book they were making together looking for a place to start.
His comment made Jefferson mind drift back to their first meeting. He had decided to take a short cut back to his portal through the cemetery and that is where he had first seen Victor. The Doctor had had his back to him digging up a grave, down below the earth trying to break open the coffin.
"You are dress awfully nice to be a grave robber."
Victor let out a yelp as he turn readying the shovel to attack. He stopped when he saw Jefferson. He eyed his clothes. "I could say the same for you."
"Oh I am a thief alright but I am not one for digging up graves to get what I desire."
"I am not a thief."
"Dig up a lot of bodies for the fun of it then?"
"No am a Doctor."
"A Doctor?" He stood up circling around the grave as he talked. "You don't look old enough to be a doctor."
"Well, I am not technical a doctor yet, but I am in school to be one."
"Correct me if I am wrong Doc but I thought Doctors in this world tried to save people not dig them up after they have failed."
"I didn't fail this man, but I am hoping that I can bring him back to life." He paused looking up at him. "What do you mean this world?"
"Magic can't bring back the dead in any world." He answered ignoring the question.
"I am not talking about some Magic mumbo jumbo that seems to be the fancy hobby of some elite high society circles these days. I am talking about real Science to bring back the dead, and possibly stop death all together."
"They are teaching you to bring back the dead at this school of yours?"
"No, it is a side project, one that as you can plainly see I am highly invested in." He signed. "The medical school doesn't have fresh enough cadavers for my experiments so I pay the groundskeeper to inform me when a fresh body is buried."
"So you believe you can bring back the dead?" He played with his hat. "Or possibly stop death all together? You think your Science is better than Magic and can do all that?"
"I don't think I know it."
"I think a friend of mine would be very interested in meeting you."
Just then a Guard shouted out! "Halt Thief."
"Oh no!" Victor cried, "Help me out of here we can't get caught in here."
"Relax Doc, I am here to help you."
He step back a moment as the guard approached. "What are you doing?"
"I was just about to make a business offer with my new friend here." Jefferson stated placing his hat back on his head as he reached into his pocket pulling out a small vial. "You are being quite rude interrupting our conversation."
"I am being rude? You are destroying a grave." The guard stated raising the gun at Jefferson.
"Well now I understand why you are doing this so late at night Doctor. I take most people aren't a fan of your type of Science."
"Guard." Victor stated. "I have never seen this man before in my life. I was walking along and saw him when I confronted him he hit over the head and knocked me down here…"
Jefferson used the Doctor's distraction to lean forward throwing the contents of the vial in the guards face. The guard coughed once and fell over asleep.
"What was that?" Victor asked amazed.
"Nice distraction Doctor, way to lie and confuse him."
"What was that?" Victor asked again.
"Simple sleeping powder, made with some poppy seeds from Oz." He stated like it was nothing usual.
"Oz? Where is Oz?"
"I will explain everything after you tell me more about these experiments." He flash a smile down at the Doctor as he leaned down offering him a hand to climb up.
"Jefferson I asked you where you wanted to start today?" Doctor Whale looked up from the book looking his patient over. "We are almost finished with the book. Would you like to continue on about how you met Alice?"
Alice, Jefferson thought. If I just never let her pick my pocket that day in Wonderland I never would have seen her again. But out loud he stated."Alice warned me about the Psych Ward. Well she called it the Insane Asylum, but she told me people go in and if they ever do come out they are not themselves ever again."
"I like to think a modern Psych Ward is much better than some Victorian Insane Asylum, but yes that is true. If they get released they are changed for the better Jefferson."
"I think you and I disagree on the definition of changed for the better. You know from our talks that I don't want to be just another mindless boring peasant under Regina's rule. I will die before I let that happen."
"A boring life is better than being dead."
His friends words reminded him of the very words he had told Alice when she had declared her love for him. He felt a touch on his hand and he looked down to see a ghostly hand. He followed it up taking in his dead wife's face.
"A boring life isn't worth living." She whispered.
"If you remembered Doc then you would know how we all once agreed a boring life is worst then death." He stated watching Alice nod in agreement.
"Jefferson do you want to hurt yourself?"
"Do you my love?" Alice whispered moving her hand up to his cheek. "Do you wish to end this nightmare once and for all?"
"No." He whispered to his wife's ghost. "Dear God no… I am the only one she really has. Even if she doesn't remember me I have to live for when she does."
"And we are back to Grace." Doctor Whale noted disappointment showing on his face. "I am afraid after the setback yesterday we won't be having sessions outside of this cell until I see some major improvements again." He stood up and placed the pills on the dresser next to Jefferson's bed. "Take these and get some rest and we will try talking again tomorrow morning."
Jefferson shook his head in agreement but just stared at the pills as the Doctor left the room.
"Jefferson my love, take the pills." Alice encouraged him. "The pills make things easier for you in here. The sooner you can convince Victor you are changed the sooner you can go home."
"Home?" Jefferson hissed. "That huge house on the hill is not my home."
"No it isn't but it is where you can see our daughter. To make sure she is alright. It has been a year since you were able to last see her. This place is no good for you my love. You need windows so you can once again have hope."
"Hope? You want me to have Hope?" He laughed at the idea. "Hope bring nothing but pain."
"It is the pain that lets you know you are still alive."
"What can I hope for?" he muttered still staring at the pills.
"Hope to make that house on the hill a real home someday. To hear Grace's voice bouncing off the walls, and to once again tuck her in at night." She moved behind him on the bed draping her arms over his shoulders. "Regina isn't the only one who can live a lie. You did it for a living for years, becoming whoever you had to be to get the job done. Just look at this as another job that needs to get done. Make yourself the person who can walk out of here, and then and only then will you be one step closer to getting Grace back."
Jefferson sat there a few moments thinking about what Alice had said, then he reached out and took the pills. He took a deep breath and moved back to sit against the wall.
"Well done my love." Alice smiled as she moved back towards him, laying down with her head in his lap. "Play the part and when the time is right Grace will come home."
Jefferson blinked back tears wanting to believe what Alice was telling him was true, but he was still sane enough to know her ghost wasn't really there and he was just talking to himself. But still with that knowledge as he felt her disappear he had never felt more alone.