HUNTER SOCIETY PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS
Applicant Name: Jason A. Hale
Examiner: Dr. Shimura
In the waiting area, the soles of his shoes tapped near silently on the tile floor beneath them. Against all reluctance by the man he now found himself checking the clock. Waiting for his name to be called, his head rested in his hand. Elbow propped on the armrest of the chair. About the room it was mostly empty, spare a couple others.
One young kid that sat somewhere behind him. He noticed him come in but took no details of his face. The other was a woman. Judging by the lines of her face she wasn't here for quite the same reason as he was... it left him to wonder what the first hunt would have in store for him. Soon enough his name was called, and Jason stepped forth. Following the instructions that were given, he took a walk down the hall until he found the door he was instructed to enter. Entering for an appointment. One he didn't especially ask for, but if it meant he could get started already, then what the hell.
With that, Jason opened the door and walked into the office.
The room he entered was quite spacious compared to the waiting area. Jason entered what seemed to look like a library or a personal study room, with an array of books sorted neatly on the shelves in alphabetical order. The curtains were drawn back to let the sunlight flood into the room through the large glass window that seemed to take up the entire wall parallel to the door. His boots were walking on polished, oak floorboards that didn't make a single creak. In front of Jason was a large wooden desk, adorned with decorative carvings along its legs, and a rack beside it to hang a familiar black coat, and on the other side a small refrigerator.
A man was standing in front of the desk, his back facing Jason. He was just as tall, if not an inch or so taller. He seemed busy sorting through the files on his desk, it had been a busy day and there were more clients seeing him than usual. His raven hair was slicked back, and his raiment consisted of a white dress shirt with his sleeves rolled up his forearms, a grey, satin suit vest, dress pants that were a darker shade of grey, and glossy black shoes. All of which were slim fitted to his lean physique. When he heard the door open, the man's hand waved over to the leather loveseat by the enormous window. "Please take a seat, lay down if you wish. We have a half an hour to spend together, so please do try to make yourself comfortable. Would you like a beverage, Mr.-?"
The man paused as he grabbed the correct file, seeing that this was a special case in the front. When he opened it up, the man stood still. Absolutely still. It was hard to tell if it was either belief or surprise, but eventually, the man chuckled as the edge of his mouth curled into a smirk. The man turned around to face him, revealing his familiar gaunt face that wore blue eye contacts. "Hale."
Upon opening the door and stepping through, the ex-mercenary’s eyes looked about the space, which was unexpected in his mind. It wasn't some box with white walls. He'd give it that, in the least. It didn't mean he was looking forward to being there any more than when they broke the news to him it was required. Blue hues glanced at the desk in the back when the man spoke, the voice holding a vague familiarity he couldn't place off the top of his head. They then skirted to the couch, making note that it wasn't just some joke. It was the real deal. The mercenary himself was more cleaned up than he'd normally be, lacking the blood stains expected to be present. Lacking firearms or knives, as far as one could tell. He was cleaned up. Hair combed through. A pair of jeans that weren't beat all to hell.
The man said nothing when instructions were handed out upon arrival, eyeing the chair once more with disdain. There wasn't any getting out of being there, and it irritated him enough. When the other male's voice died off, Jason's brow furrowed questioningly. That look he gave once the man turned around. Jason’s face fell entirely and Jason stopped dead in his tracks. Not quite to the point of the couch, he found himself frozen. Not of fear... but he couldn't comprehend what he was looking at.
"..." Expression fell ultimately blank in a sense of shock.
That smirk never left his face as he placed the file back down on the desk, crossed his arms, and leaned gently against his desk. "You look so surprised," Seth spoke with a tilt of his head. "No matter, the more you cooperate, the faster this will go. So please, relax and let's talk for a while." He spoke with a bedside manner. Seth didn't seem as insecure as he was when he was a child, seen by the unshakable eye contact he was giving Jason, nor as menacing as the stormy night in which Seth had kicked his door down to beat the hell out of him. Without asking, Seth reached into the fridge and grabbed a chilled can of coke, closed the door, and handed it over to the man.
For the longest time, Jason remained silent. Those eyes were wide. Wildly focused on what now stood before him as a man rather than the kid he was last accustomed to. He wouldn't move. Lips parted to speak and then closed. A couple times even, debating in his head. As much as he wanted to say his choice words and walk out of the room... He knew he couldn't. There couldn't have been more tension in the way he stood. Finally, he willed himself to move with reluctance. His eyes didn't leave Seth's presence. Nor were they any more inviting than they had been, years ago.
Sitting down stiffly on the loveseat couch his hand wouldn't reach out for the can of Coke. "So... this is what happened when you left the city." He muttered somewhat under his breath.
There was a lot happening to Seth when he left the city, but this wasn't about him so he left it for a very brief answer. "Sure, now let's start from the beginning, shall we?" Seth pulled open a drawer and took out a timer, twisting the knob at 30 minutes and placed it on the table. He spoke in the same calm tone for the rest of the session, grabbing the file and sitting down in a leather chair close by.
"You seemed to be happy living in an abandoned theater with a clowder of cats and bounty hunting, what changed your mind and made you want to become a Hunter?"
Jason's eyes immediately narrowed when he brushed off the statement, yet he said nothing otherwise. A less than enthused expression lingered on his face as he watched the timer be spun to the desired position. Thirty minutes seemed damn near impossible. As Seth sat down his eyes moved accordingly to follow. "I don't know Doc, how about you tell me. Got tired of sitting at home and knitting sweaters. I found myself a hobby." Humor was lacking in his response. Odds were, any chance of subtle sarcasm wasn't going to be held back an inch.
