DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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DAY 59: CAFETERIA
let the only sound
touchedgod wrote in damned
Billy surfaced into wakefulness. Sleep receded like an inky tide, and it didn't say anything to him before it was gone. His dreams had been nothing but the sensation of water, rocking him restlessly in his bottle. There seemed to be an ocean beyond his confines, but he couldn't see it and couldn't reach it. He pawed at the glass, but any progress he'd made had been washed out of his memory.

He tried not to be disturbed by the deja vu, but it wasn't the sort of thing one was in full control of. And yet, his heart didn't race. His nose didn't bleed. His hands were shaking, but with a different tenor than the last time he had concentrated on them. Everything felt still, and whole, and maybe not right, but for the first time in weeks Billy breathed without trouble. There was no weight of a terrified, dying universe crawling over his shoulders and clamoring for attention. He laid there in bed for a long time. Victory. Not his victory, but someone else's, and that was good enough. He hadn't needed to be the one who saved it, he was just doing what he had to. Truthfully, he was glad to have not seen it. There was a lot Billy wished he hadn't seen.

He couldn't bring himself to react much to the fact that he was still here. Billy glanced around a couple times, vision blurred without his glasses, but saw that the room was basically the same. This time lit up, of course, although it didn't help him to gather many precise details. He would have almost said his aimless adventure with Captain Kirk during the night had been a dream, but it was all wrong, thematically speaking. Maybe if Kirk had been a squid dressed in gold lamé, he'd believe it. It really didn't matter what his dreams meant anymore, though.

So it was over, he supposed. The realization that crept up on him was met with very little excitement. He could congratulate himself, but considered crying instead.

Dane. He thought. He's dead. Of course he was dead. He almost wanted to apologize for saying it so coarsely, like it was dangerous to commit to. He knew, though, that it was hope, not wisdom, that was holding him back. Stupid, childish hope. It was hard to avoid when you were talking about a man who had died twice and Billy had still managed to get him back anyway, but this… this was different. He had seen Dane dying, writhing on the ground, and it just went on and on as Grisamentum tore him apart from the inside and undid all that was Dane.

Oh god, why was he awake? He barely noticed the uneasy sound of glass in the back of his head, but he didn't need Angelic interference right now. Why was it still here? Where was here? Billy threw off the covers, again in different clothes, and retrieved his glasses from the nightstand. He nearly knocked them onto the floor in his impatience.

He had already mourned Dane once, sort of. It had just been a frail attempt at preparing himself for the possibility that he wouldn't make it in time, not true mourning. And he didn't make it in time. He knew that. But through the unreality of the reality he lived in now, it had worked out. He was given a second and then a third chance. As it turned out, that earlier attempt to deal with Dane's mortality had just made him more vulnerable. It had made Billy let his guard down. The twice dead martyr shouldn't have been defeated. But Dane had killed himself. He died as soon as he let that fucking squid bite him. He had lingered with Billy for a while, but he had just been circling the bloody drain the whole time and Billy had known it. Dane had known it. He'd given up on the world, and why not? What had it done for him? What had it done for Billy lately? Maybe that was why you could worship a god that didn't care about you, because it was so perfect and so accurate, tentacles or no. No Krakenist would ask why, Kraken, did you allow this to happen? They had strength in knowing and understanding their tragic squid-born existence. And that was how Dane had died.

Billy was less sure, and he couldn't turn his back on the world so easily. He'd threaten, he'd spit anger and questions at the mnemophylax, and then falter at the moment of true resentment. He had never been devout, but now angels watched him and museums were his holy spaces. Dane had been convinced until the end that Kraken, the great uncaring, spoke to him. Billy hadn't had the heart to tell him otherwise.

Any further thoughts were interrupted by a soldier he hadn't noticed entering.

"Get dressed."

Billy stared at the military blues from the night before. Clean and fresh, no sign of any blood, not that he'd been the one injured. There was even a little hat that he had missed the night before. He was going to look ridiculous, he could feel it.

"I think you'll probably find I'm not actually registered here," he tried to tell the guard, who was not impressed by Billy's claim. The soldier wasn't even moved by Billy pointing out that the dog tags didn't have his name on them. (Frederick Aldrich? An eerie coincidence that made Billy quietly comply with demands for a few minutes.) The man spoke in nothing but orders, which were easy to follow when you weren't particularly attached to any final aim. Billy was listless. Flotsam and jetsam. Getting back to London was an eventual goal, but he'd put in a call to someone later, and go back to whatever. His life, he supposed. He was already exasperated by the taciturn and far too serious military man. Once upon a time he would have wanted to gain purchase with him through inoffensive smiles and falsely friendly comments. Today, he could only give the man a tired look and equally brusque answers that didn't hide his irritation. Did he really look young enough to be pressed into a military academy?

He was led down cleaner versions of the hallways he had seen the night before, and into a large cafeteria, basically devoid of anyone beside himself and the assembled guards. Billy uncomfortably found a seat, and took a few seconds to just hide his face in his hands and block everything else out. The tray he had been given was immediately forgotten, just to the side of him, and he blamed his turning stomach on the adrenaline that was still working its way out of his system. It was so fantastically quiet in the large room, he wanted to drown in it. He only peered through his fingers when someone else in powder blue passed close to his table.

[For Castiel.]

Night always ended whenever Erika thought she was getting things done for once, so it always left her feeling cranky in the morning. However, this morning, it was difficult to feel cranky when she realized that she was still "alive", at least meaning that the drug she was injected with had been non-lethal. Not that she had to worry too much if she "died", seeing as how it happened once before, but a piece that died one too many times wouldn't appear to be too useful. Besides, if she were to be thrown off this board... only hell waited for her. Needless to say, Erika was not interested in repeating that experience too soon.

However, she was very interested in what was going on with the military, for once. Last night, there had been quite a bit of drama, hadn't there? She couldn't help but look amused at the orders that came barking from the intercom: That no soldier would be permitted to leave without orders. Of course, since there was a traitor afoot... When she walked to the cafeteria, Erika turned her attention to the soldier who escorted her, but said nothing to him. She was trying to watch him for a crack in his emotionless face, maybe a hint of worry... After some time, the soldier turned to look at her, and Erika thought she had gotten something.

"Tuck in your shirt." Well, that or a scolding. The girl noticed that she didn't tuck in part of the sides, and after frowning and making some protests about how merely walking was an exercise in endurance, she finally reached the cafeteria. After that, the soldier left her to her own devices. Her own devices... Erika mulled on that as she chose to sit at the nearest table. She closed her eyes, thinking about what had happened last night, and the night before.

