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Aug. 3rd, 2015


An Engagement (Steve, later Ariel, Edward)

It was to be today. James had everything in place. After having double-checked his work, he returned to Steve's apartment looking for Ariel - but found only quiet. Believing that she'd gone out to sun or to stroll, he went downstairs and circled the apartment building. Then he did it again. Dismissing the mild unease, he headed back up to wait.

But an hour passed, and she had not returned. The second hour ticked by, and he finally picked up his phone and tried to reach her on it. It wasn't unexpected that she didn't pick up. She never really seemed technologically minded. So he rang Steve instead. The conversation was stilted and harsh, at least on his end. His throat felt tight, and the back of his neck was hot.

He knew.

James knew, but was trying to deny it.

Steve was on his way back. James paced the front of the living room quickly, back and forth, and then shot a text to Dr. Quinn.

Today. That was all he needed to send to her; she'd know the rest. It didn't matter that night hadn't even fallen. And, he realized, it didn't even matter that he hadn't confirmed that Edward Nigma had kidnapped her again. He should have handled this long ago. It shouldn't even be a question.

After today, it wouldn't be.

Feb. 2nd, 2011


Freedom of Choice (Narrative)

The young doctor behind the desk looked through the paperwork, then glanced at the blonde who was sitting in front of his desk. She was braiding, unbraiding, then rebraiding one of her pigtails. She looked bored. The doctor frowned slightly and looked at the file in front of him yet again, certain that there was a mistake. But no, it was there, printed very clearly. She was to be released. )

Jan. 30th, 2011


final releases for real (padme)

Elle didn't know how many days it had been. How long, or how short, she didn't even know the time when she'd been handed the release orders. Good. She was really sick of being here hopped up on something or tested out. Run like a freaking battery would be. Elle was GLAD she was free. What she wasn't glad about was that it seemed that the place was nearly, or completely, empty. Was she the last one? Were they mad about her killing/harming/maiming those nurses? Fine. Good. She totally had a right to do that.

Company employee or not.

Here she was standing outside the doors with one other person. Wondering where the hell to go next. The girl, had to be a girl as she didn't look much older than Elle was and Elle was maybe just a bit of an adult.

"So um.. any idea what day it is or what we're suppose to do now? Does your head feel as heavy as mine does?" Elle rubbed some of the blond hair around the back of her head, then smiled cheerfully.


Jan. 25th, 2011


As if it had never even happened (Watson)

Jennifer was annoyed.

Early this morning, they had gotten her up and out of bed. They had told her that today she was going to go home. There had been a huge amount of relief in this, because she didn't want to be in this place any more. Since the alarms had started going off, she'd been very bothered about a few things. She had decided that she no longer liked it inside the asylum. She didn't care how comfortable they made her or how many times a day they let her color.

They hadn't given her morning meds.

Of course, she'd thought that they were just going to make her sign a few papers and then she'd be on her way. Out the door. Let free into the world where she could figure out what was going on and try to fix whatever had suddenly gone wrong with her to end her up in a place like this to begin with. Because, she was pretty sure they didn't lock you up in places such as these if you didn't really need to be there. There had to be a reason. Had to be.

She hadn't seen Spock again, which sort of made her wonder if he was avoiding her. That would be a really unhappy thing to find out. She really liked him. Jennifer hoped that she found him on the other side of the doors, out in the city someplace, doing something he would normally do. Though, she couldn't really say what elves did on normal days.

Then they didn't give her mid-morning meds. Or noon meds.

Her head was starting to clear. She kind of wished they'd given her the medications because sitting around and waiting was really boring. At least when she was doped to the gills she could have fun just looking at her fingers. Here she was now, sliding slowly toward awareness and they had left her in a room with a few other chairs and no windows. Occasionally they walked in with clipboards with papers that she needed to sign, and once a doctor came in to see how she was feeling. But they said something about discharge exams, and Jennifer really didn't want anything to do with discharge exams.

