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He remembered going to the zoo, once, when he was a kid. The alligator exhibit had stunk like swamp, but something about the cold reptilian eyes drew him in. So big, big enough to eat him in one gulp! He pressed his face up against the glass to get a better look, but all they did was lay around.
"... if you turn them on their back, like this, they'll fall asleep," the attendant had said. She was holding a live alligator. It thrashed against her arms, but when she turned it over, it went still. "... because they can't breathe like that," she'd said, and flipped it back over.
Daniel laid there, gasping for breath, then went still. Just like the alligator. All fight and flight until he was put on his back; then something else took over, and he went inert. It wasn't a pleasant thing to watch. He'd rather the guy keep fighting, almost, just so her knew he was alive. Bell felt Daniel's forehead, then sighed. How long did he wait? When should he just give up? If this was all there was to Daniel anymore, then wasn't he better off being cared for by the professionals?
At least he had things to do to distract him. He cleaned up the base, checked the perimeter again, just in case. After a quick check on Daniel, who remained unresponsive, he lowered his alarm and climbed in the car, yanking the wig back on as he drove. He'd go pick up some meat from the grocery store, and they'd have a nice little dinner tonight.
There was no change to Daniel by the time he returned. His skin felt a bit cold to the touch, though; Bell frowned, then went back to the car and grabbed the comforter, tossing it over Daniel for now. Maybe that would help a bit. That done, he reset the alarm, then got the grill going again. Chicken for dinner. It'd be like a little celebration for getting Daniel back, even if it didn't feel as great as he'd hoped it would.
It was hard not to check on Daniel every ten minutes. "Chicken tonight, look forward to it," he told him on one pass, brushing his hair out of his eyes in hope of a response. "You gonna be good and sit up to eat it if I let you out?" He didn't want Daniel to sprint for it again. He might actually hurt himself this time.
Shit. Fuck. The other guy was quicker than he was. No wonder. His condition had somehow plummeted to that of a young-born chick. Daniel was out of breath by the time Bell caught up with him and hoisted him over his shoulders.
“Fuck you! Let me go!” Daniel called out, struggling to get free. The man was relentless, stronger than he was and quicker.
“Just wait! Just give me one shot!” he threatened, uncaring about the outcome of a possible fight. “I’ll bring you down, mother-fucker, I’ll bring you all down, you hear!” Daniel’s voice caught, skipped a beat and he coughed. The world shifted dizzyingly and then he was on his back, the air clear knocked out of his lungs.
Dazed, he blinked up at the sparkling white ceiling and slowly brought his opponent into focus. Before he could protest, his arms were already in restraints. He knew it!
“Fucker, I knew you were one of them! Just one shot,” he growled, and struggled to keep his feet free. No dice.
He was spent.
His chest heaved to take in deep gulps of air and even then it never seemed enough. The rhythm almost turned into a sound, a melody. A beat to which he could relax. Behave? Daniel spat at the man’s feet -the furthest he could lift his head at the moment and then sank down, deflated.
Didn’t want this, his ass. Why have the restraints if he didn’t want this?
Daniel felt dizzy. No air seemed enough. The white was encroaching again and again he fought it. He didn’t want to be trapped there.
“Don’t want to be trapped all the time,” he whined, then tugged at the restraints. If his earlier outburst hadn’t undone them, neither would this meagre protest. It was all the same, wasn’t it? They all just tied him up. Fuckers. All of them.
He couldn’t keep fighting it. Before he knew it, Daniel’s gaze grew unfocussed and dull. He couldn’t see anything. It felt like sleep, but wasn’t.
When he woke next, it was slow. Daniel blinked around, trying to get his bearings. Everything faded in and out. Hours passed like that, never growing clearer or closer. His voice was broken from all the screaming and shouting he’d done before. He was tired, but couldn’t sleep. It was cold too.
Nothing they’d do about that. Maybe beat him, when they found out he had requests to make. Insane people didn’t make requests. Daniel lifted his hand to see what type of restraints he was in this time. Might as well escape.
