The Teddy Bears' Picnic

Chapter 2

‘You don’t remember anything?!’ Elliot’s shouts echoed off the bare walls of his apartment.

‘No,’ came the whispered response. Uncharacteristically, Tyrell sounded small and frightened, and Elliot saw that he was holding back tears.
Again it struck Elliot how strange it was to see him like this. The smooth mask of confidence and power had slipped away, and the swirling maelstrom of desperate energy it struggled to conceal had quietened too. All Elliot saw was fear and confusion so intense it mirrored his own. The face that he had once thought of as sharp and cold was now soft and childlike, and the piercing blue eyes that used to see right through him were now lowered with uncertainty.

Elliot battled his own overwhelming feeling of frustration until guilt took hold and he gently nudged Tyrell’s shoulder. ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered.

Tyrell looked up at him, somewhat taken aback, before regaining what was left of his composure and hissing desperately, ‘I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t remember anything after you told me your plan. I feel like I come close to remembering something, but then the memory is snatched away from me. I can’t-’ Elliot could see that he was starting to get worked up, and if there was one thing he knew for sure, it was that he needed Tyrell calm right now.

‘The same thing happened to me. I woke up in your car, three days after we executed the hack. We did it Tyrell, we actually did it.’ For the first time, despite himself, Elliot found he was smiling, but this went unnoticed by the other man.

‘You woke up in my car? But I wasn’t there? That makes no sense.’

‘Exactly! And I spent three whole days looking for you, everywhere, before coming back here. And it turns out I needn’t have bothered because someone brought you here anyway.’ It was so ridiculous to say it out loud that Elliot would have laughed, had he not been so confused.

‘Who brought me here?’ Okay, good. Tyrell was doing what Elliot needed him to be doing. He was slipping into business-mode and asking questions. His emotions were slowly leaving his face, and the mask was coming back on. He still seemed drowsy, but this was a vast improvement. This was the Tyrell that was going to help him get to the bottom of things. This was why he was both intimidating and impressive in equal measures; his ability to shut down the parts of himself that were useless to him. His ability to manipulate not only others, but himself, to get the outcome he desired.

‘I don’t know. I didn’t get a look at them. By the time-‘

‘Doesn’t matter. What else do you know?’

‘I really don’t know anything,’ Elliot started dejectedly, before a strange image forced its way to the front of his mind, ‘except that you had a balloon tied to your wrist.’

‘A balloon?’ Tyrell asked slowly.

‘Yes. A red one.’

‘Like a-‘ Tyrell gestured the shape of a circle, apparently certain that he was somehow misunderstanding Elliot.

‘Yes, exactly.’

Tyrell pondered this for a moment before asking, ‘did you burst it?’

Elliot marvelled momentarily at the fact that Tyrell’s instinct had been the same as his. Maybe Tyrell was right about them having a connection, maybe they were meant to work side-by-side. But then again, hadn’t they already proven that by pulling off the hack? Elliot’s mind started to race again.

‘Yes, I popped it. There was nothing inside it. So the balloon means nothing to you?’

‘No,’ Tyrell sighed, as Elliot huffed in frustration.

‘How strange,’ Tyrell breathed, before doing something Elliot never could have pictured him doing – giggling. Elliot looked at him in alarm and found that sweat was starting to bead on his forehead again, and his eyes were swimming in a way that made him look delirious. Elliot was now officially certain that Tyrell had been drugged with something, and even more certain that this was a very foreign experience to him. He doubted that someone like Tyrell ever wanted to feel out of control, and he could see by the look on the man’s face now that he was feeling very uneasy.

‘You OK?’

Tyrell shook his head weakly and sucked in a shallow breath, squeezing his eyes shut as he did so.

‘OK, you need to lie back and take some deep breaths. I promise, this feeling will pass, you’ll be fine soon. I think maybe you should eat something.’
At this, Tyrell shook his head more fervently. Elliot knew that he was probably still feeling sick, but he suspected that soon he would want to eat. Besides, Elliot’s own stomach was rumbling aggressively, so he figured it couldn’t hurt to find some food.

Feeling Elliot move away from him, Tyrell let out a soft moan, which Elliot suspected was completely involuntary.

‘It’s OK, I’m still here.’ He continued to utter soft reassurances to Tyrell as he quickly looked through his fridge for something edible. He eventually discovered a frozen pizza (date of origin unknown, but should be fine, surely?) which he threw in his seldom-used oven.

Grabbing another big glass of water, he headed back over to where Tyrell lay, still shaking, and looking increasingly flushed. He managed to force some water down him, and got a fresh washcloth which Tyrell seemed to welcome more than last time.

After that Elliot could only look on helplessly. He had no idea what Tyrell had been given, but Elliot, having had more than his fair share of unpleasant drug-related experiences, thought it was fair to guess that he was probably feeling pretty shitty. And scared. And alone. Fuck this. Throwing caution to the wind Elliot grabbed Tyrell’s hand and gave it a firm squeeze. I’m here. Tyrell gave a gentle squeeze back, and Elliot took that as permission to lie down next to him and rub soothing circles with his thumb. Elliot gradually felt Tyrell begin to relax, and his breathing even out. Not long after that, the events of the day caught up with him, and he too fell into a dreamless slumber.

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