"Come ON!" She said to nobody in particular. "Just let me go! You said I could go!"

Sunshine. The park. Maybe she'd find that guy who could explode the pigeons, and make him do that for a while. She needed to get her frustration out somehow. That seemed like a really good way to do it.

Jan. 24th, 2011


George doesn't do pets. [Jake]

George was being released. She signed some forms under her alias Millie, put her clothes back on and then signed more forms. Besides a package of blank post-its George didn't possess many personal items.

"So I can go now?" The nurse she spoke to bore a striking resemblance, both in personality and appearance, to her former boss Deloris Herbig. It made it hard for George to look particularly sour or annoyed. George even avoided swearing.

"Just one more thing!" The nurse came out of the office with a sleeping orange cat, putting it in George's arms before she could protest.

"I'm not really good with pets," George mumbled.

"Oh don't worry, dear! Cats are very self reliant. He just had a sedative not too long ago so he's fast asleep."

"He has a cool collar."

"Hm? That's nice, dear. Now run along!"

George was shoved unceremoniously out of the asylum with the cat. Having no idea what to do with a cat, she continued walking with it in her arms. Part of her worried that the cat was going to claw the shit out of her face when it woke up, but given her horrible track record with accidentally killing pets she couldn't see herself putting it somewhere defenseless on the ground. If George had learned anything there were a lot of freaks in The City.

Which meant George didn't want to put the cat in a shelter, either. Since he wasn't a kitten the reaper worried if anyone would want him. No dumping the cat into the wild. No shelter. Maybe she could put an ad in the paper?

"There has to be someone out there who'd really like having a cat."

George frowned.


Freedom and fruit (River)

"Well, well, well. It looks like someone's getting out a little earlier than expected. Looks like you've been exonerated." The words were familiar. Charlie had heard them before, but he wasn't sure what he'd done wrong to be locked away for this time. When his mind was clear enough to think it through, he always came back to the feeling he'd done nothing.

"Com'on, or I really will beat you like a redheaded step child." The orderly gave a firm kick to the detective's stomach, and thankfully even drugs couldn't muddle his brain so much that he couldn't protect himself. He wasn't so fast that he could get out of the way, but he knew to go with the kick. He'd feel it for a few days, but he'd live.

Charlie got up, put on the clothes (a tailored suit and shirt with matching tie and a very swanky pair of shoes, even a pair of designer sunglasses) they gave him, and walked slowly wherever they directed him. He signed the release forms and collected the rest of his things; other than the clothes, this was all very familiar, even the walk to the cab waiting for him.

Last time he was released, he'd been hungry. The kick to the breadbasket had decreased his appetite, but he told the cabdriver to take him to a small place that always had fresh fruit. While he might not be hungry, he knew he would be eventually. Fruit seemed like just the thing to get and possibly a fish. A living one, not to be eaten. Possibly a dog, a large one for Ted. Or a horse.

It wasn't until he got out of the cab, paying the driver with the money he knew would be in his pocket, that Charlie realized who Ted was. He turned to get back in the cab, but it was gone. Charlie knew that if he got out, Ted would get out or already was. Charlie, for once, wasn't sure what to do. The drugs made it hard to concentrate but easy to go with the flow and not try to work against the flow. Charlie had to believe that he would see Ted soon; he'd get his housemate fruit to prove as much.


Opportunism at its worst or best (Strange)

Zoe had been sleeping, or dozing; her dream, what there was of it, had been lovely, calm, and warm. She was safely in the arms of a man who loved her, but then it all changed. Things went dark. There was this sound in the distance. It sounded as if the whole world were looking to come down, or with the metallic crunch and screams, it sounded as if she were back in the trenches. She didn't want to leave the dream, wonderfully loving dream, but the sounds demanded attention.

