Log:The Boys Are Back In Town
Time passes for Ethan Drake. The sheriff rescues everyone still alive from the island and he and Colorado bring Bella and Saiph with them. There are two weeks spent in the hospital when Ethan has surgery on his lung, and for the rebreaking, setting and casting of his right hand. The stitches are redone on his chest. He is whole, mostly, save the lobe of lung he had to lose, but his lung will learn to compensate if he stops smoking. He stops smoking.
The next few months are spent checking off boxes on a very specific to-do list. Lyle's funeral happens first. He and Colorado and Dash are there. His father makes a comment after the service and Ethan punches him dead in the face, dropping him in one shot. "That's for being a shitty goddamned father." He also had some choice words for his mother, ending in "Fuck you, lady."
Then he and Colorado boosted Lyle's father's car and drove it all the way back to Ethan's hometown, where they tracked down his father. This time, it was Colorado and Candice's bat, with the anonymity of a ski mask, that beat the shit out of the man who abused Ethan all through his childhood and youth. They left the stolen car in his dad's garage, a perfect frame job. An anonymous call tipped police off.
Ethan applied to OU, and despite his mediocre grades, he got in for Fall semester on the strength of his essay, which detailed his abusive childhood, and his surviving the Lodge tragedy with fraternity members beside him. His desire to live a new life, dedicated to education and helping others, wins his way into college. He pledges the frat. A month into school, a man arrives with a check from Lyle's estate, and a car, left to him. He is speechless, but uses the money for school, and a little house with a big yard for Colorado and the dogs and himself. He gets a 4.0 his first two semesters. Over the summer, they travel, exploring some places in Mexico that have ruins and beaches, and taking photos to put in an album dedicated to Lyle and Candice. He wakes up after a great night of drinks at a beach bar, and it's pitch black.
He moves, and lights come on and...he's back. Back in the Facility. He blinks, trying to process. He didn't die. Not...not in the Lodge or school or Mexico. He didn't die this time and that is new to him. He climbs out of bed, in just pajama pants, and the first thought is...Lyle could be here. Alive. ALIVE! He rushes for his door to the hall, and swings it open wildly, panic on his face, and hope, and need. He's not a 21 year old anymore, but a 35 year old man, short tidy hair, still well built but not a muscle man like Rado. Fit, slim, healthy. There is a blue swatch watch on his wrist, the only difference from his usual wakeup.
the Rogue, looking like a less daggered, cleaned up Caleb Colton more than he does the skinny, scrappy youth that was Lyle Lucas sits in the hall outside his door. To be fair he might still be fueled by Pop Tarts and purpose. The door has a man in a cloak watching and waiting in the shadows, for what? Who knows. Maybe the things people miss, maybe to watch over people, or maybe trying to take advantage of his situation. What he is perched and watching is unclear. What the figure in the door is perched and watching is also unclear.
He's older, filled out and capable, but not in the ways Rado and Scott were, and maybe will be, and idly biting at his thumb in a throughly Lyle-esque manner when letting his thoughts drift all over the fucking place. The door to the Pedagogue's room flies open; the Greek figure bringing knowledge from eh heaves disappearing with it leaving a frantic figure of... oh holy shit! The Rogue's face just pales in both relief and disbelief as he stares, unblinking, and eyes watering up. Finally there's an exhale. His had wipes his face, and the back of his wrist to his nose a moment just trying to pull his nerves together. He's never been ok since his first wake up and his wife being removed from existence, and door blanked like she never existed. It might very well be why he has been out here keeping vigil of the hallway.
Fingertips press to the floor, and carefully with no sudden movements, and a total fear of presumption does he carefully get to his feet asking so very hesitantly, "Ethan?"
The Pedagogue's head turns at the familiar name, one he's borne twice now. Is he Ethan Drake? No, for real is he? He's been Ethan Drake twice. No one else has been the same twice. That must be important. It must have meaning. His eyes settle on the man who called him and it takes a moment to reconcile the adult, with the skater boy gleaming in those (TWO!) eyes. "L-Lyle?" he asks, hopefully. "Is that you?" The watch on his wrist should be all the verification the Rogue needs.
