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Lost and Found

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Settling in to his new- well, he wasn’t exactly “alive” in the natural sense, so he didn’t know if “life” was the right word- living arrangements with the other guys had certainly been an interesting experience for Alex. It took several days before Tim finally seemed to stop getting mad at him every time the director tried to talk to him. Things had settled down quite a bit at the new place. Having Alex around seemed to help Jay sleep better, so that was good. Aside from the occasional “blackouts” that the others had, where they switched to their other identities, things were going smoothly. They typically didn’t go after him, but on the rare occasion that one or more of the guys was after him, he had a go-to hiding place, and he usually wouldn’t have to be there very long.

One night, when Jay, Brian, and Tim had to go do something for The Operator and switched to Skully, Hoody, and Masky before leaving, Alex soon had the house to himself. It wasn’t uncommon for the three to need to go out in the middle of the night, so he was used to it. Once the three left, Alex settled onto the couch, turned on the TV, and waited for them to return home. As he began to doze off late into the night, suddenly he felt a hand quickly cover his mouth. Alex, startled, tried to struggle as another set of hands grabbed his arms and pulled them behind his back. He then realized that the hand over his mouth was holding a rag, and the smell of chloroform reached his nose. Within a few seconds, he was out.

When Skully returned home, following Hoody and Masky, who walked hand in hand ahead of him, he saw the two stop just inside the doorway, looking around. He walked up behind the two, and they stepped further in to let him through the doorway. The TV was going, but Alex was nowhere to be found. Additionally, Masky turned to look over his shoulder at Skully.

“The door wasn’t locked,” Masky said, gesturing to the door handle.

“It’s not like Alex to leave the door unlocked like that, do you think someone got in?” Hoody asked, voice somewhat muffled.

“It’s possible…”

Skully pushed past the other two and rushed inside, looking around for Alex. No sign of him in the living room. He searched the bedroom he and Alex shared, nothing. In no time flat he made his way through the whole house, calling out for the director. No sign. Skully, feeling worried and dizzy, pushed his mask off of his face and passed out briefly. He woke back up as Jay, and quickly remembered that Masky and Hoody were still in the room. At first worried that they would get aggressive, he prepped to run if needed, but soon found that while he was out, Masky and Hoody had switched back to Tim and Brian as well. They all took a minute to try to figure out what was going on, since, as usual, they had no memory of anything that had just happened, and once again realized Alex was missing, in their normal identities this time.

“Do you think The Operator took him?” Jay asked, worried.

“I find it unlikely, but it is possible. Find anything?” Tim said, turning to look at Brian, who was searching the house.

“Yeah, actually. You guys are gonna want to see this,” Brian said, holding up a familiar-looking piece of paper. It was just like the sketches about the Operator Alex made that Tim and Jay had found long ago. The same messy, black writing was there, but it took up most of the page and was in a much smaller font. Brian read it aloud.

“Kidnapped by ex. Being held hostage. Hope The Operator finds a way to tell you. Help. Tell Jay I’m okay. From Alex. Transcribed by the Operator.”

“Well, looks like the Operator did find a way to tell us, though it could have been less flashback-inducing, these pages bring back bad memories,” Tim said, turning to look at Jay. “At least he’s not hurt yet, but we should probably find him fast.”

Jay nodded. “Where do you think he is?” He asked, pushing his hat up slightly.

“Not sure. It seems Amy’s back, and she’s the one who kidnapped him, but who knows where she’s keeping him.”

“If it’s Amy, she might want to hurt him for killing her. We need to find him, fast.”

“Agreed. Though, not that he wouldn’t have it coming. Maybe the Operator left us more clues?”

“We’d better look around, then.”

And so the search began.

Chapter Text

After a thorough search of the house, it turned up a few more messy sketches. Most of it was just the same message Brian had found earlier, but one page was different. Tim was the one who found it, and almost dropped it in surprise upon seeing it. It was just like Alex’s old sketches, the ones with the marked-out names. The name on it was Amy’s. Tim motioned the other two over.

“Holy shitt,” Brian said.

“I haven’t seen one of those in a long time… what do you think it means?” Tim asked, glancing at Jay.

“I mean, I doubt the Operator’s very happy about Alex being kidnapped… but I didn’t think that he’d want to go that far,” Jay replied, uneasy.

