Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steven Cawley, Teddy/Chuck, Rachel Solando, Jeremiah Naehring, Mariska Swenson
Series Notes: My notes grew too voluminous for the header, so you can find them in a separate entry here.
Fandoms: Public Enemies/Shutter Island
Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings (this chapter): None.
Spoilers: For Shutter Island, some scenes were tailored by me to fit this story. Nothing in this story references the major plot twist of the book or movie. I used the same settings and characters, but in a very AU way. For Public Enemies, nothing except for the ultimate fate of John Dillinger, and that’s historical fact, anyway.
General Summary: U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are sent to Shutter Island on a unique assignment, and while there, discover shocking answers to a decades-old mystery.
Chapter Summary: The Ashecliffe doctors possess conflicting theories on how to treat homosexuality…or not treat it.
Date Of Completion: March 29, 2010
Date Of Posting: May 18, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Dennis Lehane, Paramount and Universal do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1547
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This is a story that started running through my head as soon as I left the theater after my first viewing. Like the patients on Shutter Island, I can’t escape! ;)
The entire series can be found here.
Is like a flower
Through a crack
In the sidewalk
And turn its face
Toward the sun.
Sarah Jean Adams
"Yellow Roses In My Garden"
“Anything, Marshal Aule?”
Chuck looked at Dr. Cawley. “No, sir.” He closed his book. “Dr. Solando is very confused.” He was sitting next to her cot in his usual chair. She was quiet now as she slept.
“Yes, well, that is to be expected.” Cawley gestured with his pipe. “Enjoying your book?”
Chuck nodded. “Dr. Sheehan has a fine collection. I hope he won’t mind me borrowing this.”
“No, certainly not. But if you’d like a bigger selection, we do have a library here on the third floor. Our staff and patients use it frequently.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
As they prepared for dinner that night, Teddy mentioned his encounter with Mel.
“It’s tough to believe the guy’s a crazy murderer.” Teddy knotted his yellow silk tie. “He looks like he ought to be sippin’ mint juleps on the front veranda of Tara.”
“I know. I guess we’ll have to be careful.”
“Thank goodness the severity of the storm has abated.” Cawley picked up his wineglass as he presided over dinner.
“The weather forecast says steady rain for the next few days,” said Naehring.
“Seems to fit this place.” Chuck cut a piece of roast chicken.
Cawley chuckled. “We do get sunny days here.”
“It’s a glorious time of year.”
Teddy added butter to his mashed potatoes. “Doctor, why do you think that Mel Parker and Jack Mellinger have such a dovetailing delusion?”
“How do you mean, dovetailing?”
“Well, Mel Parker thinks he’s Melvin Purvis, No. 1 G-Man, and Jack Mellinger thinks he’s John Dillinger, Public Enemy No. 1.”
“Very. Why would the two of them dovetail so neatly?”
Cawley and Naehring exchanged glances. Cawley cleared his throat.
“Melchior Parker and Jack Mellinger are homosexual lovers.”
Teddy’s eyebrow rose and Chuck paused in cutting his chicken.
“They are obsessed with each other. My predecessor, Dr. Max Clausen, tried to cure them of their inclinations. It didn’t work.”
“They’re still in love with each other?” Chuck asked.
Cawley nodded. “Our therapy with them focuses on their delusions and violent tendencies, not their sexual proclivities.”
Teddy frowned. “They’re still violent?”
“Only in escape attempts, though there have been occasional outbursts triggered by their psychoses. Par-for-the-course.”
“You aren’t trying to cure them of their homosexuality?” asked Teddy, surprised. He knew the psychiatric profession’s opinion of that state of being.
Naehring said dryly, “He prefers to concentrate on other mental diseases.”
“In other words, I don’t treat homosexuality, correct?” Cawley’s voice was just as dry.
Chuck’s mouth quirked. This had the sound of an old argument.
“Well, you do not, Steven.”
“I simply don’t see wasting time and resources in trying to change sexual inclinations. I have yet to see a case that was successful.”
“But that does not mean you should not try.” Naehring sipped his wine.
“Resources are limited, Jeremiah. We must concentrate on what might be fixable.”
“Homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder. We should treat illness.”
“Homosexuality is incurable.”
“So they say.”
“It has a low rate of cure?” Chuck asked Cawley.
“Very low. Those who claim to have performed a cure find that their patients always backslide.”
“Always?” Teddy asked.
“That is not so.” Naehring shook his head.
“The rate of cure is zero.”
“You know there have been successful cases.”
“The less-than-one percent were men who managed to remain celibate. Every other reported case has always backslid.”
“Why is that, Doctor?” asked Chuck.
“Homosexuality is inborn. Theories abound that the condition is due to nurturing factors, such as an overbearing mother and absent or passive father, but that occurs in less than fifty percent of those studied. I have seen those with inverted desires come from every background imaginable.”
“Most come from broken homes and impoverished backgrounds,” Naehring insisted.
