"People in vulnerable, unstable positions, presented with somebody in authority over them, who is patient with them, who helps them, who cares about their wellbeing - most of the time it never goes past 'fuck, did I really think that, aren't I glad he doesn't know what I'm thinking right now'."
|Canon:||Stephen King's Rose Read|
|Hometown:||Marske-by-the-Sea, Yorkshire, England|
|Age:||52 or 45|
i'm the tiger's empty cage
At first glance, Nick Hardaway is a relatively personable psychiatrist in his early forties. He stands six foot, has silly blond hair, blue eyes, and a gentle British accent (Nick hails originally from Marske-by-the-Sea). He's never been married, hasn't got any children, was the only child of only children and is, generally, a man beholden only to himself.
Nick died over Memorial Day weekend in 2001. For the past seven years he's existed in one form of afterlife or the other - the nature of his death in Rose Red meant this wasn't exactly the better place many faiths talk about. He doesn't have clear memories of the intervening years between his death and the resurrection given to him by the nexus; this is for the best, although what little he does have is enough to have him wake up screaming every night since he's come back. It's probably a good thing he sleeps alone.
Due to his death and subsequent resurrection, Nick is now something like functionally immortal - he can't age, he can't grow sick, and left to his own devices he will live indefinitely, incapable of a 'natural' death...but he's no harder to kill than anyone else. For those who can read futures, Nick Hardaway doesn't have one; his life began in 1958 and as far as the multiverse is concerned, ended in 2001. It's not reality's fault he couldn't take a hint.
As of his agreement with Alya Sadova, Nick is practicing privately in NYC; many of his patients are Shadow Lords and yes, navigating the psyche of werewolves is a really fascinating way to make a living, especially when you're a psychic. While Nick does bend his code of professional ethics where he can for his rather unexpected benefactor, he is also a fairly good psychiatrist (being able to read minds helps, although it'd probably be considered inappropriate if there were rules for that sort of thing) and not all of his patients are there just to be stamped SANE and sent on their way.
He lives and works in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens), and one day will even have all the usual home furniture. Really.
i'm the mystery's final page
Nick is a self-described "mind reader", but it's a quick catch-all that doesn't really describe the full extent of what it is Nick can do; canon never really does. He does, as a matter of fact, read minds. He has some form of telekinesis (he and Annie blast through a wall; while in Rose Red he does require her help, he approaches it like he expects he should be able to do it on his own), and implies that 'mind reading' goes further than just listening to people's thoughts, into an ability to manipulate other people's minds. (When asked if he could use his powers to harm someone or knock them out of commission for a while, he confirms he can but refuses to actually do it.) His abilities also include remote viewing - basically, the ability to see something via extra-sensory perception that's out of his sight. He occasionally uses this to put visions into his beer, maybe it livens up his drinking. The guy's a psychic swiss army knife - maybe not the most powerful of psychics, but incredibly versatile - and his abilities are readily integrated into his every day life.
i'm the stranger's lonely glance Edit
Nick is basically a decent guy, although this leaves a lot of room for him to be kind of a bastard. He lacks seemingly traditional "telepath angst"; his abilities have been lifelong and he's not accustomed to living any other way, so. He likes people, generally, willing to go out of his way to do his bit for them, but he's private and largely unlikely to confide in them - about anything, at all, ever. He maintains a cheerfully benevolent distance, prompting people to chat with him and tell him about themselves, without reciprocating. He can (and shamelessly does) find things out about people without needing to ask, but he asks anyway because he's interested in how people respond.
He's a well-intentioned gent who is generally friendly and relaxed, willing to go along with the current until he doesn't like how things are going any more, but he's casually and constantly manipulative. He has active control of his telepathy, and he is listening; this tends to give him a leg up in interactions that are face to face. He's not competitive; he's strong, capable of leadership and well in control, but he doesn't feel any real need to assert this most of the time. He'll go along until he can see a better way of doing things, at which point he generally takes charge only long enough to get that done before he casually drifts back to being good-naturedly witty background furniture. In his rare moments of taking the fore, he does it with the sort of attitude that implies he's doing this, you can do whatever you like, but what you should be doing is exactly what he tells you to do.
He thinks he's funny, and...sometimes is, to be fair. He's given to layered statements, subtle or less subtle innuendo, cheerfully teasing the people around him. Protective of children and young women in particular, he responds to their being targeted by taunts by going after the source by, rather than responding with outrage or protectiveness, responding in kind. Telepathic access to other people's weak points gives him something of an advantage.
He likes people, as stated, and he matches a tendency for slightly odd intensity with cheerful, constant flirtation, but he rarely gets close to anyone - having spent more or less his entire life before his death actively avoiding genuine connections. He doesn't tell them much about himself, he keeps his powers to himself even among people in roughly the same boat, and he'd rather listen to them talk than give them anything about him. It's a lonely way to live, although Nick seems to have compensated by just really, really enjoying the casual company of others. At one point he's accused of being, basically, That Mean Guy From Highschool - it's probably accurate. He's a decent person, often even pretty nice, but he's got a knack for knowing where to put the pressure and does it with the same smile as he does everything else.
Nick's tendency to maintain his air of benevolent distance tends to mask just about everything else going on in his head; it wasn't until only minutes before his canon death that anyone else knew he was frightened, and only then because he told her (partially to make her feel better). He exhibits concern like anyone else, but for those around him and rarely for himself; his temper is difficult to rile, and when that's been accomplished it only shows briefly.