“It’s the Operator, why wouldn’t he?” Tim responded, handing the page off to Brian.

“Well, he brought her back, didn’t he?” Jay asked.

“Who’s to say he wouldn’t ask us to take her out again, though?”

“Good point, but…” Jay trailed off, not seeming to be able to form much more of a response.

“Besides, I don’t think he means for us to take her out…” Brian remarked, giving the others a knowing look.

“So, it’s another job for the other us,” Tim said, sighing. “Great.”

Brian took Tim’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Tim glanced up at him, and the taller man gave him a comforting smile. Tim seemed to relax a bit, and gave Brian’s hand a small squeeze back.

“So, what’s the plan?” Jay asked, breaking the silence.

“I might see if I can get in touch with Jessica, she’d probably be willing to help,” Tim said. “From there I guess we should figure out where Amy’s keeping Alex and get him out of there.”

Jay nodded and looked aside, quickly becoming lost in thought. Who knows how long Alex had been gone. What if Amy had hurt him? Or worse? Jay couldn’t bear the thought of losing Alex again, after it took so long to get him back. He sighed and took off his hat, wiping his now sweaty forehead. If anything worried him, it was the idea of something happening to Alex. He gripped the edge of his jacket. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Brian giving him a reassuring look.
“We’ll find him. I promise,” Brian said, giving Jay a quick pat on the shoulder. Tim, meanwhile, had his phone out and was tapping away at the screen.

“I texted Jessica, she said she’d look around and see what she could find,” he said, holding up his phone.

“Good. Did any of the other pages say anything?”

“Not that I know of. Guess we have to do this the old-fashioned way.” Tim walked back towards the door, turning to look over his shoulder at Jay. “Come on, let’s go track him down.”

The three left the house together, but split up when they got to town. They covered as much ground as they could in the time they had, asking around to see if anyone had seen Alex or Amy. As time went on and his search turned up pretty much nothing, Jay began to lose hope. What if they didn’t find him? His phone buzzed, interrupting his thoughts from answering that question. It was Tim. He and Brian had figured something out. Jay’s eyes widened. Finally, a chance. He bolted to the center of town, weaving his way through traffic and the few pedestrians he came across. He reached his destination much faster than he had expected, finding Tim and Brian standing outside an Arby’s. Tim waved him over, and Brian spoke up.

“Someone saw a girl ‘carrying a guy nearly twice her size.’ I can only think of one person that could be.”

“Where did she take him? Did they say? Was he hurt?” Jay asked, anxiously.

“They saw her head into the woods. If she’s taking him to the woods at night, it can’t be good. Tim already called Jessica, she should be here any minute.”

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a familiar girl walked up.

“So, even after dying, you boys still need a girl to help you out, huh?” Jessica remarked, smiling.

“It’s good to see you again,” Jay said.

“Good to see you too,” she replied.

After explaining the situation to Jessica, the group set out for the woods. It didn’t take them long to arrive, but it was still dark when they got there. Not wanting to risk splitting up, the group crept through the woods together, shining flashlights in every direction. Eventually, they came across what looked like some kind of abandoned warehouse.

“Think this is it?” Tim asked, glancing at the others.

“I’d say so,” Jay replied. Alex was in there. Jay felt more determined than ever to get him out. Slowly, they approached the entrance and opened the door. It was dark in the warehouse, and there was no light switch to be found. Along the walls were tons of boxes, labeled “CAUTION: FLAMMABLE” and stacked on top of each other. They walked to the back of the warehouse, soon reaching a small room. Movement could be heard inside, as well as the breathing of more than one person.

“This is it,” Tim said, taking Brian’s hand and giving it a squeeze. He then reached into his bag and pulled out a familiar shape. “Let’s get Alex back.” Tim pulled his mask on, and Brian soon followed suit. They’d known that they’d stand a better chance as their other selves, so it was the best option at the time. Jay soon followed suit, and Jessica soon found herself accompanied by Masky, Hoody, and Skully rather than Tim, Brian, and Jay. Skully held up three fingers, then two, then one. After he held up one, all three masked figures kicked at the door. It flew off its hinges and clattered to the ground with a loud clang. Amy, who was standing near a table in the corner of the room, cried out in surprise, and jumped back, startled. Her hands were bloody, and in the opposite corner, the back corner of the room, was the source of that blood. Alex was tied to a chair, bruised and bloodied, limp in his seat. At first it was not clear whether he was conscious, and worry clenched up in Skully’s chest. Then, Alex lifted his head slowly and weakly, his eyes meeting Skully’s. Pure relief was evident, mixed with his current expression of pain from his wounds.

