freewill: (the how and the why)
Castiel ([personal profile] freewill) wrote in [community profile] damned_institute2012-06-08 04:11 pm

Day 64: Patient Library (Third Shift)

With how he was feeling between the wound on his shoulder and the overall body aches the illness was plaguing him with, Castiel hadn't minded the opportunity to eat on his own. For once, no other patients came over to speak with him, possibly because the pain he was in was noticeable somehow. Either way, he'd managed to eat enough to quell the twisting in his stomach and had then, against all attempts, fallen asleep.

It was the first time such a thing had happened when it hadn't been forced on him, and it was only when a nurse shook his shoulder that he woke up, half in a daze, and realized what had happened. While it was disturbing to realize to what extent his body was shutting down on him, the nap had at least eased up some of the pain that he was in.

With the second shift having passed far quicker than expected due to that unexpected doze, Castiel now had to decide where he wished to go next. It seemed that he wasn't due to see a doctor or a "visitor" at this point, but when Castiel stepped into the Sun Room he was told that they would be playing a film called "Jesus Christ Superstar."

In other words, remaining in that room wasn't an option.

As usual, his first choice in such a situation was to go to the library, and so that was where he ended up. The silence was even more of a relief than usual, due to the state he was in, and he quickly found himself a book to read -- Dracula -- and took a seat.

[For Izaya.]
she_is_ruin: ([ with your head on the ground ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-10 06:01 am (UTC)(link)
[For Skulduggery! Sorry for the wait. :3]

After a tedious shift of not eating and not making eye contact with anyone, Yomi’s sole wish was to disappear somewhere quieter than the cafeteria. She had half a mind to use her hallway access to break away from the other prisoners entirely, but her nurse had put up a fight on that front. Meaningless words about being friendly had spilled out of her mouth. Too many words. Yomi’s ears had quickly grown deaf to her nurse’s arguments, and it was only her desire to avoid a conversation with the woman that had made her relent.

Trying to put her feelings into words was impossible and far too draining. She was happier in silence, even if that meant letting her nurse have her way.

Sunday was still a "free choice day" in loose terms, so Yomi still had to pick where in her cage she would settle in for the afternoon. "Library," she murmured sullenly. Libraries were supposed to be bastions of peace and quiet, after all. Like her father’s office--

But no, she wasn’t going to remember that kind of stuff. Isayama Yomi, the girl who’d grown up making play forts out of her father’s books, was dead three times over already.

Once inside the library, Yomi fingered her bangs, considering where best to sit. Sitting was mildly painful no matter what position she was in, but chairs kept her from pulling at the gash in her hip. She pulled one way from a table and moved it to the outskirts of the room. There she lowered herself down, pushing hair behind her ear. After a moment’s thought, she started gathering her hair up, knotting it in her usual ponytail. She would need it out of her face soon, she supposed. Nightfall was coming and she would have to look for a means to heal herself through one means or another.
skeletonenigma: (darkfirewind)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-10 03:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Skulduggery left the cafeteria with that feeling of hunger twisting in his stomach just as strongly as when he'd entered. He'd only had a few forkfuls of egg and sips of tea, after all. The feeling, since it stopped short of actual pain, was easy to ignore. Less easy to ignore was the nurse who'd led him around all day, chattering about how he needed to eat more to keep his strength up and did he want to get even skinnier than he was now? He hadn't quite figured the nurses out yet, and so Skulduggery did his best to be civil. It was a relief when she left him alone to wander.

The movie playing in the Sun Room had come out in the 1970's, based on the Broadway production of the same name. Skulduggery hadn't watched it then, and he wasn't going to now. Religion had always been a sore point for him, what with an evil version of Jesus Christ murdering whole groups of people over 300 years for not believing in the Faceless Ones. The discovery that those same Faceless Ones were very real had only made the whole thing worse.

So Skulduggery spent the few minutes while the projector was being set up examining the bulletin board, and then checking each room off the Sun Room for any sign of Yomi. When he eventually found her in the library, he'd walked in solely to avoid the beginning of 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' and was looking through the books on a shelf - books that turned out to be comprised entirely of fiction, and therefore worse than useless. He gripped one at random, walked over, and stood with his back to the shelf next to her.

"Hello again," he said brightly. "Sorry to keep bothering you like this. I have a few more questions, if you don't mind."
she_is_ruin: ([ hope snuffed like a candle ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-10 07:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Go away! As if she didn’t know what someone creeping into her personal space would lead to. More talking.

