DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 51: Lunch
carnivorous and lusting.
sanguinario wrote in damned
Edward was glad to wake up to a period of respite. While he had been conscious during breakfast, he'd requested to remain in his room for extra "sleep", which had consisted waiting until the room was vacated to ingest the vial of Venom's blood. The vampire had lost his chance last night, but that might have been for the better; this way he wasn't in a rush to examine the flavor, as somewhat repulsive as that sounded. Even though he was primarily concerned with getting a meal instead of trying to divine what chemicals could be in the patient body as a whole - if any were at all - he was taking his job seriously, as he knew the risks Venom was already taking with him

He didn't like debts, after all. He was still trying to make up for his first transgression against the assassin.

The blood was familiar to him, but he could find no difference in it from the first time he had drank from Venom. Though his sense of taste was probably lacking compared to what it had once been, Edward couldn't sense any chemical that shouldn't have been a part of it. It was just... blood.

After the vial was emptied, he'd been sure to shove it back into the pillowcase stashed in the closet, as long as shoving the shotgun under his mattress. He was actually surprised the weapon was seemingly so easy to hide; unless the nurses never entered the rooms to search through them, there was no way it should still be here. In a way, he was beginning to think of the rooms as a safe haven.

Though that thought couldn't be necessarily true. After all, when he awoke, Bella's blood wasn't staining his fingertips, and the bandages on his face had been removed as the cuts slowly healed themselves. Someone was changing them, and if he assumed he hadn't gained the ability to sleepwalk as well as sleep, well...

Lunch had already passed for the vampire if Venom's blood was anything to show for it, so he took his usual route through the line, promptly pushing the tray of whatever-the-hell away from him as soon as he sat down. This time he'd brought his journal with him, and though his memory was perfection itself he wanted physical evidence of what he had found in the institute after all. Mostly he was making a note for Bella - a picture of the blond man, the not-Zato, and sketches showing the way its form had changed subtly to reveal the nature of the beast. Assuming it was a beast, of course.

[For his killer bff.]

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That had been vaguely entertaining, hadn't it.

Damon didn't want to say that talking to Stefan made him feel better or anything, since that would be ridiculous, but over the past twelve months, he'd had a number of chats with his brother about some global crisis or other. Familiarity was...nice. Sometimes.

The importance of family, you know.

On a whim, Damon grabbed a plate of fries. No reason not to. He'd much rather be sitting with a glass of bourbon, but food would have to do in a pinch. It tasted good, even if it didn't do anything for him. Which was another problem on his hands, wasn't it? Was he supposed to live off of bushy-tailed rodents again? Because he'd done that for a bit, and it wasn't what he'd call enjoyable.

Though it'd be business as usual for Stefan. Who knew, being on an abnormal diet would actually come in handy one day. Too bad Stefan hadn't made any bets.

Oh well. He didn't have much choice. If it bought him time, he supposed he could...deal with it. He'd really prefer to avoid drawing attention to Elena which meant he couldn't go around biting people. Especially with his compulsion being completely defunct the way it was. He still hadn't figured out how the hell that had happened. It wasn't like he had a power switch inside his head or something. You couldn't turn it off. It was just there. Witchcraft was all he could think of that might've been responsible, but even so—

He popped a fry into his mouth and scanned the room. Empty table, there we go.

—Even so, he'd dealt with his share of witches, let him just say that. If they could be that powerful, word would've spread—something. He would've heard about this capability of theirs. Witches and vampires might've done some business with each other, but they were hardly best friends. If such a natural weapon existed in their arsenal, somewhere in the world, a witch would've used it on a vampire. There was no way it could've stayed secret from him all this time. And given all the little inventions Emily had stealthily helped the original Jonathan Gilbert build, he couldn't see why she wouldn't have crafted something to take away one of a vampire's greatest assets.

Or what did he know. There could be another invention floating around out there somewhere. Maybe in the form of a monocle, to go with that spinning pocket watch compass. All these Founding Families—and it wasn't as if his father had set time aside for paternal bonding and sharing vampire-hunting secrets.

Yup. The importance of family.

Damon bit into another crispy fry.

[HEY CLAIRE, SAY HI TO YOUR DEAD FRIEND. who is now a vampire.]

Edited at 2010-08-16 12:25 am (UTC)

[CLAIRE GETS ALONG BEST WITH THINGS THAT ARE DEAD ANYWAY. LIKE THE SQUIRREL BABY.]

Oh god, that smell.

