He was too tired to walk. Mentally and physically. The sedatives were still wearing off, so he just let the two orderlies drag him down the hall. He actually appreciated it.
The past two days had been a whirlwind of horror and confusion. At least they let him out of the straight jacket. He didn't even know how.. or why he was put in it in the first place. No one had told him, it was all hushed mutterings behind clipboards and nervous glances. Why couldn't they just talk to him? He was still the same old Fred! He knew them all! The other doctors and orderlies were his friends! He hadn't done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. …Had he? No.. No, he'd never hurt a fly…
They shoved him unceremoniously into the rec room. He tripped and stumbled forward, his legs were still wobbly and weak like a newborn giraffe. He was shaking, looking around at the other inmates scattered around the room. Huddled in their own minds and talking to themselves, drawing on the walls, screaming at nothing. He didn't belong here. He wasn't crazy.
A part of him was still hoping that this was just an extraordinarily long nightmare. Everything around him felt alien. All of the patients that he had been so happy to help were suddenly dangerous criminals who could snap at any moment and attack him. His coworkers were suspicious captors, determined to keep him trapped forever. And possibly tackle and sedate him without reason. He didn't trust anyone, and on some terrifying level, he couldn't even trust himself right now. He felt completely alone.
Just as he was about to spiral into a panicked meltdown, Fred noticed someone he was actually happy to see. One of his.. well, now fellow patients, Crispin Whytehead.
"Crispin!" Fred said, surprised at the crack in his voice. The shorter, blue-haired fellow looked up, raising one of his usually low brows just a tiny bit upward in interest. He was sitting beside one of the barred windows in a corner of the room, staring out at the asylum grounds. Fred walked over to him, with just a tiny bit more ease in his shaky stride.
He couldn't really say that patient Whytehead was his friend. He had a sour demeanor and an outright cruel sense of humor. The only time he'd ever see Crispin entertained was when someone else was in pain. Aside from that, he was perpetually bored and scowling.
And while all of Crispin's words were painful, especially when directed at him and his.. embarrassing string of failures, Fred was just happy that he was talking at all. He'd seen Crispin in his darkest moments, trapped in a catatonic state, drooling against the padded walls of his tiny cell. It took weeks to get Crispin to respond and finally talk to him. He discovered quickly that Crispin was brilliant. Mean, yes, but he was well-educated, tricky and had a very large vocabulary.
Fred didn't suppose that Crispin thought much of him. A "bloody idiot" in his own words. But he considered Crispin to be one of his greatest breakthroughs in terms of helping a patient, and he'd spent well over a month working with him. He was a familiar (if somewhat unpleasant) face, and Fred needed someone he could trust.
Crispin was a bad choice.
"Afternoon, Bonaparte." Crispin spat as Fred approached, still staring out the window. He sounded even more venomous than usual, causing Fred to backpedal a bit.
"D-do you.. Have any idea what's going on?", Fred asked, kneeling down to reach his eye level.
"Awfully descriptive of you." Crispin said.
Fred sighed. "I mean about.. What happened? Why am I here? No one's telling me anything."
"You mean you don't remember going completely out of your gourd and attacking a patient?" Crispin asked in a bored monotone. Fred gaped, eyes wide with horror.
"No! I would never hurt anyone!", Fred grabbed Crispin by his belted sleeves, shaking. "Please, believe me! I-I didn't-"
He could feel Crispin tense up. He stared back at Fred with surprise in his sunken, blurry eyes.
"My god, you really don't remember?", his voice was quiet, more sincere than normal.
Fred's grasp weakened as he got a good look at Crispin's face. He had a thick, black bruise around one of his eyes, and a bandaged wound on his forehead.
"Crispin..? What happened? Who did this?" Fred asked. Crispin's surprise slowly shifted. He grinned down at Fred, a manic excitement gleaming in his eyes.
"Why, you, of course."
Fred's hands slid off of Crispin's arms and fell down to his sides. He felt dizzy.
