4727/An Unconscious Bond

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An Unconscious Bond
Date of Scene: 28 October 2016
Location: Alberichstadt <P:WTWM>
Synopsis: Janine finally awakes, to find her faithful butler by her side.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, 999

Janine Liberi has posed:
    In the futuristic world of Yuna Kagurazaka is a hospital. Lying in one of the rooms of said hospital is Janine Liberi. Still unconscious from the fight with the Red Woodsman, she lies silently with an oxygen mask upon her face, IVs in her skin and only the rhythmic beeping of the heart rate monitor suggesting she still lives.

    Her silhouette under the thin covers is strange, owing to the missing left arm, her torso still cross-crossing with bandages to keep her blood inside. It's another scar, to join the one down her front suffered from the creation of Lezard Valeth.

    The slow beat of the machine suddenly picks up, the Italian's eyelids fluttering before a weak moan slips from her dried lips.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Janine's room has not been occupied for the entirety of the time she's been out. Just most of it. There were a few things 'back home' that needed taking care of, mostly in the way of tidying up, preparing things in advance to minimize prep time on meals, and so on. But other than that, this room has had at least one other occupant for a good majority of the time between the Woodsman fight and now.

    And said occupant is there, of course, when Janine finally pulls herself out of the depths of unconsciousness, waiting by the bedside with her arms folded behind her back and a soft, surprisingly gentle smile on her face. "And there we are," Emily says with a quiet voice. "Up you come, Janine. Rise and shine." It sounds like a caretaker rousing a teen for school, but the rare warmth in her voice shows it for the gentle tease it is.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Those eyes finally open completely at the sound of Emily's voice. "Mama?..." she groans, her eyes searching before finding her butler. The disappointment on her face is subtle, but evidentially there. Had she not been exhausted, she might have sworn Emily to secrecy.

    "What happened?... this isn't the hospital." Of course, she would be intimately familiar with the decor of the Alberichstadt Hospital by now, and this place is certainly not it.

    Finally, the loose thread that lingered in her consciousness before blacking out is picked back up, precipitated by a spike in the beeping. "The Woodsman! What happened?..."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "It's a hospital in Kagurazaka's world," Emily replies; the first word out of Janine's mouth seems to have conveniently been 'missed'. "Much better medical technology." She doesn't miss the sudden spike in heart rate, but her voice remains even, gentle, perhaps even leaning a bit into 'soothing'. "You and Kohler got the worst of it, and you're both going to be fine. I don't know the details, but you all made a good enough showing that the Woodsman has granted us all a boon of sorts. 'One question', apparently."

    She reaches up to her face, pushing her glasses up with a finger. "Some of the others don't think that's a good reward for risking your lives so direly, but if we can find the right question to ask, it might be the most valuable thing he could have given us."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine smacks her mouth as Emily explains, only half-taking it all in. "Water please." Well, her bossiness is only at 60% if she's minding her 'p's and 'q's. But at least this means she is on the mend, and is not suffering from brain damage due to oxygen deprivation owing to blood loss.

    "Only one question isn't much, but I suppose it's better than nothing. Just gotta plan it out..." Her hand drifts for the bed controls, making the backrest rise so she's in a sitting position. This makes her blankets shift, falling off of her form and revealing the empty space where her arm once was.

    The beeping immediately grows more incessant.

    "What the fuck what the fuck what THE FUCK?!" she shouts, pupils dilating as her breath comes in short hitches.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    'Water' is something Emily is prepared for, apparently. She's got a cup with a straw in it ready, and she's just reaching for it when Janine notices 'the worst of it'.

    With a smooth, swift movement, the butler has one hand on each of Janine's shoulders, giving the /good/ shoulder a light squeeze. "Janine. Janine, look at me. You're going to be fine. Meet my eyes, Janine. They saved your arm. They plan to reattach it. You're /fine/. Deep breaths. Give me deep breaths." She's surprisingly adept at dealing with sudden panic attacks.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    It takes a while for Janine to look away from her budenless shoulder, but she does eventually find her butler's eyes. Her own are like a wild animal, masked with building tears as she shivers. It takes a full minute for the beeping to slow and her breathing to become regular.

    "Reattach it? It's a useless hunk of meat now, just fucking toss it! What's even the point, I should just... ugh, fuck!" She thrashes weakly in the bed, looking away from Emily to hide how upset she is. "Should have just taken it off when it first began... hell, should have gone to get euthanized or something, then maybe none of this would have happened..."