“Jeremiah, stop cooking the books. Most case studies fit that profile because they come from those incarcerated for sodomy, or those seeking psychiatric treatment. It skews the data.”
“Bah! Admit it, Steven, you have a soft spot for these inverts. Especially the gangster and G-Man.”
Amused, Chuck took a sip of ginger ale. He sensed Teddy’s amusement as well.
“Well, Jeremiah, you have me there.” Cawley smiled at his guests. “Do you find the chicken to your liking, gentlemen? Mrs. Swenson has outdone herself.”
“Very much so.” Chuck took another bite. “What are the other theories?”
“That inversion is wired into the brain.”
“And the treatment is…?”
“Therapy, usually Freudian, but some advocate shock therapy, ice immersion, and other techniques.”
Chuck shivered slightly. He didn’t like the sound of that.
“There are many ways to treat the pathology,” Naehring insisted.
“Should we do so just because there are theories out there? Mel and Jack have far worse psychoses than being in love with each other.”
“Being in lust with each other. There is a difference.”
“So two men can’t love each other?” Chuck asked.
Naehring chuckled. “Of course not. Male-to-male romantic feelings are mere impersonations of the real thing. They mimic genuine feelings but it’s all as delusional as Parker and Mellinger’s cops-and-robbers routine.”
Chuck frowned. “So no matter how devoted two men are to each other, they can never love each other?”
“Not romantically.” Naehring sipped his wine. “Of course a father can love his son, a brother a brother, and so on, but the desire to want and love another man like a wife is an inversion of normal human behavior.”
“Doctor, I knew soldiers in the Army who were inverts. They were also some of the finest men I’ve ever served with.”
“Inverts are good at fooling people, Marshal. They have to hide their true natures.”
The softly-played music of Mahler mingled with the steady patter of rain. Chuck turned his glass around as he considered his next words carefully.
“I would expect homosexuals to hide their true natures, Doctor, in a society that vilifies and persecutes them.”
“Yes. Either they are sentenced to prison if caught in the act, or to places like this to be ‘cured’. They’re beaten up on the streets, harassed by the police, thrown out by their families, some while still just teenagers, and kicked out of jobs if discovered. The Army gives them dishonorable discharges, which means they’re guaranteed to be pushed to the fringes of society, as no employer will have them with such a discharge.”
“You seem quite impassioned about the inverts, Marshal.”
“I don’t like injustice in any form.”
“Or perhaps you have a personal stake?”
Chuck carefully clamped down on his emotions, smiling slightly.
“I don’t need to be a homosexual to consider their treatment by society to be unfair, any more than I have to be a Negro to disapprove of Jim Crow laws in the South or to be a Jew to know that the Holocaust was an abomination.”
Silence fell over the table, the only sounds continuing to be that of the rain and Mahler.
After five minutes, Naehring’s brown eyes glinted. “And what do you think, Marshal Daniels?”
Teddy took a swallow of his drink. “My partner’s pretty eloquent, Doctor. He speaks for me, too.”
“Ah.” Naehring set his glass down. “Would your superiors be approving of such attitudes?”
“Jeremiah,” Cawley admonished.
“It’s all right, Doc.” Teddy picked up his fork. “As long as we do our jobs, our superiors don’t care about our social views.”
“Ah, Mariska! Have you brought us your exquisite lemon meringue pie?” asked Cawley, the kitchen worker smiling as she carried in a tray with four desserts.
“Absolutely, Dr. Cawley.” She beamed as she set a plate in front of each man, her graying blond hair set in a neat bun under her white cap. She was about five-foot-one and a little plump, but her cheerful demeanor brightened the room considerably.
“Your cooking is superb, Mariska,” said Chuck.
“Thank you, Marshal!”
“I second that,” said Teddy with a smile.
“Feel free to stop by the kitchen anytime.”
After dessert, the Marshals excused themselves and walked leisurely back to their room. Teddy lit a cigarette.
Chuck shrugged. “Naehring sets my teeth on edge.” He smiled as he accepted a light, puffing on his own cigarette. “Thanks for backing me up in there.”
“Any way I can jab at the good doctor, I’ll take.”
“Do you think he was a Nazi?”
Teddy blew out a ring of smoke. “Maybe. Our Government wasn’t too choosy about what brains to drain from the Fatherland. The Russkies took some and we took the others. Werner Von Braun is working in our rocket program, and he helped design the V-2 rockets that rained down on London.” Teddy shrugged. “If some Kraut can help us in the Cold War, Uncle Sam doesn’t much care if they saluted, ‘Heil Hitler!’ or not.”
Unfortunately, Chuck had to agree. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Anyway, thanks for the back-up, even if it was only to aggravate Naehring.”
“It wasn’t.” When Chuck met Teddy’s blue eyes, the older man smiled slightly.
Feeling relaxed, Chuck and Teddy walked shoulder-to-shoulder down the hall.