DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 53: Sun Room
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gald_digger wrote in damned
When the intercom came on to announce the shift change, the feeling of dread returned. Anise had calmed down considerably since the morning, and she felt more ready to discuss the previous night with Ilia... but not as ready as she wanted to be.

Since the Music Room was bound to be noisy and crowded, Anise opted for the Sun Room instead, hoping that Ilia would come to the same conclusion. She took a seat on one side of a couch in the middle of the room, and waited there. If Ilia didn't show up after a while, she'd go try the Music Room.

Even though this talk had been on her mind all day, Anise still didn't know what she would say. And if she explained the truth behind her shadow's words last night... what would Ilia think? On the one hand, Ilia had shown herself to be a compassionate person, and it was hard to picture her treating Anise differently. But on the other hand, Anise hadn't known Ilia that long... and Ilia was a soldier. She would understand the gravity of Anise's actions, and the sorts of consequences that usually waited for people like her.

With these worries weighing on her mind, Anise leaned against the arm of the couch as she waited.

[For Ilia.]

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Claire had said she would find him later in the day so the doctor went where he would be most easily found: the place they'd first met, by the window. The glass was still chilly to the touch, but the sun was bright and clear. It must be what? November? Early December by now? He sat on the couch and let his eyes drift shut while he waited. Infrequently he spent this part of winter in Kyoto with Oriya, and sometimes Ukyou as well. The girl never really stopped trying to celebrate his birthday. Oriya simply knew better, but wished him well all the same.

It was an odd thing to remember. He couldn't say he had any particular fondness for it, but Kyoto had always been...calming. He returned every year, to the place if not the people in it, but he had never missed it. Not once. He supposed before this he had known where he was going, what he was doing, and what he would accomplish - or fail to accomplish in a very permanent way. Now he was drifting, seeking the anchor of familiarity.

He usually found something eventually, up to his elbows in blood. Killing was a purpose all its own. Maybe it would cure him of this nostalgia for a while. He'd have to make time, tomorrow night maybe, to go out for a quick and brutal hunt.

He listened for the sound of approaching footsteps, content for the moment with the quiet of the sunroom. The cats didn't bother him. Animals had never seemed to like him very much.

[paging jungle bb]

Edited at 2010-12-05 08:07 pm (UTC)

She did not forget her promise from the board.

Shortly after lunch, Claire had padded her way from the cafeteria to the Music Room. She'd circled around it twice, then stalked down her nurse and demanded to return to the Sun Room. Though it was a place of interest (namely for the disc collection and the chance to resolve a long-time curiousity), she didn't find what she was looking for.

Her luck in the Sun Room was quite the opposite. She had spotted Muraki before she had even stepped onto the carpet. The room was strangely empty now, and that head of white hair was impossible to mistake even in the biggest of crowds. He was by the window, just like last time.

Claire slowed her pace when a cream coloured kitten nearly got tangled in her feet. She frowned, hefting it into her arms and pressing it against her shoulder. It clung to her shirt there, mewling. A hesitant finger stroked behind the downy soft ears and was met with a purr.

She supposed she could use the extra company. Claire coddled the tiny thing and quietly claimed a seat beside the man. "Muraki?"

The kitten's quiet mewling alerted him of the approach and Muraki smiled briefly, a wordless invitation. "Good afternoon, Claire."

He gave the kitten a brief bemused look before returning his attention to the woman, appraising her for any obvious injury. Whatever had happened last night, it didn't look as if it had affected her physically, and unless she snapped the kitten's neck and tried to eat it, he supposed she looked about as sane as she usually did. "It's good to see you in one piece." Bother with the formalities or get right to the point?

Claire stumbled on the courtesy. Greetings had fallen out of her vocabulary after a long lack of new company, so she spent a moment boggling at the man before murmuring the same back.

She nodded at him when he asked after her health, gaze flicking him over from head to toe. Immaculate, just as he was the last time. "Same to you."

She had a difficult time imagining Muraki getting involved with the sticky messes of survival. He seemed too clean for that. Or poised, rather. That was a better word for it. Too calm, too soft. No scars, so no previous brushes with danger either. Claire would not be the least bit surprised if the man spent the whole night in his room hiding away from danger.

The kitten enjoyed Claire's full attention, its eyes drifting shut as she stroked and scratched and rubbed with gentle fingers. The warmth against her chest wasn't the same as holding Aaron, but it was close. Something alive. She smiled down at the tiny thing and fancied that she could feel its heartbeat.

Her attention remained with the kitten as she spoke. "You wanted to ask me about last night?"

The girl had been too long away from company, and it would be tragic if she slowly returned to normal social graces. Muraki preferred her this way, charmingly awkward and to the point. He would have loved to keep her, he really would.

He didn't miss the tenderness with which she regarded the kitten. He would have thought someone who spent part of her life possibly hunting small animals for food would have little regard for pets, but apparently Claire was full of odd little surprises.

Muraki leaned back and crossed his legs. "If you're willing to tell me, I'd like to know what happened with the shadows last night. It seems like there may have been more to it than I'm aware of."

Edited at 2010-12-11 08:16 pm (UTC)

Her fingers paused, stuck in a soft tuft of fur. The kitten's eyes slid open and implored her with a bleary stare until they started moving again. It drifted off to sleep while Claire's expression grew dark.

