Touch: Tragedy of Childhood

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by fol·ly·cle, Jul 6, 2016.

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  1. Touch

    Touch. The loving embrace of a mother. The harsh punishment of a father. Something most take for granted. For those afflicted with the disease of the same name, such is not the case.


    "You look very pretty today. So do you. Thank you."

    A young girl of about twelve with long and flowing brown hair and gray eyes sat admiring herself in the mirror she held. It was a small mirror, and the girl and the mirror itself seemed suited for each other. The room she was seated in was nice and tidy. There were boxes full of toys, but she never played with them, so the room never became messy. Also in the room was a small bed, and a side table with a lamp on top. The only way out of this room, whose walls were all a pure white, was through the sealed door that led out into the winding hallway of the facility she was contained in.

    She was among about a hundred others - all children afflicted with Touch, an autoimmune disease that slowly killed the body. Those with stronger immune systems died quicker than those without, but no one lived much longer than a week either way. Not without Null, the drug created to keep Touch at bay. The problem with this particular disease is that it can be contracted simply through physical contact of any kind. As such, Mira and several others were isolated from the world, feared for their disease. The facility that held them promised a cure. How many years it's been since they first promised that is unknowable, but what everyone did know was that they had yet to deliver.

    Mira was immune to all of this though. Stuck in her own little world, she wasn't even fully aware of what was wrong with her. The suited men that came in to test her every so often, the sealed room... It was all just what was normal for her. Her friend in the mirror kept her from feeling lonely. Even though there were other kids here, whom she could play tag, hide and seek, and pretend with, she wasn't interested in much of that. There were only two children in particular who piqued her curiosity - a young boy who could also see her best friend, and a young girl that was always by his side. She enjoyed spending time with these two. They weren't anywhere to be seen now though. She couldn't understand why she can't see them whenever she wants to.


    The young girl turned her head towards the sudden noise that had penetrated her room. Nichols, the overseer of her group, had opened the door and stepped in. "It's play time," he told her. His eyes were droopy, as always, but the look on his face had a slight hint of sadness. He concealed it with a smile around the other researchers, but he knew Mira wouldn't notice if he was looking down.

    Mira's face lit up. "Did you hear that?" she asked, turning towards her mirror. "We can see Aiden and Amena!" Mira stood up and rushed over to Nichols, who was currently dressed up in a full body suit, so as to avoid catching the ailment that so permeated this entire facility's existence. Mira was surprised to see that Nichols had already gathered up all the others.

    Aiden and Amena were there, along with Kou, and older boy with a saddened expression, and Noel and Isabella, two girls that were almost always together. Corin, the youngest among them, had brought his stuffed dog along. Mira walked over to Aiden and Amena and displayed her mirror to them. "She says 'hi'," she told them, cheerful in tone.
    #1 fol·ly·cle, Jul 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
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  2. Aiden had no problems being woken. He'd respond with a smile and a cheery greeting. Nichols' expression was hard for Aiden to read so he bugged the overseer with all kinds of questions. "In my dream last night, I got married!" Aiden said with a laugh. "It was nice, there was ice cream cake. I didn't get to see my bride's face, though. Would you get married someday?"

    He didn't wait for Nichols' reply and he went about his bed, tidying it up by himself. His bright red hair stood out in the room filled with very little color aside from white. When Aiden finished, he pulled out his dream diary and wrote a hurried entry. "All I need are a few keywords and I remember my dreams vividly." He explained to no one in particular. "I remember birth dates differently though, they have a certain...feeling that I recall with."

    What Aiden doesn't remember however, was the psychotic attack he had just the night before. He had lashed out wildly and wounded himself on the arm, crying and screaming. The tears started when he had to go back into his room already, and escalated into the attack. He had to be tranquillised again, as he had to be nearly every weekend when the effects of Null begin to fade from his system. He always woke up like it was nothing.

    As they went out to fetch the others, he continued prattling about his dreams in the recent nights and after that, he begun reciting birth dates. He paused suddenly. "Can we go see Amena, Mira and her friend now? Well, but we will, right? Okay, neato. Where was I..." He went on reciting birth dates as he entered the next room ahead of Nichols.
    #2 Banana-senpai, Jul 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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  3. Corin
    He was a small boy, his hands pressed tightly into fists, as he sat curled in the corner of his room. Toys were strewn carelessly across the floor; attempts at distraction that had been quickly discarded. The only one that seemed to be cared for at all was the stuffed blue dog that lay carefully tucked under the covers of his bed. It was a bed that he himself had not gotten much sleep in the night before. He'd laid with the blanket pulled up over his nose, fingers clutching at the soft fabric, whispering comforting thoughts to help himself fall asleep. It had seemed like one of his good nights, and he'd even dozed off for a few hours, until he'd awoken, suddenly struck by the overwhelming fear that if he closed his eyes again they'd be shut for good.

