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The Art of Being Okay

By killerturtles

Humor / Drama

Prologue

Profiles: Psychologists

Dr. Lawrence Homes.

Dr. Lawrence Holmes has been a psychologist for seventeen years. He was born and raised in England, but moved to America for higher education and PhD. He was first employed in a treatment facility for anorexic patients, but is now employed in the mental health division at Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Holmes specializes with teens, and

Flip.

Dr. Connie O'Brian

Dr. Brian is a competent elderly woman from Texas. She entered a nursing program and, upon failing to find work, defaulted into child psychology. Dr. Brian is seventy-four years old and currently employed at Mercy Hospital.

Flip.

Dr. Wendy Bennett

Single mother Dr. Bennett is an ambitious young woman born and living in New York. Despite her younger age, Dr. Bennett has quite the success rate with her in-patient work at Psyche Ward of Mercy Hospital psychologist.

Even with her stellar inpatient program, Dr. Bennett specializes in outpatient work

Jack tossed the packet back at the sighing nurse.

"I'll take Bennett."

The nurse starts and catches it. "Now, Mr. Frost, there are many other more qualified doctors, if you'd care to look over the rest of the packet."

Jack smirks and opens his mouth. He racks his brain for something to say, but at this point, it can hardly be considered racking. Thinking is more of painstakingly forcing his way through thick syrupy molasses these days. Drugs, Jack decides. Drugs'll do this to you.

"Don't care," He eventually decides on. "I'll do outpatient with Dr. Bennett.

"Mr. Frost," the nurse objects, nostrils flaring, "you are in no position to do outpatient with anyone right now. You are incredibly sick, you understand? The importance of seeing a good psychologist – and a nutritionist and possibly even a psychiatrist – is just a part of this. It is your second visit this month, young man!"

It's funny how the nurse is yelling at him … wants him to get better … it's funny … Jack can't really coherently string together why it's funny, but he knows it is. There isn't much in life that isn't, if you just look at it from the point of view of a depressed, upside-down, Mexican Jumping Bean.

"Look, I wasn't trying to kill myself or anything –"

"Frost, you unstable and out of control. Your friends were right to be concerned."

Jack pushes the 'help' button on the side of the hospital bed. He knows where it is from last time. Curiously, he wonders if he's in the same bed, or if hospital beds are just all the same. They're probably all just the same; real life is boring like that and lacks a proper sense of dramatic irony.

Within seconds, multiple worried nurses are in his room, asking what's wrong.

Jack grins at them all, takes a deep, painful breath, and cheerfully points at the busybody nurse previously attending him. "Can somebody get her the out of here, please and thank you? Now?"

Disgruntled, the rude nurse leaves, fuming. A new nurse steps up to take her place and the rest leave after the grouchy woman.

"Now, Mr., what can I do for you?" A thin, brown haired man with emo bangs and an awful bedside manner bends over him, hideous glasses slipping slightly down the nurse's nose.

"Stop treating me like a child?" Jack quirked. He was glad the words were coming again, because that meant he was fine. Jack will be fine if he can speak, if he can write again. Jack is always fine.

Vaguely, he remembers, with a detached sense of urgency, he was supposed to be penning another novel for Guardian right then but –

"Mr. Frost? What are you talking about?"

Oh. He'd been talking out loud. "Guardian is a – how have you not heard of Guardian? They've only been all over the news for the last two months!"

"I often find myself unable to find the time to read. Too busy, you know, helping people. People who really need me. "

Jack's fingers twitch over the help button.

"So," the man carried on the same overly peppy, condescending tone, apparently oblivious, "have we picked ourselves out a psychologist yet?" He whispers the word psychologist like it's a dirty word, somehow, or like Jack is a child, unable to understand.

Jack pushes the button.

Idiot.

...


...

Outside and unbeknownst to Jack, a small group had congealed in the corridor outside the hospital.

Tooth is crying silently, hearing 50% whispered again and again in her head and North is rubbing her back. Bunnymund is – there is really no other word for it – thumping his foot against the wall.

There is energy threaded with pain that is thrumming through his body and the incessant, harsh tapping of his feet is Bunnymund's only release.

And either that was slightly sexual or Freud was onto something.

Because Jack is still on the IV drip in his hospital room, there isn't anyone there to tell Bunnymund that his 'bunny' is showing.

It's a new feeling, being upset that no one is mocking you.

"Fool better pull through this," Bunnymund is mumbling. "Hear that, ya gumbie?" He tells the wall intelligently. "Pull fucking through!" He calls in the direction of Jack's room.

"Why does he have to do this?" Tooth finds herself asking bitterly. "Why can't he just be okay?" But the way she says it isn't selfish or accusing, but plaintive, and hopeful.