There was a reward to completing that stupid basement challenge, and furthermore, she received another pin, probably that "compensation" she had been promised earlier. From that viewpoint, it stood to reason that she had proved herself to be a useful person, if that's what the pins meant. Her rank didn't change but... Erika had noticed. Yesterday, though a soldier had taken her to the cafeteria in the morning, she was allowed to leave on her own and go to her assigned place. It was more like... no one was forcing her to go where everyone else was going. Perhaps because they just trusted her, but Erika couldn't really accept that explanation. It seemed more like they didn't care. Then she received that cupcake, even if its only purpose was to torment Gabriel rather then rewarding her for "losing". And now... this new pin.

The military had been acting strange since yesterday, according to Erika's observations, and now today, they seemed especially high strung. What sort of reaction would she get out of them if she decided to do something extremely strange? Since Erika still had the feeling that their eyes weren't watching her in particular, she made her decision. She got up, leaning on the table for support as she got used to the inevitable ache that action caused. Then she looked at the door, that was very close by.

Erika shuffled a bit. Quiet, footsteps. A meaningful stride. Without so much as a word to the other soldiers standing guard, she went ... right through the door. Right through the door, and no one stopped her. Erika waited, letting the door close behind her as she turned around to stare back it.

No one running after her. No one telling her to stop. She was doing something that was 'allowed'.

Erika was extremely puzzled, taking off her beret to inspect the two pins that were hanging on it. Did... did she really earn this "privilege", to be able to just walk outside, simply because of these two pins?

"Put your beret back on."

A soldier who was walking by on patrol spoke up to her, standing by Erika long enough to make sure she obeyed before walking off again. And this time, Erika was only left even more confused and even the slightest bit angry. her mouth flapped open and closed for a bit, before she was finally able to enunciate her words.

"Why do you people care more about my clothes then the fact I just left the cafeteria?! Without permission?!" Only silence met Erika's screeching.

[ hi nigredo... /breathes ]

Chasing a ghost resulted in a fruitless venture, the form of Rika slipping away to the ceiling before Nigredo had a chance to observe. A bemused child had fixed his gaze for minutes longer, unaware of the fact that his companions were about to head into the darkened chamber. Unaware until too late, the creak of doors drawing his attention to the present. In a brief moment of panic, he had sprinted for the other side and prayed to whatever god, fate, or luck that they weren't stupid enough to touch.

Sadly, Nigredo never got to witness the end result. The world had vanished from under his feet, and before logic could form a rationale, the child awoke in his own bed. He stayed motionless with wide eyes and a fathomless countenance, his mind synchronizing the events. In minutes, he recognized the steady flow of a brother's waveform as well as the quiet sounds associated with mornings, both evident of a single fact.

They had missed the coliseum. For whatever reason, they had been spared from participation. Either someone in the group had practiced restraint, or they had simply ran out of time. The relief that burst forth was enough to make Nigredo sick, knowing how close he had skirted toward death. Ironically, it was paranoia that kept the child from crumbling, as a part of him wondered what new twists he was supposed to expect from this development.

And like a herald of bad news, his usual escort barged in, face grim and ready for work. Nigredo sighed audibly and forced himself out of bed, simultaneously reaching for his various accessories. The man appeared displeased; delaying any longer would prove more troublesome for Nigredo than not.

To his surprise, when he touched the beret, the soldier stopped him with a pointed tone. "Don't bother," he said. "You can leave that here."

The variant blinked. This was a confusing response. "...Come again?"

"You don't have to wear your beret. You can also leave the top button of your shirt undone," the man answered. Without skipping a beat, he bent down and gestured to the pins on the beret. Nigredo's eyes followed suit. "See this? You've earned the privilege."

He had seen them before, those emblems. Had further reasoned their existence some time ago. The pins had to be none other than the "accomplishments" mentioned by Aguilar. The fact that he caught a third addition to his growing collection meant he had been rewarded the night before. And what else had happened to Nigredo aside from that little stint before dinner?

"Oh, I see," the child muttered, swallowing a statement about how forcibly drugging him meant he could now be less clothed. "Is there anything else?" he wondered aloud.

The soldier detailed out two other privileges, one of which caught his attention immediately. To move freely in the daytime meant a number of things, and though a new rank was interesting in and of itself, Nigredo opted to jump on the opportunity for mobility. His escort obliged, and soon, the child took to the hallways, beret-free but top button done.

With a variety of choices before him, Nigredo took to business first. He stepped over to the Sun Room and left a brief query for Albedo on the bulletin. His brother probably wouldn't understand the desperation (nor the need to use numbers instead of names), but Nigredo hoped the middle child would at least humor Nigredo. The little party Albedo had gathered had been a disaster waiting to spill all over the basement floor. The least he could do was answer a simple question.

His own thoughts were then derailed by a frightening screech, the entirety of his spine shuddering from the high-pitched tones. Nigredo whirled on his heels, mouth opening to berate the person responsible for disturbing his calm morning. "Could you please keep it--" he started loudly, only to stop in his tracks at a very familiar sight. Take away the memory of the frills, add in the military dress and twin-like features, his senses recognized it to be a flustered dead girl.

A million and one questions statements passed through Nigredo's mind, but the one that stuck proved to be highly unexpected. "Oh, I must be going insane again," he stated flatly, before turning back to the bulletin in a veiled state of shock.

Depth Charge sat at the table, pushed his tray away and put his head in his hands in some futile attempt to compress the pounding in his skull to a minimum between his palms.

Urgh. He hadn't meant to fall asleep. If he'd had his own way he'd have been out all nice, one aural receiver trained to his radio and the other to the intercom for any news about their mission- the men he and the Scarecrow had left behind hadn't exactly given the game away. He wasn't even letting Harrington's voice catch him out- for all he knew, that was a pre-recording designed to screw with his head or keep things quiet. There was just no way of telling anymore.

The Scarecrow at least had seemed peaceful in his bed when he'd woken up earlier; it wasn't exactly easy to tell from his side of the room, but it didn't look as though the guy had any serious injuries. He hadn't vanished, anyway, and that was the important part. Vanishing, in all its creeping ambiguity, was just about the worst thing that could happen here.

So. His priorities for the day went as follows: find out if Aguilar had sounded off at all last night and if they'd made a clean getaway. Find out if the Scarecrow was safe (that would only take a glance). Figure out the next step- and there had to be a next step. He couldn't keep quiet about Harrington forever, it was important information, but at the same time... he lifted his head briefly to glance furtively around the cafeteria, as though any number of spies were about to leap out at him. You could never be too careful.