It felt like feeding a wild animal. He jolted, sat up. Daniel's eyes darted around the room, looking at anything but him. A hand took the beans, but he remained coiled, tense, like he was waiting for something to attack him. His first bite was careful, like he was testing for poison. "Straight from the can," Bell assured him. No acknowledgement. Daniel gulped the beans down anyways. He shook his head. At least he was eating.
"What's up?" he said to Daniel's 'shit.' He leaned in and stole the bowl out of his lap, worried it'd get tossed or stepped on or slept on if he left it there. "I rescued you. And you're high as fuck, or off your meds, or both, so that's why nothing makes sense." He turned around to set the bowls on the table he'd stolen alongside the tent.
When he turned back around, the bed was empty.
Bell ran to the door flap. "Da--" He was right there, standing maybe a foot outside the tent. "Alright, enough's enough, let's go back inside."
"I didn't drug you," he sighed. Not like anything else he'd said so far had gotten through. Daniel bolted, bare feet slapping across the floor. Bell chased him down. It was a short race. Daniel was speedy, but he hadn't been up for days, and his body wasn't up for it, while Bell had been working construction half the time and hunting on his days off. Daniel didn't stand a chance.
"Alright, enough's enough." He hoisted Daniel into a fireman's carry and trudged back into the tent, ignoring any and all of his flailing. Back in the room, he slammed Daniel into the bed hard enough to knock the air out of him. While the man was stunned, he grabbed his wrist and wrapped the restraint around it, buckling it nice and snug. The second wrist, the same. One at a time, he pinned down Daniel's ankles and strapped them in as well.
He stood back and surveyed his handiwork. "I didn't want to do this, but you really gave me no choice," he informed Daniel. "When you're ready to behave, I'll let you free." When and if. He had no guarantee Daniel would ever snap out of it, or show him more clarity than he already had. He sighed heavily and ran his hands down his face. Wait. He just had to wait it out. It'd get better. Daniel would wake up again.
[i And what if he doesn't?] a little voice in the back of his head whispered. [i What if this is it, for the rest of his life?]
Bell cursed. It couldn't be. There had to be something he could do.
White again. No. Not entirely. He could hear noises that weren't the screams of others or the calling of a nurse. Daniel blinked up at the man who talked at him, but he'd forgotten what he'd said and things didn't make sense. A confused frown formed on his face. It smelled like food, somehow. Daniel jolted, realized he wasn't restrained and sat up. Why wasn't he restrained? There were restraints though, so maybe he had been, at some point.
Wary, Daniel reached out for the bowl of beans that was being offered up. This wasn't an institution. He knew this man, didn't he?
Bell. He'd left him, because... shit. He'd forgotten. It was just out of reach. So why had he returned? Daniel knew they'd separated at some point, but they'd made up and had gone to the beach. Black. A memory of black pierced his mind.
Somehow, he preferred it over the white.
He took a careful bite, but soon realized how hungry he was and cleared the plate instinctively. If he wanted to run and get away, he'd need his strength. No, but wait. Where was he going to run to? What was he running from?
Daniel rested the bowl on his lap, forgotten, and pressed a hand to his forehead. Why wouldn't the answers come? Nothing made sense the way it used to.
"Shit," he cursed under his breath. His voice was almost gone. The cold was getting to it after all the abuse he'd put it through. His voiced protest usually fell onto deaf ears, but things had changed somehow. Daniel looked at his hands and toyed with the red marks there. No restraints. It felt weird. Like he'd fall now.
"Why am I here?" Daniel asked, eyes drifting over to the other man. So familiar. "Nothing makes sense." At leas the restraints had been a constant. A rhythm. No constraints meant food. It still did? Somehow?
Daniel looked down at his legs and contemplated making a dash for it.
He could run, he figured. Somewhere.
His eyes searched for a way out. White. No, there. An exit. Daniel scrambled for it, but didn't get very far. His legs weren't the problem this time. Where the fuck was he? No white halls, no pale overhead lights. Just a cold building, concrete slapping against his bare feet, wind gripping at his shirt. He looked back, confused.
"This is not.. I don't get it." Dizziness tugged at the back of his mind. Drugs. Mother-fucking drugs.
"You drugged me!" he accused.
No. No, he was free now. He could get out. Get away. Daniel started to run.
