Log:Higher Ground

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Higher Ground
Characters  •   Bastian Roen  •  Lyle Lucas  •  Ethan Drake  •  Candice Flick  •
Location  •  Main Lodge - Room 114
Factions  •   The Staff of the Eager Beaver  •
Date  •  2019-01-25
Summary  •  Bastian finds Ethan is back and gets the brief rundown, and a very frank talk with the Bedlam Boys follows.

"Boss we need you main hall. Something you'll want to take a look at. Saiph says it's super important" over the radio a few minutes ago broke the radio silence.

This was also the first time since they had a very loud discussion that Lucas has even tried to reach back out to Bastian. No more information is available other than he's abandoned the radio project and Candice seemed confused sticking with her partner in housekeeping that there was a commotion, she doesn't know what and was to inform Bastian if he showed up pointing him back to the 110's.


Bastian welcomes the distraction from the shed aftermath. He's been in his room for a couple of hours, dealing with it in his own way, though when his radio goes off he answers. "...be right there."

It's not long before he comes down to 114 and knocks, chrome lighter out in one hand...just in case. Saiph knows who it is; her head comes up and her tail waves.


Lucas leaves the door unlocked and to a point just open. The room looks like 4 human 20 year olds who live here moved into it, and one is a bartender so ti's a tad packed. The water is running in the tub, but the emergency Coleman lanterns is still lit up in the main part of the room.

Lyle looks as Bastian last say him: Ramones t-shirt, skater shorts, Vans- you know his general attire. He's since acquired and been wearing Ethan's denim jacket in bad need of a wash from general wear and tear. What's uncommon is the prone body of Ethan Drake on the bed. His stitches pulled, a bruise from chest hitting the steering wheel and the like evident with his shirt pulled off of him; washcloth on his head. More notable to all this is the absence of the cast on that angry hand of his and the deep ligature marks on his arms and the bruising showing up from being suspended for a long while.

He's not supposed to be here.

Lyle Lucas wore a ghost of an expression presently being focused on trying to clean him up with warm soapy water, a washcloth, and the ice bucket that came complimentary in the room (thank you Candice).


Bastian comes in, more than a little wary until he sees Lyle and Candice. He's had to change, and is now in a blue and black plaid flannel and pale denim jeans. His hair's still damp, as are his hiking boots (don't have another pair of those, only option is to wash the blood off).

His concern rebounds the second he realizes who's on the bed and takes in his injuries. "What the fuck happened?" he asks, pitching his voice low. He can't help but notice there's no relief in Lyle or Candice's features, no word from Christine of their imminent rescue. Which probably means only one thing.


Candice hovers in the door frame of the bathroom running the tap to try to help get things cleaned up. Taking pity on Lucas from having to repeat himself the turns to Bastian answering quietly, "Picked up on the highway by Violet Mahoney, the granddaughter." She paused seeing if Lyle wanted to pick up the story. He didn't so she continued guessing at the details, "He was taken to some underground place where she's filming everything. All I really got is lake monster, they already have 13 bodies, and he... He, um, killed her to escape. Marked a path and took her camera and some tunnels to the woods on the island."

Lyle paused, looking at the antibiotics he was given from Laine and turned them in the light to figure it out. Apparently that had been thought of. His hand reaches down to pat Saiph on the head. Still looking down he added, "Addison has the camera. He said she recorded everything. Dini and wife might not be totally sold on this but Barrett's reviewing it." A longer pause, "I don't trust Dini not to have a walkie but... I thought you might... want to know even if..." He left the rest off not dipping back into it. He left the rest off.

Bastian knows the look. This was a walls up moment with a subterfuge and detachment so smooth it might be the best imitation of Addison Barrett anyone's ever done. This look might be entirely commonplace on the concierge but Lyle Lucas has never in his life been this professionally formal. Quirky, spiteful, curious, often brazenly ridiculous, and that injured look where he hides in himself? That would be recognizable. This was a different fear deep enough to make him grow the fuck up by a lot. More the fear of loss he had little insulation for. "Candice, we still have ice? We're going to need to reduce the swelling in his hand. Ibuprofen? Hot pocket?"


"Christ, you have to be fucking kidding me," Bastian says, still looking Ethan over. He runs his hands through his hair, takes a steadying breath. "Okay. So Ran was warning us about," he waves his hand, "Nessie. And they've got the bodies they need." He stops, narrows his eyes. "Hang on. How'd she get him back on the island with bridge out?" His eyebrows go up. "Another tunnel, under the lake? Or," he makes a face, "maybe they just have their deal with whatever it is and it lets them pass..."

