DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 52: Game Room
nobody knows
full_score wrote in damned
Lunch had taken his mind from his worries, if only for a few minutes. But after the intercom sounded and the nurses began leading patients onto the next activity, one look at the bulletin board brought everything back in full force. No replies from Ashton, Dias or Dad. By now Claude felt like he was practically counting down until the end of the day, when he was going to have to finally grapple with the real possibility that most of his friends from before Landel's, as well as his own father, had fallen victim to the institute.

And now he was going to have to deal with his mother being here on top of that. It didn't seem like a coincidence that she'd show up right when his father's whereabouts were so up in the air. But what did it mean? Why couldn't Landel leave his family out of this?

Normally, the announcement about new video games would have made him perk up, but his eyebrows only knit together with concern as his nurse led him into the game room. That didn't seem to stop her from trying to get him to unwind, though.

"Oh, come now, Thomas, you've worn that expression for most of the day!" she told him with a frown. "Why don't you have a bit of fun now that your eyes are all better? I'm sure you could use it."

The last thing he wanted was to be reminded of his "sleep studies", he darkly thought to himself. But before he could protest, his nurse had sat him down in front of one of the television screens. There was an old gaming console, one Claude had never seen before, and he glanced at her with a confused expression. "Go on," she encouraged as she placed one of the controllers in his hands. "I know how much you enjoy these kinds of things. Someone will come play with you soon, too, I'm sure. Doesn't that sound nice?"

He didn't have time to answer her, because she'd soon bustled off to tend to some of the other patients. Claude watched her leave with a sigh. He realized the daytime staff meant well, which made knowing what they turned into at night even worse to think about. But now he was just being negative for the sake of it, wasn't he?

Taking in a small breath, he reached over to the console and turned it on. As long as he was waiting for some kind of answer from the bulletin, there probably wasn't much he could do except pass the time. Claude watched the title screen appear on the television, his expression growing more curious in spite of himself. Super Mario Bros....

[For Prussia!]

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"I told you already. I didn't do anything." That felt like the fourth time he'd said that in the last fifteen minutes. The same lady who'd been leading Snow around all day just stood in front of him, hands on her hips, and looked up at him with an exasperated expression. She'd been trying to interrogate him ever since Lightning ran off at lunch, like he did something to scare her off. But no matter how many times he repeated himself, she didn't seem to believe him. It was completely ridiculous. Worse yet, she had distracted him to the point that he'd lost Lightning completely. Now he'd have to wait until he found her again.

The nurse-guard just sighed like she had any reason to be annoyed here. "We expect better of you, Mr. Davidson. Please try not to pick fights with the other patients." He clicked his tongue in response and just crossed his arms, wondering how long she was planning to lecture him. If he was trying to pick a fight with someone, they'd definitely know it.

Argh. What was he doing? He couldn't stand this "wait and see" stuff. Playing along with these people until it got dark was just feeling like such a waste of time. He needed to go! He needed to move! He couldn't stay bottled up in this place until they all decided to turn their backs. He just plow through them right now, create an escape path for everyone else to run through, and get the hell out of there. Standing around and doing nothing was just killing him.

Them containing him that one time was just some kind of a fluke. He could handle these people. Now he had to decide though whether he wanted to scrap his idea of waiting until dark to bust down the doors or screw it all and do it now. "Now try to relax for the rest of the day, okay? Why don't you find someone to play a game with?"

The woman ushered him in and... he just followed. The day was almost over anyway. Maybe he'd just look at the stuff in this room for a while. This one wasn't full of books or anything though. It was supposed to be full of games, he guessed, but he didn't recognize anything on the shelves. There weren't even any computer consoles unless those tiny little things over there were supposed to count which... they obviously didn't. Instead, the shelves were full of boxes of stuff. Snow knelt down on one knee to look at the labels on some of them, tilting his head so he could read them more easily. Scrabble, Battleship, Checkers, Apples to Apples...

[for Claire!]

Claire had left lunch neither any fuller than she had entered it, nor any less confused. Goku was a sweet boy to be sure, but...strange. In a way that even Walt hadn't been. In a place like this that kind of naivete would only endanger him, and that unsettled Claire more than she'd care to admit. Goku was a stranger, yes, but he was just a boy. One of the youngest people here, from the looks of things. Was there no one around to look out for him?

Either way, she was glad to leave the cafeteria and the smell of the Mexican buffet behind. It made it marginally easier to ignore the growing revolt in her stomach. Sooner or later, she would have to eat something. Perhaps she could sneak into the kitchen later and grab something from a can. Something in an unopened container. It was the only way to guarantee that no one had tampered it.

Her belly gave another painful gurgle and Claire clutched at it in vain. Two days now. Two days without food. She pursed her lips and reminded herself of her first few weeks in the days after the others had left. She had gone longer without. She could handle this. She'd weather through it, because that was what it was going to take.

"Here. Charlotte, this way. Come on, let's get to the Game Room. Time to do something different today," the nurse urged, guiding her with a firm hand on the shoulder and sounding distinctly apathetic to the idea. Spreading cheer was not her strong suit. The pair were soon strolling into a more humble room than usual, smaller with walls in place of windows and shelves lined with battered boxes. Televisions had been set up around the room, and Claire had to do a double take as she watched the screen light up and heard the sparsely noted tunes playing along. There was a stunted man running along the screen with pipes and bricks and turtles - she knew this. She knew...

