DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 51: Breakfast
Ninjas > everybody else.
thatdamnedninja wrote in damned
Yuffie Kisaragi, indomitable bouncing ball of sunshine and unfathomable ebullience, was tired. It'd been a long night full of gibberish and getting nowhere fast.

"Can't I—"

Plucky, who had been busily loading a plate full of French toast and bacon, tittered. "I'm afraid not, Hanna, darling. A chat over a nice, hearty breakfast would do you a world of good, don't you think?"

"Aaaaactually—"

"Come on, let's find you a seat. Plenty to choose from this morning!"

For a long moment, Yuffie seriously considered doing something—anything—to act out. Punch her nurse, rub jam in an orderly's face, climb a wall and hang off the ceiling, jump on a table and parody Loveless… A ruckus like that would definitely jolt her back into gear, right? Sedation aside. And it'd turn Plucky's good day right on its head, which was always a bonus worth shooting for.

But, by the time she'd reached a decision—and it was an epic decision, a really awesome one; everybody'd appreciate the genius, she was sure—she was already alone. Her breakfast tray had been set down neatly by the nurse, who had left with an infuriatingly winsome smile.

"Wow," Yuffie muttered. Shaking her head, she picked a chair at random and threw herself into it. She kicked back, one arm slung across her eyes, to wait. For what, she wasn't totally sure. Some moron to decide that she looked like good company? That was how it usually went.

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This morning, Mele was sneaky and looked at the bulletin board as she was passing it, instead of stopping and incurring the nurse's ire. ...Not that she was afraid of the nurse or anything.

...Showers? She couldn't decide if that was a good or bad thing, but at least it was better than having the nurse at her shoulder, insisting she do "something." As if to drive home the ineffectiveness of doing anything at night, since she never got anywhere.

She hadn't been able to reach the Morgue last night. After so many times, Mele was hesitant to keep trying, though she couldn't think what else to do. Explore, maybe; get a bigger feel for the entire place. Blah. Mele was used to more immediate results, not this plodding snail's pace, making progress so slow as to be nearly indiscernible. Not even when Landel deigned to taunt them, not when his taunts didn't make sense.

In the cafeteria, Mele grabbed whatever and sat near a corner, keeping an eye out for anyone interesting as she chewed.

[for the Scarecrow!]

It was an unfortunate blessing the night had ended when it did: as badly as he wanted to see how the movie depicted the defeat of the Wicked Witch and the Wizard himself, the Scarecrow was a little thankful to have only a portion of the story to mull over. They had been somewhere in the middle of the tale- they'd crossed the poppy fields and were only moments away from reaching the Emerald City, one of the places the Scarecrow had been eager to see again, so there was still a good bit of Dorothy's journey left- and the next thing he knew, he was back in his bed, the movie under his pillow, his mind teeming of questions.

What was there to think about? Sangamon had said... well, he'd said a lot. Dorothy, Oz, whether or not it was real, who believed her- it all did make sense with how she could have ended up in a place for the insane, granted everyone had thought she'd simply imagined her entire adventure. How could the Wizard Landel have bewitched her, though? Surely she didn't truly believe-

His middle rumbled in a loud complaint as he followed the nurse to the cafeteria, interrupting his thoughts. Well, he wasn't going to get anywhere like that. A meal needed to come first, then he could turn that human brain of his on the previous night. He grabbed one of just about everything and headed for a seat he'd spotted as he walked through the doorway.

"How do you do, Mele?" he asked as he dropped loudly into the chair, trying his best to give her a smile, noting he could still feel that concerned look from the night before etched uncomfortably on his face. He had a feeling it'd be there a while yet.

"Suumfin won—" Mele interrupted herself to swallow the mouthful of fruit, then repeated, "Something wrong?" She hadn't seen him since the trip to town; had something happened that she hadn't heard about? Or was it something new?

As much as she disliked her continued lack of progress, she sometimes wished Scarecrow didn't have to. She'd thought before that he seemed all wrong for the place, and it threw off all her thoughts and theories about what this place was—thoughts she'd mostly, unconsciously discarded because she'd become almost used to the place.

This confusing feeling of not wanting to see him hurt was compounded by the way she never knew how to act around Scarecrow—he existed in a place far from 'enemy' but nowhere near where she washad beenwith Rio, and conversations with Scarecrow always left her at a loss. With Soma, it was at least a little different—Soma had said she was a soldier, and wasn't completely open. It left a prickly feeling, one Mele didn't know how to get rid of.