The Rogue watches, and while the face is fifteen years older, and so very guarded the expression and manners are unmistakable for the guy that knew him best. Eyes (yes both) watch and just water up with that same, familiarly dimpled, cocky half-grin of his. A quiet laugh, just tired from the end of a long vigil answers, "Ja ja, is me." He pauses and adds, in that soft Xhosa tinted dialect, "I hope?" Pushing off the wall he stops just short of him and opens his arms and lets him opt in, face with emotion and doing a poor job holding it in, "You made it out. I'm... I'm so sorry." The look, tears with are all apology and regret wore open. "I've been so worried you weren't going to make it back."
The Pedagogue's breath catches in his chest. The accent is so not Lyle, but the grin, the dimples, those eyes. That is his boy. When the arms are opened, he rushes into them, crushing the other man in a tight embrace, hanging on as if afraid he might vanish at any moment. "I've never lived before. Never. Always died with Max...Bella...Ramona. Every time. You helped me live," he whispers against Rogue's ear. His heart in pounding and easily felt since he's shirtless.
The ROgue wraps his arms around the newly awoken neo-Ethan Drake-- this was his Ethan. But no, the accent isn't Lyle's vague totally mondo and yet rad sense of carelessness , but it was his own, and the turn of expression in his features seem to in the same. Until now the Rogue's rarely smiled to be able for anyone to tell.
That hug just engulfs the shaken and stirred scholar; fingers combing through the back of his hair and pulling his head to his own shoulder. Finally there's a deep breath not quite aware he's been holding it on and off bracing for disaster that does not come. The words are quiet, for just him and no one that wanders by. "I always got your back, man. I meant it. Still do if ya need." He lets it sink in and just holds onto right now. "Shit, I never died before. Almost. Caleb? Prusperity. Cuz put short work to that, ja? You? I needed you to get out of that fekkin room. You were owed better than that."
Pedagogue's eyes shimmer with tears as he pulls back and sets his hands on both sides of the Rogue's face. He looks at the two whole eyes in that face and his thumb traces beneath the one Lyle lost to Mahoney's attempt to kill Max. "You were owed better than what you got. You were everything good in my life. His life. My life? I think...I think maybe I am Ethan Drake. I was him before, before I woke up here for the first time, though I was much older then. In my 50s. No one else has been the same person twice. Maybe that means he's the real me?" Which would mean he lived his life in memory of the only person he ever truly loved. Professor Drake had never been married, hell, he'd never had a very long relationship. It all went back to Lyle.
Rogue is a man that has always taken great pride at the shields upon shields he's had which really have repaired hit after hit to anything he's ever tried to fortify for himself; a life running through quicksand. Hands take his face and trace the scars erased;-- that terrible gash that took his eye, now returned and looking at his companion in mayhem wounded and willing, somehow to hope. Ethan's eyes water up and well over and it just breaks him. His own cheeks grow damp with a week's worth of pent up fear and feelings.
That dimpled , faint grin returns easy as ever offering, "Nah, I got you. I had everything I needed, man." The words roll familiar even if painted in a different dialect, the intent is the same. Eyes closebut the smile holds listening to teh odd confession. "Maybe you are. He's a hell of an amazing man that you put your soul into. How you'd lived such a life out of order? I can't even begin to guess, but I am...really fekking glad I got to be a part of that, and you mine. Come." The blond sidenods to the open door next to him, "You want to step inside and out of the middle of the hallway I'd... love to catch up with you. You have no... idea how relieved I was to hear Scotty pulled you out before the building came down."
The Pedagogue nods rapidly, before wiping at his own eyes. For two tough bedlam boys they are crying like a couple softies right now. He moves through the open door, barely registering that he's just in pajama pants and a swatch watch. "You were still there, with us. Haunting us. I...I don't think it was you though? I think it was our ideas of you." Ethan and the Pedagogue are painfully smart, and Drake eventually understood that Ghost-Lyle never told him anything he didn't already know.
The Rogue just lets the smile hold and doesn't let go for a moment after Ethan agrees to step inside and have a sit down. Not yet. ...Okay now and withthe ear of the very curious turns and follows him on kicking his door shut with a tap of his heel. He pauses though flinching faintly about to stop him with "I should warn you that-" Yeah he... lifes in a really nice underground bunker. Take that Dini, his is nicer! Still, there's some culpability there, "I'm um... if it's too much, the room? I get it. Just... don't go setting my things on fire, ja?"
