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You play as Delilah, an unfortunate young girl going through tough times.

=Links and Information=


Thanks to an anon, here is the pastebin of just the text. With threads purposely being misarchived, this should be available and accessible instead:
Melancholic Quest Collection 1 (1-4): http://pastebin.com/hTK0fQmd
Melancholic Quest Collection 2: http://pastebin.com/cX4HC6Q9
Melancholic Quest Collection 3: http://pastebin.com/sTuR8xJv
Melancholic Quest Collection 4: http://pastebin.com/RPwa7nEt
Melancholic Quest Collection 5: http://pastebin.com/DJ71TtFc
Melancholic Quest Collection 6: http://pastebin.com/xxCdZfx6
Melancholic Quest Collection 7: http://pastebin.com/7skcyeX0
Thread 29 (Misarchived as Gorgon Child) http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/700562/

This thread lets see if I can do my best and update like a good QM
Last time on MQ-

>You're playing as Lawrence
>You have a man, Wyatt, held hostage
>Wyatt has a video showing Bower's hideout, but refuses to hand it over
> Cammy has called in help to get the information out of him
> You've met Cammy's weird friend, Mr. Jones and his froufrou dog
>You and Officer Palmer went back to his electronics store to check it out
>Two of his buddies were at the store and after a struggle, you've subdued them both
>Now it's time to go back to the warehouse and get what you need
If you could rip the safe open then you would have already. But for now you have to leave it, and you grab Palmer’s shoulder.

“Need to...leave.”

“Didn’t find anything else?” she looks up, her boot still planted against the man’s head, “There’s a lot of shit here, leaving it all behind doesn’t feel right.”

“Need this...opened.” You go over to the safe once more, tyring the handle just in case. It still doesn’t budge, no matter how hard you pull. With a sigh, you go over to yank Derrick up from under her foot. “Everything...else. You can...keep.”

“I sure as hell can’t just leave all this behind,” she steps back to go grab Paul off the floor, “Watching everything on these tapes will make me want to claw my eyes out, but someone has to do it. Some of the names I’m seeing here, I just can’t believe it.”

“I-it’s true!” Paul cries out from her grasp, “Wyatt has dirt on a-anyone! I swear, let me go and I could help you find anything--”

His body goes rigid as Palmer pulls his arms at a painful angle. The dried blood on Palmer’s face as she glares down is enough to make Paul bite his tongue. Somehow, you’re still amazed that she’s able to walk around as if her face didn’t get smashed in moments ago.

Palmer asks with a grow, “Do you know the combination for that safe?” When Paul shakes his head she tightens her grip and snaps, “Then keep your mouth shut unless I tell you otherwise!”

“Can’t wait to see you get fucked up for this…” Derrick chokes in your grasp. You go from holding his handcuffs to gripping his neck. He says nothing more but murderous intent remains in his eyes.

“We’ll lock up and use their key to get back inside.” Palmer ignores the man as she walks Paul over to the stairs, “If Mister Jones can’t get that combo for us, I’m just going to call some boys here. Get ‘em to cut open the safe and then let them take in those tapes for me.”

You just nod and push Derrick along. The men are smart enough not to call out for help when you lead them to the cruiser. Had one of them opened their mouth, you or Palmer wouldn’t have hesitated to silence him.

Paul can’t help but resist against being pushed into the backseat. His final attempts to brace against the doorframe earns him getting kicked inside instead. Getting Derrick in is far easier, but he never once takes his eyes off of you. Had he not been restrained, the mad man might have lunged at you.

“Sweet Mary, it’s been forever since I’ve gotten roughed up like this,” Palmer says with a hint of a grin as she takes the front seat. “I’d like to see what that Mister Jones and his puffball rat managed to do while we were doing the dirty work.”
You take the passenger side without a response. All you do is look in the rear view mirror, looking at the seething glare reflected. As the car starts up, you’re forced to realize where your life is.

Kidnapping people with the help of a police officer. Bad, greasy people. But what does that matter if you were to get caught? It doesn’t matter that you’re risking life and limb for a worthy cause. One wrong step and your life is all over. Again. You’ll have ruined your life again.

Whether that be behind bars again or thrown under the bridge tied to concrete blocks. So much can go wrong. So much that isn’t in your control. Getting out of prison meant you would stay out of trouble again, yet you’re somewhere worse--

“Whoa pal, you feeling alright?” Palmer waves a hand to catch your attention, “I’m sure there’s a bag in the glove box if you need to puke. Try not to get it on the seats. I don’t really want to pull over until we’re where we need to be.”

You nod with a hand over your mouth. Carrides didn’t usually make you feel so fucking sick, but your stomach keeps turning over and over now.

That’s not all though. Despite Palmer remaining calm and cool, you have trouble breathing. Chest and throat tightening with panic. The motion of the car makes you nauseous yet it feels like it’s going too slow. You want to be there already. Not the warehouse, you want to be back already.

You know better, yet your hand inches towards the door handle.

“Oh, oh! I know why your face is so fucking familiar now,” Derrick’s glare lit up from the backseat, “That name and bitch attitude, you’re that cop that got her brother killed. Aren’t you?”

The car lurches on the road. Palmer’s knuckles grip the steering wheel tighter than before. She barely kept herself from slamming on the brakes, and now her teeth flash white in a snarl.

“Might wanna watch your mouth when you’re in that seat.”

“If this is the kinda shit you’re up to, it’s no fucking wonder you got someone killed.” His scraped up face twitched with a smirk, “You’re a bimbo cop on a power trip, huh? Bet you love running in, pretending to be a hero while doing whatever you want. It’s amazing they let you keep the badge, bet you’ve pulled a whole lotta favors under the desk.”

Holy shit dude[/i!]” Paul whimpers under his breath, “You’re going to get us killed!”

“Not my fault she runs around playing hero,” Derrick glares back at him, “Pigs like her get what’s coming to them sooner or later. Guess it’s going to take someone else getting killed for it to get through her thick skull.”

You braced yourself as Palmer hit the gas. Rather than look at the animosity twisting her face, your eyes closed in an attempt to keep steady.

It sure as hell didn’t work, but you arrived back to the warehouse sooner than expected. The moment the cruiser stops in the lot, Palmer steps out and gets to the backseat. As you open the door to let the cold air hit you, she’s already thrown Derrick to the concrete.

You sit from the passenger seat, trying to clear your head as she begins beating the man again. Derrick spits insults every chance he gets, his hands remaining bound behind him. Palmer doesn’t let up, striking him repeatedly in the face as her other hand holds him up by the collar.

Paul watches in horror from the backseat, trying to push himself away from the ensuring violence.

You barely manage to pull yourself from the car when she brings his bloodied face to look at her.

“I have to do what I do because of people like you,” she forces words through gritting teeth, “Pieces of shit like you and your buddies get to walk free all the time. Enough bribing and blackmailing and you think you can walk around doing whatever you want. Fuck that. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get rid of scum like you.”

“Yeah?” Derrick’s body shakes as he gives a strained laugh, “I’m sure your brother appreciates that.”

His head bounces off the cement as Palmer throws him down. His body curls up in pain, stunned from the shock. Panting from anger, she starts reaching around her belt.

“How dare you run your fucking mouth like that,” her words shake with as much anger as her hands as she unfolds a nightstick.

>Let Palmer get out her anger, you need to take a moment to find your happy place

>Make Palmer stop and take the men inside already

>Go inside the warehouse and bring Paul with. Palmer will drag Derrick back in when she's done


I also know the thread number is probably off, I'll try and get it on track next time
>Make Palmer stop and take the men inside already
We get it. Fucking Christ do we get it, but this resolves nothing. This ape is loving that he can provoke a reaction like this.
Your teeth grind together painfully and the taste of iron seeps through your mouth. All you want is for it to be quiet right now. Any more of this bullshit and you might just lose it.