Not my responsibility, she told herself firmly. They all made the decisions to leave the rooms, and Mele wasn't going to dictate anyone's actions, no matter how much she was tempted to try, right now. "...You've...been careful, haven't you?"

"Oh believe me, I've been careful," the Scarecrow answered honestly. That much really was true- he'd been on his toes to avoid witches, dodged the Horrible Hallway if possible, and did his best to travel in numbers at night. Everyone seemed so concerned for his safety, and he couldn't quite figure out why (that would be another thought to ponder once he had his brain back). Perhaps it was the fact he wasn't made of straw anymore- being human and all, he was just as vulnerable as everyone else.

He had to admit that while he certainly missed his friends in Oz, the ones he'd made in the Institution were truly wonderful, especially for being so considerate of his humanity. "You're awful kind to ask," he added with a smile, feeling a little sheepish suddenly.

It wasn't that he was getting into trouble all the time or anything; it was what happened when he wasn't being distracted by danger that was so troubling. He had a lot on his mind and hadn't the slightest idea of how to put it into words, so he avoided the subject for now. "How about you, Mele?" he asked, fiddling idly with his fork. "You've been careful too, right? I do worry about you, ever since that night you got bewitched, and these last couple of nights have been strange, what with the doors being enchanted and witches on the loose and all. Did you manage to get anything done last night?"

Mele rubbed at her arm, as if to get rid of an itch. She told herself it was because Scarecrow had mentioned the bewitchment. It was even half-true.

"If you can call it that," she muttered, before raising her head and saying more clearly, "Yeah, I've been careful. Didn't get anywhere, though."

Hastily, she changed the subject. "Anyway, did something happen? Encountered a...witch? Your head doesn't hurt, does it?" She leaned over the table and reached out, as if to feel his forehead. She'd suddenly remembered that time she'd been really worried, when that message on the bulletin board had appeared, which had turned out to be a head wound. "Did...did you forget something?" Did you find yourself 'bewitched', was what she meant, and she didn't want to think about that, but if something had happened, she wanted to know.

Subject change, subject change, and suddenly, Mele was reaching across the table and feeling his forehead for some reason. The Scarecrow was taken aback, watching her hand curiously, wondering what it was she was feeling for. His own hand reached for that spot on the side of his head where it had been opened- the wound had mostly healed, though his hair was still noticeably shorter in that one patch. Human bodies were marvelous! One night, they were seemingly injured beyond repair, and only a few nights later, things were almost back to normal, as if the injury had never happened. If only the same could be said of the clever little thing.

"My head is well enough, thank you," the Scarecrow answered, still a little puzzled how someone could tell the condition of a person's head just by feeling the front of it. "There was a witch in the Horrible Hallway last night- the second floor, that is, right above the Sun Room- but we managed to avoid her while she was distracted." He looked at his tray- boy, did he hope Depth Charge had gotten away safely. He seemed like the kind of guy who'd go back and fight a hundred witches if he felt right.

"And I didn't forget anything either," he added in a quieter tone, fiddling with his fork again. What was it, then? "It just seems that the more I learn while here, the worse things seem sometimes," he admitted.

(( backthread for a bit? Also, sorry for the shortness. orz ))

Mele tilted her head when Scarecrow reached for a different part part of his, and realized how silly it was to check his temperature. ...Well, she had confirmed that he didn't have a fever, at least. She leaned back, pretending that had been her intention all along.

...And now she was going to call the second-floor balcony the 'Horrible Hallway' from now on. It was catchy. Now she had to think of one for the Sun Room. 'Horrible Room' just didn't have the same ring to it—

"Good," she said, reaching for her fork. At least it wasn't...that. "Is it better than not knowing? Recon is good for more than just getting rid of some annoying underlings, you know."

[Of course! ♥]

"Well, I suppose it is better than not knowing at all," he said somberly, "though it does remind me how very little I do know." It was such a conflicting source of frustration. On one hand, knowing more about being human meant he was more aware of his own limitations: he wasn't made of straw anymore, and couldn't go running around as if he was, not worried if he was torn to pieces because he could be restuffed and good as new in minutes. Having one's arm thrown on one side of the room and his legs on the other was far more serious for a human body.

On the other hand, knowing more reminded the former strawman of exactly how much he didn't know, and it felt like a step backward- he'd worked so hard to get his brains, was considered the wisest man in all of Oz, and now? He was in a strange body with a human brain that had been tampered with and was back to being ignorant. What luck! Being human was an experience, but not having his brains meant he couldn't fully understand most anything.

