DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 58: Cafeteria
You can't get rich if you don't believe!
gald_digger wrote in damned
Anise woke up feeling lucky to be alive. She still felt a bit waterlogged, even though her skin, hair, and clothes were completely dry. During last night's adventures, she'd swallowed a lot of water, and it still felt heavy and disgusting in her stomach. Her arms and legs were tired from treading water. Lying still in her bed, she still kind of felt like she was floating and bobbing in the water.

But she was alive.

Knowing how close she came to death last night, and remembering the lengths her friends had gone to in order to save her, there was no way Anise could let a little discomfort get her down. She had to be at her best today so she wouldn't seem ungrateful to Guy and Claude. On that note, she had to remember to thank them properly, now that she was better able to express herself.

While getting ready, Anise was surprised to actually run into Claude that morning. He came to her room asking for the notebook he stored there (or maybe it was an excuse to see her cute face again), so Anise happily located it and handed it over. She was pretty tired, but the big smile she gave him was genuine. Who wouldn't be happy to see her savior so soon after a dramatic rescue?

After he left, Anise finished re-tying her pigtails into a low position so the military beret would fit on her head, and then she was ready! Even though her stomach wasn't feeling that great, she figured sitting down to a decent meal would help normalize it. And luckily for her, she was among the few who had the privilege of eating such a meal. Anise filled a plate with french toast topped with syrup and fruit, accompanied by small portions of each of the available side dishes.

It looked like she was early, which meant there weren't a lot of people around. That was okay, though. Anise could get a good head start on her meal before any company came around. She sat down at a table by herself and started on her sausage first.

[for Tolten!]

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It seemed there was no respite for the patients of Landel's: though his fever was down, Edgar immediately noted upon waking the return of the military uniform, the stiff collar tugging painfully at his neck as he turned in the bed. More irritating was the beret sitting beside him, now adorned with a pin. A frustrated grunt escaped him; he knew exactly why it was there. He examined the tags that hung around his neck a moment, finding a more pleasant surprise— he'd apparently gone up a rank at some point, possibly due to his sleep study as well— before the nurse arrived to take him to breakfast. Edgar found himself greeted by one of the soldiers instead; yes, that would be more appropriate of the military, wouldn't it? Not that their costumes had done much good at hiding their identities, anyway. Still, the thought that the military was no longer hiding their presence brought him no comfort.

Edgar kept an eye open for Locke as he followed his escort through the Sun Room. He'd dropped a lot on the treasure hunter in the span of one night, but he wasn't willing to take the risk that he'd never get the same chance again. He was fortunate that Locke had returned at all, and keeping him in the dark wouldn't help matters. It hadn't before, after all.

On the other hand, Locke had lasted a few days at least during his previous stay. If a serious discussion was enough to push him over the edge... there were some things Edgar couldn't forgive himself for. He shook his head- he couldn't allow himself to underestimate Locke's determination, but he had to remain aware of the lengths to which the institute would go to weed out those they deemed unfit for their goals.

Edgar passed the board without question, opting to go straight for the meal. He could skim it later, hopefully after some of the less tight-lipped patients had posted information about the medical wing. Surely someone had taken the time to check it out, though whether or not they'd actually share their findings was yet to be seen. Perhaps if Locke wasn't too busy that night, they could take a look for themselves, granted it was still open for investigation.

Finding himself led to the gruel line (alas, his upgraded rank and pin didn't save him from the delightful dish), Edgar scanned the room, looking for familiar faces. He wanted to thank Anise for her gift, but that could wait for later. There was a moment where he thought he recognized a woman in the crowd— even from behind her frame was familiar enough to cause him to take a second, longer glance— but he decided his eyes were playing tricks on him. Blond really wasn't her color.

[Ryuuzaki]

Even before he opened his eyes, L understood that the military uniforms were back. The shirt felt higher and tighter around his neck than the old patient uniforms or anything he would choose to wear if he were free, and the belt around his waist was equally constrictive and stiff. He pressed his lips together and made a dissatisfied face.

Yet he knew that acting out, even as much as he had yesterday, would put unnecessary obstacles between him and his goals. A number of reactions to the way he was being treated would be natural: seething resentment, depression, frustration, even eventual resignation. He couldn't force himself not to feel any of them; he could, however, refuse to indulge the majority of his emotional responses. He rested without moving until he felt some of the tension drain away.