The warrior woman sat up, reaching instinctively for the weapon that had recently been replaced by a spork. She wasn't sure what the sounds were out in the hall, but she knew the way the people cried out in pain that something very bad was going on. The spork and her wits were all she had to protect herself and others. )


From One Prison to Another [Jareth]

"We are pleased to say that the two of you have successfully completed your rehabilitation programs and will be provided with immediate release to The City. Remember to mind the food pyramid, drink four full glasses of water a day, and start each morning by looking in the mirror and giving yourself a compliment. Like, My! I am a very handsome fellow. Or, I love myself! Don't forget! An apple a day keeps the monsters away. And always look both ways before crossing the street! Here, have some multivitamins for the road."
Cherry, orange, and grape flavored chewables! )

Jan. 23rd, 2011


Into the Wild [Walter]

Jean-Paul resented a lot of things in life, not the least of which was being treated like some sort of sheep to be herded around on the whim of the shepherds. Currently, he also resented being fed worse food than he imagined many domesticated sheep ate, being confined, being drugged, and being told what to do by patronizing supposed-nurses and doctors.

However, since this particular incidence of herding - conducted by a rather weedy doctor and several large orderlies (Jean-Paul was flattered, really, but they needn't have bothered with him in his current state) - was heading in the direction of the front desk and the door, or so he'd been told, he was rather okay with it. It's not like he had a choice at the moment, and he had nothing to lose if they were lying.

Well, unless they were going to kill him, but that seemed unlikely, even in this place that made no sense.

"Wait," one of the orderlies rumbled, consulting a clipboard. "We missed someone."

The doctor shook his head. "He's on the way out. This way, Mr. Beaubier."

They turned a corner or two and passed a few more doors before the doctor stopped. Hesitation fought with a (in Jean-Paul's opinion) skewed sense of duty, which finally won out. He reluctantly opened the door and called out to the patient within the room. "It's time to go."


Knight on the Loose (open)

Sir Guy had searched for quite some time before he actually found a rope. He was actually surprised when he went into a room and found what he had been searching for. He was pleased to know that he would be able to escape and get those girls out of this prison. It had been a long time since things had gone his way. Guy smirked; doubting that Hood could have planned a better escape.

He slipped the rope under his robe and started walking down the hall. He just needed to get back to the girls and hope they had come up with a good distraction. They would be out of here within the hour unless something stopped him. Something like the men that were walking towards him right now. Guy cursed softly and turned to walk in the other direction.

Mr. Gisborne? )


Dr. Simon doesn't work here anymore (Death)

The numbers were dwindling; in fact, Dr. Simon hadn't seen anyone he somewhat recognized in a little while. It was a little disturbing, yet comforting. Maybe he had helped them, and they were released. Maybe he hadn't helped them, but they were still released. He didn't dwell too long on it because he also started to feel a little anxiety. If other people were getting out, why wasn't he? He was helpful, mild mannered, and even clean. He didn't hurt anyone, and he worked hard to get better. So, why wasn't he getting out of this place?

Dr. Simon was wondering that very thing as he was led down the hallway to a door he hadn't seen before. He glanced down at his feet and smiled; the beagle slippers hadn't shown up since he gave them to Ted. Hopefully that meant he wouldn't have to see them again...unless that was why he wasn't being let out and was now being taken somewhere he had never been. He put his hands in his pockets to hide what he knew had to be sure signs of agitation, fingers rubbing against each other, hands clenching into fits and releasing only to clench again. He took a deep breath as he was showed into a room. The doctor looked up at him then back at the clipboard.

"You're being released. Sign here and here. Someone will be by in a few minutes with your clothes and other personal affects to let you go. Wait here patiently." Dr. Simon stared at the doctor. "Simon..." The doctor paused, waiting to see if Dr. Simon would do anything; he didn't, not even point out the handmade badge, in pastels this time - it was all they had. "Simon, you're going home. You're well. Now sign."

Dr. Simon leaned over to sign the two places the doctor had shown him, then took off the lab coat with the name tag and handed it to the man. He'd have his own on the outside, right? He didn't need those anymore. With that the doctor stepped out and, just Simon sat down in the chair to wait for his things.