"Mario." The word felt like a triumph. A smile crawled onto her face, gleeful and unbidden. "That's Mario."

"Dear, I'm sorry, but all the consoles are taken. Would you like to play a different game instead?"

"What?"

The nurse frowned when Claire made no move to find her own activity. Glancing around, she finally spotted a tall, scruffy looking man inspecting a shelf all alone and promptly directed her charge straight to him. "Ah, Arthur? How about you and Charlotte play something together, hmm? She arrived the same time you did. I'm sure you both will have lots to talk about."

Her duty completed, she vanished. Claire's impish smile disappeared in Arthur's shadow, replaced by the flat, hesitant stare she greeted all strangers with. The man was huge. When you were only just over a hundred and fifty centimeters, even average sized people gave you a reason to strain your neck. And Arthur was anything but average height.

There was an awkward silence. Claire had no idea what to say. What to do. How did they expect them to just launch into a game of...a game of Battleship and pretend like they were friends all along? That wasn't how people worked.

"I'm not Charlotte." Better establish that immediately. Claire uncomfortably crossed her arms and tried to meet the man's eyes without looking like an idiot. "My real name is Claire."

He'd barely been left alone a minute and already one of the guards was coming over to bug him again. Snow stood up as soon as he noticed her coming over, but his attention went down to the girl the guard was escorting. Oh. She was just dropping this girl off over here, huh? A normal person might have questioned why it was the guards even cared who was interacting with who when they were all prisoners anyway, but Snow had already blown his "wondering why" fuse by this point. The rationale didn't matter when you had to deal with it either way. Besides, he didn't see a problem here.

After the nurse-guard hightailed it out of there, the girl looked at him like she was uncomfortable or something. Couldn't really blame her. The guard said she was just as new as he was. Not everyone was as quick to adapt to stuff. But she got over it and introduced herself pretty quick anyway. He gave her a bit of a smirk.

"Heh, yeah? Guess what. I'm not Arthur either." The smirk shifted into a big grin like he was on the verge of laughing at that fact. "It's Snow. Good meetin' you, Claire." Keeping the smile where it was, he placed his hands on his hips and jerked his head slightly toward the shelf he'd been pawing through. "You're new here, too, right? Wanna help me dig through some a' this stuff for somethin' interesting?"

Might as well, right? He couldn't see how any of these things were games, but there had to be some good stuff here somewhere. They already had a room full of books, so there was probably rare things all over the place.

His name was Snow.

For that reason and that reason alone, Claire did not return his smile or give him so much as a 'Likewise.' She was too busy trying to puzzle that one out. After much brow furrowing and pursing of the lips, she decided not to dwell on it. Whether he had thought it was a cool nickname or his parents were really that stupid, it would be rude to bring it up and ask.

"Um..." She ducked in next to him, rising to the tips of her toes to see exactly what he was rummaging through. It seemed to be all the old sorts of games Claire had played around with as a kid. Monopoly and Scrabble, Guess Who. The names leaped out at her with a barrage of memories following close behind. Happier times when her mother wasn't in the hospital and she wasn't playing the rebellious teenager. And even a few friendly games of Risk in the village. The ping pong table at the beach.

She shook her head, clearing it all away. Dwelling on those kinds of things would only make it worse. She looked up at Snow with one brow raised, half baffled by his sunniness and half-exasperated by it. He seemed so at east with the place. That was understandable in kids like Goku, but this guy was about her age. If not older. "You're seriously looking for a game right now?"

"Not really," he admitted, turning back to the shelf, too. Looking at this mess, he doubted he was going to find one. Maybe these boxes were filled with some kind of weird, ancient-style games or something, but he couldn't really tell. Would something like that even be entertaining? Games back home consisted of outdoor sports/games or something that required you to sit in front of a screen. Anything else was pretty much alien.

He randomly picked up on of the boxes somewhat carefully, unsure of the contents. "Not really lookin' for anything, really. I mean, if we're stuck in here anyway, might as well check the place out, right? See what they've got. But uh..." He lightly shook the box. Inside, he could hear the sounds of plastic bits and fragile sounding things clanking together. Not exactly useful or worth snatching. "...IIII gotta feeling this room doesn't have much worth lookin' at. Think this stuff's broken already."

So he was looking for something useful. It was loads better than settling for an hour or two of Monopoly, but he still wasn't gaining much of Claire's confidence for it. Who would raid a game closet for supplies? Honestly.

"You won't find much in there," she added knowledgeably. "It's all kid's stuff. Board games and cards."

There was an instant where something caught her interest, enough to make her reach across him to dig it out. What she found after prying the lid off the box was a weathered chess set. It was missing a few pawns and a rook or two, from the look of it, and the board was dented and peeling. Just a printout on a piece of cardboard.

"Might be worth it if you could find something that you could take a swing with, but this all looks like junk. It's too thin. I don't think they'd let us leave here with anything useful, anyway."

She had been hoping that the chess board would have been of the thick wooden variety - or even better, marble - but that was just stupid. Like they would leave something that dangerous lying around for the patients to play with. And like she'd said, no one could get away with smuggling it out.

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