15 January 2014 @ 10:07 pm
[[from here]]

In the moonlight, the one-way glass covering the Sun Room gleamed like dark lacquer, a physical manifestation of Aidou's words moments earlier: how many days had Landel spent up here, watching them, laughing to himself?

It was impossible not to glance down into the darkened room below, the full expanse of it fully visible to anyone who walked along the mezzanine on this floor. Sasuke kept the glance short, the bile of knowing how exposed they'd been every day swallowed down, and turned his gaze to the doors lining the walkway around it instead.

"If they were close, we could just listen for them," he said finally, though he fully expected things to be far more difficult.
[from here]

The teleportation... things were just as bad as the ring, though like the ring, passing through the door to the third floor deposited them exactly where it had before: in the same nondescript fitness room. He wouldn't call standing on a mysterious pad trustworthy, per se but at least their trip had been fairly reliable so far.

"So far" being the important part of that sentence.

The vampire was quick to step away from the pad like it were a creature that might rise up and bite him in the ankles, turning away to give the room another once-over. "I see things haven't changed that mu--"

A squeak from his pocket interrupted him. What the hell? Aidou hadn't spent much of his life learning how to operate such cheap devices, so when he pulled out his toy radio, it was with a frown. Both radios had been rather quiet of late, but not tonight. Apparently someone had come across an interesting science experiment in their travels.
20 December 2013 @ 10:43 pm
Landel had sounded subdued throughout the day; the evening seemed to bring no great change, for all his bluster. The doors unlocked, Sasuke slipping out as soon as they were open and unable to avoid wondering what possessed the man not to simply keep the doors locked come nighttime. It had been clear that there was purpose to allowing them to wander the Institute at night, even if that purpose didn't necessarily agree with Landel's, but if he was this concerned about infiltration, it made little sense.

Then again, his type wasn't the sort to make much sense as a rule. Sasuke moved swiftly through the halls, choosing for once not to look this gift horse in the mouth -- if Landel wanted to let them free to wander, he would take advantage of it, whether it was deliberate or not.

[[to here]]
14 December 2013 @ 10:26 am
[From here.]

He hadn't seen any sign of Kratos all day. Lloyd hadn't thought his father had looked that badly injured after his ordeal in that chamber, but how did he know Kratos hadn't downplayed his injuries? Maybe he didn't even know the full extent himself. After all, who would have experience with what it did to a person to have the air sucked out of the room?

Maybe I just didn't see him. The thought wasn't as reassuring as it could have been. He knew how much he'd been trying to keep an eye out for the man, telling himself it was just so he could share his theory about the cards. It was still possible he'd been distracted at a crucial moment when Kratos passed by, so he stubbornly continued to deny the leaden weight in his gut as he settled into place to wait. He wasn't worried. Kratos would come just as he always did. He'd probably laugh if he found out that Lloyd had been (not worried) just... just concerned.

Okay, maybe Kratos wouldn't laugh, but still. He didn't need to see anything but Lloyd standing and waiting. Totally nonchalant. He could totally pull that off.

...dammit, he hoped they didn't catch him fidgeting when Kratos or Castiel finally showed up.

[For Castiel and Kratos.]
17 October 2013 @ 10:34 pm
This was unacceptable.

But this had gone past unacceptable a long time ago. He woke as if from a brief nap, refreshed and clear-headed, with no idea what day or night it was and how long ago he'd been asleep. There was only the faint stiffness of his bones and the lingering whiff of dinner to give him the faintest guess, the last crackles of the first nightshift announcement fading as he pushed himself out of bed.

There was nothing left to do, here, beyond putting one foot in front of the other. Discover his sword; discover the unlocked door; discover how much time had disappeared; try to discover whether his last remaining contact still had the patience to continue.

[jumping to here]
29 May 2013 @ 05:53 pm
[from here]]

"Whatever the consequences may be, the choice is either to play along or stall here," he added, stepping onto the bone-riddled shore and scanning for the more mobile skeleton. "He was right in that smell will be the easiest to go without. We'll find out if there is more to the cost from that."

