After Hannah’s death, Ehren began to take his commitments more seriously. He’d had a vision about Dorians escape and had failed to mention it to Caspian or his family yet. On top of that, Ehren was trying to get Hannah freed from her cage and needed Caspians help to reach out to her. He’d exchanged texts with Caspian and a dinner invite had been extended. Since it offered the opportunity to address everyone who’d been there, he accepted.
It seemed odd to be going to dinner with a family but he was glad he’d been invited. Things with Dorian would most likely be uncomfortable but he could get past that. With a bottle of red wine tucked under his arm he knocked on the door of the address he’d been given.
The offer for dinner was not one that he extended lightly; he had weighed the pros and cons carefully and with consideration for his brother and friend. But Ehren played an intricate part of the plan for the future and such was the dilemma in inviting him over for dinner. Though fostering relationships between friends was something that Cas was oddly good at.
He felt the familiar mind long before the man had even reached the sidewalk, but Caitlyn rushed to the door with her father in tow when the knock had come.
Of course he had told Laura, gotten her input on the invitation before he had extended it. But now the blue eyed devil was staring out at his friend through the opened door. “Ah, Ehren,” Caspian greeted. Caitlyn looked up at the other man. “Please, come in.”
The door would be opened enough to allow the other man into the home. “This is my daughter, Caitlyn. Let me show you around.”
When the other man allowed him to enter into the house he offered a smile to the young girl. “Hello Caitlyn, I’m Ehren.” He responded, following the other man inside. He hadn’t been in any of the houses on the island, he was a single man, they placed him in the single apartments. This place was nice, looked like a real family had lived in it. He didn’t think he’d ever get to live in a place like this, not for as long as he lived here.
“Thanks for the invite, I wanted to talk to you all about some things.” Mostly Caspian but Laura and Dorian needed to know you.
Caitlyn offered a smile and a small wave but she remained quiet and close to her father as Ehren entered their home. Caspian pushes the door closed gently and then turned toward the foyer, “Just this way, then.” Leading his friend down the narrow corridor and into the living area, Caitlyn rushed ahead to go find her mother.
“Of course,” came the reply, and then Cas’ eyebrows would arch at the need. “What’s on your mind? Please, make yourself comfortable. Could I get you anything?” They didn’t typically have alcohol in the house, nobody drank it, but water and an occasional juice or soda could be found gracing the shelves of the fridge.
While he was chatting with Ehren, Caspian was busy letting the others know mentally that their guest had arrived and they were welcome to come make themselves known at their leisure.
Making his way through the house he took in the details of the room. It had the look of a home that a family lived in. Ehren offered a smile to Caspian when he offered his assistance. “Water is fine, thank you.” He replied. Ehren had never met Caspians wife or his daughter but he knew Laura from his vision. He could see why the two were together, it seemed they both had a fire inside of them that could be dangerous of prodded.
“Your house is cozy. I can’t remember the last time I was in a house.” Before he got to the island for sure, how long before that was a blur. He wondered if he’d ever see anything outside of this place, it seemed unlikely.
Hearing Caspian’s voice in his mind, Dorian closed the book he had been reading and made his way out of his room and down the stairs to join the Finns and the guest. Stepping into the living room, he stopped as he saw Ehren. Mentally blinking away the uneasiness, he walked over to Caspian. If Caspian had invited him, then he shouldn’t have a problem with him being there.
Laura was the last to emerge, from the kitchen with Caitlyn at her side. They didn’t often have invited guests, and Laura had never been one to really know how to entertain. The transition from single mom with multiple jobs to well-to-do housewife was an odd one, but then just as she was adjusting to that, the family was sent here. Laura was now somewhere in between, and wary of their guest.
But she was getting better at putting on a good act. She glanced to Dorian, then looked to Cas and the man with a smile in greeting. She lightly wrapped an arm around Caitlyn and gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze of reassurance.
Ehren stood and watched as the rest of the family emerged. He was shocked to see Dorian there. He recalled Caspian mentioning that they knew each other but he had no idea that Caspian and his wife were the family Dorian refused to speak about. Suddenly he realized that this probably made Dorian uncomfortable since he didn’t want to share that with Ehren. “Hi Dorian.” He said with a nod, stuffing his hands deep into his pockets. A red tinge came to his cheeks at the slight embarrassment this caused.
He then addressed the woman. “Hi, I’m Ehren, it’s nice to meet you.” He offered his hand politely to her, it seemed like the polite thing to do. She shielded her child like Ehren’s mere presence was a threat to them. He couldn’t blame her, the longer he was here the more frightened he became of new people.
As Dorian approached him Caspian would offer a look of trust - he was well aware of the dynamic between the two and he would never allow harm to come to Dorian, especially in his household. A hand would raise and settle upon Dorian’s shoulder briefly, to offer strength and support. There was always a reason for what he did.
