4th of july confusion
It's on Etta's request that you decide to show up for the party after all, and you manage to snag Jon on the way -- after all, if this party is mostly women like Etta says, you need your best wing-man. Granted, 99.5% of the time, most of the women just immediately make a beeline for Jon (of course they do, look at him, but hey he's also dating one of your closest friends so, seeing the tons of women turned down is kinda funny....before it turns kind of sad), but he tries. With the millions of things on your mind, you're trying to make sure you can get enjoyment out of being at this large party that seems more like a singles mixer than a 4th of July celebration. You managed to skip the 'fun in the sun' aspect of the day, which you're thankful for because you're not so keen on that type of thing. It seems too...elitist for you, even if that was the type of family you were raised in. It's just how it goes, the rich love showing they're rich (even if you don't, and you hide a lot of your wealth into video games or really nice central air systems that you're thankful for on a day like today). But you make it as the sun goes down and people have more clothing on than just bathing suits and you're dressed in shorts and a dark blue t-shirt. Casual, people don't seem to notice you, as it doesn't draw attention to you. It's perfect.

The night mostly goes well, and you're having a laugh with Jon as the fireworks start, and then suddenly you're hit with a horrible migraine, the worst that you've ever experienced. And then, it's suddenly not just you anymore. Ted's there in your head, and he's freaking out. Which turns to you freaking out, and suddenly it's not Thad in control anymore. It's Ted, and you're scared. Because you shouldn't be back, you had resigned to the fact that you were done, that maybe you had started to go insane earlier because your time was limited. But instead, you're alive again. You're standing next to Michael, who is just looking at you with wide eyes, because he can tell you're starting to panic. He firmly clamps his hand on your shoulder as you white knuckle grip the railing of the balcony (why is this party on a roof?) and you try to breathe. The fireworks are going off into the sky, and they're beautiful shades of blue but you can't focus on them because you're struggling to get the air into your lungs. You're back. Again. You shouldn't be back. This isn't right. This is...

...different, because now, the last thing you remember isn't Max shooting you in the head. It's sitting on the couch with Michael, him telling a dumb joke and trying to tell you that maybe things are different. Maybe neither one of them have to die so the other can live, because the rules are different in this universe. But once more, you don't know how long you have. You look at Michael, who asks if you're okay and you nod. You remove your hands from the railing and you step back, and you take a deep breath. You pat your hand over Michael's for a moment, so the other man knows he doesn't have to have a vice grip on your shoulder for comfort anymore, and you sigh softly. You've got something to attend to, and you know Michael does too, judging by the company around them.

You disappear into the the large penthouse, as you try to find a quiet corner to be in. The fireworks are awful because they sound like gunshots, but at least that's not your most prominent memory anymore. You practice breathing, you remember your training from Dan Garrett, and you try to focus. You don't know what time is left, so you have to act quickly. Thad doesn't seem to believe that you exist, and with good reason -- you didn't think he existed all of last week. So you take out the phone in your back pocket, Thad's phone, and you use the OneNote app, because things are more organized there, and you know Thad will appreciate it.

You start typing. And typing. And typing. The fireworks are going off and you should be twitching but you're just focused on the task at hand. Get as much information out as you can, because you have a feeling that this is going to happen again. And you're going to have to deal with it. You're going to have to see what that means for you. And right now, you need Thad to believe. Luckily, you know he's got a few people to help him. But, he needs proof.

It's an hour and a half later, and you're in the middle of typing on the phone, the battery at 30% when...it's not Ted anymore. It's Thad once more, but the problem is, you don't know how you got to be sitting on the couch in a way too nice apartment. Your phone is in your hand and you look down to see that you've been typing, but at first glance it seems like nonsense. But you scroll up, and you start reading.

My name is Ted Kord, and I have a lot I need to try to get down, I don't know how long this will last this time. I have questions about you, you'll have questions about me, but I'm just going to...write what I know. We'll go from there. Hi, Thad. It's nice to meet you.

There's more, and you blink a few times at your phone, and your finger hovers over the trash icon to delete the note, but something stops you. Instead, you swallow hard and you shut the phone down, and shove it in your pocket. You go out to find Jon and Etta, making sure to say goodbye to them, and then you leave. You've always hated these types of parties anyway, and if you black out for almost two hours every time you go to them...well.

But the words you've read are in your mind, front and center. My name is Ted Kord.

Jesus. What if your friends were right? Maybe you do need a new therapist. Or, maybe you just need sleep. You'll deal with it in the morning.