Being led into the cafeteria again was like a hit to the gut. Her stomach was positively screaming at the scent. She hadn't eaten since before she had come to this hospital, and it had been years since she'd last had a burger. She wanted to rip into one right now. A burger with all the toppings and mayo (no, maybe relish), spilling out the back when she took a bite. Extra cheese and pickles on top.

She wanted to cry when the nurse handed her a tray with a perfect bacon cheeseburger, a mountain of fries leaning on its side and a heavy dollop of ketchup on the edge of the plate. It was too good to be true.

And that was precisely why Claire cast a sly glance over her shoulder, slipping silently into the crowd once the nurse was looking the other way. She sneaked up to the first trash bin she saw and tipped the whole tray into it. Whump.

Even now it looked impossibly delicious, its innards sprawled over last meal's crumpled napkins and half-bitten leftovers. Claire stared down at it, mesmerized. She was so hungry, she wanted to dig it up again and shove it into her mouth. But she couldn't trust the food. They could be drugging it. If the point wasn't to kill her outright, it could be sedatives. Something to make you paranoid, open to suggestion, make you imagine things that aren't there. Make you trust people.

She thought of Ethan. Glaring down at the spilled hamburger, she pushed all her memories of the time at that station into the front of her mind and branded his face onto the upturned bun. She'd giggled with him and followed his every order like a lost puppy, gullible as a child. Ethan, who had kidnapped her and hung Charlie by the neck. Ethan, who wanted to cut out her baby and take him away.

If only a little, the scent began to sicken her.

Yeah. This was the same thing, wasn't it? Locking her up was the same as stealing Aaron away. They were keeping them apart, and Claire wouldn't stand for it. No hamburgers today.

She watched her nurse as she coolly made the distance between them as big as possible. There was a brown haired man sitting alone there. If she sat across from him, the nurse wouldn't be able to see if she had her tray or not. That would do. Claire made a beeline for him, cutting around another table to approach from the side.

Her steps slowed. Claire could feel the blood drain from her face as she took in the man's profile, mind wiped blank. There were a few moments where she didn't understand why she had frozen on the spot, why the goosebumps were rising on her arms. All she could see was an ordinary man munching on a fry.

If she had been asked to describe Boone Carlisle before now, she wouldn't have had much to say. Memories of people long gone had all wiped away piece by piece with each day she spent in the jungle. Three years of solitude versus a month's worth of memories. It was no surprise that she couldn't even say what colour his eyes were or how tall he was. But the sight before her now was as good as a photograph. Things came rushing back, little details like the strength of his jaw, brief encounters by the water bin, the hisses he'd exchanged with Shannon.

This was much better than a photograph. It was moving. She could hear the crunch of fries between his teeth. Claire opened her mouth, her tongue sticky as it slowly went dry.

"...Boone?"

Someone was watching him.

Staring, to be precise. Damon was, of course, no stranger to being watched by those he'd never met before, but he was—wherever the hell, not a bar. Potentially skewed priorities aside, he doubted anyone was seeking to get laid.

Though surely, it would be an attractive source of distraction.

After a second, he glanced over to see who it was. Someone he knew recently would've come up to him, not watched from a distance. A girl, it turned out to be. Blonde, with a face that suggested she was pretty despite all attempts to look otherwise. That was some phobia of hairbrushes she had there. It was almost as bad as Stefan's hair had been in the 90s.

Almost.

Okay, but the way she was looking at him? Kind of freaky. Maybe he did know her after all? Well, not know know, but knew in the sense that he might've...you know. Taken a bite or two out of her once. He wasn't usually sloppy about these things, but it happened. Look, he wasn't always sober, all right? And honestly, it was never that big a deal. Sometimes you got the dedicated ones like the history teacher who went on a Van Helsing crusade, but a) love had been involved in that particular case, and love was always a powerful motivating factor, and b) it was an exception to the rule. For the most part, human beings were concerned with preserving their perceived sanity. They were extraordinarily skilled at telling themselves they imagined everything.

But his considerations turned out to be a moot point. She solved the problem for him when she finally spoke up.

Oh.

Oh. This. This was interesting. Or it would've been, if he hadn't been too surprised to think very far on it. Cases of mistaken identity? That was Elena's thing, not his.

He raised his eyebrows, a half-bitten fry still between his fingers. What? was his instinctive response, but he took a split second to stop himself, opting for something a little less...bewildered-sounding.

"Do I know you?"

