Nothing is True. Everything is Connected.
Sylum Advent 2020: December 2nd

Sylum Advent 2020: December 2nd

This Advent there is a series of Snippets or Timestamps from a variety of stories & characters.  Some of these will become larger stories, some will be as is.

Title: Building Castles
Author: Gil Grissom
Sylum Timeline: Mid 2000’s
Summary: Brian discovers what Lucas does for stress relief

“Where’s Lucas?”

Dom looked away from his book and up at him. “Probably somewhere downstairs. He usually retreats there when people get too much for him. He doesn’t do crowds all that well sometimes.”

“So I should leave him be?”

Dom shrugged. “If he’s completely averse to company the locks will be engaged and there’ll be a note on the door telling everyone to fuck off unless they have an actual reason to be downstairs.”

“It doesn’t bother anyone that he does it?”

“Nope, because one time David bothered him until he snapped and stabbed him in the chest with a six-inch kitchen knife.”

Brian stared for a minute then burst out laughing. “I don’t even want to know what he did to elicit that reaction.”

“David had that shit coming. And Lucas didn’t hit the heart, so it wasn’t like there was much of a mess while he was healing. Daniel actually spent the entire time he was healing laughing at David. But after that, Josiah made the executive decision that if Lucas needed to not deal with people, he locks the door and puts up the note. If that’s not there, then you’d be good. It just means that he’s been around too many people for too long, or people have exceeded his capacity to tolerate idiocy.” Then he went back to whatever he was reading. 

Brian didn’t ask about his book and merely left the room. Sometimes he found Dom’s taste in books bizarre but to each his own. Instead, he wound his way through the halls until he came to the doors that led to the underground area. There was no note on the door, so he tested the knob and it opened easily. 

Slipping inside, he headed downstairs and sent out his hearing to see if he could figure out where he might be since the lower level was fairly expansive. He couldn’t really hear much, but it wasn’t a surprise. The walls were thick and they tended to have pretty good soundproofing to help with those downstairs not disturbing one another since it was a big work area and the location of the infirmary. Thinking for a minute, he decided to start with the area where the labs and other sciency crap was since that was Lucas’ life’s blood, and if he was anywhere, it was likely there. 

Lucas wasn’t in the actual labs, so he continued on toward the conference rooms. As he turned the corner, he saw the last one on the right had a light on, but the door was closed. Brian walked up and tapped lightly on the door.

“Come in.”

Brian walked in and stopped in the doorway and looked around, noting the classical music playing softly in the background. “You know, of all the things I could think you were doing down here, this isn’t what I was expecting. I was thinking more along the lines of bioengineering sharks that shoot lasers from their eyeballs or something villainy like that.”

Lucas looked up from where he was sitting at a folding table, the top covered in a pile of Lego blocks, of all things, and he smirked and shrugged. “I’d never be so obvious if I was trying to set up the ultimate lair.” He motioned to the room. “It’s a hobby. It’s enough to keep me engaged and help me release some stress without overstimulating my brain. Which is good for everyone when I’m about at my limit in dealing with people. Angel and Javier keep telling me that murder is not a reasonable reaction to people who trod all over my last nerve.”

“Yeah, the majority of humans tend to frown on that reaction,” Brian said dryly. “I heard about the David incident.”

Lucas snorted. “He had that coming. I warned him. I also received a two-hour lecture from Atahualpa on why we don’t alienate our allies by stabbing them in the chest, and a series of sessions with him on learning to manage my irritation, but really, I know he was amused by it, even if he didn’t completely approve.”

“Did the sessions stick?” Brian asked, amused. 

“Not on a bet.”

Brian laughed. “Can I?” he asked, pointing over to where there was a large table covered in what looked like the base to whatever Lucas was building.

“Sure. It’s not a secret what I do down here, though I don’t think most of the clan here actually knows what I’m doing. They’re too scared to find out and risk getting stabbed, I think. A few who were brave enough to beard the lion, like you, do though.”

Brian nodded and went over to look at it. It wasn’t much, since it seemed he was just starting, but it was clearly going to be something huge. “What are you building?”

“I’m going to work on a castle, complete with the village and everything that goes with it. The sketches for it are over there on the small table in the corner. The pictures in the album are of what I built previously before I took it apart.”

Brian walked over, eying the tubs and tubs of Lego blocks that were neatly labeled and stacked on the floor or on metal shelves. “How does everyone not know this is down here?”