    It seemed a waste to leave such a perfectly good bed empty, however, so he had allowed his favorite toy to take his place. Mr. Fuzzles took the bed, and Corin took the floor. While at eight he'd yet to see a real dog, he'd always held a particular fascination with the stuffed one. At a younger age, he'd carted the animal around on his shoulders. Now that he was older, while he no longer felt the need to take it everywhere he went, he still made sure to give it daily cuddles and pats on the head. He hoped his little buddy wouldn't be too lonely once he was gone.

    He was considering this idea, eyes trained intently on Mr. Fuzzles, when Nichols entered the room. Corin didn't bother to look over before he began his normal stubborn routine. He was feeling grumpy, and didn't want to cooperate.
    "I'm not doing what you tell me to."

    He glanced over, ready to glare and pout and make it clear just how unhappy he was currently feeling - until he realized who it was. His disposition changed immediately, to a much more relaxed and cheerful one. Nichols was one of his favorite researchers, and while he gave him his fair share of issues, he was normally much more willing to cooperate when in his charge.
    "Do you think dogs think like people do?"

    He got to his feet, flashing a somewhat shy smile in Aiden's direction, before walking over to grab Mr.Fuzzles. Of his group, Aiden was the closest in age to him, but the boy's constant cheerful optimism often left Corin feeling annoyed - and for that reason he had acted harshly towards him multiple times in the past. He had never hated the boy, however, so it only seemed appropriate that he make this attempt to act friendly before taking his place at Nichols' side.
    "I'm not really sure, but I think I should take him with me anyways. If he does think like people, he's probably been feeling very worried about loneliness lately."

    With this declaration, he followed Nichols into the other room, his stuffed dog tucked under his arm.

    #3 Cwolf0615, Jul 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
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  4. MENA frowned at the mirror as she stared at the rashes that seemed to grow on her arms after she combed her hair. It was itchy and it hurt. She didn't quite understand why it appears, last time the nice doctor told her why it occurred, it just confused her. Amena shook her hair and began to quietly keep the toys she had a tea party with in their little box. She smiled at them. They were old (some new) and had little bits of holes in them with their stuffing coming out , but she didn't want them replaced. They'd be sad if they'd go, so Mr. Nichols and the nice doctor gave her new ones to play with the older ones. That made her a little bit happier, she had more little friends to play tea with. There was a knock on the door and Amena looked around as the door was opened.

    Amena gave her brightest smile. "Hello, Mr. Nichols," Amena greeted him as he came to pick her up, "You should come earlier and we could have joined our tea party!" She stood up and wandered out the door ahead of him, not waiting for his reply. She smiled brightly when she saw Aiden, a little behind Corin. "Ada!" greeted cheerfully and ran to hug him, almost as if they didn't see each other the day before. "My Ada!" She added with an exuberant hug. "Are you okay?" She asked him as she held his hand as they walked through the corridor towards the "play pen". She smiled as he responded. "That's good." She said and reached up to scratch the rash forming on her arm. "My arms are splotchy and red again." She told him with a frown. "And it hurts," she added, looking up to their caretaker. "Will the nice doctor come back to look at my itchies soon?" She asked Mr. Nichols when he attempted to soothe her by patting her head.

    "I think we can ask someone to bring your soap, Amena. I'll make sure of it." Mr. Nichols told her. Amena nodded, trusting Mr. Nichols to keep his word. "Okay." She hummed a little song they taught as she held hands with Aiden. "I hope Mira and her friend is okay." She told Aiden, a little worried for the older girl, and turned to smile at Corin softly. "And hello to you too Corin." She greeted the younger boy as they walked towards the next room.
    #4 Boss Megu, Jul 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  5. Dead. That was how he felt, that was what he was. He hugged his knees to his chest, slightly shivering from the coldness deep inside him, staring blankly at the opposite wall. He wasn't exactly sure how long it had been since he had woken up. Had it been seconds, minutes, days? Time was an abstract thing. These days he could not pay attention to anything else, except for the gnawing hole inside his chest. It was as if something were eating him from inside out. He could not move. He was scared. What for, he didn't know, but his heart beat so fast it felt like it could jump out at any moment. His palms were sweating rivers.

    "A... ...ou...k..."

    What was that voice? Was someone speaking to him?

    "K..u. K..o..." A muffled voice was reaching into the depths, blindly searching for the soul that had lost itself in the darkness. The boy felt as if he were underneath the ocean. Everything was blurry, muted, dark. Then, someone grabbed his shoulder. He gave a startled jolt.


    The voice was clear now. He could see the man who had spoken, vividly, as if he had just woken up from a dream. The man was someone he trusted, though he could barely remember his name. Kou had not heard him enter. He had been so lost inside himself. So lost.

    "Come on, now." The man said kindly, giving Kou's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. His eyes held a certain tinge of sadness. "It's time to play with the rest.”

