Without a key
A/N: Wow has it been a while eh? I'm sorry for such a long delay, there are good reasons but I doubt anyone cares to hear them. For those of you that have been following Wings of the Butterfly, don't worry as I stated in the beginning I have no intention of abandoning these fics. Thank you very kindly for your patience, I'll do my best to keep to a regular schedule from here on out. :)
Kallen's throat was tight and her ears were ringing. She tried to voice a scream but could only cough repeatedly. Her heavy eyelids pushed open to reveal a medical team looking over her. This seemed to be fairly common these days, but strangely enough these people seemed to be relieved, rather than disappointed or worried. Everyone was talking and smiling but she struggled to understand them. Why did her chest feel as if she'd just taken a kick from a horse. Come to think of it why was her chest exposed? A female doctor was shining a light in her eyes, which Kallen tried to look away from but found her efforts useless. Her mouth continued to move but her ears were still ringing. The doctor didn't seem very worried anymore, which Kallen took as a good thing. Kallen tried to speak, tried to ask what was going on but she couldn't hear herself. What's worse is that after speaking the doctor suddenly didn't look so sure of herself.
"Seems there was some damage to the brain." The female doctor sighed.
"So, that's still better than a stiff right? Besides what would you expect from a case like hers? How long was she officially dead?" The male nurse standing beside the doctor asked.
"About four minutes, if add that to blood loss and drug use, I'm surprised she's alive. This girl has been put through the wringer."
"By her own choice doc, for what it's worth I think you did a fine job. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it."
"It's not a matter of questioning Hanson, it's merely a standard. I don't like to make a habit of losing patients." The doctor responded.
"Unfortunately that's not always our choice." Hanson sighed.
"Ultimately no, but without acting we do make that choice. Life is precious whether it belongs to a slob junky or a million dollar man, don't ever forget that."
Kallen wanted to shout out at that last statement, taking personal offense to it. She may seem like a drugged up bum to them but she was.. She was.. Perhaps she was... It wasn't until she looked away from the doctors that she took notice to the room she was in. Something seemed off, this didn't look like a normal hospital room. She tried to sit up but found herself restrained. The doctors seemed to be lost in a conversation. Kallen was beginning to panic, she had no idea where she was but it felt very out of place. She didn't belong here. "Where am I?" Kallen tried to ask.
Hanson looked down on her. "Do you think she knows?"
"Probably not. Even if she did know, she'd keep trying. Wouldn't you?" The doctor looked down into Kallen's terrified blue eyes. "Can you hear me?" Kallen nodded. "We'll have to run some tests but you seem to have a problem speaking. You are in currently on suicide watch in the psychiatric ward." As the words came out of her mouth the doctor could see the pain and sadness spread across her face. "You're lucky to be alive Ms. Stadtfeld. Just try to get some rest."
Kallen couldn't believe what she had just heard. She'd been locked up in a crazy bin. How was she going to get out of this? How was she going to find some refrain in a place like this? It seemed like each time she returned to this side the more urgent her return to the other side became. Or was that also an effect of the gripping drug?
The doctors left her side and a heavy locking sound came from the other side of the door. She couldn't get out in this condition. The room was a blinding white and every cabinet had locks on it. There wasn't a single object on the counters and the doctors took all of the equipment needed to revive her. She tried to struggle against her restraints but found them to be absent. Had she imagined the restraints or was that an after effect of her ordeal? She pulled herself to a sitting position with great effort and was able to look out of a single window that looked into her room. Her mother was outside looking in on her with a devastated expression. Kallen couldn't bare to exchange glances with her mother at the moment and tried to examine more of the room she was in. Struggling to find anything of note, all she could see out of the ordinary was a single camera in the corner of the ceiling. No doubt to ensure she didn't try anything.
Looking back at the plain bed she decided to take the doctor's advice. Currently there wasn't a single thing she could to better her situation. The best chance that she had was to rest and hopefully regain her voice. She glanced at her mother once more and tried to tell her that she loved her, and that she was sorry with her eyes. Kallen couldn't tell if her mother understood her or not but a tear fell from her left eye as the doctors continued to speak with her.
Kallen closed her eyes and everything went black before her, she had no comprehension of time but a soothing voice eventually brought her back.
"Hello Kallen." She looked up into beautiful pools of purple. Her eyes widened, she recognized those eyes, that hair, that voice. Lelouch was standing next to her. She tried with every fiber of her being to say something to him but it seemed that he couldn't hear her. "You know, it pains me to see you like this. I suppose I didn't quite take into consideration the consequences of my actions. Where's my queen filled with fire and spirit? You were always the one to bring me back to earth, I don't even know where to start. I never wanted anything like this for you Kallen... You were supposed to be happy."
