Authors note: I haven't written a story in a few years, but I recently decided to start over with a new name. I have a bit of a psych background, but I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, so I've taken some liberties in client/therapist relations and on diagnoses and symptoms in this story. Also all characters are fictional and created by me, and as far as I know, this plot has not been done before.

Both Sides

By: Mizzlizdiz

Dr. Jack Thomas strode down the hallway of the state hospital of which he was employed. While he was one of the newer employees, only possessing the position for six months, Jack was rapidly acquiring a reputation for dealing with difficult patients. His calm, gentle, and understanding nature assisted in building a close trust and rapport with clients. Because of this reputation, a new client had been recently referred to him by a colleague.

This new client was a bit of an enigma. He had been a resident in the hospital for almost two months after being admitted by court after being found living on the street, unable to care for himself and having attempted suicide. Despite residing for two months, a formal diagnosis had not been established. The previous therapist had ruled out some, but couldn't seem to handle the case, needing to take a leave of absence, burnt out. This surprised Jack, since the previous therapist was one of the better that Jack had known. Knowing this had caused Jack to feel a little on edge upon meeting this new client. Jack had gotten permission to meet with this client in the client's own space instead of in his office. It was unorthodox, but Jack felt that it might assist in the client relating to him and in turn help him relate to the client.

Turning into the room, Billy Harper was not the sight that Jack expected to see. He was lounging on his bed with a book cracked open. Long, light blonde hair covered most of his down-turned face, a slender hand with the palest skin Jack had ever seen turned a page. He didn't look up as Jack stood in the doorway, seeming fully absorbed in whatever he was reading. Jack softly knocked on the open door. Billy immediately jolted, his head snapping up to look at Jack. His mouth opened a bit in surprise.

"Hello Billy, I'm Jack," he held out his hand for the younger man to shake.

Billy cautiously took his hand. "They told me you were coming by." He paused and cocked his head to the side a bit, "How is Dr. Clayton?"

Jack hesitated at the question, not expecting it. "Dr. Clayton is taking a vacation. He asked me to come see you while he's gone." He gestured to a chair in the room. "May I sit down?"

Billy nodded. Closer, Jack could see bright blue eyes peeking out from behind his hair. The other man seemed curious about Jack's presence. He calmly marked his spot in the book, placing it on the bedside table. Glancing at the cover, Jack was mildly surprised to see that what Billy had been reading was a selection of plays by Oscar Wilde. It wasn't what Jack would expect an average young man of Billy's age to read. As years go by, the classics are increasingly overlooked by younger generations.

"You like Oscar Wilde?" Jack asked, deciding to instigate conversation from the discovery

Billy's mouth quirked upward in a slight smile. "I read the Importance of Being Ernest when I was in high school." He shrugged. "This was in the library so I thought I'd read his other stuff"

"What do you like about his plays?"

Billy shrugged again, rubbing the back of his neck with his left hand. "He's funny, I guess."

Jack nodded. "Dr. Clayton told me that you like to read. He also told me that you enjoy art?" Jack had found this information in Billy's chart, in Dr. Clayton's past notes.

Billy nodded. "Painting. Miss Theresa lets me help out in the art group."

All residents of the hospital were required to participate in at least four group sessions a week, two chosen by the current therapist based on the needs, goals and objectives for the client, and at least two were chosen by the client themselves. Groups were led by clinical therapists, recreational therapists, the art therapist, the music therapist, or the dance therapist. All the therapists filled out paperwork for each client's file, a simple check off sheet, consisting basically of: attendance, level of participation, appropriate responses and positive group interaction. There was a small space for notes if needed.

Theresa was the art therapist. Jack had read her notes thoroughly. She had been deeply intrigued by Billy's artwork. His color choices and style was very distinct. Billy seemed to favor light and bright colors, many blues, greens, yellows, and white. Close to the time that Dr. Clayton needed to take his leave of absence, Theresa had noted that his paintings had started to incorporate darker colors, reds and blacks, and his style had begun to change. This was a topic that Jack wanted to discuss more thoroughly with Theresa. Art therapy and the theories behind it was a topic that Jack knew little about.

"Did you want to see some of my paintings?" Billy asked.

Jack smiled and nodded. "Yes, I would."

Billy grinned and pulled a book out of the drawer of his bedside table. He handed it to Jack. "The earlier ones aren't as good."