As he sat up, the metal tags around his neck hit each other with a soft clink. He lifted one and peered at it, his vision blurred, and watched as the letters came into focus. The numbers were still the same—Irritating, he thought—but the class had indeed changed to B. He wondered if anything else would change as a result.

He listened to Harrington's announcement. Aguilar never makes an appearance on the intercom during the day. Why? Too busy? Too convinced of his own importance? Or... he's shown disinterest in participating in the charade that this is a psychiatric hospital, except when it comes to preserving appearances for outsiders. Therefore, hiding what's happening here must have a purpose for him... avoiding censure from higher authorities? Or public outcry? Landel claimed that Aguilar's group isn't an arm of the government. Is there some other reason that—

Harrington's concluding statement distracted him from this train of thought. "Several opportunities for rewards later in the day," hm? He frowned at the boots that had been set neatly on the floor near the foot of the bed, then, with a heavy sigh, reached for one and began to put it on. His curiosity would have been piqued in any case, but Aguilar's track record with regard to reward and punishment made the nature of those "opportunities" a topic of special interest.

After he finished with the boots, he retrieved the wool beret from where it waited on top of the desk, turning it absently in his hands as he considered the possibilities behind Harrington's words. His escort arrived a few minutes later. L gave her an expressionless nod, then dropped the hat onto his head and made a perfunctory effort to tug the rough fabric into place with his fingertips. She seemed concerned about time, leading him directly to the cafeteria without allowing any stops.

As they approached, he scanned the faces of the people who were already seated, trying to decide who he should talk to. He knew who was at the top of his list. To his knowledge, Taylor had been with Jones's group in the basement the night before, meaning that he would have been unable to investigate the drugs that had been provided in the Medical Wing. L was relatively sure that the drug samples he'd tried to collect were gone for good, but even discussing the tests themselves might be valuable in determining what kind of substance had been used, especially if they could put up a query about any side effects people might have experienced. Meanwhile, Taylor could bring him up to date on what Jones's group had experienced.

But he didn't see Taylor in the crowd—or Jones, for that matter. It was possible that neither had arrived yet—that would make it more difficult to initiate a conversation with either of them. He looked over both food lines to confirm it.

No Jones, no Taylor, but there was a familiar golden head just ahead of him as he took his place in the porridge line: Edgar, who he hadn't run into at all when investigating the new area. What was he up to, then? I doubt that he was still too sick to go out. Did he take the rush to visit a new area as an opportunity to try to look into something else without unwanted guests?

L leaned around closer to Edgar's shoulder, catching enough of his profile to confirm his identity. He murmured, just loud enough to be heard over the din, "Interesting night?"

Edited at 2011-08-21 09:28 am (UTC)

With his attention still drawn to the woman he'd spotted in the crowd, Edgar didn't notice Ryuuzaki until the dark-eyed man was already upon him, leaning around his shoulder and giving him his usual look. "Interesting indeed," he replied with a glance back, catching sight of Locke entering the cafeteria. They would have to speak later. "... Though not in the way you might expect."

With as much (or as little) as he knew of Ryuuzaki, Edgar reasoned he probably chose to investigate the medical wing during the night. He was certainly a curious sort, but whether it was his specialty or a hobby was yet to be seen. The same could be said for Edgar himself: he knew all too well that some took one look at him and thought he could never be a noble, given the grease that usually hid under his nails, the rougher patches on his hands, and the 'bad habits' for which he was notorious. In the same turn, with his lineage, there were those who would paint a far more delicate picture of him than was truthful. He did love the ability to use both sides of the coin as suited him.

"A friend of mine from home has returned to the institute," Edgar said in a hushed tone, his eyes following Locke as he took his place at the end of the line. "He's been missing for a few days; now he's returned and is missing more than that."

Edgar's brow furrowed a moment as he was handed a tray of gruel, which looked as unappetizing as ever. He waited for Ryuuzaki to have his serving before heading to a table, trying to think of how to explain his predicament. The more he thought about it, the crazier it appeared, as there really was no making sense of the situation. "He doesn't remember his time here. Disappointing, but not entirely surprising. What is strange is he has memories he didn't have before his disappearance- ones of our world that date to a time well after my being brought here. And supposedly, I've been there the whole time."

Edited at 2011-08-22 07:38 am (UTC)

He followed alongside Edgar as they moved towards the table, then took his seat.