Caspian’s attention would go back to their guest. “You know Dorian already,” he piped up, before motioning to his wife, “and this lovely woman is my wife, Laura.” The gaze offered toward the brunette was soft, adoring, worship. He didn’t mention the little thing growing inside of her, leaving that to her to disclose as she chose to.
The bottle of wine Ehren had been toting was taken and handed to Dorian to do with as he pleased. “My friend,” Caspian addressed Ehren, “why don’t we let Laura and Caitlyn finish up in the kitchen, they’ll shout when everything is finished. You and I can take our conversation into the living room. Anything you have on your mind can be disclosed in front of Dorian and Laura both, however things like dinner are pressing and I only tend to get in the way when I’m in the kitchen. Why don’t we retire for a bit in here, shall we?”
Caspian would wave to the living room. A pit stop would be taken to fetch the water that his guest had requested, and they were within earshot of Laura so she wasn’t left out of the conversation.
Ehren followed Caspian into the living room, finding a seat and folding his hands in his lap. He waited for Caspian to return with the water before he spoke again. “I had a vision a while back, of you and Laura breaking Dorian out of a facility.” He began, gripping at the fabric of his jeans. He never liked telling people about his visions because knowing one's own future could alter it immensely. But if he didn’t tell them about this, than they would be in far worse danger.
“I don’t know if this happened yet but if it hasn’t then if you’re going to get out of there unnoticed you need to make sure those cameras don’t capture you.” He urged Caspian, taking the water from the table in front of him and taking a sip. He hoped he wasn’t too late, it was dangerous for the government to have that kind of power over them.
Hearing their words, Laura nodded and turned back for the kitchen, urging Caitlyn to go ahead of her. She was just into the kitchen when she heard the warning. Turning back, she lingered in the doorway, looking from Dorian to Caspian with worry.
The situation with Dorian has occurred already; they had gone to rescue him and left none in that room alive. The cameras had been considered - he wasn’t daft enough to believe they weren’t constantly being observed like lab rats - but Dorian’s life would not fall by the wayside. There had been plenty of times in his life and Dorian’s where they’d nearly perished pulling each other out of perilous situations. A few cameras weren’t going to deter Caspian from saving the other man, regardless of the implication.
“Far too late for that, I’m afraid,” Caspian explained, tone lowered. “I am no fool, Ehren. Destruction Island is not the only place with cameras to watch its citizens.” He had no fear of the cameras - the Government would’ve come a long time ago to his doorstep after the rescue had anything of interest been captured on the digital film.
“I do appreciate you bringing this to my attention, though. We need to protect each other as much as possible.” The family, Ehren, anyone else loyal and close. “And I can assure you that if anyone tries to harm anyone in this house or at your place there will be blood.”
Dorian remained at Caspian’s side as he spoke. A light wave of a panicked memory and the faint lingering pain at his wrists were in his mind as he listened to Ehren and then Caspian. Then he looked over at Caspian as it seemed Ehren had been brought under the protective wing.
You are bringing him into the fold? He thought.
Ehren felt his heart sink. He’d mentioned his vision briefly to Dorian but he never confirmed if it had happened or not. Another victim of his selfishness, gone by the wayside to his own inaction. Whatever version of the future he had seen, at least Caspian had taken an alternate route to keep them safe. “I’m not sure how much help I can be. Sometimes my visions happen shortly before, sometimes many years. The future is never set in stone, I’ll try my best to warn you of any more harm that might come to you and your family.”
The vision had happened shortly after Dorian and Ehren had their first and last date, so he didn’t want to approach Dorian because he was sure that Dorian felt him untrustworthy. He only wished he’d gotten over his pride and warned them of what might happen. He could understand the tendency to be untrusting of others, his own paranoia had been at an all time high recently.
“You are helpful,” Caspian assured Ehren. “Visions or not, your loyalty and observation skills are unparalleled. Even though this information is delayed we are better for it. The Government seems to have its eye on Dorian.” But there was no plan for the guards to come for his brother. Now they were armed with more than powers.
’Yes. He is useful to us.’ would be placed into Dorian’s mind. The connection they shared was strong.
In time things would settle down between everyone and they would work in harmony.
Without turning to look at Caspian, Dorian listened but kept his attention mostly on the kitchen in case Laura and Caitlyn need assistance. But then he turned back to Caspian and Ehren. He was distrustful of Ehren for good reason, but he would follow Caspian’s lead.
Okay. Dorian would return. His wariness would be obvious to his friend.
The young man kept his hands lightly clasped in front of him, mindful of his posture.
Frowning slowly, Laura watched the three men before retreating into the kitchen. She moved about carefully, finishing preparing the meal with Caitlyn’s help while the others talked.