Jan. 22nd, 2011


Release! [Open To Veronica]

There hadn’t been any warning that today was going to be any different form the days that had preceded it. He figured he’d wake up, do the sort of zombie, on some serious medication shuffle that he had spent the last however many days it was, doing. Then sleep. Wake up. Repeat. Except the doctor (or at least Eddie thought that it was a doctor, he had a white coat on, seemed like a doctor) after Eddie had greeted him with a “what’s up doc?” (however many days he’d been here -- that still hadn’t gotten old) had told Eddie he was free to go. Eddie (who was feeling more himself, more alert, more awake) had given the doctor a wary look and then took the doctor at his word.

He had no real plan except getting the hell out of here. He figured once he got out of this place, he’d figure out where exactly he was, and what exactly was going on. But first he had to get away from all these medication happy Doctors, and then once that was done he’d figure out exactly where he was, and how he was going to get to where he needed to go.

When his personal possessions had been returned to him, Eddie had taken back possession of Roland’s revolver, and quipped that maybe it wasn’t a great idea giving a person who had just been in a asylum a weapon. Even as he “joked” about that, he had tightened his grip on the revolver, well aware that if they had tried to take it back there was going to be an issue. The person who was handing over his personal effects just gave Eddie a blank look, and told him that he was free to go.

So go he did. Right out the door, and standing there on an unfamiliar street Eddie glanced around.

“Now what?”

Jan. 20th, 2011


Free [Open to anyone crazy enough to try to escape after Baba]

The spiders and rats were agitated. Something was wrong, or was about to be. They could feel it; the vibrations played on that part of the animal brain that told a rat to get off a ship before the humans knew it was sinking, that part that told the spiders to make their webs somewhere else. For the past few days, the rats and spiders had either not been showing up or making their way elsewhere. They were leaving the woman hanging there in her metal bonds all alone.

Something had changed in that small little room most people forgot. Even the humans, the ones who were supposed to know about that room with that woman, were becoming uncomfortable. First it was being close to her, not that anyone really felt all that comfortable near her. Then, it was being in the room with her. By the time all the spiders and rats were gone, people didn't even like being near the room. Something wasn't right at all. The cattle that ran the asylum were starting to feel as if they should have stayed in the pasture not tried to rule the farm, or something like that. )


here there be dragons! [open?]

It was cold. And wet, but that was something of a comfort for a river spirit. Haku lay still, content for the moment just to be outside - and he was; everything around him, from the lonely blades of grass tickling at his belly to the distant caw of crows told him so.

He was vaguely aware that he had smashed quite a few things inside while his body fought the curse when his mind couldn't. Even though he hadn't done it consciously, he took a small measure of pride from that. Dragons did tend to be hard creatures to completely subdue. Even when he'd been under Yubaba's control, he'd been able to defy her in small ways. It seemed that once again, it'd been enough to earn him his freedom, albeit in a much different way.

Still, if being destructive had helped he was - luckily - naturally gifted in the heavy, flaily limb department.

The ground was getting colder, bordering on uncomfortable, and Haku reluctantly dragged himself up to his claws. He'd been released, for whatever reason, but it probably wasn't a good idea to stick around where they'd left him. He took him a minute to get his bearings. The institution he'd been in was close by, but they'd managed to lug him across a channel of water to get him onto the opposite bank. It was a promising sign that they (whoever 'they' had been) wouldn't want him back. He'd be only too glad to put even more distance between them and him.

But he was still weak from whatever spell they had cast and dizziness hit him like a hammer when he took off. Desperation carried him down unfamiliar streets, over and past strange buildings he'd never seen before, until they all blended together and the dragon tumbled to an awkward landing in a blessedly open patch of green grass, demolishing a small bush and some flowers in the process.

