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 When Things Go Bad: A Compilation, Various Dates | @Bruce Vaughan
Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jun 29 2018, 06:52 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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Tier 3
807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
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“Mr. Marshall.” Bruce’s ingrained politeness, professional ethics, and empathy wouldn’t allow him to raise his voice or pile on a grieving and panicked father. Still, he spoke firmly, subtly commanding the room to draw attention to himself and to raise the matter of worst fears and possibilities not yet articulated openly. He held the other man’s gaze, leaned forward, and clasped his hands in his lap.

"Understand, I'm not naive. My degree and my formal training are in counseling, as a therapist. My current reputation as more of a carnival barker notwithstanding.” Better that than a pimp or a smut-peddler. “Protecting confidentiality and privacy are ingrained. I have to weigh those with the possibility that he no longer has the ability to waive those.”

Bruce Vaughan was no shrinking violet, too delicate to address the elephant in the room. Nor was he a starry-eyed idealist, high on the power of positive thinking to the exclusion of practical considerations. He knew what Reese was capable of doing when he reached a low point, that place of desperation. He had been the one to discover the younger man shortly after the attempt that abruptly ended his stay at Shangri-La those years ago.

No, he understood the stakes. Right now, they were playing the percentages. If Reese was dead, then keeping his secrets no longer mattered. However, if he had disappeared, gone on a bender that went awry or taken up seclusion (as Bruce had done after the news broke), then to have that last semblance of secrecy and space for himself – when he already lived in a home with no locks and his childhood bedroom had no doorknob might push him further to that dark place. Bruce could only imagine what a mess his life had become these past few weeks.

The betrayal still wounded him. Thinking about Reese sent his mind back to the news feed and the array of text messages, each more offensive and hurtful than the last, flashing across every screen in Shangri-La. Allowed him to relive his surprise, followed quickly by the first two stages of grief – denial and anger – before he called the staff meeting and retreated to a safe place for stages three and four. By the time he returned for his press conference, he had reached acceptance (that this was his friend, that a man he had cared for so deeply and had seen at least twice each week for months, whom he had beaten and comforted and encouraged was not only a genophobe but a member of TU), and after reassuring the city that they were no longer in contact, had pushed Reese from his mind for his own ability to cope.

Still, he felt no murderous rage towards the man. He had interceded to save his life because he didn’t want him to die. Here, now, he hoped that Reese had not taken his life, even if he had no desire to speak with a known genophobe again. The delicate nature of Reese’s situation made each decision important, none to be rushed because of panic.

“If they still apply, and until we know they don’t, I have to assume they do, I can’t take that from him.” Even now.

Julian thanked him then, as Reese’s father. Presumably for their friendship and the time spent together and for the emotional intimacy that had once passed so easily between them –the smiles, the hugs, sharing secrets, or venting about their days. For the six-and-a-half month stretch from mid-September through early May.

Bruce lifted his hand and covered his mouth with the palm of his hand to mask his expression, the panoply of emotions that he couldn’t contain. The pain of the memories of their laughter and their affection, and then the awkward kiss during aftercare, before even those echoes were consumed by the fire of text messages, and his expression sobered once more.

Calm now, he lowered his hand and rested it, palm upward, on his knee. “It had been mutual.” Their affection and investment in one another’s lives. “Not charity or fantasy or a special project.”

None of the services that Shangri-La offered had applied to their friendship, the one that had blossomed off the grounds.

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 2 2018, 10:05 PM
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



Julian nodded. They had taken Reese to Shangri-La for a reason. Even if his stay had ended poorly; even if Bruce had been unable to help then; even if a thousands things, Julian knew when he was out done by someone else. He was no genius with endless insight into either mankind nor science. He was a businessman, trained in business. A jack of a single trade and a master of one.

So he respected Bruce's opinion on the matter. He understood that Reese's journal was meant to be personal and reading it would be a breach of trust. They might learn things that neither of them wanted to know about Reese and so he remained quiet.

