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Dignified Squee-- Writing Community of the Insane

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... Need to renew my account [Sep. 2nd, 2010|03:22 pm]
Dignified Squee-- Writing Community of the Insane

dignified_squee

[starswing]
Title: Hold On
Fandom: Route 29-verse, Ace Attorney Investigations mostly, with some Yu-Gi-Oh! GX in there.
Characters: Kay Faraday, OTHER THINGS
Notes: Takes place during the time Kay was kidnapped by Tarantulas, and that's... more or less it.
Summary: Kay, on her sixth day of captivity, hallucinates. OR DOES SHE?


Sometimes the chills came first. Other times, it was the fever-- until it hadn't broken after one session, so then it was the fever on top of the fever. The harshness of her breathing never varied, nor did the dizziness that accompanied it whenever Kay struggled to draw in a lungful of air that she could never fully attain. Bright spots would explode across her vision like fireworks, there would be fuzzy images of things that weren't there and muffled voices of people who weren't there, and always...

Always, there would be pain underlying the entire process. Sometimes agonizingly sharp but brief, appearing in intervals, sometimes a steady throb, but pain nonetheless. However, Kay never outright screamed. No, that was reserved for the physical attacks, for the electric shocks and the fangs of ice. She hated the poison most of all, though. She was coherent enough, usually, to force retorts through the pain (because she was nothing if not indomitably and stupidly stubborn), but with the poison, it was all Kay could do not to curl up in a little ball and sob. She couldn't have done it anyway, given how she was bound, but the thought became increasingly tempting. She couldn't focus when she was poisoned, and if there was one thing a thief needed (besides flair and style and speed and stealth and general all-around awesomeness), it was focus.

And right now, as she shivered in the grip of the webbing that held her while her body burned with heat, her first coherent thought was that she had no idea how long she'd been here. Windy would have known; she'd retained that ability from her time as a Hoothoot. She would have known exactly how many seconds, minutes, hours, days-- months? that Kay had been tortured by this nameless mad scientist.

He wanted her alive. This meant very little in terms of Kay's own comfort and well-being, since "alive" did not mean "in excellent and pristine condition". It only meant that maybe every other day or so, he'd force some scant piece of food down her throat-- quite literally force, because Kay had fought rather viciously the first time it had happened, and hadn't been against biting the hand that fed her. That had introduced a vigorous round of "experimentation" with all of his Pokémon, a clear warning that had left her on the fringes of unconsciousness three hours later.

Kay didn't bite him the next time.

Thinking optimistically, she supposed that going through this ordeal would be useful if - when - she escaped, if she was ever caught and tortured for information some day in the future. She'd yet to cry or beg or babble every single secret she knew, and that was after experiencing enough pain that she'd begun to think that death sounded about as appealing as Hawaii in December. She could usually shove that thought down rapidly, but it was horrifying that it even existed in the first place. She had to remember what it was she had waiting for her.

She missed fumbling for the incessantly hooting alarm clock and its elusive SLEEP button, only to be greeted by a stiff wing to the head and Johan's drowsy laugh of, "She's not an actual clock, Kay, remember?" She missed her newly-evolved Bayleef trying to crane her neck over her shoulder to sample Kay's lunch. She missed draping over her Gengar after a training session, both of them pleased that he was finally solid enough for displays of affection. She missed how, after each successful opponent he defeated, her Drifloon would timidly float over and tap the end of one string against Kay's palm in a high-five of victory. She missed her Zubat withdrawing under her muffler when the sun shone too brightly, disliking the weather but liking his trainer far too much to remain in his capsule. She missed her Wooper's gleeful noises whenever Kay took her up as high as she could go. She missed her Murkrow's comfortable weight on her shoulder, the way he could always read her feelings and knew when to move closer for a nuzzle and when to tug at her muffler to remind her to think before she leaped. And...