She had proved to herself both in the morgue and during the whole of last night that she could still speak, and speak sensibly. Her throat wasn’t torn and broken as it’d been once; there was no physical impairment preventing her from doing so. But that didn’t mean she wanted to. Moving on and acting as if nothing happened was normal, it was what the sesshouseki wanted, but it was in a way a betrayal of everything that had happened over the last four days.

Moving on meant losing her grip on any kind of deeper emotion, and that was…

That was bad, or so she thought. Already Yomi found it hard to remember why she should care at all.

Yomi turned her head the other way, eyelids falling to half-mast. "Now you’ve found yourself in a building stuffed full of people, and you’re still looking for me to talk to? That’s flattering, I guess. Who knew I could be so popular."
skeletonenigma: (Default)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-10 07:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Yomi didn't seem to have changed at all from last night. In fact, the only significant difference was that her hair was now in a ponytail. Skulduggery allowed a few moments to drift by in silence, then decided to take her response as a 'No. I don't mind. Ask away.'

"You brought this on yourself," he reminded her as he flipped absentmindedly through the book in his hand. "You explained half of this place fairly well last night, but you forgot to mention how sudden the morning is, or indeed, anything about the mental hospital part during the day. I've decided to forgive you, however, because you were mortally wounded, and probably not thinking straight."

Only then did the content of the book register, and Skulduggery glanced at the front cover. Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. He dimly remembered reading this when it was first published in 1894.

"My first question," he said as he flipped more slowly through the table of contents, "is about what language we're speaking. I'm almost sure it's supposed to be English, but I don't believe everyone here speaks it so perfectly." Yomi had used Japanese words last night, and someone used the word 'manga' on the bulletin board. So unless only people who could speak perfect English were dragged here from their respective realities, Skulduggery knew something intriguing was going on.
she_is_ruin: ([ turning tragedy tragic ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-10 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Brought it on herself? That caught Yomi’s attention, and she looked back at him with a crease beginning to form in her brow. Oh, was failing to take care of all the prisoners she came across her fault now?

Yomi had never been a stupid person, and even her selfishness had often grown too obvious for her to mistake it for anything but what it was. But so what if she was being childish and cruel? So what? Accepting the stone in the first place had been the height of childishness, and cruelty… well. Cruelty was her forte. It was in her veins now, replacing her blood. It was in her head. She would never be a kind person again thanks to the sesshouseki’s hatred boiling just beneath the surface.

"Or maybe I just didn’t want to tell you because it’s boring," she countered unabashedly. It was probably her first real sentence of the day. "Do you know how many new prisoners come looking for explanations? A lot. And being nice is only interesting when it’s beneficial. Maybe if you could have patched me up, I would’ve told you more."

Yomi knew where the apathy in her voice came from, she knew what it was, but it was pointless to care when she and the sesshouseki were practically one and the same now.

The crease in her forehead deepened, but once the man finished asking his question, it smoothed out. "See? You’re already figuring things out. What do you need me for?" But in the same breath, she added, "What we’re speaking is less important than what we’re seeing and hearing. I hear Japanese. You hear English, I take it."
skeletonenigma: (writtenname)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-10 08:54 pm (UTC)(link)
"I offered to patch you up," Skulduggery replied evenly. "You refused the help." But he didn't comment further than that, because it would only lead to more pointless arguments, and he was very quickly learning there just wasn't time for them. The day seemed to pass much more quickly here than the former skeleton was used to.

Skulduggery had suspected something about language here, but he still wasn't quite prepared for Yomi's revelation. So that's what it was. He turned a page over in the book, inclining his head slightly in answer to her question.

That meant Landel not only had the power to spread a dangerous illness through the prisoner population, but he could also change everything they perceived about their world. Yomi had sensed that he wasn't quite human last night. Could that be because he was still a skeleton, with only altered perceptions to account for the discrepancy? No. He'd had to breathe, eat, and drink today. Besides, the headache from this morning was back, pounding just enough to be bothersome. It was much more likely that Yomi's perception of him had been altered.

... It was a mark of just how strange the last few hours had been that Skulduggery didn't consider his current state of being to be his top priority. He may have been brought back to life, but Yomi wouldn't know any more about that than he did. There would be time to sort it out later.