This wasn't uncommon, he had clients that turned to sarcasm as a defense mechanism. Seth was not bothered, remaining stoic. "Might I remind you that your 'hobby' is on the line at this very moment, your superiors have assigned you to me to assist in determining whether or not you even qualify to enter the HSHQ. Now, as I've said before, the more you cooperate, the easier it will be for me to gather information and the quicker you leave." Seth pulled out a pen from his pocket and jotted something down.
"Tell me about your handler."
Silence would persist in the room once again as his mouth drew a thin line of defeat. The look in his eyes matched. The man's teeth were clenched in his jaw. Jason leaned forward ever so slightly as he spoke in a low tone of voice. "What depends... what the hell you mean by 'handler'?"
"Your coach. The one who offered for you to join. She must have done so for a reason." Seth calmly spoke, looking over at Jason as he crossed one leg over the other and placed the file on his lap.
"O'Malley. She was a friend before I started." Jason confirmed dryly, "As for why I don't know... she preaches about purpose."
"Do you truly think this job will give you greater purpose?" Seth questioned, no sarcasm to be heard. "What makes this job so different compared to bounty hunting?"
"I don't know." Jason answered fairly quickly. It was something decided during the interview process. The only answer he gave then, the only answer he could give now. "I guess I'd be moving for once. A little stability." He concluded.
Why did he bother answering, anyway? His posture had relaxed just ever so slightly. Whether it was fatigue or otherwise, who knew.
"Stability? Perhaps that's what you've been searching for, or at least, you never knew you needed it until you realized you did." Seth jotted something down. "You've been working alone for quite some time, what are your thoughts about working with others?"
"Who knows." Jason answered. All the while his eyes were watching the end of the pen as it moved suspiciously across the paper. He leaned up to sit back against the couch, now. "It sounds like a pain in my ass." He answered truthfully. Blue hues were set to the floor. A tad more thoughtful than his gaze had been. "But it's Alice... and whoever else. If I've got to, I've got to. I'll manage."
"Really? And how has managing worked for you in the past?" Seth looked back into his file.
"You were abused as a child so you managed by leaving home at 14. Then you found out that you had bigger problems so you managed by conducting a series of crimes primarily before and during the age of 20 and wasting your life away with alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. Then much later, you realized you had a daughter due to effects of alcohol, and you managed by blaming the mother and remaining ignorant. Now tell me again how managing has worked out for you and how many other lives will be affected by your 'management'?" Seth's tone lowered, but he sounded just as calm overall, intending to bring up his past at one point of the session.
Just like that. Jason's eyes were ripped away from the wood floors and he was staring straight at the other. His expression seemed neutral... yet his eyes told a different story. They always had. One look, it seemed like he was about to snap. From then it was a timer set before he'd truly snap, and it had never been in a young Seth's favor... but this wasn't then.
"You think I don't fucking know what I've done..?" His jaw tightened again. As did one of his hands, now curled into a fist where it rested on his leg. "Do you think it was fucking easy, do you think I wouldn't take it back if I could, including your sorry ass, but do you think that's a goddamned option!?" His voice was raised, little by little. He was glaring, now.
"Of course you have, but have you really changed since then? You can't take anything back, what's done is done. You lack the discipline to control your urges and getting angry about what you've done now doesn't change anything. You need to face your past and find your faults, not manage around them like a coward." Seth kept his voice leveled. He was being brutally honest, and Jason reacting doesn't benefit his case.
A brief silence followed. His hand balled into a fist was shaking. While not quite visible, he could feel it.
Steady, Kei. The mere fact he was trying to hold himself back was seen in his eyes. In a defeated manner the man forced himself to be at ease yet again, or at least as close as he could manage. Leaning forward, Jason's head lowered and a hand brushed through his hair, staying there momentarily before he would lean up again. He exhaled a breath before he spoke. Voice quieted. Nearly pleading, even? "Alright... listen. I know you don't fucking like me. And I wouldn't blame you for a second. I'm here because I'm sick of it. You're lecturing me about change well here I am, and if I don't do this, then... well, I don't know what else there is. But I'm trying."
"This isn't about whether or not I like you, in fact, that's irrelevant. The fact is, you're trying but there hasn't been a difference in your results. I can't make you change, that's up to you. As your psychiatrist, I'm here to acknowledge what you've done, what you're doing wrong, and to discuss how you will go about changing yourself, whether or not you decide to be the change you're looking for is on you." Seth explained. There wasn't any sympathy or sarcasm, he was a stonewall. This was his job, it was business, nothing personal.
One passive stare against the other. In that room for the first time, however, Jason's expression was first to waver. He was waiting to be able to leave, but the timer on the table suggested not yet. His gaze fell on the folder on Seth's lap momentarily. He wondered if he was fucked, yet. He could have come all that way just to be given a plane ticket back. His brow furrowed and he looked straight at Seth yet again.
"Do you have any other questions you're wanting to ask me... or what?"
Seth jotted something down once more until he closed the file and stood up, walking over to the desk. "I'd say you have an objective now. You know your mistakes, so just don't be afraid to face them. Everything we have talked about will remain confidential." He took the timer to reset it.
"You may leave."
Jason said not a word upon being dismissed, a bit of a glare present on his face watching the other man returned to his desk, but it was an empty threat. The man stood from the couch, glancing at the door out. Ah.. what the hell. Last second he snatched up the can of Coke left on the edge of the desk and made his way out of the room. The door shut quietly a moment or so later.
Read Next: [Part 2]