    “Mmh,” Kou grunted by way of a reply. With shaking arms, he pushed himself up from the floor. His head hurt from the sudden movement—so much that he would have tripped on his own feet, had Nichols failed to catch him on time. The boy finally found his footing and the man escorted him out the room. Kou realised for the first time that the man had brought several other children with him. All were familiar faces but Kou could hardly grasp their names. He straggled to the door, back hunched and eyes expressionless.
    #5 FieryCold, Jul 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2016
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  6. Silence... Deafening silence... Isabella had woke up early that morning, as she always did, although she wasn't aware of that as time seemed meaningless in the blank white room. It was better that way, she wasn't sure of the exact number of days but she wouldn't be alive much longer, she had less then 3 months to live. She sat in the floor hugging her knees, listening to the silence, occasionally it was broken by the sound of air coming into the room through the air vent, which was more for keeping fresh air in the rooms then keeping them cool. Her mind wondered easily, trying to remember any fragments of the outside world she had known before all this, it gave her peace and kept her mind at ease.

    Despite the circumstances that led to her being here, thinking back on her life helped her to remember who she was, and what she stood for. Finding a cure was the top priority in her mind, anything she could do to save families like hers from heartbreak, she was willing to do. Her mind fluctuated from an adult like perspective of the big picture, to a childish selfishness quickly though. She wanted to live, to spend her life on the outside, to grow old with someone, to have the life her parents would have had. While it was only a fantasy she had when her resolve was weakened by fear and doubt, she constantly had to remind herself it could never be, but some part of her wanted so desperately to believe that it was possible.

    She sighed softly, the only noise that she had heard in the past hour besides the hum and click of the air cycling through, it almost startled her. She looked around the room as if searching for some kind of indication of the time, knowing Mr.Nichols would be by soon bringing all the other children. She blushes as she saw a small stuffed bunny sitting on her pillow, it was the only thing she wanted to keep in her room, a momento from her baby sister. Although her room was always clean and tidy, the bunny was old, worn out, riddled with holes and missing one ear, but she loved it, often refering to it affectionately as her sister, she cuddled it every night.

    She began to get up, taking her time to allow her body to wake back up before attempting to walk. She made her way to the bed and picked it up off her pillow, "Sorry sis, but you know what time it is." She gently pets it's head before tucking it under her pillow so the others wouldn't see. "I'll be back later so don't you worry~"

    A few moments passed before a loud knock startled her, the sound echoing slightly in the small but empty space. Isabella turned to face the door as it opened, a small blush on her cheeks as she noticed all the others behind him, peering into her room.

    "Morning Isabella, how are you feeling today?" He only asked because he noticed her coughing more then usual the day before, likely due to her dust allergy combined with her mild asthma. He had a lot of children under his care but Isabella stuck out as special, he tried to avoid the topic of death with all the children but she had almost perfectly predicted her own life expectancy, based on a nothing but the time it took for the other children before her to die. It was almost strange how at ease she seemed with her own death, like she accepted it as a part of her.

    She put her hands behind her back shyly as she blocked the view of her pillow from the others, hesitantly approaching the door. "I'm feeling fine, thanks." She says with a dainty sweetness as she steps out into the hallway, looking into the crowd of children for her friend Noel. Although she had done this many times before and knew they would go to her room next, she always checked to see if she was there. Noel gave her something to look forward to, in this otherwise bland existence, and she was the only one Isabella could really open up to and feel somewhat comfortable around.
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  7. Noel's room was... Interesting. The walls, which at one point where white, where now "decorated." Odd interpretations of what the outside world looked like, visualized with crude, child-like drawings on the wall. It was charming in a way, but it definitely did not appeal to the eye.

    A couple books were scattered on the floor, most of which she used for references, perhaps that explained the purple trees or the winged horses. Boxes full of crayons were neatly piled, the colors inside where surprisingly organized, at least in contrast to the rest of her room.

    There weren't many toys, a few plush animals adorned her bed though, she didn't have much of an attachment to them, in fact, she always managed to lose them even though they never left her room.

    She was oblivious to her situation, like many other kids in the facility. However, she had an odd fascination with the outside world, perhaps due to her interacting with the other kids, those who arrived at a much older age. Her room was the result of those interactions, her imagination, and of course... Children's books.

    After a couple minutes of pacing around the room, she laid on her bed, staring at the ceiling of the room. She couldn't even remember how she had managed to reach it in order to continue her "decorating."

    Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. She sat up at the edge of the bed, swinging her legs as she waited for the door to open. Nichols opened the door, but she hardly paid attention to him as she stood to join the other kids.

    She noticed Isabella step forward slightly out of the crowd of kids, a large smile on her face as she rushed forward and grabbed her hand, holding it tightly as she looked up at her. "Hey Izzy!" She says quietly, a bit excited to go to the play room.
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  8. Nichols smiled at the interactions between the children in his group. Kou was a saddened soul, so he stuck to him and conversed with him while they walked along, but the others were still so full of cheer, even if their situation was dire. The male was happy that he could provide this happiness for them in an otherwise unforgiving environment. All the things they took for granted were privileges he made sure they had. The mirror that Mira treasured so dearly, the stuffed dog that Corin loved so much, the tea Amena enjoyed everyday... They were all things that Nichols personally made sure they had. Anything he could in order to make their short time here more worth living through.