“Piece of shit--” Palmer draws her arm back and you grab her wrist. While you expected a struggle, you didn’t expect a fight.

“Let go!” she grunts as she tries to pull the weapon back. But she quickly abandons it, making you stumble back when she lets go. Palmer returns to pinning him under her knee, and you’re forced to grab her again.

“I said knock it off!” Palmer grabs at your arms as you pull them under her arms. She jams an elbow at your jaw hard enough to make you let go. Dizzy, irritated and in pain, you immediately raise a hand up to strike her back.

She catches sight of your hand racing at her and puts her arms up to block her face. And while it’s too late to stop the motion, you barely manage to swing away from her. Your step stumbles and your body locks in place.

Several times, your fist squeezes tight over and over again as you let the sudden rush of fury die out. Palmer must come to her senses too as she gets back up on her feet.

“Let’s get them inside…” she grumbles and goes to the cruise to retrieve Paul.

You still need a few seconds. And you remember what you used to do. Count down from one hundred, do it until you can resist the urge to slam someone’s face into the concrete.

Derrick doesn’t take his chances with you. Or maybe he’s too stunned in pain to do anything else. Fuck if you know. You try to keep yourself on autopilot as you drag Derrick inside the warehouse. Just don’t think and you won’t get so angry. Don’t think about it and the time will pass and you’ll be able to leave.

You follow shortly behind Palmer, who has already stopped in her tracks halfway in. “What the hell is this?”

And past her shoulder, you can see Wyatt tied to the chair still. Only now, Jones has pulled a chair up near him. It would look like the two were having a casual conversation, if not for the toolbox of bloodied tools in reach.

On the floor, you spot the dog that came with Jones. The ball of fluff tries to stand its guard against you and the officer, snarling and yipping its head off. At least, it should be yipping. No sound leaves the dog’s mouth, and it soon gives up to run back to its master.

“Hey, come on Princess, it’s okay,” Jones coos at the dog as he swoops her up, “They’re our guests, they’re supposed to be here.”

Already in a foul mood, Palmer sneers at the scene. “Fucking shoot me now or make this stop...”

“Looks like you brought me some friends, “Wyatt gives a crooked grin as the men are brought up. He gives a dry laugh and looks back at Jones, “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”

“I told you, it’s my job,” Jones nods as he scratches behind the dog’s huge ears, “It’s a shame our little chit chat couldn’t have gone better.”
“Better? Might as well give him a foot massage while you’re at it!” Palmer tosses Paul to the floor, who barely manages to catch himself on his knees. “I thought you were going to be doing [i]something[/i], but you didn’t get a thing out of him, did you?!”

“More than you got, I’m sure.”

The officer barely manages to stop herself from kicking Paul on the floor, and instead takes her frustration on a half rotted crate. You bring Derrick over to join the other bound men. He and Wyatt catch eyes, the latter smiling like he wasn’t sporting new gaps in his gums.

“Jesus…” Derricks whistles as you make him kneel on the ground next to Paul, “They really fucked you up.”

“And we’re next…!” Paul whines through a grimace.

“Only until someone tells us something we need to know.” Jones stands from his chair, letting his dog down to run to the front door again.

The smaller man cowers as Derrick remains silent next to him, trying to mask his own fear. “We don’t know the combo for that damn safe!” Paul cries and looks over to his friend next to him, “U-unless you do, do you?!”

Derrick answers bluntly, “Course not.”

“Seems like we’re going to be here for a bit then.” With a clam smile, Jones pulls out a pair of gloves from his pocket. The black latex squeaks as they slip over his hands.

“Why don’t you come stand with our boys?” he asks, turning towards you, “Help make them feel comfortable and give me a hand when I need it.”

> Follow whatever Jones says, he’s the professional here

> You feel like shit and need a moment or two to yourself. Jones and Palmer can handle this

>Follow whatever Jones says, he’s the professional here
Always miss the first day or so of these threads. WB Sue, hope shit is going well for you.

The cracks of the pavement blur as a numbness tingles to the end of your fingertips. You heard him speak, but the words don’t register you. Just need a moment to let the feeling pass and you’ll answer, just a few more seconds and you’ll be fine--

A sharp whistle forces you to look up. Jones removes the two fingers from his mouth and replaces his glove. “Are you going to lend a hand?” he asks, eyeing you down with icy blue eyes.

“Gimme a second!” Palmer calls out from where she’s trying to out pace her frustration.

She’s still heated, but you can still take orders. You just need to keep going until you can’t anymore.

Both men on the ground flinch as you stand behind them, though Derrick masks his fear better. He didn’t say a word as he was picked to go first, and Jones approaches, hands coming for the guy’s face. Something metal and thin stretches between his hands as he comes for Derrick’s neck.

You honestly don’t pay that much attention. Not enough energy to. Definitely not the mental fortitude. The only thing you’re good for is holding up the man who goes from struggling to breathe and slack again over and over.

“I d-don’t -[i]ack[/i]-... don’t know the f-fucking -[i]cough[/i]- combo…!” Derrick’s words google out between painfully short moments of freedom from the wire around his neck.

All you see Jones do is nod, not letting up on the current pressure keeping the man blue in the face, as he looks back to Wyatt. “Well, you wanna give your friend here a little help?”

The struggling in your hold goes from violent thrashing to weak kicks at nothing. Your attention snaps forward as it feels like the man is dying in your arms.

“How about one number?” Wyatt coolly offers, “One of the numbers you’re going to want to use is ‘32’.”

Jones doesn’t loosen the wire at all. You can almost swear it even gets tighter. The blubbering mess Paul stares at the ground, more concerned about being next than about the life of his friend.

“Is that all you’re going to give up for him?” asks Jones, a little smile of disbelief on his face. You try to ignore the strained gurgles of a man choking to death inches from you.

“I got some important shit in there,” he shrugs, “Why would I hand it over so easily?”

A few seconds pass as Jones thinks on it. A few long, incredibly long seconds. Finally though, he allows Derrick breath again. You didn’t realize how painful the knot in your own throat was until he started gasping for air.

“We’ll hold onto you for later,” he tells the half conscious man. You’re given the order to put him on the ground, where he lays limp on the cold floor. And instead you take up Paul, who tries to pull away.

“No, oh god please no--”

Jones looks at the trembling man in his face, raising an eyebrow as he looks back to Wyatt. “Maybe I was wrong, and this one is your favorite?”
“I’m going to die here…” Paul whispers under his breath. He gives up entirely and goes completely limp.

The gaunt face man nods, adjusting his gloves . “You just might. We’ll warm up to that though, don’t worry.”

You think about leaving this place. How thankful you will be when it’s finally time to leave here for good.


“...for fucks sake, can’t we just cut the damn thing open?”

Palmer has long since lost her patience. You can’t blame her. Who knows how long it’s been, and now you have two more broken men and two more numbers.

And the entire time, Wyatt doesn’t look bothered at all. As his friends were tormented, he looked bored. The numbers have only been trickling out whenever he sees fit.

“Patience, officer,” Jones surveys the bodies collapsed on the floor, thinking about his next step. He lifts Derrick’s head up to check if he’s conscious. The moan groans at the touch, his one eye barely able to focus in front of him. “We’ve almost got what we need.”

“And how do we know he’s not lying?” she glares at Wyatt still tied up, “We have no idea how many numbers to even ask for! It’d be quicker to bust it open at this rate!”

Jones doesn’t answer and instead focuses in front of him. A loud and frustrated groan leaves Palmer as she paces the room again.

