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Skulduggery Pleasant ([personal profile] skeletonenigma) wrote in [community profile] damned_institute2012-05-30 04:42 pm


This time, when the darkness faded and the next thing Skulduggery became aware of was that same bed underneath him, he didn't take the time to absorb the jarring feeling and sort out what might be going on. He leaped off the bed immediately, almost stumbling in the process - damn balance - and took a moment to realize that his eyes were burning and he could barely see a thing.

The room was blinding. The light itself wasn't an issue; it was the fact that Skulduggery's eyes had to slowly adjust to it, a sensation he hadn't experienced in ages and had never expected to experience again. He had a hand pressed to his forehead and was blinking rapidly when a woman knocked on the door and came in.

She was... cheerful. Everything was cheerful, from the bright light and noises outside to the intercom announcement that interrupted the woman's sudden spiel. It was such a startling change from just a few minutes ago that Skulduggery found himself lost for words while the... nurse... nodded brightly at him. She'd said something about a mental hospital, something about a man called Erik, and something else about 'not real' and 'getting better.' With Skulduggery's mental prowess - even operating at less than its usual efficiency - it was easy to work out what she meant.

He studied her openly once the light wasn't so blinding. "You're either a very convincing liar, utterly insane, or a psychopath. Let me find out which one." His head tilted. "Would you believe me if I said there was a woman last night who had been mortally wounded, but who was still walking around?" He cut her off before she could answer. "No, obviously not. And I don't think you're a psychopath who murders people for fun. A convincing liar, then. That doesn't clear anything up in the slightest, but I suppose it's something."

"Mr. MacAuley, you were sleeping all of last night. Are you sure you didn't just have a nightmare?"

Skulduggery wanted to point out that as a skeleton, he didn't sleep, and he certainly didn't have nightmares. The blurriness at the edges of his vision, however, reminded him with a jolt of his mysterious transformation to human. Suddenly, annoyingly, the nurse was making much more sense.

Was it... real, then? Everything with Yomi and the chapel - had that all just been a vivid hallucination? Had his entire life just been a vivid hallucination, like the woman was insisting?

In a slight daze, Skulduggery asked to see the chapel. He was standing there alone now, examining the fountain carefully for any sign of its demonic visage from before. But now it was just a fountain, the water was just water, and despite Skulduggery's best efforts, the water didn't respond to his Elemental magic. It remained stubbornly in its basin without so much as a ripple, silently mocking him.

Skulduggery sat down heavily on one of the pews, mystified. He wasn't insane. He joked sometimes that he was, and it might partly be true, but he wasn't insane on a level like this. He didn't just make up his whole life as he pleased.

[Free! But be prepared for a barrage of questions.]
lighthearted: (angst)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-05-31 12:25 am (UTC)(link)

The image of Renji's body, bloated and torn apart and distorted almost beyond recognition, burned through Sora's mind like the fever that he'd been suffering from for the past day or so. It wasn't something he'd been prepared to see, and the guilt of realizing that he should have kept a closer eye on the man since his return was something that twisted through his body like an illness.

It was no real surprise, then, that he woke up feeling nauseous. His fever seemed to be easing up at least a little, but when rolling over in bed almost made him want to puke right then and there, he had to admit that his condition hadn't exactly improved.

On top of that, because of everything that had happened last night, he hadn't gotten any chance to search for medicine to help ease the symptoms. Curing it seemed like an impossible goal, especially when the only thing Sora could really focus on was the fact that Renji and Daemon were dead, mutilated by who knows what.

There was a large part of him that wanted to just stay in bed. He was sick and could probably plead with a nurse to be left alone at least until midday, but in the end he decided it was more important to inform people of what had happened to Renji and Daemon. He forced his body out of the bed, swaying and laying a hand on his stomach to try and calm it. Not that that was going to work.

Landel mentioned something about how they could ask the nurses for medicine, but he didn't know if he trusted anything that the institute was putting out. When they were responsible for him feeling this way in the first place, he figured it might make more sense to try and tough it out on his own.

Sora quietly informed his nurse that he wanted to go the Sun Room first when asked, and remained there just long enough to put up a message explaining what had happened to Renji and Daemon. It wasn't worded very well, but he didn't have the energy to write something long and detailed. Overall, he was relieved that they wouldn't be eating until next shift, because the idea of stomaching anything with how he was feeling seemed impossible.