The shadows. She had known Muraki was curious, of course, but it was an awful thing to think about. The brightness of the day did nothing to close the wounds opened last night by the shadows. They had terrified her. Cut her to the bone. Worse still, night was fast approaching again. All Claire would have to save herself with was her torch, and that didn't give near enough light to dispel the shadows completely. If they came back, Claire wasn't sure what she would do. They were only half-corporeal, impossible to kill. And they could touch her all they wanted.

"I don't know what happened. The lights came on. We were in a town, and it was all half lit. Even though the stores were empty. And I kept seeing this flicker from the corner of my eye, like the shadows were moving. Then they just popped out of the ground, like daisies. They looked just like us."

Her feet drew closer to the couch and her head drooped a fraction, almost as if she was trying to rub the kitten with her cheek. She wasn't half so distraught as this morning, and Muraki seemed like he would be less open to embraces than Bella was, but the subject was still a sore one. She couldn't face it without wanting to cringe. "Andrew's kept laughing about bombing people. I don't know why. I think he was in some kind of army, I couldn't tell. It was talking about how one Kraut was the same as the other, or something about Germans. It scared him, though, it scared him so bad. And my shadow was...it said the most horrible things. That I left Aaron on purpose. That I would be a horrible mother to him. That my friends left me because...because I was crazy and they didn't want me around. Even after they came back for me. It said I should just die and be with Ch-Charlie...that I wasn't good for anything..." Claire pressed the kitten closer, her strokes erratic, hesitant. The kitten mewled plaintively in protest, but she didn't listen. "They tried to kill us. They had the same weapons we had, and Andrew's broke his hand with a crowbar. Mine tried to stab me. I was trying to fight back, but they couldn't be hit. Everything just went through them like they were made of air."

TELL ME IF YOU NEED EDITZ

The lights he remembered, but he hadn't known it had gone so far as the town... or that there was an accessible town to begin with. Maybe Grell had looted one of the hardware stores for his chainsaw. Muraki would have to look into it.

Her description of the shadows wasn't what he expected at all. Shadow users were uncommon, but he had enough experience with them to know that it wasn't what Claire had faced. Stranger still, she hadn't been physically injured by them, and that was more-or-less their primary use. They had upset her instead. It was another case in which that seemed to be at least part of the desired outcome. What did Landel gain from it? And how did he know enough about Claire and her soldier friend to attack their insecurities?

Oh. Maybe he'd just listened to her speak for ten minutes.

He lifted a hand slowly, giving Claire the chance to reject his touch before he rested it on her shoulder in a gesture of comfort. His other hand went to hers, encouraging them to slow. "Shh, Claire. It was a trick. You know that. Please, don't strain yourself." He looked worried, and he was. If she got herself too upset, she might stop talking and shut down. The last thing he wanted was to deal with a weeping woman all afternoon when she wasn't giving him any information. "I'm sure you would be a fine mother, even as you are now, and a good friend as well. As for the shadows... hopefully they won't become a regular problem."

There was a sudden pressure on her shoulder, paired with gentle fingertips falling over her hand. Claire looked up at Muraki, lips pressed together in a trembling line. "How do you know it was a trick? It hit Andrew in the hand. It pinned me to the ground. How can it be a trick if it could touch us?"

Her head dipped lower, and she plucked the kitten from her shoulder to cradle it in her arms. "Even if he doesn't use them again, he'll just think of something else. There's always something worse here, something twice as crazy as the thing before and I don't know what to do anymore."

Not even John could compare by now. The polar bears were strange, but they were still bears. Regular old animals, just in the wrong spot on the globe. And the Others and Jacob, the Black Rock, the hatches - none of it seemed strange anymore. Hardly any of it was magic. They were all things that could be explained by humans messing around with the island, and even the things that weren't were so few and far between that this place could topple them in a second. It was too crazy. How were any of them supposed to get anywhere against odds like this?

"None of this is going to stop until he's dead," said Claire. She chanced meeting Muraki's eyes, her own grown narrow and wet. "We have to kill Landel, Muraki. All the nurses, too. Anyone who's helping him. Otherwise we'll never go home."

GOES FOR THE FUTURE TOO

Muraki shook his head once, a mute apology. Though the shadows might have become corporeal, it was still a trick to him, something meant to scare and mislead, maybe to distract her from what she would find in the town. The harder they were hit, the closer they would be to finding something useful, which meant Muraki might be looking in the wrong direction entirely. The shadows hadn't really bothered him, after all.

The girl, however, seemed to be on the verge of a breakdown. The doctor sighed silently and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. It was a purely physical gesture, meant to calm her down, but the words were less intentional and far more true. "The world is a dark place full of nightmares. Only monsters thrive."

There was no denying that the institute was a horrible place, but Muraki found it hard to see the difference between it and any other. In a way, the intricacies of it were fascinating... as well as the simplicity. Here, some of the monsters didn't wear a human face.

Muraki's eyes were clear and intense. "Yes, we do." He agreed quietly, without hesitation. Good. She was already willing to kill. "But something like that will take patience and planning. We'll share information, and maybe together we can find a way to return home."

His tone softened, though his eyes didn't waver. "In the meantime, take what respite you can during the day. Right now, at least, you are completely safe."

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