Skulduggery turned to the first page of prose in the book and held it out to Yomi. "Is this all in Japanese?"
she_is_ruin: ([ this something of nothing ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-11 02:50 am (UTC)(link)
It was the sesshouseki’s disdain of other people and their word games that made her shake her head. 'Help' would have been aiding the sesshouseki’s regeneration by making her wounds disappear completely. Anything less was just superficial and insincere drivel.

She exhaled sharply, giving the book only a brief look. "Yes, because I’m Japanese. It wouldn’t be any fun for our overseers if we couldn’t all understand each other. You found me just to ask me that?"
skeletonenigma: (pencilskul)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-11 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
"Of course not. Patience is a virtue." Skulduggery glanced back at the page just to confirm that it was not covered in Japanese symbols, then flipped to a point halfway through the book and skimmed down the lines.

Maybe he shouldn't have been so quick to bait Yomi when she clearly didn't appreciate it, but Skulduggery was really only paying minimal attention to what she'd just said, or his own response. Not only did the book in his hands hold fond memories for him - Sherlock Holmes was one of the reasons Skulduggery first considered becoming a detective - but Skulduggery's mind was also racing through everything he'd learned so far, trying to pinpoint right where his own perceptions had been changed.

After a few seconds, Skulduggery snapped the book shut with one hand and looked up. "That's how it happens every night? One last taunt on the intercom, a convenient memory gap, and everything dangerous may as well never have existed?"
she_is_ruin: ([ hope snuffed like a candle ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-11 06:34 pm (UTC)(link)
How suspenseful, Yomi thought. This, here, was a familiar scenario. Feeling varying amounts of irritation, amusement, frustration, and tiredness in the company of other prisoners. It was like coming home--coming home to a place she had tried very hard to run away from.

Resuming her silent vigil, she ignored the sounds of Skulduggery flipping pages as he struggled to comprehend his new reality. She could practically smell the smoke from his overtaxed brain.

She still had her eyes elsewhere when she nodded. "Good guess. I’m sure you’ll start to see for yourself as the days pass."
skeletonenigma: (fightfire)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-11 07:41 pm (UTC)(link)
"I'm sure I will," Skulduggery agreed, slipping the book onto the shelf behind him. "I'm sure I'll figure all of this out in due course. But there are certain questions that I'm afraid simply can't wait."

A practical test, Skulduggery knew, was going to have to wait until tonight, as it was pretty clear nothing even slightly out of the ordinary would be allowed to happen during the day. But he needed to know about magic now, needed to know how far it was dampened and what he could expect when night fell. No one else Skulduggery had met today seemed to know much about magic, making Yomi his most promising lead.

"You mentioned last night," he began slowly, "that Landel was responsible for weakening certain powers and abilities. Has he weakened any of yours?"
she_is_ruin: ([ turning tragedy tragic ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-12 06:15 pm (UTC)(link)
What’s the rush? she wanted to ask. What was the difference between taking it slow and taking it fast? Was there some pressing matter at home he wanted to return to? Some loving woman he feared would miss him? Or was it simple animalistic instinct to escape, to be free?

Yomi had to wonder if she was really interested in learning why she’d been brought to the Institute and what its purpose was anymore. It didn’t change the fact that she was there, or that Landel had already touched her in ways only the sesshouseki had in the past. She was still going to be trapped tomorrow, and probably the next day after that, and the one after that. Never changing, never dying.

And it was all because she was weak, as the man next to her was hinting.

Her violet eyes darkened a shade. “Do you think I’d still be here if he hadn’t? You’re not the only one collared and leashed. We’re all weak here.”
skeletonenigma: (writtenname)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-12 06:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Collared and leashed? That was an interesting phrase to use. Yomi had clearly been trapped here a long time, long enough to give up hope of ever escaping. Her tone, however, didn't deter Skulduggery in the slightest. "I was hoping you'd elaborate," he explained, folding his arms across his chest. "I'd like to know what you should be able to do, and what it's been reduced to."

For an operation like this to work, Landel had to have everything planned, down to the last detail. It wasn't hard to imagine that any abilities they still had, Landel either wanted them to have, or else didn't see as a threat. If either was the case, Skulduggery also wanted to know how well Landel knew each individual prisoner. He'd apparently known Badd quite well, and that was... worrying, to say the least.
she_is_ruin: ([ and she will bleed sweet tears ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-12 07:00 pm (UTC)(link)
That earned a faint smile, close to how she’d smiled before the Coliseum and all that had transpired there. “Well, I’d have to be pretty stupid to tell you that if one day we find ourselves at odds. And with our full powers back.”

