==> Be the eye of the storm
Freedom is not all it's cracked up to be. You learned that years ago when you first stepped into the world of adults. Now, thirteen years later, those words still ring true. “We're not having this discussion again. We both lost someone, but you're the only one who won't see the real enemy. Just calm down and go home, my people are handling it.” This isn't the first time you've had this talk, and if you're honest you're just going through the motions. He's not. You can almost see his eyes behind the shades, incandescent with rage while remaining glacial cold in a way only a Strider can manage. “And I told you, if it wasn't for you she'd still be alive. Step. Down. Now. I'm not letting anymore of my friends get hurt because you can't stand to see anyone else in control. Do it yourself before I force you into early retirement.” And at that you can't help but laugh. Not giggle, but a full body laugh.
If your honest, you don't really feel it. You haven't laughed, or smiled, or even grinned with any honesty behind it in a long time. You're beginning to wonder where that buck toothed dork went. But you know he's there under it all, because he always loved disguises. “You? We had one dustup during the game if I remember right. Do you remember how that went?” He flinches, just a micro movement in his face, but that might as well be flailing limbs on a Strider. “I remember, difference is you don't have your windy thing to keep up with me anymore. I could-” And you laugh with real mirth this time, because he just can't see it. “You're right! No more god powers. Now, if you couldn't beat me with the ability to rip souls apart, what makes you think you could take me out with nothing but your pig sticker?” You hear his knuckles crack and you know you touched a nerve. That sword is the only thing he has to remind him of Bro, but you don't care. He walked into YOUR office AND decided to play KING SHIT (whoops, Gam is rubbing off on you) so what did he expect? You just smile that prize winning Egbert smile and ask “We done here?” His only response is to turn around and start walking.
“Take care Dirk, I'll be in touch once I have something. Oh, and Dirk?” He stops, but doesn't turn around. Fair enough, you wouldn't want to face yourself right now either. “We have a lead on Dave. Details will be with the receptionist.” He's already moving before you finish speaking. Again, you really can't blame him. Dave's been running for a year now, and Dirk has been looking for him every second.
Once he's gone you get up from your desk and make your way to the mini bar. You need a drink badly after today. Gods, is it really the anniversary? Time is moving too fast these days. You stop and chuckle a bit at that. There had been a time when a year moving too fast would have been a blessing. Still refuse to get on a boat after that.
A little mixing later, and you're looking out over New Jack City with a gin and tonic in hand, and a grim frown. For the first time in a while you let the absurdity of it all wash over you as you watch the lights of the city far bellow you. Five years now... Five years since you got dragged into a mess far outside your expectations, even after the game. Five years of lying, stealing, killing, and a constant gnawing hunger in the pit of your stomach. Though the last one, that's been there the full decade hasn't it? You can't help but think that's the point of it all. All this, the responsibility, the blood, the loss, all of it is your punishment. You wanted freedom more than anything. And now you're paying for it.