Title: Brilliant Blood, Beautiful Bones
Genre: AU, Angst
Warning: Depression, Death (of a minor character), and inaccuracies in portraying these themes.
Summary: It’s weird, wanting something you can’t have.
Author's Notes: For thekettletbh who gave me a particularly phenomenal prompt (and for me, since it’s my birthday). I hope you enjoy this fic. This fic was written for Fanfiction Day 2015.
Another important note: I don’t know much about depression, psychology, or software. Now that I’m thinking about it, I actually don’t know much about anything. Everything written here was researched to the best of my ability, but will not be perfect seeing as I have limited knowledge about these topics. Still, I tried. I sincerely apologize for any mistakes I’ve made. Know that it wasn’t my intention to hurt or offend anyone, especially those who are actually suffering from depression. Have I mentioned that I’m not claiming to know everything about mental illnesses in general? Because I really don’t know much about them. I am also not claiming to be qualified enough to be able to write an actual decent story about mental illnesses, I’m sorry.
Last note: I have to thank D, who told me my initial format was shit and helped me clean up the fic’s format, and Kalina, who very helpfully read through my draft and told me what I needed to do with the fic. They’re the absolute best. This is the most challenging fic I’ve had to write yet, and it was an absolute honor (and pleasure) to fill this prompt.
Disclaimer: I do not own Smosh. I do not make money from this.
Part six here.
From: Michael Bartlett (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: Daniel Sohinki (email@example.com)
Subject: Progress Report
Date: July 28, 2020
I have sent you an email requesting a progress report on all of the participants about a week ago. It must have been lost, or there might have been a glitch on the computer’s part, for I haven’t received a reply.
Our clinics are eagerly awaiting the results of your study. It is very fascinating, as you probably already know considering you are one of the grant recipients. I will have to take this time to remind you to make sure your study is as quantitatively accurate as possible. I have read your research proposal once again, and though the board’s previous concerns are still valid—mainly the lack of a constant variable and the difference in the length of sessions for every single participant—I have also thought about the possibilities of this study. Perhaps, instead of treating this as a qualitative research, you can treat this as fifteen separate case-studies?
I look forward to your reply.
Michael F. Bartlett, M.D.
Research and Development Division
Bartlett International Clinics
PRIVATE RECORDS – PROPERTY OF DANIEL SOHINKI, M.D., PSY.D.
PADILLA, A. (C280916)
RECORD LOG #5 (07/29/2020)
It’s very clear that Ian and Anthony have established something. While it isn’t something I would call friendship quite yet, it’s close to that. It has the potential of becoming that, and I’m excited. A friendship between client and therapist will be able to create a relationship in which said client will not hesitate to share details with said therapist. This foundation of friendship, something I have been looking forward to seeing develop between all the participants and their therapists, is finally appearing in Anthony’s sessions with Dr. Hecox, and I’m glad.
Anthony himself seems to be better. The bags under his eyes are slowly but surely fading away, and his eyes are no longer as bloodshot as they were before. His sessions with Dr. Hecox seem to be helping him, which is great, as that is the reason why he’s having these sessions in the first place.
Yesterday, I received an email from Dr. Michael Bartlett himself. He was asking for progress reports on all of the participants. I find it curious that he emailed me again, considering the fact that I already sent him the progress report last week, immediately after his secretary emailed me. Nonetheless, I emailed him the progress report, with additional information on Participant #15’s (Anthony’s) progress. While I haven’t had time to read over Dr. Hecox’s record log on Anthony (I was too busy compiling information to send to Dr. Bartlett), I will make sure to read it one of these days. I’ve been very busy with my other participants, so I have not been up to date with my records regarding Anthony, but I’ll make sure to read Dr. Hecox’s records to keep up with Anthony’s progress.
-Anthony P. (2:09 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Come on, Ryan, pick up your fucking phone.
-Anthony P. (2:15 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Don’t be a dick and just answer me, damn it. Just fucking answer me.
-Anthony P. (2:17 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Come on, man, don’t be like this. Please. Just text me back. Call me. I don’t care. Just do something.
-Anthony P. (2:18 a.m. 03/14/2020)
If you come over now, I promise I’ll watch those pretentious foreign films you love so much without falling asleep. I promise. Just get over here, please.
-Anthony P. (2:20 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Ryan, come on, man. Text me back.
-Anthony P. (2:21 a.m. 03/14/2020)
You know what? Fuck you. Fuck you to fucking hell.
-Anthony P. (2:24 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Okay, I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry.
-Anthony P. (2:25 a.m. 03/14/2020)
Just, please. Come over. Call me. Text me.
-Anthony P. (2:26 a.m. 03/14/2020)
You can’t be dead, Ryan. You can’t be.