In this short break, you stand by the door with a cigarette. The dog prances about up front, chasing at moths dancing in the air. A thick column of ash hangs from your cigarette, falling to the ground when it becomes too heavy.

Your heart started beating painfully a few minutes before. A shake started to take over your hands. The cigarette was to calm your nerves. It doesn’t work like it used to. It’s not enough to ease the panic. The sweat beneath your clothes feels awful.

As you listen to the murmur behind, you try to calm down. Get rid of the shaking in your hands at least. He’s going to call you back over at any moment. The smell of blood is going to make you sick again.

You take a deep breath and think about-

>Getting back to the compound and being served a giant chocolate cake by Delilah. And after that you will finally get all the sleep you’ve missed

>Going to the park with your sister. It was something that helped you even in prison and you need all the help you can get right now

>Just try to clear your head completely. You don’t have the energy to do more than that right now

worry not, for I literally never announce the threads beforehand
>Getting back to the compound and being served a giant chocolate cake by Delilah. And after that you will finally get all the sleep you’ve missed
You will get to leave this place. Take a forty something minute ride to get back to the compound. Greeted with a warm dinner. Come up with a story about what you were out doing for Deliah. You wouldn’t tell her about this. A better story, something that will make her eyes light up in amazement and praise you.

[i]You’re amazing![/i] she will say before revealing the big piece of chocolate cake she made while you were gone. Hell, you might start crying at that point. It doesn’t even matter if Delilah has to tell you she couldn’t do it while she has that pitiful look on her face. Even if all she does is commend you for coming back, that’s fine.

“Dammit… [i]god dammit[/i]! He’s fucking playing you!”

Derrick’s voice snaps you out of it. At some point you were told to come back over, to hold him up again. Running on autopilot like you wanted, all while lost in the thought of something far better than this.

But now your attention has been brought forward again. The room spins around you. More sweat drips down your neck. Your eyes have started to hurt now. They close to alleviate the pain and you hold tighter to Derrick. He might be the only thing helping you stay up right now. Head pounding like crazy now. Sick to your stomach.

Jones doesn’t look surprised. A subdued smirk perks up on his face, “Oh? Care to explain?”

You look over to Palmer, who is looking over the motionless body on the ground. She looks to be doing better than earlier, if only in a poor mood now. You ignore the urge to beg her to take this over for you.

“Whatever you looking for isn’t going to be in that fuckin’ safe!” Derrick’s fists clench behind him as he shouts, “Only thing you’re going to find in that fucking thing is money and guns! Fake passports, that shit! That’s all he keeps in there!”

Wyatt gives a tired, pained laugh from his chair. The pain he could ignore before has started ebbing back to him as the drugs wear off. “Why’d you have to spoil it?” he wheezes, “I wanted to surprise ‘em.”

“Oh, fuck you!” he shouts back at him, his legs repeatedly giving beneath. It makes you stumble too, but Jones manages to keep him up by his shirt. “Selfish asshole! If I knew they were going to keep this shit up this long…”
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me…” Palmer stomps over to Wyatt, looking ready to strangle him right there. “Then where the fuck is it?”

“Who knows…” he drags his tongue against the raw gaps in his gums and shrugs. Palmer prepares to strike him, but stops as Derrick nearly jumps from your arms.

“Basement!” he shouts through his busted lip, “He has a hiding place in the basement!”

And for the first time since bringing him here, Wyatt doesn’t look pleased. His face starts turning red in the clean patches of skin left.

“How the hell do you know about that?” he growls.

“I’ve watched you mess around in there before!” Derrick feels heavier. Your whole body feels heavier. Taking a step right now would make you drop to the floor. You aren’t even doing much yet it feels like you will pass out on your feet.

The two beaten and broken men start arguing with each other but you can’t pay attention to a word of it. At some point you let go of Derrick. Or he slipped away. Either way, your support is gone. You sway on your feet, stumbling back a bit. The air inside feels stuffier than before. The smell of blood makes you gag. It makes your head hurt and your heart beat hard and your palms sweat and shake.

There’s nothing left in you but panic. You shouldn’t be this way but you are. It’s not just being exhausted, it can’t be. Your mouth is painfully dry now and your tongue can’t settle right.

Neither Palmer or Jones seem to notice though. They’re too busy paying attention to Derrick spill the beans. His annoyance and pain outweighed any lingering loyalty, and Wyatt looks pissed.

You don’t need to deal with that. Not right now. No, right now you need to-

> Go home. You can’t do anything else tonight. Anymore and you will collapse

> Sit down and rest for a bit. You’ll be fine after a few minutes

> Get to a doctor right now. You don’t care who, it just feels like you’re dying

> Sit down and rest for a bit. You’ll be fine after a few minutes
Damn Law pull your shit together man, you're worrying me over here.
> Sit down and rest for a bit. You’ll be fine after a few minutes
> Get to a doctor right now. You don’t care who, it just feels like you’re dying
>> Sit down and rest for a bit. You’ll be fine after a few minutes

How are we going to retrieve everything? Get more crooks or bad cops or Palmer calls in a real situation? No warrant though so the whole force will be on her aass and not the find plus it's like a beacon to our targets
One of the men started yelling. He’s pissed. You don’t care. Need to sit down and take a breather.

You find a crate to sit on. The air is cold but your skin is burning. Hands kept together, squeezing tight.

It’s loud in here. You aren’t listening to what they’re shouting about. All you need to do is get your heartbeat back to normal. Or to stop shaking so damned much. Or make the damn floor stop spinning.

“Alright, lets keep it down now.”

Palmer’s voice. You can still pick that out. She’s still here, she can call you a doctor if you need it.

The shouting just gets louder. And they’re fighting now. Or is your head pounding that badly.

“Come on now, there’s no need to get angry—“

A loud crack follows Jones’s voice. Or maybe your ears are ringing that bad.

“Knock this shit off! Get down on the ground!”

Do they need your help? Maybe. Just a little longer and you can get up again. The energy will return to your legs and make you move.

“Law! Get over here-- I told you to get on the ground!”

“I’m ah-... I’m alright officer. Just a bit dazed--”

It’s fine. Jones is there. He can help. You don’t need to do everything. It doesn’t have to be all your responsibility. It’s about time someone came in to take some responsibility. How the hell are you supposed to do this all on your own?

“Okay just hold him there and get that DAMN DOG out of here!”
“Let me at him. I’ll rip his fucking throat out--”
“Calm down and maybe we can arrange for that…”
“...should have known better than to trust an idiot.”
Fuck off! Slimey fucking freak!”

All the yelling has started running together. The words soon get lost in the ringing. You keep reaching for your throat, expecting to find something choking you. It’s even harder to breathe. What are they doing now? You try looking up but only get disoriented. It doesn’t even feel like you’re here with them. What if they don’t notice?

You can’t stop here. The feelings will pass. They have to.

It’s difficult yet you manage to stand. See? You can keep going. Still need to go to the electronic store again. Have to go digging around in the basement. That’s not so bad. You can do that. Just a little longer and you don’t have to do anything else.

The first step forward nearly brings you to your knees. You grab onto one of the abandoned machines, grease covering your fingers. Almost fell, but you didn’t. This is fine, you’ve got it.

You manage another step forward. And another. This time you let go of the printing press. It’s fine. All you needed were those few minutes.

The room hasn’t stopped spinning around. If anything, it feels worse. Just take another step forward. Palmer and Jones seem to have gotten the commotion under control. Follow the sound of their voices. It’ll be fine. Another step forward to going back. To that warm dinner. Big slice of chocolate cake. You’re amazing!, another step closer to someone thinking you’re amazing.
“-ake them t-...”
“...-your choice.”
“Don’t know-.... -hasn’t moved in a while now.”
“-shouldn’t have killed him. Let me check.”

