Nathanael - Takada's Apartment, Tokyo
The clink of glasses; gentle, refined laughter reverberating through a hall beyond.
Reaching out his hand...
Beautiful women with their hair in ringlets shifted their feet on the dancefloor, the ruffled skirts of their dresses sweeping. Their arms clung to the shoulders of their dark partners as they whispered softly in their ears.
Golden light fluttered over them, glowing on the fabrics and the flawless skin; music ran through the veins of the very building itself.
Mere moments, and he was back within himself. The hall was beyond
his grasp, a barrier formed of bars. The clothes of his body, less than rags,
hung from him. What couldn't be concealed was nevertheless invisible with dirt.
The hall, with it's women and men dancing and drinking merrily, seemed distant -- he strained to hear them, though he saw them clear as day.
Swamped in the dark, sticky blackness, he exhaled softly.
Kyosuke's eyes fluttered groggily, the toxins of the countless drinks he had consumed mere hours before still swimming through him.
He uncurled himself from the tight ball he had formed in his sleep. His body resisted the movement, but he managed to roll himself over, onto his back. There, he lay, turning the dream over in his thoughts like some demented infatuation, until it blurred into an array of lights, sounds and feelings.
He hated the dream.
Lately, every so often, it had come to plague him. A cruel thing that imprisoned him in that cold place, inches from civilisation, but too far to breach.
He felt outcasted, and alone.
Even the inkling of that dream sent up anxious butterflies in his stomach.
Deep in his mind, he felt a prisoner.
Kyosuke massaged his sinuses, and moaned sleepily. He was too tired to think about it, at the time.
He checked the clock beside his futon.
4:00 flickered demurely in the gloom.
Sighing, he turned onto his side once more, away from that light source, and pulled the covers tightly over his form.
Gradually, without even realising, he fell into a desolate sleep.
Freyr - A bus in Japan
Hisoka jerked awake in the stifling black, pinned down in a cold place with a great weight on his feet. The entire world was growling and shaking like a wolf. For a sickening second he was caught in a dream loop, waking from one dream into another dream into another dream.
Something flashed in the corner of his vision. An orange street lamp, passing at speed. A street lamp? The world suddenly coalesced around him. The rumbling black was the inside of a bus going to Tokyo, and the cold was the window he'd left open to feel the fresh air, and the great weight on his feet was his next six meals. He snaked a hand into the bag, moving slowly to avoid waking his seatmate. His fingers were numb and shaky, but he managed to pull out a bunch of grapes, which he ate quietly pips and all. He dropped the stem out the window and leaned back again, pulling his sweatshirt closer around him.
4:00, said the driver's clock. Three more hours to go. Hisoka groaned quietly
and closed his eyes, hoping he could regain the dream.
Nathanael - Takada's Apartment, Tokyo
Kyosuke raised his head from his folded arms, his eyes burning.
"I just left this!"
His voice sounded distorted, even to his own ears. But then, didn't the people beyond the bars sound fractal, too...?
"I JUST LEFT THIS!!"
He rose to trembling feet, the chains on his wrists and ankles clinking together
The people in the hall didn't even hear him. Didn't spare him a glance.
Kyosuke's anger became full rage.
"LOOK AT ME!"
He flung himself against the bars, his fists shaking with a desire to hit something. He reached out for the nearest person he could -- but he was fractions too far away.
Kyosuke's struggles to reach him gradually became flails; his screams became pleas.
He'd never had the dream twice within such a brief break... And the longer the dream continued, the more intense it became, growing in power of light, noise, feeling.
He fell to his knees, overwhelmed.
"... Please..." he murmured, barely aware of what he was saying,
"... Stop it."
Nathanael and Freyr - The Cell
A soft, amused voice said, "How?"
Kyosuke stiffened, turning this way and that, seeking the origin of the voice. His pupils dilated wildly, his face stricken.
"Who is it?! Who's there?"
"Your cellmate," the voice said drily. It came from the other side of the tiny cell, barely a foot away from Ryosuke.
Kyosuke turned to what he perceived to be the voice's origin, eyes focusing
in the darkness that the light of the hall couldn't permeate.
"What's going on? Who are you?" He gestured vaguely at the shiny happy people beyond the cell, "And them -- Who are they? What are we doing here?"
The person sighed. "I knew it was a mistake to let you sleep so long. Calm down; clear your head a bit. You'll remember."
Kyosuke sneered. "I'll remember? I can't remember something I've never been to, and I've never been here before!"
He turned back, as though to reassure himself that he had never been there before -- like he didn't trust himself to be honest.