Kaito's devious grin and the flower he produced by her ear, the Vitamin C cough drops she discreetly sucked on when her throat hurt and she'd always think of Smoker, Franziska's pride, the promise she'd so blithely made with Trucy to get that celebratory pudding (she'd promised), looking forward to seeing Maya's Hoothoot sporting a cravat and the look on Mr. Edgeworth's face, Mr. Wright trying to prevent his Wooper from hogging the screen, Mr. Doe's rare, quiet chuckle, cheering on Mr. Butz's attempts to land himself a "chickadee", joking with Snow and snuggling with Thundara, the sisterly urges towards Luke and Rhode and Yayoi, Konata's teasing, the fistbumps with Crow, Juudai's joyful mischievous smiles, Hiruma's football lessons, Melfina's kindness, Ritsu's neverending apologies, the joking with Heather, all of the newer arrivals she'd only just met, Johan--

The catch in her throat could have been the poison or Kay's own valiant attempt to fight back tears, but the fact remained that she was miserable. She missed them, every single person she'd befriended, and she'd never had this many people to miss before. She'd thought missing her father had been painful enough, but this hurt ten times worse. She didn't know whether they were safe, or if they were looking for her-- and if they were... she wasn't sure she wanted them to find her. Not if that would just put them at risk, too. But despite that, she wanted--

Her vision blurred suddenly - again, she didn't know whether that was due to tears or the poison - and she tugged futilely at the webbing that held her wrists above her head. She could hear her own harsh gasps and the low hum of the red-and-white thing that was playing babysitter/aspiring Electric Chair while her kidnapper was out. She swallowed hard, coughed, and fought against another wave of dizziness. Unbidden, the thought bubbled up, so clear that she swore she could see it etched behind her eyelids when she closed her eyes.

Am I going to die here?

No.

Kay hadn't been expecting a reply, not even from a fever-riddled mind, but clearly the hallucinations were starting. The... voice (for it definitely had a firm tone to it, for all that it could only be a thought) rang in her head with conviction. There was no one there when she opened her eyes, however-- as she'd expected.

No. The voice - thought? - came again, gentler this time. Close your eyes, Kay.

Odd, the hallucinations rarely gave orders, but between the blurred vision and the light show occurring whenever she blinked, Kay was more than happy to comply. Darkness greeted her.

And then a soft muzzle touched her forehead.

Kay jerked back, almost crying out both in surprise and pain when her muscles wholeheartedly protested the strain. There hadn't been anything in the room, besides her and her "guard", so what--

Shh.

The feeling remained, but with it came a figure. It didn't exist outside of her mind, she was sure of it, but Kay could "see" it clearly after a minute.

Great, she thought with some dismay, observing the newest figment of her poison-induced hallucination standing patiently before her. She'd fallen to the level of unicorns. And, to add insult to injury, winged unicorns, at that!

The unicorn inspected her as well, albeit with less curiosity. It pawed at the ground, then stepped closer and lowered its head, the very tip of its blue, jewel-like (probably very valuable) horn resting on Kay's forehead. Dark eyes peered intently into hers, as though the unicorn (pegasus?) was searching for something.

Kay. We had hoped to meet you under brighter circumstances.

She was fine being in the dark. "Bright" lately had come to mean pain. But Kay ignored all of that, struggling to focus on what the unicorn was talking about. There was something... familiar about it - no, him - even if she was certain she'd never met a winged unicorn before.

Not met, but... seen? She couldn't shake the feeling that she knew who this was. And what was this "we" he was saying? There wasn't anyone else in this hallucination--

But then, suddenly, there was. Just presences and shadows, not anything she could really make out, but she felt them: a light pressure on her shoulder, a solid weight against her leg (reassuring, somehow), encouraging murmurs. And, overshadowing all of that, something massive yet silent.

You spoke for us when no one could hear us, yourself included. The unicorn lifted his head, but didn't look away from Kay's eyes. You protected him when we could not. You have a special gift, Kay. One you may only be vaguely aware of.

When were hallucinations this cryptic? Kay didn't particularly feel like learning about what gift she supposedly had, or trying to puzzle out enigmatic statements. She was exhausted. She wanted to drown all of this out, the voices, the pain--

Listen. The voice was male, but not the unicorn's. It came more as a growl.

You can glimpse other people's hearts. And in doing so, we have glimpsed yours. A female this time. You're a strong girl. You need to use that strength now. You mustn't let him break you. For the sake of those important to you... for the sake of those who are fighting to find you...

Now all of those voices swelled and coalesced into a single thought, and Kay flinched as it rang almost painfully in her mind.

Hold on.

Ironic for them to say that when she felt as though she was slipping further away with every minute that passed-- that had been passing. If she was far gone enough for her hallucinations to be giving her pep talks when normally her own will would have sufficed, just how further would she fall before she did break completely? How long could she hold on?

Go figure, she thought tiredly, that she'd wind up envisioning a talking unicorn and some other shadowy things instead of something else, like her father.