No more yelling. That’s good. You can even make out their shapes. Their blurry, shaking shapes.

“-...Law? What’s up pal?”

You can’t tell which one is Palmer, but you can still recognize her voice.

Came to help

Idiot. Still struggling to breathe yet you tried to talk to her. Need to write it down. Surely you can still do that. Just have to pull out your notebook and tell them it’s time to get back to the store--

You stopped walking to check your pockets. Stopped to think about having to search the store. Not even the whole store, just the basement. Maybe you can get Derrick to point out the exact spot--

Your face hurts. A heavy thudding travels from your cheek. A similar sensation in your legs.

“Oh god dammit-”

That’s Palmer’s voice above you. The concrete against your face is cold. It seems like you managed to fall to your knees first. That’s good. You don’t remember it happening, but you didn’t break anything. Just get back up and tell her you’re fine--

Your arms won’t move. They lay dead on the floor. This isn’t fine. Maybe you shouldn’t try to stand up yet. Baby steps, Just sit up. That should be enough for now. Sit up and then you can work on the rest…

“...careful, try not to bump his head.”
“Moving furniture is easier than this…”


“Know where you’re going, pal?”
“I’ll give Camilla a call and figure it out. And I can trust that you can find it yourself?”
“Of course! You just focus on ah, making sure he’s okay I guess…”

Something warm touches your face. Something warm, something wet. Warm breath against your skin.

Opening your eyes has never been so painful before. It’s dark, you can’t see a thing.

Let your vision adjust. You’re laying on your back now. And your legs… your legs are awfully cramped. Actually, your whole body is. Whatever is beneath you is certainly more comfortable than the floor, but it’s certainly not big enough.

There’s something on your chest. Something warm and furry. Those are paws against your chest. That’s a damn dog looking at you inches from your face.
You need to sit up. Need to stretch your legs out at least.

It doesn’t hurt, but you sure as hell don’t have the energy to do it. Not on the first try.

The dog gets up and quickly tries to adjust as you work on sitting up. She eventually jumps from your chest to your lap. Your hand finds the back of a chair to hold onto for support. No, a car seat. That’s why everything is still swaying. No wonder you still feel sick…

“Oh? Is he awake, Princess?”

Baby talk. A dog. Inside a car with Jones. This could be worse.

Your chest still aches. Breathing is easier than before. That feels like it could easily change. Your clothes must be drenched in sweat and dirt. Why does this car have to feel so damn tiny? Like walls closing in on you…

“How are you feeling?” Jones asks as he reaches beside him, “I have some water up here. You should see if you can keep it down.”

At least the shake in your hands has gone down. Maybe. You manage to take the bottle from him. Water falls down the front of your shirt, but enough gets in your mouth. Your tongue still feels dry when you finish the rest.

“You’ve been out for about oh, little more than half an hour now?”

Your vision can focus just enough on Jones in the front.

“Took a bit of a nasty fall back there,” he continues, “Luckily, you didn’t slam your head against the floor. Didn’t recognize anything pointing to a concussion. Worst part was trying to get you into the car though.”

Try not to focus on the pounding in your chest. Or the tightness spreading to your throat again. Keep calm and you’ll be okay.

“It’s good you’re awake though, I was going to have to figure out what to do with you.” Jones reaches back but only to pet his dog. “Was thinking about swinging you to get checked out. But how are you feeling?”

>You need a doctor. You can't go back like this

>All you want is to go back. Just get you back to the compound as quick as possible

>>You need a doctor. You can't go back like this

This doesn't look like something you should just tough out. There's being macho and then there's being stupid
>You need a doctor. You can't go back like this
What the fuck? Is Law having a god damn stroke?
I was right the first time.
Probably a severe panic attack or mental breakdown, stress can fuck you up in weird ways
God, I fucking hope so.
I assumed it was a panic attack at first but
1) What would have been the trigger?
2) It's getting worse!
A doctor.

God please, you need to see a doctor.

You try as hard as you can, but the words don’t come out. Jones is looking to the backseat though. He can see the pain and fear in your face.

“Try to relax,” he gives the dog one last chin scratch before returning both hands to the wheel, “Feels a bit like a heart attack, doesn’t it?”

Your heart leapt the moment he said that. While you start to clutch at your chest, he doesn’t give you long to panic.

“It’s not one. Not that I can tell anyhow.” He pats for Princess to come jump into the front seat, but the dog remains in your lap. “We were worried about that. It left us with a lot on our hands. You are not an easy man to carry. Left you a little dent on your forehead but other than that, we managed.”

Not a heart attack. That’s good. Still want a doctor though. Your body feels better, but that doesn’t mean you’re okay yet.

Tiny paws press against your chest again as the dog licks at your hand.

“Go ahead and pet her,” he suggests, “I brush her everyday, she’s incredibly soft.”

Playing with a dog seems far from what you should be doing right now. But she starts nudging your hand, and you let go of your chest to place a hand on her. Slowly, you work up to stroking her fur, trying to focus on her instead.

“Absolutely lovely, isn’t she? She’s a Papillon I spotted during an overseas trip. Might not be a purebred pedigree, but you couldn’t tell from looking at her. I still say that I got her for a steal--”

You stop paying attention to Jones right away. But you come to appreciate Princess and start using both hands to scratch behind her overly fluffy ears.

“Usually, she’s trying to sit in my lap while I drive.”

Your hands continue to shake but the dog doesn’t mind. The pain in your chest starts to untwist. For now, you can breathe easily enough.
“I think she likes you more than other strangers,” Jones continues and brings a hand up to his neck, “You share something with her. Otherwise I’m sure she would have been able to yip yip you awake.”

Princess jumps off of you only when you try to adjust yourself in the backseat. You manage to mostly sit up, skewed in the seat so your legs can almost stretch out.

“I’ll take you to get a clean bill of health and we can go out to see Camilla.” Jones rolls down his window and lights a cigarette. The rush of cool air and the wafting smell of smoke are actually comforting right now. “I assume that’s where you need to go.”

You nod. What happened while you were out? It’s not something you really want to think about, but something you should.

“W-...ware...h-house,” you croak out. Jones has to roll up the window to keep the cab quiet and ask you to repeat that. He still can’t understand what you’re saying, so you instead try, “P-...Palmer?”

“Pal-... oh, the officer. She’s fine,” he rolls down the window, “After we made sure you were going to make it through the hour, we made the plans to take care of the guests. Once that’s all wrapped up, she’s supposed to go handle the store. I might do Camilla an extra favor and swing by and make sure she can handle it. Sounded like a mess from the way she talked of it.”

So she’s going to go find the tape. That’s fine. Palmer can handle it fine. You will fret about it until you see that it’s been found, but she is competent. It will be fine.

But now you wonder what they did with the other men.

As Jones drives, you try to remember as much as you can. There’s not much there. You can recall laying on the floor a bit. There were parts of their conversation you could listen to. Large chunks of it are missing. But you can piece it together, surely you can…

Derrick confessed to a secret hiding spot. That’s easy to recall. Plenty of yelling after that. And promises of leading to it if he gets to… you don’t remember what he asked for. Or if anyone agreed to it.

Then a lot of silence. And then you moved. Someone moved you to your back. Hands touching your face, neck. At one point a wallet gets pushed in your mouth, you remember almost jolting up from that. They were worried about a seizure.

And then they were moving you. There’s not much you remember from that. Your body was half carried, half dragged. And they were talking. Talking about Wyatt, about his friends. What they planned to do with them. How to cover up their actions. You remember catching the words-

> Disposed of. Evidence destroyed. Vanish without a trace.

> All killed. Drunk driving. Cover up.