Julian watched the other man's expression shift with a myriad of emotions. He understood better than anyone would have given him credit for. He had raised his son better than being part of TU at all, not to mention the extremists. He'd taught him to be kind; thoughtful; responsible. He'd had expectations, and they had been shattered.

So he understood and didn't try to drudge up old feelings, merely he felt that it was important for closure for the other man -- though Julian wasn't sure Bruce needed closure. His bed was being kept warm if the state of him answering the door and the awkward pause he had had to have outside implied anything.

"He did adore you." Julian said, and his voice choked. He cleared his throat and let out a cough. An emotional man or not, there was little that could keep a man's voice steady when he was speaking about his youngest son in the past tense; and not because the event was in the past. "We hadn't seen him smile in years; I heard him laugh on Easter."

The man's eyes were the barest amounts of glassy; he sniffled, withdrew a handkerchief and dabbed his nose. As he tucked it away, he lost all sense of decorum, flinging the elephant onto center stage. "I'll call you when we find the body, unless you'd like to help." There was no pressure or expectation in his voice, merely an opening -- from one man who had lost his son somewhere in a domed city, to a man who had (Julian presumed) lost the other half of his heart.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 5 2018, 09:24 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce inhaled sharply when the older man invoked the word adore to describe Reese’s opinions of him. His thoughts drifted again, briefly, to their last play session at the end of the previous month, before the messages had become public and their friendship had unraveled. To the memory of Reese, vulnerable and shivering, face flush and hair damp with sweat, giving himself over entirely to his care. Of Reese a few hours later, perched in his lap, as he craned his neck and brushed their lips together before Bruce could stop him.

He forcibly redirected his thoughts, reaching instead for the Easter they spent together in the company of every extended Marshall under the dome. From the moment Reese had greeted him at the door in his garish lilac suit, he had been in better spirits than expected - eager to see Bruce but nervous that something might go awry. Even his sister-in-law’s cruelty and baiting had only served to deflate him momentarily, while Bruce remained by his side, and through his presence alone, demanded the attention of tour guide and host. So much more stable than in his childhood home than when he had joined the Vaughans in Evesdown.

Which prompted Bruce to wonder whether the presence of so many other Evolutes had set the younger man on edge. That he considered Bruce special in some way, not like those other devos. That being confronted as a minority had frightened him, and seeing Bruce in this context with his family – one of many, a man of Evesdown – had obliterated the mental image he had formed until they returned safely to any one of the other areas where Typics maintained their social and political power.

Yet there had been other moments. Affectionate thumps to his back, holding hands while they ate, and Reese grinning with pride at Bruce’s unique and often off-color sense of humor, the quips rather than crasser jokes others told.

He took several deep breaths to clear away the thoughts, offering no words or assurances in that time. When finally he could focus on the present again, his gaze settled on the older man. “I don’t wish ill-will on your son even now.”

He had no desire to share another conversation with Reese; their friendship was over, but as with Tuesday, he couldn’t sit there and allow him to lose his life. That was the outsized sense of responsibility. Bruce Vaughan, with his powers and his assets and his connections could do so much; surely he could add this or that to his plate rather than leave it to chance. He then lapsed into silence as he considered the assorted obligations – as a therapist, as a former friend and his confidant, as an ethical person.

“I need to talk to my guest.” It was unkind to leave someone behind with no explanation. “But I might be able to do an independent sweep of his apartment.”

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 5 2018, 08:56 PM
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39 YEARS
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



May 30; 12:03 AM


Julian had gone with him and when they had arrived, he had given him the key to the house, despite his assumption that Bruce had one. He didn't want to assume and put the other man in a stick situation.

The door opened to Reese's apartment, and it looked the way it always looked. There was nothing about it that said that he had spiraled, or perhaps there was everything, tiny additions that said something was terribly off, even if Reese was good at hiding it day to day.

People on the street didn't ask him if something was wrong. People on the street assumed he was just like this. People who came into his home, strangers, didn't look at his wall and assume that his entire family was dead and that the pictures were a memorial to remind him daily of what he had done.

So the changes around the room were little, if significant. The pictures where all in place where they always were. None of them had been moved or relocated; nothing had been added. A frame that had never been there before was face down on the table beneath the arrangement.