He nodded his head to Caspian. He was a well spoken man and clearly intelligent so it wasn’t hard to follow his lead. “There’s something else…” he began, wishing he didn’t have to ask this of Caspian in front of his family. It was risky and he could see how devoted this family was to each other.
“I wanted to ask if you could help me with something.” He began, trying his best to word it in a way that wasn’t too confusing. This whole situation still confused him but he had to do something. “The woman who died earlier this month, she had a technological ability, she could manipulate technology and the government used her in this machine. She didn’t explain it very well to me but from what I gathered her consciousness would go into the ether.”
He wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed but when he’d met her she had been so detached from herself that it took a bit for her to behave normally. “I think she may be trapped there.”
’Trust me, I won’t let you fall prey to anyone.’ The comment was settled in the forefront of their connection, his and Dorian’s, but Caspian’s attention never wavered from Ehren.
When the beginning of the request came he relaxed more, settling into the comforting cushion of the seat. He hadn’t expected to hear about the woman - Hannah - again but his interest was piqued regardless. Ehren’s words threatened to teeter the fragility of Dorian’s situation, that admission that the young woman was a product of the Government. She’d been taken out so unceremoniously. ’Fret not, I have you,’ was given to Dorian.
“And how do you propose that my abilities would come into play in aiding you here? Are you seeking intelligence? A way to sneak unnoticed into the facility or the Government building?” This sounded like a search and rescue mission.
“What exactly do you need?” And what was Ehren willing to give in an effort to balance the scales?
He’d promised Logan he wouldn’t do anything reckless but if it meant saving an innocent life than he should be willing to put in that risk, shouldn’t he? “Obviously I don’t know what you’re capable of, other than what you did for me, but if there was a way you could communicate with her on her level than maybe I can figure out how to free her.”
Hannah didn’t deserve to live in eternity in an existence like that, she deserved peace. “I know it’s asking a lot but I don’t really see many other options.” His biggest motivation was to carry out what he’d planned before she died, her freedom. He’d forgotten about her and couldn’t save her in time.
He could feel Dorians eyes on him, feel that Laura was listening and he wished he could’ve been the person to bring good news to this family who had obviously been through a lot. What was important was that they were good people. When it came down to it, Ehren’s purpose was to help the ones who deserved it.
The statement seemed one of opportunity though Caspian knew his abilities in that regard were severely limited. To Laura he dropped words into her mind rather than being rude by shouting at her in an effort to get her to join the conversation. ’Darling, would you join us in the living room? Caitlyn can mind the stove for a moment.’
His response was simple enough to Ehren’s request. “I wish I could be of more help in that aspect, but like anyone else I have limitations. My abilities only work on those like you and I, and I will confess to not being rather technology savvy. Though that’s not to say we don’t have potential in other alternatives.”
Trying to tap into a computer or a cloud of information to talk to someone was beyond his realm of aid, but this island was full of others who could potentially assist that he could persuade.
Hearing Caspian’s words, she begrudgingly returned to the living room. She did not want to be a part of this little recruitment process, not when she saw how uncomfortable it made Dorian. But that was why Cas was good at this these things, he saw the bigger picture. Unsure of what she could offer to the conversation, she carried in a tray of drinks for those who didn’t already have one.
He watched Laura enter the room and took in the details of her. She was quiet but it was clear there was a lot that she understood. He knew about Caspians ability so there could be any conversation happening between them that he couldn’t perceive. When Caspian recalled his limitations, Ehren returned his gaze to the man in front of him. “I’m looking into finding someone who can help in that regard, but her release might require more than just something technology based and from what I can tell, you’re one of the more powerful telepaths out there.”
Daryn had always been a possibility but her growing disdain toward the faction, he wasn’t sure she’d be up for the task. “I know it’s a lot to ask and you could potentially put yourself at risk. If you want to say no I would completely understand.” Though he might find the task harder without Caspian.
While he appreciated the compliments and the want for his help he had to consider other factors. Had Laura and Caitlyn not been a factor in this equation the decision would have been easier, simpler. He had to consider the larger picture - not only for their escape but for being around for the unborn child that Laura was carrying. He wanted to be around for that and that meant weighing the risk.
Turning to Laura as she brought over drinks, Caspian spoke to her, “What do you feel about all of this?” Her perspective was valued, welcomed. There was no ground to be selfish anymore, not that he wanted to have to be. He hid nothing from her regarding his past, why start keeping things from her now?
They also had to talk about what Ehren’s contribution would be. Caspian didn’t have high expectations - resources here were limited, but there was always something to be gained from a quid pro quo situation.
Laura only looked briefly at Ehren, scanning him carefully. A look to check on Dorian before she turned to her husband. At the question, she thought a moment and weighed her words carefully. Her opinions on the cameras would be reserved for later, when they could have a conversation alone. She didn’t think he should be taking it so lightly, but wouldn’t bring that up here and now.