> One went comatose. One killed. One missing. Fake fight that went deadly.

> All killed. Drunk driving. Cover up.
Vanishing would cause too many questions due to Wyatt's work. Could complicate clearing his store.
Fake fight sounds cool
> All killed. Drunk driving. Cover up.
>> All killed. Drunk driving. Cover up.

I'm going to assume that the wounds inflicted by Jones won't cause trouble in an autopsy... Or that they have a friendly coroner.

Ideally we'd want one as a witness but fuck that's not a gambit I want to play. Too dangerous by half

>1) What would have been the trigger?
It's been a long time coming, the flashbacks and generally unhealthy frame of mind he's been in. He hates violence and fights his anger management but everyone around him put him in situations where he NEEDS to hurt people.He lost control retrieving the tapes and he had to see Palmer get hurt and he couldn't help. He doesn't want to be seen as a big scary guy, it makes him lonely and he's self conscious about his appearance, meanwhile they use him like he's an ogre. He doesn't want to be involved in crime at all and he's just now been accessory to kidnapping and torture. Now he'll be involved in a triple homicide too.

It's no wonder at all that he feels like shit a and that his body is giving signals
They talked about making it look like an accident. A night of mixing alcohol and drugs. The type of collision that would leave their bodies horrifically mangled. It would be enough to explain most of their bruises and cuts. The car would end up wrapped around a tree or pole or something like that.

You aren’t sure how they would accomplish that with three dead bodies. But Jones sounded confident. Explaining it step by step as if it’s something he’s seen before.

Now you’ve noticed the nice neighborhood Jones has taken you to. Not the old money streets that Delilah’s grandmother lived in but more than enough to make you feel even grimier in comparison. You would love a shower right now. Like hell you could stand up long enough for one right now, and a bathtub is just asking you to fall asleep...

“I’m swinging you by a co-worker of mine.” Jones puts his spent cigarette butt into an ash trash and rolls the window back up. “Not the same division of course-- oh, I suppose you don’t know my work. It took Ms. Palmer a while to figure it out. Nearly gave her a heart attack when she figured it out.”

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a wallet. Flipping it open, he displays the badge to you. Once your eyes adjust, the words Internal Affairs stands out.

Your heart skips a painful beat. Once again, you’re in the car with law enforcement.

The car slows down as he approaches one of the many houses, all with their lights off. Most of them look to be brand new, FOR SALE signs poking in the front yard. “Though it took a little bit for me to recognize her too. Bit of a headstrong woman, isn’t she? Never handled one of her cases personally, but she’s one of many to make a name for herself.”

Jones' eyes catch your reflection in the mirror, panic starting to rise in your chest again.

“Easy now,” he motions for the dog to jump back there with you again, which she does. “We’re almost there.”

While your heart is racing again, it’s not as bad as before. Not yet, not while you pet the dog.

Jones finally pulls into the driveway of a house without a FOR SALE sign. The neighbors that actually live here look to be scarce as you’re helped out of the car.

“Whoa-” Jones stumbles from the effort of helping pull you to your feet, “Try not to collapse again. I could carry you but only when the officer was helping me.”
Putting your arm around Jones and his nice, clean press coat make you feel filthy. You can smell his expensive cologne. See up close just how clean cut and groomed he is. Normally you wouldn’t give a shit about something like that. But it just reminds you of how broken down and filthy you feel.

Jones leads you up to the front door, ringing the bell in five quick bursts before waiting. The amount of time it takes makes you think that no one is home. But sure enough, the locks start moving and the door cracks open for a man similarly clean cut as Jones. Of course this man is still in a robe, grumpy as hell that he’s been woken up.

“Do you have any idea what time it is, Matthias?” the man glares. Princess the dog has already started to saunter past the door and into the room behind him.

“I do,” he nods and motions up at you, “but I’m afraid an emergency is still an emergency.”

The man at the door looks you up and down.

“He looks like shit,” he concludes.

“I know,” Jones sighs, almost sounding annoyed at you instead. “Poor man collapsed about forty-five minutes ago. All shaky, heartbeat was racing when I checked. I was just hoping you could give him a look over before I take him home.”

The man sighs, but opens the door to let you both in.

The smell inside the house reminds you of home. Everything inside might be nicer and newer and sleek and modern, but it manages to bring some comfort. On the wall, you spot pictures of the man and two young children, a boy and girl. The toys scattered across the ground as you’re led from the living room and down a hallway shows that these are newer photos.
A study that has been repurposed into a small doctor’s office is where you’re finally able to sit again. Jones helps you onto the examination table, smaller than the ones you would normally see. Just getting to sit down again is enough of a blessing.

“Give me a moment to get everything…” the man mumbles, yawning as he pulls out a stethoscope and gloves from a cabinet.

“Ah right, this is Dr. Patton,” Jones explains as he scoops up Princess, “Good man. Knows his stuff. If there’s anything wrong with you, he’ll find it.”

“I can’t do much more than that right now,” he says upon coming back, “I’m a bit low on my usual stock. Should be getting more in within the week, but that doesn’t really help us here.”

Jones waits by the door, pulling his fingers through the long fur on his dog. “Optimistic as always,” he smiles.

You allow the doctor to do the usual checkup. Listening to your heart rate, checking out your temperature, your blood pressure. When he shines a light into your eyes you can’t help but flinch, though you refrain from pushing him back.

“You’re right about it not being a heart attack,” Patton says before going to his cabinets again. In his hand, you spot a saline in his hand. “Can’t say you’re in great shape though. You need plenty of rest and fluids. If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, an IV drip might help you feel better.”

He comes back with the bag and a dreaded needle. As the IV gets set up into the stand he explains, “Unfortunately, I don’t believe it’s only a panic attack affecting you right now. I’m not about to pry further, but you’re not currently on anything right now, are you?”

Right now? No, you shake your head.

The look on his face is of disbelief. But as he promised, Patton doesn’t ask anything else.

> The sooner you get back to the compound, the better. Reject the IV drip

>Try not to freak out about the needle and let him set it up. You need anything that will help right now

>Ask for a shower and possibly a change of clothes. You can’t stand the smell and grime on you now and don’t want Delilah to see it either

> ...
>>Try not to freak out about the needle and let him set it up. You need anything that will help right now
>Ask for a shower and possibly a change of clothes. You can’t stand the smell and grime on you now and don’t want Delilah to see it either
You let the doctor take your arm. As he starts feeling up your arm you notice his eyes scanning over the skin. Looking for track marks you don’t have, not yet.

When he starts to clean the area you look away. Close your eyes tight and try to keep breathing as he slips the needle in. You can’t even look at it after it’s put in place, you’re certain you will collapse.

“Not much of a talker?” Patton mentions as he performs last checks on the IV drip. Jones shakes his head.

“He’s like Princess here.”

“Ah, I see.”

As the doctor starts to walk away, you reach out to grab his arm. The sudden gesture startles him and you’re quick to let go. But with his attention, you sound out the words.

Shower. Clothes. Please.

He hesitates to answer. Jones starts to walk over, wondering what you asked.

“You can have the shower if you can take it on your own,” Patton answers, “And if you can finish it in twenty minutes. As for clothes… “ He looks you head to toe, feeling at his own clothes. “Shesh, I might have to give up one of my old college shirts. I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises.”

God, it feels like you could cry from joy. You don’t, not yet ,and try to relax as the fluids enter your body. It will take longer to get home, but you should be in better shape. Maybe now you won’t need help hobbling inside.
Patton and Jones leave the room. They appear to be talking in the hallway. Catching up briefly on what’s going on, why you’re here. That’s fine. Now you can shut your eyes for a bit. A little bit of a nap again, otherwise you might start freaking out about the bag you are attached to. After a bit, the doctor comes in. He walks to a safe hidden under a cabinet. Dread rises in your chest. But inside, all you see is medicine. You hear pills clinking into a bottle, and he comes back shortly after.