Not the reaction she had been expecting. (What was she expecting?) Claire stared back wordlessly for a moment, trying to match her mind to her eyes and actually believe what she was seeing. His confusion had her thinking that she'd made some mistake, but that couldn't be it. That was his voice, that was Boone's voice exactly. Yes, and the eyes, the nose...perhaps not the hair, but hair was something that changed all the time. It was longer now than it used to be, but the colour was the same. Everything was the same, so how could this be a mistake?

Boone was alive?

"Yeah, you...It's me. Claire." She moved a little closer and marveled at him. "You remember me. From the island?"

It suddenly occurred to Claire that he might not have recognized her yet. It had been a really long time, and Boone had only known her when she was heavily pregnant. Her hand jumped to her stomach, almost as if she were searching for her old belly. Other parts of her had changed too, she guessed. Her hair wasn't so neat anymore, and the sun had aged her a bit. But he couldn't have just forgotten her, there were only forty or so people in the beginning and she was the only pregnant woman around. Ever. It was kind of hard to not stand out when your belly was the size of a beach ball.

She shook her head. That was completely beside the point. Boone had just come back from the dead. And it wasn't John in a new body, because he would have known right away who she was and wouldn't be staring at her like she was some kind of lunatic. He'd never been one to play pranks in the first place.

"You're dead." She said finally. Admitting it aloud gave her the power to unfreeze her feet from the floor. Hesitantly, she took the seat across from him and continued staring with wide, unblinking eyes. "How are you here? You died. I remember...I watched them bury you, I was there when they did it."

She was half-right there; he was pretty dead. But buried, he never was. And thank God for that. The whole grave-crawling thing was just unappealing. Not to mention overrated.

Anyway, that he was dead was basically the only thing she had right. Everything else...yeah. No idea. Whoever this guy was that she knew, he was probably still dead somewhere in the world. She was no doubt mistaken. Delusional. Possibly both. Maybe this Claire girl had an attachment to him and imagined him everywhere. Though admittedly, she didn't seem too upset when referring to his death, but that could be the shock factor overriding it.

True, there was the small possibility that Damon did, in actuality, have a long lost twin, but really? Really?

Hm.

Well. Baffling though it was, there was no harm done. Yet. In fact, this could prove...educational. Either way, he was interested. If her claims, by some minuscule chance, happened to check out, then he wanted to know more, and if they didn't, he still wanted to know more. The important part here was that regardless of how things played out, Claire obviously believed what she was saying. Damon wasn't about to pretend to be this guy she knew. That wouldn't last past five minutes. But he had her attention in a way that was beyond the superficial.

An opportunity, then. Not the best opening he'd ever encountered, but not the worst, either. It would do.

"I'm—I'm sorry, Claire, I really don't remember. You...or the island." He studied her, like he might remember her, almost, but didn't. A part of him almost felt bad; she just looked so confused. It wasn't as if he was hurting her, though. He'd get what he wanted, and she—she would never know. Everyone went home happy. Or at least no more depressed than they'd arrived as. "Are you sure you're not mistaking me for someone else?"

It was right around here that a lunatic decided to cause a scene, and Damon couldn't help but break his attention off of his newest target. Oh. Well, there was someone who needed to make himself stand out in a crowd even more than he no doubt already did simply by existing.

Never mind. Slight annoyance aside, what did he care? Besides, he'd like to see what happened around here when people weren't being docile. Not that he couldn't already suspect, but it was sort of like putting an ant under a magnifying glass for the first time. You were pretty sure you knew what was going to happen, but it never failed to amuse, anyway.

Damon cleared his throat and turned back to Claire with a small apologetic shrug for the interruption, the kind people gave when they knew they had nothing much to apologize for, but social norms dictated it would be rude to do otherwise.

"No I'm not," she insisted, the shock passing over for desperation. "You're him. You're Boone. You know me, don't try to pretend like it didn't happen -"

And of course, somebody picked that moment to start shouting at the top of their lungs about banding together and or some such nonsense. Claire stared at the blond man with a dark glower for the interruption. Somehow this was giving her flashbacks of Jack on the beach trying to rally them up. If he said, 'Live together, die alone' she was going to have the worst case of deja vu.

Not like she wasn't already dealing with that anyway.

She continued, having spared enough time for the man's crazy tirade, pinning Boone to the spot with a piercing stare. He had to remember something. "You were on the plane with us when it crashed. You and your sister Shannon?" She raised her brows and searched his face for an answer. Some sign that he recognized her, that he was catching on to what she was saying. "You can't tell me you don't remember any of that."