“Patently unobservant?” Lucas said, laughing a little. “Honestly, no one really comes down here. Mostly the scientific-minded come down here, and even they don’t tend to bother with the conference and project rooms down here. The underground was built with a much larger clan in mind since when they built it, they didn’t want to have to add on below ground unless absolutely necessary. It’s way easier to add housing topside.” 

“Yeah, I can see that. But still, this is a lot of Legos. How did they not notice?”

Lucas shrugged. “I come here a lot and usually bring a few containers to add to the collection here, and those who are in the know often buy sets or blocks they find on places like eBay for my birthday or Christmas and just drop them off in here. When I showed up, there were six actual sealed sets and four post boxes full of them. They’re over there in the corner.”

“Cool. I’ll keep that in mind for future gift-giving.” Brian grinned when Lucas laughed, and he went over to look at the sketches. “Whoa,” he said, more to himself than Lucas as he slowly flipped through the book. 

The castle was going to be massive and highly intricate and adding in the sketches for the villages… It even had a moat and was going to have a huge garden maze that wound around three sides of it. “How is this going to fit on that table?” 

“It’s not. I have other tables in the room across the hall that can be brought in once I’m ready for it. This is obviously a long-term project that will take years, and I know I’ll have to adjust and tweak what I have on the sketches to work with the actual building blocks.”

Brian nodded and turned to the photo album, sitting down in the chair by the table so he could flip through it. There were several different scenes, clearly built at different times, but none of them were as big as this particular project was going to be. Still, the mythical forest and the whole Olympus set up was really impressive. “You’re really good at this.”

“I also build models of different things, like scenes like this and ships. The old kind, not the newer ones they have now. Doing it with Legos is different, obviously, but it does the same thing for me, which is easing the stress and getting me out of my head and away from what’s causing me problems. It’s just here, Legos are easier to do since I can leave it whenever I need to without worrying about it being left in a precarious state.” 

Brian nodded. “Do you still do other more traditional types of models?” 

“I do, but I usually reserve those for when I don’t have anything pressing and I’m at home. It takes a lot of tools and materials since I make all the pieces from scratch.”

“Look at you being all talented and shit.”

Lucas snorted. “Look at me trying not to go into a psychotic rage and kill everyone around me. I love my clan, but there are people there that I would dearly love to punch in the face on the regular. Or stab, but I don’t want to continually be witness to Ata’s disappointed face.”

Brian laughed as he pulled the chair over to where Lucas was working and sat back down. “I know the feeling. I spend every single day of my life wanting to punch Vince right in the mouth.”

“I can see that.” He quirked a brow at him. “You want some advice from someone who has been around a bunch of crazy people for over a century?”

“Hit me with it,” Brian said, sitting back as he twirled one of the blocks in his fingers.

“Carve yourself out space just for you. Not your office or a corner of your suite, but a separate place. Build it if you have to. There’s plenty of space around the property, and there are also empty rooms. As I said, many of the conference rooms down here aren’t being used currently. But make it your own, where you can retreat so you can do whatever you can to decompress. I’ve seen you. You get stressed sometimes and need to be away, especially with all you’ve been through, but everyone is always there, even when they’re not trying to be intrusive. It’s the nature of a clan, especially one that is so close-knit. And it’s a good thing, but it can be stressful on its own. 

“And police your space so they know when you’re there, you need to be left alone. It’s rare that I lock the door and put up a sign on the main door while I’m here, and it’s not usually for a long time, but sometimes I’m just right at that edge and I need to be away from everyone completely, even my Mates. The thing is, the clans can go a long time without anything happening and then have to deal with a whole lot of crazy. We’re currently in the middle of a storm of crazy, and my gut is telling me it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. Do what you need to in order to stay sane and keep your wits about you.”

Brian nodded. It was definitely food for thought and it made sense. He had moments where he just couldn’t be around anyone, not after being in Afghanistan. “I’ll talk with Josiah about it, see what we can come up with. It’s a good idea. I’m not sure though what would be good for me.”

“What are your hobbies, your passions? What do you want to explore or experiment with? Besides building cars. That’s always going to be a group thing in the middle of a garage. It’s just the nature of it. But what do you want to do for yourself? What do you want to try? What kind of space will that require and how do you want it to look?” 

Brian nodded and watched Lucas as he sorted through his pieces for several minutes while he thought. Then he blurted out, “Shit, I need actual hobbies, don’t I?”

Lucas snorted and rolled his eyes but didn’t say anything. Still, Brian grinned and sat silently, watching Lucas sort, which was kind of relaxing all on its own.


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