“You need to bet getting plenty of rests after this,” he says sternly, holding the bottle in his hand. He places it in your free palm, “But I have a feeling that might not be the case. If you start to get those feelings again, try taking one of these. They work in short bursts, but they might help you get through the worst of it.”

Yes, oh god yes, anything that helps. You don’t ask any further questions. He looks a little startled by this, but not that much. Can you blame him. There’s a bum sitting in his house, using up his precious supplies, begging for a shower and clean clothes.

After half an hour, you’re freed from the damn bag. Not soon enough either, the urge to pull it out of you was slowly growing by the minute. You couldn’t stand the sight of seeing it removed, but you were glad to finally have a bandage in place instead.

He leads you to a guest room shower. No stairs, thank god. You’re told to leave the door unlocked, that’s fine. It’s incase you do collapse, but you know he doesn’t trust you. That’s fine, he doesn’t need to.

It’s difficult, but you manage to step underneath the water. It hurts your skin at first, but your muscles are what need it. You have to hold on to the wall for most of it, letting the blurry vision pass as you watch the grimy water swirl down the drain.

A little while and you’ll be heading back. You massage your sore shoulder under the warm water, trying to breathe in and out carefully. Won’t lose your balance in here, you can’t. A little bit more and you’ll be clean enough to head home.

Finding the will to get out from under the warm water is hard. So is standing up the entire time you dry off. You have to hold to the walls and sink to get dressed, fitting in snugly into an old college t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants.

As you struggle to pull up the black pants, you catch sight of one of the framed photos on the wall. Another one of the man and his two children. Your eyes fall onto the daughter, and there’s a sickening twist in your chest.

You don’t want to think about that stuff right now. It hurts. It’s sick. You’re sure this household is safe, but you can’t help but think about-

> One of the big reasons Bowers has been hellbent on trying to replace Delilah

> The reasons he’s picked out the victims he has had so far

> How you know the name of a possible future victim and can’t do anything about it

> ….

apologize for the delay, work was busy the day before
>> How you know the name of a possible future victim and can’t do anything about it

I thought I posted this 10 hours ago, damn post never went through
>The reasons he’s picked out the victims he has had so far
You figure the girl here is safe. Despite looking like a single father, he also seems well off enough. Type to hire a nanny, someone to keep an eye on the kids when he can’t.

The girl’s face is all wrong anyways. Far too many freckles across her face, none of the girls you saw before had them. Her hair is too dark, too straight. Dimples in her smile. Too much to try and fix. Too difficult of a place to steal her from. And no doubt, plenty of money to put toward searching for her.

No, she would have to have a specific set of features. Close to it. Easy to fix their ‘mistakes’. The hair was just as hard to get right. Plenty of shades of blonde. Never brunette, never a redhead.

And never from a wealthy family. No one with money or status or power. Then they might be able to search for their daughter. Or would actually care to. Broken and poor homes served the best. Runaways were even better. Sometimes the parent could be bribed.

Different men all paid to do the same thing. Some from this town, many from around the state. Photos taken of the girls, approved by Bowers himself, and taken days later.

Some of those kidnappers have been arrested. Most paid well enough not to talk. One that is close to cracking-- apparently, money isn’t worth decades of his life behind bars. And once he does agree to speak out, it’s another huge step forward. Another witness to stand trial, there needs to be as many as possible.

If it goes quick enough, you might stop another girl from dying.

Days ago, you had met up with one of these vile men. Came under the guise of requesting similar service. Kept a wire on you, used later to take him into custody.

His place was searched, gone through by Ace and Palmer themselves to make sure they got what was needed first. This man was one of the more methodical ones. Crossed wires in his head gave him the urge to write and list and plan in excruciating detail. His notes were all found on a computer in his house and several spread across notebooks. A picture from a girl stolen way back when this all started was found among the belongings. Attached with it, with notes dating them both at being requested at the same time

The first girl had long since died. Murdered, and her body burnt up and placed in the apartment. She looked the least like Delilah. Unfortunately, she worked well enough for the sick plan.

The other girl, as far as anyone could find out, was still alive. The last check of her placed her in the hospital. This doesn’t seem to be new information, as it’s the same hospital and room number written down.

Dana Cedar
A bad accident had left her in critical condition and her mother dead almost two years prior. The young child was left comatose for several months, but now seems to be recovering. Why she was picked in the first place is unknown. Or why she was left alone, or had the least amount of detail written for her.

Perhaps she is serving as a hostage for someone Ace had suggested. A girl’s life kept on file, ready to use as leverage. Or perhaps for later use if no one else was turning up.

You sit against the sink counter. Thinking about how the girls are just thrown away afterwards makes you sick. And if this all takes too long, it will just lead to even more of them--

If there was anything left to throw up, you might have. It’s been slowing down at least. Maybe he’s finally learning that he’s wasting his time and those lives for nothing. Unless he’s getting better at hiding it…

Water from the sink makes the anxiety pill go down. It’s still a hard swallow for no other reason than nerves.

The man of the house looks relieved when you finally step out. Jones only looks bored.

“Glad to see they could serve you well enough,” Patton looks over the clothes, “Don’t worry about returning them. Just get back to where you need to go and try to get two days of rest. If you’re doing anything more than heating up some soup, you’re doing too much.”
Two days? That sounds like such a long time. You’re certain that Ace will give you at least a full day of rest. He isn’t insane. Maybe if you got Camilla to back you up on needing more time…

> You only need one day of rest to get going again, best not to waste any time

> Maybe the doctor is right and you should take the two days

> After all that, you deserve at least three days off…

>> Maybe the doctor is right and you should take the two days

Finally a real excuse to not leave Delilah alone in that prison
One day of rest, Life is fleeting and time is precious
> Maybe the doctor is right and you should take the two days
The doctor said two days, you should take two days. You deserved that much at least. What good is a work horse if it’s worked to death?

Jones says goodbye and thank you to his friend. All you do is follow him, nodding when appropriate.

“Hope you’re feeling well enough for this car ride,” Jones announces as he opens the car door for you, “I’m really not looking forward to carrying you again.”

You still don’t feel right sitting in the front seat of this nice car. At least these clothes are fresh, if a tad small. Not a trace of caked blood remains on your skin. No filth and grime left behind. Just that makes you feel so much better. And tomorrow, you will request two days of rest.

For now, you’re on the home stretch. All you have to do is sit here and wait to get back.


You nearly cried upon seeing the compound again. Jones didn’t even get the chance to switch off the engine before you were stepping out.

“Remember what he said about keeping it easy,” he warned as you had to grab hold of the car for support. All you did was give a quick nod before rushing forward to the door, punching in the number code.

Of course, it’s already been changed. You’re certain Ace did that as soon as they found out you had to get brought here. The wait becomes unbearable, but after a few minutes of Jones paging Camilla the door opens.

“It’s so late,” she mumbles half awake, “Is it just you two?”

“Yes ma’am,” Jones nods as you push inside.

“I was supposed to stay up, I apologize.”

“That was our fault.” Jones stays at the door to speak with her. You walk from the garage and into the kitchen, hoping to find Delilah there waiting.

“How did it go?”

“Well enough I would say. Not my cleanest work, but it got the job done.”

You have to stop and lean on the table to catch your breath. He was right, you do need to take it easy. Hard to do that when your head is spinning. It won’t be soon though.

“Ah-- you should sit at the table for a moment Lawrence,” Camilla calls out to you, “I’ll take you to her in a moment.”

