DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 56: Bus 3
a song to steal your breath away
rocksthecourt wrote in damned
Waking carried a sense of disappointment along with it for the first time in a long time. Klavier actually sighed in irritation when he realized where he was. Damn it all. So they hadn't managed to move quickly enough to cover as much ground as they had hoped. It was a shame, really. Last night had actually proven to be relatively productive. If they'd had the chance to continue on for longer, they might have been able to gather a lot of very good information. That was probably the point. As it stood, however, maybe he shouldn't be all that unhappy. It's not as though he came away from it completely empty-handed, after all.

He sat up just as "Lieutenant General Berg" was making his announcement regarding the day's proceedings. So they were still going on this scheduled trip of theirs, hm? Strange. He'd never understood the point of these trips, and it made even less sense now with the new management. Maybe there was actually some kind of point to these trips that he hadn't been able to grasp just yet. That none of them had. Hmm. And... they were giving them access to money? Granted, it wasn't terribly much, but it was still more than one would expect to be allowed. Why would they be encouraging them to actually buy materials?

These mysteries would have to wait, it seemed. Shortly after the announcement finished, Klavier's escort from yesterday entered the room, dressed in a hospital uniform rather than anything even remotely military. Without waiting for any kind of question or greeting, the man simply nodded at him and handed him a bag with his change of clothes and supplies, telling him to be quick about changing. ...Huh. It seemed the routine hadn't changed at all despite everything else. Looking down at the contents of the bag, he could see they'd decided to go back to giving him the thrift store, grunge-rock look rather than that ugly monstrosity from last week. Not that a mismatched plaid shirt and worn jeans made all that much better of an option, but... Well, at least he wouldn't look like some sort of derelict this time.

After changing and putting on the ragged jacket and black gloves provided, Klavier followed his escort to the usual set of buses. He wasn't exactly happy about going on this trip again, especially since it just dug up a mess of horrible memories. But he went along with it quietly, determined to play the part of the observer on this trip. This opportunity came about only once a week, and he wasn't going to give them any excuses to keep an extra close eye on him. He was actually in a surprisingly calm state today. Not chipper-looking, but collected enough. Much better than how he'd been most of the week. Though he was still positively famished. Which was why the calm mask completely slipped when he was actually handed a paper bag... of food. Normal food! He almost could have snatched it from the man giving them out. He hadn't actually had any kind of proper meal in days. Mostly his own fault. And now in the face of real food, he could feel it all that much more severely.

Not bothering to be picky at all, he climbed into the bus, took one of the first seats he spotted, and immediately opened the bag to start eating. He didn't even care how he might have looked while doing so. Forget propriety. He was starving. And this... This was... The best. Muffin. Ever.

[for the stupid demon-child]

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Doyleton today.

Claire shrugged on the thick woolen sweater, frowning to herself. That was the place the pale man had mentioned a few days ago. He'd thought it was the town she and Andrew had went to. If it was close enough to visit (and why were they visiting it in the first place?), then there was a chance he was right.

Though that only brought up more questions. More concerns. Namely, that together the two of them had broken into and robbed two stores. And Andrew had probably burned down the restaurant when he'd set off that makeshift bomb. Russian-something cocktail. Morning came before they could see the job finished, though, so Claire had no idea what the true damage would be. Regardless, the pair could have been caught on camera at any given time. They might get arrested the moment they set foot in town, and Claire was not about to trade one prison for another.

And yet...

The sweater slipped over her head, settling cozily around her neck and granting her a clear view of her bedroom again. The very same bedroom she had taken an axe to last night. The desk was in one piece again, the mattress untouched by her knife, the wall missing a dent from the vicious throw she gave the item box. Everything was as it had always been. Claire couldn't even tell if these were replacements or some kind of magic repairs. They looked identical to the furniture from before.

If whatever powered this place took care of that like it was nothing, then would they fix up the town, too? All the damage the institute took at night vanished come sunrise. The only remainders were the bandages on patients. They went through great lengths to keep their rats in their little cages, so why should the town be any different? Being able to get there at all meant that it must have been within the asylum's reach.

