The last few months had been about normalcy and a desperate need to return to some state of it. Luckily for Jason, he was able to do that as he wasn’t plagued by horrible thoughts of Crane and the time where he would take over his body had ceased. Jason wondered what that could possibly mean for him, considering that he had been dealing with it since the beginning of the year and then it all but stopped. Did it somehow mean that he was home free, that he’d never have to deal with the other man controlling his body again? There were things in Boston that would happen, little things, that would remind him of that time and he tried hard to ignore it. He didn’t want to think about it for fear that he would break again.

Despite his world seemingly returning to normal, he was still careful and still had trepidations. The only person he really communicated with outside of his patients and his assistant was his best friend who had helped him in his time of need. Everyone else was shut off from his world because he still couldn’t face them. He would return home from work, hole himself away with a bottle of whiskey or scotch and drink until he felt numb or he simply passed out. Rinse, wash, repeat. It wasn’t much more than that. It couldn’t be much more than that because he still felt a shame for what he had done. So many unanswered text messages from various people and he felt bad ignoring them. If he was smart he would have blocked their numbers. That was the problem, though, he was smart, he simply couldn’t let go.

Even though his life had been in an upside down state for the better part of the year, the times when it was good, it was very good. He had been happy with a lot of things in his life and he really couldn’t complain. That is how he should have known the other shoe was going to drop. No one could really go on with a happy life for very long, especially not him. And he didn’t want any pity, he certainly didn’t want that, or even self-loathing, because he also wasn’t feeling that either, but it was just a simple fact of life. People can never truly be happy. They could simply tolerate for a while, perhaps be happy again and then go back and forth between the two. Honestly Jason wasn’t quite sure because he had never experienced it before. It certainly wasn’t happening in that moment.

Slowly, he came out of his shell more, sometimes opting to go to a bar on occasion instead of going home to drink. It had depended on his mood and attitude toward the day. He was slowly opening back up to people in his life that he thought he could trust but he still didn’t have it in him to reach out and apologize to the one person that he should have. Coward. It was plain and simple, he thought. That was all he was. At that point, though, he didn’t know that he deserved any forgiveness or that his apology would serve any purpose for him. In fact, he was sure that it wouldn’t so he just kept it to himself.

Until one day where he was forced to face his fears. He had run into her at a bar, very unexpectedly. Once they were both in each other’s view, he couldn’t escape. That would be entirely too cowardly a thing to do. So he did what he thought was best and he bought her a drink, he said his apology. There was a slight worry that it may come across as inauthentic, considering he never apologized for anything in his life. That was a definite worry, but he had managed to come up with something, perhaps even open up in a way that he had with her before it all went to shit. She had thrown her drink on him, it was well deserved and he couldn’t say anything about it. They went their separate ways and Jason finally felt that maybe he was truly moving on with his life.

There was nagging feeling that perhaps he should follow up with her but then it happened again. It was a week that he couldn’t remember and there was nothing left behind to give him any indication what had happened. Had Jason broke and gone into some kind of psychosis? He wasn’t completely sure but it scared him enough that he didn’t want to find out. He had spent the days after trying to piece something together with no avail. Why had he gone so long without any problems and now he was dealing with all of this again?

Then one morning it happened. He had been in his closet going to change in the morning for work and he saw the mask staring back at him. His heart sank into the bottom of his chest and he felt like he was breaking into some kind of cold sweat. The fear that he felt coursing through his bones and his blood was enough to turn him into a pale ghost and he simply froze. “No. No. Jesus fucking Christ, no!” It was all he could mutter out and that was when everything flooded back into his memory and he felt his knees buckle and then give out, causing him to fall into a puddle on the floor, hands shaking, pulse racing. He looked up again at the mask in the closet, something he hadn’t seen in months when it disappeared after he had returned from Maine. He had looked for it to no avail and there it was, almost like it had been there the whole time and it was waiting for its moment to strike. Just when Jason thought he had his life back in some kind of order it was all over again. Crane was going to win if he wasn’t careful.