DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 47: Breakfast
Ninjas > everybody else.
thatdamnedninja wrote in damned
It had all been going so well!

Seeing Cloud and Aerith(!) again had brought a now unfamiliar lightness to her shoulders. Work would be harder from here on out, but she wasn't on her own anymore. She was getting a second chance she'd never thought was possible. And then, then they'd trekked outside, totally ready to face the fog and the unknown (privately, the ninja had been a little worried; it couldn't happen again, it just couldn't, but what if it did?)—only to wake up. In their beds. As usual. Gaaaaaawd—!

"I just want you to know," Yuffie informed her nurse, grabbing her journal from the desk on her way out, "that your hair looks spectacularly god-awful today. What did you do, stick your tongue in a socket? I'm not exactly hip on fashion, too busy badass for that fluffy stuff, but—"

Plucky looked ready to plant her face in her hands. Or to plant her hands somewhere else. To her credit, and much to Yuffie's eternal disappointment, she did—tried to do—neither. "One of those days, is it?" the nurse sighed, disapproval incarnate. "Well. You're just going to have to behave; the new batches of patients are due today. We don't want to make a bad impression."

"I am feeling so completely convinced of my wrongdoing," Yuffie confided. They stepped into the cafeteria, practically empty as of yet. The chocolate cake last night had worked a treat, whetting her appetite. Honestly, she was getting sick of pecking at scraps like a runt Chocobo in the snow plains—but not literally, of course. Ew. She got more than enough of that on those damn buses once a week. Now that AVALANCHE really was dropping onto her lap—and remind her to get the hell out of dodge if Barret ever took his turn—she couldn't afford not to keep her strength up. For one, she'd be a liability. For two, she'd get her spine chewed out.

"Fruit," said Plucky, hovering as her charge picked out her choices for the day. Rolling her eyes, Yuffie grabbed an apple, slinging it onto the tray alongside an 'English' sandwich. "That'll do. I'll leave you to your breakfast, now." Somehow, that sounded about as comforting as 'My name is Don Corneo and I am raiding through your panty draw', and Yuffie was stopping that thought right there. Oh, god. Eurk. Bad, bad, bad! Bad, brain. Bad. That—yeah, no. Just, no. 'Sides, the guy was as dead as a doornail, splatted across Da Chao's feet. Dirtying them, really, but somehow Yuffie couldn't bring herself to be sorry about that.

(And it wasn't like the creep'd ever end up here, right? Right!)

She took to a seat, dropping her tray and her journal both onto the table. The book fell pages-down; Yuffie flipped it over, thumbing through to the middle as she worked through her apple. An almost finished map of Gaia stared back at her, neat as she could ever manage. Dots for major locations, squiggles for mountains. Stars for the materia caves, Chocobos for the tracks. All labelled in Wutaian. It was just a little piece of the home she absolutely had to get back to, 'cuz Leviathan knew what kind of trouble they'd be up to their necks in without her.

[For Donna]

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Everything was thankfully still when the Scarecrow opened his eyes- the room wasn't spinning, the pounding had been replaced with a dull ache, and he was 100% certain his bed had never felt better. He smiled- he'd not only been rescued, but made it back safe and sound. Granted, he didn't remember the end of the night, but that wasn't unusual at all- he wasn't sure if they'd actually reached the room or not before the dawn came, as most of their trip had been a blur, punctuated only by that sharp throbbing from between his ears.

Oh, Depth Charge and Sangamon! The Scarecrow sat up quickly, wanting to get to breakfast as quickly as possible so he could find them and thank them properly for saving his hide. The swift movement had been a bad idea (his head let him know right away), but the odd feeling subsided quickly. He bit his lip nervously, raising a hand to carefully inspect his head and the wound he had an inkling would still be there- indeed it was, and touching it was still out of the question. As he silently wondered if it would be noticeable to other people, the nurse knocked on the door. No time to worry about it- food would surely help the situation.

He took the tray from the nurse and picked his own food, taking one of everything in his usual manner. After the prior night, he was a little leery of the nurses; however, he did sit in the lonely seat she suggested- he could use the solitude to put his thoughts into some semblance of order.

[Abe Sapien]

Not the most productive of nights, but at least he'd gotten the Evoker back to Minato. The personas would be an excellent weapon to use against Landel, and Abe was more sure now that the true place to strike would be upstairs, at the queen in the heart of the colony.

Even if the queen seemed to be in mourning over someone at the moment. He'd need to ask about that. Abe moved to the cafeteria obediently and collected his eggs and fruit, eager for another day of fact finding and socializing. Perhaps he could successfully talk to a (non-assassin) woman today, that seemed to be some sort of socialization holy grail for human men.

Abe sighted out the Scarecrow from across the room, and went to give the room a matched pair of lanky, awkward men. He was more of a veteran, perhaps he could explain.

Only one bite of food down and the Scarecrow found himself joined by his tablemate from a couple of days before. It was probably best he wasn't left to his own devices, anyway- thinking with an injured head might make matters worse.