The nurse led him up to the chapel next, and Sora moved to the front of the room, fighting back spikes of nausea as he looked for a place to sit. He spotted a tall, skinny man nearby and tried to work his way around him. "Excuse me," he said quietly, his face pale with illness. And that rash that had started on his hand had only spread since yesterday, but that was something he could almost forget about; at least it didn't itch.
lighthearted: (unsure)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-05-31 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
It wasn't too surprising that the stranger ended up saying something. Sora got the feeling that most people would have a hard time just ignoring someone his age who looked sick moving past them. Still, that didn't mean he was in any state to have a proper conversation.

Most patients should have known about the sickness going around, though, seeing how Landel had brought it up a lot already. Maybe this stranger was just trying to be subtle about the whole thing, but at this point Sora realized it would be impossible to hide.

"Yeah, it's going around," he said as he sat himself down, letting out a small sigh of relief. The nausea wasn't as bad when he wasn't moving around. "I... don't think it's contagious or anything, though, so you don't have to worry." Sora was going to have enough people avoiding him at night. He didn't want it to start happening during the day, too.

Sure, some time to himself might have done him good, just because he wasn't feeling great, but at the same time he didn't want to be stuck being miserable on his own.
lighthearted: (worried)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-05-31 05:27 pm (UTC)(link)
As it turned out, this stranger didn't seem that concerned about the illness after all. Sora figured that was better than if he'd tried to avoid him or something, but on the other hand...

It quickly became clear that this man was brand new to this place, and Sora had to hold back a sigh at that realization. It wasn't that he didn't want to help -- of course he did! But with how he was feeling, he wasn't sure he had the energy to answer the laundry list of questions that the man must have built up by now.

Even though that thought ran through his head, though, he knew that in the end he could never turn away someone who needed help. And if there was anyone who knew this place in and out, it was him, so in a way it was his duty to explain.

"That's how it happens to everyone," he said, wanting to make the man feel better about that first and foremost. Sora figured that the most important thing when first arriving here was understanding that you weren't alone in your situation. "I know the nurses are making it sound like you hallucinated all that stuff you remember about your life, but it's just one big sham. They're keeping us here against our will, to experiment on us and make us fight, and... well, getting home isn't so easy." He was a testament to that.

Sora felt his nausea grow and twist in his stomach when he realized that if things really got bad with this illness, he might never make it home. But that sort of result had never been an option. Still, Renji and Daemon had fallen prey to something, and while he knew that death wasn't always permanent here, it was hard to shake the feeling of dread he'd experienced when he'd seen those two mangled corpses.
lighthearted: (listless)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-01 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
When the stranger lifted a hand up to his eyes like he was trying to hold back tears, Sora frowned, trying to figure out what could have caused that kind of response. Maybe his eyes were just stinging for some other reason, seeing how he'd managed to smile just a short while before that.

The man didn't draw much attention to it, though, instead moving on to ask questions. Sora addressed the last one first, since it was the most urgent and the easiest one to answer. "No, they won't attack us," he said with a shake of his head. "Well, not unless we try to riot or something, but even then they'll just sedate us." The nurses had never resorted to the sorts of things that the military had done while they had been here. Sora wondered if he should mention that, but he didn't want to overload the man.

"I've never been experimented on myself, but every other night a group of us will be taken out of our rooms and up to the second floor, where the doctors torture and do all sorts of things." He wasn't being vague for any reason other than he didn't know the details most of the time. He knew what had happened to Kairi, for instance, but for most of the other patients he had no idea. It was usually better not to ask about that kind of stuff.

"What happened to you last night?" Sora asked, since that would give him a good idea of what the man needed to know.
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[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-01 06:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Someone who had been killed? Sora frowned at that, but when it came down to it he couldn't say that it was entirely uncommon here. He'd just seen proof of Renji and Daemon's deaths last night, after all. If this person that the stranger met last night had come back from death, then maybe those two would also. That would mean that Renji would have come back twice, though, and Sora didn't know if that was against this place's rules.

There was nothing he could do to bring them back, though, and that was maybe the worst part. That lack of control, of not being able to fix things with his Keyblade, had hit him hard here. When he couldn't even save his friends, what good was he?

"I... haven't ever been to this room at night," he admitted, trying to focus on the conversation rather than his churning thoughts. "But yeah, everything changes and becomes a lot more dangerous when it's night. The only good part is that we're able to wander around." Sometimes -- most of the time, actually -- that just led to more harm than good.