Tears streamed out of Kallen's eyes, was this real? Hell everything she'd seen in the past month provoked the same question. She couldn't tell if she was dreaming or not. The room around her was a blinding white but that didn't affirm her belief one way or the other she tried to look for the camera on the ceiling but Lelouch was standing over her, blocking her view. Without being able to ask him to move she tried to adjust her positioning but found herself bound to her bed by thick leather straps. God she must have looked so pathetic to him there. How could he look at her with any resemblance of affection?
All she knew was that she had so many things she wanted to tell him, but she was silenced, like so many other times. Words needed to be said, feelings meant to be explained, love that begged for response. All of which had been interrupted and delayed by events beyond her control. It was because of this pattern and because it was so painful to endure that she deemed this meeting to be real. She had no explanation as to how he was alive, or how he'd found her. It simply hurt too much to be artificial. Everything she wanted was standing in front of her but she couldn't grasp it, she couldn't even touch it. This was a truly genius method of torture.
"I was told I should try to talk to you. The doctors said that you needed something to live for. Apparently you were going on and on about me before you were brought here. Saying that you needed to save me." Lelouch looked away from her for a moment a clear jab of pain or perhaps remorse came over him. An emotion that was rather rare for him, in the end he could justify nearly every one of his sins. For some reason this outcome was something a bit harder for him to swallow. "So I've come to return the favor. You saved me so now it's my turn. Please don't leave us, please don't leave me. We've both been there, and it wasn't any better for me than it was for you." He paused for a long while, not entirely sure what else to say. Kallen's eyelids grew heavier and heavier with each passing moment but she struggled to stay conscious. Lelouch chewed on his lip for a moment before staring back into her flooded cerulean eyes. "I'll get you out of here as soon as I can." He left a gentle kiss on her lips, and as he pulled away the scenery faded back to black.
When she opened her eyes again she had no idea how long she had been out. She looked around and noticed that she was no longer bound to her bed. She felt the need to stand up, as if she'd been sleeping for days. Upon noticing that the wounds in her arms were nearly healed that thought seemed very plausible. It wasn't long after she stood that a doctor walked into her room.
"Kallen are you feeling okay?" The doctor asked, trying to make sure that her patient didn't need anything.
"I feel a little stiff." Kallen responded, and to her surprise she could hear herself speak. "Did you just hear me?"
"Of course I heard you Kallen." The doctor responded looking at her notes.
"I can talk." Kallen marveled at the sound of her own voice.
"For some time now, don't you remember?" The doctor arched a brow, with pen in hand waiting eagerly.
Kallen took note of how the doctor spoke and the pen in her hand. Something was going on, but she needed to keep up an act. Her mind raced for a moment to conceive a believable lie. "Yeah, I'm sorry. I had a strange dream about when I couldn't talk. It took me a moment to shake it off is all."
The doctor smiled in a strange manner and raised her pen from the pad she held in her hand. "Good to hear. Wouldn't want your interview to be delayed."
"I'm looking forward to it." Kallen nodded and smiled. Without another word the doctor wisped away and locked the door.
Kallen made sure to look away from the camera in the corner. Just what the hell was going on? Apparently she'd been awake for quite some time and had regained her speech a while ago. She must have had talks with doctors before for them to know. Why couldn't she remember any of it? She tried to force it out of her mind, it sounded like she had an interview soon. Hopefully that interview would lead to her dismissal from this place and she could return to Lelouch. But which Lelouch would that be? Which one was real? Were they both real? What did real even mean? She felt like she was losing her mind. Everything was just a swirl of watercolors blending together to make an abstract painting of her life. It had no lines to keep everything in check, to separate the false from the facts. She closed her eyes and brought her hand to her head to think for a moment. She just needed to hold herself together for a little while longer, then she could figure all of this out.
She nodded to herself and opened her eyes. Kallen was surprised to see that now she was laying down. If that wasn't enough she tried to sit up and found her leather bindings had returned. In a panic she looked around the room trying to figure out what had just happened. Her mother walked into the room and the door locked behind her. Her mother had a demoralized look on her face as she approached her. Kallen tried to compose herself and welcome her mother but found she couldn't hear herself talk. She got an overwhelming sense of fear as her mother towered over her.
"Don't worry sweety, I'm not here to hurt you. The doctors told me that it would be helpful to bring you things that would help anchor you. Unfortunately looking around not a lot came to mind, and the things that did couldn't pass the security. I did remember this though." Her mother held in front of her a letter with the initials L.L. on it in perfect cursive. "I'm not sure who it is from but it's addressed to your Japanese name, so I'm sure whoever it is that they knew you well." Her mother placed the letter on Kallen's chest. "I'm sure you would rather read it yourself than have me read it to you. So when I leave you can read it."
