I had a long talk with Nathan today.
Okay, I had several long talks, with Nathan, with Mario and Case, and Mom and Dad Walker and Trina and Nick and with Father Mike at St. Matthews.
They're giving me time, letting me set the terms on what is done and when. What I need, what anyone needs when control is taken from them be it physically, emotionally or in my case mentally… what they need is to be able to call the shots. It's what I need.
The boys would have been up in arms telling me what I had to do, when I needed to do it, Case asks me 'what do you want to do?' and I love him for it. They all do, they all wait for me to make the decisions about what I need, but I can also see what it's doing to them.
Case feels like he let me down, Jonathan feels like he's let Case down. Mario's angry not only about what was done to me, but why and the fact that they were doing it not because of something I'd done, but because of my brothers.
Mom and Dad hate to see anything done to 'their little girl' and Trina's treated enough victims of assault to know what I don't need and to let me vent. Yeah, I've been through the ringer and I'm worried about what it's doing to my friends… Trina's the only one I'm really free with and I'm worried that I'm abusing that gift.
Then there's Nathan. I can tell he hates what was done to me, but it goes further than that. I'm not sure I'm the right one to talk to but he's going to need to talk to someone. I've seen the gears turning in his head as he figures it all out, and I can see he doesn't like where it's leading.
He once told me that Renraku was training him as a security mage-is this what he's afraid they wanted him for? I'm going to have to have a talk with that boy… man. He's grown up a lot in the five years since I met him and been through so much, but in many ways, he's still innocent.
I wanted to go to work today… but Case said I wasn't ready-then recanted. He said he wasn't ready for me to go back to work, not just yet anyway.
It didn't help that he had to go in and Jonathan went with him.
I was left under the watchful eyes of Nick, Nathan, Trina and Mom Walker. Bri was more than willing to stay home with me, and I think she's afraid that I'll leave for an unknown period of time to figure it all out… again.
Sometimes it scares me how much she remembers.
I promised her I'd be here when she got home, a promise that was echoed by her big brother who'd just gotten home for Spring Break. He assured the Terror that I wasn't going anywhere and he had two seasons worth of Saturday Cartoons recorded to seal the deal. Only then would she allow Uncle Nathan to take her to school.
Ethan and I had a lot of long talks after his mom died and it feels strange to have all that understanding and wisdom turned back on me now. I finally shook my head and asked him when he got to be so wise.
He told me blames it on his evil step-mom.
He's getting to be more and more like his dad, but he's got his mom's nose for journalism. I could already see the gears turning when he suggested the headlines of "The High Cost of Justice" and my favorite "Laws Need Not Apply."
I still feel a bit… strung out from 'the ordeal'. Yep, I'm already separating it with quotes. Just another coping mechanism brought to you by Jess Miller.
So… I thought I'd gotten rid of all my revelers-all the skeletons and nightmares carefully classified and tucked away in their safe little niches. But like the uninvited guests they where… they seem to have left some embarrassing things lying around to remind me of their party.
Nothing like watching prerecorded trid and having a flashback on something that happened more than three years ago and finding out you hadn't dealt with it nearly as well as you thought you had. Even worse is when such an episode occurs with your 'Evil step-son' watching, at least Bri wasn't there to see it.
One minute I was laughing along with Ethan, the next I was curled up on the floor and he was calling Nathan.
Right now, when something like this happens we try and get Nathan or Mario to help put me back in the driver's seat. It isn't always pretty but it gets my mind trained to respond instead of freeze or worse fall into step with the nightmare.
Unfortunately Mario and Nathan had both gone home to get some much needed rest. Which meant Ethan had to put in a call and do his best to help me until help arrived. I'm not sure how long it took, but I'm pretty sure it took a lot longer than Ethan was ready to deal with.
I mean, hearing that I might have a problem is one thing, seeing just how bad it is-well, that's another thing entirely.
From the looks of things, he had a nice long talk with Nathan afterwards, 'cause he didn't hover over me and let me set the pace of what we were doing. He even teased me when he realized I was more upset over losing in front of him than I was about it happening.
I asked Nathan about it later, but he pled the 5th… something about Shaman patient confidentiality. He did tell me that he explained what he was doing when I had an episode, episodes which thankfully are getting fewer and further between.
I also talked to Jonathan, Mario and Nathan tonight. I asked if there was any way to defend myself in the future against this kind of attack. While they all agreed there was very little I could do against someone who was magically active, let alone trained mage, Nathan got that twinkle in his eye when I said 'Yeah, but even a brick wall can collapse on someone… '
The CEO called me this morning to tell me that Saturday's venue had cancelled. I'd forgotten about the Medic Appreciation Banquet. It seems that Arthur's company has a contract with Knight Errant and they heard all about last week's debacle.
Only they heard Knight Errant's version of the situation. In their version, the ex-SEAL who'd seen enough and walked out with his little sister in tow was only part of a crack shadowrunning team who left a trail of destruction in their wake when they extracted a known suspect who'd been taken in for questioning.
Now, I'm pretty sure that Nick couldn't just walk out with me and I know some of it turned violent, and it is the sort of thing Nick was trained to do, but let's face it: the suspect was me and the questioning was a lot closer to torture than an interview.
Other than that… it was a Thursday, I was in Knight Errant's Custody and they were questioning me… so… there was some truth to the matter.