A girl needed her secrets.

“Unless you want to divulge your whole skill set to me, too,” she said, looking up at with a deceptively even expression.
skeletonenigma: (Default)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-12 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)
If Yomi had thought Skulduggery would object, she was mistaken. Every sorcerer back in his own world knew exactly what Elementals were and what they were capable of, yet Skulduggery managed to beat most of his enemies time and time again, either by killing them or, in later years, arresting them. It wasn't secret abilities that made a sorcerer so powerful, after all; it was how they used them.

"I don't see why not," he answered with a small shrug. "As I told you before, I'm an Elemental. That means I have a small degree of control over the four elements. I've only attempted fire so far, but it's grown so weak it's hardly useful." Unless he could find dynamite or fireworks any time soon, Skulduggery was having a hard time seeing where a small candle flame in the palm of his hand would be of any real use.

Whether Yomi would return the gesture or not remained to be seen, but she couldn't be the only mage here. Her potential stubbornness was not going to be a dead end.
she_is_ruin: ([ hope snuffed like a candle ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-12 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
If he didn’t see a reason not to talk about himself, then she didn’t see a reason to dissuade him. It would probably be a long time before that kind of information became relevant, anyway. Doubtful Landel would allow another case of their powers returning to occur again, and even if he did, Yomi couldn’t imagine when she would get to hold Shishiou again.

Short of returning to the Coliseum, at least.

She listened to Skulduggery talk, reflexively packing away the explanation. There was little about Landel’s Institute that honestly surprised her anymore; she didn’t see the point in trying to make sense of Skulduggery in the terms she was familiar with, since her world’s rules rarely seemed to apply. But all the same, he sounded like a spiritualist, which wasn’t totally comparable to the kind of exorcist work she’d done, but not entirely alien to it, either.

“And that was what you were doing last night? Trying your abilities?”
skeletonenigma: (closeup)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-12 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
It wasn't quite what Skulduggery had wanted to hear, but she wasn't completely shutting him down, either. "It was," he answered with an incline of his head. A little too late, he remembered how much heavier that head was, and his chin dropped all the way to his chest before he managed to straighten it out again. "It looks like I can summon a flame for about half a minute. After that, it just doesn't seem to work anymore."

In a way, Skulduggery had been relieved to find that the apparent binding of his power was Landel's doing. Stopping the mastermind behind this Institute would be much easier and take far less time than learning magic all over again.

"You said that something called the sesshouseki was making you immortal," he gently prompted her, pronouncing the unfamiliar word as carefully as possible. "It's still doing that here?"
she_is_ruin: ([ turning tragedy tragic ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-16 06:07 am (UTC)(link)
How strange he was. He couldn’t be entirely human. And he couldn’t be entirely sincere, at that.

“And what was that last night? I didn’t see any fire.” But then, Yomi hadn’t been looking and neither would she have cared if she’d seen him summon a flame. It seemed like the pragmatic question to ask, however. She’d been trained too well stop assessing her surroundings just because what she’d hoped for had not come to pass.

She wasn’t the only one assessing things, either. Questions about the sesshouseki shouldn’t have come as a surprise after she’d mentioned it.

Her eyes narrowed the slightest bit. “Sometimes called the Death Stone,” she supplied. “And there’s a fair chance. Even weakened, it can heal almost any wound and separating it from a carrier can be… tricky.” Over time, returning a body to life while at Landel’s Institute probably wasn’t beyond its capabilities. So long as it stayed with her, so long as it wormed its way into her, she was the most lethal kind of spectre.
skeletonenigma: (Default)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-16 01:10 pm (UTC)(link)
"Last night," Skulduggery said with only the slightest hint of bitter edging his voice, "I'd already used up the half a minute when I met you. Assuming that is how it works." He would know better than to use up all of the allotted time tonight, of course. But now something else was bothering him; displacing air worked differently from summoning fire, so would that even have a time limit? The question was sending a small cascade of useless worry through his mind, and so Skulduggery impatiently pushed the thoughts away for now.