Following him in a hand stops at bare shoulder tilting his head squinting at this older, cleaned up, emotional, and focused iteration of his boy. "Ethan, don't think for a second I wasn't ever with you. Maybe..." His jaw tightens and the word shas a substantially softer set of vowels than this Cali youth self had, but the intensity and buy in hasn't changed at all, "maybe not in all the ways I'd like or that we wanted, but in all the ways I could-- with you every step of it. With you in teh freezer when you were hurting and Colorado went ham on Gus and the other fallen. With you when you tried to save them by using Violet's dagger to taunt Mahoney and THAT fekkin bloody well worked." A wince of approval follows, "OOoh he went craze' on you about that. He went down on the beach still swearin your name. I was so unbeievably fekkin proud of you." He paused and looks very, very bewildered, "I was with you when you tried to eat the rest of my pudding. Did... did Dash really buy that was my unresolved business? Mallory was closer than that, man." Now? Now he can find amusement in that; now that Ethan is here.
All of Lyle's things are keps on a set of shelves with a glass door with room for more. Who knows how the facility will accommodate. There's the damaged data slate from the Heph from his days as a smuggler and a framed small 5x7" picture folded in one corner of a young boy and a simple woman's ring sitting in front of it: Caleb's late son, Gideon, and Addie's ring. Below that? a frame with Tawny's title in it, as promised, and the folded emvelope with Lyle's name on it in Ethan's scrawled baroken-hande writing. Yes, that of all things followed him home. The rest of the place, in spite of feeling buried in teh earth is fantasticly neatand well lit with strings of hanging lights and bare wires.
The Pedagogue crosses the threshold and as the door closes, he's just staring at the bunker in all it's amazing construction. It is WAY nicer than Dini's was. There is a brief chill that travels up his spine, but that's it. He's been in Creepy's room several times; after stepping in still-tacky blood with his bare feet? Nothing can really freak him out. The shoulder under Rogue's hand relaxes. There is a chuff of breath at the mention of the pudding. "I am never eating pudding again, man," he mutters, the 80s affectation still clinging to him a little bit with his speech. The proper professor hasn't quite made his way back.
Ethan-Prime moves to the display and he stops at Tawny's title with a teary smile. "I named the car you left me, Milano, you know," he murmurs. His fingers almost touch the envelope, but he doesn't quite have the strength to do so. So much of him is inside that envelope, and he isn't sure the man Lyle is here even feels the same as he did in Oregon.
He looks over his shoulder curiously. "Were you the ghost then? How else did you see the freezer and such?"
Rogue rubs the back of his neck watching the Once and Future Professor take a look at that which he still hung onto. He doesn't tap his toe into the polished concrete floor at least. Then that grin widens and lights up the mischief in both blue eyes, "All that time we spent living on that island you never knew."Walking over the hand finds bare shoulder again to rest there. "Wondered... if you ever really got what I meant when I said I still had your back. In its totality and... granted an extreme time in my life but I wouldn't change it honestly. Even this place," He looks around and flaps a hand at whatever beyond the door, "inclines me to change none of that. Not so long as you got out alright. And I love you kept the name. Always had a thing for her ya did." There's that wry grin. that is so damn smug, and really just pleased with Ethan's idiosyncrasies as anything.
The question of him being the ghost though? This gets a more thoughtful look and he says with a flinch unable to unsee but having kept the vigil of the whole run, "The tele that had the music videos in teh parlor? Broadcast the entire grizzly event. We hated it. I watched because... you deserve to not have to endure it alone. I was there when Marc died. When you woke up. When you and Rado stormed Bastian's place. When you sat in teh bathroom and lost your shit trying to keep it together and wearing all my damn laundry." Hand lifts and pushes through Ethan's hair , pulling his head forward to lean forehead to forehead, familiar and again, "With you every bit of it so what makes me not your ghost? Maybe this is after everything, after I save you on an island from yourself and...also asshole ghosts so you can save other people on an island, pay that forward, come home? I dont' know what this is or... what any of this all means or how you became destined to be Professor Ethan Drake...and I can't explain the Pop Tarts, but I'm willing to believe, because we need to believe in something. I'm willing to believe you."