-Anthony P. (2:27 a.m. 03/14/2020)
-Anthony P. (2:27 a.m. 03/14/2020)
C:\T271130\IAN HECOX\C280916\RECORDS LOG
PRIVATE RECORDS – PROPERTY OF IAN HECOX, PSY.D.
RECORD LOG #7 (07/28/2020)
Anthony’s definitely getting better. While he isn’t as lively as the guy I see on his Youtube videos, he’s getting there, and I’m glad. During today’s session, he finally opened up about his best friend Ryan, talking about how he met Ryan, and what his best friend was like when they were in high school.
It makes me curious—what was Anthony like, back then? I think I would have loved to know him then. Maybe I’ll ask him about that during one of our other sessions.
The most important part of this session, I believe, is when he told me that he felt guilty. This isn’t very surprising—guilt is a common symptom of depression—and while I have a guess as to why he feels guilty, I didn’t tell him about it. This time, I believe I’ll follow the approach of cognitive therapy. I think Anthony will benefit from thinking about this himself.
I look forward to more sessions with Anthony. He’s…refreshing, not to mention incredibly fascinating. I genuinely like spending time with him.
I’ll have to brush up on my knowledge of cognitive therapy.
Are you up for some company?
-Mari T. (6:20 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Not really. Thanks, though.
-Anthony P. (6:35 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Anthony, don’t you think you should get some help?
-Mari T. (6:35 p.m. 4/20/2020)
No. I’m fine.
-Anthony P. (6:36 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Anthony, you haven’t been going outside. Every time I go to your apartment, you’re a mess. You’re living on delivery food and crappy microwavable vegan food. You haven’t been doing anything you love for the past month, and your apartment looks like shit.
-Mari T. (6:38 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Tell me how you really feel, Mari, thanks.
-Anthony P. (6:39 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Look, Anthony. I’m your friend. Your “I’m fine” doesn’t fool me. In fact, it makes me worry even more. You won’t talk to anybody past a few sentences. You don’t eat, you don’t exercise, and you don’t do the things you used to love doing. Please, Anthony. You have to take care of yourself.
-Mari T. (6:41 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Mari, thank you for the concern, really. I just need more time. I swear.
-Anthony P. (6:45 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Anthony, if you find things difficult to manage, please remember that I’m here for you. We all are. We’re a text away. Let us help you. Please. We love you, okay? Don’t forget that.
-Mari T. (6:46 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Okay. Thank you.
-Anthony P. (6:47 p.m. 4/20/2020)
And Anthony? I’m not forcing you to make a decision now, but can you please at least consider the idea of going to a psychiatrist? Please? I think going to a few sessions will be able to help you a lot.
-Mari T. (6:47 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Sure. I’ll think about it.
-Anthony P. (6:51 p.m. 4/20/2020)
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Blog Post #8
We talked about Ryan today.
It’s…still hard, talking about him. It’s easier, definitely, but it’s still hard. It’s the good kind of difficulty, though, and even though talking about him is so fucking hard, at the end of the session, I felt lighter.
One thing I didn’t really realize until I had my session with Ian, however, was that I had been feeling guilt, and I hadn’t been paying attention to it. It was only after I told Ian about it that I realized there was a name for whatever the fuck I was feeling, the weight I was constantly bearing, and the relief I felt after finally saying the word was, for lack of a better word, fucking amazing.
Ian asked me why I was feeling guilty. I couldn’t answer him then, not only because I was only discovering for myself what I was feeling, but also because it felt like I had reached my limit. There was only so much talking about Ryan I could do.
So I guess this is the time to start thinking about it.
Why was I feeling guilty? Or, I guess the more correct sentence would be: why do I feel guilty? It’s not like it’s my fault. I wasn’t the guy who was drunk at one in the morning and thought that it would be fantastic to drive down a freeway at 140 miles per hour. I wasn’t the guy who killed Ryan. I wasn’t even the reason why Ryan was on the damn freeway at one in the morning.
I was the freaking best friend who had to find out through frantic phone calls from friends that Ryan fucking died.
If only Ryan hadn’t been on that fucking freeway, things wouldn’t be the way they are now. If only he had waited before driving, or if only he took another route, or if only he hadn’t gone out at that time…
I read somewhere that what ifs can drive you crazy. I guess they’re right, in a way, but this…the cold, harsh reality is so much more damaging than some fantasy. Ryan is gone. Somehow, I still can’t manage to figure that out for myself, because every now and then, I’ll catch myself taking my phone out and sending him a quick text.
I never really thought about what happened to his possessions. I mean, I attended the meeting with his lawyer, and I got his share of the company, but what happened to the more important stuff? Where’s his phone? When I forget that he’s not there anymore, who gets my texts? Where’s his portfolio? Where’s his collection of his old cameras? Where are the comic books he used to collect?