    It wouldn't be long before the group arrived at the play room. Aiden and Amena were quick to rush to a nearby table for a tea party, the girl of the pair dragging Mira along with her, making sure to afford a seat for her friend's mirror. Corin seemed content playing with his dog, and Noel and Isabella were playing together as they always did. Knowing that he'd otherwise simply retreat to a corner of the room and not interact with anyone, Nichols grabbed Kou's arm lightly before he could lumber away to his usual reclusive spot.

    "I know you don't like to talk much, but how about it?" he asked the male, taking a seat at a table that overlooked the area. Nichols wished he could take off his suit and speak to Kou face to face, but the last thing he wanted now was to be separated from them all. Even for a degenerate such as himself, it was nice being relied upon again. He'd grown used to it. "Let's talk about the outside world. You didn't come here at birth, so I know you've experienced it. If you could be out there again, what would you want to do first?"

    Mira, who'd been dragged along for a tea party, smiled at her mirror and lifted a cup towards it. "Drink up," she told the female in the mirror. Though she'd done this many other times, she never really poured anything onto the mirror. Nichols had already told her before that her friend told him she didn't like tea, but that she didn't mind pretending for Mira. "The tea is delicious!" she exclaimed to Amena with a great smile. "My friend likes it too!"
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  9. While he dearly loved the other kids, Aiden learned to keep quiet around them. Not talking to them hurt him, but he didn't want to make them any sadder. He didn't know what exactly he can to do make them smile, but he watched them closely most of the time.

    He stopped reciting birthdates immediately after entering Corin's room. Aiden stopped at the doorway and kept his distance, always having a feeling that Corin didn't like him. He stood there with a forlorn smile at Corin's beloved dog and wanted to suggest to bring it. That day, he decided he wanted a big tea party with everyone. In his dream where he got married, all of his brothers and sisters were happy and Nichols was the priest. Aiden knew he can't achieve something like that, but he can try. Amena's tea parties can fit everyone.

    "Do you think dogs think like people do?" Corin asked Nichols. "Of course!" Aiden didn't say. He swung back and forth on his heels, watching the two. He wasn't aware that he had nodded vigorously in agreement, his bright red hair going over his eyes. Perhaps Corin saw, because he smiled. Aiden wanted so badly to talk all about dogs having feelings but he settled for a smile and a small wave to Corin and his dog. "I'm not really sure, but I think I should take him with me anyways. If he does think like people, he's probably been feeling very worried about loneliness lately." Corin continued. Aiden nodded again.

    Nichols and the two boys were quiet when they entered Amena's room, even as she greeted Nichols. Aiden was still keeping to himself for Corin's sake. Amena's cry alerted him and the next thing he knew, he was smothered into her hug. "My Ada!" she said happily. Aiden wasn't sure who started the nicknames between them, but it stuck. "Are you okay?" she checked him. Aiden was confused by her asking but that was how Amena often was, anyway. He smiled and nodded. "That's good." She nodded as they got ready to leave. She complained about her "itchies". Sometimes, Amena's being two years older than him could be entirely forgotten. This made him chuckle to himself.

    Kou looked, moved and sounded like a reanimated corpse to Aiden sometimes. Those were on "good" days. He watched with concern quietly, squeezing Amena's hand and glancing at her. He had learned to keep quiet around Kou, having tried talking to him before. Nichols called Kou several times before he finally moved. "Come on, now. It's time to play with the rest.” Nichols spoke gently. Kou grunted and joined their little group as Aiden peeked at his face, attempting to greet him. He thought against it and they all moved to the next room.

    "Morning Isabella, how are you feeling today?" Nichols greeted the blushing girl. Aiden peeked past Nichols' back andgave Isabella a small smile. "I'm feeling fine, thanks." she replied while hiding the pillow everyone saw her holding. She looked over them all though she knew her friend Noel's room was their next stop. "We'll see Noel now." he wanted to reassure her. He decided it was not needed and kept quiet.

    Aiden liked Noel's colorful room, seeing it was a nice break from the uniformity. Noel eagerly joined them, greeting her friend. Aiden stepped away to let them walk together.

    Mira looked cheerful and Aiden was glad to finally see her. She stood with him and Amena and said, "She says 'hi'." Aiden looked at Mira's mirror and smiled to her "friend" too. "Good morning to you both." He finally spoke cheerily, "Let's have a tea party." He suggested.

    Sure enough, Amena took Mira to her tea table. Courtesy of Nichols, there was already some tea and enough cups and saucers for everyone, not that it all got used. Perhaps it was to encourage them to talk to each other and Aiden was determined to make it happen. He walked over to Corin. "Hey Corin. We're having some tea. One cup can make your puppy feel calm so how about you two join us?" He said with a small smile. "I'll go get Isabella and Noel, you go on ahead, alright?"

    He stopped, noticing that Nichols was talking to Kou at a far table. He watched them for a moment, his head tilted in curiosity. He turned to Isabella and Noel then he walked to them. He would get Kou and Nichols when they're done.