He could see the single lantern where it wavered over the water, bobbing with the boat, and began the increasingly-familiar trek over to it.
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20 May 2013 @ 10:17 pm
[[from here]]

Tonight, Sasuke resolved, he would bleed on the ring to make it easier to start where they left off, even if it meant he would have to bleed in every room they entered. A door was far from a formidable opponent, but seconds were precious in the night shift, and ever more so the more he lost to forced sleep.

Nothing about these rooms in the Institute seemed to change by night, even though by all rights they should have been damaged more than once -- by monsters, by patients, by both. Whatever the patients were doing, the building was waking into the same day and night over and over.

"I will give up a sense first," he said, turning to Aidou as he pushed the heavy door open. "I have experience going without."
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15 February 2013 @ 01:35 am
[[from here]]

The crunch of sand and bones underfoot punctuated Sasuke's question, his eyes adjusting quickly to the dim light and coming to focus on the figure at the water's margin. It was the same creature -- or skeleton, or whatever it was supposed to be -- in very nearly the same pose, hunched in the small paddle boat bobbing slightly on the current.

There was something to think about: if the water moved, then it had to start and end somewhere, and most likely it ended aboveground. Konohagakure's forests had had very few mountain springs, their water usually rich wide rivers by the time it reached the giant trees, but Sasuke had spent time in Rock country with Orochimaru and had seen plenty of mountain streams.

No point considering it before they could get properly in the water to test it, however; and even then, with the trade Charon wanted ...

Sasuke stopped thinking about it and marched forward with more determination, listening for Aidou's sure footsteps nearby without looking -- habit, by now.
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13 February 2013 @ 12:56 am
[[from here]]

It was, by now, impossible not to be grateful that the vampire's impatience overrode his decorum. Sasuke gritted his teeth through the nausea and had his hand on the heavy knob before it was fully faded, turning his attention instead to Aidou beside him: "You checked on Aigis first? How was she?"

The question came not so much from real concern as necessary curiosity as to what Landel's latest pet project had turned into, if patients were frantically rooting for the cure in the Greenhouse during daytime hours. If it was really that easily found, surely the majority of the population would be cured sooner rather than later, before the threatening scent that Aidou seemed to catch off of them came to fruition.
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28 December 2012 @ 01:19 pm
[from here]

Given their limited time, he and Sasuke had little excuse not to proceed through the ballroom doors with as much haste as possible. The caverns were a new challenge, another bothersome game, but it was also not unlike a race to the finish. There was no telling when nightshift might end; they would have to work fast if they wanted to stick a pin in this latest mystery.

With that thought in mind, Aidou didn't hesitate to step onto the white sands. He hadn't forgotten a word of the skeleton's rather insulting invitation the last time, but if there was a way to avoid dealing with him, Aidou wasn't sure what it was other than to simply turn back. He didn't know enough of this trial's "rules" yet. Had he more power, perhaps they could have simply travelled to the other side of the lake by creating their own bridge... but even if he did have the energy to spare, there was something worrisome about the water. Something sickly.

A feeling he had toward the entire cavernous area, as a matter of fact.

"Have you given thought to what this creature proposes?" Aidou asked while they walked, voice low. He suspected he already knew the answer. He, for one, had had the skeleton on his mind for some time.
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20 December 2012 @ 11:32 am
[[from here]]

The transportation nausea -- it was at once familiar, something he'd grown accustomed to, and somehow worse, perhaps due to anticipation. Sasuke squinted his eyes shut against the yellow light of the chandeliers that dangled over the space for a moment, resisting the urge to press the heel of his palm against a temple, and then forced himself to straighten and look around a second time.

It was as inexplicably large with improved vision as it had been the first time he'd properly seen it, as improbable a space as it had ever been when his knowledge of it was limited to fire and echoes and the trudge of bare feet over floor. That old, old suspicion resurfaced briefly -- genjutsu, and on a scale unimaginable -- and faded as quickly. Even if it were, there was no way of breaking it with chakra. The only way out was sheer force or destruction of the caster.

Assuming it were, anyway.