Instead, he gave his acquaintance a smile. "Good morning, Abe," he greeted, sitting up straighter and giving his best attempt to not look like damaged goods.

Abe bobbed his head slightly. "Good morning! How was your evening?" He'd come up to Scarecrow from the front and hadn't seen what had happened to his companion's head yet.

Funny, how asking how someone's night had gone was now asking about the most exciting part of their day. Landel seemed intent on putting things back to front.

"Oh, it was, uh, productive," the Scarecrow replied with a weaker smile, choosing his words carefully. It wasn't entirely untrue- they walked a lot, and he'd found out he'd had a brain all along, so the night hadn't been an entire waste. Similarly, it probably hadn't been considered a waste by that doctor, either. He secretly hoped Depth Charge and Sangamon where right, and that they wouldn't get away with what they'd done. The former strawman wasn't normally the type for revenge, but some evils had to be stopped.

"What about yours?" he asked, readying his utensils to start cutting his meal into pieces. "Did your group get anywhere with their plans?"

"Not...really." Abe looked embarrassed. "I don't have a group at all. I seem to have trouble keeping teammates." He didn't intent it to be as ominous as it sounded. For some reason making actual friends was easy but keeping anyone around him was far harder. No one seemed to want to stay around him.

Bah. Dwelling in the negative would get him nowhere. Abe began feeding himself his morning eggs.

"Oh," the Scarecrow said dimly, his smile dissolving into an uncomfortable frown. Well, he'd managed to make himself feel like a liar and embarrass his conversation partner in one fell swoop. Maybe his brain wasn't working right after all, and he should avoid any major decisions until he could be sure it wouldn't fail him.

No, he wasn't about to let this day be ruined so early. "Well, you're always welcome with me," he said confidently, his grin returning. "Or if you've got something to do and would like company, I could come with you, if you'd have me. I don't know how much help I'd be, but I promise I wouldn't try to manage things. And there's something to be said about safety in numbers."

The Scarecrow was trying, at least. Abe made an attempt to return the grin and appear to be in good spirits. "The company would be appreciated. I'm used to working with a team, I feel we achieve the most good by combining our respective strengths.

What strengths the Scarecrow had, Abe didn't know. Perhaps boundless optimism and the ability to carry Abe's stuff.

"I agree!" the Scarecrow replied with a positive pump of his fist before his head sent him a noticeable ache, telling him the enthusiasm was not appreciated. His hand instinctively made for that wound on his head, but he managed to stop himself before it got there.

He clasped his hands before him, trying to tune out that painful sensation. "There seem to be so many folks in this place who have a go-it-alone sort of attitude. Why, I'll bet if everyone used their heads and worked together for a change, we'd probably know a lot more about this place and how to get home. Everyone has their own strengths and talents- we should be putting them to better use."

"If we got anywhere near organized we might be able to overthrow the nurses even in the daylight, or make a united charge at night." Abe's fluttering hands refolded as his train of thought finally caught up to reality and he noticed the way that the Scarecrow was moving.

"Are you all right? You seem unsteady today." He leaned in, trying to see what his companion was grasping at. The man was so awkward, it wouldn't have surprised Abe to find out he'd fallen down the stairs or run at a troll from the wrong angle or something equally foolish. And there were so many ways for even an educated person to hurt himself or herself around here.

The Scarecrow was apparently as bad at feigning normalcy as he thought he was. The fact that he'd never had to do it before wasn't helping matters.

He waved his hands before him in a vague gesture, not really sure what he was trying to say with them. "Thanks for your concern, but I'm mostly fine. My brain's a little rattled and complaining this morning, but I figure a good meal will quiet it down."

Whether the meal actually would help or not was yet to be seen, but he figured it sure couldn't make matters any worse.

Abe was suspicious now. The Scarecrow also didn't seem the type to hide things, and yet he was hiding this--and if anyone didn't need a concussion, it was him. "Did you get hurt last night? I know some slight first aid, perhaps I can help," he said, feigning concern to hide his curiosity. He slid around, trying to peer at the back of Scarecrow's head.


Okay, so the Scarecrow was very bad at this. It hadn't crossed his mind that deceiving people might actually be a useful skill in certain circumstances (and he did feel like he was doing that by keeping secrets from friendlier acquaintances, even if the details of the previous night were something he probably should've kept to himself if possible). He looked uncomfortably at the fork in his hand and twiddled it between his fingers.

Then again, Abe did seem to be a perceptive fellow. After all, he could tell the Scarecrow was a 'Construct' from a single handshake. And even though he couldn't see the head wound himself, the Scarecrow was willing to bet it was fairly visible to people around him. He reasoned it wouldn't hurt to tell Abe about it- after all, he was offering help, and it was likely he knew more about human bodies than the former strawman.

"The nurses took me sometime last night and operated on my head," he said, lowering his voice. "I'm a little concerned they might have damaged my brain somehow."