Claire trailed her fingers over the desktop. There wasn't so much of a seam down the middle. She scowled. Both a good thing and a bad thing.

She wished she could just leave one damn mark on this place.

Last night, at least, hadn't been a complete waste of time. She woke up with the files in hand. Though that clearly meant that the files weren't a big enough threat to take them away from the patients in the first place, she refused to believe that it was all for nothing. They were literally the only clues she had.

There were already a few people on the bus by the time Claire boarded, winter jacket tugged tight around her frame and chattering her teeth. The bus had better have air conditioning. Better yet, they had better be spending the day inside. She settled into an unoccupied seat, the coat bunching up around her like a downy blanket.

Lost in thought, her teeth teased at her bottom lip. What were the odds of her getting out of range if she left town today?

[For her MORTAL ENEMY, the slightly incestuous vampire.]

Edited at 2011-04-30 11:33 pm (UTC)

The smell of blood lingered with him, even after he snapped awake. Wally and all that dead blood had been one thing. Alaric spilling about sixty percent of his blood volume through his jugular was another entirely.

Beautiful. Rick had died again. He was obviously coming back, but that didn't make the fact that it'd happened at all good by any account. Probably coming back. Damon didn't like hesitating over uncertainties—things either were or they weren't, and when in doubt, he tended to opt for the likely option of not gonna happen—but he found himself pausing nonetheless. If an object could be spelled, it could be de-spelled. That was one of the first lessons he'd learned about witches and their crafty magic.

Problems for later.

There was a pile of clothes waiting at the foot of the bed, folded and neat. Damon eyed it. He ran a hand through his hair. Jeans, boots, grey sweater. Not exactly Armani, but he'd take it over the military chic they had going on. Field trip. Right. Well, this was gonna be fun.

His fingers brushed curiously over the card, a cross between an ID and a credit card. He flipped it over in his hand. Hm. The so-called privileges were vaguely insulting at best (let's buy ourselves some souvenirs), but there were other things on his mind, things more worth his time than this crap. Namely, dinner.

Tonight. He'd take Stefan with him. His brother needed to soon, as well, and the sooner the better. There'd been too many close calls in the past couple of days. They couldn't afford more. He had half a mind to see if anyone in this town could be coaxed out back somewhere, but as tempting as the thought was, he wasn't that impulsive or that stupid. At least, not right now. No promises for the near future.

The snow crunched beneath his boots as he scanned the area for any sign of the few people he cared to even look for. Rick and Stefan were nowhere to be seen, but he did catch Elena hopping onto one of the buses. She was all right, then. Speaking of, though: school buses, seriously? What, did they have soccer moms lined up to drive them, too?

When he'd stepped onto the nearest bus, he hadn't planned on running into the girl. There was an almost imperceptible tilt of his head when his eyes landed on her. It took less than a second for him to weigh his options and settle on one. Stefan would've found her yesterday. It would've been the foremost goal on Stefan's mind because Stefan knew damn well what the stakes were if he didn't and if there was one thing Damon could count on his little brother to do, it was his sad eternal attempts to make himself rival Gandhi.

Damon was the only one left who knew different. There was a reason why Stefan couldn't stand to have him around and it was so much more than the body count.

He slid into the seat beside the girl. Time to see the results of that peaceful chitchat between his brother and her.

"Claire." He propped a foot against the seat in front. "What a pleasant surprise."

Edited at 2011-05-01 05:54 am (UTC)

No. No way.

Claire had spotted Damon a moment too late. She should have been watching the door to the bus, and now she was kicking herself for letting the sight of snow distract her. By the time she had pried herself away from the postcard view through her window, he was already halfway down the aisle. And his eyes settled directly on her.

She was immediately upright in her seat, lips parted in shock. She couldn't even get her legs moving properly until he'd already dropped down and blocked her way, leaving her half standing and clutching at the seat in front of theirs for balance.