On a more interesting note, he tried to imagine what he sounded like, speaking in Japanese. Skulduggery knew enough of the language to carry on a basic conversation, but he wasn't by any means fluent. He didn't know of any spells that could change perception on such a wide and powerful basis, but if there was one thing Skulduggery had learned about this place, it was that Landel didn't seem constrained by any of the usual rules of any of the realities prisoners came from.

The so-called 'Death Stone' hadn't been doing much to heal Yomi last night - or, apparently, this morning. Mentioning it didn't seem like the fastest way to get useful information from her, however. "If Landel is the one who weakened it," he said instead, "then it would have to mean he understands how it works. Is that an easy thing to do, where you're from?" He hesitated. "Was anyone in your own world aware of it?"
she_is_ruin: ([ hope snuffed like a candle ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-16 02:38 pm (UTC)(link)
"What about the other thing?"

He’d missed her point about whatever houjitsu he’d been working, which made her want to give an equally unhelpful answer. That’s how conversations with monsters went--trading something for something. Or maybe something for nothing.

The man was on the right track, though; he was beginning to put things together. She took a breath, feeling her chest resist the motion before relaxing. "Smart boy. You’ve got the right idea. Fact is, his knowledge goes beyond simple reconnaissance: he already knows how everything works--your world, your life, your private moments. Same goes for all the other prisoners. How does that saying go? 'No stone unturned?'"
skeletonenigma: (fightfire)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-16 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
The other thing...? Skulduggery mentally ran through the previous night, trying to remember if he'd done anything unusual in front of Yomi other than snap his fingers once. Nothing came instantly to mind, but his control over his own body had been so limited that he was probably completely missing something. Unusual for him, but not unheard of. The last time he'd completely missed something was in 1934, if he rememered correctly. "What other thing?"

It wasn't a feeling Skulduggery particularly enjoyed, not grasping something as simple as his own actions. The infuriating thing was that he'd probably have to get used to it.

"Leave no stone unturned," he corrected automatically, his thoughts already elsewhere. At this point, it would be irresponsible of him to assume that Landel didn't know - and what's more, didn't understand it better than even Skulduggery had. He'd brought the former skeleton back to life, after all. He probably understood Necromancy better than Necromancers did.

And it would be equally irresponsible to believe that he wouldn't, at some point, try to use it against Skulduggery. Torture and punishment the detective could handle - he deserved it. But if Landel chose that course, then everyone in the Institute would suffer, innocent and torturer alike. Skulduggery found himself hoping that Landel wasn't as clueless as he pretended to be during the day.
she_is_ruin: ([ hope snuffed like a candle ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-18 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
She lifted her hand and mimed the way he’d been holding it after he‘d asked for her name, an odd gesture in and of itself. "This thing."

Given what she was (or had been before), Yomi supposed she could figure it out with enough time and experience, though truthfully she didn’t plan on spending that much time getting to know other prisoners. She’d thought she’d crossed enough paths already.

Leave no stone unturned. Yes, that was it. She and the others were the stones, and Landel and his companions turning them round and round in their hands, wearing them down until they turned to dust. That was it exactly.
skeletonenigma: (writtenname)

[personal profile] skeletonenigma 2012-06-18 11:10 pm (UTC)(link)
"Oh, that." With the sensation of solid air brushing against his hands gone during the day, Skulduggery hadn't even been thinking about it. The disappearance of the ability he took most for granted weighed heavily down on him once again. "Part of my manipulation of air. I can tell when something's disturbing the air currents." He paused, then tried to explain further; it was only fair, since Yomi continued to reluctantly help him out. "It should tell me when something's nearby, or if something's been in the area recently. But, of course, it's much weaker than it should be."

At least it still worked, something Skulduggery supposed he should be thankful for. What really bothered him, he realized, wasn't that he didn't have control of his situation; it was that Landel seemed to delight in pretending the prisoners had any control at all.

"Thank you," he said to Yomi with a short nod. He had more questions, but they could potentially be answered by anyone who had been here longer than he had. Yomi had made it clear she didn't enjoy long conversations. "You've been very helpful."
she_is_ruin: ([ blue butterfly fly ])

[personal profile] she_is_ruin 2012-06-24 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
“Yes, that,” she echoed with a smile. “That’s interesting. I’m sure it must be even more interesting when you’re at full strength.”

When he thanked her, her smile lifted at little more at the corners. Oh, propriety. It wasn’t like she had done much, but he was still thanking her anyway, even after everything she had told him. He’d given her an awful lot of leeway.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” she said, “but you’re welcome.”