[freeee]

S.T. woke out of blurry dreams involving being interviewed while doggie-paddling in a shoreless lake of beer (unlike seawater and popular belief, it would keep a person reasonably hydrated). Somehow confiscating the mike and threatening to drown it unless the guy gave him a lift to somewhere with a floor hadn't occurred to him. This room had one, so he got out of bed. He put on a fresh shirt for good measure, since this one felt -- and smelled -- like the normal sleep hypotonia had worn off early enough for him to have paddled the length of his bed a few times.

He ran his fingers through his hair, which hadn't gotten noticeably longer, and ambled down to the cafeteria.

A familiar face was sitting at one of the big tables. It was still weird to see Harrison Ford just hanging out with the rest of them. Most of the rest came from comic books or whatever, and the powers that be didn't go for the Jessica Rabbit thing. Too bad. They could use more sparkly evening gowns, even if the room was short on women to wear them.

Given that Scott didn't look like trauma and fanatic devotion were going two falls out of three in his gut, it wasn't Han Solo sitting across from him. Indy was back. The Institute's resurrection complex was open for business under new management. They'd just turned the dial somewhere between instant gratification and Jesus.

He'd been an asshole about it when he'd talked to Peter, but he'd been right. Death around here was strictly on an opt-in basis. It still looked like it hurt. It was a bad cliché but Indy looked like death warmed over. Reason enough to avoid it when at all possible.

He waved as he went up to get a plate of food, real except for the maple syrup, which smelled like being downwind of a spice factory and a paper mill simultaneously. He'd poured it over his plate anyway. Time to find someone to bother or be bothered by.

Depth Charge was sitting at a table, his eyes darting back and forth, but S.T. wasn't sure he'd spotted Indy. He dropped into the seat opposite, and jerked a thumb over at Jones's back. "See that? Looks like it was worth it after all."

Shit.

When Alaric opened his eyes and stared at the bleach-white of the ceiling, his hand dug into the covers tangled underneath him. There was nothing wet on his hand anymore, drying and sticking his fingers together. His other hand was still with fresh bandages wrapped around where he'd sliced it open. Both injection sites had new gauze tied around them.

Shit.

There was no wanting it to be a dream. Alaric wasn't adverse to killing vampires - obviously. He'd done it a number of times. However, he wasn't... pseudo-friends with the vampires he tried to kill. And he also wasn't forced into wanting to kill them.

Anyone on the outside looking in on his life would see Alaric had plenty of reasons to want to rid the world of Damon Salvatore. Good riddance and all that. However, it was important to note that Alaric, for whatever reason (he still hadn't figured it out himself, honestly) did not want to kill him. Anymore. After the failed attempt, he'd considered trying again. Sure, he'd probably die again. Still worth it. But over time he had... well, not gotten over it, but moved past it. It helped to know Isobel had decided on her fate herself.

It had to be the injection. It had to be. Right now he wasn't thinking like Patrick Bateman and feeling his fingers tick with murderous intention. He felt normal. But what the hell could you put in someone to make them want to kill?

Answer: he didn't want to know. Just keep it from him.

Alaric went to breakfast with no complaints, quietly buttoning his shirt and following his escort. He took the gruel without visible disgust, sitting at a table far against the wall. The spoon mixed the pink mixture together, but he didn't bring it to his mouth.

And what about the device?

[For Damon... momentarily.]

Going from having a knife put through him to an insistent tap on his shoulder was not the most pleasant waking experience. He grabbed the hand in his face and bolted upright without thinking—and immediately let go as he doubled over against the white hot flare.

Son of a bitch. He was going to kill him. Again. With the ring off this time.

Except maybe not, he thought as he brushed past the soldier. He was well aware Alaric had plenty of reasons to want him dead. He was equally aware that Alaric had done everything but act on them. Including while they were here, where Damon could no longer snap his spine in a breath. Last night was an...anomaly. Obviously a case of whatever had been slipped into their respective bloodstreams, probably stirring up old...resentments that Rick had mostly gotten over. Mostly.

Bottled homicide, ready to go in a vial. That was new.

Damon's, at least, was gone. For now. Whether it was because the institute was well-lit again or if it was actually out of his system, who the hell knew. He'd have to ask Rose if her experience had any carryover effects.

He'd have to ask Rose a lot of things, in fact. But that could wait.

His gaze zeroed in on Rick as soon as he stepped into the cafeteria. They had things to discuss. True, Damon could pull up the patience to give the teacher some breathing room if he wanted to. He didn't want to. Besides, who stabbed whom? If anyone should've wanted to avoid Rick, it was Damon. Fortunately (or unfortunately, take your pick), he a) doubted Rick would try again and b) doubted the same effect could be repeated with a plastic butter knife.

Damon slid up from behind, his only announcement a hand that snaked by Rick's shoulder to rest on the edge of the table as he leaned into him.

"So last night was fun. Let's not do it again."

Tifa hadn't drank nearly enough water last night. She woke up to a throbbing headache that encased her whole head and some of her spine. It was embarrassing to be a victim of her own trade. With a groan, she rolled over into her pillow and fell back asleep until her door opened and a pair of heavy boots scuffed across the linoleum floor.

"Good morning, sunshine."

She didn't even bother trying to scrape together any amount of dignity. A stink eye was her only response and, unfortunately, it seemed exactly what he wanted, for his shit-eating grin only grew wider the longer she glared.

But apparently duty won over personal entertainment when he said "Come on..." and waited rather amused in his seemingly limitless patience as she dragged herself up and out and into his care. He made his usual grab at her, and she usually jerked away, but there would be no fight in her this morning. Any sudden movement was a mistake and if it meant suffering a few minutes under the grip of a pervert, so be it. She'd scrub her arm later.

The food was the normal affair as per usual and for once Tifa was actually happy to eat it. She needed something in her to absorb the toxin, even if it was a bit late in the game for prevention. Spoonful after spoonful, she wolfed down her gruel and tried not to think of the consistency or taste of it.

[Zack ;A; /reaches for]

While not much had been done last night, Zack had figured he earned it after his stint at being a werewolf. Honestly, it had mainly been the news of Lightning's disappearance and Tifa's coaxing that had gotten him to agree, and he'd gotten a free drink out of it. It was hard to complain about that.

As the ex-SOLDIER came to in his bed, the announcement that had ended the night came back to him. It seemed that Major Harrington was certainly making a name for himself. Zack had figured he was just the guy who made announcements at first, but then he'd been taking patient testimonials last night and he'd been talking to someone over the intercom who had probably been Aguilar. And then here he was again this morning, giving some sort of vague warning.