You would rather not wait. But you also don’t want to collapse in the hallways either. A seat at the table will be fine. Can lean against your hand and catch a few extra seconds of shut eye.

“He’s been having quite the night,” Jones nods in your direction, “Had to swing by a friend’s place to have him looked over. He’s not an easy man to get into the backseat of a car either.”

Camilla looks over at you with a guilty look, “Oh, I knew he was pushing himself too hard…”

“He got recommended at least two days off his feet.”

“I understand,” she nods, “And what about the ah, the men?”

Jones draws a thumb across his neck with a little grin, “They should be taken care of shortly, if not already.”

“I see,” Camilla sighs in relief, “and what was the plan for that exactly?”
You know you should. But staying here and just listening is driving you crazy. They can have their chitchat, and you can get even closer to this day being over.

The walk to your bedroom is far longer than usual. Holding on to the wall for support and easing carefully there. You’re out of breath by the time you reach the door. And you’re disappointed upon opening the door and finding the room empty.

Maybe she stayed in her room? Not sure why she would do that.

You start heading that way. It’s too much effort though. You need a few moments to sit down, catch your breath, and then you can go looking for her.

Sitting on the bed was a mistake. Before you knew it, you were laying back and staring at the ceiling. Eyes growing heavier as you keep promising to get up and go find Delilah. And you will, once the strength returns to your legs.

Ah damn, your eyes are closed now. Not enough strength to open again. A few more seconds and you can…

“...silly, at least take your shoes off first.”

Yes ma’am you mouth the words and try to reach for your boots. Luckily, she’s taking care of that for you.

“Oh, these aren’t your clothes, are they? Are you going to be able to sleep in these?”

You nod. Changing can wait until morning. Hands nudge at your body, making you swing your legs onto the bed.

“It would be better if you laid down properly.”

A pillow is nicer to lay. You can just barely keep awake in the silence that follows, before a blanket is tossed over.

“Is that enough? I can go get more.”

Hell, you didn’t even need this one.

Her hand feels your forehead.Some of the stray hair gets pushed back. The new scrapes and bruises on your face must be obvious. But she knows better than to ask about that right now.

“Let me go get you something to drink, it looks like you could use it.”

You can feel her leave your side. It’s difficult, but you manage to lift your head up. Open your eyes enough to see her walking to the door. Your head is still spinning. Body aching. There’s no way you would be able to get out of this bed on your own.

“D-...Delilah.” You manage to call her name just loud enough to grab her attention. She stops in place, looking back at you.

“Is there something else you need, Lawrence?” she asks softly.

>Ask her not to leave yet, you don’t want to be alone right now

>Let her know you worked really hard to get back and apologize for being so late

>Tell her you had a horrible day, but now you get to be here for two days in a row to rest

>Tell her you had a horrible day, but now you get to be here for two days in a row to rest
>Tell her you had a horrible day, but now you get to be here for two days in a row to rest
Your head turns towards her voice. The room is so damn dark. All you can see is Delilah by the door. She’s just standing there, waiting for you to say something.

Excited, you tell her about getting to stay around for two days this time. Of course the words don’t come out, but you continue talking about it as if she can hear it.

The energy to lean up in bed returns. When you manage to sit up, the distance between you and the door has increased. You continue talking enthusiastically and wordlessly about plans, and the space continues to grow. Delilah keeps staring at you, neither of you aware of the shadows creeping in.

And then a hand swipes out from behind her. It pulls her in before she can scream out for help. The look of terror in her eyes hangs in the air, looking at you with nothing but fear. They plead for you to come and save her-- you’re the only one that can.

You rush out of bed.

You attempt to rush to her rescue. The sheets and blankets tangle around and keep you trapped in place.

Harder, you struggle to free yourself. And eventually, you tumble over the edge.
“Oh! Lawrence-- ack!”

Your body hangs partially off the bed. The only thing that keeps you from falling to the floor are Delilah’s arms wrapped around, doing everything she can to keep you from slipping.

“Do I need to get Ms. Cammy?” Delilah grunts as she pushes you back to the bed.

Light headed. Racing pulse. Cold sweat. Chest tightening.

But not as bad as before. Your body starts to settle down when you see that everything is fine. The warm light from one of the lamps keeps everything in the room visible. There’s a chair set up next to the bed. A fallen book on the ground shows that Delilah had been sitting until you tried to get up from the bed. A glass of water already sits on the desk, and she goes to retrieve it.

“Am...fine.” You wheeze the words and Delilah, with a worried frown, nods.

“Did you have a nightmare?” she whispers, helping you to sit up again. Delilah continues to hold the glass to help you drink from it. When you see how bad your hands still shake, it makes sense. “I thought you were sleeping fine but then your body started… You know, like watching a dog dream in their sleep. But then you tried leaping out of bed and I was scared that you were going to start sleep walking.”

You give a short laugh in disbelief. Even now, your head is playing tricks on you.

“Horrible. Awful...day.”

Delilah looks at you with even more concern now. You can’t help but smile right now. The last few hours have been hell, but now they’re behind you.

“It was really that bad?” she picks the book up from the ground and holds it in her lap, pursing her lips.

God yes, absolutely awful.

You nod. Delilah doesn’t look surprised. Why would she be? She can see the state you’re in.

“But now…” you grin more and some tears roll down your face. Delilah jumps up to dab at them with her sleeve, fussing over the display. “Two days. Get to… stay here. For...two days.”

“You need it,” she nods quickly, “I’m so glad. I was ready to stay up until you got back but that didn’t really work…”

That’s okay. Better than her fretting and pacing the room. You came back in one piece anyways, that’s what matters. After a few hours of sleep you’ll be able to hold your head up for more than a few minutes.

“But that means I’m not going to be able to sleep for a while,” she explains and sits next to the bed again, “So if there’s anything you need, let me know. Ms. Cammy is still talking to that friend of hers I think, but I can get her if you need it.”

> Breakfast in bed is all you need to start tomorrow right
> You might start feeling better if Delilah takes some of your blood before you have to leave the compound again
> Warn her that you have not been feeling okay at all, and that she might have to go get Camilla if you start acting out again
> ...
> Warn her that you have not been feeling okay at all, and that she might have to go get Camilla if you start acting out again
Might be worth taking this seriously. For sure we could keep gritting our teeth, but that's probably what caused this.
>> Warn her that you have not been feeling okay at all, and that she might have to go get Camilla if you start acting out again
You take a deep sigh that rattles in your chest.

“Not well,” you tell her with a sad smile, “Fell...earlier. Passed out. On my...feet.”

She chews her lip anxiously, “I—… I can tell you aren’t feeling alright.”

Delilah’s smart enough to tell and you’re not dumb enough to lie about it.

“If get...worse,” you point towards yourself, “Acting...weird. Get help. Cammy. Ace. Anyone. Don’t wait.”

Delilah nods eagerly, “I can do that. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything either, I’m here to help.”

If she’s scared, Delilah hides it well enough. You settle back down against the pillows. A mere hour ago and this luxury felt impossible to imagine. From head to toe, your body goes lax and sinks heavy into the mattress.

“Will need...sleep,” your eyes close, “Lots of...rest.”

Delilah agreed, “You deserve that much, but please get up to eat at some point soon. I’ll get it all set out on the table too— you won’t have to lift a finger.”

You nod. Right now, getting to your feet would be impossible. No longer is there energy to keep your eyes open.

Fingers over your scalp make you jump. Delilah tsks you from above and pushes you to settle back down.

“You took a shower somewhere before you came back, right?” she asks softly, “These aren’t your clothes. And you didn’t style your hair properly after washing it. Now it’s trying to dry in all sorts of silly directions, but maybe I can help fix it.”

