DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 50: Main Hallway 1-East
this nowhere
swornandbroken wrote in damned
[from here]

The unavoidable truth was that Mello wasn't positive Matt had anything to gain from an escape. He'd heard over and over again, and seen the evidence himself, that people who were 'released' had no memories of the place, and the question of whether you could change something that had already happened if you did remember enough was the brunet's area of interest, not Mello's. It hadn't been until now, anyway.

"Why'd you help me, back home?" He'd been avoiding asking that question, which by its very nature implied an uncertainty he'd been trying his best to mask. No reason to do that anymore. It had been five years, almost to the day, now, for Mello, since he'd left without saying goodbye. He probably would've laughed out loud at anyone who'd called him after all that time and asked for a hand. Not that Mello would have asked. Hell, he'd probably started off that exchange with 'How fast can you get here?'

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Mihai's night had not started off well. Given the utter lack of traffic, it was pretty inexcusable for the man to have let this particular pair of boys slip through the hall once. But luck had it's way of shifting, as Mihai well knew, and that same pair emerged from the hall where they came. What was that saying? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice--

"I know you boys like your late nights, but this one has gone on long enough." Mihai stepped out from the corner where he'd been watching, but still kept a fair distance from the pair. He wanted to give them a chance to react, trusting his skills enough to keep up with whatever they did. And really, it was too early to pull either of the guns he had hidden on him. Or so he hoped. But how often did young men really listen to reason?

Mello took the ring, and stuck it in his coat pocket. "We need to--"

He didn't get to finish; someone stepped out of the shadows to confront them. Mello fought the urge, only just, to touch the pocket where his gun was nestled. He wasn't going to waste one of his two bullets on this guy. As far as he was concerned, they were both already engraved with two names, one of which was Landel.

He flipped his flashlight around, the better to use as a club, and shifted slightly, unconsciously, to put himself between Matt and this new threat.

"We're just passing through, guy. Nothing to get excited about."

He threw Matt a glance that he hoped communicated that there might be more to this than met the eye. The only time Mello had run into an uninvolved party going out of his way to impede his progress had been that crazy pirate with the firebombs, and he'd deduced from the bulletin board that it wasn't strictly voluntary.

He'd tried to sound calm when he spoke, but there was a gleam in his eye at the prospect of action that probably belied his tone.

Oh, for fuck's sake. Matt peered around Mello, checking out the new and totally unexpected opposition. The look he gave him wasn't one of understanding; it was a cross between critical and annoyed. He looked the new player up and down, trying to determine what was up with his attitude. As far as he'd seen around Landel's so far, the other patients seemed to be running along with the same mindset as they had - screw Landel and get the hell out of dodge. To come across someone who was obviously hostile, however subtle, was perplexing. Maybe he was after the ring?

He didn't seem so tough, though. They could probably take him. Or, well. Mello could. Matt could watch.

"Oi!" he called over Mello's shoulder. "You don't wanna mess with us, mate." His fingers tightened around his own flashlight and around the pillowcase. He needed to protect the smokes at all cost.

Did they really intend to put up a fight? The movement of the blond indicated that he thought his friend needed protecting, and what followed didn't do much to change Mihai's impression. Unfortunately for them both, the overconfidence of their age would only lead them to bad places, both here and in the future. The sole benefit in the present was that this assignment was one of the few where Mihai had been explicitly ordered not to kill. He preferred it, sure, but it was a rarity in his line of work.

"I really don't want to mess with you." But not for any of the reasons they'd tried to portray. Mihai took a few more steps to close the distance, noting the way the blond held his flashlight. Not exactly the most creative thing he'd seen in his day. "So why don't you head back to your rooms while your pride is still in tact? I don't think you want to tell your friends how some old man beat you up in the morning."

The fact that the guy didn't have any obvious crazy weapons didn't mean he had nothing at all, Mello knew. It wouldn't have been the Institute's style not to load the dice in its own favor. They could do this to anyone. Me, or anyone I know. The certainty that he'd get jerked around by the place until it was done with him sat heavy in his mind, unable to be argued against. All he could do was ignore it. He supposed he ought to have been grateful that L or Matt would've made a lousy choice to turn guard dog. He wasn't. He'd never had it in him to be thankful for favors as minuscule as that.

"That's more true than you realize," he said. "What did they do to you, to make you forget we're all on the same side? Landel's your enemy, not us."

It was a risk, and a guess, albeit an educated one. He didn't expect to snap the man out of it, but maybe the news that he'd been brainwashed, or whatever they did to these poor saps, would distract the old guy enough that Mello could knock him out. He went a pace closer, flashlight ready to swing if he saw his chance. Good thing Matt seemed to have shaken off the effects of the sedative. Mello didn't want to gamble on his having acquired fighting skills in the last five years, but he knew he could run.

