screwloose: (The Doctor is In)
[personal profile] screwloose
Stein's wing of the dungeon he used to share with Birkin had become, if anything, darker and more terrifying since Birkin left. The lower floors were thick with shadows that were creepy, stitched monstrosities or tottering, jittering clockwork robots. The walls crawled with cracked mirrors and stitching, and were marked at intervals by terrifying three-eyed faces with wide, snaggle-toothed mouths. Yet arrows pointed the way accurately from the entrance of each level to the next elevator that would take Birkin and Adachi to the next floor - almost as if Stein wanted them to penetrate to the centre of his laboratory.

At the apex of the tower was a single room, lit by a single naked bulb high in the ceiling. Stein sat in a rolling office chair, his arms draped over the back of the chair. On either side of him were two operating tables, stainless steel and bearing channels to collect the blood. Thick leather straps lay open, ready to receive prisoners for experimentation.

He hadn't been idle while he waited. Several people sat in small cages against one wall, whimpering or muttering to themselves. Some had been turned into shadows on Stein's operating table, and then released to block Birkin and Adachi's way, but these were the failed experiments. One woman sobbed piteously, clutching at her arm which had turned inky black and dripped a noxious substance onto the floor that was slowly converting her feet and legs to shadow as well.

"Glad you could make it," Stein greeted them. "Now if you'll each take off your clothes and lie down, we can begin the operation."

Date: 2010-01-17 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin for one was completely exhausted. Physical activity - especially this much of it - was a foreign thing to him. He really had no clue this whole Persona thing would be so labor-intensive. If Adachi hadn't thought to steal some supplies, they probably would have been in far worse shape then they were right now.

His eyes scanned past the cages and Birkin wished for the millionth time that day that he'd just wake up already and would only need to deal with the remnants of a very, very bad dream. He willed his hands to stop shaking as he walked further into the room. They'd come this far, hadn't they? "You know," Birkin mumbled turning his head to Adachi, "you can still run off at this point. I wouldn't think you were a coward if you did."

He frowned slightly as Stein talked, standing up a bit straighter. "Not a chance in hell. I'm doing this for your own good."

Date: 2010-01-17 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
After all this trekking - again - Adachi was developing a begrudging admiration for the kids who'd done this all those times, for people they barely knew. He himself wanted nothing more than to turn back but had a sneaking feeling that without help, Birkin'd be completely screwed and hell, he couldn't let that happen to someone else he actually liked.

"You're stuck with me, doc," he replied, doing his best to ignore their surroundings. Why couldn't he be rescuing someone with a dungeon like, say, that Kujikawa girl's? This was just nasty.

He remained quiet after, letting Birkin handle whatever conversation was to be had. After all, he wasn't particularly interested in saving Stein himself.

Date: 2010-01-18 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin tilted his head slightly. "What? I didn't choose him over you, if that's what you're getting at." He held his hands up in front of his chest in an attempt to keep the peace.

As soon as the chair came hurdling towards them, Birkin stumbled off to the side hitting the ground hard, mentally cursing the fact that his one foot wasn't in particularly good shape. "Adachi, just for the record, this is the exact reason I didn't want you to come."

He picked himself off of the ground. "St- Franken, you asked me to keep you leashed when I brought you to my world, remember?" Birkin sighed, already knowing reasoning with him - it? - wouldn't work in the slightest. Discretely as he could, he started slowly fishing his tarot card out of his labcoat's pocket.

Date: 2010-01-18 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi flung himself out of the path of the chair, faring a little better than Birkin but still banging his elbow quite painfully. This was almost not worth it already. "Shut up," he snapped at Birkin. "You can say 'I told you so' later."

He shot a glare at Stein, beginning to feela round for his own persona in the back of his mind. He didn't particularly like using it - it always hurt - but he didn't have much of an option here.

"I almost can't believe we came all the way out here to save this," he said with distaste.

Date: 2010-01-18 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin didn't bother hiding the horrified look on his face as Stein's Shadow turned into... Whatever the fuck that was. "Adachi, remind me to never be that stingy with the fox ever again because that was possibly a mistake."

He smirked. "Now, I think it's time for us to teach Stein a thing or two about acceptance, don't you?" Birkin quickly summoned his Persona hoping he could get Adachi and him an advantage against this Shadow thing. ...Though why Adachi couldn't just play King of the Shadows again and just tell Stein's Shadow to knock it the fuck off genuinely alluded Birkin.

Date: 2010-01-19 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi had seen some nasty things but this in particular was incredibly unpleasant, especpially having to watch the transformation. Seriously, yuck. He summoned his Persona as well, grimacing as he did so, and began by taking the cautious root and boosting his defence and such.

"You might wanna stand back a bit," he warned Birkin, eyeing the Shadow. "We don't know what it can do yet, so let's not get ourselves killed too quickly, yeah?"

Date: 2010-01-19 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin was thankful he decided to take Adachi's advice and back up slightly. He really should have predicted this thing would have attacked with electricity, though.

He glanced over at Adachi with a worried expression. Resisting the urge to cast a healing spell on Adachi - poisoning him this early on would really only make the fight harder - he fought down his instinct to protect and gave his Persona the order to attack with one of the weaker skills he'd learned. "You're not better off. Come with us, we can help you."

Date: 2010-01-19 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi took the hit, trying not to scream as the shock ran through him. Stein hit hard and Adachi wasn't sure at all they'd win this now. It was just as well he'd taken the trouble to protect himself not long ago.