He spends a second musing on all of this, then cuts a look at Lyle. "You know I'm not mad at you, right?" Typical Bastian: easing into personal conversations isn't how he does things. Rip the band-aid right off.


Ethan stirs and groans. He's feverish because his cuts are most definitely infected now after his impromptu swim and everything that followed. His eyes slit open, the pale blue bright beneath dark lashes. He must have heard some of the conversation because he says, in a raspy tone, "They have to have a tunnel to the mainland. She had a truck. If we find the exit, the truck is there still, because she's dead. I didn't mean to kill her, just to get off the fucking meat hook, but when we both fell, she broke her neck." He looks a little ill at the thought he killed someone, let alone a woman, but to be fair she was about to filet him like a fish and feed him to the lake monster. "They don't have 13 bodies yet. There were at least five down there. Violet was killing people on the mainland to make up the difference."


Candice presses her lips together watching Lyle and 'Scary Boss(tm)'. She nodded watching the scene. Something about a third ooor a fourth wheel. "I'll go check and see what We still got in infirmary." And with that slipped back out of the room.

Lyle was about to answer a guess. Really he was less focused on the details and more on the 'how do I make you okay, dude' part of things. The update has Lyle sitting very still. Apparently this was entirely new fucking news to him. Nope! Holding the Barrett face! It's just safer than fear and injury. His eye focuses on Ethan but he heard. Finally he answered, knowing the futility of lying to the man, "...no?"


Bastian rubs at his eyes. "Okay, look." Except, Ethan is waking up. Well, maybe that makes this more, or less, awkward. Still, he says, "I think you need to think about what it means that he," he nods his head at Ethan, "has next to no impulse control, and you've decided to go all in for him. But I'm not...pissed off at you, or disappointed in you." And with Ethan coming to, that's all he's going to say on that topic, at least right this second.

He considers Ethan, nods. "Right. funeral pyres it is, then. None of this storing in the freezer bullshit." He moves to sit on the edge of the bed. "Sorry you had to do that. It doesn't matter that you had to, it's still shitty."


Ethan tries to sit up, then thinks better of it when every muscle in his upper body protests. He doesn't know how long he was hanging by his wrists but, if the ligature marks are any indication, it was for some time. Lyle would have also found a scary knife on him, he took Violet's with him after using it to cut himself free of the ropes. "Everything's on Kaspar's video camera. She was using it. Said she was recording all her kills. So all the info I got out of her is on there," as well as her death, "and probably more, maybe we can see the tunnels or something on there. I didn't have time to look. I marked the path I took from the cavern with the bodies, to the hatch I came out of. It let me out into the woods, just off one of the hiking trails. I can mark it on a map."

The last is directed at Bastian, and said a bit sullenly, because he heard what he just said to Lyle about him. He looks away again, jaw clenching.


Lucas doesn't care that Ethan was waking up. Maybe it's just as well, but it's a lot to progress. He doesn't miss Ethan turning away either and carefully gives his hand a squeeze taking care not to make the wrist bend and upset all the angry soft tissues further. Finally he looks to Bastian with some animation coming back into his features. "Man, if you knew half of what I did about him maybe you could see how hard he's really been tryin." Words genuine and from the soul.

Finally he attempts to explain the Bedlam Boys membership platform without making excuses, "Look we're... bad at this. You like... grew up int eh mountains with cool aunts and had the military explain to you how to like... do shit. We had no one. We're guessing at best and we fuck up a lot and sometimes..." As culpable as he absolutely is adds, "sometimes people we care about get hurt. Doesn't mean we don't care or aren't... trying. It's really different when you've only ever been on your own and you got this... look-" Glancing over waving his hand to dismiss half that statement, "Not cause- ya know-" the eye thing. "You're like the only person that's ever tried to explain shit to me and we want to make you proud and do the right thing but we don't have tools or a damn manual to just know what to fucking do. Now you're mad and Max hates us and... I feel like " Yeah he isn't going there. A sigh rises and falls in his chest murmuring, "I hate you had to do all that. I hate it, but I'm fuckin proud of you dude."