...Theirs? No! She wasn't standing for this! Claire scowled at him and pushed at his upright knee. "Get out of my-"

And then the engine rumbled to life. The bus jolted, and Claire was rattled back into clinging for balance at the seat. They were already on their way. A soldier clad in hospital garb turned back to glare her down. "Greene! Take a seat!"

She was going to kill something. Probably this bastard next to her. Did they give her a knife in the lunch bag?

Seething, Claire obeyed.

"You have some nerve," she hissed. Her arms were crossed over her mountainous downy coat, puffing it out in comical ways. The coat was way too big for her. It was going to take some extra effort to get him to take her seriously, but she was trying her damnedest with that glacial stare she was giving him. "Well?"

If he was only here to chat, Claire was going to explode. She could not handle another pointless conversation with this moron.

Edited at 2011-05-01 08:11 am (UTC)

When Claire shoved at his leg, Damon withdrew it and held up both hands in easy surrender to make way. Hey man, if she wanted to freak out and make a break for it on a bus surrounded by their friendly neighborhood watchdogs, who was he to keep her?

Especially since he didn't have to bother when someone else would.

He smiled and propped his foot back up as the starting engine knocked the girl off balance. "Oops. Careful." Wouldn't want to end up with an unconscious seatmate, after all. That would be boring. He'd picked her for a reason and it wasn't to watch her sleep.

With his other foot, he slid the paper bag they'd been handed beneath his seat, out of the way. He hadn't even looked inside. As if there was any chance of it containing something useful. His eyes were only half-focused on Claire, unconcerned about her fuming beside him. He bet she was fantasizing all the ways to kill him at the moment. Why wouldn't she be? She hated him. It was only typical. Expected. Uncomplicated. No need to change that. Most of the world was not Elena to him and that was infinitely for the best.

"My brother took on a crusade to talk to you yesterday," he said. He turned his full attention on her at last. "So I just figured I should know what promises of his I'm breaking before I actually break them."

It'd also be nice to know how she felt about Stefan. He'd told him to keep the hell out of it, but Stefan being Stefan seemed to feel he had some kind of undead mediator license. You would think, after his disastrous 1864 attempt had led to Katherine being taken away (a lie, but look, that wasn't the point right now) and the two of them being damned for eternity, that Stefan would've learned his fucking lesson that very night. Nope. Hopeless.

If only Stefan's interventions resulted more often in being young and doing whatever the hell you wanted for the rest of, well. Ever. Unfortunately, really not the case.

"Shut up," she retorted, more on instinct than out of any true vitriol. The sound of his voice might as well have been a trigger; it was second nature now to make it stop the moment it began.

It wasn't like he cared if she toppled over anyway.

A harried snap or two wasn't going to get him out of her way, unfortunately. The Others had learned to be afraid very, very quickly. Claire didn't take no for an answer on the island. You left her sight, or you lost yours. Some variation on that. The point was, Claire had gotten so used to being seen as a threat by everyone that being toyed with like this left her flustered, and angrier than ever before. She didn't like it. She wanted Damon gone and he was still here. Did that whole vowing to kill him talk fly clean through his ears? Was he that stupid?

...Oh. Well of course he was.

"Maybe you should have talked to your brother beforehand, then, because you're already breaking them now." She lowered her voice, less for secrecy's sake and more to avoid attracting the soldier's attention. They weren't sitting so far away that they could exchange jabs with ease. "I don't ever want to see you again. Either of you. You tried to kill me. And Stefan's just like you. He can pretend to be a saint all he wants, but he's still a blood-sucking monster."

That wasn't the end of it, though. As satisfying as it would be to turn her back on the whole thing and blink the Salvatores out of existence, that would only mean they would turn their attentions to someone else. They might have done just that in the time that she'd spent avoiding Damon. Sleeping the nights away and waltzing off for near-fruitless missions.

The idea didn't sit well with Claire at all. She'd met good people here. What if someone like Bella crossed paths with Damon at night?