Pedagogue's heart leaps in his chest as his forehead meet's Rogue's. He just breathes for a few long moments, ingesting those words. "I don't know if you...still feel like you did there. I do. I still feel it. You and I. I understand if you don't feel that way. You had a wife in Prosperity, I remember that. And I will respect your wishes but, I still love Lyle Lucas, and the man who inhabited him," he says in a soft, unsteady voice. He hasn't opened up to many people in the facility. He and Creepy mostly kept one another from going batcrap insane, but it was more a protector thing with her. This is different.
The Rogue doesn't answer him, not with words. Thumb brushes the damp space on his face. It's almost hilarious on how two men that have historicly prided themselves on keeping their shit together have those bulwarks come down like paper confronted by the other. And there the truth is, raw and naked as peeled fruit, and as ripe to be bitten.
The answer those painful truths given get answeres in kind, but instead of forming words once-and-now Lyle's lips press to Ethan's making up for missed time. A week for one and a year for the toher and too long on all fronts. Finalyl a quiet laugh and agreement follows, "I don't think you understand when I tell you I've still got your back? I'm with you. I'm... I'm in. There are many truths of things we've... done great and terrible but this is as real to me as any of them and I'd not trade this truth and that? That's been hard for me this week you have... no fekking earthly idea. I can't imagine how long that must have been for you I can only tell you it's not in vain."
The Pedagogue veritably melts into that kiss as every fear and worry he had vanishes with the taste of Rogue's lips. He tastes like Lyle, even if he doesn't sound like him, even if he doesn't look 20 years old, even if he isn't in skater gear. This is his Lyle, and even that virtual year spent without him couldn't fade the memories of his kiss, of his touch, of the quiet calm rightness he felt once he acknowledged his feelings at the Lodge. "I've missed you, so much," he whispers, a hand smoothing over his cheek. "God damn you grew up pretty," he adds with a small laugh of relief.
The Rogue sort of dresses obliquely the same: t-shirt and an unbuttoned one over it, cargo pants. So many pockets in case he needs them, and beat to hell boots. It's not too far off from either Lyle or Sinclair's standard gig but for the band names being bereft of his garb. Must fix. At least there's some similarities to hang onto.
At the complinent? OH SHIT son he doth preeeeeen still. That ease settles into him jsut savoring that like a plant in sunlight and some shit just doesnt' change. Too casually he replies, "Ja ja, well you were busy touring the world shaping the minds in ways that matter. Being here and... well dead I had nothing better to do than marinate in a lot of coffee and focus on being this feeking good looking in case, ya know, you came back and stopped fekking off all over the globe looking for other people's car keys and tossed crockery." Har har. He leans in and just kisses him again still grinning. "Worth it then. Worth it...now. We have all this to figure out but we don't have to do it alone, man. We have the opportunity to make up for things deined to us when we were twenty." His eyes, in tandem again fianlly really get a good look at him admitting in a ll honesty, "I didn't expect the short hair if we're being truthful, but it works."
Pedagogue laughs about the hair, and he grins. "Well, I'm pretty sure the long hair revolution went out again in the mid-90s. Or maybe I was just conscious of the ozone layer being depleted single-handedly by my overuse of AquaNet," he quips. His eyes flit around the bunker, as a hand strays to tug on the lapel of the Rogue's overshirt. "So, does this place have a bathroom?" he asks, with an arch of one brow and a meaningful look in his bright blue eyes.
Lyle side-nods to the hallway they walked through to the main room. "I do. You're in luck. Learned to share from the best too." He adds with a cheeky grin, "And the only ghost haunting mine is apparently me." Well he has at least been working at making peace with his early demise, though Ethan being here- older but here? Helps tremendously.
Hand slides from shoulder to catch his hand and tug him in tow. The bathroom itself while not overly fancy or overdone is in a sense large enough to camp out in. Whatever it says about the Rogue it seems they designed the room for him to enjoy the excess of creature comforts as if buried in the back yard like a dog and his bone. Maybe that too is more telling than he presently realizes. The lights in here are recessed, and while the floor is the same dark, polished concrete there is a thick floor rugs, and a rather nice shower tub. The weird part is he knew why he was asked and that's because the bathroom is where all important life decisions get made.
Look it's a Bedlam Boys thing. It really can't be explained any better than that.