On a sigh, Bastian says, "I guess we're doing this," largely to himself. He looks between Ethan and Lyle. "Let's take this from the top. I'm not mad. Exasperated, maybe. Tired, definitely. But not mad. And Max doesn't hate either of you. If she did I'm pretty sure she'd be expressing it in Spanish, maybe pranking you in grotesque and creative ways, which I'd be hearing about over the walkie. So." He leans back, raises an eyebrow to see if this is clear before he goes on.


Ethan's face colors as Lyle tries to defend him. He doesn't have any words, he never really did when faced with Bastian's stony indifference towards him. He doesn't defend himself, because defending himself to his father just got him a worse beating or turned his father's anger on his mother. His eyes feel watery, but he doesn't want to cry in front of the boss, so he closes his eyes and tries to make the tears back off. His unbroken hand moves to rub at the scars on the back of his neck reflexively.


Lucas lets Ethan take his hand back and instead focuses on teh space where the hand was a moment ago. It might be a nod to bad ideas, or sheer loyalty, but Lyle doesn't budge and doesn't back down though his silence seems to be a testament to him being willing to listen unlike the misplaced rage and great fallout the previous night. Jaw tightens and slowly lets go with some faint relief or disbelief, "She's not?"

Shit he has a knack for working up worst case scenarios. Both of them had a long way to go. Growth has been made over the last couple years but there's a lifetime of abuse on either of them from an utter lack, or too much of the wrong attention to leave scars and defenses seen and unseen to last a lifetime. The backlash last night had apparently cascaded in terrible ways that this? This was all new news that never occurred to him either being accepted quietly, and very carefully. The back of his finger extends out to meet Ethan's ribs in a quiet gesture, physical contact, so he wasn't alone. In for a penny and all that.


"No, she's not." Bastian lets out a long slow breath, looks at the floor. "I get that you guys have had fucked up family lives, and that it means you've got shit to learn and work out. Same as I've been fucked up by a war, with no real way to go back to how I was. That's just how life is--shit happens to you, and you figure out a way to survive it. No judgment from me on it being difficult. But you have to be ready for the consequences that come with the mistakes you make. It sucks that you're making them because someone else did horrible shit to you. No doubt about that. But they're still things you did. Choices you made." He raises his eyebrows for a moment.

"Next." Now he looks directly at Ethan. "Drake, I'm not entirely clear on why me sleeping with someone you'd also intended to sleep with is some kind of problem. It's not like she's going to turn you down now. So please, in the interest of us all knowing where we stand, explain to me what the issue is. I'm not seeing it. That doesn't mean there isn't one, I'm not exactly an emotional bloodhound. I've been living in the fucking woods most of the last five years, it's not like I have a lot of practice at this sort of thing."


It's clear Bastian really knows nothing about Ethan's past. And Ethan is just too damaged to explain right now. Lucas knows, he only ever wanted Bastian to be like a dad to him too, instead of 'the other one' or the 'problem employee with no impulse control'. He shakes his head a little but that makes the room spin. He hit his head when he landed too. "Doesn't matter. Don't worry about it," is all he manages. Maybe Lucas will explain, he just can't bring himself to it. "More important shit to worry about."


Lucas sighs breaking his Barrett-esque mask of protocol. His soul feels tired and it shows when he murmurs, "Sweet merciful shit, why's everything always so contentious with you two?" The details of why they got to be so fucked up? Only half are his to give. The other half he may safeguard to his grave. Still he looks to Bastian not angry, and not hurt. He's tired and reliably is there just like Bastian claimed; ride or die... well let's hope this week not all of the above.

"Ethan it does matter." Eye on the boss he chooses words carefully from a place of respect and care and not wanting Saiph to give him that disappointed look when he does dumb shit like get mad at all of the wrong shit and then do more stupid shit, lather, repeat. "You know he looks up to you right? I mean it's a shit think to put on you but you're like... the first real adult we've had that listens to so or doesn't decide to write us off or take out his fucking frustrations of the world using a kid a a fucking ashtray man. And- and I mean it," That fear tone creeping in, tired, sounding with that vaguest tone of regret, "Means everything you let me lie to the hospital about being my dad. How come I get forgiven for doing dumb shit and even winding up in a damn lake but he can't? What's he gotta do, man? Everyone's so... quick to fucking judge him. That's not ok with me."


For a moment Bastian just looks at Lyle like he's having trouble following this train of thought. Then he tilts his head, blinks. Straightens, sighs. "Right," he says. "I probably should've seen that."