When the guys heard about the whole thing, they sent flowers-not because of what happened to me no not my people. They sent flowers because I got them out of a black tie event.
As a bonus, I managed to get through the day with only one 'episode' and this one was over before anyone realized it was happening, well anyone who wasn't furry and purring. Schrödinger seems to know when it's coming, and he just started rubbing his head against my leg, as if to help anchor me in the here and now instead of getting lost in a memory.
Today Ethan revealed his 'project' at breakfast. It seems one of the other points he'd taken away from his discussion with Nathan was that any time I was on Ares' turf or any other company with a contract with Knight Errant, they could take me into custody again. So he took it upon himself, (with Bri's help coloring in the map) to mark where I could and couldn't go in the area. He told me the world map would have to wait until his summer break.
With map in hand I headed back to the office. The CEO is allowing me some 'light duty' while I'm recovering. It seems that even Chiefs have to have a psych eval after an incident like mine, and I agree-on the bright side, one of my changes means that when I seek counseling, I get to choose who I work with and right now my family are the only people I trust rambling around in my psyche.
I did a first pass on a PSA which Case described as a cross between what I really want to say and what I think they'll let me say, and he pointed out the difference between what I think they'll me say and what they actually will let me say.
He was babbling, but he knows that a return of my humor means I'm recovering, and I know his babbling meant he was relieved.
PSA - A few things to keep in mind when you're out and about.
I still don't see anything really wrong with it.
Today was supposed to be a nice quiet low stress day, something to ease me back into the real world and fight what KE did to me on my terms. In the beginning it was exactly that.
I got a lot paperwork done and started to make headway on an 'acceptable' PSA. It was almost quitting time when I got a call that changed everything. It was Nathan's LTG on emergency dial.
It's the phone equivalent of my Citywide panic button. Press the button, a call is made to a preset number or numbers, in my case it was preset to Central dispatch, in Nathan's case it called Jonathan and me.
I found out later than Jonathan got through first and had already started looking for him when I got through. In both our cases there was only the auto answer from his phone but I finally did get a response. I ended up doing a lot of double talk - trying to talk to Nathan on one line while coordinating the search on the other.
It took an agonizing few minutes to get a response, I mean, I could tell someone was very definitely there-but they weren't talking… finally Nathan managed hit a button and after a few tries we got started on 'yes or no' and 'scale of;' type questions.
What ensued was a stressful 20 minute game of 20 questions trying to find out where he was, what had happened and what kind of shape he was in, all the while updating Jonathan and dispatching Dwight to the area as a stand-by Medic.
It was almost a flashback to the first time I met Nathan six years ago, only this time I was the one trying to remain calm. I knew if I lost it, I'd lose him and that was not going to happen.
It's amazing how much you can compartmentalize under those conditions.
I kept playing twenty questions while Jonathan had the lodge looking for him and Case was trying to locate him through his signal and through surveillance equipment.
The problem was, he was in the Barrens, in an alleyway, surrounded by buildings that bounced his signal off of too many things to pinpoint. It took precious time. By the end I was saying 'hon' a lot more than I have lately and waiting…. praying they'd find him in time.
It wasn't until I heard Jonathan's voice on the other side that I allowed myself to relax and that was almost enough for another episode, but I held on. I hadn't lost it as I listened to a friend literally dying as I talked to him I wasn't going to lose it over a memory that was well past… not this time.
I will admit I had a good dose of the shakes afterwards, but that was the result of what I'd just been through nothing more, and by the time Case came to pick me up I was in control.
I spent the next several hours in the ER waiting room with the family, listening as Jonathan and Mom Walker discussed watcher spirits and the merits of installing lo-jack in Nate's head. I was there when he came to the first time. He was still a bit out of it, concussion and blood loss will do that to a person, but it did me a world of good to talk to him.
… and tease him. It's my prerogative as his adopted big sister and he deserved it.
Last night, I pretty much had Nathan convinced a) this wasn't a dream and he was indeed alive and not bleeding out in an alleyway in the Barrens b) that his Glasgow comma scale was a solid 8 and c) he had to be very careful around Mom Walker.
She is very much our mom, but when she gets to the point that she's speaking 95% Salish, we're in trouble. They want to keep Nathan in for observation again tonight-and if anyone needed observation, it's Nathan.
It isn't even mid-day jello time and he's already chomping at the bit. I know I'm not the most patient person in the world, but when you couple that with the impulsivity of a ferret, pain meds and Nathan's general nature well… things can get interesting.
He was working out theories about non-magical tactics against mages when I had to go into the office. I could have just as easily done the work from his hospital room, but regulations are regulations, and sometimes it's for the best.
Now, I know I bent some serious rules yesterday but Nathan is family and he's helped out Citywide often enough that they shouldn't complain, but when the CEO stopped but I was more than a little apprehensive.
Thankfully all he said was "How's Nathan doing?"
I smiled and nodded, finally answering "a lot better, thanks."
Then he dropped the bombshell, but he dropped it with me rather than Nathan, knowing that he is my 'little brother'. It seems that Lone Star's Magical Forensics team agrees that something was very wrong with the high rise fire he helped with and it's not the first. The Star wants to talk to Nathan about it.
The CEO wants Nathan to talk to them… as our consultant on magical investigations. I think I'll wait until Mom has calmed down before broaching the subject.
Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker