Hazel stared out the window, the violin she filched from the music room lying unattended on the bed.
The guards didn't seem to mind, and she certainly paid them no mind by now. Thoughts and fragments of images and memories flew through her head, but everything just seemed muffled as her mind drifted to nothing in her room. Perhaps people thought her strange, unmoving and silent, staring out the window at nothing, but she was lost in her own mind, thinking about nothing and everything. Wondering what this strange feeling was, everytime she looked out the window towards the garden. A dull ache that did not seem to be a fever or any sort of fatigue, but persistent and there.
Emma had been trying her best to ignore it. That thing that she’d been putting off but couldn’t avoid: Hazel. Her roommate. Her friend. A psychopath that tried to kill her allies. She knew she couldn’t just ignore it all. Ernie was right, something had to be done, but what? Hazel was a continual mystery, and not one that Emma was entirely sure she could figure out.
Either way, though, the conversation had to happen.
Emma approached the door to Hazel’s room tentatively, knocking before she was fully sure she wanted to. A slight tinge of apprehension at the decision made before her body before her brain could commit.
Jerking out of her thoughts, Hazel turned towards the door, staring blankly at it before she remembered what to do in this sort of situation."Come in."
It was uncommon for her to have anyone actually knock on the door before entering; usually people entered and left as they pleased. Then again, most everything she was doing recently was highly uncommon for her to do or experience. An entire train of new experiences, one she wasn't sure how to receive or react to.
After another moment of hesitation Emma pushed open the door. ”Hazel. It’s been a while since we’ve talked, huh?”
she started as casually as possible, her usually wide smile slightly subdued but still present.
Hazel simply nodded, staring at the girl all the while. There was something... odd in her mannerisms, but Hazel did not know why. But, now that she knew who it was, she turned back towards the window, staring listlessly out into the nothing beyond it.
Emma was a little surprised when she didn’t say anything, but she probably shouldn’t have been. Hazel would be Hazel, such as she was. Emma slowly walked up, approaching the girl, all the while eyeing the violin on her bed. ”You play the violin, Hazel?”
she started, still sticking to a relatively innocuous topic, putting off the meat of what she had to say.
Again, Hazel simply nodded, before turning to her. "Did you want to see?"
Of course, she had but only a little knowledge of any sort of music, save for little tunes and tracks she happened to remember. Like that little tune the elevator played during that grand hotel they were in before it collapsed.
Once again Emma was caught by surprise- to be entirely truthful she didn’t think that Hazel had the capacity to play violin, but all the same Emma did all she could to look eager as she picked up the violin and passed it to Hazel. ”Yeah, sure, if you don’t mind.”
Emma was slowly feeling a little more comfortable, a little more natural, at least for now.
Hazel closed her eyes as she fitted the violin to her shoulders, feeling the familiar weight of the violin. It seemed she remembered most of what Angel showed her, as she picked up the bow and put it gently on the string. She seemed to concentrate upon what she was doing, a little furrow appearing on her brow.
Before creating a cacophony of horrible screeches and wailing upon the violin.
Emma subconsciously let out a wince as Hazel started, but quickly recomposed her face into one of polite approval as she waited for her to finish. Jesus Christ, this is awful, what did I even expect?
But, of course, Emma didn’t say that, giving a small shower of applause as Hazel finished, ”Well, learning an instrument is difficult. But stick with it, it’s rewarding.”
was all Emma could find it in herself to advice.
Hazel stared silently at Emma for an uncomfortably long time."I see."
She started on the violin again. "But it was just a joke."
She played a recognizable tune this time, with errors in pitch and notes here and there, but still recognizable. Perhaps it was the piece itself that was recognizable, for Vivaldi's Four Season wasn't exactly obcure after all. Not that she knew any of the piece's actual notes, it was just her mimicking the most recognizable parts of the music she remembered.
A long pause.
Instead of clapping, this time, she burst out laughing. A joke? It was so unexpected that it worked to maximum effect. ”Well, that’s a lot better than the first one, I gotta say.”
Emma took a tentative seat on the bed, leaning back a little. ”I use to play the guitar, y’know. Sister taught me. She was always a lot better than me, though.”
she said, idly tapping her finger against the soft mattress. "I see."
Hazel put down the violin and bow, tilting her head slightly. "Then, shall I get the guitar from the music room?"
An unexpected development for her. To think there was another that could play the guitar. If that was correct, then Emma should be able to sing as well, like Angel did when she played before.”Oh… well, yeah, sure. We can do that.”
