A Multifandom Asylum RPG

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Day 54: Lunch
serious business
full_score wrote in damned
All things considered, last shift had been pretty low key. After this morning's disaster, though, that was perfectly fine by Claude. Some fresh air and a chance to make sure Guy and Okita were all right weren't things to take for granted. It was also good to have a fairly normal, conversation with Guy that didn't slip off into awkward territory. Having Okita there as a sort of buffer probably made things a bit easier in that regard. Claude was confident that things would smooth about between them fairly soon -- if they hadn't already, even.

After checking the bulletin and making some notes of his own, Claude walked alongside his nurse into the cafeteria. As far as he could tell, the soldiers hasn't cleared out any since their arrival this morning. Not only that, but Landel didn't sound too happy about what happened. Was he going to get into trouble for the food fight?

Not that he had any sympathy for the Head Doctor, of course. That bastard deserved every bad thing that ever happened to him, and then some. On the other hand, it did make Claude wonder what would become of the captives if someone even harsher stepped in to take his place...

Was that even possible? Then again, Claude had to consider that no one even used tear gas the last time a riot happened. Had this morning's response been someone else's idea?

As hard as it was to sit and wait for things to pan out, Claude knew that ultimately time would tell what was going to happen. Thankfully, he had a lunch appointment to keep him occupied. After collecting his tray of food, Claude took a seat at one of the tables. It looked like he was one of the first people here, which gave him an opportunity to notice just how much better the room looked than after breakfast. He couldn't imagine how many people had been asked to clean things up. Really, it was a wonder they hadn't just made the patients do it themselves as punishment.

Well, regardless of all that, he needed to wait for that Mordio person to show up now, right? Claude kept an eye on the cafeteria entrance, although he suddenly remembered that the patient had never given a description of themselves. Hopefully Claude's own description would be distinct enough for Mordio to find him.

[For Rita!]

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By lunchtime, Kibitoshin was feeling slightly better. Slightly. He'd stopped sniffing, which was probably a good thing considering people would be eating near him now, but a quick stop in the bathroom on the way to the cafeteria still showed those horrible red rims around his eyes, like he'd spent all morning crying. And that certainly wasn't the strong, brave look he needed to aim for, was it? He wanted to look like a hero, not someone who dived for tissues every time something bad happened! But fixing that little problem wasn't exactly something he could manage during the day when there were so many nurses around, so he'd had to resign himself to looking silly until night fell. Then again, wouldn't it be too dark to tell how his eyes looked at night?

... anyway. Now that it was the middle of his day and he wasn't still in pain, it was probably about time he started thinking a little more seriously. Like tonight. He still badly needed to find out from Sechs just what it was that he was planning; with how unpredictable the android could be, it could have been anything from a quick stop in the Janitor's closet for batteries to a full-scale assault on the corridor outside the upstairs therapy rooms, all guns (pipes?) blazing. Not to mention that there were still people he hadn't heard back from.

Still pondering that one, he picked up a tray with his usual lunch things (it really was worrying that he was starting to recognise the food they served at lunch- he'd been here way too long already) and meandered around the room, looking for a seat. There wasn't really anyone around that he knew well enough to sit with- these days, Kibitoshin seemed to be all the more aware that his presence wasn't exactly welcomed by a lot of people, and he hated the idea that he was interrupting anyone. But he couldn't very well sit all by himself again, could he? Then he'd look like he had no friends at all!

In the end he stayed standing, floating helplessly between tables like a runaway beach ball stranded in the middle of the ocean, biting his lip with concern. Oh, why did he have to make things so complicated for himself?!


[Hope this is okay! He could use a pal.]

Much to the Scarecrow's surprise, the cafeteria looked as though everything that had happened that morning simply hadn't happened at all. Even with the tables clean and the dark-clad officials all back in their places, the former strawman was still feeling the effects of the morning's events. He'd barely gotten the map back from Mele before the doors shut and he became aware that something was very, very wrong. And then the smoke poured into the room from every direction, filling the air and suffocating everyone inside.

Before his kidnapping, the Scarecrow never had to worry about what was in the air affecting him- after all, scarecrows didn't breathe, and it was a good thing when it came to enchanted poppies and mangled witches and quelling riots. He was sure that falling under a witch's spell was bad enough, but what had happened during breakfast might have been worse.

At the time, he'd wondered briefly if he might be dying: he couldn't breathe, his eyes and nose both watering as he gasped for air. It only resulted in coughing, which led to pain running through him. The pain led to panic. Having surrounded the table with chairs for protection, he wasn't even able to run for a door. After finding him in a heap on the floor, the nurse cleaned him up and let him change before sending him out for the role call. She'd insisted he spend the second shift in the Sun Room, muttering something about how traumatizing the patients with tear gas wasn't good for their well-being.