Mello was on edge, and Matt could tell; it put him slightly on edge too. Granted, he should probably be up to his eyeballs in panic right at that moment, but he wasn't. The nicotine was probably lending a hand with that, and the brunet didn't have it in him to be ungrateful. He maintained his guard, though, knowing that he wouldn't be much help in a fight, but he did know a thing or two about self-defense. He'd be total crap if Mello asked his help on the offensive, but if the weirdo came after him, he could probably work something out.

A glance at Mello told him that there was something wrong with the old man. So they can brainwash people into working for them, eh? Matt thought, keeping his grimace to a minimum. That figures. His eyes never left their involuntary opponent - and yes, Matt thought of him as involuntary. It was a good bet that he was another patient, just like them, and he was just being used as Landel's toy at the moment.

A toy with some serious teeth, if Landel was as smart as Matt figured him to be. They had to figure out just where those teeth were - and how sharp.

Another look at Mello before Matt called around him, "What's your name, fella?" He was genuinely curious, yes, but it was mostly meant to distract; he didn't want Mello to run in half-cocked, but he wasn't sure what else to do. They had to figure this guy out before anything could be done about him.

...They were serious, weren't they? Mihai barely contained a sigh as he saw through the rather obvious tactics. The blond was the obvious aggressor, looking for an opening to strike at Mihai. His friend had noticed it too, and was attempting to distract him by asking his name. Really, something like that might have worked thirty years ago, when Mihai had just been starting out. Or maybe it wouldn't, but that was probably his ego talking. Either way, it wasn't going to get them anywhere now. At least no where they wanted to be.

"It's just a job, youngster. That's all there is to it." Just what was he going on about, anyway? Mihai shook his head, then deliberately turned his attention to the brunet. Not completely, of course. That would have made Mihai the obvious one. But just enough to hopefully give the aggressor some confidence so he'd make his move. Coming in to Mihai's range would save the old man the trouble of closing the distance himself. "And don't you know it's rude to ask someone else's name before giving your own? You're not too young to have manners, kid."

Matt was on distraction duty without explicitly being told; that was good, though it might have been better if they'd been caught out while he was still all pissy from the nicotine deprivation. But Mello's question had drawn a reaction, however small: even better. And there was the opening he'd been waiting for, a little turn of the old guy's head, subtle, but he could make it work. As long as he didn't hesitate, and give the guy a chance to use whatever he was carrying.

You really think you can take someone down when he's older, wilier, and has the Institute on his side? came the unwelcome doubt, right on cue. They made him buy it. They could make you buy anything.

Shut the fuck up,
Mello told it. This is not the time.

"Heh, we never learnt any manners," he said, causally, a distraction of his own. He took a quick step closer, hoping that flare of doubt hadn't thrown his timing off, and swung the butt of the flashlight for the guy's head. He only wanted to knock him out, thanks mostly to the unwilling empathy--hadn't this one been as thoroughly screwed over by the Institute as Mello himself?

There was a sharp though barely audible intake of breath when Matt saw his friend step forward and start to swing. His eyes widened as he stepped forward himself, reaching out to grab onto Mello by his coat and hopefully yank him back out of range; there was no telling how far the old man could reach, but Matt had a feeling it was pretty damn far. He held himself with the kind of air that came with years of experience - and it was obvious what kind of experience he had.

The slight turn of his head was something along the same lines that Matt himself had just tried; this man was obviously skilled in what he did, and Mello had gone right for the bait - as both Matt and the still unknown aggressor had anticipated. He might have been too late, but at least he'd tried; they needed to find out what toys the other kid had before trying to bully their way through the playground.

"Mello!" he cried out sharply as his fingertips brushed across the rough fabric of the coat. "Get your ass back here, you batshit twat!"

One of them had seen through Mihai's false taking of the bait, but it wasn't the one that actually counted. The boy had been unable to grab his friend in time, and that left Mihai free to retaliate and, hopefully, knock some sense into the pair. Blocking the light as it came down would've been easy enough to do, but ultimately a waste of effort. Instead, Mihai turned with a punch aimed straight at the blonde's gut. The guy might have had some strength lurking between the skin and bones, but Mihai somehow doubted it'd be enough to keep the kid on his feet, much less able to finish the strike. And if he could, well, it wouldn't exactly be the first time Mihai had gotten a bump on the head.

"It's about ten years too soon for you to be throwing out lines like that." Mihai took a step back, not in surrender, but so the wiser of the pair could go after his friend without worrying about being pounced on. "Last chance. Get back to your beds, or you'll both end up spending the night licking your wounds. I can't play with kids the whole time."

