DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 53: Breakfast
Ninjas > everybody else.
thatdamnedninja wrote in damned
With sigh that toed the ambiguous no-mans-land between soft and explosive, Yuffie collected a plateful of waffles with all the toppings. She was sure that, if nothing else, it'd making a pretty satisfying splat if—when?—she launched it at somebody's face, and that was all that counted.

"Hanna, isn't that a little much?" Plucky asked, doubtfully.

"Uhhm. No. About, like... a little while ago, I managed five caramel apple pies with ice cream and berries and, y'know, I think there was a gallon of soda involved at some point." It wasn't the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There really had been five caramel apple pies, but Cloud had ended up wearing two and a half and the third had taken a vacation to Boobsville (Tifa had loved it. Really. Really). The moral of the story (as she'd told Marlene and Denzel later) was that anything was game, just as long as you could run fast enough afterwards.

The nurse nodded slowly. "I… suppose. Well, I'll leave you to it. See that you behave, won't you, dear? You need to set a good example for the new batch of patients."

"My examples are the best examples," Yuffie proclaimed, with the dark-bright grin that still came so easily, no matter how little she felt really felt it. It lingered even when the nurse had flitted off to deal with another charge, but there was an edge to it. What the edge was, Yuffie couldn't say. Didn't want to say, after what'd gone down last night. Nah, she had better things to do; things like sitting down and waiting, just waiting, for Cloud or some other sucker of an easy target to walk through the door.

[HARLEY HARTWELL o/]

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[from here]

It was only after being guided into the room where others were gathered and eating that Aerith began to feel the walls closing in upon her. She had been so calm the first twenty minutes or so of being up and on her feet, but now things were starting to seem a little hopeless. If a nurse had directly guided her to do something simple like eat, then she assumed that the same treatment would be given during all walks down the halls. She just wanted a little bit of breathing room, enough to slip away and search for her friends.

All things considered, she didn't think that it was too much to ask for.

Frowning, she slowly ate at her food, and looked around the empty table she was sitting at. She felt lonely, and not because there were other people at tables around her talking. She missed her home and the others so much already, and she hadn't been away from them for that long. More than anything, she just wanted to know that they were safe and okay, and if she was trapped someplace like this she really couldn't do that.

She wanted to cry again, thinking about them, but she refused to allow herself to do it. Giving in to tears now would be weak of her, and she had to be strong. She had been through worse than this before, and she managed to get through that. She would pull through this just fine, once she figured out how to work the system here.

But to do that, she would probably need to speak to one of the other patients. She felt a little too down and unlike her normal self to do that just now though, and since she didn't want to be rude or mean to a stranger who didn't deserve her taking out her upset on them, she just kept quiet and focused on eating her breakfast.

She promised herself that at lunch, assuming people gathered in this same way, she would walk up to a table full of people and introduce herself.

[For Edgar!]

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Edgar rubbed his temples, trying to push out the memories of the night for even a second. The nurses were passing his door in the hall outside, presumably collecting patients for the breakfast shift. Rather than eagerly greeting the new day, ready to work again toward his goal, Edgar stayed sitting for longer than usual this morning, waiting for his nurse to knock before readying himself.

He rubbed his neck, tension still in him. His shoulder was healed, thanks to Natalia's help, and he was grateful to be rid of the sling; however, with the physical scars recovering came the infliction of new wounds, cuts deeper than he'd imagined the institute could cause. He was an expert at putting on a strong front- a leader had to be. Yet somehow, a weakness had appeared and manifested itself as a shadow being, conjured by Landel for one purpose. Despite his best efforts to swallow everything it had said, he couldn't deny that it had succeeded in some way.

Edgar sighed. With each passing day, it was more and more apparent why Celes had given up. He took a deep breath as the nurse finally gave his door a sharp rap- he could not allow himself to do the same.

After a brief stop by the board, he followed her into the cafeteria, choosing a few items for his meal before looking for a place to sit. His initial instinct was to find Natalia and check on her; however, she'd already found a seat partner, and a familiar one at that, if his memory served him well and that was Anise she was sitting with. He scanned the area again, recognizing another face he'd not seen in several days.

Edgar stopped at the seat before Aerith, giving her a smile. "It's been some time. Mind if I join you?"

[ooc: Many apologies for the delay! Thanksgiving break had me not online all that often at all. ;__;]

Surprised to have someone slide across from her, she just blinked and stared up at the man, trying to place how she knew him. "Excuse me?" Her head tipped off to the side, and she definitely couldn't place him as someone she knew from Midgar. He looked too kind to be someone from the upper plates, and he didn't look rough enough around the edges to be someone from the slums.

"I'm not sure that I know you, but I don't mind at all if you want to join me!"

She offered him a smile and a nod, hoping that her not really knowing who he was would make him run off and leave. It would be nice to have someone to talk to while eating, and maybe this someone would have some answers for her.

"I -" She began to speak, but felt silly for not really knowing how to begin, and blushed a little as she looked down at the table. "I know this sounds ridiculous, but I just woke up here and have no idea how I got here. Are we back in Midgar?"

[I thought that might have been what happened! I hope you don't mind backtagging a bit?]

Edgar blinked. She'd... forgotten who he was? He'd not made enough of an impression to hold him in her memory for even a week? He took the seat in front of her with an appreciative nod. Maybe he really was getting rusty.

