My father says that almost the whole world is asleep...

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Road to Recovery
Lying Down
leekspin wrote in thewakelogs
Who: Orihime Inoue, Toothless, OPEN (particularly for V and Sanji)
What: Several days after the defeat of the aeon, as the city begins to pull away from the pole of chaos, Orihime finally starts to come around.
Where: Medbay - Northern District
When: July 1, 2012
Warnings: She might mention a few lingering memories of madness.
Notes: I will be slooooooooow because of burnout, but wanted to get this up. If you are okay with slowness, feel free to drop in and chat with her!

She wasn't exactly sure when she felt the first bright spot of clarity. All she knew was that when it appeared in the swirl of maddening images and feelings, she clung to it. Her memories were blurry and scattered. She remembered being aware of her friends...Lelouch's presence had been particularly easy to feel, as her Ashura...and the sounds of familiar voices. As soon as the secondary source of her mental anguish vanished, she blacked out, more as a means of self-protection than anything.

All that kept her hanging on was the sheer, raw willpower to survive. Death was never an option, or an escape from the soul-crushing insanity that was constantly battering at all that she was.

In that one moment of clarity, she'd felt the vacuum of someone's will trying to erase her from existence. But she also felt the braided will of others shielding her, one in particular very strong, and very close. She'd smelled roses.

Then the dizzying feeling was gone, and her breath left her in a quiet exhale as she was granted relief at last. The constant wrinkle in her brow finally eased as her tightened muscles relaxed. Instead of unconsciousness, she slept deeply. For how long, she didn't know, but the dark presence that had been hammering at her sanity was no longer there.

The memories were, however. She knew she wouldn't ever really be rid of those. The things she'd been exposed to were expertly intertwined with her favorite memories and her feelings for others. Her grasp of reality was brittle, and she saw things out of the corner of her eye that seemed to be lurking and scuttling, waiting to attack the moment she let down her guard.

At least the experience wasn't...entirely new to her? She'd suffered a lesser version of head-clutching madness when she had been exposed to that odd structure in the West that had made her see horrible hallucinations of her brother being brutally murdered and torn apart while he screamed to her for help. She hadn't thought anything could be worse than that.

She'd been wrong.

The smell of roses, at least, was familiar to her. She knew who had put them there, having spent many hours admiring V's garden. She clung to the simple sweetness of the scent, trying to banish everything else from her mind. If she didn't think about what had been done to her, she could at least lie still instead of sweat and shiver and make those embarrassing pitiful whimpers.

Her head lolled on her pillow as she gazed quietly at the brilliant scarlet blooms next to her bed. Her dark eyes rested on the shape of each cluster of velvet petals, a spiraling labyrinth that she could imagine herself in. No darkness. No terror. Just a soft, warm place with familiar scents and sounds. She could be safe if she crawled into that rose for just a little while...

Orihime's brow creased, the corners of her mouth drawing downward. She reigned her thoughts back in to something a little less crazy. She had to. After all, she'd been made an Angelii, and what kind of Angelii lounged around as a useless pile of crazy? She focused on the roses again, ignoring the maze her mind kept trying to layer over her efforts to study the flowers.

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Toothless rarely wandered. He was usually content to bide his time prowling about in the Southern District. But the sad truth of the matter was that the Southern District still reeked of lingering decay. Still pulsed with unease. And aside from occasional ventures, Toothless had taken to avoiding his former safe haven.

And so, our resident Night Fury did what any displaced creature does best. Place himself. Everywhere. No buildings were safe from being climbed upon and investigated. After all, stone walls clearly sheltered delicious treats inside. And Toothless would have those treats. He would have them and he would eat them and he would delight in them.

But those stone walls proved to have incurably small doorways. And burning down the doors placed in those doorways had little effect on their size. And so, it was with great satisfaction that Toothless found the Medbay. The doorways were enormous. Quite comfortably able to accommodate a hungry dragon. And a hungry dragon they would accommodate. There was no say in the matter.

Because in precious little time, Toothless had worked his way inside- be it by melting the doors, ramming them in, or if they were simply open will be left to the imagination. What matters is that he was inside and that, rather than the food he was so desperately searching for, he found a friend.

He clamored to her bed, knocking various things aside as he lumbered his way over to see the human he'd quite earnestly missed. It was, perhaps, a step down from dinner, but it was almost as good, and that would have to do.

(OOC: I laughed. This was so cute.)

Orihime was on high alert when she heard the sounds of destruction echoing in the medbay. That...that didn't sound like Ratchet, or V. She violently flinched at the sight of something black wriggling into her room, her eyes wide with fear as she lay frozen in bed.

...Hold on. She knew this particular creature. The large luminous eyes weren't glowing with malevolence like she'd anticipated, and familiarity untangled the snarls of heightened terror. Her stiffened body relaxed, though her eyes remained wide.


The dragon didn't seem to care at all about any obstacles in his way, and she had to admit, it was both funny and touching to see him bowl right through things just to reach her bedside. She smiled for the first time in what felt like years, her hand drifting from the bed to skim lightly over his scales with open affection. He was irresistibly cute.