Jack opened the book, and could see what Theresa meant by her notes. Billy's art was almost impressions, rather than actual objects. It was light and flowing, landscapes, seas, abstract shapes, little towns, people. As Jack turned each page, he was struck by the depth of beauty of each piece of art. Nearing the end of the book he came to a piece that he could only describe as pure anger. It was dark, sharp angles, no smooth lines of the previous pieces. It was like staring at a downward spiral, a never ending abyss.

"This one is different than the others," Jack pointed it out, wanting to see what Billy would say to explain.

Billy's brow furrowed as he peered over the edge of the book to see which one Jack pointed out. His scowl darkened when he saw it.

"I didn't paint that." His voice was flat, with a twinge of coldness underneath.

"You didn't?" Jack tentatively prodded for elaboration.

"I found it in my sketchbook, others too. I threw most of them away. I guess I missed that one."

Jack noticed the torn pages that he failed to take note of. He ran his finger along the ripped edge of paper. There were more than a few. He closed the book.

"Your paintings are very good. You must help Theresa a lot with the art group," Jack backed away from the delicate subject of the other paintings.

Billy smiled at that comment. "I like to. Theresa's nice. It's my favorite group."

"What other groups do you have?"

"Music appreciation. That one's good too. Life skills and coping methods are my others," Billy rolled his eyes a little at the last two.

"Not your favorites?"

"Dr. Clayton told me I had to be in them," Billy sighed. "I don't really care, they're just boring."

"How often did you go see Dr. Clayton?"

"Twice a week."

"Did you like seeing Dr. Clayton?"

Billy nodded. "He was nice. If I had a dad, I'd want him to be like Dr. Clayton. You could tell he really cares ya' know?"

Jack nodded in response. "So you felt that you were good friends?"

"Him, Theresa, and Cheryl are my only friends here."

Jack was surprised by that statement, the lack of friendships that Billy had. This first impression of Billy was one of a quiet, but friendly young man. Jack would have assumed that he would make friends with no trouble.

"I'd like if we could be friends," Jack told Billy.

Billy cocked his head to the side, a motion that Jack had noticed him do a few times during their conversation. He smiled. "I think we could. You seem like a nice guy."

Jack grinned. "I'm glad." Jack glanced at his watch. "I'm sorry, but it's about time for me to go. Did you want to meet at the same times that you and Dr. Clayton did before?"

Billy nodded and told him the days and times.

"Excellent. Those are perfect times for me as well. I'll see you in a couple days. It was good to meet you." Jack shook Billy's hand again.

"See ya' Jack."

xxxxx

After a long day of work, Jack tried to relax in his apartment. His heated up dinner was steaming on his coffee table, but he wasn't paying much attention. Billy Harper's file was in his lap. He was finding himself fascinated with this new case. Upon meeting Billy, he was unsure of what he thought. Billy had seemed quite lucid, and functioning normally. He didn't appear to be suffering from audio or visual hallucinations. He carried on the conversation, there were no word salads or flight of ideas. Everything he said made sense. Except concerning the painting. Jack was confused by Billy's denial and anger over the piece of artwork.

Pulling his mini recorder, small enough to conceal in a shirt pocket thanks to technology. Jack rewound it to that particular moment, listening to the tone of voice, the emotion and almost lack of emotion in Billy's voice. What a strange combination.

Jack paged back to Billy's admittance notes. He had already read them about five times, but wanted to go over them again. Billy had been found on the street, half-dead. He had taken an overdose of a mixture of pills. He had no form of identification on his person. When he was well enough to ask, he had stated that his name was Billy Harper. Regarding questions on family, he had replied that he had none, he was an ex-foster kid, being too old for the system at the age of nineteen. After a brief psych evaluation, it was recommended that he be put in state care, due to undergoing a major depressive episode, and a possibility of other mental disturbance.

There was a photo attached from the hospital, the police had put up a missing persons bulletin in case Billy was a run away. Billy looked thin and frail, his eyes seemed almost vacant as he stared into the camera. He almost seemed like a different person from who Jack had met that day.

Jack sighed, tired of thinking about it. There also was the slight mystery of Dr. Clayton's absence. What about this case had troubled him so? Or was it a culmination of stress from his workload?

He threw aside the file and took up his dinner. He hoped to uncover it all soon.

xxxxx

It was three days until Jack met with Billy again. This time, Billy requested that they meet in the courtyard. The buildings were built in a square pattern, leaving a decent sized courtyard area where the patients could go outside without the possibility of escape. The area had gardens and trees that were tended by the horticulture group as well as a few benches to sit.