Accustomed by now to continuing conversation through the heady confusion of relocation, Sasuke turned even as he headed for the heavy doors that were their destination. "A cure," he repeated, voice skeptical. "A real cure, or just Landel's whimsy ending this particular round of amusement?"
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10 November 2012 @ 11:35 pm
After that miserable breakfast, Kratos was truly ready to go hide himself away in some dark corner of a room and refuse to speak to anyone for the rest of the day. It was utterly pathetic that he was actually giving that kind of behavior serious thought, but somehow, in the wake of Sora's death, everything, from company to even eating, seemed too loud or too exhaustive; his energy seemed to slip away the instant he gained it.

Ironically, this behavior was not previously unknown to him; it was just that the last time he'd fallen into this kind of slump, his circumstances were such that engaging in extreme antisocial behavior and refusing to eat did not carry severe consequences like they--that was also pathetic, that he'd just entertained the idea that the days following Anna's death could have been more bearable than now. Could he possibly frustrate himself even more? The paradoxical part was that he enjoyed doing it in a strange, perverse way.

He wrote out a few listless, largely formulaic responses over the board to some notes he'd pinned up right before breakfast, and then wandered over to a nearby couch, where he sat down, stared at the coffee table for a moment, and then slumped back against the couch, one hand draped across his eyes, with a sigh. For a few seconds, he stayed that way, letting the wave of emotion wash over him--it was simply too much; he had reached the point where he was willing to give up and acknowledge that--and then, as if a switch had been flicked, Kratos straightened up, everything once again carefully masked. He exhaled, slow and steady, and looked down just in time to see a cat pass by, meowing for his attention.

He wasn't particularly fond of animals, as he'd once told Lloyd, but right now, all he wanted was something to distract him, and a cat was much preferred to a person; after all, the cat didn't talk, nor did it require him to talk. Kratos reached down to scratch it between the ears and then paused as it leaped onto the couch to curl up next to him. It was a stretch to think that he might be able to spend an entire shift petting a cat (also pathetic, but in a different way), but he would do it for however long it held his attention, or vice versa.

28 October 2012 @ 07:46 pm
[[from here]]

Aidou had described the space when they had first entered, but it was another thing to see it for himself. There before Sasuke stretched an expanse of beach that made him wonder how the building above didn't collapse downward at any moment, the space so large that the crunch of their feet into sand didn't even echo.

The bones interspersed among the sand seemed an unnecessary decor, but it fit into the atmosphere. Sasuke's eyes tracked the gleam of torchlight along the water's edge until they rested on the two meagre lights outlining a hunched figure on a boat. There, then, was what Aidou had mentioned.

Another Institute creature, or ...

"This is the same as what you saw last night?" He asked, voice pitched just loudly enough to carry over their footsteps.
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25 October 2012 @ 10:41 pm
[[from here]]

If there were any catalogue to be made of the ring's effects, it was that they seemed to get worse with time rather than better. In the wide, echoing space of the room downstairs, it took Sasuke a moment to regain his bearings and quiet the nausea.

It took another moment to stare, wide-eyed, at the immense scale of a place he'd only ever heard or felt. He'd known its length, perhaps, mostly by the length of his own step, but the height seemed utterly illogical in comparison with the number of steps taken to descend. The scale and style of the place made no sense in comparison to what was above, and it took a few long seconds before Sasuke realised that he wasn't even looking at the right door.

The ones at the far end of the room had been opened without sight. What else had he missed?

The question echoed as he turned to the direction that had to be correct, gaze trailing over the heavy doors in mute shock.
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07 August 2012 @ 12:23 am
As some of the clouds from earlier began to clear, the intercom jingle sounded over the intercom once again.

"Hello, patients!" came the Head Doctor's cheery voice. "I hope you're all feeling fresh and clean this evening! To top it all off, we've prepared a scrumptious herb chicken dinner for you to eat before bed. Of course, we have vegetarian options available, so please don't hesitate to ask the nurse if you're interested in that.

Also, since we have the pleasure of welcoming a few new patients into our family, some of you will be receiving new roommates. Let's do our best to give them a nice, big Landel's Institute welcome, shall we?"

The Head Doctor gave a friendly chuckle. "Well, anyway, enjoy your dinner!"

With that, the intercom shut off.

[Note: All dinner threads are posted in response to this entry. Be sure to check the Roommate Assignments if you're not sure what room/roommate your character has! Thanks.]
28 July 2012 @ 09:43 am
[From here.]