The holo screen was off with a disk half sticking out of the player.

A new photo album was tucked in between the thick ones that had always been on the shelves.

Perhaps, however, that wasn't the most eerie thing. The deeper Bruce went into the house, the more strong the smell was. It wasn't a putrid smell -- not the strong scent of blood or the nauseating stink of decay, but instead a pleasant smell. A cologne that Bruce wore with relative frequency. Reese had asked once what it was called, in after care, with his nose pushed against Bruce's skin.

He'd told Bruce when they'd first met nearly six years prior that his friendship that he remembered everything. He hadn't called it a photographic memory. He hadn't put a name to it, but he said everything. It had never been an exaggeration.

The closet door was open in the bedroom -- Julian had said he'd looked around. And a box laid on Reese's bed, open and rummaged through, with dozens of objects that meant nothing to anyone but the man who was missing and the man who had walked into the room. A ticket stub from a movie they'd seen together. A receipt from the first time Reese had bought dinner. The phone that he had bought him. The case was scratched. Every trinket that Bruce had ever given him -- things that had once been set around him apartment as reminders that he could move forward that now were meant to be tucked safely away out of sight -- to painful to look at.

@Bruce Vaughan

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 5 2018, 10:51 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce had first excused himself to speak with Marigold, explaining that there was an emergency unrelated to work, interspersed with apologies for cutting their evening short. He promised to return if she desired to wait for him, while assuring her that he had no expectations. Afterward, he had donned his shoes, grabbed his keys, wallet, and phone, and ducked out the door with the silent hope that they would avoid the press tonight.

Luck granted them that. It was the only favor allocated that night.

Bruce rode in the back of Julian’s town car, deep in thought as he attempted to assuage his discomfort. He had never cared for being driven; it had been one of the aspects of his youth at Nocht that he had disliked the most, when his girlfriends or boyfriends had their family’s driver for the night to chaperone. He didn’t mind riding shotgun – it was not a matter of control as other aspects of his life might be – but, chalk it up to life in Evesdown. Why hire someone to do something you could do yourself? He might not drive often, but when he did, he did so himself.

On the other hand, perhaps it was best that they took Julian’s car tonight. His own vehicle, while sensible, was recognizable by license plate, as well as the gold paint job and the big bumper sticker for Shangri-La. There was no reason to further attract unwanted attention, not with the errand ahead of them.

His demeanor changed as they trudged up the stairs to Reese’s apartment, on firmer ground that he was no longer in the rear of the Marshalls’ town car. He recovered himself by the time they reached the door, and he slid the key into the lock with a sense of dread held in check by his professional mask. Upon crossing the threshold and flicking on the lights, he carefully scanned the living room, eyes searching not for changes in the décor but for the more obvious signs.

A corpse. A noose dangling from the ceiling or a chair upturned in the center of the room. A pool of blood seeping from another room and staining the carpet. Water sloshed about. Scorch marks and ashes. A note. Shards of broken glass. He sniffed the air for gasoline or decay, relieved by the absence of both.

Absurd, perhaps, given Julian’s assurance that he had come by the apartment already and still considered Reese missing even though he expected not to find him alive. Training and his desire to reassure himself.

Only then did he notice details.

The apartment was amiss. Reese had always taken great care with his personal space, once apologizing for a mess because he had left a single beer can out on the table. The contents of the holo player mattered less than the fact that it was open and a disk was askew.

He walked past it on a beeline for the bedroom. As he walked, a familiar aroma filled his nostrils. Eucalyptus. Focus. His mister.

Reese… Bruce exhaled and shook his head to clear it. What had the other man done?

It was a mess, but again, he recalled that Julian had said that he had searched for the diary only to leave empty-handed. The mental manipulator considered Reese’s hiding spot, but paused when he spied a handkerchief unfurled in the center of the bed. It was nothing –it should have been nothing – but Bruce recognized the colors and logo without examining it further. How could he not? It was one of his.

He had had custom green ones printed for St. Patrick’s Day goodie bags and had given Reese one the day after before their play session.