It was Haku the boy who stumbled out of the ruined greenery, brushing petals and dirt from his hair. He could always fall back on the dragon if he needed it, but for now, being able to ask questions and fit easily through doorways was of more importance.

Jan. 19th, 2011


Gift Horse [narrative]

"They said you were asking for me -- now what seems to be the problem?"

Beauty had been waiting for the last two hours in a small room with white walls and strange cushions tacked as high as her hands would reach above her head. There was a mirror taking up the entire north wall. The chair she was sitting in was bolted to the floor. So was the round, metal table. This is where they'd stashed her once she'd insisted on talking with a doctor in this unfamiliar place.

"I don't believe I'm meant to be here, Doctor," Beauty said to the man with the strange white over-jacket. He'd entered not five second ago, and he apparently was a doctor, but she thought he looked nothing like doctors she was used to. Then again, she could barely recall what had happened in the last 24 hours -- and she'd certainly been in this place for longer than that. She didn't know why the man didn't seem like a doctor to her; it was simply a feeling.

Nevertheless, the rules here said that he was, so she called him by the title a doctor should be called. She gave him the respect that a man in charge of other lives should receive. And she did her best not to seem anything other than agreeable. It seemed unlikely that her insistence would make any difference, but.... it was the truth, wasn't it? She was sure it was the truth, regardless of how fuzzy her thoughts were.

To her surprise and delight, the disinterested man -- doctor -- checked a flat board with paper clipped to it, flipped up a chart, then nodded. "Agreed. We have set up your discharge paperwork. Go to the desk down the hall and to the left, and they'll get you taken care of."

She didn't question. She didn't try to understand. She just went.

Thirty minutes later, Beauty stood blinking in the afternoon sun. There was a beautiful sable horse waiting just outside Arkham gates and an attendant, yawning, handed her the reins. "Your effects," he said, before ambling back behind the gates. Beauty eyed the reins, wholly unaware of having ever owned a horse. Regardless, it seemed she was to have it. Him. It was a 'him.' And he was nickering quietly, muzzle butting up against her shoulder.

"Yes," she agreed, rubbing the warm velvet nose. "It's past time to leave."

Leave they did.


Release! [Open to Dinah and LORNE]

There had been paperwork to sign. Plenty of it. Harry promised (fingers crossed behind his back) to follow the strict regiment of medications he'd been given, and to continue to see the at-home councilor once he was able to make arrangements. Finally, he was given a few items, feeling his heart pound as each was presented.

The six-foot tall staff Ebenezar had given him, during the battle with the Red Court. The two-foot rod of heavy ash wood, thick as two of Harry's fingers, and covered in runes similar to the staff. A set of eight silver rings, each ring a braid of three silver bands, that Harry carefully slid onto each finger but his thumbs. A thick bracelet, braided with gold, silver, copper, bronze, and some other unidentifiable metals, with round bronze discs handing all along it, like medieval shields. And finally, the long black leather duster. The mantle hung to his elbows, the hem halfway down his calves.

There was also a backpack, but that was mostly empty. A few candles, pieces of chalk. His guns were missing, but that was only to be expected.

He signed some more for his inventory, and his release. As he was finishing, someone said, "Your cab is here, Mr. Dresden."

Harry looked up. "A cab?"

"Yes, sir. To take you home."

Harry glanced at the car. And back at the woman. "I think I'll walk."

The woman hesitated. "Well, at least let us take you off the island and into the City. The driver will leave you wherever you choose. With no cost to you."

He considered. But it was free, and he'd be telling them to let him out. But just in case they got any ideas about not...

Harry drew in his will and aimed his staff casually at the car. "Ventas servitas," he murmured. A gale picked up, and the wind seemed to tug the door open for him. "I think that will do fine," he said, speaking to the woman, but giving the driver a smile. At least showing his teeth.

An hour later... )

Jan. 18th, 2011


Booted (Trickster)

It was so fast that Jesse didn't even know what the fuck was happening to him as it happened. It was as if a giant angry wind had come along and whisked him away, though it was decidedly a lot more physical than wind, and quite a bit more painful than just a simple whisking.