And so, the Scarecrow found himself back in the Cafeteria for lunch. Even though it looked clean, he could still feel pain in his chest and a scratchiness when he breathed. There was also the fear it would happen again. What if he had been dying? Who could he ask to know what dying was like? Abe wasn't around anymore, unfortunately. Oh, he couldn't die yet! He had to help his friends, first!

The Scarecrow let the nurse collect food for him, taking the tray and looking for a place to sit. His eyes wandered through the empty seats before they landed on a familiar face standing in the aisle: Kibitoshin. Even though they'd talked only the day before, his friend was a sight for (literally) sore eyes, especially with the daily disappearances.

"How do you do, Kibitoshin?" he greeted, putting on a smile in spite of his reddened eyes and that gnawing feeling in his middle. "Are you looking for a place to sit?"

[eee ♥ the scarecrow is always okay!]

In the situation, Kibitoshin couldn't have been gladder to see anyone.

"Scarecrow!" Immediately, his face lit up. "I'm so glad to see you!" Sechs and Haseo would have been cross with him for being so indecisive, Franziska would have shouted at him for blocking the aisle and Goku-- well, Goku barely recognised him. Even if the Scarecrow hadn't been as nice as he was, he'd still have been the best possible person to run into.

He glanced back around the room, giving a little laugh. "Actually, yes. I wasn't sure where to sit." It sounded kind of silly out loud, like he'd walked aorund and somehow managed to miss every single chair in the room. Quickly, he added, "I mean, there aren't many people who don't have someone with them already."

And there were even fewer now. The cafeteria had filled up around him while he dithered and now he wasn't even sure that there was anyone left to sit with. He could've sat in a three, of course, but what if he'd been interrupting a conversation?

Biting his lip again just for a moment, he gave the Scarecrow a hopeful, curious look. He doubted the man would say no, but manners compelled him to ask anyway. "Why don't we sit together? I mean, there are two spaces right here, if you want to." To demonstrate he reached out and tapped one of the chairs in front of him ("Kibitoshin! Why are you blocking access to that chair like a fool?")- only to remember too late that his tray needed to balance on two hands rather than one and nearly tipping his juice all over his meal. Oops. "Haah... you didn't see that."

The Scarecrow nodded with a knowing smile and took one of the two seats, a little relieved that he wasn't the only clumsy one at the Institute. Of course, his came from his unfamiliarity with being human.

Even though he'd had his human body for a while now and was certainly getting better at using it, there were some parts he wasn't sure he'd ever figure out how to control well, especially his hands. It was so odd for his fingers to only bend one way! And they felt so stiff- he would have asked if that was normal, but he was sure he'd get even stranger looks than he did when he introduced himself by his real name. Maybe he'd try putting sticks in his gloves when he got home. Maybe being more human would make him a more effective scarecrow.

"Sitting together sounds just fine with me," the Scarecrow said after he'd already sat down, finding his fork and knife on his tray and getting to work on cutting his food. "I've got to say I'm glad to see you. Even though I hear from you on the board a lot, it's not the same as actually seein' someone. And with people disappearing so often from here and events like what happened this morning, I'm always wanting to know if everyone is safe or not."

With that settled (he'd made a suggestion! And it had been accepted! It was a miracle!) Kibitoshin settled down into the chair next to the Scarecrow with a pleasing sense of satisfaction. Even his appetite seemed to perk up a little. Maybe that was his problem- scary people were bad for his health.

Picking up his own knife and fork, he starting to poke experimentally at his meal. Fish and chips, had his nurse said? Hmm. As he prodded, he looked sideways to the Scarecrow as he spoke, brow knitting just a little. Ah... that was right. He'd talked about his friend not being here anymore on the board, hadn't he? Kibitoshin knew first hand what a troubling way that was to start the day, with the way things like that threw you right out of joint.

"I know how you feel," he answered, eyes sliding sideways. "It- it makes you feel like anyone can just vanish, and you'd never even know until-" An awkward swallow. He didn't think that either of them wanted or indeed needed to hear the end of that sentence. "I'm really sorry about your friend."

There wasn't much the Scarecrow could say. Everyone had undoubtedly lost friends they'd made in Landel's, either through the Wizard Landel's trickery or worse. While it was nice to know he wasn't facing loss alone, it certainly didn't change the fact that people were disappearing. Even worse was knowing he could be next. He still had so much to do!

He set his fork aside, a downward look accompanying his frown. He nodded after a moment. "Well, I know I'm not the only one with friends disappearing. I'm not about to let Wizard Landel get away with this. There's got to be something I can do."

But what could he do? He was no closer to finding his brain or his body, let alone an entirely different person. And he'd been looking for those first two since his arrival.

