The Vanisher: Stray

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The Vanisher returns in this sequel to help the MCU on a strange case.
With new dangers lurking everywhere, no one is safe.
With Campbell gone, a new threat has come to Brimswood, and no one knows how to stop it.
A mystery causes people to break apart, for an end to trust, and death to arise throughout the city.
The Vanisher, almost a year later, has returned to solve the case, and the one respinsible comes as a shock to all.

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26. Free To Be You and Me

It's been about 3 weeks since Tim's visit.  After that, I started cooperating with treatment.  A week ago I was released form holding and am back at work.  I have to take daily doses of Ming's treatment, but other than that, I haven't lashed out since. 

The darkness, as Ming says, appears to be at bay.

I haven't transformed since that night almost a month ago.  I refuse to.  I'm scared, no, I'm TERRIFIED that if I do, I will be uncontrollable, unstoppable.  

It's a horrible thing, to be afraid of yourself, when you don't know if you can trust yourself to do the right thing. 

"Hart," Prat calls out my name.  I turn to face him.  

"Prat."

"Today's the day," he smiles at me, "you're allowed out."

Out.  Outside.  Free to leave to MCU.

They haven't let me leave.  Even though I'm free to roam the facility, I haven't been allowed to leave the premises.  

Gosh, I have been outside in a month.

"Really?" I ask him.  He nods.

"Ming and Jones just told me.  They would like you to go on patrol tonight." My smile quickly turns into a frown.  "Is something wrong?" Prat asks.

"I think I'm just going to stay here." I reply.  Prat frowns.

"Why?  You're free to leave-"

"I-I'm just not ready." I answer.  Prat closes his eyes and nods.  

"It's okay, I get it.  They said you could stay here if you want, or you can go home.  You're free to leave." 

"Thanks, Prat." I smile.  He hands me my badge and access card.  

"And Ragan?" He speaks.  "We all believe in you, you know that right?  You trust you, all of us." He gestures to the other agents in the room.  They smile at me and I smile back.

"Thanks, guys.  I really don't deserve this-"

"Of course you do," Agent Shields pipes up.  "You've been working so hard the past few weeks.  Now it's time for you to relax, be free.  We'll get you if it comes to that." She winks.  I smile.

"Thanks." With that, I grab my bag and keys and step out of the MCU.  

The sun shines brightly and I breathe in the fresh air.  I head home and walk up the flights of stairs to my apartment.  I unlock the door and step inside.

It feels so good to be home.

I set down my bag and keys and just walk around.

The food's gone rotten, so I clean out the fridge.  I walk into my bedroom to change my clothes.

Tim's stuff is gone.  His clothes, shoes, pictures, records, his trumpet.

I'm not surprised.  I expected this.  

I notice a picture frame upside down on the coffee table.  I pick it up.

It's a picture of us from graduation.  I'm on his back, the both of us laughing.

Mason took that picture, I remember.  

There's a piece of paper on the table and I pick it up.

I recognize Tim's handwriting.

Ragan,

Don't worry, I'm okay.  I know you understand why I can't be here or with you anymore.  This whole mess with you and James, it's all too much.  Whatever happened, you need to work it out, and I can't be there for you.  I'm not going to be in your way anymore.  If I've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's that you need to be free to sort things out so you can become a hero again.

​Unfortunately, I think you'll always end up being a bad guy in my story.  But I know you're good, so forget about me and what I think.  I see now that I wasn't supposed to be a part of your superhero life.  I caused more harm than good.  And you can't argue with paper so don't fight what I'm saying.  I'm setting you and myself free.

If you need me, you know where you can find me. 

~Tim

I look at the note for a second and sigh.  This I wasn't expecting.  I turn the note over and notice something scribbled on the back.

P.S., I left you something under your pillow.  Figured you might want to see it.

I stand up and walk into the bedroom, lifting up my pillow.  A blank disc is under the pillow.  I look at it and pick it up.  I walk back out into the living room and put it into the DVD player.  The screen goes blurry for a second and then focuses.  I gasp, realizing what it is.

Tim's concert feature.  

The band plays their concert and then Tim plays his solo.  At the end, he stands up and the camera zooms in on him, his cheeky smile across his face.  I smile.  The film goes blank.

"Thank you." I whisper to the TV screen.  

The sun had started to set.  I climb out of the window and sit down on the fire escape, looking over the city.

How beautiful light can be....

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