"Motherfucker," he muttered furiously, and collected himself after letting Birkin make an attack. He sort of wished he could give Stein some sort of encouragement but his general irritation meant right now all he could think of were nasty names to toss at the Shadow. He had a go though. "Yeah, let us help you get your goddamn head screwed on straight." With that, he went for a strong wind attack.

Date: 2010-01-20 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
He considered it lucky that those blades didn't simply take his head off and managed to stumble backwards far enough that the worst he got was a relatively shallow cut across his chest. It still stung like hell though.

After checking to make sure his labcoat didn't get cut in the process, Birkin cast a healing spell on himself and Adachi and suppressed the unpleasant sensation of poisoning himself for what felt like the thousandth time that day. "How the hell are we supposed to stop this thing?" he murmured to his leader with a slight frown. "Nothing's working!"

Date: 2010-01-20 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Well, shit. This was going pretty badly and Adachi was quickly coming to realise that he didn't much like this leader business. It was especially difficult when he kept being afflicted with goddamn poison.

As he prepared to summon his persona again, he answered Birkin in a low voice. "I'm gonna try charging an attack, see if that does anything." He did so, hoping the boost would mean they could get some real damage done. "You'll need to keep his attention for a minute, though."

Date: 2010-01-21 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin gave Adachi a single nod. He had no idea how he was going to 'keep his attention' but making it up as he went along was always one of his specialties. And with that other lightning bolt coming toward Adachi, he had a bit of a distraction in mind... It was insane and stupid, but he really had no choice.

He broke out into a sprint, running straight at the detective and shoved him out of the way, taking the hit. It was like a million burning syringes being shoved into his flesh all at once. He felt lightheaded, tingly - but at least he could tell he was alive.

"Why do you go after Adachi so much?" Birkin asked, raising his voice to make sure stein heard. "Afraid you're going to hurt me and make me run off? This is really just between us. So, c'mon you ugly son of a bitch; hit me." He grimaced slightly. Adachi so owed him for this.

Date: 2010-01-22 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi hadn't known what to expect for the distraction but he certainly wasn't particularly impressed by finding himself tumbling to the floor again. He bit back an angry yell and sprung back to his feet, ignoring the fact that no doubt he'd be covered in bruises later.

If they were going to get an opening, it was now. Adachi attacked, similar to Stein's earlier assault, with his persona lashing out with blades. "How d'you like me now?" he asked with a cocky smirk, rather impressed with himself. Because he was pretty sure if that didn't do any damage, nothing would.

Date: 2010-01-23 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
With Stein's monster not attacking them anymore, Birkin took the opportunity to fall to his knees and cast another healing spell on him and Adachi. Damn that was rough. Once his cuts and gashes had disappeared, he walked forward slightly.

"Stein...?" The last thing they needed was that Shadow freaking out again. "It's okay. We all have things about ourselves that we don't like, you know..."

Date: 2010-01-24 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi didn't quite collapse but it was a close-run thing. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to steady himself - god, he was trembling - as Birkin tried playing psychologist. How had the kids done this anyway? It was such a chore.

"Yep, you just gotta suck it up," Adachi added, trying to interject some cheerfulness into the situation.

Date: 2010-01-24 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin looked over his shoulder at Adachi and raised his middle finger. He really had the worst way of putting things when he wasn't pretending to be a complete idiot.

He sat down on the floor and put a hand on Stein's shoulder. "Yeah, I know," Birkin said forcing himself to smile. "You're not exactly the best influence on me either, to be fair. But it could be a lot worse. I mean, we could be crazy and alone."

After glancing over at the Shadow, Birkin sighed. "There's only one way to shut it up, you know."

Date: 2010-01-24 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi shrugged in response to the other two and folded his arms, just about resisting the urge to start tapping his foot. This was boring and he didn't want to spend another minute in here, listening to that Shadow giggling away and listening to these two have their little heart-to-heart.

He glanced over at Stein. "You'll have to accept it one way or another. Or it'll just freak out again."

Date: 2010-01-24 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
Birkin slowly stood, making sure he remained steady enough to continue holding Stein up. "You okay? Other than the exhaustion, at least?" He wrapped his arms around him, and smiled slightly before smacking Stein on the back of the head and frowning. "Don't you dare ever pull that shit again! Do you know how close I came to having a stress-related heart attack? Jackass."

He glanced over at Adachi. "You can get us out of here right? I seriously need a drink after all that." Birkin sighed. He'd be happy once all this dumb fog went away.

Date: 2010-01-25 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] det-goofball.livejournal.com
Adachi averted his eyes as Birkin got all lovey-dovey. Not the sort of rubbish he liked to see, thanks. At least he wasn't pretending to retch at the sweetness of it all.

"'Course I can get us out," he said confidently. "A drink sounds like a great idea. So let's get the hell out."

Date: 2010-01-25 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] touchofgenius.livejournal.com
"But you never had to worry about me being a Shadow because you were stuck like this the whole time!" Birkin sighed reluctantly. It wasn't his fault, he knew that but... Damn if he didn't want to blame someone for this. Well, blame someone a bit more concrete than a god or whoever supposedly cause the fog to spread.

Birkin smiled slightly, staying in-step with Stein. "Then it's settled. Drinks on me!" He lowered his voice and smirked. "We'll focus on what else you might need once Adachi isn't around." Birkin let out an airy chuckle. "So don't get too drunk and pass out, okay?"

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