At least he knew Oz was real. It seemed a lot of people didn't believe it, even educated people like Dr. Venkman. Then again, the doctor had made it sound like he'd seen the movie, and if Dorothy had been at the Institution before, it was likely he'd spoken to her at some point. Sangamon had said people didn't even believe Dorothy herself existed, so the doctor's disbelief wasn't entirely surprising.

"Say, Mele," the Scarecrow said after a long pause from thinking, "do you know what a movie is?"

"Well, you can't know everything," Mele conceded. "Just what's relevant. Or...important, I guess." From what she'd seen, the people who insisted on knowing too much tended to shut themselves up in a room with a bunch of books and not do much of anything. Something on a piece of paper wasn't of much use in fighting, especially if that person lacked the intuition and sense to get out before the trouble came. Unless a book was being used as a weapon, but Mele had judged a book's heft in Doyleton, and it hadn't seemed very efficient or deadly. But who knew? Maybe it just took a lot of skill.

"Yeah, I know what a movie is. They showed one in the Sun Room yesterday." Not that Mele had paid any attention to it; she'd been staring at the ceiling in an attempt to deflect the brainwashing rays. Which seemed a bit silly now, but...a lot of things were silly (including that tiny knife she'd acquired—seriously, what the heck?), and she hadn't wanted to take the chance. She would refrain from mentioning it, though, because...it was pretty silly. "Why?"

...If Scarecrow said he'd gotten hit somewhere with a movie, she was tying him to his room. And she'd get that guy who'd asked after Scarecrow on the bulletin to help.

Throughout his conversations with Mele, the Scarecrow had acquired the vague feeling that she didn't place much importance on brains- then again, she had her techniques to help her (now, what had she called them? Something jookin? Oh, to be without a brain for remembering important details!). Maybe she valued heart or courage instead; he liked to think she wasn't like the Wicked Witch, who wanted only power. She certainly didn't seem wicked and wasn't ugly, as he'd come to expect from witches with her sort of spells.

The Scarecrow straightened as she mentioned the movie in the Sun Room. He figured it must have happened when he was in the Courtyard with Sangamon. What if they'd watched- no, she'd probably know what he was going to ask already if they'd seen the same movie he had during the night. There was an entire store full of them in town, so he could only hope they'd never watch that particular one.

"Well," the strawman started, picking his words carefully. This had all gotten so complicated so quickly. "What would you think if you saw a movie about yourself? You're in the movie and a part of the story because it really did happen to you, but it's not actually you in the movie- rather someone who just looks a lot like you. And no one believes the movie really happened- it's just a tale to them." He punctuated his explanation with vague gestures, futilely trying to make his question clearer than mud.

"That's a weird question to ask." Mele tilted her head as she thought. "It'd be like a legend, right? You hear a legend, and suddenly, you're living it?" That was the closest parallel that she could think of, except the legend had been...stars. And there hadn't really been a story behind them.

But what Scarecrow was talking about was a bit different. "I'd...wonder how they knew the story." It was different for Mele, who'd been revived after some hundred years, but if there had been a story about her, Mele wouldn't really have thought much about it, except maybe to flaunt her awesomeness. There had been occasional stories of the Geki-Rin Uprising, but there was never an 'official' version or record of that that she'd seen, and all the stories were personal accounts from those who had been revived, anyway—and they only told those to each other, to brag.

"Is that what happened? Someone...made a movie?" Come to think of it, that did sound a little disconcerting. Someone who only looked like Mele, projecting Mele's life onto a screen? Sounded like some kind of bizarre dream.

The Scarecrow nodded. "It seems so. I saw it last night- or enough of it, anyway. My friend Dorothy was in it, and the Tin Man and the Lion, and even the Wicked Witch of the West." His brow furrowed. "Well, it looked just like them, and sounded like them, but Sangamon- he was with me last night- seemed so sure it wasn't really us. Just look-alikes."

He paused and finally took a bite of the bread he'd been prodding with his fork for the past several minutes. "It's strange enough thinkin' that someone else not only knew about Oz, but brought the story of Dorothy's defeat of the Wicked Witch back to wherever they came from and made this movie about it. Or maybe Dorothy told someone when she finally got back to Kansas, and they made the movie. Either way, I'm pretty sure we don't have anything like those where I come from." Having once been the wisest man in Oz, he was quite sure of that.