Bruce approached the bed and some of the other items came into view. There were the green shamrock beads, and the rainbow temporary tattoo. And beside it…

His cell phone, the one they had purchased together.

Bruce frowned. Surely, Reese wasn’t walking around without a phone. Sentimental as he could be, his father had referenced calling him which meant-

Which meant that he’d purchased another new phone entirely so he could box this up. Just as he’d done with his children’s t-ball cards and the other myriad items from his life with his wife.

Moses…

In the absence of prolonged contact, Reese had boxed him up in another, small mausoleum.

His expression faltered.

Tossing a glance over his shoulder, he confirmed that, for the moment, he was alone, and took advantage of that to raid Reese’s hiding place. Reaching behind the headboard brought victory, as he found the journal easily. This way, the hiding place was preserved for future use, presuming Reese maintained the ability to do so.

Then, without any of the ethical qualms he had displayed in his own living room (and why would he? His objection had referred specifically to the younger man losing his hiding spots and not to the contents of the journal per se), he flipped to the last page and worked backwards until he found Reese’s neat handwriting.

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 6 2018, 12:01 AM
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39 YEARS
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



The journal was thick and leather bound. Like the rest of his room, it smelled strongly of mister. It tied shut with a wrap that looked like he had bought it out of the late eighteenth century, but the pages were new and the leather was fake. It started on the first page, just a few days after Bruce suggested that he start keeping a journal.

His hand writing was neat, just like the rest of Reese. Put together on the outside; a shell to try to distract the rest of the world from noticing, so that he could punish himself until he couldn't function.

The back of the journal's inner, back binding had two photographs taped into it. One of his family -- Bryn, Annie, Atty, Amy, and a newly born Wendy all tucked together on a love seat. And beneath it, a photograph that someone had taken during Easter. Reese, his brother and his wife, his parents, and Bruce with their fingers intertwined with in view matching in purple.

The journal was almost half-way filled. Its final entry was the night he had vanished and was comprised of six words.

May 27:
Still no word. I'm going to go and see him again in person. I think if we can just talk it out. I'm sure he'll be home tonight. If I can't fix this, it's okay. I've still got my pills and the river. I wish I wasn't such a fucking coward. I could put a bullet in my temple.

May 26:
No word. I'm going to call him again. Come clean. We're okay. Everything's fine.

May 25:
I didn't kill myself. Bruce talked to me last night. I think we're okay. He said I shouldn't drink. Talked to my dad, he said not to get my hopes up. But I think we're okay. I left a message for him. He'll call tomorrow. We're going to be okay. I'm so happy. We're okay. I still have Bruce.

May 24:
I've been thinking a lot lately. I thought I could get better. But I don't think so. I don't think I can. Wendy's going to be Theo's. That's okay. He'll do what's best for her. She'll grow up to be a jackass who knows how to do her hair and wear dresses, heels, and power ties. She'll make a hell of a lawyer or doctor or some bullshit. Theo's kid's dumb. Maybe she'll take over the business. Maybe she'll start her own. I won't see it. She's like her mom. She'll do great.

I'm going to go to that Irish pub tonight. I overheard someone saying there was an ELL meeting there. I'm going to find them; then I'm going to piss them the fuck off. I don't know if I've got the guts to really take sleeping pills and jump into the river, so I'm hoping someone else can do the job. Buy him a good lawyer if it goes to court. He'll have a good case for self defense. I'll make sure.


@Bruce Vaughan
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 9 2018, 03:40 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce had never inquired of his friend any information about the journal beyond rendering advice that he should keep one as a precaution, if he worried that Wendy might develop a mental power similar to Bruce’s own. Reese had mentioned off-hand during one of their get-togethers that he had bought one and thought it was a good idea. Holding it now in his hands, the familiar aroma of Bruce’s mister wafting from the pages, he could envision the younger man spraying it and resting his head in the book for comfort.

When had he become such an obsession?

When had they managed to break the cardinal rule of Shangri-La, what Bruce warned his surrogates about, why he took such careful precautions about non-contracted suggestions, with word choice, with never upselling during decompression?