They found him.

Chapter Text

Alex awoke to the sound of approaching footsteps. They sounded like a woman’s heels, and for all he knew, they probably were. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking as they adjusted to the dim lighting in the room. He took a look around, trying to identify his surroundings and just where he was. It was pretty obvious by all the boxes and flammable contents that he was in a warehouse. He was tied up to a chair and unable to move, and his feeble attempts to move earned a laugh from his kidnapper. The voice sounded familiar. “Look who’s finally awake,” the woman chuckled. Alex looked up to meet sinister blue eyes that gleamed in the light of the only window. “Amy?” he rasped. She gave him a fake look of pity and raised his chin up with her finger. “So glad you remember me. Poor thing, you look all confused.” She pulled back, ignoring the glare she got in response. “Don’t worry. It’ll all make sense when I land the first blow to your pretty little face,” she teased before taking a few more steps back to examine the weak man. She watched his body tense when he noticed her table full of various weapons. “Oh, pay that no mind,” she said nonchalantly before moving forward once more.
A grunt left Alex’s lips as the echo of a harsh slap resonated throughout the hollow building. Another followed, leaving Amy grinning while Alex kept his head down. “Look at me,” she demanded. He didn’t cooperate. A kick to the ribs knocked the air out of him, and he slowly raised his head to meet her eyes. She smiled, resting her hand on the side of his face. “This is payback, my dear.” She walked back over to her table of gadgets, trying to decide what to use on her victim first. A small knife was her final choice, and she practically pranced her way back over to the brunette. Her smile dropped out of nowhere as she leaned forward, the two’s noses almost touching. “This is just to keep your lazy ass awake for a little while.” Alex gave a confused look, but flinched when he felt the tip of the knife resting against a relatively recent scratch. His fists clenched as Amy started to press and dig into the wound, drawing fresh blood that ran down his arm.

“You want me to stop?” Alex didn’t answer, and she clicked her tongue. The knife was retracted and Amy backed away, working to pull a projector screen into view. Alex scoffed. “What, are you gonna torture me with old home videos?” he asked sarcastically. Another blow to the face had him gasping for air, his hair falling front of his face and some sticking to the blood that trickled from his now split lip. He caught his breath for a few second, then slowly raised his head to see that the screen was displaying a projection. A groan escaped his lips. Entry 35… He tried to look away, but Amy was behind him now, pulling his hair to keep him from looking anywhere but the screen. “Look away and I’ll stab you directly in the eye, you son of a bitch,” she growled.

Alex endured it. He watched himself crush Tim’s leg with a cement block, the cut off scream of agony causing pain in his chest. Amy let go of his hair, but leaned down to speak into his ear. “That really must of hurt poor Tim, huh? I wonder what it would feel like…” She walked back to her table, immediately picking up a hammer. She walked ever so slowly back to the nervous man who already knew what was coming. The blonde gave him a smirk and raised the hammer once she was close enough. Alex sucked in a breath, holding it until he felt the jolt of pain that ran from his left leg to the entirety of his body. He could hear the sickening crunch of his bone under the metallic tool, and small tears sprung to his eyes as he cried out in pain. Amy just smiled at his state and changed the entry with a small remote. He was forced to watch himself end a man’s life with another concrete slab. He shuddered, a small, “oh, god,” barely audible. His sadistic ex-girlfriend chuckled. “Unfortunately, I’m not that nice. I’m not going to kill you yet. I will, however, torture you for just a little while longer,” she said before changing the entry one more time.

Entry 80 came into focus. Alex was quick to look away from the screen, not caring that Amy was hitting him in the face again. “I can’t!” he yelled, his eyes shut tight. Amy didn’t hesitate to pull the knife back out and leave a few marks on the man’s pale skin. It still wasn’t enough, as Alex continued to avoid the screen no matter what kind of pain she inflicted on him. A black eye, fractured wrist and multiple broken ribs were added to the many wounds on the brunettes body, but only until Amy forced his head up with both hands did he watch. He hated every second of it, and Jay’s broken, confused voice brought back the tears that he had managed to blink away earlier. The gunshot sounded, ringing in his ears despite it being captured on a shitty camera. A quiet sob wracked his body as the tears finally fell down his cheeks. His head was let go. He let it hang forward, small hiccuping breaths still causing his body to shudder every minute or so. Amy turned off the projector and moved in front of him for one last time that night. “This is what you get,” she muttered. Various other tools were used to scar his body, the pain keeping him awake for the last hour of the torture. When the girl had had her fun, gotten her “payback”, she set her tools back on the table and gave the pitiful man one last look.

He was beaten up bad; his face was bloody due to a reopened wound and split lip, his wrist looked strange, some of his ribs were definitely broken after the loud crunch she had heard when kicking them, and his leg was beaten and bruised up. It was broken for sure. She wanted to smile, but she felt no satisfaction. Surprisingly, she wasn’t happy about her revenge. She felt no different. Alex was sitting as still as ever in his chair, his bindings causing a huge lack of comfort as he slowly drifted away. The pain was too much, the regret was hurting him just as much as his physical injuries, and the room was starting to go dark. The last thing he saw was Amy standing by her table, her face stone cold, before he finally blacked out in the cold storage room of the warehouse.

Chapter Text

Skully rushed to Alex’s side in an instant, and before Amy could do anything, Masky and Hoody ran at her, Jessica following close behind but not quite being able to match the two masked figures’ speed. They tackled her to the floor, forcing her onto her stomach and pinning her arms behind her. While they held her down, Masky holding her arms, Hoody holding her legs, and Jessica holding down Amy’s head, Skully untied Alex and lifted the taller man bridal style. Almost immediately, Alex passed back out. He was too weak to stay conscious. Skully pulled him close to his chest, and looked to the other three.

 

“Just go, we’ll handle her!” Jessica called in his direction, as Amy struggled against her and the two men. Skully nodded and dashed out the door they had kicked in, making his way quickly through the dark warehouse. He was able to run much faster in this state, but carrying Alex made it slightly difficult to reach his full speed. About halfway through the woods, Skully felt Alex stir, and glanced down at him. 

 

“Mn... Ugh… J-Jay…? What…” the injured man muttered, still out of it from the torture. 

 

“Yes, Alex, it’s me. Don’t worry about her. Masky, Hoody, and Jessica are dealing with it. I’m getting you to safety, okay? You’re gonna be alright.” 

 

Alex gripped a fistful of Skully’s hoodie in his hand, pulling as close to his partner as possible.Skully tightened his grip on the taller man and continued his sprint, trying to get back to their home as quickly as he was able.

 

“Jay… she- she hurt me, Jay, I- Oh, God-” the director was barely able to form the words in his current state. Skully glanced down at him, eyes full of worry. A rush of protectiveness filled him as he thought of what Amy had done to him.

 

“I know. She’s going to pay for that. I promise you. Rest for now, we’ll be safe soon.” Skully’s footsteps fell hard against the forest floor as he ran, glancing around to ensure he wasn’t being followed. Once he reached the house, he sat Alex down on the couch and immediately went to work tending to his wounds. The former director stayed quiet and still for the most part, the only sounds he made occasional sounds of pain from his injuries.

 

Meanwhile, Jessica stood up from holding down Amy’s head. She glanced around the room for a moment, before her gaze fell upon the very chair Alex had been restrained in earlier. After getting the attention of the two masked figures still holding Amy down, the woman who had tortured Alex was lifted into the chair and tied up. She struggled against the bonds, but got nowhere with it. Jessica and the two men stepped back from the sadistic woman, looking her over as though deciding what to do with her. Suddenly, Brian, or as Jessica had learned was known as Hoody in this state, gestured over his shoulder to the large boxes with “FLAMMABLE” written in big, red letters along the sides. 

 

“That could work,” he said, sticking his hands in his pockets.

 

Jess glanced at the blonde woman briefly before turning to Masky. “You guys wanna handle it, then?”

 

Masky nodded and pulled out a lighter. Jess gave the two a quick thumbs up before dashing out of the building. She sent Jay a quick text to make sure he and alex had made it back to the guys’ house alright, and to let him know the issue of Amy was being dealt with. Once outside, she waited there for the other two men.

