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A Multifandom Asylum RPG

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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.]

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Matters little. Was that really the case? She couldn't help a frown at that, even as he looked at her. How could he say in one breath that they'd been 'using her' for years in one breath, and in the next say something like that?

But his words weren't a complete evasion of the subject; the girl leaned forward as he spoke, eyes watching as he sketched out continents. The finished drawing was meant to be the world he -- she, they -- hailed from, but he might as well have drawn from recollection some bloodstains on his bedroom wall. Her head tilted a little to the side, memorizing the shape of the world and the indicated position of the capitol. Vector. The word meant nothing to her, but she would not forget it if she could help it.

As he spoke, her face scrunched for concentration. Magitek... a power fueled by magic, which she possessed. They said the Empire had been using her, but was that right? No matter how well Edgar and Locke's stories matched up, that was still all she had. It would be easier to believe them, she knew, to accept it without question. She was already inclined to it. The girl didn't know if that was right, either. Maybe if she had those files Izaya had mentioned...

The dull throb of a headache pulled at the corners of her eyes, and the girl shook her head as if to knock it away. "So they..." she started, unsure she understood, "... made weapons... from my power?"

"They used you as a weapon would be more accurate," Edgar said without fanfare. She was aware of her power, and he considered it likely she'd used them in her fight with the birds. It was where her powers came from that he'd have trouble explaining, and was something better suited for her to discover on her own; however, it was also something he wasn't sure could be discovered on her own at Landel's.

A thought crossed his mind that hadn't before: he'd been concerned she might be taken for a sleep study, that the knowledge would be forced upon her somehow; however, he'd seen an Esper at night. What if she came into contact with it? Would she face a reaction as she had in Narshe?

And if that happened, what could be done to help her? Would there be another way to help her understand who she was?

Edgar shook his head for now. More questions that couldn't be answered, ones he hoped never would have to be answered. It was a grim possibility on the horizon, but they'd cross that bridge when they came to it.

With his fingers, he mimed placing something on his head. "They controlled you with a slave crown, and forced you to do their work. You were called a witch for your gifts."

Without thinking, the girl moved her hand to mirror his gesture, fingers alighting to her temple. The beret was tight on her forehead, just as it had been the day before, and the night before that. Was that why her head had ached so fiercely that first night? Why, whenever the opportunity presented itself, she would discard it?

Her fingertips slid under the sweatband, as if she would find some evidence to his claim. Some scarring, some lingering touch of metal -- but of course there was nothing. If she could only recall even one thing--!

Pain marked every feature of her face, like the struggle of digging through a frozen soil without a spade. No matter how hard she concentrated, or how many times she tried pushing through that gray fog of absent memory, all her efforts returned to her was this ache. Suffering, and a loneliness she didn't understand.

"Why?" she asked, her voice quiet. Her eyes were unfocused; only some small part of her was still there, at that table with Edgar.

There was a pause before Edgar spoke as he chose his words carefully. Her face had gone from one of flat expression, seemingly unmoved by what he said about a past she couldn't remember, to one of pain and frustration. His brow knitted together.

Already, he could see the soldiers rallying people to escort them to the next shift. He pushed a sigh from him, irritation tinting his own features.

"I'm sure you might find the answer if you search yourself," he said, standing. He collected his tray, the gruel there only half-eaten. "But... I can tell you more tonight, if you wish."

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