When Jack arrived, Billy was already there waiting for him. He was reading a book again, the light glistening off of his hair, giving it the appearance of glowing. It was that moment in the sun, that Jack appreciated that Billy was an attractive specimen.

Billy glancing up snapped Jack out of his stupor. He grinned at Billy and offered his hand.

Billy shook it with a sly smile, "Just on time Dr. Jack." His head cocked to the side, "I almost thought you forgot about me."

"I have an excellent memory," Jack good naturedly retorted. "Still reading Wilde?" He gestured to the book in hand.

Billy nodded. "I'm almost done with it."

"What will you read next?"

Billy shrugged.

"This is a nice spot out here for reading." Jack leaned back against the bench. There were few people out, it was peaceful, the quiet only interrupted by some soft murmurs and birds chirping from a walnut tree.

"It's my favorite place to be here, besides my room."

"Do you like being here?"

"It's better than some of the places I've been."

Jack nodded. "I was told you were homeless for a time. That must have been very difficult for you."

Billy looked him in the eyes. "I wasn't homeless. I was in a foster home, but they kicked me out." He paused. "Dr. Clayton asked me about being homeless too. I would never do that. I had a job when I was in high school. Even if it is crappy, I would work retail as long as it meant not to be homeless."

"Where did you work in high school?" Jack could see tension developing in Billy's body, fists clenched. The neutral question relaxed him some.

"I worked at a grocery store. It was fun. I did a lot of stocking shelves and stuff," Billy answered casually. "I had some friends there too that…."

"Hey kid, you got a cigarette?" Billy was interrupted by another patient.

Billy shook his head. "I'm sorry, I don't smoke."

The other patient waved at him, "Hey it's cool man," he went on to ask the next person he could see.

Jack was a little annoyed that a patient interrupted. These sessions were supposed to be confidential. He appreciated when the nurse on hand in the courtyard noticed and made sure that She was between them and other patients to deter them from approaching.

Jack felt safe to continue.

"Did you ever have a career in mind for after high school?"

Billy sighed and leaned back. "I never thought about that, or college," he scuffed his foot in the dirt. "I never thought that I'd go."

"Why not?"

Billy shrugged. "How would I pay? Where would I stay when the semester ended?"

"What would you do if you could do anything? What would you want to do?"

Billy frowned a bit, tension visible in his body, "I don't know. I haven't really been thinking about it."

Jack felt that it was time to back off from that line of questioning. "What have you been up to this week?"

"Just groups, painting, and reading."

"I heard that there's a movie showing tonight. Are you going?" The hospital had a fairly decent sized projection room and they showed movies for the residents every couple weeks.

Billy's nose wrinkled, "I don't think I'll go."

"Why not? Don't you like movies?"

"I like movies. I don't really want to see this one."

"Not even just to hang out with friends? The female wards will be there."

Billy snorted. "That's supposed to entice me?"

After a pause, Jack asked, "Is there anything you wanted to talk about?"

"Eh, I don't know. Whatever you want to talk about."

Jack was a bit frustrated by Billy's nonchalant answers. He had hoped for some volunteered self-disclosure. He knew that it was a bit early for that, but he had hoped that maybe some trust had been built.

"Well, it's time for me to get going. If you need anything, you know where my office is right?"

Billy nodded and shook his hand. "It was nice to see you again Jack."

Jack smiled at his then turned and went back to the building.

xxxxx

Billy slowly stroked his paint brush over the canvas page of his art book. He had a lot on his mind. He had just finished his third meeting with Dr. Jack. It was much like the previous two, Jack questioning his likes and dislikes, trying to get him to socialize with other residents, and asking about his past. Billy's feelings were of confusion and caution. He didn't understand why Dr. Clayton had left, and didn't want the same to happen with Dr. Jack. No, he didn't want Dr. Jack to leave at all.

His first impression of Jack was that he was one of the most attractive men that he had ever seen. He looked like he could come straight out of a movie or magazine, being tall and darkly handsome. His eyes reminded Billy of dark chocolate truffles. Billy also felt very comfortable with the other man. The trouble though was that Billy didn't want to talk about himself with Jack, he just wanted to know more about Jack. Jack didn't volunteer much personal information during their sessions, and Billy had questions he wanted to ask him.

Such as if he had a personal taste for young blonde men that are in insane asylums.

Billy snorted to himself. Highly unlikely. The painting continued at a brisker pace. Billy had always known that he preferred both men and women, but he knew that many didn't share his preference, and whoever he was attracted to more often that not did not share the attraction either.

