Author Topic: After Hours  (Read 12678 times)

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Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2019, 11:28:12 AM »
Merging together indeed, Dr. Barrow thought, seeing Jake as a place holder for Lazarus. Bad objects are common in psychology, and normally took the form of rivals, ex lovers, or former friends. Barrow thought about his own bad objects - his sire being a deeply bitter one - and considered how often they are defenses against internal suffering. It was easy to hate his sire. It was easy to hate Jimmy. Hating the part of himself that he saw within those people; now, that was hard. So Jake was a bad object. That could be worked on, but the picture felt incomplete. It wasn't as simple as what Lazarus had done. It never was, and people were often fully formed by the time they were twenty.

"So he rescued you, freed you, or am I mishearing?"

He nodded at the lines about Vincent. He seemed to value control. Vincent knowing contaminated something Ben valued, and as he'd pointed out it wasn't anonymity. He almost asked Ben if he found himself controlling, but decided against it as too confrontational this early in the treatment. He didn't fear Ben's thoughts. He was trying not to read his mind. However, he could see him almost squirming in the chair, and so the good doctor rose from his chair, never breaking eye contact and moving with a practiced step towards his desk. He opened a small drawer, finally dropping his gaze. He pulled out a small metronome and a pocket watch and walked back to his chair and sat.

"You seem to understand that things are neither good, or bad, by themselves, but rather the context in which they're used and with how much moderation. That's wisdom and I think it will help us as we work on your sexual issues."

The praise wasn't empty. It was a great truth of life most people ignored. Ben couldn't live this truth in his personal life yet, but he understood it about himself. That was useful. He held the watch up and dropped the chain, dangling it in front of the patient.

"I would like to hypnotize you," he said with a dry clinical tone. "I hope to probe your subconscious and perhaps visit some memories. By combining my second sight with my... what makes me a Malkavian, I can help us revisit the past."

He couldn't help but smile. No mortal doctor offered treatment like this. 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2019, 11:39:11 AM »
"He freed me, I wouldn't call it a rescue," Ben bristled.

And as James took the components he needed, Ben stared at him. Here it was, the real reason why Ben had waited so long before coming here and trying to fix himself first. It wasn't the psychiatry that concerned him but the fact Dr Barrow was Malkavian. He'd been rude at the start of this session, asking if the good doctor had control of himself, but he'd needed to know. Kerr had told him about Digital - about how he'd been sensible, logical, straightforward during one conversation, and how Digital had confessed that he was losing himself more and more to the madness, that one day he would never 'come back'.

Ben had never seen Digital's sanity. He felt bad for him. But he knew that the clan was affected differently, each individual unique in how they tapped into the madness network. Sam had taught him all this during her class. He knew her knowledge came from her sire, Jake, but he preferred not to think about it. Learning everything through her was best.

So, he'd asked his rude question and now he surrendered himself to Dr James Barrow, utterly and completely.

"I'm ready," he said.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2019, 11:51:47 AM »
James gave a relieved smile, fearing Ben's need for control would make hypnosis too unpredictable. He was determined indeed. James placed the metronome on a small end table between their chairs. He set a slow tempo, and Ben would fear a faint tick, tick tick, back and forth in a consistent rhythm. He dropped the watch again, and began a slow back and forth pace, matching the tempo of the metronome. He didn't say anything silly like, you're getting sleepy. Instead, he gave no direction at all. He waited until Ben was watching, his eyes now moving in sync. It was time.

"Let's start with something simple," a much softer James said. "Show me what love looks like to you."

It might not feel simple, but he needed to know his mind could handle the strain. Ben wasn't deep enough in the trance to project full memories. James's eyes glowed light blue as he stared at Ben. He was clearly seeing. It was up to Ben to show him something though.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2019, 12:24:06 PM »
Ben made himself relax, actively thinking about when he tried to go to sleep - he would close his eyes and focus on his muscles, making sure none of them were tense. It was a strange little meditation but always worked before the sun finished him off and drew its heavy weight on him. He didn't close his eyes right now but he did work on relaxing every muscle, from his feet up, just like he did in bed.