Her jaw locked, teeth clenched on the verge of aching. That wasn't allowed to happen. She would kill him if he touched her. If he touched Goku, or Klavier or Grell, or anyone else in this entire hellhole. She guessed she had lied to Stefan in that respect, then. It wasn't just her hide she wanted saved. She wanted everyone to be safe from maggots like them.

She spoke again, abrupt, disgust soaked into every ounce of her words. "How many people have you killed since you got here?"

Was he already breaking them now? Tragic. He was repenting on the inside. Honestly. Guess there was no point in keeping up with any promises that he'd already broken, then, was there?

Somehow, though, Damon hadn't expected her to mimic the same sentiments he'd been throwing in Stefan's face ever since he'd discovered Stefan had...reformed.

He cocked his head at her, almost deliberating. She wasn't completely wrong about Stefan; trust him, he'd be the last to vouch for Stefan's sainthood. But here was the difference: she didn't understand anything, really, about what it actually meant. The point was never about Stefan pretending because Stefan didn't pretend. He genuinely believed, and it was annoying as hell to watch. It was even more annoying when he tried to drag Damon into the same delusional outlook on being undead.

"Stefan prefers tuning into humanity's frequency," he said offhandedly.

If you asked him, he'd prefer that there was no frequency to tune into in the first place. If he didn't keep slipping.

He glanced out the window briefly (trees, snow, etc—generic at best, almost too generic) before returning to Claire. She was simple to read, wasn't she? Girl didn't hide a thing. He barely had to breathe a word to get a rise out of her. Even the witch hadn't been this easy.

Oh, and she was a humanitarian, too. Look at her, worrying about all those innocent lives. It was a shame she'd already written his brother off as a blood sucking monster. The two of them could've gotten along. Exchanged notes.

"What, here?" He shrugged. "Haven't bothered. Actually," he went on, appearing half as though he were talking to himself, "I haven't bothered in awhile." His eyes fell back on Claire. "Overdoing it gets in the way. You know how it is."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Claire retorted. Tuning into...what, like sympathizing with humans? Why would you sympathize with your food? She shook her head, a curl in her lip and denial on the mind. "No. That's stupid. I saw the way he reacted to my blood. He might as well have licked his lips. If he wasn't trying to protect you, he wouldn't have bothered holding back."

It was just so phony, this whole good vampire, bad vampire act. What where they looking to get out of it? Sure, you saw that kind of thing in sappy books all the time. Monsters with feelings. But this was reality. You had to think smart. It might be nice to sit down and daydream about some handsome immortal boy coming to whisk you off your feet, but when the reality of it was right in front of you, you had to snap out of it. They were real, honest to God monsters. He'd tried to suck her blood out. Fairy tale princes didn't do that.

And fairy tale princes didn't talk about murder like it was knitting mittens. 'Overdoing it' indeed. Appalled, her jaw dropped. She had never met anyone with half the gall of this man. True, he might not have killed anyone here yet - it was too casual to be a lie - but he had killed people before. So had she, but she was protecting herself. Them or you. With Damon, it was just predatory. In every sense of the word.

"So you haven't eaten anything, then," she said, voice low. "Not since you tried to eat me."

Did she just say "reacted to her blood"? Was she so stupid that she would deliberately tempt his brother like that? No, wait, that wasn't a real question. Of course she was. Really, she should be thanking Stefan for not ripping her throat out on the spot. It was damn well lucky Stefan had fed recently or they'd be down one problem only to end up with a bunch more.

"Trust me when I say you are very wrong about some of that."

Some. The phrasing might fly over her head, but it was far from a slip. Whether or not Claire was looking for more details, though, she wasn't getting them. Oh, if she only knew Stefan was far more interested in protecting her and the rest of the population.

And yet. Still couldn't watch me burn, could you, little brother.

Apparently.

The look on his face was one of disinterested, as if he were explaining something he'd explained a million times before. "I didn't try to eat you, Claire. I did eat you. I guess I could ask if you were up for a second donation, but. Well, I wouldn't want to press you so soon. Though, I mean, if this is your way of offering..."