He left? Bell winced. "I didn't--they stole you away," he argued. No, wait. Daniel recognized him? He was here, with Bell? Holy shit, that was progress he hadn't seen in days. Sure, he was talking about things that had never happened, but at least he was talking to Bell.
"It's okay. Take your time," Bell urged him. Daniel's hand found his. Bell gripped it gently, afraid Daniel might run away if he held on too tight. Daniel clutched onto him, though--then fell, suddenly. "Careful!" Bell reached for him, but it was too late. The beach. Swimming. "I promised you the beach, I did," Bell agreed. Too late. Too late. Daniel was gone. The light in his eyes had gone out again. No one was home.
He sighed and waited a moment, then picked up Daniel and carried him into the tent when nothing happened. He laid the man out on the bed, rested his head on the pillow. His sleep didn't look restful, the way he was twitching. If only he could keep the man from hurting. If only he could be there in his dreams and make everything okay. He pushed Daniel's hair back and just watched, waiting.
After a while, he grew bored. Bell walked around the building, checking the perimeter. At the edge of the driveway, he searched in the dirt until he found a string, traced it back to a tree and pulled it up the tree. A cluster of empty cans hanging off the end clattered as he reset it, the simple alarm making the ruckus he'd built it to. He hooked it over a branch so it was held off the ground at about knee height, spanning the road. If anyone came up the road, he'd hear them coming.
Back to check on Daniel. The man hadn't moved, so he brushed his hair back and headed out to the back to start up the grill. He plopped one of the pots they'd bought for their home on top and added a can of baked beans. Before long, they were bubbling in the pot. Bell found the second bowl, the one he hadn't been using, divided the beans between them, and wandered back inside. "Hey Daniel, you want some beans?" he tried. "They're nice and warm."
The man was talking. Different now. Two dogs? Why did that seem so familiar? Those names? Spot. Right. A brown-spotted mongrel. Daniel remembered those. And then the nurse was close, only now he looked like Bellwether. Somehow that was okay though. A hand extended towards him, rather than just grabbed at him like all the others had. Daniel looked up, wary, but tired.
Questions were fired at him.
Food? How did he feel? Daniel blinked at Bell, then the hand, then back up.
"You fucking left," he started, "I got angry and you forgot, thought I'd cheated on you." A shiver crawled up his spine. It was cold in the flimsy clothes he wore. The white turned darker and darker. Almost turned to black.
"And then we were at the beach." A smile made its way to his face. "Just swimming." His face grew blank. Daniel pushed himself to make a few faltering steps and lifted a hand to his face. It was all so confusing.
"I'm confused," he managed, mumbling underneath his hands.
He swayed precariously and over-balanced, almost caught himself on Bell's hand, but landed on his knees. It didn't even hurt. He failed to care. His hand still held on to Bellwether's. All the drugs he'd been on were making it hard to think.
"We went-...we went to the beach," Daniel mumbled. He didn't feel sick now, not like he had back then. Daniel looked down at his hand and slowly peeled his fingers from Bellwether's. "We swam."
And the dog had been there.
Daniel could almost piece it together, he could almost slot that memory in its place and then it just all blanked out again. He slowed, lips forming words that weren't given sounds, eyes blinking instinctively, without seeing anything.
Unhinged. He felt unhinged.
White took over.
He woke up several times, without actually registering what was going on. They were shredded memories of a half-constructed building, which metal rods and rough concrete turned into ghoulish nightmares he struggled to control. Sometimes he would dream Bellwether was there.
Sometimes he was too tired to actually move.
Waking up to find things made sense was harder and even slower than before. It felt harsh. A headache bit at the back of his skull and the light threatening his eyes was an excruciating and uninvited presence.
"Daniel--" Bell tried, but the man was like a fish, bucking desperately to be free. Rather than drop him on his head, Bell fought him long enough to make sure Daniel's legs would hit the floor first, then let go. Daniel could go flop on the floor if he wanted. He wasn't too concerned. The man wasn't getting anywhere fast.
He watched while Daniel scrambled away, keeping pace with a slow walk. More than anything, it was sad. Watching Daniel be reduced to... this. To barely being able to stand, let alone walk. To a crawling, mindless child.