Kallen wanted to reassure her mother and tell her that everything was going to be okay, but she didn't even believe that, not at the moment anyway. Her mother dutifully left the room, trying to hold back tears but not completely successful. Some time after her mother had left the bindings were removed and she was able to look at the letter that her mother had left for her. Looking at it she could only think of one person with the initials L.L. Still unsure of herself or her situation she opened the letter, it wasn't very long.
"Dear Kallen, I'm not sure how these past few months have found you. You may hate me, you may still care for me, either way I know that I'm not pleased with the way we parted. At the very least I'm sure you have some questions for me. I'll be in touch soon, please wait for me. L.L."
Clearly this letter was written before he'd come to see her. Was she jumping back and forth through time or was she really just going crazy? Even with his handwriting in front of her, Lelouch seemed farther away than ever. How was she going to fix this? She stirred herself into hysteria and began to sob. After some time of crying in frustration she rubbed her eyes to try to think of a solution.
"Think Kallen think." She heard herself this time.
"Think about what Kallen?" An unfamiliar voice asked.
She opened her eyes to see a professional looking man in front of her. She was still in her room but yet again she must have jumped to a different time. "Nothing. What the hell is going on?" Kallen vented in frustration.
"I'm here to perform an evaluation to see what types of treatment we need to pursue Ms. Stadtfeld." The gentleman with a clean shaven face and tweed suit responded politely.
"What kind of treatment?" Kallen prodded.
"There are many forms of treatment for your condition Ms. Stadtfeld a simple survey of questions will help us determine which form would be most effective in your case."
"I just want to go home!" Kallen nearly shouted.
"Well I'm afraid that isn't possible at the moment. You're still very ill." The man replied in an overly calm tone.
This place was starting to give Kallen the chills, everything simply seemed spooky like something out of a sci fi flick or something. For some reason she couldn't contain her sudden rage, she felt like a caged animal being poked at. "Yeah? And whose standards say something's wrong with me? I never wanted to hurt anyone! You people are just getting in my way."
"I see." The man jotted something down on his pad of paper.
"Stop doing that!" Kallen stood up violently but found herself being forced to the ground quickly from behind.
"That's unfortunate, you were making great progress for the first few days. We'd hoped to do this without restraints but that doesn't seem possible at the moment." The man sighed.
Unseen hands binded Kallen's hands together while forcing her face into the floor. Kallen gritted her teeth and winced in pain.
When she opened her eyes she discovered that she was alone. Outside.
Not just outside of her room but outside of the complex entirely. The sun was shining down on her, a welcomed feeling. She looked around to try to figure out where she was, but she didn't recognize any landmarks. She was definitely in the ghettos though, she could tell that much. The buildings were disheveled and the dominating of dirt and filth filled her lungs. For some reason all of her senses were dull. The things she saw had a haze to them, things she heard seemed to echo slightly. She heard footsteps behind her and whirled around to see the figure walking from around the corner. It was Lelouch.
"You said you wanted me to meet you here at five sharp? Said you needed to do something." He was wearing a black jacket that hugged his form tightly and buttoned up the middle. It came down to his mid thighs where his black slacks continued. He looked very good in the outfit, which wasn't surprising to Kallen. To her he looked good in just about everything.
What was he saying about meeting her here? Something she had to do? An explanation would be a godsend right now. Why couldn't she get control over herself. Despite the fact that everything seemed a bit off it also felt incredibly familiar. A feeling that incited happiness, but she couldn't put her finger on it."Yeah I'm sorry my head is kinda messing with me."
"That's to be expected. It's probably an effect of withdrawal." Lelouch stated plainly.
"That's it!" Kallen said matter-of-factly. That had to be it, the drug that altered her perception of time was bound to have some crazy withdrawal effects. Judging by the wounds in her arms she must have been clean for a few weeks now. Everything was finally starting to fall into place. This however brought her to a fork in the road. A decision needed to be made. Kallen bit her lip, fumbling in her pockets she found something that suddenly made her gut turn. Another piece of the puzzle fell into place, she understood why her senses were fading. She closed her eyes and begged that was just in her head. She pulled out her hand to find an empty vial. It was as if the decision was already made for her. She must have injected herself before she figured everything out. With nothing making sense and time hopping all over the place on her, it makes sense that she would want to simply take the easy way out, flee back to the other world, just like she'd always done. Thinking the withdrawal effect to be permanent the other world sounded like a dream. Unfortunately this world seemed like a dream she'd slowly twisted into a nightmare. Lelouch spotted the vial in her hands with unease and rushed to her side as she began to collapse.
"Kallen! Please don't do this! KALLEN!"
A/N: Whew, sorry I'm sure that one was difficult to keep up with and some parts might not have made sense but don't worry that was all intended. You need somethings to not make sense to feed the dillusion. This was a one time only thing though, later chapters will not follow this format. She will no longer have withdrawals.