He was sitting, talking with Didi, trying to figure out what it was that would make the scarf come off. The scarf that she had made so that he could be human for a while when he felt like it. The scarf he had created some kind of password for that kept it on him until he uttered the words to make it come off. The scarf that had allowed him to be so thoroughly drugged that he would have never figured out there was a password to the scarf by himself.

But Didi had helped him to think of it. The words turned out to be so simple that when he'd finally come up with them, he'd been a little bit ashamed of himself. The words off of his father's lighter, Fuck Communism. It should have really been the first thing he'd thought of. What other words would make sense? What else could there be that he didn't use in daily conversations but was close enough to his heart to be something he'd remember easily?

The lighter had dropped to the ground, and he'd bent to pick it up.

Then, chaos.

Four very large, very intimidating orderlies appeared around him. Jesse might have known how to fight a man like Jody pretty goddamned easily, but there were four of these guys. It didn't help matters that he was fairly sure they were all actually overgrown gorillas wearing white uniforms. The drugs were seeping quickly out of his system, but not quite fast enough for his liking. The thought of fighting back with extra abilities didn't occur to him right away. No, he'd just tried to kick and squirm free, which hadn't really amounted to much of anything at all. In fact, Jesse was pretty sure that with four pairs of hands on him, he hadn't moved an inch.

A pair on each arm, and each leg. They were literally carrying him bodily.

At first he was sure that he was going to be taken back to his room. They were going to try to get the scarf back on him and reissue those medications, only twice as strong. They weren't going to let him go back down to general population anymore, and they were going to find a way to make sure Didi couldn't visit him where they put him. He was able to glance back quickly, only once. She didn't seem very put out by what was happening to him. She sat there.

"Hey, darlin, you might wanna..." but he didn't get to finish his thought. They didn't turn toward the corridor with the elevators, they just kept going straight. Confused, Jesse relaxed in a way, more unsure than ever. His unwillingness to invade the thoughts of those around him proving to be a roadblock in his ability to figure out what was happening.

Past the nurses desk, then first gate into the intake area. Past all the doors where doctors kept their offices and out-patient services were rendered. Past the second gate and the front door guard's area. Right through the entry lobby to the front doors. And they didn't just stop. They burst through those doors and tossed Jesse in one clean motion as far as they could. Which happened to be quite a ways given that they were giants and there were four to do the lifting.

Jesse was reminded of falling from the plane as he sailed through the air, making his way to the only logical conclusion to this folly, the ground. He just barely managed to keep a hold on both scarf and lighter as he made impact and rolled. When he stopped, he was staring at the sky.

"Woulda been nice, had you let me put on real pants. Assholes." Of course, only now was his mind clear enough, his thoughts lucid enough, to realize he could have stopped the entire thing from happening. Deciding to embrace a gross display of power, instead of taking the waiting taxi, Jesse sent himself home. His condo in the Manchester. He also decided to dress himself and arrange for a pack of cigarettes. He figured why not, he didn't do it usually, these sorts of things, and he was really very pissed off.

With the lighter that had simultaneously broken the hold of the scarf and gotten him thrown on his ass, he lit up the first smoke of freedom. He had no idea how long he'd been in Arkham, but looking around his place, it looked just the same as when he'd left it. No changes at all.

Well. Except one.

There was a porn video that he had distinctly not had before sitting on the coffee table. Jesse picked it up and lifted his brows. "Casa Erotica? What the fuckin hell kinda name for a porn is that?" Wasn't something he normally went for, porn. He felt like he could have the real experiences easy enough, he didn't need to rely on watching other people do it. But for the hell of it, Jesse put it in the player and sat on the couch. It was in his place, it might as well get watched. He turned the television using the remote and sat back.