Hazel eyes turned to him. Clara? "Who's Clara?" Bell asked, puzzled. No answer, not that he'd expected anything.
Daniel tried to climb to his feet again, not particularly successfully. Bell just hovered, waiting for him to move or run. It didn't look like he could do either successfully. "A sad song, huh?" he asked. He scratched his head, realized the wig was still on and yanked it off, then rubbed his face down with his scrubs to get the worst of the makeup off. Maybe that'd help things.
Daniel stood. "We did. Two dogs, actually. Spot and Goldy," Bell said. It was more for himself than for Daniel's sake. He didn't think any of this was getting through. With a sigh, he stripped the scrubs shirt off and pulled a t-shirt on. Much more comfortable.
"Hey, you wanna lie down?" he offered, walking over and offering Daniel his hand. The way his legs were shaking and his chest was heaving, he doubted the man would be upright for much longer. Might as well take advantage of it while he could. "Some food, maybe? How're you feeling, huh?"
Daniel couldn't understand what he was saying, that much was clear. He was just talking to calm the guy down, if Daniel could even hear him--which was still up in the air.
He glanced at the tent. Everything was ready. He had a sturdy bedframe he'd found in an abandoned house and the mattress from their old place. If he needed to restrain Daniel, he was ready. He hoped he didn't have to, but if it came down to it, he'd rather restrain the man than let him hurt himself. Or, better yet, if he could just get the guy to come rest on his own, it'd all work out. "Got some tasty beans," he offered.
Light. Noise. A clicking sound. Someone opening a door. A car door? Memories sparked at the noise, clearer than they had before and Daniel blinked at the sound of a familiar voice: that nurse. Fuck, a nurse. Arms slipped under him and Daniel fought being held.
"No! Let me go!" he shouted. His voice caught, half-lost, the way he'd been abusing it. Daniel thrashed until he could feel the floor and then he scrambled. He didn't get very far. The world turned and twisted, angling in a way that made him meet up with the floor after one or two clumsy paces. Shit.
He tried again. One hand to the concrete -wait. Concrete? Shit. It felt good. Rough. Like-... Nothing came up. Gritty. Daniel paused, halfway through getting back up. Cold. It was cold. He was no longer in Kansas. The thought made him chuckle.
Ah shit. He'd fucked up. He was fucked up.
But he hadn't been able to think quite this clearly before.
"Tell Clara we'll be home before supper," he told Bell. It seemed to make sense in his head to tell the man that. Wait. Bell?
That rang a bell.
Daniel tried to get up, only to fall towards the other side. Shit. His balance was shot. All the good stuff they'd had him on were dissolving in weird ways. No thoughts stuck around long enough for him to make sense of. Colours all blended into one haze and Daniel just laid there, breathing for a while, struck down like a wounded animal.
Music. He heard music.
"She's singing," Daniel chattered. "Singing a sad song. Bye, bye," he slurred at nothing in particular. He fought the white this time. He didn't want to just lose time like that again. Didn't want to be pushed into the back or die that way.
Daniel made one more attempt at getting up, managed to stand and swayed in place. The song never faded, but Daniel didn't mind it being there. Didn't mind the sad song, though it only further detached him from reality.
Just standing made his legs shake and his head spin, but fuck it, he was standing.
"I had a dog once," he piped up. Not Kansas, Toto. Shit. His legs threatened to give out again and he was breathing hard. It'd been too fucking long.
Shifting in the backseat. Bell glanced back. Daniel was up? Moving around? Jeez, those sedatives didn't work like they used to. Probably keeping Daniel doped up all the time didn't help, either. "Hey, Daniel, you awake?" he asked.
No response. Hadn't exactly expected one. He'd scouted out the place for a few days first--it wasn't his first day working there--and he'd seen the state Daniel was in. Off his mind was putting it gently. He'd hoped it might be the sedatives and drugs rather than Daniel himself, but it looked like that was nothing but wishful thinking. Bell cast a glance into the passenger's seat as feet impacted the back of his chair and jostled him forward; good thing he'd grabbed some restraints on the way out. Wouldn't work as well without a bed, but at the very least--
"Daniel, what the hell!" Bell shouted as the door swung open. He swerved, hard, and the door slammed shut again. Luckily, whatever it was that had spurred Daniel into motion seemed to have left his body again, and he laid still, staring blankly at the roof.
