Herbert West (herbert_west) wrote,
Herbert West

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What do you want on your tombstone?

Title: Standard Morbid Details
Rating: PG
Word count: 349

“Do you ever think about it?”

“Hmm?” Herbert looked up from the delicate arteries he was threading in the Bride’s future right hand. “Think about what, Daniel?”

“Dying,” Dan said simply as he hunched over the transplanted torso. “Who’s going to take care of you when you die, where your body is going to go, what they’re going to put on your tombstone… you know,” his eyes flickered up to glance at Herbert. “Standard morbid details.”

“Pleasant,” the corners of Herbert’s mouth quirked, “I thought one came to terms with the questions of death in the first year of medical school…?”

“Well, this stuff kind of brings it back, doesn’t it?” Dan nodded to the supply of reagent. “Gives you a different perspective on what happens… afterward.”


“So,” Dan shifted his weight slightly and stretched his neck to one side. “Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Think about it.” Herbert’s fingers paused in their brusque motion.


“Yeah?” Dan grinned and clamped the carotid artery. “You figure you’re going to come back?”

“Doubtful,” Herbert’s expression soured. “Not unless the experiments begin to—“

“Oh, I see,” Dan picked up the suture he’d set aside, “It’s okay for other people to be forced back into life as mindless zombies, but for the great Herbert West…”

“That wasn’t what I said.”

“No, of course not.” Dan’s easy smile twisted sardonically. With a sigh, Herbert set down the piece he was working on.

“Honestly, Daniel. Mud-slinging? How much more grade school can you get?”

“All right, all right… fine. So what would you prefer?” Dan raised his eyebrows. “Just in case, say, the need ever arises…”

“Donation to science,” Herbert said shortly, “With cremation of the remains after dissection.”

“And on your tombstone?” Dan bent back over the Bride, holding his surgical needle delicately poised. “‘Herbert West: great scientist?’ ‘Herbert West: smarter than you are?’”

Herbert’s brow furrowed, and he stared into the laboratory behind Dan. “‘Herbert West…’” He hesitated a moment, face blank with thought, before his expression eclipsed into a tiger’s smile, eyeteeth on perfect display, “‘Don’t turn your back.’”

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