From the corner of his eye, he spied the white undershirt that he had bought for his friend for their most recent play session. The one that would allow him to feel every strike of the lash across his back or the crop in the center of his chest. The one that he had worn for his training session before everything had fallen apart. Briefly, he wondered whether Reese had even washed it, or if he had sprayed mister on it as well to hide the odor of sweat while imagining borrowed warmth from happier times in April.

He would contemplate that later in the privacy of his own thoughts in his home.

For now, he turned his attention to the words on the page, beginning with the last entry. It contained a troublesome reference to pills, the river, and a gun (held only in check by fear) if they did not speak to each other. Bruce had not been home that night; he had gone out to a club as was his usual pattern; they had never seen one another, spoken to one another, or even passed each other in public.

He read back before that, to Saturday’s cryptic entry, where he referenced confessing and calling – Bruce had never received the message. Then to Friday where he mentioned not killing himself and speaking to him and then to his father. Reese’s hope, so palpable, that they would resume their friendship because Bruce hadn’t allowed him to die, because he had spoken a handful of words without looking him in the face.

Moses…

Of course, the implication was that he had planned, and so Bruce read back one more entry where Reese laid everything bare. His plans to die of suicide by murder.

An ELL meeting at the Horseshoe the other day.

For all of his caution, for as much time as he spent in his head, despite the ethical code that Bruce had created and which he adhered in every aspect of his life, despite the warning to Reese about carding and the DEA, occasionally he forgot how terrifying his powers might be to a third-party with no prior experience and no social decorum to keep him in check. He was a businessman. A posh, well-dressed middle-aged man with a dancer’s body and far less stamina than he’d possessed in his youth. A former therapist with too much money and a penchant for making others happy. An Evolute with political aspirations for the common cause who had never hurt a fly without a written contract to do so and followed by copious aftercare.

And someone who possessed enough of a reputation and the power to back it up that an ELL member had stepped back after calling him a tangerine and in the middle of taking a life, for fear of testing him further.

He would process the implications later.

Again, a reference to pills and the river. Twice in so many days. They had to treat that seriously as a possibility. Shutting the cover, gently, he tucked the book into his pocket and spun around towards the door. “Mr. Marshall?” They were not on a first-name basis. “We need to go to the river.”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 11 2018, 07:38 PM
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



Julian waited outside of his son's apartment. In moments like this, he simultaneously thanked his stars that he wasn't a man who smoked when he was nervous, and was disappointed he wasn't for it would have given him something to do while Bruce explored his son's apartment.

Now that they were back, and after sitting in the back seat with Bruce on the way over, he had placed the smell that lingered in his son's apartment.

Bruce Vaughan.

The certainty of his son's demise had almost entirely solidified even before Bruce had stepped out. It was clear enough that, despite helping, Bruce was done with their relationship -- whether or not Reese wanted it to be done. Bruce had moved on in every way, so far as Julian could tell (a man who had never understood nor had the displeasure of deep betrayal followed by rebound dating and meaningless sexual encounters.) Reese had fallen into depressions because of heartbreak since his teenage years; he had never been good at climbing out.

He turned when he heard his name, and didn't correct Bruce. They were not going to be family, there was no reason to make the push towards familiarity with a man whose tie to him would soon be heart-wrenching.

He had opened his mouth to ask the question but Bruce answered it before it was stated. His eyes closed; he took in a breath, then he let it out.

Julian's search refocused at the river. On the way, Julian made over a dozen calls to people who cared about Reese (that Reese apparently had written off in a wave of self-loathing). A dozen calls, most of which Julian referred to with plural pronouns. He delegated the entire river from Haven to Nautas, following Bruce's advice as to where he thought was the most likely and worthy of searching.

May 30; 3:17 AM


It was well into the early hours of the morning when Simon and Peter dragged Reese out of the water. They called Julian after they called the ambulance. Julian was, perhaps, just as steady as Reese wasn't, and he looked, unshaking, down at his son -- drenched, unconscious, pale, and chilled with the bracelet Bruce had given him for his birthday still tied tight around his wrist.