He was surprised she was even having a conversation with him for this long. It probably wouldn't last much longer. He supposed he could stop baiting her, but why should he? Whatever promises and deals Stefan had struck with her, she clearly had no desire to see either one of them alive—but of course, Stefan would've believed her. His brother always did like thinking that his heroics were effective.

She was an easy distraction, at the least. Maybe that was why he'd kept her around, interfering plans aside.

All Damon's warning earned was a hefty roll of the eyes. "I'm sorry, does it look like I care? Because I really don't."

She sincerely could not care less about how different the brothers were, or where their true intentions lay. It didn't matter. They were things that preyed on people, and for that alone they deserved to be shot. Staked. Whatever would get the job done. Maybe it sounded a bit bigoted of her to say that, but there was a big difference between harboring grudges against people of certain races and harboring grudges against things that tried to eat you. She would be doing the world a favour.

Or at least...she would do it if Stefan didn't uphold his end of the bargain. Damon sitting ten centimeters away was already a big strike against him. Why didn't he tell Damon to stay away last night after they'd talked? Lord help her, but if Stefan blew it one more time she was going for both of their throats.

Yet what Damon said next killed her tirade dead cold. She stared at him, unblinking. Did he mean...

"...Second dona...what?" Suddenly, indignant fury lit up her face like a stoplight, leaving her squawking at him in outrage. "You mean you don't even have to kill someone to eat? Why didn't - why didn't you just ask someone then?!" She could have thrust him out of the seat with how she shoved at his shoulder, the move a smooth blend of a push and a punch. "You could have just asked somebody instead of attacking me, you bastard!! I would have let you - UGH!!"

Edited at 2011-05-10 06:43 am (UTC)

Jeez—

Damon dropped his foot down to keep from tipping over. You know, with how unhinged this girl was, he was starting to believe her story about being marooned on an island only to be plucked from it and dropped into a mental institute that was supposedly neither here nor there, if Stefan's conversation with their late-night visitor was worth a damn. Which, by the way, was still up for debate.

Also, she apparently had all of the logic of a five year old. Ask someone? Seriously? Was she actually saying that with a straight face. Yes, of course, how stupid of him. Why hadn't he thought of walking up to someone and asking them to bleed a little for him, he just needed, like, a pint or three. That was perfec—

Oh. Now that was interesting.

His eyes narrowed, intrigued. The slip could've been an act, but. Unlikely. She might not be all there, but she was hardly the most complicated personality. She wasn't capable of pulling something like that.

So. This was a new development.

Whatever interest he displayed, it quickly shifted to amusement, even as he was sorting through what this meant, what he could do with this. The option of not doing anything didn't even cross his mind. He'd never been one to let opportunities pass by and this one, in particular...this one was worth looking into. He knew the risks, of course, but since when did anything useful come free of those?

He tsked lightly. "Careful. I might take you up on that."

She had stopped shoving at him. Damon could be thankful for that much. In all honesty, she might have continued until he was out of the seat entirely if he hadn't turned the tables on her. And as she stared at him with wide eyes and a wary kink in her brow, she found herself wondering how she had been so stupid as to say that.

It was true though, wasn't it?

Even if she had all but ripped Damon and Boone apart in her mind, there was an immovable thread between the two. He just looked so much like him. Boone with dye in his hair. Although it was taking her mind some time to catch up with what had just come out of her mouth, she couldn't deny that if Damon had been honest with her that day - that night - that if he had convinced her of what he was and what he needed, she might have given it a thought.

Now, though?

The bus jolted. Claire nearly went with it, thrusting a hand against the front seat to brace herself. The machine then squealed, puffed, and shut down. A hasty glance out the window told her all she needed to know.

Claire didn't even bother waiting for Damon to move, immediately clambering over him and shuffling into line, out of his reach. She didn't care how ridiculous it looked. He might have tried to keep her there until she gave him an answer.

She couldn't very well offer anything if she hadn't decided yet.

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