"And apparently, people do look at it as some sort of make-believe," the Scarecrow continued, feeling that worried look creeping onto his face. "I guess it's hard for some folks to believe something they can't see with their own two eyes."

[hope this doesn't screw up your threads in future shifts! D:]

"Slow down," Mele mumbled. Okay, so...a bunch of names (?), a battle, a...transfer? Moving from one place to another, it sounded like, and...make-believe. Well, was any of that important? Uh, maybe the transfer thing.

"Maybe you come from their past." Mele had talked to some people about when they'd come from, in the hope that someone from the future would know what had happened in the battle she'd died in. She still didn't know. And, well, Scarecrow's world didn't have movies; maybe it wasn't a question of his world but his time. "Your story got famous and now people know about it?"

[No worries! I kept his shower thread vague because that's how I roll. I hope this doesn't screw up any of your future shifts. D:]

"Come from their past?" he asked incredulously. Now there was something the Scarecrow hadn't thought of before- he vaguely recalled mention of such theories on the bulletin board, but had never taken much stock in the idea that everyone at the Institution came from very, very different places, so different that they didn't even exist in the same world at all. He'd always pictured Oz as simply being located far, far away from Kansas- after all, Dorothy managed to get there by twister, and as far as he knew, it wasn't as though they were magical in any way. Then again, she'd had to return to Kansas by magic (that did raise the question of what happened to the Wizard and how he could have initially arrived in Oz, given that he wasn't much of a wizard in the first place and his balloon certainly wouldn't have had the sort of sorcery as the Ruby Slippers).

Now, traveling to Oz from a star was one thing, but was it possible, even with magic, to travel from an earlier time? He shook his head as he thought- surely not. And even if it could be done, why would anyone do it?

Of course, this was the Wizard Landel he was thinking about- the same man who had enough power to not only bring people to his Institution across great distances without their knowing, but also change their bodies at whim. He used his magic to bewitch his patients, pushing friends to fight one another as he saw fit. He was a powerful and terrible wizard indeed, and already had plenty of questions surrounding his reasoning-

Oh, there he was thinking too much again.

"I... suppose that could have happened," the Scarecrow said after a long while. He'd have to put more thought into this later. "If the Wizard Landel is capable of putting those of us who weren't human before into these forms and has tricked who knows how many people into believing his lies, there's no telling what else he could have done to bring us here."

[I'm good! :D]

"And a bunch of other stuff, too," Mele muttered darkly, remembering the feel of genki through her veins. It was supposed to have been impossible, but there it was. "He can do impossible things," she said. "It's probably not—"

She paused, then leaned her head on an arm, staring at Scarecrow, considering. "...Is it...really bothering you?" Even after the Airi fiasco, Mele believed that what was real was real. The fake memories augmented that belief even more, in fact; Mele was Mele, without any doubts or rationalizations, even if a few tidbits of Airi's knowledge and abilities were still floating around in Mele's head. And that was because Mele had a reason to live for, to fight for, even if he was nowhere to be found.

That probably wouldn't comfort Scarecrow, though, who asked a lot of thinky questions...and he didn't seem receptive to love-warrior mentality, in any case. Would it work if she told him to not think so much about it, to just...deal with whatever he had to? No...that was what he was doing. It wasn't what Mele would do, so she was, once again, at a loss.

The Scarecrow nodded wordlessly, not sure how to express exactly how he felt about the entire situation. He took a second bite of bread, giving himself another moment to think as he chewed. "Between my friend Dorothy bein' out there somewhere, tricked into believing the Wizard Landel's lies, and this movie about Oz and all of my friends- myself, too- I just have a lot to think about." He hated to admit it, but there were times where the story that he really had been human all along seemed to make an awful lot of sense.

"I know I shouldn't let it get to me so much, but it is frustrating to not have the answers," he continued, his brow furrowing, "and it seems no amount of thinking is doing me any good in finding them."

Something clicked in the Scarecrow's mind, realization suddenly hitting him. "Why, that's the answer right there, isn't it?" he asked excitedly, more to himself than to Mele. "I'm probably thinking about this too much- far too much for someone without a good set of brains in him. I never thought I'd be the one sayin' this, but I ought to be doing less thinking and more doing. I need to try to find my brains. They've got to be here- after all, I know I didn't just lose them. Landel took them and is keeping them somewhere, and I'm going to find out where that is."

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