The ticking was everything. He made it his whole life. He concentrated on it while watching the swaying watch until they merged together in his head. It was the watch making the sound now; a tick at the end of its pendulum swing, marking the moment before it would swing back.

Kerr, he thought he said it out loud, but it was projection. The way he looks at me.

James would see an exposition of Kerr Galvin, different moments in time because of times he had long hair and a goatee, and others he was clean shaven with a short haircut - a more modern Kerr. In each of the flashbacks he was smiling at Ben or looking at him with open emotion and wonder. It was easy to see his devotion. A few times in that memory, too fast for anyone but a well-trained psychiatrist or vampire to notice (and good thing James was both, so he wouldn't miss it), the image flicked to a creature more notably described as 'nosferatu' though that he wasn't. Charon's face came up twice, both times his own expression was a mixture of calculating and indulgent.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2019, 12:51:09 PM »
James found the image strangely unsatisfying. It was someones else's love, not Ben's. He had a way to fix that. His position in his chair remained still. His eyes were like lasers.

"Show me you looking at them," he instructed, his voice almost sounding distant.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2019, 01:37:43 PM »
Them? Ben didn't know who James meant. Did he think Kerr preferred gender-neutral pronouns? Regardless, the request had him tensing, his expression frowning. Ben struggled, unable to sink further into his meditative state.

"I can't," he said, "I don't know what I look like when I look at him."
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2019, 08:26:32 AM »
James was sad for Ben that the image didn't exist, but excited for the insight he'd just shown. His face didn't change at all. The therapists feelings were tools, and knowing when to disclose them - and when not to disclose them - was an important part of treatment. Instead, he simply responded, giving the smallest of smiles as he finished speaking.

"Your first bit of homework is to try and fill in this image. Ask Kerr how you look at him. Let him help you learn that part of yourself."

He leaned forward, deciding to move to another image rather than debate the current lack of one. "Show me sex," he said, not giving any more direction than that.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2019, 08:33:10 AM »
Ben didn't understand the task. How was he supposed to fill in that image? Look at himself in the mirror and pretend he was looking at Kerr? While Ben was an imaginative sort, that kind of understanding was beyond his reach. He didn't know why it was important to know an expression.

While he struggled with this, James shocked him the rest of the way out of his focus. "No," he said firmly, his hands balling into fists. He stared intensely at the doctor, wondering if this was kosher.

He'd wanted to agree to everything, to try everything... but now he knew he wouldn't.

He couldn't. This appointment was reeling out of his control. He felt vulnerable again and wanted to leave. His sense of obligation to try and fix his problem kept him here. He wished now that Kerr was with him. What had he been thinking, coming here on his own?
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2019, 08:40:32 AM »
There was a long pause that entered the room. Barrow didn't avert his eyes from Ben's stare. It was almost a contest of sorts, bur eventually Barrow caved and turned off the metronome. He slowly brought down the watch, and held it firmly between his hands. James had struck a nerve, and the resistance to treatment had just presented itself. He decided to roll with it, as opposed to fighting him. James had to remind himself that it was still the first session.

"Let's slow down some," he suggested. "Tell me what feelings came up for you after I made my request."

He wanted Ben to name his anxiety. Then it was just something to work on, instead of a controlling force. He just hoped he hadn't already pushed Ben too far.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2019, 08:55:53 AM »
He didn't miss the challenge in the staring - and it was something he wouldn't back down from. He thought the doctor would speak before he looked away, so when he didn't, it felt to Ben like a backing down. He lowered his eyes as well, wondering if this was part of the therapy as well. James was obviously trying different things to see what worked.

Ben felt like Barrow's next question proved it. He was still drilling in, seeing what defences Ben had, maybe. That was something he could understand.

"I felt like... you were trying to take... advantage of me." Oh, and didn't it make him sound super-conceited? Hey everybody! Ben thinks the world wants to jump into bed with him! He's just that irresistible!

