Frantically stepping inside the confines of his home, Brad let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. He pulled out his phone and wrote a message for the Discord, before just dropping it on the counter.
While the others had tried to break Riku out of her cell, the being guarding the room had done what anyone would do - gone after the weak link. Or you know, possibly the seemingly biggest threat. No, definately the weak link.
Brad closed his eyes.
“What hope do you have against us, one who doubts himself so?”
They were just words really, he knew that. But this being, this Sovereign wasn’t wrong. Who was he to think he could go back to being that solid wall of protection he’d been before?
“Trust is never returned in full once it is broken. Did you know that? He will never look at you the same way again. None of them will."
Brad exhaled again. They’re just words. Nothing more. But at the same time.. Were they? Because didn’t Sovereign just put words on his own fears? It wasn’t the same, they didn’t see him the same. Did they trust him? Did he trust himself? He wasn’t sure. Did he even have any business wearing a cape anymore?
What was taking his therapist Lisa so long? Rubbing his hand over his face he just.. thwumped down in the settee by the fireplace. In the end, the words spoken were just that. This doubt that resurfaced was just that, he knew that.
It was what happened just towards the end of the break-out that had caused him to unravel. Sovereign had carelessly gone through his mind, read all there was to know. The fact that this alien being now knew everything there was to know about him aside; It meant that the carefully constructed mind palace Brad and his therapist had built to help him deal with everything had come tumbling down. Completely.
He’d come so close it wasn’t even funny. Which probably explained the bone-chilling laugh Sovereign had left him with. It had taken every little bit of strength he had to just.. not… call for Him.
Brad suddenly shot up from the sofa, going over to his phone, texting David to say he wouldn’t be in to work for a while, relapse. At the same time he sent it off, the elevator dinged and Lisa stepped out.
He looked down at the book in his hand, turning it over. He’d thrown out his old copy of the Bible in some fit of anger when he moved from his King’s Row apartment. This was just a cheap pocketbook version, almost as if he didn’t want to commit to a nice copy just in case.
It felt like it was time though. Ever since the latest session with Tamric, he’d felt differently about it all. Where he’d been angry before, he saw meaning now. Which wasn’t to say what had happened wasn't unfair or cruel. He didn’t feel like he was wrong to be angry at the Lord for putting him through it. Because who else could’ve been behind it but the Lord?
The difference now was that he sort of felt like it had to happen that way, just like it did. Because how else would he have even thought to venture into the fields of Magic? Of the Animus? He just wished the people around him hadn’t had to be hurt in the process. What purpose did that have in showing Brad the purpose the Lord had planned for him?
Exhaling slowly, Brad sat back comfortably against his white sofa. His thoughts were spiralling again. He looked back down at the book in his lap.
“Maybe it’s time” Zack had said, and he was right. Maybe it was time. Brad ran his thumb down the cover before opening the book.
Yeah. It felt right.
“Mr Scott. I’m Jessica Porter, I’ve been asked by George to handle your case. Have you said anything?”
“Oh thank god.” Brad spoke for the first time since coming in. “No I haven’t. Not past advising my colleagues to take the necessary precautions.”
“I see.” She sat down opposite him and opened a folder. “I’ve been doing a quick review of your case. All thirteen victims, your old pastor not included, are related to you in the sense that they’ve all spoken out against you. Which I’m guessing they told you when then arrested you?”
“Arrested? I’m under arrest? I came willingly!”
Jessica stopped flipping through the pages and looked up at him. “Well they wouldn’t call it an arrest, but that is essentially what they’ve done. This of course is something we can use in court if it comes to that. Or if you wish to sue.”
“But I haven’t done anything and why would I want to sue?!”
“Of course you haven’t. Your record speaks for itself, Mr Scott. You’re an upstanding citizen, you spend the majority of your days in the service of the city. The media loves you. The manner in which they chose to perform the arrest could potentially hurt your image.”
“I don’t care about my image.”
“Your sponsors do. Now, George says this has something to do with a..” she checked the file again. “…possession case? That the being who possessed you is the one behind the attacks?”
“Yeah. He’s trying to get me to agree to being possessed again, and that he’d do that by possessing people around me. I just.. God. Thirteen people.”