Or perhaps it was something else entirely. Edgar had an inkling he knew just what it was as she continued. Just woke up, hm?

"I'm afraid this isn't Midgar, Aerith," he answered, putting a hand to his chin. "This is Landel's institution... during the day, at least. And you're telling me you don't remember me at all? We met here, only a few days ago at that. I'm Edgar."

[Not at all!]

"Edgar?" She shook her head a little, and cast him an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, but I think I would remember meeting you, and I definitely don't. But at least you already know me, so that saves us from having to do introductions, right?" That apologetic look turned back into a slight smile, and she clasped her hands in her lap as she looked over at him.

"The nurse that woke me up told me this was an institution, but I thought that it was one in Midgar. Nothing here looks like it was made by ShinRa, though." Which was disappointing, actually. Even if a terrible group like ShinRa had taken her captive, at least it would have been something familiar.

"And what does this place become at night, if it's only an institution during the day?"

"A 'madhouse' would be describing it charitably," Edgar said, lowering his voice. As he'd suspected, it seemed Aerith was one of the readmitted patients who had no recollection of their previous time within the institute's walls.

Another puzzle to solve: why would Landel bring certain individuals back, especially if they had no memory of their supposed recovery? Perhaps there was the chance that once Landel was convinced of his success in stripping them of their identities and released them to wherever he chose that they may have recovered themselves somehow, forcing him to bring them back to his domain for a second round. It was an interesting idea, and one that gave him hope for people like Celes.

That name was always going to sting him now, wasn't it?

"During the night, the doors unlock," Edgar continued. "Monsters lurk in the darkness in the halls, and it seems no matter how far you stray from the building, you'll always find yourself back here come morning." He paused. "Last time we spoke, you said you'd found some friends here- ones you knew back home. With some luck, they'll still be here and you'll be able to find them again. There's safety in numbers, after all."

"So we can leave at night?" Monsters never posed that much of a problem to her, not after she learned how to fight. But given that she didn't have a weapon or materia here, it made things a little difficult. But she knew that if she was determined enough to find a way back home, she would be able to get by any monsters easily enough. All it would take was a good plan.

But the idea of getting out of the building and then waking up once again in that room made her frown, puzzled about how she was supposed to escape. She focused so much on that part, that it took her a few moments to pick up on the fact he had mentioned something important, and once she finally did realize it, her eyes widened.

"Did I mention to you the names of my friends that are here with me? It's important that I find out, you see. There's safety in numbers, but I also can't just run off and leave any of my friends behind. I need to know who I should be looking for here."

"I understand the feeling completely," Edgar said with a small smile. "I've found a couple of friends from home myself, and wouldn't dream of leaving those I've made here in danger." That was especially not after some of the atrocities he'd seen: the beasts, the ruined town, the shadows, and the loss of said friends. Even if all the current patients were able to escape, Edgar couldn't think of leaving Landel unattended. In no time, he'd have a new collection of patients- the cycle would just repeat. He had to be stopped.

"I'm afraid you didn't mention any names, though," Edgar continued, slicing his waffle into a few manageable pieces. "While I wouldn't wish a prolonged stay on anyone, I hope you'll find at least one of them still here. It helps to have a familiar face around, doubly so if it's one you can trust. While the doors are open at night and we're free to wander, the building is far from safe. And though everyone should be on the same page here, as we have a common enemy, there are some patients who are less... savory than others."

A mild look of frustration crossed his face at that last note. If cooperation had been at the heart of every patient's agenda, they might have solved the riddles presented by the institute by now.

"I don't think I could ever leave anyone here, actually, even if they weren't my friend." She had only been awake for a short time and could already tell that this place wasn't very nice. Being told you weren't who you thought you were was a pretty cruel thing to do to someone, especially when she was positive that she was most definitely Aerith Gainsborough.

She looked up to see the frustration on his face, and reached out to briefly touch at his hand. "It will be okay, Edgar. There has to be a way out of here, and even if it takes me months to find it, I will!"

She was determined to do that, at least. She had to find a way out and back home, to finish her business there. The thought of Sephiroth and meteor left alone to destroy the planet made her sick, enough that she lost her appetite and pushed the remainder of her food away from her.

"I doubt I'm the first one to want to try and find a way out though." That little fact was troubling. If stronger people couldn't find a way to the outside, then what hope did she have?

[Sorry for the delay!]

Edgar smiled wryly. It seemed like ages ago that he'd said similar hope-filled words to Natalia, even though it had only been a few days, and he now found himself hearing them from another- one who had possibly found her way out, only to find herself back with no memories of her previous stay. Had Landel removed Aerith from his collection himself? Had she come too close to him, forcing his hand?

Well, there was no asking her himself now. As with every other tidbit of information about the Head Doctor, he'd have to find out another way.

"I'd like to think that's the aim of every patient, milady," Edgar said, putting his own hand atop Aerith's. "However, it's harder than it looks. As I said before, it seems the Head Doctor has a way of bringing us all back to our beds by the time morning arrives, no matter how far one my stray at night. Believe me, I've tried. There has to be a way to challenge our gracious host within his own domain, but information is scarce to those without connections." He had to count himself in that group, as tiresome as it was to admit.

"I'm a firm believer in not giving up, though," he continued with a smile. "With enough cooperation and a certain amount of luck, I know we'll make it out of here."

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