But in truth, ever since becoming a vampire, he'd been indentured to vampires older than him and sex had always been a big part of it. Declan, from his memory-movies. Themba, from New York. Jake, though at least that hadn't been sexual except for Lazarus sniffing around. (Ben couldn't imagine a universe where he and Jake would ever want sex with one another). But Lazarus had targeted Ben because of their history. And Charon... Ben had offered himself up as a sexual relationship if only Charon would fuck with his mind a little, too.

It was like... it was like if Ben wasn't on his knees for someone, he would find someone to make him.

What the fuck.

He lifted his gaze back to Barrow and swallowed, doing his best to shield his expression. He didn't want to explore this right now. He wanted to go find a quiet place and think about it.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2019, 09:05:31 AM »
They had a solid ten minutes left, but James was beginning to become concerned for Ben. The words were so accusatory that someone with less training might be offended. He also considered many therapists did take advantage of their patients. He was right to be worried about it as a possibility. Beneath the surface of his mind he heard a familiar snarky laugh.

Sure that was just professional?

He decided to move them back towards safer ground.

"Thank you for bringing that concern to me," he said. "I'll be sure to add more preface to questions that probe things so explicitly."

He placed the watch on the end table. "In general I think we should meet once a week. I think I can help you and I also think you're determined enough to stay in treatment."

It was like a summery and he'd used Ben's own strength as a way to challenge him.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2019, 09:18:25 AM »
"Thank you," he said softly, humbled by the doctor's instant agreement to warn him about sexual questions. He felt a cross between foolishness and righteousness - two halves battling inside him.

Of course he should be careful with his language
You're being too sensitive, you're here for a sexual problem


Ben paid attention to the rest of it, thinking that it sounded like a winding up of their session. He quirked his head to the side, instantly concerned by the language James used. He had no issue with being able to return for regular treatment but Barrow didn't sound confident that Ben's problems could be solved.

"You're not sure that you can help me?" he asked quietly, wanting the truth. If all Barrow could do for him was to lessen the impact of the rape but not solve the intimacy issues that were a result of it... then what hope did he have?
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2019, 09:26:59 AM »
Ben needed assurances that no good doctor would be willing to provide. James had treated people with severe mental illness, and Ben may have had some dysfunctional patterns of relation, and obviously some trauma effects, but he wasn't crazy by any means. However, life was hard, and people are most often the cruelest to themselves. There were one too many factors to ever guarantee success. 

"It would be easy for me to just say 'yes I can definitely help you,' but that wouldn't be entirely true. The truth is that the only person who can decide if you get better is you. It takes work, determination, a willingness to look at things that are ugly, the ability to forgive oneself and let go of things like guilt, anger and shame. It's not perhaps the best personal endorsement, but it's honest, and I think you already know if you think I can help you or not."

He smiled. "Do you have any questions for me, or about me? I'm hardly a closed book and sometimes it helps patients to know a bit about their therapist. If not, I hope to see you next week."
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2019, 09:37:57 AM »
Ben frowned darkly, hearing words that sounded professional and certainly if they were coming from anybody else, they would be acceptable.

But Barrow was a prophet. He was Malkavian. He should know. If he knew that Ben would be cured, then he would tell him. If he knew that Ben couldn't... he would want him to come back, to help Ben as much as he could. He would suggest Ben continue therapy, even if there was no cure at the end.

Fuck. Fuck!

Seething in the chair because getting angry was better than getting upset, he nodded, averting his gaze because he didn't want to look Barrow in the eye, then shook his head because he realised that the last question was about asking him questions.

"No, no questions," he said getting up.

He would talk to Kerr and tell him what had happened. There were other, more drastic measures he could take.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Black Philip

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Re: After Hours
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2019, 09:45:51 AM »
James let Ben see a frown across his face. It was an empathetic one. He stood when Ben did and offered his hand to shake. He wanted to add more words, but felt them all coming out as defensive, or explaining himself. That wouldn't help anyone.

"Thank you for stopping by," he said politely.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras