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 seven here.
-Joshua O. (5:14 p.m. 06/09/2020)
Why? What happened?
-Mari T. (5:14 p.m. 06/09/2020)
They’re scheduling auditions for the new Smosh “crew”.
-Joshua O. (5:15 p.m. 06/09/2020)
-Mari T. (5:15 p.m. 06/09/2020)
I guess they couldn’t wait until Anthony got back.
-Joshua O. (5:16 p.m. 06/09/2020)
But that’s a bad move! The fans don’t know these people at all.
-Mari T. (5:17 p.m. 06/09/2020)
I think that’s mainly why they’re making Viners audition. I think they’re hoping that their fanbase can contribute to the Smosh fanbase. Or something.
-Joshua O. (5:19 p.m. 06/09/2020)
Great. That’s just fucking great.
-Mari T. (5:20 p.m. 06/09/2020)
C:\T271130\IAN HECOX\C280916\RECORDS LOG
PRIVATE RECORDS – PROPERTY OF IAN HECOX, PSY.D.
RECORD LOG #8 (08/04/2020)
Our session lasted an hour today. It feels like an accomplishment, even though we didn’t really talk the entire time about Ryan. Sometime after we finished talking about Anthony’s need for a “sign”, we started chatting about various other things: his family, my life outside the clinic, et cetera.
I have to admit, it surprised me when Anthony more or less admitted that he was looking for a sign. I had always thought Anthony had an internal locus of control, the kind of person who believed in their having control over events in their lives, but the need for “signs” points to the contrary. Or, perhaps, I am right, and the need for “signs”—a sure indicator of an external locus of control—has just arisen lately, when Ryan died and Anthony started feeling like he couldn’t control the events in his life.
We haven’t discussed symptoms yet, though some of his more visible symptoms are slowly fading away. I believe Anthony won’t need psychotropic medication.
The use of cognitive therapy has been great, so far. It’s taking time for Anthony to fully open up, and though it is a painstakingly slow process, I can understand why it’s difficult for him to undergo these sessions and I am doing my best to be as patient with him as possible. Hopefully, Anthony will be able to tell me more (and for a longer duration of time) on our next session.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Blog Post #9
Ian’s right, as always.
I talked to him today about possibly finding out what happened to the rest of Ryan’s stuff, and he told me that maybe I shouldn’t get hung up over talking to Ryan’s parents. He told me that it seems like I’m looking for some sort of sign before I go to their place and talk to them, and in a way, I guess he’s right.
In another way, I think he’s wrong.
It’s not that I’m looking for a sign, I think, because I’m not. I never believed in signs, and I’m not about to start believing in them now. I think—and this is something I haven’t told Ian—I can’t just go and talk to Ryan’s parents because there’s still guilt there. I’m still feeling guilty. And I think I finally know why.
I think the reason why I feel guilty is because it should have been me. It should have been me driving down that freeway, and it should have been me who’s dead now. I know it’s stupid, thinking that I could somehow trade his life for mine, but I know that if I were given the chance, I would take it. Ryan is a much better person than I am, and he deserves better than dying before he got to live his dream.
I shouldn’t feel guilty. I know that. I wasn’t the cause of his accident. It’s just…why him? Why not me? What on earth could I have possibly done to be given the chance to live when he’s a much better person than me and he’s dead?
It’s a stupid thought, but I just can’t ignore it. Having to face his parents with that thought in mind? Not exactly something I want to do anytime soon, I think.
I’m going to have to talk to Ian about this. It will be hard to say, but in the end, it will be good for me. Right?
I don’t even know anymore. I do know one thing, though: I have never been more in touch with emotions than now, and if Ryan were here to see this, he would be proud.
From: Daniel Sohinki (email@example.com)
To: Joseph Reeds (firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: July 30, 2020
I need your help. I can’t access Dr. Hecox’s record logs. This wasn’t a problem before, so I’m wondering why it’s a problem now.
While it’s not exactly making it impossible for me to see Participant #15’s progress—I still have the surveillance camera videos to look at—it’s definitely making it harder for me. Plus, there’s the added problem of me not being able to monitor Dr. Hecox’s thoughts about Participant #15, something that I sorely need for the completion of this study.
Now whether being locked out of his files is a result of a virus or him purposefully locking me out remains to be figured out. I was hoping I could get some help from you. I need those files, fast. And before you ask, yes, I tried accessing other therapists’ record logs. I didn’t have any problems accessing their files.
I hope you respond quickly.
August 4, 2020 (Tuesday)
I needed another place to write my thoughts down about Anthony, so I created this. The record log, as much as I appreciate it, doesn’t seem to be the right place to write all these thoughts down in. Not only is that meant to be professional, it’s also something Dr. Sohinki can view anytime he pleases. And as much as I respect the man, I think my sessions with Anthony should be private.
Yes, I know that the only reason why they’re not private is because Anthony is currently one of the participants in Dr. Sohinki’s study, and yes, I know that once the study is over, clients who choose to undergo Dr. Sohinki’s brand of psychotherapy will have the privacy they deserve, but I think Anthony, with the recent loss of his best friend, deserves better than strangers watching his sessions. I’m aware this makes it sound like Anthony deserves more than the rest of the participants in Dr. Sohinki’s study, and I’m aware that I sound selfish, but I couldn’t not do anything. The thought of Dr. Sohinki being privy to my conversations with Anthony rubs me the wrong way.