Well, whatever. If there was a traitor in the ranks of the military, all Zack could do was hope that he or she did a better job of opposing the organization than he had with Shin-Ra. He didn't want someone ending up dead on their account.

Zack stood up, finding that there was no sign of his hangover. He hadn't really had enough for it to have much of an effect, luckily. The last thing he needed was to make himself feel like crap. The institute generally did a good enough job of that on its own. He placed his hat on his head carefully, still finding that aspect of the uniform a bit ridiculous, and then headed to the cafeteria with his usual escort.

There weren't many people in the mess hall when he arrived. In fact, the only person he recognized was Tifa. While they'd just seen each other, there was no reason to not talk now, especially since they'd gotten their R&R out of the way. Now they needed to focus on their next step. Zack went ahead and stood in line for his food first, but...

"Whoa. What?!" Zack stared at the trays of food that were laid out for them, recoiling slightly when he realized that it was all rotting. As if the gruel hadn't been bad enough before. But he got no answer to his question and instead had a tray shoved toward him. Zack struggled to keep a straight face as he moved over to Tifa's table.

However, what he saw when he arrived was even worse. Tifa was actually eating the stuff like there was nothing wrong with it. The man paled as he fought off a wave of nausea. He couldn't bring himself to sit down just yet. "Wh... what are you doing?"

Nightmares were things that Castiel had only heard of. Dreams, in general, were impossible for angels to experience, just as sleep should have been something they could only observe. And yet as his eyes opened to the sound of a man's voice, that was what Castiel felt had happened: he'd woken from a nightmare.

He wanted to get out of the bed immediately, as if it was the reason for what had happened to him. And... what had happened, exactly? Normally he was so composed, his thoughts in such good order, but now it was like everything that had happened over the past day was rushing through him and he hardly knew what to think. He managed to get off of the bed without losing his balance or running into anything. That should have been a simple matter, but he was disoriented, and so accomplishing something as basic as that felt like a feat.

This wasn't like when he'd been drunk. That had been given him a feeling of heaviness mixed with the ability to be open, to speak his mind more than he ever did while sober. No, at this moment he felt like he'd just surfaced out of a haze. Castiel wanted to tell himself that none of that had happened, that none of those thoughts that he was thinking back on now had actually gone through his head. And perhaps they hadn't, seeing how he hadn't been Castiel at all for the previous day and night.

Oddly enough, he couldn't help but think back on Orihara's words: Rather than a man having dreamt of being an angel, you might be an angel now dreaming of being a man.

That was exactly what it had been, but that realization on its own was almost more than an angel could process. As Michael he'd felt things, things that he'd understood and addressed in kind. He'd had a complete history behind him, a human history where he had parents and siblings so unlike his own. The only link between reality and fiction had been his brother. In a way, Castiel now understood better than he'd ever thought he could what it was like to be human, and yet all of those memories were already starting to lose their vividness. A bizarre concept to a being who remembered everything perfectly.

It wasn't that Castiel didn't feel. He knew by now that he'd learned how to do that, at the least. But emotions were still so mysterious to him, while Michael had been able to make sense of all of it. He'd been devout, but he'd also been ashamed of... well, of Castiel.

He knew the truth, of course. He knew who he was; he knew that his eons of memory and existence outweighed a single day spent believing he was one of God's favorite creations. And yet the experience had certainly had its effect, seeing how he'd remained standing in the middle of his shared room for what had to be a few minutes already.

Castiel glanced toward his sleeping roommate and suddenly recalled how he'd told a large number of people that all of their conversations had been bred from his own insanity. Renamon, Aigis, Stefan, and even Orihara -- though the latter was a whole other problem, now that he was recalling the young man's reaction in retrospect. Regardless, he was now going to have to correct them on that point, which was going to be a humbling experience, to say the least.

And then, of course, there was Sam and Dean. It would be far easier to clear things up with them, seeing how he doubted they had believed him in the first place. However, during his temporary insanity he had also spoken openly with both of them regarding Ruby, which was undoubtedly going to cause more friction between them. That was the last thing he needed at this point.

However, the person he'd spent the most time with while out of his mind had been Gabriel. His brother hadn't taken him seriously even then, but he'd remained at his side and that certainly counted for something, especially considering what Castiel had witnessed in that arena the night previous. Flashes of that monster attack from what felt like mere minutes ago cycled through his mind. He would need to make certain that his brother was all right. As for himself, he was sore from the way that overgrown ape had tossed him around, but the pain was nothing that he couldn't push through. There were far more important matters to tend to at the moment.

A soldier finally came to collect him and Castiel moved down the hallways with him, finding that he had to favor one of his legs as he walked. His whole side was bruised and the joint where his left leg met his hip was particularly sore. While the past twenty-four hours had shown him that he was still far from human, he couldn't forget that he was still closer to it now than he had ever been. Castiel's intention was to leave a message on that bulletin board the first chance he got, but his escort wasn't willing to allow that. After the meal, then.

However, as he stood in line for food as was expected of him, he quickly caught a smell that made it clear that something was wrong. The food they were being served was the same as always, and yet it had clearly gone off. There were patches of mold over the usual pink and Castiel actually appeared mortified when he was handed a plate. Though he attempted to point this out to his escort, he was told that the food was the same as always.

Was this a lingering side effect of what he'd just been through? Castiel couldn't be certain of what exactly had driven him insane for a day, but he did know that he was going to do what he could to ensure that it didn't happen again. While he took the tray (he didn't have much other choice), he held it as far away from him as possible as he started to search out a place to sit.

"Michael," the soldier at his side said. The name immediately caused Castiel to tense, but he regained control of his expression and sent the man a blank stare. "Go sit with one of the new recruits."

He was directed toward a patient who looked to be about Sam's age, possibly a few years younger, who seemed to be out of sorts. Castiel was in no position to be of comfort to anyone, but once again, he had no option. Nodding, he took a seat and then set the tray down, pushing it as far to the side as he could. Silence floated between them for a moment until the angel forced himself to speak. "Hello."

Scott was surprised he wasn't waking up in a bed full of tears. As emo a thought as that was.

He sighed heavily, rolling over under the covers onto his side. At least he knew now that he and Peter would be all right. Well, as "all right" as they could be, anyway. They had beaten the rage out of each other, and now they knew they still stood by one another in the wake of what had happened. That was... good? He guessed?

A muffled groan into his pillow.