Abe covered his mouth with one hand. "Oh my," he said softly, standing and going behind him to take a good look at the Scarecrow's skull. "I'd heard they did experiments here, but that's horrific." His fingers delicately hovered over the wound, noting the way it had been done. Quite neat and very professional, said the colder part of his mind.

Abe could sympathize with having his brain experimented upon. They'd never actually cut into his head but several people had made great strides towards trying--he was grateful for Hellboy back then, even if he had no idea who the red giant was. After Red threw a few tables through windows they'd even allowed Abe to leave the laboratory and put some clothes on. It had been a very rude introduction to the world of humans and one that had left him quite content to live in his book-lined cage for the next thirty years rather than venture out into a world that would misunderstand him further.

Oh dear- phrases along the lines of 'Oh my' and 'That's horrific' did little to soothe the Scarecrow's growing concerns about the state of his brain. Oh, what he'd give to have a mirror at that moment.

"Does it look bad?" he asked timidly, trying to keep still and not ruin the inspection. From his experience, it seemed human bodies were versatile and could heal themselves from pretty terrible wounds- he hoped this would be one of those cases.

Abe parted the Scarecrow's hair with one finger. "On a medical level it's a very clean surgery. It should heal and I don't think it will become infected," he said, fingers still hovering right over the wound. "What I'm more concerned about is what's going on under your skin. Why was he cutting into your brain?"

And why not Abe's?

"I'm not really sure," the Scarecrow answered honestly, relieved to hear some good news about the injury. He brought his finger to his temple, trying to remember the grislier details. "She used some sort of tool to make a hole in my head, then claimed she was making adjustments to my brain. She didn't really say what, though she did mention adding a clever little thing to it."

Oh, the clever little thing. He hoped the deadening of his senses was a one-time ordeal. "I was surprised to see I had a brain at all. She'd better not have ruined it!"

His mind seemed mostly unruined, all his motor and speech functions were operating as usual. The 'clever little thing' sounded more like an implant, something to alter his mind or to monitor the way it functioned.

"You were...awake for it?" Abe asked nervously, still probing the area around the head wound. They'd at least wanted to anesthetize him while they investigated his frontal lobe, if only to keep him from screaming and flailing.

"I don't think sleeping through it was possible," he said, his body getting that foot-on-floor feeling running through it. His eyes glued themselves to the dining table, trying to visualize the room where he'd been: dark room, bright light, smooth table, restraints on his hands and head to keep him still for the duration. Then the procedure: sharpness, his teeth gritting together, and rattling that he could feel through his entire body, the inability to think.

Those sensations he'd experienced in that room- while they made him appreciate the nicer aspects of being human, he was sure he never wanted to feel them again. Once was definitely enough.

"They had me locked onto this table," he said, taking a quick bite. "And my head was in this vise to keep me..."

He trailed off as he swallowed the bite. No flavor, nothing at all. He'd barely felt it go down. He tentatively touched the table with his free hand, pressing against it- nothing, not even the usual stiffness of his fingers. He took a deep breath (didn't feel that, either), forcing himself to not panic. Panicking would get him nowhere, and his senses would surely come back. They did the night before, they'd do it again, right? Right.

Oh right, he'd been in the middle of a sentence. "Still," he continued, now focusing on breathing and not panicking. He could consider what triggered the clever little thing when everything was right again. "The vise kept me in one spot during the whole thing."

Abe mistook the Scarecrow's hesitation for flashing back to the horrors of the night before. He'd had minor surgery without anaesthetic, usually just stitches or the removal of a foreign object. Something that invasive...good god.

He set a comforting hand on Scarecrow's shoulder and swiveled around to sit next to him. His face, normally blank when he wasn't making a conscious effort to have an expression, now looked absolutely appalled. "Did they say why?" he asked in hushed tons, hand resting on Scarecrow in case he needed support. He knew of people who would do such things, and gladly, but the fact that they existed unnerved him every time.

"She only said she was curious about something," he replied, only noticing Abe's hand on his shoulder once he'd turned to look at him. "I figured just having a brain was good enough, but she wanted to explore and add that clever little thing. I'm not sure what she meant, and she wasn't willing to explain any further than that."

He took another deep breath, wondering just how long he could go without breathing. Now was not the time to find out. "I don't think I would have known what she was talking about if she'd explained it, anyway. My brain was so frazzled after that rattling that I couldn't think for anything. If Depth Charge and Sangamon hadn't come looking for me, I don't think I'd have made it far from the room."

"Good for them," Abe said firmly, augmenting the comment with a pat. "I'm glad you got out safely. No one should have to deal with this." Not even a construct, especially one who was really functionally sentient at this point.

The cold part of Abe's brain, the one that wore the upraised sword badge, thought it made perfect sense to try and analyze the brain of a nonliving being turned living. One could see how the structure changed compared to the brain of a normal human, the 'clever little device' probably monitored neurological activity or guided it somehow...Abe shook his head slightly, disgusted at his own callousness. He shouldn't be trying to think of reasons unanesthetized nonconsensual surgery was a good idea.

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