"I didn't know you came back," she said hoarsely, her head tipped to the side. "I'm glad."

Unlike when other attempts of a similar nature had been made, Toothless readily accepted Orihime's touch. She was, after all, one of the few humans he recalled actively approving of. But the memory in the dragon's head and the reality in front of him did not quite match up. Where had gone all the color and vibrancy and life?

Confused and mildly frustrated by the unexpected change, the dragon resolved to deny the young woman of any and all personal space, jabbing his nose into her side without preamble. Yes, it was nice to be back. Not that being home was any less nice, of course, but there was certainly more food to be had here. And more, though neither better nor worse, company. It would, however, be better if Orihime were, perhaps, in a livelier mood. (Perhaps then she might also give him something to eat.)

Toothless huffed, blowing the girl's hair back with a puff or warm air. Yes, he would make her happy. And he would use every ounce of his ability to do it. Eyes wide and quite purposely adorable, they bore into hers. If he could sway Hiccup, Orihime was surely doomed to fall.

Edited at 2012-07-07 12:54 am (UTC)

As soon as Skyfire found out where Orihime was, he went to the Medbay to see her.

Then he waited just outside the door, trying to gather his courage, for what felt like an eternity. This shouldn't have been so difficult. Reason told him that he couldn't have done any more for her than he had. And yet... it didn't stop him from feeling guilty about the whole thing.

Standing around like a fool without doing anything wouldn't help, either.

He changed into his human form - less intrusive and noisy - and took a deep breath. And then he finally knocked on the door.

Orihime stirred, opening one eye, then the other. She raised her head from her pillow, feeling as if her skull weighed two hundred pounds, and blinked blearily at the door. She didn't know who was there just yet, but she wanted to thank that person for rousing her from another swampy, uncomfortable dream rife with frustrations -- running uphill, crowds of people not moving aside to let her catch the train, a million diversions meant to slow her down before she could reunite with her friends.

It wasn't a nightmare, but she certainly hadn't enjoyed the stupid dream.

"Come in," she said with a heavy croak in her voice, from sleep and lack of use.

Pretend he's human, my add-on expired :|

Just hearing her talk was an immense relief. Orihime still didn't sound quite all right, but it was a start. And she felt well enough to receive visitors, which was also a good sign.

Skyfire took a deep breath and open the door gently.

"Hello?" he said, as he peered inside. Then he forced himself to stop being silly and approach the bed. "I just... wanted to say hi."

When Sanji had first heard that Orihime was at the Medbay, he was elated to find out she was okay. Then, crushing guilt had overwhelmed him. He had been useless in the attempts to save her. His initial attempt had been sheer folly; he realized that now. Then when the real rescue crew had come, he had been under the control of that shitty Aeon, and had actively tried to stop them.

.o(What right do you have to see Orihime-chan, after all that...?)

But as guilty as he felt for failing Orihime, he had to see her before he left for home... Had to see that she was doing okay... that she was healing... that she was safe.

And apologize.

It was the LEAST he could do.

He had hurried back to his room at the Southern District's Welcome House briefly, to scan through the book on flowers that Orihime had given him. He didn't know what else he could do, or give her in apology. Food was out of the question, because he didn't know if she would even feel like eating, or if the doctors had put her on any sort of recovery diet. Flowers would be bright, and cheerful... and be his apology letter to her.

A lily for her beauty and sweetness, and a lily of the valley as a wish for a return to happiness for her. A large, brilliant Chinese chrysanthemum blossom for her cheerfulness under adversity. A little sprig of mistletoe, which - he learned to his surprise - had a meaning of 'I surmount all difficulties'. A balm of gilead flower, to show he was relieved she was okay (it meant either 'cure' or 'relief'; he hoped it meant that sort of relief, and perhaps stretch it to he hoped she recovered quickly). A bunch of raspberry flowers for his remorse in being unable to help her, with a meadowsweet flower tucked into the cluster for his uselessness in that fight. He didn't know if it was going too far, or not... but he added a few pear blossoms for affection. If questioned, he could always say it meant the affection everyone had for her. He wouldn't be lying, after all.

He stood in front of the Medbay doors, a feeling of anxiety quickly washing over him. Did he deserve to see her? Would she even want to see him? Well, he could always go in, give her the flowers, apologize, then leave if she didn't want to see him. Realizing he was being a little ridiculous, he entered the building, only to halt again outside Orihime's door.

Taking in a few breaths to steady himself, bouquet clasped tightly in one hand, he lightly rapped on the doorframe with the other.

"Orihime-chan...?" he called out, softly.

Orihime's shoulders twitched a little, her eyes moving to the doorway and blinking in surprise. It seemed she'd let herself get too absorbed by the roses again, as she was startled by the change in her otherwise stagnant environment.