"That was a perfectly good sheet!" he admonished Daniel. His heart was racing. Shit. What if Daniel had decided to throw himself out? That'd be the end of him, and it'd all be useless! He shook his head and gave Daniel another look, just to make sure he was quiet, then engaged the child locks. There. Now, Daniel couldn't just swing the door open whenever he liked. Couldn't open them from the inside at all!
Even with his heart racing from Daniel's little stunt, he drove around the city a little just to be sure that no one was following him. When he didn't spot anyone, he turned off the highway and into an abandoned building off the side of the road. It'd been a factory of some sort a long time ago, but now was an empty brick husk coated in vines and long-condemned. No one had come to knock it down, and so it'd naturally become his base of operations. There was a big white tent in the corner he'd stolen from a carnival after hours and a setup in the back with a camping grill; it was actually kind of cozy, by his standards.
"Hey, Daniel," he tried, opening the door to the back of the car, "you wanna go lie down in the tent? I've got a mattress in there." He slid his arms under Daniel and started lifting him.
He'd been sleeping for a long time. Daniel cracked his eyes open, fighting the sticky, stuffy sensation threatening to press them shut again. Things were different the second time around. Black fabric, the scent of gas, metal. He didn't know what they were, couldn't place it. The colours were overwhelming. Windows. There were windows.
"No longer in Kansas, baby," he whispered under his breath, voice almost gone from all the shouting he'd done while trapped in that stupid white place. He lifted a had to rub at his eyes and nearly fell. Or felt he might fall anyway. He was free. No restraints. No restraints. Daniel grinned madly at that fact, as it slowly seeped into his brain, as he slowly realized he could move unrestrained.
Without the restraints however, Daniel didn't know what he should do. Getting out had been something that'd taken an extraordinarily long time to figure out. So now what?
He opened and closed his hand, mesmerized that he could even control something that complicated. Angry marks flared out from the wrist down, though they were bruises, nothing more. Didn't even hurt, even though the good stuff was wearing off. It came with clarity. He felt clearer, in his head now.
So much to take in.
Daniel groaned and buried his face in the fabric that'd rubbed everything clean. Darkness. No more white. It felt good. Like a relief. Like he could finally hide and be left alone. No. Something in him triggered, flared up and sparked.
"No!" he shouted, then scrambled from his position. He had to get out. He couldn't just be placid and wait. No, he had to get out. Had to- had to go... somewhere.
His fingers latched behind the car-door and pulled it open. Wind whipped into the vehicle, dislodging the blanket he'd been under and Daniel kicked at the chairs, kicked at anything, tried to haul himself out. So much light. So much colour.
Motion. Sound. Sight. So much to break the white.
He couldn't place any of it. It was too much. A sensory overload. And then everything stopped. Time was lost.
Things had turned white again regardless and it felt shitty.
The rat was still exploring the room when she got back, sniffing around at the corners and boxes they'd set out. She'd decided not to put it right back in the pipe. Monsters didn't usually spend their whole lives in their true forms, so it stood to reason that it might need to spend some time in a shell to survive and thrive. She'd give it a week before putting it back, see if there was any improvement. Maybe even extend it to a month, if it behaved well and nothing went wrong. Check its weight afterward, see if it'd grown for being allowed a shell.
Alphie was mostly ignoring it for now. The sample they'd procured was too interesting. Half was going to Sarah and her hybrids, but the other half was hers. She dropped a bit onto a slide and slid it under her microscope. Even from here, she could see a difference in the material. It was finer-grained, smoother, more pliable. It didn't move around, either, like Bellwether's had, but behaved more typically, lying there like it should.
The doors opened. Alphie looked up. "Sarah, what's up?" she asked.
The woman's panicked face told her what she needed to know. "No," she breathed. Not again. Her eyes flicked to the rat, nosing around the room. They had to hide it.