"General Bonaparte, I knew you were a loser, but I can't say I expected you to completely lose it like this!"
Fred fell backward, shaking his head. He couldn't believe it. Crispin certainly got on his verves sometimes.. But he'd… He'd never hurt him-
Fred jumped, pulling his legs closer and glancing wildly for the source of the voice.
He recognized it. Loud, brazen, with a bit of a French accent. Oh, no.. No! That was just a crazy dream! That wasn't real! The voice wasn't real! It was just stress, he was hallucinating!
"You are a coward! Look at you, letting yourself be pushed around by this invalid! Stand up for yourself, you spineless worm!"
Don't respond to it.. It's not really there…
Fred suddenly realized that Crispin was laughing. A howling, shrieking cackle. He shut his eyes and covered his ears.
"You are disgracing the Bonaparte family name! Fight him!"
He could hear the voice echoing inside of his own head, louder than ever.
"Shut up!", Fred screamed. "You're not real!"
"Ha! Je suis tout aussi réels que vous."
Fred suddenly realized that the voice wasn't just in his head. The words were coming out of his mouth. He wasn't in control of his own body, it was like there was someone else puppeteering his face from the inside.
He sobbed, covering his face in his palms and rocking. "Stop! Stop it, leave me alone! Get out of my head!"
"Not until you defeat this disgusting lunatic!"
He could feel his expressions change as ownership switched back and forth. His heartbeat raced, he felt like he was going to vomit. Crispin watched the whole thing play out, grinning and laughing to himself.
Napoleon grit his teeth, forcing Fred to glare up at Crispin. "If you do not kill him, I will!"
Crispin stopped laughing. Fred moved back even farther.
"WHAT? You can't kill him! I thought you just wanted me to beat him at that stupid game-"
"Game!" Napoleon yelled. "This is no longer a game, my weak-spirited kin! This is a war, and I will not let you lose again!"
Fred suddenly lunged up at Crispin, wrapping his hands around the smaller man's neck. Crispin gagged and tried to kick him away, and Fred was struggling to let go as well. He was wrestling against his own muscles.
He pulled himself away and Crispin collapsed onto the ground, coughing and gasping. Fred's eye twitched and he glared out into open air.
"Get out of my body!", he screamed, punching himself in the face and collapsing back onto the ground. It was a stupid idea, and it really hurt, but it worked. His wince was Napoleon's as well.
"What are you doing!", he screamed, sitting up. "Traitor! Infide- OOF!" Napoleon's rant was cut off by the force of three orderlies shoving Fred to the ground, pressing all their weight down on his thin frame.
"No!" Fred cried, straining against them. "It wasn't me! I can't- I can't control it.." He could barely breathe, one of them was pressing his elbow on his chest. His head lolled back onto the floor, tears blurring his vision as he tried to hold it back. "I'm sorry, I can't..", he whimpered quietly.
The orderlies were trying to stay as stern and disciplinary as ever, but Fred could see the pity in their eyes. He could tell they were afraid. But.. He didn't think they were afraid of him. He might have been taller than any of them, but he was half the weight. He wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight.
They weren't afraid of him. They were afraid that they would wind up like him.
Another asylum worker appeared with a straight jacket in hand, and they wrestled him into it as quickly as possible. He didn't struggle. They pulled him to his feet and started dragging him back toward the hallway. One of them went to help Crispin back up.
"Where are we going?" Fred mumbled weakly.
"Solitary confinement.", one of them said in a gruff voice. "You're still to dangerous to interact with the others."
"Good! I will need some time to convince this pathétique perdant to fight!"
Fred stopped, digging his heels into the floor. "NO! Wait! Don't leave me in there with him!", he wailed, struggling to unknot his arms against the thick cloth of the jacket.
Crispin smiled as he watched the former orderly being pulled away by his nervous coworkers. Well. Maybe this hospital wouldn't be so boring after all.