    "Hello." Aiden said nervously. Somehow, he was most comfortable with Amena and Mira but to other girls, he got jittery. It didn't happen when he was younger and he couldn't exactly explain it himself. "W-would you ladies want some tea? Join us there, okay?" He was fiddling with his hands before he noticed. He stood there awkwardly for a moment then dashed to Amena. He wanted to melt away, thinking he sounded too bossy.

    "What in the world happened to me!" he said, hiding his face in his palms and leaning on Amena softly. "Can I have some of that tea now?"
    #9 Banana-senpai, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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  10. Amena was a bit of an excitable child; At least, that was the impression Corin always got when they picked her up for playtime.

    "Ada! My Ada!"
    The two children were always so happy to see each other. Sometimes Corin wished there was someone who would be that excited to see him, but he guessed it was his own fault. He wasn't exactly easy to approach, on most days. Besides, he had Mr.Fuzzles.

    "And hello to you too, Corin."
    With a somewhat newfound sense of jealousy, he pressed the stuffed dog to his face, giving nothing more than something akin to a growl in response. He'd heard once that dogs growled when they were feeling unhappy.

    Other than dogs, someone else who seemed to know how to express this feeling was Kou. He was the oldest of the group, and for as long as the short time Corin could remember, he'd been unhappy. When he was younger, he'd found his behavior a bit frightening - but now, that he was older, more intelligent, and finally understood - he couldn't help but look up to him. Some days, he'd just sit and watch him from across the room, admiring his forlorn attitude. He'd never told anyone for fear of sounding silly, but Kou's unfriendliness made him wish they could be friends. At least he wasn't like so many of the others; he understood. While Corin had never asked anyone of his group if they grasped the severity of their situation, he knew they couldn't. If they did, how did they seem so cheerful all the time? He couldn't help but nod in solemn respect at the dead look on Kou's face as he stumbled out the door after them.

    Next was Isabella. She was a quiet girl. Corin got the sense she was only comfortable around Noel. Other than that, though, he didn't know what to think of her. He'd never quite been able to figure her out, not that he'd really put that much effort in to begin with. People could be confusing. Her friend, for example. Her room was certainly... interesting. He always tried to pretend that he didn't like the colorful drawings on the wall, but found himself stealing glances at them anyways.

    Those two were the last of the group, which meant it was time to play. Corin wasn't always very good at playing. Sometimes he yelled at the other kids. He knew he shouldn't do that, but he never thought about that when it was happening. All he thought about was how mad they were making him feel. He was starting to wonder if he should play at all today. Sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he just played with Mr.Fuzzles, or watched Kou. Maybe he could watch Kou today? Nichols was talking to him. He wanted to know what Kou would say to him, if anything at all.

    "Hey Corin. We're having some tea. One cup can make your puppy feel calm, so how about you two join us?"

    Well that settled that.

    Corin would have liked to inform Aiden that Mr.Fuzzles did not like tea, and that he was a dog, not a puppy, but decided it best to leave it alone. Mr.Fuzzles glare would surely speak for itself. Besides, if he was to be honest, his stuffed toy wasn't the only one who'd been worrying about loneliness lately. He'd simply have to watch Kou another day.

    "I guess if you really want me to."
    He said, lifting his head up in a somewhat condescending manner.

    "Mr. Fuzzles doesn't mind. Today."

    He walked over, and joined the others at the table, before promptly snuggling his face back against his stuffed toy. He attempted to act interested, but kept trying to watch Kou out of the corner of his eyes.
    "I'm not always sure I like tea. I think we have too many tea parties."

    #10 Cwolf0615, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  11. Noel and Isabella's conversations were almost always short and irrelevant, Isabella's eyes never really staying still for long, often glancing around the room nervously to make sure the children were okay, not that she didn't trust Nichols to do his job but she felt better none the less.

    A small smile grew on her face, Amena's tea parties were always interesting to watch, it almost reminded her of her life before all this, what small fragments she could remember anyway. Tea, cookies, and of course, tons of "guests" which consisted largely of stuffed animals and imaginary friends. She never had actual tea or cookies though, guess it seemed like an insignificant thing until she really thought about it. Nichols obviously cared for the children, like they were each a blessing to be nurtured and cared for and not just a research tool or a burden associated with his job, to think that he took the time to make sure they would be provided with what little they had to make their lives more bearable in containment, it made her feel somewhat loved.


    Her thoughts were broken by the sound of a child's voice, her eyes darting down to see Aiden, she gave him a small smile to try and put him at ease, feeling a little shy herself. "Hello." She said with a soft but cheerful tone, listening to him speak.

    "W-Would you ladies want some tea? Join us there, okay?"

    She glanced at Noel as if searching for an answer, before turning back to look at him. "We'd love to join you for tea, we will be over in a minute." She smiled again, watching him return to the table quickly. She giggled softly, not even really feeling how hot her cheeks had gotten just from having to speak to him.

    "Soo... Tea then?" She asked with a small smile as she looked back at Noel. "Oh don't give me that look, it'll be fun." She said before sticking her tongue out with a giggle and grabbing her hand, pulling her towards the table.
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  12. When they finally arrived at the playroom, Kou automatically searched for the most secluded corner. Everyone else was so cheerful despite everything. He couldn't understand it. And when he couldn't understand something, he wanted to get away from it. Part of him was scared to infect the carefree atmosphere with his negativity. Another part of him—the bigger part—just didn't feel like talking. He didn't really feel much like anything. With heavy steps, he started for the furthest corner of the room, sleep heavy on his mind. But then, someone lightly grabbed his arm before he could get away any further. Kou looked back to see that the kind man whose name he could barely recall was holding him back.

    "I know you don't like to talk much, but how about it?" The man sat at the table, but Kou remained standing. He looked at the man—or, more accurately, stared at him. As though he were just a very interesting wall. What would they talk about? Kou had nothing to say to him. His mind was blank. All he wanted to do was sleep until his body finally lost all will to see another day through. "Let's talk about the outside world. You didn't come here at birth, so I know you've experienced it. If you could be out there again, what would you do first."

    Kou rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands. There were tears in his eyes again, but not because he was feeling sad or sentimental. His eyes just liked to well up at random moments like this. Oh, what he would give to just do away with this hopeless attempt at a conversation and sleep on the floor. Taking a shaky breath, as though mustering up the courage to speak, he said, "I-I don't know." His voice came out as a croak, rusty from being barely used. "Why does it matter. Even if I tell you, it won't change anything, will it." He didn't even bother lilting his questions properly. Rubbing his eyes harshly until they were almost bloodshot, he sniffed. "Can I go back to my room? I don't feel like playing." It was a long shot, but he was tired. Tired of this conversation. Tired of everything.
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  13. Amena frowned at the sight of Kou but kept her words to herself. She was slightly apprehensive about the older boy, not scared, but more, worried? Yes. That must be it. She was slightly worried about the unkempt older boy. Sighing, she walked with Aiden from one room to the other and beamed as she reached the playroom, but not before greeting Mira and her friend properly when they met, of course. She dragged Mira to the table, letting Aiden follow on his own pace. She took a glance at Kou and frowned. He was all alone again. Kou seemed very tired lately. Amena hopes that the nice doctor will take a look at him like when she felt really bad.

    "Amena, your tea is ready." Mr. Nichol's told her, bringing her out of her sad thoughts. She quickly turned and beamed at Mr. Nichols as he brought her the tea set, with biscuits! "Thank you, Mr. Nichols! These biscuits all look so good!" She said happily. They didn't always have this many biscuits with tea, and it made Amena very happy to have so much variety. Picking one up, she took a bite. "Yum, yum!" She said and began to distribute the plates and tea cups. One for her, Mira and Aiden, though there were always extras. She blinked as Aiden stood up suddenly and walked towards the other group of children. Shrugging, she began to pour the tea out to Mira and Aiden, as a proper hostess. She giggled as she added one lump of sugar and took a sip. "Minty Milk Tea is the best~" She told Mira and urged her to drink.

    "The tea is delicious!" she exclaimed to Amena with a great smile. "My friend likes it too!" Amena smiled brightly. "I'm glad she likes it!" She honestly told her. "You should try it with the biscuits! They taste even better." Corin appeared beside their table, snuggling to his little dog. "I'm not always sure I like tea. I think we have too many tea parties." He told the table but Amena didn't take offense and smiled gently at him. "Well, you can try this one, Corin, and you decide. I find this one particularly lovely." She told him as she patted the seat on her left, Aiden after all, always sat on her right. "It's Minty Milk Tea, sweet but not too much." She said and poured him a cup. "We can add sugar if you find it bitter or leave it if you don't like it. We can ask Mr. Nichols for warm milk instead, if you prefer." Amena smiled softly at him and handed him the cup and a plate of biscuits. "You don't need to drink tea at my tea party! You can sit with us and eat biscuits and just stay. I don't mind."

    Aiden returned suddenly, snuggling to her side that made Amena go "Oof". Bewildered, Amena automatically circled her arms around him and patted him on the head with a worried smile, not certain of what happened. "What in the world happened to me!" he said, hiding his face in his palms and leaning on Amena softly. "Can I have some of that tea now?" Not sure what was going on, Amena handed him his cup and added a few biscuits to his plate. "Ada? What's wro-" Amena's question was disrupted at the appearance of Noel and Isabella. "Hello," Amena greeted. "I wasn't sure you were going to join us. Please take a seat!" She began to distribute the tea and biscuits with a smile on her face. Seeing that nearly all of them were in the same place, Amena smiled brightly. "This is the most brilliant tea party ever!" She cried to all of them. Amena then whispered to Aidan. "You did this," she whispered with a proud smile, "You brought us together!"