Her words carry the warmth of her smile. All she’s doing is trying to push shaggy tufts of hair back into place, yet she sounds so happy to do it. Maybe having something so simple to fret about is good for her.

It certainly lets you focus on breathing. And eventually, you don’t have to think about that either.

You lay there in the dark, focused on nothing. The body has long since given up on trying to do anything else. Somehow, your mind remains revved enough to keep you awake.

Just barely. Enough to notice how heavy each limb is or the slower beat of your heart. This is fine though, it’s relaxing enough.

Then you feel fingers slide down your cheek. And then they wrap around your neck.

The hands press down and you choke.

Your legs jerk and kick violently. It feels like you were just in the middle of falling. At first your chest feels heavy again, but it starts to lift away upon realizing that you had fallen asleep.

Delilah mumbles and stretches in the chair she fell asleep in. “Everything okay?” she yawns.
It was nothing. Only a little nightmare. You let her keep sleeping in the chair for now. If this keeps up during the night, it might be safer to keep a swinging arm’s length away.

However, you don’t experience any more incidents. Not any that you remember upon waking up hours later. A few times your heart racing would rouse you, but nothing as worrying as before.

When you do awake again, your limbs don’t move. Rather. Soon as you try your whole body aches. You’re fine lying in bed until your empty stomach can’t take it anymore.

While you lay there looking up at the ceiling, you realize Delilah has curled up on the bed. Squeezed between you and the wall, she stays close to steal heat. You must have been dead asleep for her to sneak in this close.

You wait for the energy to return to your limbs. It never really does, but you manage to sit up. Delilah grumbles and turns over in her sleep, clutching the blanket to her. While you get the courage to touch a foot to the floor, she slowly starts to rouse.

“Hmm— oh! You’re awake now.” Delilah quickly scrambles past, easily getting out of bed before you can swing a leg over. “Do you need help getting up?”

First you shake your head. Getting out of bed is easy, you can handle that much. But by the time you’ve gotten both feet on the ground, you’re exhausted. Delilah offers her hands out and you take them.

“Okay, on a count of three—“

It’s shameful to know how much help you actually needed just to stand. In fact, you have to keep holding on to her after as your head spins. Gravity feels so much heavier now and taking your first step was rather frightening.

Delilah keeps by your side, letting you hold onto her shoulder. “There we go, Mr. Talbot,” she smiles as she puts on the formal voice, “Keep holding on to your nurse and we can get you breakfast.”

She’s trying to be sweet, but it brings back uncomfortable memories of the hospital. The weakness you felt back then was nothing you never wanted to experience again. Remembering how scared and difficult it was to take those first steps out of the hospital bed…

Each step starts to become easier and you pull away from Delilah. As you choose to walk alone a hurt look flashes across her face. You only got a few feet into the hallway before having to hold to the wall again. Your head feels light and your body remains heavy. Delilah easily keeps up with your pace, keeping her head down.
You being scared and trying to act macho doesn’t mean you have to act like a jerk. With a nudge you grab Delilah’s attention. She watches as you perform a motion with a hand against your chest.

Of course she wasn’t expecting you to start doing sign language at her. Delilah takes a moment to mimic the motion herself, trying to remember what it means.

“Is it uh, this means ‘sorry’, right?” She starts to smile again as you nod, “Oh nice, I should really start practicing that again. But you don’t have to say that, I’m not mad at you.”

It feels good to be able to think straight again. The fuzz and clouds are gone from your head almost completely. No longer do you feel like snapping at anyone or being so on edge, mostly. Once this fatigue fades, you’ll be back in top shape again.

God, you really hope that’s the case. What the fuck are you supposed to do if this never ends?


“--aw come on Lawrence! Let me see it!” A sharp grin pulled on Delilah’s face as her hand rushed forward. She didn’t expect you to react so quickly, but you easily hold the gun out of her reach.

“I just want to see what it is!” Delilah looks towards the chair and considers using it as a way to reach your hand.

You were an idiot, an absolute fucking idiot. Forgetting to take off your shoes is one thing, but keeping the gun with you in bed? How much of an idiot would you have to be to do something like that?

If it had stayed holstered then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But you don’t have one. All you had was the waistband of these ratty sweatpants and the damned thing was waiting under the blankets.

All that fucking effort you’ve been putting in. What the hell would you have done if it went off? What a stupid, stupid mistake to make.

You only remembered it when;

> During breakfast, you told Delilah that you had gone to your parents house and picked up your dad’s gun to keep
> Delilah was talking about what she did yesterday and you suddenly remembered that you never put the gun away
> Delilah asked why you came back in a change of clothes and you were figuring out what to tell her
> ...

sorry about the wait, gay depression meme had me good
oh i also forgot from the last post, i'll have the next thread up when this one bumps off to try and make up for it
> Delilah asked why you came back in a change of clothes and you were figuring out what to tell her
>Delilah asked why you came back in a change of clothes and you were figuring out what to tell her
She was curious about your clothes. It was obvious that these clothes didn’t fit, that they weren’t yours.

[i]You didn’t spend the night at someone’s house, did you?[/i] Delilah asked, giggling at the idea at first. But as you took too long to answer, your head working as slow as your body, her smile melted into worry.

Right away, you let her know that you hadn’t done anything like that. It meant coming up with something else to tell her instead and you had to work quickly. Bits and pieces of the night were okay to tell her.

You told her how you were stuck in a car waiting for most of the day. Vague details about waiting for someone, though you never waited long enough for her to ask questions. Far as she knows, you were meeting someone on good terms.

[i]Smoked. Whole pack… in car.[/i] you told her and pulled on the borrowed shirt, [i]Reeked. Smoke. Sweat. Dirt. Couldn’t...stand. Felt sick.[/i]

Delilah gave a short sigh in relief and swatted you gently on the shoulder. [i]A whole pack? No wonder you’re feeling so sick! I thought you were going to work on quitting![/i]

She was quick to scold you, and perhaps quick to accept any excuse. Luckily for you, she was kind enough to leave it as one question at a time. No doubt she would want to know about what you were doing, but it was leaving you enough time to think.

You remembered the gun as you tried to recall where all your things were. No idea where your old clothes were. Wallet was still luckily riding along in the sweatpant pockets. The lighter you lost along the way was almost out of fluid anyways.

And then your thoughts snapped back to the gun. If you could have run, you would have. Delilah had no idea why you suddenly got so pale in the face and had to repeatedly ask if you were feeling okay. At first you feared the gun had been dropped somewhere else. At the warehouse or the electronics store or who knows where. Losing it would feel horrible enough. Leaving it at a crime scene….

Maybe you should be glad that it was in the bed instead. Forgetting about it like that still makes you feel sick.

You nearly drop the thing when arms come wrap around you from behind. Delilah flashes you a little grin when you look back.

“You don’t have to show it off you don’t want to,” she gives a soft sigh, “I didn’t mean to get you all worked up. But I was thinking that maybe we could practice shooting together outside. I can’t go alone and I don’t think Ms. Camilla has time for it.”

> When you feel more steady on your feet you can take Delilah out back to practice shooting
> You should ask Camilla or Ace for tips on shooting before you leave again
> You don’t want anything to do with guns or shooting or anything like that when you’re supposed to be resting
> ...
>You don’t want anything to do with guns or shooting or anything like that when you’re supposed to be resting.
She'll be disappointed, but it's best to be honest with her.
Anything else, but not that.
Not so soon.
> When you feel more steady on your feet you can take Delilah out back to practice shooting
But for now we rest.
>> You don’t want anything to do with guns or shooting or anything like that when you’re supposed to be resting

Let's actually follow the doctor's orders for once
new thread will be up either today or tomorrow

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