Well, there was no use dwelling on that now. He had to keep trying! "I did make it to the second floor last night," the Scarecrow continued, bringing his eyes back up. "There's a room up there with files on patients who've been released, but they're all sorted by the names they've given us here. If only I'd thought to learn those sooner! I should've known they'd be important somehow."

The Scarecrow was right, there had to be something they could do. Most of the bad guys Kibitoshin had ever seen or heard of had actually liked a challenge- a sentiment that, actually, the Kaioshin could whole-heartedly get behind if it wasn't for the fate of the entire universe- so that had to go for the people in charge here, right? They wouldn't just trap them without a single hope of getting anywhere. He hoped.

Or maybe he was looking into all of this too much. He certainly hadn't gotten anywhere, had he?

"A room with files?" Kibitoshin cocked his head, distracted. He'd been to the second floor a couple of times now, but he couldn't say that he'd ever really achieved much. He hadn't seen a file room when he was looking around with Franziska, and he tended to stay away from the horrible therapy areas if he could help it. Maybe it was time he started to be a little bit braver in his exploration.

His face screwed up a little in almost childish concern and annoyance. "I didn't think they were important, either! I just thought it was a trick. I guess we should start learning names just in case we need to use that room, huh?" He gave a little smile. "You first!"

Last edit, I super promise. D:

Now that was more like it! Even without his diploma, the Scarecrow had managed to come to the same idea as Kibitoshin, and at nearly the same time- maybe his human brain wasn't quite as broken as he thought, despite the clever little thing being in there.

"Well, all right!" he said with a smile. He paused as he was about to say it, getting another idea. "Just in case, I'll write it down for you. It can't hurt to have it tucked away somewhere, should I go missing." He shook his head- that was a frightening prospect, but he knew it was a possibility. Dorothy was so sweet and trusting that it was likely she could have been tricked by Wizard Landel easily; Kaiji had struck him as the sort to run if in trouble, so he might've managed to make it out. If someone like Abe, however, had disappeared, well... the Scarecrow supposed just about anyone could.

Pulling his journal from his pocket, he tore a half of a page from the back, writing "Hunk Howard" on one of the lines in big, shaky letters. He still wasn't very used to writing. "I don't think it's a very good name," the Scarecrow said as he slid the paper to Kibitoshin, "but that's what they call me here.

"There's a room with boxes upstairs all sorted by these names," he added with an upward jerk of his head to indicate direction, "but the room with the papers doesn't seem to have patients who're still here. Only ones that are gone, also sorted by the names they gave us. I wouldn't be surprised if they knew we wouldn't bother learning those names, seein' how they weren't ours. And it's too late to ask them now."

Edited at 2011-01-29 10:28 am (UTC)

is this revenge for when I did it in our dinner thread? <3

"Right!" Kibitoshin agreed, surprising himself with how chipper he sounded. "That way, if anything happens to me," a slight wobble there, but he recovered quickly, "someone else might find it and then they'd know it, too!"

Well, how could he not sound hopeful? It felt like he never managed to do anything useful during the day, with every shift plodding past, just padding between one horrible, traumatic night and the next- but here they were now, exchanging names in case of emergency and acting like the professional, resourceful people he always saw exchanging important messages on the bulletin board. They did things like this, right? ... a-anyway, it was definitely a step forward!

"'Hunk Howard'," he read aloud, holding the piece of paper up in his fingers. "They really pick some strange names, huh? Here, this one is mine." Carefully, he ripped off the bottom half of the paper and printed out the name he'd had barked at him in the recreational field before handing it back to the Scarecrow. "Here. 'Immanuel Williams'. I think I like Scarecrow and Kibitoshin better."

As for the room... that put a slight dampener on things. He stopped, thinking hard as to how to remedy the situation. "Maybe other people know them. Or maybe if we kept looking through the files we'd find the right one eventually, if there were photos. How many boxes are there, anyway?"

"Immanuel Williams," the Scarecrow read aloud in a similar fashion. "Oh, I agree. I definitely like Scarecrow and Kibitoshin better." He tucked the scrap into his journal for safekeeping, trying not to look too suspicious to the nurses as he did. There were plenty of blank pages in his journal- he really only had his maps and a few other things in there. Keeping track of his friends' "real names" would be putting it to good use.

"There were an awful lot of papers and drawers in the file room," the Scarecrow said once he'd put his journal away. "It'd take ages to search them all, even with help. There don't seem to be as many boxes in the room down the hall as there are files, but I'm not sure there's a box for those who have already been released. There was one for me, though- well, for 'Hunk Howard.'"

He paused, having a second thought. "And something else strange, too: on the ceiling of the box room- the Patient Possessions room, that is- there was some writing that said, 'Welcome to your life.' I'm not sure what it meant or who put it there, but it didn't seem like a good idea to stick around and find out."