Jessica just nodded and pressed on. “So on the night the first victim passed away, you and your fiancé was visiting. What happened?”
Brad just stared at her.
“I assure you Mr Scott, whatever you say to me is confidential. I need to know what happened if I’m to represent you properly.”
“Yeah I get that but…” He sighed, his jaw tightening. “..We saw that what Equitas did wouldn’t be something the Pastor would recover from. So Erion ended it.”
“By ended it, you mean to say ended his life?”
Sitting back against the back of the chair Jessica nodded. “The last victim died the same way. Has Mr Lanning said anything about that?”
Brad shook his head mutely.
“Alright. Well. This is a tricky situation then. I would advise you not to answer any questions regarding the night of Pastor Anders death, but then you will also likely be held accountable when they move to arrest Mr Lanning. We will need to prove that there was no coming back for the victims of this.. you called him Equitas?”
Jessica nodded. “If we can prove that, we might be able to make the charges milder for Mr Lanning.”
“I can’t just trow my fiancé under the bus.”
“It’s up to you. We can stall if that is your wish, but it won’t look good on your behalf.”
“I don’t care about that. I won’t do it.”
“Alright, Mr Scott. Then we’re ready to talk to the inspector. We'll have you out of this room in no time.”
"Uncle I'm in trouble."
To George, those were the only words he'd really needed when Brad used a burner to call him. As a master of the spy trade, this happened all the time. Brad had of course never understood just the scope of Georges job, he just knew that the older man would always come to his aid if he asked for it.
George spared no time, directing Brad to a dead-drop site where he had someone pick the exhausted man up. And here they now were, in a sewer somewhere in Paragon. This section of the sewer had been long forgotten by the city, which suited the blackops division George ran just fine. The way in was absolutely swamped with plants, perhaps a sign of a common friend. The inside however, protected by several security layers, was full of high tech equipment.
Setting a burger in his young proteges hand, he leaned back on the old-style sofa in the little corner that was no doubtedly hiding agents from time to time. "Darling Bradley, sit down and eat first, but then please just what mess have you gotten yourself into?"
Brad himself gratefully sunk himself into the seat and just focused on getting some food in his system. George took the moment to go out to his friends and checked up on the investigation. By the time he returned Brad was done with his food.
"...oh wow, sweetheart, you must've inhaled that. Now then, can you let me know what's going on?"
So Brad told him everything. From the first moment Equitas had shown up in his life to where he was right now. George listened to the whole story, his face expressionless. Sitting down next to the the boy he chosen to take under his wing, he asked a question. "Okay. Tell me something, would you say Equitas is an extra terrestial?"
"Nah. They were human, but lived long before we did."
"Shame, I could've claimed jurisdiction otherwise." George looked thoughtful, ignoring how Brads eyebrows had gone through the roof. "Well. You mean to kill him then?"
Looking apprehensive, Brad went on the defence. Again. "I don't have another choice."
"My boy there are always choices if you have the time to find them. Although it seems you're pressed on time. ..Are you aware that your fiancé has turned himself in?"
Brad shot upright. "What?!"
"He has turned himself in and in his statement, which we're printing for you right now, he's accepted full responsibility and states he coerced you into not telling anyone."
"But that's not true. FUCK. ...What do we do?!"
George smiled gently. "Nothing, Brad."
"You can't mean tha-" George cut him off.
"Your fiancé is smart. From what I understand you're both leveled on what needs to happen." George enunciated the following words very clearly. "He is buying you time."
"But he'll go to prison."
"Yes he will."
"Uncle, -please-. Help him."
"I've sent Porter to him, but that's all I'll do. This is the game, Brad. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice a queen to get the king. Don't argue, we're keeping an eye on him. Porter is good, she'll get him a good sentence. Now, you're absolutely awful at hiding darling. I'll have to teach you some tricks if you really want to stay ahead."
As he said that, an agent poked his head in. "Harddrives are wiped, Sir. Reckon your boy has 12 hours before they find this place."
George nodded. "Right then. Crash course in how to stay ahead of the game, then you get some sleep and a shower. You look terrible."