He hadn't been wearing it at the bar the last time they had seen each other.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 11 2018, 07:58 PM
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45 YEARS
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807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


When last they had spent quality time together, Reese had betrayed himself and enjoyed something in Bruce’s presence, born not from power exchange, professional sports, ancient music, or a grill. The other man had submerged himself in the bathtub and spent all eleven minutes – his initial ten plus the bonus - swimming, laughing, smiling as though the past seven years had never occurred.

“I like water” he had said. In light of that, perhaps the river was the only logical place to search even without his thoughts laid bare in ink on parchment.

During the drive, Bruce had divested his jacket and rolled up his sleeves and trouser legs in anticipation of combing a riverbank. There was no time to change into more appropriate attire, as every moment wasted could be the difference between life and death. When they arrived at the water’s edge, Bruce spilled from the town car with a sober expression and his shoulders straight with determination. He had experience here, from his days at the rehabilitation center. Occasionally patients relapsed, or they made bad decisions, and the staff were called for desperate searching under the cover of darkness as they raced to prevent tragedy.

That it was Reese lent additional urgency, since none of this fell under his job duties as the front man for Shangri-La.

Hours passed with no results, until Julian received a call from Simon. Bruce and the Marshall Patriarch rushed to the location given, arriving just before the ambulance to find Reese pale as moonlight and umoving lying supine on the ground where the twins had dragged him. Bruce stepped forward without invitation, crouched beside him, checked his pulse, and took a deep, relieved breath.

Thready and weak, but alive.

The bracelet didn’t escape his notice, but he compartmentalized it, unwilling to focus on that surrounded by Reese’s family members and now the paramedics.

They took their turn checking Reese’s vitals before removing the water from his lungs, attaching him to an oxygen tank, wrapping him in a thermal blanket to increase his core temperature, and strapping him to a gurney. When they were ready to move out and invited Julian to ride along, Bruce stepped forward and announced that he would come too.

He expected no objection and would entertain no argument.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 11 2018, 08:50 PM
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39 YEARS
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



Simon and Peter were dressed far too nicely for the amount of mud that was on them by the time that Julian and Bruce appeared. What looked like cashmere sweaters, and leather shoes were no longer what they had once been. Perhaps it was a testament to what the Marshalls were inside that neither Simon nor Peter so much as looked down at their clothing, wiped at the grime on their arms, or complained about how many showers they would need to take when the returned home.

Reese was their only concern -- even if money had been an object.

Julian hadn't expected Bruce to stay more than the first thirty minutes, but he didn't object to an extra set of ears, eyes, and hands. It surprised him further when the call came and Bruce accompanied him to the site. And then Bruce was getting into the ambulance with him and Julian felt a question bubbling beneath the surface.

He wasn't exactly sure how to phrase it. He considered asking if Bruce was still Reese's friend, and decided that in this moment, it didn't matter. It was better to have more people than none at all. Reese had such hope that he would fix his relationship with Bruce, and yet, here they were. His son's ragged body, scratched and bruised, dirty and cold, barely holding onto life the evidence made manifest of how deeply the other man in the ambulance affected his son.

Julian attempted asking questions, but the EMTs were primarily concerned with keeping Reese alive as the ambulance shot down the street. And then Reese's eyes opened, groggy, confused, mouth covered to help him breathe, lungs too scratchy to produce words. His gaze fumbled around for a familiar face.

His eyes's met Bruce's for a moment. Instead of excited or happy, he looked confused and his finger's shifted to try to reach for his friend.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 11 2018, 09:50 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


A stereotype existed in the mental health profession about a morbid sense of humor, similar to that shared by doctors and nursing staff but not as grim as law enforcement or morticians. Bruce’s humor ran cheerier and a touch bawdier, always stated elegantly as a means of getting away with it. Yet, his thoughts traversed similar roads, stone cold serious. The familiarity struck him as he sat in the back of the vehicle beside Reese’s still-pale and unconscious body. He had done this before.