In the breath between Matt's shout and the old guy making his move, Mello had time to silently berate himself for falling for it: Oh, you stupid fuck.

What he didn't have time to do was dodge the punch; he doubled over, sinking halfway to his knees, the breath knocked out of him. He felt the flashlight swing harmlessly through thin air. He'd insist to himself, later, all the more vehemently for knowing deep down it wasn't true, that the reason he hadn't been able to adjust his swing was the screech of feedback that blasted out over the Institute. It seemed to echo around inside his skull, making it ring, and had that guy suddenly switched to German for no reason?

He reached out blindly for the wall to steady himself, trying to make his head feel unjangly, trying to suck some air into his protesting lungs. He had the flashlight in a death grip, his hand having tightened convulsively around it. He could only hope Matt still had his wits about him; Mello wasn't in any shape to evade another attack.

Oh hell no, that did not just happen. That fucker did not just sock his best friend in the gut and... spout nonsense in German? Dammit, Matt thought, staring the crazy old guy down as he pulled back, pulled Mello back, trying not to hyperventilate as he did. Why the hell didn't I pay more attention when we were going over German at the House? He never went to Germany when he left; just practically everywhere else, so the language never seemed like it would come in handy.

Now that he was dead, though, all sorts of things he never thought he'd use were coming into play. Like muscles.

And strategy. Which Mello obviously lacked at the moment.

Which meant Matt needed to pick up the strategic slack. Great. "Look, buddy," he said slowly, in plain English; he couldn't think of anything else to do. Mello might have known more German than he did, but the prat was doubled over and out of breath; not much chance he'd be doing the talking. "Just... let us get by, and we'll... make no more trouble." He met the old man's eyes evenly, taking deep breaths and trying to make sure his tone was even, calm. More than anything, he wanted to deck the twat right in the nose, but he knew that wasn't his area of expertise, and Mello was probably down for the count at the moment. They needed to get out of there with as little damage as possible.

Yanking Mello a little roughly to his feet, Matt held his hand out toward their opposition, still maintaining constant, calm eye contact. Holding onto his best friend with as iron a grip as he could, the brunet started to move slowly past their aged assailant, for the main hallway. He cautiously pointed down that same hall with his free hand.

"We're going. Everything's good. Everyone's cool. Just... no freaking out and hitting me, because I'll be damned if I don't hit you right back, you sneaky old fucker." Amazingly, he managed to keep his tone neutral.

Heh, maybe it was another useless skill he could add to his repertoire? The ability to not give a shit - or at least seem like it. Sounded good, anyway.

Edited at 2010-08-03 02:50 am (UTC)

Mello tried, with what little breath he had, to protest being manhandled, but all that came out was a wheezed hey. He didn't want to retreat, he wanted payback, not just for its own sake, but in defiance of the all-too-familiar feeling of defeat. They might have been outmatched; in truth, they probably were, not that Mello would do anything but bury that thought as quickly as it occurred to him. It made him want to resist all the harder, to sidetrack, if only for a second, the self-accusation that he should fucking well have known a trick when he saw one.

He just wasn't in any position to do that at the moment. Whether the old guy could understand Matt was anyone's guess, but Mello had to admire, unwillingly and resentfully, the placating tone Matt managed to put on.

As soon as his lungs seemed to uncramp, he shook his friend off, irritably, and drew himself up as straight as he could: I can do it. He didn't trust the guy to let them pass peacefully, and he was prepared to grab Matt and tell him to smash the ring against the wall, if they had to resort to that. Hell, a field test of the thing might be useful. Finding some way of testing it was only one of the things Mello had wanted to accomplish tonight. The thought of the rest was what kept him sulkily silent, instead of giving in to the urge to throw another challenge at the brainwashed git.

He didn't give a damn what Mello looked like; Matt had seen all sorts of fights go down in his time, and he knew that was one helluva sucker punch the old fart had delivered the (former?) mafia go-to guy. Mello could walk on his own, but he sure wasn't about to step out from between the blond and the other male. The entire thing was like a huge show of manhood; the brunet wasn't too sure how much more of it he could stomach, so he was happy to be getting away.

He glanced at Mello. "You're a right dumbass, you know it?" As far as Matt was concerned, that asshole was packing, and his friend had just gotten lucky. Real lucky. "You came this close to gettin' your fuckin' head blown off! What were y'thinkin'?" His hissing was becoming clipped, angry; he was pissed, and not afraid to show it.

[to here]

Edited at 2010-08-06 03:28 am (UTC)

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