It was chilly out in the courtyard, making Lloyd glad for the odd but relatively warm clothing he'd found himself in when he woke up. He could have stay inside the building, he knows. His nurse had told him he had a choice of several rooms he could eat his lunch in, if he wanted. The cold felt good, though, and the tree he was sitting against felt solid and comfortable. He still felt lost, but trying to get straight answers from the nurse was frustrating. The man had retreated to let him eat in peace, promising to come back when Lloyd was finished and he'd had a chance to "clear his head." The teen was just fine with that.

Lunch itself was actually pretty good. He'd gotten a chicken sandwich, and his spirits lifted a little when he saw that there was a brownie with it. It had taken him a minute to figure out the box with juice inside, having never encountered anything like that before, but after that it was easy to just settle down and enjoy his food.

Well, for the most part. Worry for his Dad still ate at him, and he had no idea where any of his friends were. He still felt a little off, too, like some intangible part of him was missing or weakened, but he chalked that up to leftover side effects of whatever it was Yuan had done to him. He was confident that would disappear soon enough, once he finished recovering. He already felt well enough that as soon as he was done eating, he was determined to leave. If his doctor had his things, he'd ask for them first, and maybe he could talk to some of the other people here, see if they knew anything that could help, but one way or another, he needed to find his friends and make sure his Dad was all right.

[To here.]
24 July 2012 @ 08:03 pm
Sasuke had spent breakfast in silence, ignoring his nurse's chirpy attempts to encourage him to find more friends, who would be able to help him be less gloomy, which would help his recovery, and if only he would just take some advice he would be out in minutes! By now, it was easy to tune out the senseless chatter and eat, methodical through maybe-poison-maybe-not. The background nattering followed him as the Institute paraded them through the patterns of the lie, his nurse blithering about being careful with any crafts before Sasuke realised that she'd deposited him in the arts and crafts room instead of the usual Sun Room.

How long ago had it been -- but that was something common. Nothing worth contemplating by now.

Last night, they had been so close to something new -- a foot across the threshold -- and then they'd been pulled away from it yet another time. It was as telling as it was infuriating, the deliberate increase of difficulty blocking their efforts to find something worthwhile. Perhaps the time was in and of itself another test, some trick to it that they hadn't figured out yet. The ring had done some good, and yet ...

And yet there remained a world's worth of information that Sasuke couldn't access. Depending on allies had been chafing when they had existed, but now that so many had gone it was impractical. There had to be some way -- but after so many weeks and no way at all there was only the imperfect world beneath his fingertips, the calluses ridging in strange ways that he was unaccustomed to.

He traced them over the wood of the table in front of him, fingers bumping into scraps of paper and ribbon, expression shuttered.
14 July 2012 @ 10:54 pm
[[from here]]

The same nausea and the same sick pulling sensation, and then Sasuke was breathing in the cool, slightly dank air of underground. The faint empty echo when he dropped Aidou's arm and took a step forward suggested a large space -- the large room at the bottom of the stairs to the basement, then. Not the arena where ...

That hadn't been his blood, of course.

Sasuke tilted his head back to the other two, waiting. If there was something new as a consequence of what they'd supposedly won, it couldn't be heard: Aidou would have to be the one to find it, as infuriating as that fact was.
14 July 2011 @ 10:53 pm
Touching the sandy grounds of the coliseum was a catalyst, and the progression of day did not mean the end of the process. By fortune or otherwise, this group's efforts were not allowed to halt simply due to the rising sun. Therefore, when nighttime was pronounced, those who had undergone the beginnings of an incomplete trial were pulled from their rooms, to be deposited without warning in the spots they had held in the previous night.

And at the center of it all, under the glint of the coliseum's light, stood the Eagle.

Unlike his impassioned speech, the General appeared relatively cold, the picture perfect image of an indifferent man. With arms crossed against his chest and nose high in the air, one might have assumed Aguilar to be displeased with the overall setup. Playing the part of Landel, after all, had never suited him. In truth, he was merely tired of waiting. Five individuals shouldn't take such time to recover from a simple "trip".

But recover they eventually did, and the man waved a hand as if to call attention to the south-center seats of the stadium, an aspect unneeded thanks to his projected voice.

"You're late."