    Amena turned her eyes upward, towards Kou and Mr. Nichols and frowned. Narrowing her forehead, she made a decision. "Mr. Nichols! Kou!" She called out loudly. "Come join us! My tea party's not JUST for tea! It's for friends and family!" Pausing, she then added: "I want my whole family to join my tea party, even if you don't drink my tea!" Smiling brightly, Amena also added: "Please?", in her most pleading voice.
    #13 Boss Megu, Jul 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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  14. Noel was standing with Isabella, having planned on asking more about the outside world and hoping to be able to draw with her today. She had been trying to find the right way to ask about the outside for quite sometime, but as her only knowledge of it was from books and asking an occasional question to Nichols, she wasn't even sure what she wanted to know about, and since Izzy hardly ever remembered anything anyway, asking, "What's the outside world like?", didn't get her very far.

    She instead sighed and stood quietly, wondering what they would talk about next before looking at Aiden as he approached.

    "W-Would you ladies want some tea? Join us there, okay?"

    She glanced over at Isabella and began to open her mouth to speak as she turned back to look at Aiden, "Um, Not t-..."

    "We'd love to join you for tea, we will be over in a minute."

    She was cut off by her friend, looking over at her with a shocked expression, she hardly ever heard Izzy speaking to others, this was an opportunity to help bring her out of her shell. She was a bit disappointed they wouldn't get to spend time together as friends today.

    "So... tea then?" Isabella asked as she turned to smile at Noel. She playfully rolled her eyes, sticking her tongue out afterwards. "Oh don't give me that look, it'll be fun."

    She felt Izzy's hand grabbing hers before she was quickly snatched forward, Isabella nearly dragging her to the table. She smiled gently and gave a soft giggle. "Slow down, I'm sure the tea is still hot."

    Isabella and her arrived to the table, quickly being greeted by their hostess, Amena.

    "Hello. I wasn't sure you were going to join us. Please, take a seat!"

    Noel nods to Amena, "Thank you." She looks to Izzy and motions for her to pick a chair, "Well?"
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  15. Nichols sighed, a saddened expression on his face. He tried to converse with Kou every time he brought them here, knowing that he wasn't the type to play with toys and enjoy tea parties, but he was always met with the same result. Today was different though. "Not today," he answered. "There's something we need to do. Why don't you go drink some tea?" He knew the suggestion was folly, but he thought that he may as well. 'This'll be our last day here anyway...'

    Mira only became increasingly nervous at the amount of people that were joining them. Sure, she knew all of them, but she wasn't used to having to interact with so many of them. She quietly drank her tea and ate the treats afforded her, trying to avoid any unnecessary contact with those outside of Aiden and Amena. She'd been like this for most of her time here, and didn't feel it was something that needed to be changed. Not so long as she had her best friend with her. "It's delicious, isn't it?" she asked her friend in the mirror. "Mr. Nichols got it special, just for us and our friends." She smiled, her friend's "presence" reassuring her that it was fine even with this many people.

    "Mr. Nichols! Kou!" Amena called out, much to Mira's surprise. If they decided to join, their whole group would be involved. She was fine with Mr. Nichols, but Kou was always a bit of an outsider in their group. He was the oldest, and he had a different air about them. Mira couldn't understand it herself, but she felt it might negatively impact her friend if she got too involved with the male. "Come join us! My tea party's not JUST for tea! It's for friends and family! I want my whole family to join my tea party, even if you don't drink my tea!"

    Smiling, Nichols stood and pleadingly motioned for Kou to follow him. It was up to him whether or not he did, but he hoped he would. "I'd be happy to join you all, though I'm not much of a tea drinker." Nichols took a seat near Amena, who happily poured him a cup and offered him some treats. "Thank you, m'lady." He smiled at the group before taking a sip of his tea.
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  16. "You did this." Amena said. "You brought us together."

    He peeked from his hands, delighted to see her smiling. He peered over at Mira as well. "Lady Mira, I hope you and your friend are both comfortable. Just tell me if you need anything."

    Vividly brightening up, Aiden stood and beamed at the group. "Thank you for joining, everyone." he said, attempting to tone himself down as Kou and Nichols approached. "It's pretty selfish of me to force you all to Ama's's not even my party or anything. But...if I'm just glad!"

    He raised his cup of tea carefully. "To us!" He then drank and sputtered just a little from the heat. Deciding to show heart and not falter on the tea party, he gulped the rest of the hot tea down with a fierce conviction, making his eyes sting and his face almost as red as his hair. He almost seemed to be chugging alcohol.

    "D-d-delicious-" he shakily sat down, wiping his eyes hastily on his arm. "These are t-tears of joy, guys." His tongue did not at all feel like a tongue at the moment so he pulled closer a pitcher of water as discreetly as he could although he was aware they were staring at him. "No really. I love Ama's tea. I'm just really happy."

    He drank some water and poured himself some more tea, remembering to blow this time.

    His mouth still wasn't ready yet.
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  17. A sad expression flitted across the man's face. "Not today," he replied. "There's something we need to do. Why don't you go drink some tea?" Well, it was worth the shot, at least. Kou gave a weak nod, glancing in the direction of the other children. He had never really struck up a conversation with any of them, he realized. It wasn't so much that he didn't want to, it's just that he didn't know how. Just as soon as he decided to take up his usual spot in the corner instead of heeding Mr. Nichols' request, someone called out to him. "Mr. Nichols! Kou!" Though her face seemed familiar enough, Kou could not remember her name. He might have known it once, but such little details always managed to slip from his mind. "Come join us! My tea party's not JUST for tea! It's for friends and family!" Friends? He did not have friends here. If he wasn't so unsociable, maybe he could have had a few, but right now that was impossible for him. And family... no matter what he did, he just couldn't remember them.