Shrugging, she looked to all of them before focusing her words on Ehren. “If you want to help your friend, you need to be going about it an entirely different way. If she really is trapped, the only way for her to get out is for you to find a contact already on the inside.”
Ehren nodded at Laura, taking in the advice and viewpoint she had. She was right, they needed to get to someone on the inside. As far as cameras went, he was always careful about what he said in front of them, he hadn’t revealed the Faction and the details were vague. “Ok, I think I make that happen. Is there anything else you can suggest?” He asked her.
He’d asked Caspian once not to root around in his brain but he always wondered if he was listening, wondered if he’d ever be alone in his thoughts around him. Ehren didn’t know Laura but he could tell she was smart, fierce too.
Laura did have another comment, but she bit her tongue and kept it to herself. Caspian had decided to bring Ehren into her little group, he had his reasons and she wouldn’t rock the boat. Glancing to Dorian, she gave him a reassuring look before responding to Ehren’s question. “Just to be careful. It’s one thing to be on this island, it is entirely another to be held captive. Trust me, I know from experience.”
He nodded to her and returned his attention to Caspian. “So will you help me?” He asked him, the hope apparent in his eyes. Ehren felt a trust for Caspian that he hadn’t felt for anyone in a while, even though they were still mostly strangers. He didn’t expect the answer to be yes, not if he really thought about it but there was always a small chance something might work out right for him.
Her suggestion and warning promptly discarded, since the man was still intent on Cas helping, Laura just shook her head and left the room. She glanced to Dorian, feeling badly for how uncomfortable he seemed, so she offered a way out. “When you’re free, could you help me in the kitchen Dorian?”
Dorian listened and watched, remaining at Caspian’s side despite his discomfort which was trying his best to conceal from everyone. ‘Trust Caspian’ was his motto. Then once Laura called by name, he turned to look at her and then Caspian. “Yes, of course,” he spoke as he nodded to the other two men and stepped away to join Laura and Caitlyn in the kitchen.
Being a mind reader he didn’t have to look at anyone’s face to distinguish how they were feeling. While he did his best not to pry into his wife’s mind, he knew her well enough by now to understand her emotions in the tones of her voice. He was also connected to Dorian, so the discomfort the other felt was not something Cas could ignore.
His attention went back to Ehren once Laura had turned and walked away. “While I would love to be the one to spearhead this endeavor, love, I will say that I will not be of any use to you in this regard. Even if we attempted to find someone who could assist you, I know things would end badly. I have too much at stake right now to risk being involved in such a project. Perhaps once things settle down a bit then we can revisit this. My apologies.”
There would be no swaying or negotiating with him, his mind was made up. “I do hope you shall stay for dinner, regardless of the outcome, but if you don’t feel like it I think we understand.”
He should have realized this was a long shot from the get go, but Ehren was attempting to make up for all of the inaction that caused bad things to happen to people who didn’t deserve it. He was sure there might be better options down the line but the sting of disappointment still radiated momentarily. “I understand.” He agreed, his clasped hands still folded in his lap.
At the offered dinner, it did seem rude to deny it, but he had a feeling that it might be far more uncomfortable to stay than to just leave them be. Dorian clearly didn’t want him there, and Laura seemed less than eager to welcome him into their home. It made sense but it saddened him all the same. “I should probably go, thank for your hospitality.” And while it might have felt like the right time to use sarcasm, Ehren’s manners kept the tone neutral.
While he wasn’t above risk, trying to attempt something as large a feat as what Ehren had proposed was pushing the limits. Caspian was unarmed, his power would’ve been useless for the task, and while he wasn’t above murder in cold blood he preferred it to happen on his own terms. None of this ended well for anyone involved and he wanted to be alive when his child was born.
“Thank you for understanding. This does not mean we cannot plan for more for the future, my friend. We have to pick and choose our battles wisely in an effort to remember those who have fallen. I am still here for you.”
And then the nod would come. “I understand, as well. You are welcome here any time. Let me see you to the door.” Caspian would rise from the chair and he waited patiently for Ehren to do the same, before he escorted his friend toward the entrance. “I do wish I could’ve been more help to you.”
“Thank you for your time.” He replied as he made his way through the threshold. “Have a good night.” He said, a memory of saying the same when Dorian ended their date. Letting the door close behind him he began the trek back to his apartment. He let out an exasperated sigh as he looked back on the interaction. It didn’t work and now he was forced to come up with another solution.
The deeper he dug himself into this plan, the more he felt he was in danger. He promised Logan he wouldn’t do anything reckless but the further he got into the more he felt it might be necessary. There was no telling how this was going to go yet but he wasn’t ready to give up.