He fingered the bars, his thoughts and eyes drifting as he tried to clear things
in his head, trying to find some thread of a memory that may prove his cellmate
In his panicked trains of half-thought sentences and fractured rationalities, he came to the realisation that, even so far from the light source that illuminated the hall, the cell shouldn't be... so dark.
It wasn't a natural blackness; it was a great, choking, awkward
thing that, for some odd reason, Kyo found deeply frustrating, and unnerving.
He pressed close the bars, as though in a mimic of some idealistic escape -- as though he thought he could walk through them like water. In a futile effort to grasp some feeling that the hall was still a breath away, and there was still a chance somebody would notice him.
He turned, with deliberate slowness, and stood staring into the darkness, his fellow cellmate unnervingly close, yet invisible.
"... Have I?"
"You have always been here."
"You're not making sense... What do you mean? What is here?"
"This is the cell..." the person said, amused, as though he were teaching a small child. "These are the walls, and this is the floor, and that is the ceiling up there, and that is the door..."
"I know that!" Kyosuke cried, surprisingly resemblant of the child he was being treated as. "But I haven't been here all my life!"
He ran a hand through his hair, suffering a defeated sigh.
"I'm sick of this."
"That's kind of the point. It wouldn't be punishment otherwise."
A shiver ran down Kyo's spine.
"For crimes against God and nature," the voice said with regretful satisfaction, as though feeling the pain of saying the words were like putting the last piece into a puzzle.
"God and Nature? Is that a joke?!"
Kyosuke's deranged nature shone through as he giggled.
"Yes," the voice said drily. "Personally, I find being locked in a 2' by 4' cell for millennia very funny."
The giggling abruptly ceased.
"You... You can't be serious."
Sigh. "I really shouldn't have let you sleep for so long. You're still stuck in your dreamworld, aren't you?"
"I suppose so," Kyosuke replied, "since this is far too surreal... too... stupid to be anything but a dream."
Kyosuke laced his fingers together to stop them shaking.
But this feels so real...
"Does your dreamworld make more sense than this does?" the voice asked with interest. "I forgot how to sleep so long ago..."
"... Forgot how to sleep?"
Kyosuke shook his head. "I don't understand you. Don't you sleep?"
"I'd have thought so. We all need sleep -- at least a little."
The person laughed. "This would be the royal 'we'?"
Kyosuke glared at the person -- or the black smudge he thought was the person -- as though he'd insulted him.
"I'm tired of you -- nothing but a riddling shadow. Do you purposefully distract me? I just want to know who you are and where I am! Is it so hard to answer?!"
"Child. I told you: I'm your cellmate, and this is the cell."
"Child, yourself. You're the one speaking in riddles.
"Well, try this one, riddling shadow: What did you mean by 'crimes against God and nature'?"
"Which would you rather have for a cellmate, a riddling shadow or a shadow who screams and cries and flails in his sleep, kicks and thrashes when he's awake, and then acts as though you're crazy when he finally acknowledges your existence? Really." There was a brief flutter of air as the person turned his head away abruptly. It was a few seconds before he spoke again. "Think before you decide who's the mad one."
Kyosuke had no answer to that, besides very slightly bowing his head, guiltily.
After a few moments of silence, he managed to bite out a simple, "... Sorry."
"I accept." Cloth rustled as Kyosuke's cellmate shifted position. "You've been awake longer than you have in..." A pause. "...in a long while. It must be hard on you, the return to reality."
Kyosuke leaned against the bars, his head still held low. Something stirred within him at the words of his cellmate. He did not, however, say anything of it.
"I... still don't understand," he said.
"It will come back to you. There's not much to remember, just..." Another rustle as Kyosuke's cellmate gestured to the four walls. "This is it. This is life.
"You sound tired." Kyosuke's cellmate held out his arm; Kyosuke could feel the warmth from his hand near his shoulder. "Come here."
Gradually, with the barest thought, Kyo pushed himself off of the wall; the barest movement sent him into his cellmate's waiting palm.
It occured to him that he probably shouldn't trust a complete stranger so quickly... but it seemed there was nothing more that he could do.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, something told him he probably had nothing to fear.
"Yes... I guess I am..."
Kyosuke's cellmate pulled Kyosuke to him gently. He was taller than Kyosuke by a head, and his loose woolen shirt under Kyosuke's cheek was so well-worn that it was soft. "Go back to sleep for a little," he said, stroking Kyosuke's hair soothingly. "See what your dreamworld can tell you."
Kyosuke ought to have wondered just what on earth he was doing -- but at the time, thought was so distant; questioning this odd person was practically the furthest thing from his mind.
Using this person as a pillow, however, wasn't.
Kyosuke clutched onto the soft fabric, and his eyes fluttered.
As the darkness fell in on him, he slept.
Follow a character? Nathanael, Freyr