This line of conversation.... He sighed. It touched on things he rarely spoke of with anyone but Watari. If he had to assume that any old enemy could be brought to the Institute at any time, how could he know who might show up in the future, or where they might be in their own lives when it happened? He had an advantage in that they probably wouldn't be able to identify him, but still, as a matter of security, and the safety of the children living there, as little information about Wammy's House as possible should be circulated. That made it tempting to claim to know nothing, but the situation Edgar was describing seemed to be common enough that feigning ignorance might not be believable.

As to the children themselves... they had been a problem, lately, a disappointment, nowhere near as useful as he would have liked. It made him doubt his own selection methods, the point of associating himself with Wammy's House at all if all the program had produced was a string of non-starters and failures.

In the few conversations that L had had with Mello, Mello's deductions had been plagued with obvious and consistent faults. He had a frustrating tendency to propose theories that he couldn't support, then become irritated and insist on them when L pointed out the flaws. His communications and behavior, especially regarding Matt, had been terribly indiscreet. Also, L had never been able to be completely sure that Mello hadn't been spying for the History Club... either that, or his priorities were questionable. Maybe both. It had been hard to justify trusting him much.

L had expected less of Matt, who had never been a serious candidate to succeed him, but even there, he had been let down. Matt's knowledge of the Institute, and willingness to share what he knew, meant that he had initially been a helpful acquaintance... but he had vanished not long after the only conversation L had been able to have with him. When he returned a few days later, his abandonment of his previous alias had been one clue that he didn't remember anything about his earlier stay. Because Matt had no recollection of ever having met L, and because observation over time had suggested serious errors in judgment on Matt's part, L had elected not to approach him. It was better for L to reveal his own identity as little as possible, and only where doing so had a purpose or potential advantage that outweighed the need for secrecy. He couldn't make a convincing argument for it based on what he had seen.

Under the circumstances, he thought it was best to keep both Mello and Matt at arm's length. He hadn't been able to afford to devote much thought or attention to the situation, nor did he want to; his dissatisfaction could only distract him. Still, he took note of their activities, and he hadn't seen either of them since Saturday. Matt had left a message on the bulletin board stating that he'd planned to pass the night in his room; neither of them had been around on Sunday. If Matt's message wasn't a lie, it suggested that he was more likely to have fallen ill or been "released" than to have been injured or killed. Mello... it was harder to say. No one had reported his death. The hypotheses about Matt also applied to him, but given the volatile behavior L had observed, solitary confinement or the medical wing seemed like fair possibilities, too.

Edited at 2011-09-16 03:25 am (UTC)

If L was able to return home, and able to avert his supposed approaching death, taking a close look at the situation at Wammy's House as it stood would be high on his list thereafter. He wasn't sure that Near could take over his cases--the boy's aloofness surpassed his own, enough that he thought it might interfere with Near's ability to do the job--but his feeling was that Mello was unsuitable regardless.

Just at the moment, dealing with Edgar was the most important thing. Their experience Thursday night had told L that he could trust the other man to at least some extent. Still, his words were hesitant at first, just enough so that someone else might notice that he was choosing them with care. What they wouldn't notice was that he was speaking about the generalities of the situation without explaining anything about the context, the existence and purpose of Wammy's House.

"Between us... something like that happened to me... past the idea that each of us has been here before with no current knowledge of it. One of the first people I met here was someone I recognized from before... although he was significantly older than I would have expected." He offered no context for his existing relationship with this person. Picking up his spoon, he swirled it around in the porridge; his manner became more deliberate. He raised his gaze to Edgar's face again. "He disappeared soon after our conversation, but reappeared a few days later. Certain elements of his public communications made it clear that he had no memory of his previous stay. In the interim, a mutual acquaintance who he'd told me had been here in the past was brought here again. It was the same with him: nothing." He paused, pressing his lips together and quirking them to the side, as if he found it all regrettable.

Half-shrugging, he added, "I think the situation may be more common than you would expect."

His own activities between the time when he had been brought to the Institute and five years later... that was information he would hold, for the time being.

Edited at 2011-09-16 03:03 pm (UTC)

Edgar stirred the gruel with his spoon idly, listening to Ryuuzaki's story. He'd known such things could happen, and disappearances were common, but finding it happening to himself was harder to swallow than he'd imagined.

"It certainly is surreal, if nothing else," he noted, shooting a sideways glance to Locke, who was heading for an empty seat across the room. "To find one of my closest friends age seemingly overnight is strange enough. Him speaking as if I'd never left, that my absence was never noted because either I truly was there or some apparition stood in for me is unnerving, to say the least."

He sighed, finally bringing a spoonful of gruel before him. "I suppose I know how Celes felt, now."

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