Scott shuffled behind his escort in the halls after that, as slow as he felt he could get away with. There had been a new pin on his beret when he'd put it on. Had that been there the day before? Scott couldn't remember. The day before was already starting to get hazy. There had been yelling and aching. Lots of aching. God help him if the details had mattered at all. Was it a good sign that he was starting to pick up on them again? He really had no idea, and he really didn't care either. Right now he just wanted to get food over with and then maybe go lie down on a couch for a while.

Scott took his tray of gruel without complaint, slipping into the closest seat to the food line he could find. He winced as his back settled against the back of the chair, shoulder blade still stinging from where he'd fallen on it the night before. "Note to self: avoid fighting with teenage superheroes in the future..." he mumbled to himself, starting in on breakfast.

[Cue the music.]

Edited at 2011-09-30 08:56 pm (UTC)

Indy woke up, and immediately wished he hadn't.

His chest still hurt like hell. His head and back were a few shades better. At least his throat and lungs had stopped burning, and the bandages had all been changed. And he was wearing clothes again. That was something.

Well, he'd known going to the med wing last night would have consequences today. He hadn't thought they'd be this bad, but--Jesus, he had just been dead. Indy grunted and swung himself up into a sitting position. When the soldier (soldiers still) came in a minute later, he had a shot of painkillers with him--and more importantly, a wheelchair. Indy managed to edge his body into the chair by himself, but he needed to be pushed. His left hand was still too ruined for him to work the wheels by himself.

He needed to find the kids, Peter especially, and Dent. His escort offered to run him to the bulletin board, but Indy was also convinced he needed to do it in person, at least for the ones who'd been there. You didn't come back from the dead on a 3x5" note.

What surprised him was how strangely apprehensive he felt as they pushed through the doors into the cafeteria. He couldn't quite put his finger on why.

The soldier maneuvered him through the crowd toward the food line, and Indy squinted, looking for faces he knew. Pilgrim was the first one he spotted. "Over there," he directed, pointing with his good hand, and the soldier wheeled him over to sit across from the kid. The kid, Indy thought, looked like he had seen better days.

Indy stalled. What did you say in a situation like this? "The things I do for fortune and glory," he finally griped dryly.

Click.

Kirk heard, printed up and filed away this morning's vaguely ominous intercom announcements (along with the ones from last night) in his journal, and left it at that. Maybe it was important. Probably not. Right now, he'd had enough of trying to guess what Aguilar/Landel/Marc/Harrington/whoever the hell else wanted out of them. Later on, Kirk knew he'd parse through the clues again — his questions were always going to be there, because it was the only way he was going to get them all out — but right now, he didn't care.

He might've stayed under the covers if the knowledge of yesterday's all-day coma weren't so near. As it was, he couldn't get out of bed soon enough, and was up and out the door before a soldier-nurse combo came to his room. He tolerated their company on the walk to the cafeteria, and didn't even argue as they ran through the usual routine. (No to bulletin privileges, yes to pink slop.) All he wanted was to check up on his crew.

Hopefully none of them had gotten banged up any worse than him. Kirk's arm was wrapped in bandages half-hidden by the blue sleeve of his military shirt, and as long as he kept it loose by his side, it didn't hurt. Much. He knew he'd gotten off lucky for someone who'd had two bullets aimed in his direction.

Not too many people yet. Kirk set his tray of gruel down on an empty table and took a seat.

[Uhura]

It was a miracle Uhura even made it to the cafeteria that morning. Well, alright, that was a mild exaggeration, but there was a very long period of time (all night!) where she didn't think she would even be able to get out of bed that morning. She had, for the first time in a very long time, a cold. But not just your average cold, the kind that made her feel tired, and lightheaded, and achy all over. Stuffy nose, sore throat, headache. She was sure it was bordering on flu status, but she didn't feel feverish.

Either way, getting out of bed and functioning like a human being was a feat in itself, but she knew she needed to get down to breakfast. Most important meal of the day, and all that. Maybe her dizziness would tone down a fraction if she had some food in her system. At least, that was what she was hoping for.

What she didn't anticipate was the smell that attacked her senses as soon as she stepped in line to receive her tray of food.

"Oh, God." So much for her dizziness going away. She tried to back away from the plates fill with food that couldn't possibly meet any standards for any sort of establishments, but as soon as she turned to head for a table, a tray was shoved into her hands.

"Skipping meals isn't a wise decision even in the best of health, Miss Juza." Of course the soldier looked smug, challenging her to disagree, but she didn't have it in her.

Well that, and she couldn't even open her mouth to talk. The smell was disgusting, and the fact that she was sure her plate was moving made her feel sick, so she forced her eyes up, away from the tray, and pressed past the soldier to search for a table.

It was easy to pick Kirk out of the few patients that were already there, and she beelined for his table, sure that if nothing else, he might be able to tell her how to go about getting some actual medical assistance. Taking something to quell the sensation that her head was floating away from her body sounded really fantastic.

"You would think a substance like this would have no expiration date, but I stand fully corrected." Her voice was suffering hard from her being nasally blocked, but she tried to pretend she didn't notice. Uhura looked like Hell, she knew it without even taking a second glance at herself in the reflection of the windows in the hallway while she was making her way there. Her hair was loose from its usual tight ponytail, eyes dark with tiredness, and her skin was sallow and clammy.

All very un-Uhura, but she was too tired to care. But not too tired to complain. "Has this place managed to bypass any sort of health regulation inspections as well? These standards cannot even be legal to serve to anyone, especially so-called patients."

As she often did, Rita awakened in a tangled mess of her own blankets. She opened her eyes slowly, laid silent for several seconds... and then her eyes snapped open as she realized what was wrong with this picture.

Rita tugged her legs away from the sheets and shot up out of bed, suddenly hyper-aware of the feeling of fabric against her skin, and the impact of her feet hitting the ground. Her body was there. Even though it had nearly faded away last night, it was whole again.

There was a wave of relief... but also anger. What the hell kind of drug was that? If it caused hallucinations, then Brook had seen them too... unless Brook himself had been a hallucination all along. Rita hoped her mind would have come up with a less stupid companion, if that were the case.

But if her body had truly been modified in such a way... and the experience had felt real enough that she couldn't dismiss that as a possibility... then what did that mean for Rita? Could she really assume she was fine just because she felt all right that morning? Someone couldn't have their whole body undergo a state change and then be fine the next day!