No one quite knows what to say because sometimes there isn't anything to say. Sandy's good at the not talking thing.

Instead, Sandy pushes himself off the wall and holds up a sign that says:

                 life is not a fairytale toothiana.

"It's just, after everything. It was all going to be okay. You were fine, Sandy, Jack was fine. Two weeks ago, Jack was fine!" Tooth can't help but argue, still ignoring the evidence.

"I do not think Jack has ever really been okay, Toothie," The thumping stops as North quietly contributes.

"How did we not catch it?" Tooth breaths out. "Again?"

Bunnymund snaps. " Would ya stop askin' questions? Ya think we don't already wonder or we're not asking these bloody questions to ourselves every night? That's it. 'M done here."

"Bunny …" Tooth's voice trails after him and her face looks even more miserable than before.

"Come on Tooth. You know the drill." The pain of there being a drill, and North knowing it, shows clearly on his face as he tries to comfort Tooth. "No visitations for at least twenty-four hours. Let's go home." North gently guides away while Sandy just looks on melancholy, drifting after North.

Babytooth shows up at midnight and sneaks into Jack's hospital room.

Jack yells and pushes his button and tells her to fuck the hell off.

Babytooth doesn't cry until he calls her Avery.

...


...

Finally, the next day, Dr. Bennett shows up.

"Jack fucking Frost." The petite, exhausted looking blond woman in a business suit and a bun swears him out. Jack's sure his mouth is hanging open. "I'll be damned."

"Can I record you saying that?" Nerves melt off Jack's face into gleeful anticipation.

Dr. Bennett snaps around, and stares at him. "Listen, boy. My son loves you. He looks up to you. Hell, to him, you're God. And I love my son more than anything and that's the first thing you've got to get through that starved brain of yours. Actions have consequences. And not just for you. How do you think this is going to look for your fans?"

"I don't care! Everything – it's not about me, you see? Her. It's always her."

"Who?"

Jack doesn't speak.

"You want to get better, you're going to have to work with me."

Resolutely, Jack disagrees. He would cross his arms if it wouldn't send the BP machine into a tizzy. "I don't need to get better; I'm fine."

"Yeah, and there's a name psychologists have for when a patient is fine: denial. And everyone knows alright is Time Lord speak for really, really not alright. You may have started out fine – I doubt it, but it's possible – but you're not now. You think you have control, but this thing, this disease, it controls you. Jack, do you think this is control? Whatever line you've drawn up, don't you think this is miles past it?"

The "I'm fine" comes out weaker this time.

"If you aren't going to work with me, I'm going to leave."

With a pang, Jack realizes he doesn't want her to, because the things she is saying about control are starting to make an alarming amount of sense. And with – Jack winces – things the way they are …

"No, wait."

Dr. Bennett sighs. "You need help. Talk to me. We'll start from the beginning."

Jack swallows. He did not want to talk about the beginning. He didn't even want to think about the beginning.

"My sister … Pippa … she … died." There. Done. The beginning.

"That's not the beginning."

Jack sputtered. "You want to know why I'm here, right?"

When Dr. Bennett crosses her arms, it isn't anything like when Jack crosses his. Dr. Bennett's arms scowled and growled at you, strictly informed you that they expected better. Jack's arm crosses are always on the defensive, protective. He doubts Dr. Bennett's ever are.

"I want to know how you ended up here the first time. I want to know how you ended up here the second time. These are true. But more than that, I want to know why you thought it was such a great idea to start killing yourself in the first place. Don't think I'm going to get that – whaddya say, Jack, why'd you do it?" Jack doesn't respond, marshaling his arguments and thoughts. "Exactly. So I'll settle, instead, for what happened this summer." Dr. Bennett's voice sounds fairly exasperated near the end, until she pauses pensively, and continues on in a softer tone. "Why don't we start with Guardian?"

Jack doesn't speak for a while. Finally, he looks up at Dr. Bennett and the other shoe drops. "Jamie … Bennett. You're Jamie Bennett's mother."

She nods, unsurprised at the time it took him to piece it together.

There is complete silence for almost ten minutes, before Dr. Bennett looks up at Jack. "Talk, Jack. I'm listening." As she is saying that, Jack is wondering how it took him so long to cotton on to the fact that she was a mother.

It's this, over everything else that has been said to him, that implores Jack the most. It's probably because Jack could never remember his mother. "I don't think I can." It's the most honest thing Jack has says in this hospital, and he says it slowly (he says most things slowly, now).

"Then write," Dr. Bennett tells him.

...


...

The next session, they don't talk, but Jack hands her several pieces of paper with a sticky note on top.

I took some artistic liberties with Jamie and you. We talk a lot, you know. You're a great mom.

Is what is says in Jack's careful, messy scrawl.


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