    "I want my whole family to join my tea party, even if you don't drink my tea!" The girl's smile was so bright, it was blinding. How could anyone be so happy? Such a thing was almost like an alien concept to him. "Please?"

    He decided not to turn her down, especially after she had pleaded and all. And so he gave her a noncommittal shrug and fell into step beside the doctor. Dr. Nichols smiled encouragingly and beckoned Kou to follow. Kou took a seat and slumped in it, watching everyone talk amongst themselves, uncertain if he should speak up as well or just remain quiet, as he always did.
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  18. Corin gave a small sigh as Amena patted the chair beside herself. He would prefer to stand, but there was no point in fighting about it. He got tired quickly, anyways. With a slight shrug, he took the chair next to her. He then promptly pushed away the tea she poured him, resting his arms on the table instead.

    "I'll try it in a little."

    'In a little' most often translated to 'never'. He simply wasn't in the mood for snacks. He usually didn't have much of an appetite for his actual meals, let alone silly drinks drank around a silly little table seating silly people acting... well... silly.

    "Mr. Nichols! Kou! Come join us!"

    Corin couldn't help but scoff a little at this remark. Kou wouldn't want to take part in something so dumb! He didn't want to listen to stupid people like Aiden go on about how happy they were! Or... did he?

    Much to Corin's surprise, the older boy actually did come over. Even if his apparent unfriendliness was much of what drew Corin to him, he couldn't help but be a bit excited to have him so near. He rested his head on his arms, somewhat copying Kou's slumped stature, and stared over at him in silence. While it was slight, he wore a stupid, almost giddy, grin on his face.
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  19. Isabella sat quietly, sipping her tea with a rather distant stare, occasionally munching on a cookie, seemingly spacing out but actually listening to all the conversations happening around the table. She had to space out and 'distance' herself from reality or else her anxiety would get the better of her.

    She glances down at the table infront of her, her hand had wandered off and found its way to her plate again, but her plate was now empty. She lets out a small sigh as she glances towards the pile of snacks in the center of the table, looking down to start sipping her tea again, trying to distract herself to avoid blushing, being to scared to reach forward or ask for more.

    She jumped slightly as she heard the chair move beside her, her eyes darting to the side to see Kou joining them at the table. She shifts in her chair, scooting a little closer to Noel to give Kou room to sit. She didn't have a problem with Kou but almost felt as though he didn't want anyone to be in his space, not that she really enjoyed having others close to her either, Kou just had a special sort of negativity about him, she could feel it. She swallows nervously before her hand disappears under the table, searching for Noel's comforting grasp as she goes to sip more tea, finding her cup empty as well. She looks down at her cup with a rather disappointed expression not expecting it to be empty yet, she reaches down to set it on her saucer, clearing her throat softly as she stares down at the table instead, her tea cup making a soft clicking sound as she places it down.
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  20. Amena squealed when Mr. Nichols approached and clapped happily when Kou came to join them. "K-Kou!" She squeaked, blushing when he took a seat at their table. "I-I..." She stammered, finding herself lost for words as everyone came to join her tea party. That, and she was slightly overwhelmed at the emotions she was feeling. She wasn't sure why she was so very happy with Kou's participation.

    "This is amazing!" She told Ada with a bright smile. She poured Kou a cup and ensured to send the better biscuits (though she's confused as to why it was also called cookies) his way. Humming, Amena took a sip of her tea and gave everyone a happy-happy smile. "Thank you for joining us everyone! It makes me so h-happy!" She stuttered, tearing up slightly with a smile. She rubbed her eyes quickly, not wanting to see her cry.

    Sniffling, Amena gave them a watery grin. "I'm not s-sad!" She cried, wiping the tears, "These are happy-happy tears!" Ama gave herself a few minutes to calm herself, hugging Aiden tightly. "I'm so happy, Aiden! Everyone's here!" she whispered with a smile, seeing him crying too. What an odd they were, crying together.

    She took a glance at the table and blinked to see Isabella's plate empty. Looking decidedly shocked, Amena turned to Corin. "Corin, dear, can you hand the plates of biscuits to Isabella?" She asked the younger boy. "And also send some to Kou, too." She added with a brighter smile.

    She looked to Mr. Nichols with a smile and turned away to cough hard. She frowned, tasting blood in her mouth. Amena hoped she was okay today. She didn't want to be sick on the day everyone joined her tea party. Plastering a wobbly smile, Amena turned to her tea, hoping it calmed stomach.

    It wasn't odd for her to be sick. Looking down at her plate of biscuits, Ama picked the one she bit earlier and took another bite. She was happy, but somehow, she also felt sad. "Mr. Nichols, will you tell us a story?"
    #20 Boss Megu, Aug 10, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
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