"I'm not really sure why they bother with acting like things are normal. Most everyone who wakes up here figures out pretty fast that it's all fake." As far as Sora knew, there wasn't anyone wandering around thinking they were actually crazy. So by now it all felt pretty pointless. He knew it was good to have a break from the constant danger, but at the same time it slowed down their progress.
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[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-02 12:20 am (UTC)(link)
At least this guy seemed to be able to follow along pretty easily. Sora didn't blame those who came from more "normal" worlds, since he could understand why some of the stuff here would be hard to believe, but it did make conversations like this one go a lot slower. Normally he wouldn't have minded, but with how he was feeling it was better to have someone who was quick on the uptake.

"Well, not everyone is from a different place. Two of my friends are here and we're all from the same home." More or less, anyway. Kairi was technically a foreigner to the islands, but she had been there since they were kids, so she might as well have been a native.

Not that Sora had seen either her or Riku in the past day or so. He'd been trying to force himself not to worry too much. With the combination of the Doyleton trip, the illness going around, and the chaos of last night, it made sense that they hadn't all been able to meet up with each other for a while.

"I'm from a place called Destiny Islands, but I was traveling to other worlds before I came here." To a lot of other worlds. That part wasn't strange to him. No, it was being stuck in one spot for so long that was hard for Sora to deal with, but it wasn't like he'd had much of a choice.

It was hard to think that he might not ever see those white beaches again, that he might turn into something horrible and never recover, but Sora tried to swallow all of that down. It wouldn't do him any good to get worked up over that.
lighthearted: (listless)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-02 08:34 pm (UTC)(link)
This guy wanted to know how to stop other people from his world showing up here? That seemed out of the ordinary compared to others that Sora had talked to, although he could think of a few reasons for it. Maybe the stranger didn't want his friends to be in danger, or maybe he was trying to avoid some enemies he had. Sora had to admit that things had been a lot simpler since all of the Organization members had left this place.

Maybe it was selfish to keep hoping his friends would stick around, but he'd always figured that they were better off here than brainwashed.

"I don't think there's any way to stop it," he admitted, shifting around when a wave of nausea hit him again. Sora hoped it didn't get so bad that he needed to throw up. He hadn't done that since he was a little kid. "But if you want to ask around and see if any people you know are here, you can use the bulletin board in the Sun Room." It was the best way to get that sort of information, and sometimes it took new arrivals some time to even realize it was there.
lighthearted: (unsure)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-02 10:59 pm (UTC)(link)
It wasn't like Sora wanted to throw up all over anyone either, and he winced slightly at the thought. There was always that fountain if things got really bad, but he didn't want to be known as the kid who'd puked in the angel fountain if he could help it. One of the nurses would probably help him to the bathroom if he started feeling really sick.

"Umm, it's Sora." Normally he would have had the presence of mind to have mentioned that earlier, but he was a little slower with everything today. He had a pretty good excuse for that, if nothing else. "And I won't throw up on you, promise." He could always just turn in the other direction, after all.

"Before it was just a fever," he explained as he wiped the back of his hand across his forehead, "but now I feel more nauseous than anything. Taking medicine from the nurses would probably just make things worse, though." Feeling sick was something he could handle, at least. It was the sort of thing everyone had to deal with at some point in their lives. But if he took their medication, that might do things to him that he wasn't prepared for. The threat of turning into a monster was bad enough -- he didn't need to add in some other variable.
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[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-02 11:42 pm (UTC)(link)
It was good to hear that he wasn't alone in thinking that accepting the nurses' help was a bad idea. Not that Sora was going to believe the opinion of some stranger over his own, but having it reinforced was still nice. He got the feeling that Riku would have agreed with his decision, too. For now, it was better to just bear it.

The name that the man gave certainly stood out. "Skulduggery Pleasant?" he repeated, tilting his head to the side. Though he was learning that the less he moved, the less he felt nauseous, which caused him to end the action early. "Sounds kind of like... Jack Skellington." Was it possible this was someone else from Halloween Town? Sora didn't remember seeing any other skeletons like Jack there, but this guy was tall and thin the same way Jack had been when he'd been in this place.

Maybe he was jumping to conclusions. There wasn't really an easy way to ask, and besides that, Skulduggery was asking something again. It wasn't too surprising that he was concerned about the illness, but thus far it hadn't scared him away from the conversation. Seeing how there was no way of hiding it now, Sora didn't mind talking about it.