 

Meanwhile, Masky looked at the now bound Amy. She met his eyes as recognition crossed her face when she realized who it was standing in front of her. 

 

“Tim, Brian, please, he deserved it. After everything he did to me, to you, I was finally giving him what he deserved! Why are you helping that psychopath?” Amy said, her voice resonating with a mix of panic, frustration, and disbelief.

“Pretty sure you’re the psycho here,” Hoody said, folding his arms as he looked at her through his frowning mask.

 

“Please, don’t kill me. I’m doing what’s right!”

 

“Don’t you think having to live with his actions is punishment enough?”

 

“I don’t- what?”

 

Every day he sees Jay, sees all of us, sees the scars, mental and physical, sees what the things he did have caused. And he has to live with that. To bear that guilt all his life. So don’t go talking about ‘revenge,’ and ‘giving him what he deserved,’ because though you can torture him all you like, he’s already getting what he deserved by being tortured for the rest of his life, entirely by himself.” With that, Hoody and Masky turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind them. They walked to the entrance of the warehouse, met back up with Jess, stared at it for a few moments, and then Masky took out the lighter and sparked the small flame, before throwing the lighter into the warehouse. In no time flat, the warehouse was ablaze with crackling flames.

Suddenly, though, there was a yell from inside. Amy came barreling through the warehouse, clothes and hair on fire and her skin already suffering severe burns. The ropes restraining her had burnt up, allowing her to get free of them. She made a frantic, desperate, furious dash for the door of the warehouse. Masky and Hoody were about to run forward to stop her, but Jess beat them to it. She grabbed something out of her bag and leapt into the flames of the warehouse, tackling Amy to the ground as the flames burned higher and higher around them. 

 

“Run! I’ve got this one,” Jess called to the two men.

 

“What about you?” Masky called back.

 

“Consider this me repaying the favor to the Operator for bringing me back. Now go!”

 

The two reluctantly sprinted off into the woods. Once certain they were a safe distance away, Jessica looked at the encroaching blaze. She gave Amy a glare.

 

“This is the last time you hurt anyone,” the brunette said before holding out the object she had removed from her bag. A stick of dynamite. A last resort. 

 

Jessica realized just how accurate the term “last resort” was for her as she gave Amy one final glance and lit the fuse with the flames closing in on them.

 

Meanwhile, Masky and Hoody were startled to attention by the sound of a loud bang coming from the warehouse. They turned to see the explosion caused by Jessica’s sacrifice, and the two almost fell back in shock and horror. Jessica had killed Amy, but sacrificed herself to do so. After a long moment that felt like an eternity, the two solemnly turned away, and walked slowly back to the house in silence. There was nothing that could be done, now. The fire department would fortunately keep the rest of the woods from burning down too once they showed up, but by the time they got there, the warehouse, and whatever remained of Jessica and Amy, would be burnt to the ground.

 

A horrific fate only one of the women deserved.

Chapter Text

As he was carried through the woods, Alex drifted in and out of consciousness. The trees sped by overhead, Jay’s arms still holding him firmly close. Alex tried to shift slightly, only for a spike of pain to shoot through him, tearing a groan from him. Skully looked down at him, his eyes barely visible behind the mask. Skully didn’t say a word on the matter, but noticeably sprinted faster, and Alex let darkness overcome him once more.

When Alex woke up again, he was seated on the couch, Jay kneeling on the floor in front of him with a first aid kit and some other medical supplies Tim had managed to get ahold of a few months ago. His mask was pushed to the side, and his blue eyes stared blankly as he bandaged the wounds. Once he noticed Alex was awake, however, his gaze shot up to make eye contact, and a look of relief crossed his face. He stood up, having finished tending to Alex’s injuries, and hesitated for a moment before sitting next to him on the couch. Alex looked at the man beside him, sighed, and leaned his head against the other’s shoulder. There was a brief pause, and then Jay’s head leaned against his in turn. They sat in silence like that for a long time, and Alex’s thoughts began to wander. Unfortunately, they wandered into territory he really didn’t want them to, and he soon found himself visualizing the torture he’d just been through once again. Alex tried to hold back tears as a full-body shudder went through him, and suddenly Jay’s arms were around him. Alex turned and buried his face into Jay’s chest, gripping a fistfull of his jacket with one hand.