A soldier came to escort Rita to breakfast, and she was silent for the entire walk there, a permanent glare affixed to her face. When she arrived, she was handed her usual pile of slop and told to sit down. Rita did, but once she was sitting she shoved the gruel away from herself and brought her head down on the table, burying her face in her folded arms. She may have looked like she was sleeping, or maybe even crying, but it was neither of those things. Rita just wanted to shut out the rest of the world for a few minutes.

[for Woody]

Woody sat up in bed, breathing hard and with no recollection of how he got there. As wound up as he felt from last night's encounter with those monsters, though, there was only one thing on Woody's mind right then. "Buzz...!" They hadn't found him, and he had no idea where his friend had gone.

Closing his eyes, he tried to calm down. "Okay, Woody, deep breaths..." There was only one of him, but a wide range of rooms and hallways. Buzz could have gone anywhere, and they'd just missed each other. Maybe he hadn't been taken for...experiments or whatever at all, and he was just as worried about Woody as he was about him.

At least he could post to the bulletin board and ask. Resolved to do whatever it took to look for his buddy, Woody climbed out of his bed and fixed his beret onto his head with one, decisive motion. The movement felt familiar, even if the hat fit wrong.

Once the soldier came to collect him, Woody obediently followed after. (He still had some injuries from last night, which made moving a little more annoying, but his uniform thankfully covered them all.) Not wanting to provoke his escort, he did a decent job of keeping any biting comments to himself. (Okay, well, maybe he rolled his eyes a little at the man when he wasn't looking, but come on. With the way he never smiled, he obviously took himself way too seriously.)

Thankfully, his silence paid off, as he was allowed to jot down a note on the board before stepping onto the cafeteria. The room didn't have many people in it yet, though many "patients" were slowly filing in. Once Woody got his own plate of their...pink oatmeal (he couldn't believe anyone could actually call it food), he walked across the room in long, languid strides as he tried to find a place to sit.

Although his first inclination was to search for a table alone, Woody couldn't help but pause when he caught sight of Rita with her head buried in her arms. Did something happen to her since the last time they spoke, or was she just sleepy? Part of him wanted to leave the weird space girl to herself, but he faltered the moment he turned away.

Sighing (though mostly at himself), he faced Rita again and approached her table. Woody set his tray down and slowly took a seat. "Uhh...you okay?"

When Guy woke up, it was with relief. He didn't know what was going on with their captors beyond the announcement that had ended the night being particularly cryptic, but his mind was focused on the fact that they hadn't been attacked while in that morgue. To send monsters after a pair of recently-revived patients was just too cruel -- apparently even for Landel's. He hadn't thought such a thing had existed, but Okita and Sai had been allowed to rest until morning came.

Guy pulled himself out of bed and immediately looked over to Okita's bed. The man had some more color in his face and he was also breathing in and out as he slept. He was fine. Well, chances were that whatever had brought about his death had likely been traumatizing -- Guy wasn't that naive -- but Okita was alive and that counted for a lot.

Both of them had scared the other into thinking they were gone now. That meant they were even, at least. And hopefully it wouldn't happen again.

With his worries put to rest, Guy moved back over to his side of the room to get his beret and boots on, and by that point a soldier had showed up to take him to the morning meal. It sounded like they weren't going to be let outside today, which was a shame. On the other hand, it was a good sign; it meant that Aguilar didn't feel quite as stable in his position since he'd found out about there being a traitor in his midst.

Maybe this was what they'd been waiting for. Guy wasn't going to except too much, but it was uplifting if nothing else. Upon reaching the cafeteria Guy got his meal of "pigs in blankets" and then took a seat. There were a few familiar faces around (Rita and Alaric, specifically; Erika too, but she didn't count), but all of them looked like they were waiting for someone. Figuring he should keep an eye out for friends of his own, Guy watched the cafeteria doors while he started in on his breakfast.

[For Natalia.]

Though, comparatively, little had been accomplished the previous night, Natalia chose to interpret the small steps made as a success. There were really only two options: be discouraged by continuing to fall well below her standards, or reset those standards, if temporarily. She had ventured alone, walked the second floor, spoken with (and hopefully assisted) Snow. And already too much time had been spent discouraged. Taking the last broadcast words of the night as another good sign, she woke with more energy than she had for a few days.

By the time the guard arrived, Natalia had dressed, and felt in good enough spirits that for once, the guard's refusal to allow her a stop at the restroom, to wash and fuss over her hair as had been her routine before the Institute had changed hands, did not sour her mood. She would keep asking, every morning. As rigid as the staff seemed, of one thing she was certain: she would be, was more stubborn. She would not relent.

Not even when faced with the unchanging, ever unappetizing slop offered as food. Natalia collected her bowl and drink, turning to look over the cafeteria, seeking anyone familiar. No, not anyone- it had been too long, already, since she'd last spoken with her friends from Auldrant. The room was still empty enough that she did not have to look too hard before finding Guy. Whether now, or by keeping an eye on the doors, she had been confident that he would be there. She took it, and him, for granted, she knew- or only just understood. Whatever the land, the world, the time, he was a constant. The constant. More so even than the stars.

Making her way toward him, her pace brisk, once arrived Natalia set down her tray with a smile... and tried not to ogle the food on his plate. His eyes are up there, Natalia.

"Perhaps you could use some company? I certainly could; I've been eating alone often as of late."

Rose woke up from another dreamselfless sleep, devoid of whispers or, indeed, any recollection at all, back in her bed. She looked over. Lily was there, tiny and fragile and seemingly undamaged. Physically, at least.

"Lily?" Rose swung her legs off the bed and, balls of yarn being a scarce resource, tossed a sock at her, landing approximately where her feet should be. "Are you awake?"

[Lily]

[ack! I didn't see shift change!]

Lily didn't know if she was awake. She heard the voice but it took her a long few seconds to register words, even longer to decipher their meaning. While her mind worked, the body under the blanket gave a quiet, high-pitched whimper as it pulled into a smaller form. The previous night was a haze to Lily and she remembered little after being taken from her room. In her experience, remembering little was always a bad thing.

The whimper was followed by a sharp gasp and Lily's eyes opened as she shot upright, hands out while she searched them for blood. Pale skin, blank. Fingernails the same as her palms. If she'd done anything it had been cleaned and sanitized as thoroughly as the practice rooms after training.

"What happened?" she whispered, looking up to Rose with an expression of fear. She didn't know if the other girl's body healed as rapidly as hers, but if it didn't...

"Are you...did..."

Lily's words trailed off. If Rose hadn't seen what kind of monster she was, she couldn't reveal it. Not yet, and hopefully, not ever.