Out the back of the institute, Bell flicked the fabric back and checked on Daniel. Still doing alright. He'd been nice and quiet the whole way out. Even now, he seemed peaceful enough. "Alright, let's get you in the back," Bell said, lifting Daniel out of the laundry bin. He settled him into the back and petted his hair out of his face. "I've got you now, Daniel," he said. "It's gonna be alright.
As an after thought, grabbed a clean sheet out of the bin and draped it over Daniel, letting it fall in wrinkles so it looked like he'd just stuffed a sheet in the backseat. He pushed the basket back inside, checked in every direction, then drove out the front door. Time to go. The hunters would be showing up any second now, and Daniel wasn't exactly fighting fit. But that was fine. Bell stared straight ahead, adjusting his grip on the wheel. He had a plan.
Shit. Sarah's hands shook as he finger pressed on the phone's screen. The call hadn't lasted more than a couple of minutes, but the weight of what was implied out-weighed the small digits by miles. Daniel had escaped. Not only had he escaped, he'd done so barely unnoticed. So he had to have had help. Doctor Horace hadn't made much progress with Daniel at all. So far the man had only had short bouts of clarity, in most of which he was violent and aggressive towards anyone and anything.
It had to have been Bellwether.
Sarah blinked and broke out of her mental impasse. She needed to tell Alphie. If the two of them were together, they might seek revenge. Or they might even get it in their stupid minds to try and free up the infant child. Why would Bellwether bother with such a mentally ill man however? Wouldn't having to carry around Daniel be a set-back? Unless he somehow saw to heal him.
Daniel's symptoms hadn't been present all the while he carried the infant. Sarah knew the statistics, knew the numbers. He hadn't been on anything to help combat the symptoms of his alleged mental illness.
She didn't find Alphie in the lab.
"Jack, could you send a message out? Daniel escaped the institution. That might mean Bellwether is going to re-activate," Sarah instructed. The man's eyes grew a bit wider, but rather than panic, he quickly started to arrange some things on his computer. Satisfied the message would make it to most of their hunting parties currently out on patrol and upper management, Sarah fled out of Jack's office and down to the lower levels. If not in the lab, Alphie would be experimenting with the infant originator.
They were moving. Daniel tried to open his eyes, but couldn't. No white. Not this time. Couldn't move either. The fabric of whatever he rested on dug into his cheek. It was cold. Something other than tepid. Something other than that perfect hand. Dark though. Felt like being held by a goat. Daniel still couldn't move. It lasted for ages.
Ages of moving. Ages of fabric rubbing against his skin, wearing it away. Until it was clean and polished. Until his face no longer existed and he was just a mass, formless, shapeless like a goat.
"Help, I need help," Horace called, pushing the door open. The man was unconscious, but he wasn't light. He needed a second set of hands to load the guy into the bed.
Ben came back, rounding the corner quickly. "What is it?" he asked.
Horace looked up at him, then nodded at Daniel. "He got lose, somehow, I need to get him back to bed." He bent to pick Daniel up. "You get his legs?"
Ben shut the door. Horace gave him a confused look. "Why're you--" And then a knee met his nose, and he collapsed backwards.
Bell scratched his face. This makeup and wig nonsense was itchy as fuck. It'd taken him ages to buy the fake credentials, after he'd blackmailed that hunter into giving him the details of the plan, but hell, it'd worked. Got him in, anyways, but he need to get them both out. Daniel had acted like the distraction he'd hoped the guy would be, but from here on out, it was all him.
He checked out the door. The coast was clear. Casually, he walked over to the laundry bin he'd parked outside the door and brought it inside the room. Daniel was still lying on the floor; perfect. He picked up Daniel and put him in with the dirty sheets, then piled a couple sheets on top of him. Smooth, smooth. He glanced out the door. Still clear. He glanced back and paused. If Dr. Horace woke up, there'd be trouble. but if he was tied up...
About thirty seconds later, Dr. Horace was bound up in the bed where Daniel had been. With a bit of a grin on his face, Bell pushed the laundry bin towards the back door. The laundry machines weren't far from the back exit, which was just perfect for him. The wheels rattled under him, the sheets gently shaking. All he had to count on was Daniel not waking up and no one bothering him on the way out, and he was golden. And hell, Daniel was sedated to fuck. He had this in the bag.