He was running out of neutral topics to discuss with Jack. He knew that sooner or later he'd end up spilling his guts. That's such an unattractive phrase. Billy hated that phrase. But it was a pretty apt description.

Theresa came around to peer over Billy's shoulder at what he was painting. She paused, then put a hand on Billy's shoulder. "I think that he would be very flattered to see that." she gestured to the painting.

Billy looked down to what he was subconsciously painting.

A glowing image of Dr. Jack looked up at him.

He sighed and quickly brushed over the image with black paint.

xxxxx

Billy's next meeting with Dr. Jack occurred at the same place as the second. He was becoming fond of this bench.

Dr. Jack arrived just on time, offering Billy a smile and a hand to shake.

"How has your week been going?" Jack asked.

Billy shrugged. "It's the same as last week. How has your week been?" Billy daringly looked straight into Jack's eyes.

Jack appeared a little startled by the question, but covered it quickly. "It's been long," he said with a grin.

"Can't wait for the weekend? That's how I was when I was in school."

Jack chuckled, "yeah, a bit like that."

"I think that most people are more alike then they are different," Billy stated.

Jack seemed intrigued by that statement. "What do you mean?"

"There's not much difference between the people in here and the doctors. Not much difference between you and me." Billy paused, "I've been thinking a lot about what you asked me, about what I want out of life."

"Did you find any answers?"

"Not really, just that I want to live well," Billy unconsciously ran his fingers over scars on his wrists, scars that he had no idea how they originated.

Jack noticed Billy's movement. "You didn't live well before you came here?"

Billy was silent. Back to his past again. He knew that Dr. Jack wouldn't give up, but he had hoped he'd at least let up a bit. Why was he so focused on the past? Wasn't it more important who he was now, not who he was then? Billy didn't see the relevance.

He heard Dr. Jack sigh softly before changing the topic. "Theresa told me that you've been in the art room a lot this week."

Billy nodded. "I've been inspired. Painting is very relaxing." He hoped that Theresa didn't tell Jack about the painting Billy did of him. That would be mortifying.

They continued to chat for while longer, Billy dodging questions and Jack changing topics.

xxxxx

Jack was happy to be home that night. He thought how right Billy was about looking forward to the weekend. He was tired, from dealing with Billy's evasive habits, to his other clients tonguing meds, and suicide threats. Billy was almost easy in comparison to his other clients. He did enjoy having talks with the young man. He felt that they weren't making much progress though, which was disappointing.

Jack still hadn't heard word from Dr. Clayton and was currently trying to get permission to access Dr. Clayton's private video logs. While Jack recorded all his sessions, Dr. Clayton preferred videotapes. He liked to hear as well as observe the clients when he reviewed the sessions. Jack did see the benefit in it, but felt that videotaping was more of an invasion of a clients privacy than the audio alone. And it was more convenient to carry around as well.

Pasta dinner. Jack ate his meal as he finished up some client notes. He tried to avoid bringing work home with him, but sometimes it was a necessity. Billy Harper's file. He sighed as he opened it. He almost felt that Billy should be released. Almost. There was something off though. Billy's denied suicide attempts were a bit suspicious. Jack didn't know quite what to think. Did Billy suffer from major depressive episodes and was just so ashamed that he blocked them out? Jack couldn't seem to see anything else wrong.

Jack sighed, putting the folder aside. He decided to pay Billy a surprise visit the next day.

xxxxx

Jack stopped by Billy's room about 3pm the next day. Billy was lounging with a new book.

"Lolita?" Jack asked, gesturing to the book.

Billy smiled. "Humbert Humbert's obsession is interesting, how he doesn't repress his desires." He paused. "Have you repressed any desires lately doctor?"

Jack was a little taken aback by the question. "Not that I am aware."

Billy stood, moving closer to him. "I have."

Jack was dazed to have Billy bridge the gap between them and kiss him. It was warm and Jack could feel Billy's eyelashes fluttering against his skin.

If the kiss wasn't enough of a shocker, Billy shoved him away and began to scream at him.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME??" He shouted in short, clipped words, his face was hard and scowling.

"You kissed me Billy…" Jack started to explain.

Billy cut him off. "BILLY? Why do people keep calling me that? It's not my name!"

"What's your name?"

"My name is Danny!!"

xxxxx (To be continued)

Well that's the first chapter. I'm a little rusty. I feel like I need to delve more into the characters. I hope you enjoyed!

Mizz liz