It took a few moments for her weary brain to process the image of her friend and the flowers in his hand, but recognition set in shortly. Her brow creased inward as she managed to summon up a tired smile. "Sanji-kun," she greeted him, both glad for his presence and embarrassed at her condition. Her body was still recovering from the decay and lack of use, and her mind didn't feel quite right.

She only prayed that she could keep the latter under wraps. Sanji already appeared to be grossly uncomfortable, and who could blame him? Orihime was far from pretty at the moment, with her limp and unwashed hair, and gaunt, pale body.

Sanji froze for a moment, in the doorway, feeling a lump in his throat. Sanji-kun... That was what his beautiful Nami-san always called him. To hear it from Orhime-chan's lips, too, was a little of a shock. He felt his heart skip a little beat. Was it because of the familiarity of the address...? Especially with his deep longing for home, and intent to return? Sanji didn't know, and didn't care to dwell on it. There were bigger issues to address, and he didn't want to deal with any more confusion.

Orihime's appearance caused a stab of pain in his chest, and he clutched the flowers a little tighter. So weak, so tired... but still so beautiful to his eyes, and trying to put on such a brave face... God, she was such a strong lady! She never deserved any of what happened to her!

He quickly Bent up a vase of water and put the flowers into it, setting it down on a nearby desk, then immediately dropped to his knees, pressing his forehead to the floor. Normally, he didn't like it when men bowed like this so readily... so quick to humble themselves for anything and abandoning their pride. In this case, however, it was MORE than justified. He could humble himself before Orihime, easily. How could he even bear to look her in the eyes, after he failed her so badly?

"Orihime-san... forgive me!" he cried out. "I failed you, terribly! I was unable to save you from that monster! I only made things WORSE! I am unfit to even be in your gracious presence. Can you ever forgive me, for being unable to save you...?"

Edited at 2012-07-13 04:09 pm (UTC)

Flowers! He brought flowers! Orihime perked up a little when he put them in a vase, a little genuine warmth filtering into her weary smile. She watched him set them down on the desk, and thought she should ask V to borrow his book to identify them. The only one she recognized with a meaning was the Chinese chrysanthemum, which she had gifted to someone dear to her a long time ago. She studied them with a doofy grin on her face for a while, then turned her head to thank Sanji.

Except he wasn't there anymore.

Orihime blinked in confusion, puzzled, until she realized his voice was coming from further down below. Orihime lifted her chin slightly to see part of him, prostrated on the floor before her. He was apologizing...? No. No no no, that wasn't what was supposed to happen! A look of visible distress creased her brow.

"But...but I wanted to thank you..." she protested sadly.

’I hope that the world turns, and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again.’” It was softly said, from the doorframe, where there waited a familiar fixed face. Once he had Orihime’s attention, the man who never stopped smiling slipped into the room, bootheels clicking faintly. This was a queer thing in itself---he hadn’t made any noise in the hall---but deliberately done; a kind of courtesy. “I had hoped I would be by when you woke, but I’d taken ten to tend to the others.”

Although audibly apologetic, V sounded as if he were smiling against his mask’s fixed features, and readily came closer---up to the bedside. Bending a stool, he sat, hands loosely clasped and whole costume the source of a faint scorched smell.

“How are you, Orihime?”

"...ten...hee hee...!"

Orihime put her hands to her mouth as it screwed up into a line, caught between a wince and a grin. "It's five times there's two of you..."

The wince won out, and she pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead as she released a shaky sigh. " be honest, I don't really know yet, V-san," she said quietly. "But better. I have to be better if I'm awake, ne?"

She looked to him for the answer, practically pleading for some confirmation that her mind wasn't as broken as it sometimes felt like it was. It kept wanting to stray toward abstract things, things that didn't make sense even to someone as imaginative as she was.

"" she said again, registering the faint aroma of smoke. "...what about you?"

“Better than you were, and better than you could be, since you are offering thoughtful and honest answers.” He could hardly fail to notice the hope in her face, but hadn’t answered for it---he’d only put his own honest opinion plainly. If it were to prompt anything from the actor, it wouldn’t be words but an action; one hand out and open, inviting another to be held. The smell of something having been burnt seemed ground into even the glove, which was unmarked save for small areas scuffed blue-grey by use. The worn leather was surprisingly soft. “Me? I’ve been tried and tired, truth be told, but I am alright.”

Edited at 2012-07-11 07:30 am (UTC)

It made her wonder just what it was he'd set ablaze. But instead of conjuring funny possibilities in her head, she imagined awful things, like twitching moss-covered tendrils and things with rubbery necks and too many arms.

She shut her eyes tightly, blindly fumbling for his offered hand until her fingers found his and squeezed. It was a feeble motion, but she took comfort in his gloved hand nonetheless as she fought to keep her breathing calm and even.

"I'm glad," she whispered. And she meant it, too. V was one of her dearest friends in Nautilus, and quite possibly the one she'd known the longest outside of the Elric brothers. "I'm really glad." Her fingers tightened, then relaxed. "It was you that kept me from being Unmade, too, wasn't it...?"

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