These are things that were important to him. I think I should find out what happened to them. As for the guilt thing…I don’t really know. I’ll need more time to think about it, I guess.
C:\SCRC\SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE\INTERNAL\OBSERVATION ROOM 1\CAM3\2020.08.04\1201-2400
Hecox: So, what do you want to talk about?
Padilla: Not Ryan. Actually, no, that’s not right. I mean, I want to talk about him, but not about the stuff I told you during our last session.
Hecox: What stuff?
Padilla: The…guilt thing. That. Before you say anything, I promise you that I am thinking about it, okay? It’s just that I need more time. Figuring out why I’m feeling a certain way is harder than I thought it would be.
Hecox: That’s fine with me. What do you want to talk about?
Padilla: Uhm, right. Last week, after I wrote in my blog, I realized that I didn’t know what happened to Ryan’s stuff. I mean, I know what happened to his apartment, his bank account, his shares of the company, but I don’t know what happened to the smaller things. The more important things.
Padilla: Like his cameras, for example. He was always so careful with his cameras, you know? The really old ones he got when he was a kid were still with him when he was alive, and they were still functional.
Hecox: What else?
Padilla: God, so many other things. There’s his, uh, movie collection and his comic book collection. Who got those? Where’s his phone? His Kindle reader? He, uh—he also had this portfolio, of sorts. There were pictures in it, photographs he had taken over the years. That was extremely important to him, and I didn’t know who had it or if anyone even had it at all.
Hecox: So what did you do? Or, if you haven’t done anything yet, what are you planning to do?
Padilla: I, uh, haven’t actually done anything yet. I mean, I was thinking about asking around, first. After he died, I was just in this…constant sort of daze. Everything was a blur, except for the funeral. The reading of his will and testament happened sometime after the funeral, and even though I was there, I can’t tell you who got what, or what happened to what. So I thought maybe I should start by asking his parents, maybe our friends…
Hecox: That sounds like a good idea, Anthony. If you find out what happened to his things, though, what then? Do you plan on asking for some of them?
Padilla: I…don’t, uh, I mean—I haven’t thought about it. I thought, maybe if I knew where his stuff was, I’d be okay, you know? I’d get some sleep. I won’t be worried about things that weren’t even mine. I hadn’t thought about that.
Hecox: Well, if you knew what you wanted to do, why haven’t you done it yet?
Padilla: Nerves, mostly. His parents and I are kind of close, yeah, but it’s…I don’t know. I’ve been making progress, yeah, but I’m not sure I can handle talking to his parents about their dead son. Talking to them about Ryan and his stuff makes everything seem much more real. I don’t think I’m ready for that.
Hecox: That sounds reasonable. I have a question, and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but when do you think you’ll be ready? When do you think you’ll be ready to talk about the guilt? When do you think you’ll be ready to talk to Ryan’s parents? It seems to me that you’re waiting for some kind of sign. Are you?
Padilla: I, uh. [sighs] I mean, I don’t really know. The whole guilt thing, it’s…complicated, I guess.
Hecox: How so?
Padilla: I had been feeling it for months, probably since I found out Ryan died, but I never really had a name for it. Eventually, it became this thing that was just there, you know? I didn’t acknowledge it, so I didn’t know what it was. When I talked to you about it, the word just left my mouth, and…yeah. I realized what it was when I said it out loud. I’m not looking for some sort of sign, no, but I am looking for some kind of explanation. I can honestly tell you that I don’t know where the guilt is coming from and that I need more time to try and figure that out.
Hecox: And the other thing? The conversation you want to have with Ryan’s parents?
Padilla: I don’t know. Maybe I am.
Hecox: What kind of sign are you looking for?
Padilla: A sign that my voice won’t break when I talk to them, maybe? [sighs]
Hecox: I understand that you’re worried about that, but think about this for one second, okay? They’re his parents. They’ve felt the same loss you did. No one will judge you if your voice breaks or if you cry, and your sadness will be understood. Anthony, your emotions are valid and healthy. I want you to know that. You don’t have to hide them, especially not from your friends and family. You understand me?
Padilla: I—yes. Yes. I just—I don’t think I’m ready.
Hecox: When will you be ready? Anthony, avoiding talking about something doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Padilla: I know. I just…I need more time. I need to know what I’m going to say. I need a plan.
Hecox: All right. That sounds good.
Padilla: Hey, Ian?
Padilla: Thank you. I, uh, I needed to hear that. What you said. Yeah.
Hecox: It’s no problem, Anthony.
Padilla: Were you saying that as my therapist?
Hecox: I was saying that as your friend who just so happened to also be your therapist, I think.
Padilla [laughs] Nice.
<COMMAND: DELETE RECORDING?>
Part eight here.