"The time when we're together again won't be anytime soon, Kay."

Every single muscle in Kay's throat locked, and she stared in disbelief as the unicorn stepped to the side, revealing a tall figure, the outline faintly glowing and the figure itself just as shadowed as the others.

But she knew that voice. It was the same voice who read her bedtime stories and dramatically switched tones to play all the different parts. It was the same voice who laughed and told her she could have half of his Swiss Roll. It was the same voice who had patiently instructed her in the law and the workings of the court, so that she could understand just what it was that he fought for every time he walked into that room. It was the same voice whose powerful chords could wrench a confession out of nearly any criminal who dared to think they wouldn't be punished for their crimes. It was the same voice who had promised that the trial would be over soon, and then they'd have their daily snack. A warm hand on her head, a gentle reminder to "be on your best behavior, Kay", and then she hadn't heard that voice for seven years because it had been silenced permanently.

Mutely, Kay shook her head, too paralyzed by a seven-year-old grief and the shock of hearing her father again. Hallucination or not, this was almost too cruel.

"I never wanted to leave you," Byrne Faraday whispered, an actual voice in her head, rather than the thoughts of the others. "And you went through so much... but you've always been my strong little girl, haven't you? You always kept your promises, even when I was no longer around."

She couldn't breathe-- not until the light weight on her shoulder patted her cheek with what felt like a tiny paw, and she drew in a sharp gasp and air along with it. The poison was getting worse; even with her eyes closed, dizziness threatened to swamp all of her senses.

Byrne's figure walked closer, then stopped in front of his daughter. "I wanted a peaceful life for you, as did Badd. But you... you always believed in doing the right thing, no matter the risk. I should have realized you would have wanted to set things right and walk the path of the Yatagarasu yourself. If you believe none of this, then only know that your father is proud of you. And that you still have a promise to keep."

A promise...? She'd promised never to tell anyone about Kaito's secret. She'd since kept her promises with her father (including the one about not crying in front of strangers, save for that very brief lapse). There was the one to Trucy, but she doubted he was talking about that. What promise had she--

The unicorn suddenly spread his wings, and with that, the memory clicked into place. The Yatagarasu... she had sworn to revive it. And her partner... to Johan, she'd promised...

"I'll never let you be alone."

Byrne nodded, although Kay still had yet to say a word. "The wings of the Yatagarasu strike the unjust and shelter the hurt. Don't doubt that you have people who love you here, don't give into despair, and don't give up. For just a little longer, hold on. Those wings are coming for you."

He stretched out a hand towards her face, but didn't actually make contact. In fact, after a few seconds, he took one step back, and then another.

For the first time in awhile, Kay began to struggle in earnest, straining at the bonds that held her, even in the depths of her feverish mind. She'd never gotten to say goodbye, she had so much to tell him, and she didn't care if she was imagining him or if this was the most vivid hallucination she'd suffered to date, she couldn't just let him walk away. She'd-- she'd never--

"D..." Her voice emerged in a rough rasp, choked with desperation and pain. Tears stung her eyes, but she wasn't ten anymore, she could do this-- "Dad!!"

"My, my, still so lively."

Kay's eyes flew open at the same time her captor grasped her chin and jerked it up to examine her face.

No unicorns. No presences. No father. Just brightness that burned her eyes, that infuriatingly cruel smile, and dizziness and shortness of breath. Same old, same old.

"Hmm... pupils dilated, breathing shallow... not quite life-threatening for a human, pity, but increasing the poison administered has given it a faster reaction time. The fever has spiked already, simply fascinating! Are you enjoying the experience, my dear?"

Her throat was too dry and it hurt to blink, and it would have been better if she'd said nothing at all... but as green eyes met the gleam of harsh yellow behind his glasses, she knew any sign of relenting would only please him. Prove the utter weakness of her species, or whatever he was so fond of saying.

I'm not weak.

As if in response, the massive presence she'd felt earlier stirred, and Kay's will lifted along with it. It was enough for the girl to raise her head and croak, "Tell you what... you try it out, and then you answer me."

It was all her body could handle before the pain took over but the last thing she heard as she (mercifully) lost consciousness was her torturer's mutter of, "Feisty after six days?"

Kay Faraday smiled grimly and let go, at the same time as she held on with every last ounce of willpower that remained.

She had a promise to keep.
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