This wasn't getting her anywhere. Claire gave a huff of frustration and chewed her lip for a moment. What on earth was going on here? Even when John took on another body, he had something of their old memories. But Boone was either a really, really elaborate illusion or sending or something, or some...long lost twin. Which was far more ridiculous than even a resurrected Boone would be. So stupid. That sort of thing was just too cheesy for real life.

She vied for a different approach. It wouldn't do to lose her temper by chasing a dead line of questioning. "What do you remember? If you don't remember me or the island or John...anything. What were you before you came here?"

A plane crash, an island, three names that held no significance to him—this was all sounding very Cast Away meets Survivor. As things went, he could buy she might be telling the truth. Comparatively, he'd heard and seen stranger. Besides, he had to admit she was rocking the I've-been-stranded-outside-civilization look pretty well.

Damon watched her, waiting patiently as she worked through her thoughts. There was no reason to interrupt; she was obviously sorting something out and he wanted to hear what it was.

When it finally came, her choice of words was the first thing to catch his attention: What were you rather than who. What could she mean by phrasing it in such a way?

Oh, but he should answer her question first, he supposed. Give just enough; get plenty more. The rules of the game were practically innate after over a century of playing it.

"My name isn't Boone, for one," he replied, elbows on the table and one hand on top of the other. "It's Damon. I have a brother, not a sister. Before this happened, I was staying in Mystic Falls, it's—" He waved a hand, dismissing the importance of precisely where he lived to the abridged version of his life. The Cliffs Notes of Cliffs Notes. "—it's this small town in Virginia. That's...about it." He paused, frowning as he studied her. "I'm sorry, I really don't know what to tell you, Claire. I mean, I guess...maybe it's one of those weird celebrity lookalike coincidences?"

The way he said it, though, he sounded less than convinced; your typical attempt to rationalize what was supposedly beyond the realms of the norm.

Deliberate on his part, of course. When was it ever not?

This was ridiculous. Claire's expression remained stiff as stone, yet it seemed to darken with Boone's every word. She had no idea where Virginia was (most likely, again, in America), but that was definitely not where Shannon said they had lived. She couldn't remember the name exactly. Only that it wasn't anything so trite as 'Mystic Falls'.

All right. So he wanted to call himself 'Damon' now, pretend like he had some mystery brother. Have a new life. Fine. She would let him. Claire had no idea what was going on, and the very fact that Boone Carlisle was sitting in front of her indicated some kind of incredible trickery or a force she didn't understand. Couldn't understand. It didn't mean that she bought this Damon act at all; being dead for three years didn't give you a twenty something year old reincarnation (if they were jumping that far for explanations), and she was drawing blanks for anything else. As much as Damon was hoping to pass this off as an eerie coincidence, they were too close of a match for that. Even the pitch of his voice was the same, and the incredulous raise of his brows. Boone used that exact look.

Claire shook her head, stricken by disgust. For the first time since sitting down she looked away of her own volition, angrily abusing her lip with her teeth. "It's not a coincidence," she said bitterly. "You don't get it. And if you're not going to tell me what's really going on here - what you really are? Then I don't want to talk to you anymore. This is just a waste of time."

Five stages of grief. Were they on anger now, then? Progress, Damon supposed.

What stopped him from dismissing her as purely out of her mind, though, was her sheer determination to believe that a) he was Boone and b) that he was deliberately pretending otherwise. Benefit of the doubt was apparently missing from her vocabulary. Most people preferred to aim for the easy answers, the ones that would require the least adjustment of their world views.

But Claire—now she was different. Did she know something or was she just one to defy the standards?

Either way, he knew when to wind down a conversation. You couldn't rush these things.

"Look, honestly," he admitted, "I wish I had some answers for you because this is creeping me out, too. It's usually not in my schedule to have strange women tell me I'm their dead friend." He watched her for a moment. "If you think it'll help, you're welcome to talk to my brother. He's not hard to recognize. We—" Damon wiggled the fingers of his left hand at her where the large ring sat. "—match."

How good of an idea was it to steer this girl in Stefan's direction? Well, they'd find out. Or not—he didn't intend to be here long enough for it to come up. But if by some circumstance things didn't work out as he wanted (because that did happen sometimes; he'd lived long enough to recognize this fact), then he would...need a friend or two. And while he wasn't sure if she was it, he was willing to gamble on her. Which meant he couldn't very well have her walking around thinking he was lying to her, could he? Especially when it actually wasn't true, for once.

Then of course, there was also the question of whether he should alert Stefan that a potentially delusional female patient might be on the incoming path his way, but there was time yet to work that one out.

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