He folds his arms, thinking about what to say. Finally, "Drake, I need you to realize something. The relationship I have with you isn't the same as the one I have with Lyle. Lyle's closer to Dash and Colorado, and they're practically my nephews." He says 'nephews' like it should be expanded to, 'my nephews who aren't the brightest crayons in the box but they're still my nephews'. "It's different with you. It has to be, because you propositioned me, and it wasn't a joke. Not as far as I could tell. And that means we don't have that kind of interaction. Because I am not going to be someone's mentor or familial surrogate and physically intimate with them. I'm just not. It doesn't go both ways." He pauses, lets that sit. "I'm sorry if I've been less forgiving with you than I have with them. I'll work on that. But understand--if you want that kind of consideration from me, the rest is off the table. Period."

He looks askance at Lyle, eyeing him like, 'you do know he's done that, right?'


"I can't do this right now," is all Ethan can blurt out. Then he's up off the bed and heading into the bathroom, closing the door behind him and locking it. The sound of puking dances in the air, then shower runs shortly after. He's feeling that internal panic like when he was just a kid and his father terrified him like some shadowy monster lurking in the dark recesses of the house. Not home, it was never a home. The only love there was tainted with the constant fear. He's staying in there until he can speak again without bursting into tears or having a full on panic attack.


Lucas still had so much to catch up on. The reminder that that spike of static was still around The squint look from his one eye seems to convey a flat really? "He's an undergrad." Lyle may defend Ethan until he... well until he loses an eye (check), but he is still the same person that will turn the world on its ear to get what he wants which today includes breaking and entering and now putting barriers and hurdles up in lieu of something more akin to, Dude, can you just be old somewhere and not? For now undergrad works. Instead of speaking any more he reaches into the pocket of Ethan's denim jacket he's wearing still, and pulls out an envelope and passes a tri-folded piece of paper to Bastian. He nods to Uncle Roen as if 'go on. read.'


Bastian watches Ethan go, doesn't try to stop him. He surveys Lyle, takes the letter and reads it. His expression is impassive as he does so; that stone-faced look they were all so used to seeing when he had no interest in anyone knowing what was going on in his head. When he's done he folds it up, hands it back to Lyle.

"Well. That's a thing," he says. "And I'm glad to--read, he's thinking that way." He gets up, heads for the door. "We're gonna do a funeral pyre for Kim before we go into the tunnels." An open invitation, in effect. "Adam's got her body in their room so people can pay respects, if you don't want to be there for the burning part." He pauses at the door, glances back at Lyle, "We'll talk more about this, when he's feeling up to it."


Lucas takes the note, carefully and puts it back in the envelope with the title to the pretty crispy bitchin Camaro. "Can't change without the room to, and without the help." His head hung. He wanted a magic fucking wand but shit just don't work that way and people don't either. A nod follows at the invitation to talk later. When Bastian pauses at the door the blond looks up putting his other thoughts aside for now, "Way Barrett told me... I was afraid something happened to you." Which was truer than he realized as he says it. Leaving the proverbial sword at rest he adds cautiously, "We... worry about you too ya know. I know... none of this is okay and you're doing the best you can and... and I know we can't help. If we can though... ya know..." Shoulders rose and fell in a shrug leaving the offer unfinished and open.


Bastian glances back over his shoulder, down at the floor. "You're both doing plenty as it is. You absolutely don't need to do more." A pause, then, "But, thanks. For the offer." He snorts, shakes his head. "That sounds like Addison," he says, morbidly amused.

He reaches for the door. "I'm happy to give him as much room and help as he needs," he says. "But he's gotta come clean with me about the rest." And then he's out the door.


Lucas dimples a faint, faint grin at the admission about sounding like Barrett. "Heh ya do. A lil bit." Reaching into the inside pocket on Ethan's denim jacket the 20 year old pick-lock pulls out a small flathead screwdriver and waggles it to the bossman thoughtfully, other hand reaching down to pet Saiph's head. She's such a good girl. She's so fucking patient with these dipshit man-pups. "And... thanks. for answering the page. I know you prolly got a lot on your mind about Kim but... sometimes we can't control the actions of other people no matter how much we care about em." His attention shifts to the closed bathroom door. It's a hard lesson he's learned painfully and patiently over time, though with much better payout than that of the late shovel-ninja.

Looking back to Bastian his head shakes, feeling for the guy, "Sucks. Hurts. Maybe this shit ain't our fault. At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself about Gus and Max." Because Raul really didn't help there blaming the planners. He was trying hard, willing to believe Bastian is right on that, if only he can get Bastian to believe it too.