"No, it's not natural. With the way Landel -- the guy on the intercom -- was talking, it's like he planned all this. So I think only some of us are supposed to have it." People like him, and Snow, and who knew who else. Sora glanced around the room, but it was hard to pick out who was sick in a crowd like this.
lighthearted: (determined)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-03 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
Skulduggery was quick to pick up on things, if he'd already guessed that the illness was going to lead to something bad. It was obvious to anyone who'd been around for the past few days, based on what Landel had said, but Skulduggery was clearly brand new.

The idea of having to explain it to someone who didn't already know was surprisingly hard to face. Sora had been able to talk around the issue until now -- or it had all been over the bulletin, where he hadn't had to sign his name. He glanced down at his hands, one which was covered in that red rash, and tried to figure out what to say.

Luckily, his attention was briefly drawn away when Skulduggery asked about Jack. "Yeah, he's a friend of mine. Uhh, I met him in a place called Halloween Town. He really is a skeleton -- his specialty is scaring people." Sora smiled, because he'd never seen Jack as particularly scary, but he also wasn't some little kid. He wondered what had ever happened to Jack, if he'd found his way back home or not. Unfortunately, there were way too many people he had to wonder that about.
lighthearted: (pic#)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-05 12:23 am (UTC)(link)
Whoa! Another skeleton? For just a split second, Sora forgot how terrible he felt as he leaned closer to the man, staring into his face for a moment as he tried to picture what he would have looked like without all of the skin. It might have seemed morbid to some, but seeing how he'd befriended Jack, who was perfectly nice, he didn't think it was weird at all.

"Uhh, not exactly!" he responded, leaning back soon after so as to not make Skulduggery feel uncomfortable. "Halloween Town was just one of the worlds I visited, and I'm pretty sure Jack was the only skeleton there..." Then again, it wasn't like Sora had spent so much time there that he'd gotten to meet of all of the town's residents. Still, Jack had never mentioned anything.

"I don't think most people would see that kind of thing as normal," he admitted, tapping his lip with his index finger. "But Jack was actually really nice." Sora didn't think Skulduggery was scary, either, so maybe the belief that skeletons were bad was completely wrong.
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[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-05 11:21 pm (UTC)(link)
It was good to see that Skulduggery didn't mind talking about this sort of thing openly. Sora knew that sometimes his curiosity got the best of him, and every now and then he ended up accidentally offending someone by asking a question he shouldn't, or by showing too much interest. But that wasn't the case right now.

"So you don't even know how you ended up that way? Hmm..." Sora let his back hit the pew, frowning when he realized that his nausea was surging up again. He needed to keep himself distracted, although it looked like the nurses were getting ready to take them out of the chapel soon anyway.

With Jack, Sora had never really thought about how he'd become a skeleton. He assumed that he'd died a long time ago and lived on with just his bones, or that he'd just come into existence that way.

"So what's it like, having your skin and stuff back? Is it weird?" Sora wondered if Skulduggery saw the change as good or bad. It could really go either way, depending on how long he'd been a skeleton and how used to it he was.
lighthearted: (Default)

[personal profile] lighthearted 2012-06-07 03:11 am (UTC)(link)
The subject switching to death and possibly coming back from it was something that Sora realized he would have rather avoided, if he'd known the conversation was going to go in that direction. He tried not to think about what Renji might look like if he was just bones and nothing else -- it was a pointless thought, seeing how this had happened to Skulduggery in his own world.

Sora knew better than to ask more about how Skulduggery died, even though he was curious. It wasn't the sort of thing you came out and asked a complete stranger, even if Skulduggery was being pretty open about the whole thing.

"Oh yeah, organs... that has to be weird." Seeing how Sora's own body was doing a good job of torturing him at the moment, he almost wished that he was just bone right now -- that he didn't have a digestive system to be upset with him in the first place.

Before he could say anything more about it, though, some nurses started heading toward him, giving him just long enough to answer Skulduggery's last question. "There are doctors, but they see patients in their offices, and it's only every once in a while." He also wanted to mention that there were the nighttime doctors who kidnapped and tortured people, but he couldn't get into that now.

"Anyway, there's a lot more to this place," he said as he carefully stood up from the pew. "Good luck figuring it all out, okay? The bulletin board should help with that too."