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Caretakers: The Highway.


On a stormy evening, a young man stands outside and examines the horizon.


The air outside is frigid, and thin. A single breath barely satisfies the lungs. With each drop the cold stabs into his skin.


“Go back inside, you’re going to get sick.”

his Caretaker reminds him.


But he spurns the thought. After all, he needs to think. What better place to think than a storm? His thoughts quicky turn away from the cold back to original quarry; Everything.


As he walks through the rain his mind wanders. What is the meaning of life? How far will humanity go? What does the universe do?


Religion says “God is the answer to all of your problems!”


“Really?” He thought. “An omniscient, all loving, all powerful being? If that were true, why is there evil?”


Too many logical gaps for his taste.


He continues walking; The drops of rain coming down like bullets now.


“Why is this so hard?”


His mind begins to race, reaching for any shred of meaning in his bleak existence. As his mind raced, so too, did his feet. First a jog, then a run, and finally he broke into a dead sprint.


Lungs burning from the cold air as he gates past office buildings, apartments, and intersections. His pace equal the that of his thoughts.


He suddenly comes to a halt. He stands at the edge of a retaining wall, and below him some thirty meters is a busy highway. Breathless from the sprint he decides to sit down, both legs dangling from the edge.


“This is as good of a place as any.” he mused. The Caretaker reluctantly allowed it.


As he continues to ponder a grim reality hits him. As the rain soaks in, so too does the bleak truth.


“There is no meaning.”


The thought landed harder than a bullet. There had to be meaning. There has to be a point to existence, otherwise why bother dealing with the bullshit that goes with it?


“Why bother dealing with the bullshit?”


His tortured mind, now flirting with thoughts of suicide as it had so many times before.


“You need to stop this.” the self preservation mechanism warned. “If you continue i will be forced to take action.”


“Fuck off.” he said, as he stood up. “I don’t need a babysitter.”


“Actually, you do need supervision.” it spoke in a digital voice. “Thats why I was installed, to keep you alive.”


“And what a fantastic job you’ve done.” he murmured with spite. “My heart beats, but I am nothing but a husk without purpose.”


“Well, if i can interrupt your self loathing for a moment…” it paused, as if to ask permission. Taking his silence as a confirmation, it continued: “Perhaps the meaning of life is only what you assign to it. Your friends–”


“What friends?” he interjected coldly.


“Family, and the relationships you build are the meaning.” it continued. “Put bluntly, the meaning of life could be whatever keeps you from killing yourself.”


“So, you. The dungeon keeper are the meaning of life?” he stated, his voice dripping with sarcasm.


“You know what I mean.” it said.


“Do I?” He took in the thought. “I get to choose my meaning.” he mused.


The thought seemed liberating. If he could choose his meaning then he would try to make sense of it all. The universe was a big place after all. The answers must be there somewhere.


“You know,” he started “you’ve got a point.”


“Oh? Did I finally breach your self pity?” it said in jest.


“Never. I will self pity and self loathe until the day I finally pass from this world into the endless void that is death.” he quipped. “No, you made a valid argument. And while you didn’t give me an answer, you have given me a starting point.”


“Thats good. We’re making progress.” his Caretaker said. “Lets go inside before you get sick, Avery.”

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Source: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist - How to End Drama and Get On with Life

The second chapter talks more about the Caretaker role. An excerpt:

Being a Caretaker to a [borderline personality/narcissist] is equivalent to being a full-time, unpaid therapist even though the [borderline personality/narcissist] is an adult who should be caring for him- or herself. [They] need you to nurture, need you to listen, be caring and concerned, take responsibility for negative feelings, and create a world that is no longer scary.

I got a 175 (Self-Defeater). What did you get?

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This was a request from @burtlederp! Hope it’s what you were looking to read :)

Tagging the Danny crew: @bleeding-demon-teeth, @spiffythespook, @finder-of-rings, @whumpywhumper, @pumpkinthefangirl, @special-spicy-chicken, @whale-whumps

CW: Not much. Some reference to the events of So Broken and Not Broken, so you’ll need to read those before it makes much sense, probably. Discussion of violence.

“The American healthcare system can stop panicking now,” Ryan Michaelson announces as he pulls aside the hospital bed’s curtain with a flourish and holds up the small, surprisingly heavy black rectangle in his free hand. “The money is here.”

Then he pauses, making a face at what he sees.

“You’re definitely not my brother.”

“N-No, thank God,” Nate replies, voice dry as a desert. He’s sitting with his legs hanging off the edge of the bed and still has his jeans on from earlier, although Ryan notes with a lurch in his stomach that he can see dark spatters of blood soaked into them. Instead of a shirt he’s wearing one of those tie-in-the-back hospital gowns, pale blue and printed with tiny little flowers. “We can’t all h-h-have the misfortune.”

“I think you mean the epic good luck, thanks… besides, your weird-ass relationship with my brother would be much creepier.” Ryan recovers easily from the moment of surprise - expecting to see his tall, long-limbed brother and a shock of red hair and instead getting the shorter, more muscular, dark-haired Nate Vandrum.

“In, indeed.” Nate sighs and looks down at his hands. They’re heavily bandaged, the both of them, and Ryan swallows a little. “D-D-Danny is g-getting… he needed st-stitches on one of th-the cuts. He’ll b-b-be back in a bit.”

“And you?”

Nate shrugs. “I c-cut one hand. My b-b-bad hand is b… bruised, m-m-mostly, but I scraped the kn-knuckles, so they wrapped it up, t-too.”

Ryan fights a sense of nervousness at walking into a place where Danny should be and finding him not there, shaking that off quickly enough as he pulls up one of those awful hospital chairs, designed to look like they’re padded but it still feels like you’re sitting on bumpy stone nothing anyway.

