“Oh, are you? Well then that’s good. Unless you’re a dirty cop then you probably steal heroine and cocaine from criminals.”
“I can promise you that I’ve never done anything like that.”
As far as Ronnie was concerned, there wasn’t a therapist alive that would hear his story without wanting to commit him. He laughed, “We’ll figure it out, one day. I find immersing myself in my job to be a great distraction as well.” He agreed, giving a nod of thanks to the bartender that dropped off his new drink. He brought his glass to his lips and oh. Well. That was news. Even though he was married, he would definitely still freak out if Caitlin got pregnant. “Jesus, dude. Drink up.” He spoke instead of asking how it happened, because that was obvious. “I know you’re probably trying to give her space, but do you think not being there could also be stressing her?” He asked with a small frown, trying to get a better feel for the situation. After what he had been through, it was actually a relief to talk about a normal person life problem and not a metahuman related problem.
“Fingers crossed. Otherwise, this whole second chance at life thing is more torture than a gift.” He was glad to be back, but the nightmares and the wound still ended up pulling him back to that night, being kidnapped and held hostage for two weeks. Killing himself to prevent the descendant of his from returning and killing everyone he cared about. And then, to come back and have had it all be for naught. Made him wonder if everything was as pointless. “Yeah.” He was terrified alone and the thing wasn’t even growing in his body. “I’m trying to be there. She’s at my place more often than not but I try not to skip out unless she’s at her dad’s or at work.”
“It’s a vicious cycle, man.” It was a 50/50 spilt between a real laugh and once that he forced to attempt to not be feeling as rough as he did. Ah, working late. Ronnie was guilty of that too, because every night he slaved at the lab was another night where he didn’t have to sleep or actually talk about things that happened with Caitlin. He switched it up, going for a whiskey on the rocks. It was times like this where he wished he still had a pitiful alcohol tolerance. Being a metahuman was a disadvantage when it came to wanting to drink away misery. The statement about Iris piqued his interest; his eyebrow lifting in curiosity. “Any reason for being so elusive?” He asked. To his knowledge, Iris and Eddie had always gotten along swimmingly.
Eddie nodded in agreement. “There’s got to be some kind of better way than to just let stress consume you.” Generally speaking, it was called going to a therapist, but he ignore that. He wasn’t at that level yet and even if he was, therapy was just not for him. “Ah.” Eddie paused. He wasn’t sure if he and Iris were telling people, but he wasn’t sober enough to really care. Besides, he doubted Ronnie would say anything. Formerly dead people had to be good at keeping some secrets. “Iris is pregnant and I don’t want to put any unnecessary stress on her, especially since we don’t even know if we’re keeping the kid.”
“ Your a glorified janitor, cleaning up the mess of all the Meta’s, freaks in tights and the mobs of the city. Least in my profession, when a man who can shoot laser from his eyes fires on me I can cut his eyes out or put him to work.” Rick shot back, actually liking that part of the job. “ Yeah its never fun when your not the one cracking the whip. “
Eddie scoffed, rolling his eyes again. “You know what, I’m happy with my job. You might be happy with yours and that’s fine, to each their own. But I’d much rather be a glorified janitor cleaning up Central City and staying with my girlfriend than traveling the world acting as a mercenary.” He stood and put down money to cover his bar tab and tip before he forced a smile. “Have a great night.”
“Maybe so, but some things just don’t get easier, even on the second time.” He laughed a little, doing his best to have a positive outlook on the situation. Coming back from the dead for a second time still wasn’t easier than the first, even if he had experience in that area these days. “Can I pick both? My lack of sleep is definitely directly correlated to stress.” He combined the two, explaining out how they played hand in hand. “I’ve been having nightmares. It’s gotta be making Cait crazy when I toss and turn and wake up out of nowhere.
That laugh. Eddie didn’t know if Ronnie was actually laughing or it was a forced attempt at staying optimistic. He didn’t dwell on it, shrugged it off and drained what was left of his beer. “I know the feeling. Stress leads to not sleeping, which makes you stressed, it’s an endless cycle.” He got the bartender’s attention and ordered another beer. “Yeah, me too. I’ve been finding excuses to not go home the nights Iris stays over. The gym or working on case files..”
“ I get chewed out more then I get commended so what does that tell you? An assassin is paid to ruin lives. My job is to prevent that person or get even” Rick said, reaching over the bar top to fill his glass with fresh soda.“ Only thing that shocks me is how easy it became, even more so how much I love dark humour. Guess it’s the only way to deal with it all.” Rick replied, distantly. He snapped out and took a drink,“ Congratulations detective, you get a bump? When I came back I was promoted to colonel, for posterities sake.”
“You’re still killing people with blind obedience. You said it yourself, you’re a soldier, soldiers do nothing but follow orders from their commanding officer.” He watched Rick’s careless attitude towards the bar. “Everyone has to cope with what they’re doing somehow.” The booze he had been mainlining was his way of doing just that.” Eddie shook his head again. “No. I’m pretty sure my captain wasn’t even thrilled to have me back, I mean, I shot myself in the heart. He made me go through the whole shit again, like I was some rookie.”