Emma was getting off track now, but hey, she could afford that. Hazel was still her friend in spite of everything. At least she thought she was. It was hard for her to know exactly where she stood with the strange girl, but she’d said it, so she’d stick to it.
Smoothing down her dress, Hazel left her seat to get the guitar. The guards wordlessly let her through and followed her as she left for the guitar. There was something odd with Emma before, but she seemed to be acting normally now, so Hazel did not linger long on the thought. There was still that odd feeling haunting her, ontop of that persistent ache."I have returned with the guitar."
She said as she returned, gripping the guitar tightly by the thin part, holding it as if it was a club.
Emma carefully plucked the guitar from Hazel’s hands, returning to the bed and resting against her lap. She took a moment, trying to recall the songs that she knew, the ones that Val taught her. Finally, she lifted up the guitar and started tuning it, also taking the moment to get acclimated to the instrument again.
Emma started, picking up the tune to one of the very first songs
her sister taught her- one of Val’s personal favorites. It had been a while since Emma had last picked up a guitar and it showed, but what she lacked in technical skill she made up for in passion, her admittedly pretty voice making a valiant effort to belt out the vocals.
She was certainly no Angel, but Hazel liked it nonetheless. Abandoning her seat at the window, she sat on the bed, closer to Emma, listening intently to her playing."It is good."
Was all she offered, as she leaned in closer, inspecting the way her hands were placed on the guitar as Emma finished.
Emma set the guitar aside. “Good enough, I guess. Like I said, nothing like my sister.”
a small sigh trailed her words. The song reminded her of home, of the shitty seedy bars that Val played at. ”Hey, Hazel…”
Emma couldn’t keep putting it off, ”How are you doing? I mean, like, mentally. From what I heard the last battle was pretty crazy.”
Emma said, starting to ease into the more serious subject she was about to broach. "Men..tally?"
As far as she could tell, she was fine. There were the occasional urges — the inexplicable deep grudge and anger
— but that was all she could think of. But... she had the pills and everything else she could do to contain herself. "I am fine. Rest assured the collar and pills will be sufficient to calm me for now. I do not remember much of the battle unfortunately."”Right… but…”
Emma let out a deep sigh, ”Listen, Hazel, I’ve gotta be honest with you. People have been telling me that you’ve been attacking people on our team. What’s going on?”
subtlety wouldn’t get to the core of the issue, not with Hazel, Emma decided. "What... . I see."
Hazel sidled closer, before stretching out her hands towards Emma's neck, tracing the black mark there. "This. It burned at the time. It hurt so bad I wanted to —"
for just a moment her hands tensed into claws, before she relaxed and placed her hands at her knees. "I do not know. I do not have memories or control once I go white. Then, by your question, I assume the others who had the same mark had not killed or attacked anybody?"
Hazel looked towards the window, with an expression so slight it was almost unnoticable, save for those who knew her. It was a faraway look, as if she was contemplating something. "I am the only one?"
Emma frowned. This was harder than she thought it would be. ”There’s been fights, but not… not in the same way. And listen, I know you’re not like that, alright? I have the mark too, I understand, but we need to figure out a way to manage this… I know you, but the others don’t. They just know what happened out there, and they’re… not happy.”
Emma moved through her sentence slowly, picking her words as carefully as she could. "Manage? There is no way for me to manage it. It co...crup... blinds me to my mind."
She stood up abruptly, going towards the window. A whole world, beyond that pane of glass... . "There is no need for others to understand me. I'm just a weapon, to be thrown at something until it breaks, or I do. "”That’s…”
it seemed like things were starting to click into place. What in the hell had the institute done to her? ”That’s not true, Hazel. You can pretend that if you want, but you’re a person. And if people start doubting that than things are going to start falling apart for our whole class. If they’re scared of you it’s going to make things harder for everyone.”
Hazel stayed silent, staring out of the window all the while. What would she do? How would she handle that? Did it truly matter for her? Wasn't that her purpose? A weapon without anyone fearing it wasn't an effective weapon after all. What was that clenching feeling in her chest?"Are you afraid of me?"”No.”
the word came with little hesitation, her conviction clear. ”I’m not afraid of you Hazel. How could I be? I mean, I know you’re not a weapon. I know that what’s happening is because of the stigma, not you. I feel it too. I just… don’t want things to fall apart. I want to try to help you stop whatever’s happening to you out there.”
"I see." Hazel turned to Emma, her expression softened somewhat. "Then, that is all I need."
Emma smiled at that. Of course, it was cryptic, but it seemed like a good sign. ”Good. Y’know, it’s been a while since I’ve touched a guitar, maybe I should practice a little.”
Emma said, relaxing a little, reaching for the instrument.