The last time he was in a hospital, Danny had pneumonia and it had been an absolute nightmare trying to deal with his terrors and trauma while Nate huddled in the waiting room, rubbing his hands together, utterly unable to do a fucking thing until Danny was sedated.

This time, Ryan walked into a room to find Nate Vandrum the patient, sitting perfectly still in a way that unsettles him. It makes him think of those nature documentaries with predators that just lie in wait. Nate is calm, placid even, his green eyes dark and fathomless.

Somehow, Ryan feels even less prepared for this.

He drops into the chair, reaching up to rub the back of his neck. “So… on the phone, uh, you said you guys got attacked by someone? You weren’t… super up for giving me details at the time, so…”

Nate rolls his eyes - just barely - and Ryan fights a smile at the simple sign that he’s human. There are days Nate Vandrum feels more like a bit of stone or a robot following his brother around the world. “I w-w-was busy,” He says, not quite flat.

“Are you busy now?” He keeps the irritation out of his voice… but only just.

Keep reading

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rosefaceAnswer
Bro,, what's the final assessment like for caretakers? They don't hunt so what do they do as a final test? :0c

FUNNILY ENOUGH i just released some pages talking about caretakers final tests but!!! ill go more in depth here :3c

caretakers do hunt actually ^w^!! however it’s not part of their specific roles, and it’s more like a task they’ll pick up if needed (like how seer’s main roles, obviously, are caring for the clan’s sick and injured, but they can hunt if they’re in the mood for it or it’s really necessary) or to spend some free time - hunting exclusively between two cats is usually associated with either close friendship or a romantic date (so, say, a cat is trying to romance another cat in their clan, they might invite them on a solo-hunting patrol so they can spend some personal alone time together outside of the clan! OR two friends that hunt together and work in tandem are viewed as having a perfectly compatible friendship and are close)

BESIDES THAT LITTLE DETAIL OF UNNECESSARY WORLDBUILDING (ive been a bit rambly lately hehe!) caretaker apprentices have an in-camp based assessment! they are to take care of the kits the whole day, including grooming, making sure they get their meals, entertaining them and watching over them to make sure they stay safe, while the senior caretakers watch from the elders den and observe how the apprentices handle kits on their own. there’ll also be a little “mock invasion” at an unknown point in the assessment where either warriors or caretakers (not the seniors, of course, but the senior caretakers determine who this mock invasion consists of and when it happens) to ensure how quick the apprentices reflexes are and how they defend the kits and nursery :3!

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I know you’re spoiling us with all the Ryan and Bram microfictions but if you want to do the prompt 15 or 16 for demands I would be spiritually and spicily fulfilled for at least a month 🌶

Oh, well, if it’s about spiritual fulfillment…

CW: Intimate/creepy whumper, food withholding, forced starvation, noncon touching, vaguely referenced implied noncon

“Open your mouth.”

Ryan keeps his eyes on the floor, memorizing the swirling pattern of the woodgrain. If he tilts his head to the side, just a little, he can almost see a shape. Like maybe a dog’s head, he can kind of see the floppy ears, the big eyes-

No. Don’t think about dogs.

“Come on, Faerie Boy, open up for me.” Abraham Denner’s voice coos at him, it purrs, and Ryan shudders where he sits between the man’s legs, on the living room floor. Cold fingers are constantly in his hair, yanking at his curls, tangling and touching him.

If he moves his eyes, there’s another spot. Like an eye, with swirls and swirls of color inside. Like things that move inside Denner’s eyes-

No. Don’t think about his eyes.

Denner’s hand tightens around his hair, jerks his head back so hard Ryan whines, low in his throat, at the pain. He is forced so far back he’s looking up at Denner, who looks down at him. 

“I said open your mouth, puppy.”

Ryan shivers, and shakes his head, keeping his mouth closed tightly in a thin line. It won’t last - it doesn’t last - it’s never worth it - but he defies the orders, anyway. 

Abraham tsks, softly, with no visible sign of being bothered by Ryan’s tiny pointless rebellion. “Now, now, puppy, that’s not very nice.” He raises his head, just slightly. “Red. Heel.”

“Wait, no, you don’t have to-”

Abraham shushes him, and lets go of his hair as Danny comes in from the kitchen, swaying on his feet. There are dark circles under his older brother’s eyes, and he can barely stand. Denner never lets him sleep, isn’t letting him eat. He barely makes it to them before he drops to his knees. He doesn’t kneel - he falls.

“Open your mouth, Red.”

Ryan watches with horrified fascination as his brother leans forward, with empty blue eyes, to open his mouth obediently.

Abraham leans over and puts a peppermint hard candy on Danny’s tongue. 

“At least give him food,” Ryan whispers. “You’re going to starve him to death.”

“No, I won’t,” Abraham murmurs. “I know exactly how long he can live without eating, Faerie Boy. Now tell him to close his mouth and say thank you.”

Ryan shakes his head, mutely. “N-No, I won’t, I’m not part of what y-you do to him-”

Abraham laughs, and starts petting through Ryan’s hair again, rough pulls and scratches at his scalp. “Not yet.”

His hand hurts, but tonight, Ryan knows, either he or Danny will be dragged into Denner’s room and the hands will hurt so much more, when they-

No. Don’t think about his hands.

Abraham leans over and touches Danny under the chin with his free hand. Danny’s mouth closes, obediently. “Thank you, Abraham, for giving me something to eat,” Danny whispers. 

“Good boy.” Abraham laughs and sits back. “You’re not a part of what I do to him yet, puppy,” He says affectionately to Ryan. “But you will be.”

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