The intercom had cut in far too late, and she listened to the next piece in the Institute's administrative drama play out with what might look like practiced detachment. Lana heard every word, but they were filed and shelved as they came in, for someone else to look at. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them, she was looking up at the ceiling, with Harrington back to the usual procedural nonsense.

Lana sat up. Her own injuries were minor, and not a single bandage or bruise was visible as long as she stayed dressed. She straightened the collar of her dress shirt and smoothed out the creases in her slacks.

She wasn't tired; as strange as it seemed, she'd slept soundly. Long practice had her up on her feet and out the door before Ilia could possibly notice that her newfound smile had been re-retired. She nodded to the soldier who'd come to extract her and walked in silence through the halls.

First, there was something that needed to be done. She penned a single line on a piece of paper, and stopped. Did he deserve more? He'd died in the line of duty, as much as that could be said to apply here, to a disgraced ex-cop who no longer was allowed any duty to society. Perhaps he preferred it that way.

Making his death indebt her to him was just like him, wasn't it? It didn't change what had happened last night, or that she couldn't bring herself to add anything else, be it eulogy or condemnation. Just the fact of his death.

She pinned it up, the blank space left open for anyone with more to say on the matter, and let the crowd carry her into the cafeteria for a bowl of gruel and what was bound to be an awkward conversation. It didn't matter who sat down; she wasn't especially feeling like talking to anyone, but pressing on was the only way forward.

[free]

Zero wasn't expecting the night to end so abruptly after that last intercom broadcast, but he also wasn't surprised to wake up to the same scenario as the morning before. Still human, still without answers, still being bossed around by Pushy Human Escort. This was likely how all of his mornings were going to play out from now on, unfortunately. Just something else to get used to.

...He was rather annoyed, however, by two things. The first was that his throat was still mildly irritated from last night. The second was the realization that the items he'd pilfered from the janitor's closet weren't anywhere to be found. Had they been confiscated? Was the entire night a wasted effort? Pushy Human Escort wasn't scolding him for theft or anything, but asking him about it would be pointless. No need to push his luck by informing the enemy of something like that.

So the once-Reploid would play the obedient prisoner role once again, allowing himself to be taken to the cafeteria for his morning meal. Once he got himself a plate of that same pink mushy stuff as before, he scanned the cafeteria for any sign of Ema or Mr. Dent. No luck, surprisingly enough in the latter's case - how could someone miss a face like that? Then again, the room was fairly crowded by this point.

He gave up searching for a familiar face and quietly seated himself next to an unfamiliar woman instead. He ignored her at first, being too lost in his own thoughts to consider conversation with another; but then he began to wonder if this person knew anything about what happened last night. The intercom broadcasts, Marc, Landel, the traitor.... The desire to get those elusive answers to his many questions about this place was winning over his usual tendency to keep quiet.

And thus Zero started talking to the woman without introduction or even an 'excuse me, miss'. Just a simple question. "Would you happen to know anything about what Aguilar was talking about last night?"

When Locke first woke up, he knew he didn't feel any better. Even if it wasn't as severe as when he had first stepped into the sun room, His throat and lungs still felt rough and his chest felt like it had a weight on it. He could tell this wasn't going to be a good day.

Not that these days were ever 'good'.

As he wrote a quick note to Tolten he noted the poison, or whatever it was, had long dispersed. Once in the dining hall Locke glanced around, searching for someone he knew, but found there was no one. He wanted to know that Terra and Edgar were all right and that nothing had happened to them during the night, as well as check in with Tolten to know if he was doing any better.

Absentmindedly, he got the 'food' and sat at a table by himself, hoping one of his friends would show up soon. However, when he looked at his food he nearly reeled back and out of his chair in disgust. What they served was barely food, but it had never looked, or smelled, this bad.

"What...the hell?" Locke poked at the rancid sludge, almost daring it to poke back. Looking around, it looked like everyone had gotten the same stuff, and yet they seemed to be eating it with little difficulty. He returned his gaze to the bowl and put a little bit of the stuff on his spoon in his mouth.....before promptly spitting it back out.

It was very easily the worst thing he had ever tasted. With little deliberation, Locke decided he wasn't hungry enough for this and pushed the near-toxic substance away.

Now, more than ever, he wished he had someone to talk to.

[Free~]

Edited at 2011-10-01 02:43 am (UTC)

When Spock awoke, he noted his body felt heavier than normal. His meld with McCoy had made him more tired than usual. Typically, the nature of someone's mental condition did not affect his energy levels afterward, although it was true his strength was greatly reduced since his arrival. Even so, the Vulcan did not allow himself to linger in bed. After making certain he was properly fitted in his uniform, he allowed his escort to lead him to the cafeteria.

Unlike his former nurse, the soldier assigned to him did not make much "small talk", as humans curiously referred to it. This had always suited Spock well enough, and he calmly observed his surroundings as he made his way to the cafeteria. Once he collected his meal for the day, he looked for a place to sit.

While he knew his top priority rested in finding his crew, Spock did not wish to attract attention by roaming the room longer than necessary. Consequently, he chose an empty seat not far from a young man he'd never met before. While most people would have felt the need to acknowledge the other patient's presence, Spock continued gazing out into the crowd as he tried to locate Jim, Nyota and the doctor. As he did so, his attention occasionally turned to the unusual pink substance the military rationed out to the lower-ranked patients, and he took a neat bite.

While the night had certainly ended on a much quieter note than Claude expected, he knew he should have realized a night in would mean they wouldn't get a chance to actually relax. But despite that damn injection, the strange sighting of his father, and his talk with the soldier who shared his name, he was primarily grateful that they'd found Okita.

Speaking of which, he knew he'd eventually want to talk to Guy about what had happened, and to make sure they hadn't gotten attacked after he'd left. In all honesty, he didn't think he'd get tied up so quickly after leaving, and he felt guilty at the idea of them potentially having one less fighter to defend the two injured patients in the morgue.

After checking the board, Claude followed his escort into the cafeteria and eventually grabbed a tray of pigs in blankets. Privately, he wondered if he'd always feel awkward about eating regular food in public. Did the other patients resent him? If only the soldiers would let him share without getting everyone into trouble. At least he could get away with sharing with Firo...

Once he grabbed a seat, Claude didn't waste much time before
digging in. After having such a poor appetite for so long, and seeing what became of the other patients' meals, he didn't take his own food for granted anymore.

[For Ippo!]

Ippo was a little stiff this morning getting out of bed. To be fair, the boxer was stiff most mornings, but it was hard to put into words the difference between today and other days. A little stiffness meant a job well done at his gym. Exhaustion was his reward for the effort and trust he put into his coach. Come match day, he was always confident of where he stood in the ring.