Bell sighed out. It was a pain in the butt, doing this kind of thing. Wasn't really his forte, but hell, whatever worked. If he'd just charged in, there would've been hunters up his ass for sure.
"I'm gettin' you outta here, just you wait," he promised Daniel.
A nurse. Undoing his restraints. Burly hands pulled and plied his body into whatever position they needed him to be none too kindly. Daniel fought some of it, but they were stronger and it was pointless. A single needle-prick absolved all of those thoughts. Made him docile. Placid. Daniel got angry over that, kicked, screamed and shouted.
Restraints. They didn't do them up kindly either. Daniel struggled against them, twisted his wrists and tried to duck the lead underneath the bed. He lost track of thought.
Hands touched him, pulled up the sheets covering his body. Was it day? Night?
Who the fuck? A shitty nurse. Again. At least this one was attractive. Daniel's eyes tracked the man, until the doctor came in. Fingers in front of his face pulled him to the here and now. Slowly, ever so slowly, hazel eyes pulled the man sitting beside the bed into focus.
A moan escaped his lips. Daniel wanted to form words, but they wouldn't come through the haze of drugs. He wanted out. Needed to get out. He pulled at the restraints, expecting them to tighten but they didn't. Instead, the restraints came loose. One hand now free, Daniel worked quickly, instinctively.
Horace didn't stand a chance. Daniel was on top of the man within seconds. He knew there were cameras. There were always cameras. He just wanted out. See the sun. What was so bad about that?
Daniel wrapped his arms around the man's neck tighter, then, when he'd almost passed out, changed tactics. No. No. He shouldn't kill.
The coat. He had to get out. Escape. Daniel staggered to a stand, keeled into the wall and pressed on to the door regardless. Locked. What the hell? Horace was coughing back at the bed. Daniel pounded on the door. What the hell?
"Out! Let me the fuck out!" he shouted. Daniel could hardly recognize his voice. There was no energy in his legs. He sagged through his knees. Horace pulled the sedative out of Daniel's leg and rolled away with the needle in hand.
This wasn't the first time one of their 'special' clients acted out.
Daniel clutched at the door and shook his head. He refused. Had to get out. He had to get out. The thought slowly submerged. And then there was white again.
Alphie scowled at nothing. "He's plotting something," she muttered. That he hadn't made his move yet was concerning, not something they should be relaxing over. The two of them had gone through hell for each other before, so why stop now? "Yeah, I've got stuff, too." Alphie stood, but had a small, pleased smile on her face. Sarah was acting friendly again. It was a small step, but it was a step in the right direction. At last.
But first, she had to figure out how these monsters reproduced. It was so tempting--the knowledge was just out of reach! She followed Sarah back to the base, plans already forming in her head.
The door creaked open, and Dr. Horace stepped inside, taking a look at his charge. He was bound to the bed, the same as ever, unfocused eyes staring at the ceiling. Daniel, was it? He checked the chart, just to be sure. Daniel Smith.
A nurse was puttering around the bed, fixing the restraints and sheets. He was a new hire, someone they'd picked up through a temp agency of some sort, but diligent about his work. Not the best-trained in medical tasks, but what did he expect? They paid the nurses so poorly they had to source them from an agency, of course they'd be the worst labor out there. It was just like his mother used to say; you got what you paid for. He sighed. If only anyone up top cared about how the patients felt... but that would cost money, wouldn't it?
"Thank you, Ben, I can take over now," Dr. Horace said with a smile. There was a pause while the nurse fixed the sheets, checked on the wrist restraints one more time. "Ben?" he repeated.
The nurse glanced up, then nodded and retreated silently, brushing past him. "And how are you--" Ben was already gone, out into the hallway. Dr. Horace sighed out. Got what they paid for, indeed.
"So then, Daniel," he said, pulling up a chair beside the bed, "how are you feeling today? Hmm? You with me?" He ran a finger in front of Daniel's eyes to see if he'd respond to it. He usually didn't. Like most of them, he was beyond help. Horace sighed again. Sometimes, he wondered why he even bothered trying. Should just fake the effort like everyone else in here. It wasn't worth it in the least.
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