Rick made a sharp noise out through his nose, “ Yeah sharing sucks.” He commented. “ I’m not an assassin I am soldier, though the lines may cross, I tend to kill the ones who earn a bullet.” Rick grabbed his check, pulling it away.“ Well in case we all die, someone’s gonna need to protect the Homefront. Might want to consider getting sober and your shield back.”
“Remarkable how often those coincide, isn’t it?” Eddie asked dryly, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “Solider, assassin, taking out prominent figures simply because you were told to.” Sure, he was hardly any better, but his job was to protect people, even the ones who didn’t deserve it. Not to kill. “I’ve been back on the force for months. I was reinstated in April.”
“Sometimes, it’s the only way.” He replied with an exasperated expression as he raised his beer bottle. Of course his return had been a little out of nowhere, but he was alive and that was all that mattered. “It’s… An incredibly long story, and only partially the reason I’m drinking this afternoon. What made you belly up to the bar on this lovely summer night?” He asked, picking at the label on the amber bottle.
“I don’t believe that. It might be the easy way, but it can’t be the only way.” He took a swig of his beer, shaking his head. There had to be some kind of alternative. “I share the sentiment.” He wouldn’t ask. If only because he wasn’t comfortable talking about his own second coming. “Stress, lack of sleep, take your pick.”
“Honestly, It’s not the worst way you could be blowing off some steam - trust me.” Ronnie turned on his barstool with an easy going smile, not entirely sure if Eddie would remember him or not.
Eddie raised an eyebrow. “It’s certainly not the healthiest way.” He took another sip of beer before he turned to face who the voice came from. Ronnie … he remembered Ronnie, but he wasn’t sure exactly how he came back. “I didn’t know you were back.”
“You can’t keep drinking, Eddie. It’ll only turn into a problem…unless it already has and I didn’t know about it. How many, how many have you had?”
“It’s not a problem. How ironic would that be though? A cop with a drinking problem. That’s one hell of a cliche.”
“ Yeah everyone gets that in our line of work, best solution is to accept that the past is the past and you would do anything to get back to your loved ones.” Rick took another swig from his drink before parting the mans back,“ Congratulations.” “ College is gonna cost me a arm and a leg, and my kids just going in a year or two. Best to start saving, with inflation and all.” Rick said, over a a check with one ‘fat’ number on; so fat if it tried to fly continental it would have to buy the seat next to it. “ The intended target is Malcolm Merlin, yes he is alive and well in case your friends didn’t tell you.” Rick finished his drink with a slightly annoyed tone regarding the face Merlin was still alive. it’s an extraction mission to get Thea Queen back safely. It has hazard pay but you can be on logistics so you get less. Basically make sure the evac is secure and the beers are cold. Unless your girl is a magician or meta, I think her pregnancy will go nine months. Unless you’ve drinker yourself into a stupor and now you only realize she’s just showing. Kidding, I’ve been there.“
Eddie didn’t really want to look at the number on the check, he had already made up his mind about not going. “Thanks,” he said, “I’m fucking terrified.” He wasn’t about to dump all of his issues on someone he hardly knew, he wouldn’t even do that to someone he really knew, so he picked up the check and tried not to visibly react. There were a lot of zeros on that check. “No. I can’t.” He didn’t know how the words came out, but he was glad they did and he slid the check back over, shaking his head. “I appreciate the offer, but that’s one step closer to assassin than I’m willing to go.”
Rick sucked back on his ice tea plopping down next to the man,“ Well got to remember we are a different class of people. Stress really hits us hard.” The man sucked back on his drink, rolling his head. “ I guess now would be a bad time to invite you on a trip to Vegas. But maybe you’d like to do some humanitarian work. I’m looking to do some real action hero stuff in Corto Maltese. Offering to pay you three times a yearly salary.”
Eddie took a long sip of his beer with, shaking his head only a little. “It’s not stress. Not really. Stress was about a year ago. This is just … “ PTSD. “A good distraction.” He rubbed the back of his neck, eyebrows raised at the proposition. “Corto Maltese is a little far. My fiancée is pregnant, I can’t just … leave.”
“Honestly, I don’t know how people go all week without having a drink and the fact that I can’t is concerning.”
Iris smiled when he wrapped his arms around her waist. “Of course we do. I know you will that’s why you’re amazing and I couldn’t be happier with you. Come on, let’s go relax or something. Work has me stressed and on top of everything else I might explode…and I could use a nap,” she laughed pulling away as her hands lingered on his.
“A nap it is,” he replied, holding onto her hand and pulling her into the bedroom. “Come on, let’s just sleep and see if any decisions come easier with a clear head.” His bed was probably the only decent thing in his apartment. It was easier to sleep, the little hours he did, when the mattress didn’t feel like a rock.