Not exactly a "Great Escape" [Wanda + Sweeney]

Buffy walked calmly down the hallway. The alarms were loud enough that the sound in her ears had temporarily dulled, while lights flashed on and off like camera flashes. The Slayer couldn't remember who she was looking for-- someone who had helped her. Someone British. The only thing she could remember, having woken up early from the medication she'd been given, was Sherlock Holmes stories. At least fragments of them. They didn't help her deduce anything about the current situation except that she was leaving. Now.


Orderlies rounded the corner equipped with tranquilizer guns and fired. Buffy had less than a second to duck and did so, as unfriendly looking darts embedded themselves into the wall. Buffy blinked, still hazy. Her head was swimming like she'd woken up from a lengthy slumber. She didn't waste any time charging, leaping in midair and in a cinematic kick. All three medical staff went down like dominos, unconscious. Though Buffy didn't have much experience with firearms, she'd used a tranquilizer gun pretty effectively against a werewolf before. Crouching down she picked up one of the guns and kept walking.

She walked past doors but it wasn't until she passed one with someone locked in a room that she stopped.

"Come on slayer strength. Don't go all wiggy on me now."

Buffy ripped the door off its hinges.

"Alright, who all is for leaving this crazy train?"


What now? (Open)

There had been a couple bouts of alarms going off. It made Jennifer very uneasy. The alarms triggered something deep in her psyche. Something that told her she should be doing something more with her life. Something that made her feel protective. But of what? She didn't really have much authority here. She was a patient. She had to follow the rules. She was good at following the rules, too. Rules were there to make sure that nobody got hurt, and that nobody hurt anybody else. When somebody did hurt somebody else, Jennifer always found herself glad to see the authority of the orderlies take them away.

But those alarms.

Alarms meant bad things were happening. Alarms meant that somebody should do something, and do it quick so that nobody got seriously injured, or killed. That the somebody that should do something should be somebody with the know how to do it, lest they be the ones to be harmed or killed. Ordinary citizens should never be the ones to jump in because they never knew what they were doing. Ever.

The first one hadn't rattled her so badly. Just sort of jumpstarted her brain. But then... then there had been more.

The other thing was that people were disappearing. People were walking right out the front door with papers in hand, sometimes. Other times, they just wouldn't be where she usually saw them. Even if she'd never talked to them, their faces had been something she could rely on day to day. She didn't like that they were leaving and she was left alone here. Alone. That wasn't entirely true, was it. She wasn't alone. There were lots of people around. It was just the missing ones that bothered her.

And of course, the alarms.

Jennifer sat on the couch, her feet curled under her, and chewed on her nails.


Free as a bird (Narrative/open)

A slightly plump, kind-faced nurse entered Dinah's room shortly after she woke up.

"Good morning, dear," the nurse practically sang. "Today's a big day for you. We just have some paperwork to fill out and then you can be on your way."

Dinah blinked in surprise, not daring to trust what she'd heard.

"What do you mean, 'on my way'?"

"Why, dear, haven't the doctors told you? They've determined that you are, more or less, sane and perfectly capable of caring for yourself outside of these walls."

Dinah stared in surprise, still unsure of how to take this news. Just like that, and she was free again? It seemed too easy.

Maybe Harry had been right after all. Maybe...

Two hours and countless signatures later, Dinah was on her way. Her head was clearer than ever. As the cab pulled away from Arkham and into a jungle of skyscrapers, the memories of her time at Arkham began to fade, as though it were all just one long nightmare. Dinah realized this and fought to hold onto the people she'd met there, fought to make sense of the experience.

Harry and Oz... all the patients who had looked sane but beaten down by captivity, who didn't belong there. She needed to return and get them out too. But first, she needed to come up with a plan.

A familiar building came into view. Dinah blinked in surprise and leaned forward to get the cab driver's attention.

"Stop the car! Here, you can let me out right here."

She fumbled in her bags for money to pay the driver, but he waved her off.

"It's already been paid for. Good luck with your new beginning, miss."

New beginnings and now hiring... )

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