I locked my record logs. I know this doesn’t seem like the most intelligent thing I’ve ever done, but I needed to do something. After going to Dr. Sohinki’s office to transfer some papers from my hard drive to his computer and finding the progress report he was going to send to Dr. Bartlett, I knew I had to do something. I disabled the email and deleted the attachment. I decided right then and there that my record logs should be private.
I feel…protective of Anthony. While it isn’t exactly a bad feeling to have per se, and while it isn’t uncommon for therapists to feel that way for their clients, it still feels weird. He’s a genuinely nice person, the kind of person you know deserves better in this world, and it’s very obvious that he cares a lot for the people who are close to him.
The conversation we had today after our talk about Ryan was enjoyable. It certainly felt like we were friends chatting on a normal day, not a therapist and a client talking about various things just to pass the time. I think, if I had met Anthony in different circumstances, we could have been actual friends who have an actual history together.
There’s no use thinking about that, though. It would be much better for me to just focus on the here and now.
C:\SCRC\SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE\INTERNAL\OBSERVATION ROOM 1\CAM3\2020.08.11\1201-2400
Padilla: I haven’t been honest with you.
Padilla: Well, no, I was honest with you. I just kind of figured something out after our session.
Hecox: What is it?
Padilla: I’m not looking for a sign. I don’t believe in signs, Ian. I think…it’s the guilt that’s stopping me from seeing his parents.
Hecox: Have you figured out why you feel guilty?
Padilla: I think it’s because…it should have been me. Yeah, it’s a stupid thought, but it’s just—why him? Of all people?
Hecox: Yes, but in the long run, why anybody?
Padilla: What do you mean?
Hecox: I mean…this line of thought is going to torture you. Death is a part of life. It’s a natural thing.
Padilla: There was nothing natural with the way he died. He didn’t die in his sleep, Ian. He died because some drunk idiot thought it would be great to be fast and furious at one in the morning.
Hecox: All right, I’ll give you that. The point is…you can’t trade your life for his. Maybe you wish you could, but what it all boils down to is that you can’t. Now, are you really going to spend the rest of your life guilty over something you cannot control?
Padilla: I know it’s stupid to feel guilty, okay? I do. I just can’t stop. If I were the dead one, Ryan would be handling things much better than me.
Hecox: Okay, let me ask you something.
Padilla: …all right, what is it?
Hecox: Does a person’s ability or inability to handle grief well determine their worthiness to stay alive?
Padilla: [sighs] No.
Hecox: Then there you go.
Hecox: Anthony, Ryan’s death isn’t your fault.
Padilla: I know that.
Hecox: Well then, I’m going to tell you something you don’t know.
Padilla: Which is?
Hecox: Nobody thinks Ryan’s death is your fault. No one. Not your friends, not your family, and definitely not his parents. You’re the only one who thinks you should be blamed for something you didn’t do.
Padilla: I—okay. Yeah, you’re right. I just—God, everything’s so fucking hard.
Hecox: Hopefully not as hard as they were right after Ryan’s death.
Padilla: No. God, no. Those days were terrible. Don’t get me wrong—every day is still a fucking struggle. I’m constantly tired, although there are days when I’m more tired than usual, and it’s taking me everything that I’ve got to keep on going. But it’s no longer like before.
Hecox: What was before like?
Padilla: It was…me, exhausted all the time. It was me losing my sense of time, me forgetting to do basic things like eating or taking a shower, me not wanting to contact anybody because I didn’t want to bother them. Before was me being constantly tired, yet not being tired enough to actually fall asleep. Sometimes, I would just, uh, wake up in the middle of the night.
Hecox: And now?
Padilla: Sometimes, I still can’t sleep, but it’s not as often as before. I keep a watch on me all the time now, so I’ll know what time it is. When I’m up for it, I try to go and get some groceries. I’m still tired, but it’s not bone-deep anymore.
Hecox: What about work?
Padilla: What about it?
Hecox: How is it?
Padilla: It’s, uhm. I, uh, don’t really know, to be honest. I, uh, took some much-needed paid-leave.
Padilla: Yeah. After his death, I couldn’t—it was hard. It was hard to see the same faces and act out scripts he helped write. I don’t think I was ready to see another director, either. I just—I knew that once I was there, it would just be me doing the acting, and I just don’t think I was ready to do all that without him.
Hecox: And now? Do you think you’re ready to go to work?
Padilla: Honestly? I don’t think so. Not yet. I mean, I can see myself slowly appearing on videos again, but not handling everything full-time.
Hecox: That seems fair. Are you going to do that?
Padilla: Maybe? I haven’t thought about it. It’s a possibility, at least.
Hecox: You should think about it. It seems to me that you’ve been slowly introducing yourself to a life without Ryan. It’s been months since his death, so maybe it’s time for you to learn how to work without him by your side.
Padilla: I guess. I—yeah, okay, I’ll think about it.
<COMMAND: DELETE RECORDING?>
Part nine here.