The two of them had done this before, years ago, the night that Reese had left his care for a 72-hour mandatory hold at Gallen. Then, Reese had been pale from blood loss, his wrists bandaged and seeped crimson as his cheeks lost color and he lost consciousness. He had survived because Bruce had found him so quickly after the attempt. Now, it had been water in his lungs. He was lucky they had found him at all, but survival at this juncture…

They were lucky they had found him at all. Reese had once teased him about his linguistic choices, saying “fortuitous” to describe their previous compatibility. Bruce had made a remark about expectations and stereotypes. Here, now, lucky was all that he could think of – this base good fortune that had allowed Pete and Simon to find their cousin before he had lost brain function and his heart had gone still.

As in the Horseshoe on Tuesday night, when he had stepped in (and unwittingly thwarted Reese’s last attempt) to save his life, he didn’t want the younger man to die. They could never resume their friendship, but he shouldn’t die. That set Bruce aside from the general philosophy of the ELL that he was expected to denounce at every public appearance and in every speaking engagement. A life was a life, no matter how bigoted.

The younger man’s eyes opened, drawing Bruce’s attention, and then Reese lifted his hand.

The mental manipulator had been in this position many times before, offering comfort to someone who sought it. When he touched Reese for only a few seconds, he did so not as a promise of something in the future, but as reassurance that he was alive and not alone. That was all.

At so critical a stage, they each had their role to play, just as he did at Shangri-La.

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jul 12 2018, 07:30 PM
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Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Online



The touch, physical and real, made Reese even more confused. His head was spinning and he let out a whine. This was not the satisfied whine that came from a flogger coming down just right across his spine; it was scared and weak. A whine of realization that his world had fallen apart and that it was not fixed.

Bruce had touched him and then he had pulled away.

Like a stranger comforting a stranger.

The EMT moved between them and Bruce wouldn't be able to see the tears forming in Reese's eyes; the overwhelming swath of emotions that strangled him when it became evident that nothing had changed.

The ambulance ground to a halt and the doors were opening.

"39 year old male. Temperature 32. Pulled out of the river. Attempted suicide." The EMT took one of the doctor's by the arm and lowered his voice. "It's Reese Marshall."

For once, the name elicited the response that Reese had imagined it created every day since the accident. A pause; a streak of anxiety; a flash of hatred. It was all subdued as Julian stepped off of the ambulance to follow his son as he was rushed through the doors, Bruce entirely forgotten.

@Bruce Vaughan
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Jul 13 2018, 09:05 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
807 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


When the EMT settled by Reese’s bedside, Bruce put forth no fuss. He had come along for two reasons, neither of which were impacted by the EMT’s presence, and surely which did not give grounds to object if he was inclined. The first was to reassure himself that Reese remained alive, and the second was to provide Reese with some incentive to do so.

While the state of the younger man’s apartment and the private thoughts recorded in his journal did not create an obligation, Bruce could see that his presence did a world of good because Reese had entwined their friendship beyond all rational measure and could not take no or stonewalling for an answer. He was a genophobe, and as soon as he was stable, Bruce intended to leave, but he would display the better part of valor and assist until then.

They reached the hospital, and, as the crash team descended upon the ambulance, Bruce became invisible for the first time in longer than he could remember. So used to the hypervisbility of his campaign, his reputation, his identity, it was strange; yet he folded himself out of the way as Julian walked beside the gurney and Reese was led into the ER. He overheard the whispered warning about Reese’s identity, already imagining the procedures that would follow.

The younger man was no stranger to suicide watch at Gallen, and his name and face had connotations far beyond the reach of his surname and family wealth.

Eventually, he settled in the waiting area, on hand if someone needed him but out of the way otherwise. In between the endless waiting for news, he bought a cup of coffee from the machine and talked to the shift nurse. He knew everyone in this hospital because of his mother’s position dating back fifty years. Eventually, Reese was transferred to the ICU with a psych hold as mandatory, and Bruce spoke to Julian briefly before leaving for the SkyRail and the trip to his home.

Dawn’s light streaked the sky when he boarded the train. Marigold was nowhere to be found when he walked through the door.

Not that Bruce could blame her.

((OOC: That is a wrap.))
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