“It’s okay, Alex. She won’t be able to hurt you anymore. She’s gone. You’re safe, I’ve got you,” Jay said, and Alex looked up at him. He blinked a few times, and tried to wipe away the tears running down his face.

“Jay…?” Alex asked, still uncertain whether it was Jay or Skully before him.

“Yeah, it’s me,” Jay replied, smiling fondly.

Alex took a moment to try to collect himself before letting himself relax in Jay’s arms. The two shared a quiet moment together, Alex relishing in the feeling of being safe with Jay. Suddenly, in the distance, there was a loud boom. Almost like an explosion. The sound was a little too similar to a gunshot, and Alex felt Jay tense up against him, one hand leaving Alex’s back to rest unsteadily over a specific spot on his stomach. Alex glanced towards the door, then to Jay, then to his hand, then back to Jay. Realizing what had just startled Jay, he gently reached over and placed one of his own hands on top of Jay’s shaking, clutching hand on his stomach. Jay met his eyes, a familiar spark of fear evident that hurt both of them. The memory was still all too fresh in their minds, especially for Alex, who had been forced to witness the event during the torture. There was a pause, and then slowly, hesitantly, Alex lifted Jay’s hand from his stomach, lacing their fingers together. Both of them were still shaking from the memory, but Alex took his free hand and brought it up to cup the side of Jay’s face, hoping to comfort him as well as maybe comfort himself a little.

That’s over now, Alex thought, trying to reassure himself despite his fragile emotional state. Jay’s here with me, alive. After a few more moments of silence, Jay wrapped his free arm around Alex again, pulling him close up against his chest.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you, Alex. If I hadn’t gone out, Amy wouldn’t have been able to-”

Alex shook his head. “Don’t. You’ve done some stupid stuff, Jay, but don’t take the blame for something my actions caused.”

Jay sighed and buried his free hand in Alex’s hair. “Do you want me to give you a minute? I know she really did a number on y-”

Alex interrupted him again, this time almost desperately. “No! No- Jay, I- I can’t- I need you, here. With me. It’s- it hurts, Jay, and it’s not even the broken bones. She made me watch- I- I can’t stand to be here without you right now.” Alex could feel the tears starting to form again, and hid his face in Jay’s shoulder. Jay rubbed his back comfortingly, and Alex closed his eyes.

After some time, Jay and Alex were on the verge of falling asleep, when the door opened and two familiar figures stepped in. Alex looked up, but said nothing regarding the arrival of the duo.

Jay, however, did find something to say, and Alex regretted not noticing sooner. “Where’s Jessica?”

Tim, mask gripped in his hand, looked to Jay as a look of grief crossed his face. He shook his head and looked down at the ground, and one of Jay’s hands came up to cover his mouth as he realized what must have happened. There was a moment that felt like an eternity, stretched out among the four of them as the reality of what had happened hit them all like a tidal wave. Jessica was gone again. This time, most likely for good. After the silence passed, Brian explained how Jessica had taken down Amy, and sacrificed herself to make sure the woman never hurt anyone again.

The rest of the week, it was like a shadow had come over the household. Alex was always scared, the slightest things making him flinch, and Jay found himself comforting the former director on a regular basis. It hurt Jay to see Alex like this, knowing the bold, hot-headed individual Alex typically was. On top of Alex’s fragile mental and physical state, the four men grieved the loss of their friend. Jessica had helped save Alex, had been a big part of everything they’d ever been through, and like the rest of them, had been brought back, only to have that life cruelly snatched away from her once again. At the end of the week, they held a funeral to the best of their ability, making a grave in a clearing deep in the woods. As time passed, Alex would occasionally find Jay there, standing or crouching by the grave. After all, he had been closer with her than most of them. One such time, Alex found Skully by the grave, rather than Jay. Skully neither acknowledged his presence, nor moved from his position. After a long moment, Alex came up behind him and wrapped his arms around the masked figure’s waist. Skully remained silent, but Alex felt him lean his weight against the director.

Things were different, now. Though the four men may have been broken, had so many things dear to them stripped from their lives, they were surviving, healing together.

Perhaps, Alex thought, we aren’t so bad off after all.