With that settled, Kibitoshin folded the piece of paper and put it carefully into his pocket, praying that he'd remember to take it out before he went out tonight. He wouldn't necessarily remember the Scarecrow's other name without it, and it wouldn't do to have the note get ripped or torn or covered in blood before he could note its contents down.

"Really?" He made a face that was part put out and part wounded, as though he'd been personally affronted by Landel's decision to make the Institute's filing system difficult for them to comprehend. Really, now! How were they supposed to find anything, if that was the case? "Well, searching is definitely out. But this other room..."

He'd never heard of it before, but it sounded interesting to say the least of it; boxes with things in, strange writing on the ceiling... it all spelled Trouble with a capital T to Kibitoshin. Which, perhaps, was why he found himself so irresistibly drawn to thinking about it. "Maybe it's to do with what's in the boxes. Did you get a look while you were there?"

"I got a look at the box with my own name on it," the Scarecrow said after swallowing a bite, tapping his fork to his plate, "but I didn't think to look in the other boxes. I thought it couldn't hurt to see what was inside the one, seeing how they must've thought it was mine anyway."

A good question was why the nurses thought those items were his to begin with. They weren't things he had on his person when he'd been brought to the institute- if they had been, his diploma would have been in there, along with the crown of the Emerald City. He could maybe have seen the watch being lost in some straw he'd been stuffed with, but that didn't explain the rest of the knickknacks.

"In my box, there was an odd collection of things." The Scarecrow put a finger to his head, thinking. "A watch, a shirt, a knife, and some other trinkets. Nothing I had on me before."

He perked up, having an idea. It was one that had crossed his mind before, but when put together with the box he'd found, it made more sense. "You know this isn't my original body, right?" he asked quietly. "I can't help but wonder if maybe this body belongs to someone really named Hunk Howard, and those things are his. Or maybe that this body just looks a lot like him and that they've got me mistaken for him."

Listening to the Scarecrow talk was strange enough to get Kibitoshin wondering. What if he had a box? Or rather, what if 'Immanuel Williams' had a box? There was no reason that he wouldn't right? The objects the Scarecrow had described certainly seemed random, yes (he couldn't see the Scarecrow using a knife for anything but eating fish and chips like he was right at that moment, really), far too random for him to even hazard a guess at what might be in his own, but still. It was interesting to think about. And who knew, there could be something useful in there.

"How strange! There doesn't really seem to be a point to keeping those things around, does there?" he said, shaking his head in faint wonderment. "I might look for mine some time."

... maybe if he asked Sechs nicely, they could stop off before-- no! Bad Kibitoshin! He'd already stopped himself from planning too much once before today, and he wasn't about to give up on that now; the more he planned, the less likely he would be to get all of it done, and then the more miserable he would feel the next day. Perfect logic.

But when the Scarecrow's voice dropped, Kibitoshin knew what he would have to say next wouldn't be quite so curious before he'd even said it. As it turned out, the thought gave him pure chills.

"... really? You think these bodies-- this body-- could belong to someone else?" His hands crept up around his arms, clasping at himself uncomfortably. That was such a horrible thought! "I... I don't know... I really hope not. If that's right, then... well... what happened to Hunk Howard?" And what happened to Immanuel Williams?

A worried look crossed the Scarecrow's face as Kibitoshin posed a rather horrifying question: if he was in Hunk Howard's body, then just what had happened to Hunk Howard himself? Now that was something he hadn't thought of before: he knew well and good that he'd been given a human form somehow, but to think it might have been taken from someone else? That was just awful.

It did make sense, though. The possessions box, the fact that the staff was downright convinced he was this Hunk Howard- if he was simply a strawman borrowing a human's body rather than being stuck in one conjured just for him, some of the Wizard Landel's elaborate trickery may not have been that after all. Some parts couldn't be explained by that theory, like Dorothy's visit and the movie- he knew they would require more thought to figure out. If he could get his brain, he could reason out such things just fine.

"I certainly hope that's not what it is," the Scarecrow said, setting his fork down. He didn't feel much like eating anymore. "Though these bodies had to have come from somewhere. Either they used some sort of magic to actually turn us human, or these forms used to belong to someone. That would explain the items in the box, and why everyone is so adamant that we're who they say we are instead of ourselves. Why, if-- "

Oh! The Scarecrow stopped himself with a gasp, a worse thought coming to mind. "What if we're in their bodies, but our real bodies aren't here? What if they're back home, and the people we're supposed to be are having to be us in our bodies while we're them? No one I know of has seen the third floor, after all. I don't think anyone knows if our bodies are really here or not."

The entire concept seemed completely incredible, but it was hard to believe the Wizard Landel was incapable of anything, given his record of brainwashing success.

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