For a moment, Garen was more than slightly convinced that he should have Cleo come take a look at JD just to be safe, because JD seemed to be having a minor stroke in front of him. But then the fifth year got his words back and Garen realized that it wasn’t that JD had anything physically wrong with him: he had just never considered not being a pop star.
And Garen got it. He really got it, because he remembered being a teenager and being one hundred thousand percent sure that he was just going to do theater for the rest of his life. And while long-ago-teenage-Garen wasn’t wrong (he had done some theater stuff literally every year, even when he was working full-time at RMI, and he didn’t plan on stopping any time soon), long-ago-teenage-Garen’s vision of the future was not accurate. Yes he had done Broadway. But there were plenty of other things in his life, family and career-wise, that made him just as happy and just as proud as any role he’d ever played.
Of course, JD was fifteen so he couldn’t see that. “It’s my career, it’s what I do, the reason really doesn’t matter. Just do your job and fix me. ...please.”
That “please” really tugged at Garen’s heartstrings. Based on what the rest of the staff had said about the Cetus, it might be the first time he’d ever said the word. And he sounded like he meant it. “Okay,” Garen said kindly, “we can figure this out. What did you used to like about performing? What’s different now?”