Being stiff was a good thing, but not today. Today's sores had come from a bad situation that had grown worse. It had nothing to do with training boosting his self-confidence. In fact, his self-confidence was so far in the red right now, it was likely to never come back up again.

So what was his reward for surviving another night? Stiffness. Great. Sighing rather dramatically, Ippo followed his aloof guard into the cafeteria for a plate of the usual before looking for a spot to sit down. He saw a few people he knew well enough, but it was Claude who grabbed his attention. He hadn't spoken to the man in a couple of days. As stormy as the cloud above his head was, Ippo was certain the cheery blond could help him blow his worries away.

Tapping on his tray anxiously, Ippo stood in front of Claude and asked, "Can I sit with you?"

It wasn't pleasant to wake up with his throat still sore and irritated. Harvey rolled over in bed and started coughing over the announcement made by -- you guessed it -- Harrington. The man's words weren't that interesting beyond the fact that they weren't being allowed to go outside, but Harvey didn't see that as that big of a deal considering that there were already some days when they were never let out.

Of course, it implied something. Maybe security was low because Aguilar was busy trying to find that rogue soldier that had been mentioned. This was probably the best time to try and start something, although Harvey still felt that it was best saved for the nighttime. Making a run for it in broad daylight was just stupid, plain and simple.

As he pulled himself out of bed, Harvey cleared his throat a few times, trying to get rid of that scratchy feeling. He still didn't know what had caused them all to feel that way, but he wouldn't be surprised if a post about it showed up on the bulletin board at some point.

Either way, another day had rolled around and life wasn't any better. He hadn't accomplished anything last night beyond checking up on Lana's sister (which he wasn't required to do) and getting himself an extra flashlight. That was mainly for the batteries, seeing how he didn't want to get stuck without a pair of extras in the future.

Oh, and Jones was still dead. That too.

Harvey made the usual trip to the cafeteria, although it wasn't long before he picked up on the smell. It was hard to notice at first over his own burn wounds, but eventually he identified it. It wasn't such an unfamiliar smell to someone who had grown up in Gotham: something was rotting. And it soon revealed itself to be the food. Seeing how Harvey had a hard enough time getting food down in normal circumstances, there was no way he was putting up with this. He ducked out of line and went to go find an empty spot to sit.

Seriously, torture was one thing, but now they were really trying to starve them. And maybe that would be the anticlimactic end to this whole thing; they'd all just starve to death without making it home.

[For Shiina.]

Shiina's first night out with the boy of her dreams had not been the fairytale experience she had dreamed about in her past lifetime. Nor was it something she had ever expected to experience. Traveling around in the dark insane asylum while clutching on to Shou's sleeve like they were kids at some crappy school festival horror house exhibit. Sure, it had been kinda creepy but not exhilarating. Or heart-throbbing.

Well, she should just be thankful. Thankful that she had a Shou to cling to at all, even if it wasn't her Shou.

Shiina couldn't care less about the military's troubles, but knowing there might be an inside man trying to undermine the corrupt overseers of this place put her in a good mood, even if she was still exhausted from running around all night. Her mood, however, didn't last further than the door to the cafeteria. Something was dead in there. Or at least, that's what she thought she was smelling. It nearly made her turn tail and rush out the door, but the armed soldiers made it plain she was not allowed to skip out.

She was loaded up with a tray holding only one bowl of the putrid slop and ushered to a table. A man with bandages covering half his entire head was already sitting there. He looked just as inclined to eat the curdling mush as she was; a wise move. At least it was more than could be said for some other residents. Even the ones that had real food were still gobbling up rotten crusts as far as Shiina could see.

She pushed her tray away and covered her nose and mouth with one hand. She gave the man what she hoped wouldn't be mistaken as a pitying look as much as one that understood long-suffering. "This has got to be some sort of cruel and unusual punishment, don'cha think?"

The most noticeable change from night to day was the difference in temperature. To go from the middle of a forest on a cold night to the warmth of a bed was a pretty big change, and Sora would have wanted to curl up and sleep for even longer if he could have. Maybe someone would have called him lazy for that, but he thought he'd earned the right to sleep in after all this time.

It wasn't meant to be, though, seeing how a soldier came in soon after that to wake him up. Sora groggily pulled himself out of bed, wondering how he could feel sleepy when he hadn't technically slept. It was something he'd tried to avoid thinking about too much. They got rest somehow, and at this point he could believe it was something crazy like they got the energy injected into them.

His shoulder was slightly sore from supporting Riku's weight, though that realization woke him up as he realized that he needed to check on his friend. His privileges gave him the chance to leave a message for Riku and also put up the regular post for the club. Once that was done, he headed into the cafeteria.

There were already a few people he knew around, such as Scott, Kirk, and even Woody. Sora was particularly relieved to see the latter, since he felt like he hadn't seen the man around in a few days. Still no sign of Riku and Kairi, but he knew that they probably just hadn't made it out of their rooms yet. Who was lazy now?

After getting his plate of food, Sora went to take a seat, holding back a yawn as he started to eat. They had gotten further than usual last night, which was a good sign. And with any luck, Kratos and Soma had seen some more of the medical wing too. He'd just have to wait to hear back from them.

[For Daemon.]

Well. That had certainly been an interesting evening. Daemon wished it had lasted a little longer, that he'd gotten to ask a few more questions of Harrington, but it was probably a good thing for Chipp that they'd gotten out when they did. He hoped his companion was alright this morning, after almost being barbequed the night before.

And hadn't that been an interesting revelation in itself?

Daemon slipped into the cafeteria with a thoughtful frown, going through the line automatically, although the bowl of... whatever gained a grimace from him. Still, he had to eat, and he'd had much worse. This place required keeping your strength up, even if this was one of the most unappetizing substances he'd been subjected to in a while.

Pausing to let his gaze peruse the cafeteria, he was struck again by how few faces he recognized and how much he missed his former companions. Although if they'd gotten out, he was glad of it, and wished them well wherever they were. Still, that made being awake in here once more, and alone, rather difficult. It was time to do something about that.

Renji had pointed out some of his companions in his group a time or two, and while Daemon could spot no Shinigami present, he did spot the boy named Sora, the one that seemed to be in charge of the Arts and Crafts group now, or at least the bulletin announcements for it. Seeing the boy sitting by himself, Daemon headed in that direction, pausing across from him with a faint smile.

"You're Sora, right?" he asked, inclining his head slightly in greeting. "Would you mind if I joined you for a bit?"

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