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Much as you might be better off, it'll raise too many questions," Emily replies smoothly. With Janine calmed down, she's polite enough to stand up straight again. Silently, she hands over the water, waiting a few moments before speaking. "...I think if you wanted to withdraw from all this, no one would fault you. You or Kohler. Both of you have suffered quite grievously from this, and you in particular had a bad lot coming in. But don't regret the choices you've made. There are people who are alive now, that wouldn't be if you hadn't stepped into the Forest. People who might have died miserable, frightened and alone."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Italian accepts the water and drains half the glass with a single pull, letting it swish around her mouth and wet her lips before swallowing. "Yeah, a bunch of ungrateful bastards that will never know how we're risking our necks for them... what's the point? We're all going to die eventually anyway, who cares if it's a few decades to early?"

    She sounds sullen, the kind of tone a contrarian moody teenager would take whenever the systems in place don't give them everything they want. She clearly doesn't think this true, not really.

    Is this her way of reaching out to be comforted?

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "They will never know, and they never /should/ know," Emily replies, finally pulling up a chair to seat herself... and reaching up to take off her glasses.

    "Far be it from me to push the zealotry of an old hunter onto a new generation, but... it's better that they don't. It's better the entire world remain unaware of what transpires in the darkness. I've seen firsthand what happens when the darkness reaches out and touches them. I know it all too well," she adds, her voice going a little quieter for a moment. "It shatters lives. Shatters /people/. I promised myself once, long ago, that I'd never let it happen to anyone else, even if it meant I had to spend my entire life working in the shadows, only to die somewhere in an unmarked grave. The reward's not in hearing them say 'thank you'. It's in knowing that they get to keep on going about their oblivious, meaningless lives, instead of being reduced to a corpse, or a gibbering shell of a person. And as far as dying..."

    She settles back in her chair for a moment. "The difference between dying now and dying later, is having a chance to make your mark on the world, and the people around you. All of us are going to die eventually, but some of us will be talked about long after. And even if we're not, wouldn't it be nice to look out at the world ten years from now, and be able to say 'if it weren't for me, this would be smoking ruins, corpses and madmen'?"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine lies back in her bed, letting Emily's words wash over her. She's right, and the girl knows she's right. If she doesn't do this, who will? Things might get worse, much worse. And could she look across a ruined world and bear knowing she might have prevented it had she been there?

    She's a huge bitch, she knows. But she has conscience enough that walking away would destroy her, even if nothing bad happened. She wasn't raised to do that. "Always see things through, child," her grandma had told her. "You only 'lose' when you give up," her father had said.

    "Ugh. Yeah I guess," she finally says. "I'm still not happy about it. But I can't let that son of a bitch walk away scott free after this," she adds, gesturing at her right shoulder.

    Finally having settled, she brings up the question. "So, what happened to August? You said he got fucked up too?"

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Of course not," Emily replies to Janine. Just this once, she allows herself a genuine smile, wry and tinged with just a hint of sharpness. The Woodsman's going to have more than one person to answer to over this.

    Then the glasses are back on, and the butler Emily Branford sits there again. "I've a few choice words for him when I see him next. He took all those perfectly good grenades I gave him, and blew himself up at the Woodsman. And yes, I phrased that precisely how I meant to. He's luckier to be alive than you are, the suicidal oaf."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine's face goes hard as Emily explains. "Oh that stupid asshole. Once I can walk, we're going mafioso on his ass. Get me some pillow cases and several bars of soap. He's gonna wish he died when we're through with him."

    This is a very Janine move, to distract by getting very mad about something else. But the fact is, she showed Emily a part of her rarely seen, and did not urge her to secrecy. She understands the butler will keep mum, understands that she understands her charge.

    And this is why the sound of clear bells echoes within her mind, speaking of new bonds being formed. She grumps about it internally, not daring to let her surprise show. Emily would notice.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    "Are you certain we shouldn't see about some cement?" Emily replies, somehow managing to maintain a perfectly straight face. "We can always chisel his feet out afterwards."

    She finally chooses this as a moment to stand, reaching up to adjust her glasses slightly as she does. "Well then. Now that you've woken up, shall I bring you anything from home? Or something to eat perhaps? ...come to think of it, I could probably bring you food from home, at that." With her speed? She just might be able to sneak it past.