And I'm going to put more of my wips up here. Really. I'm just kinda...lazy.
Also, any suggestions for a better title are highly appreciated.
Amon strode through the corridors, easily slipping past those few people still awake at this hour. Most people were still curled up into blanket-swaddled groups, hiding out in the classrooms and doing their best to stay warm and get some sleep. Anyone who wandered the halls did so because they'd had the bad luck to draw 'patrol' duty. The few he'd seen didn't look as if they even knew what the word 'patrol' meant, much less what they should do if something tried to get inside the school.
He drew to a halt at the infirmary door. Professor Ayukawa would probably still be in there, staying close to her patients. He was still technically one of those, since she wanted to make certain his wounds didn't get infected. She'd cleaned them well, but in this strange world, better safe than sorry.
If it came to sharing sleeping quarters with anyone here, then the infirmary was his place of choice. Unlike most of the other rooms, it was actually warm, and everyone in there should already be asleep. He slipped inside as quietly as possible, from habit as much as from not wanting to disturb any sleepers. There'd been some kind of disturbance earlier, but he hadn't paid much attention, being more focused on finding Yubel at the time. It didn't seem as if whatever it was affected anything here, though.
At least, that was what he thought until he stood inside the room. Misawa still slept, not having moved a muscle, and one bed remained empty, likely enough reserved for him. But a third bed had been pulled from somewhere, and in it there slept Saotome Rei, trembling and shifting as she dozed. Juudai slumped in a chair next to her, completely out of it.
"Amon-kun?" He turned at the sound to see the nurse standing in the door of her office. She'd pitched her voice low, so as not to disturb the sleeping people. "Did you need anything?"
He shook his head, taking a step toward the bed, then glanced back at Juudai and the girl, spying a bandage wrapped around her upper arm. "What happened?"
"We're not sure." Professor Ayukawa sighed. "Something or someone attacked Rei-chan earlier. That's all we do know."
"Ah." He didn't have to pretend to yawn; it had been too long since he'd gotten any real sleep. Fighting Cobra, running around in the burning desert, getting torn up by an actual Duel Monster, and then finding out that Yubel wanted someone else...he'd put in a day.
Ayukawa gestured to the bed, hints of worry in her expression. "You should rest."
He wasn't going to argue that point. He slipped his shoes off and settled into bed, closing his eyes. He could hear the teacher moving back into her office, the door only partially closing behind her. If anyone needed help, she'd be there to give it.
He wanted to sleep, he genuinely did. But no matter how long he lay there, his mind wouldn't rest enough. Everything Yubel told him kept slipping and sliding around in his thoughts, reminding him of long years spent living in his brother's shadow when it all could've been different.
If he'd been different. If he hadn't made the choice to save his brother's life.
He drew in a breath and turned over, opening his eyes to stare at the dark ceiling above. He couldn't be sure of what time it was or how long he'd been there. Only Juudai's quiet breathing, Rei's own deeper, harsher breaths, and Misawa's quicker, lighter sounds could be heard. There wasn't even a sound from the nurse's office. Perhaps she'd fallen asleep in there as well.
It took a few moments before he realized the sounds had changed. A screen separated his bed from Misawa's, so it wasn't until feet shuffled across the tiled floor and a shadow crossed over that he realized the other wasn't asleep anymore.
Misawa made his way over to a sink, pouring himself a glass of water, and sipped it far more slowly than Amon might've thought, given how long he'd probably been out in the desert. Though drinking it wildly wouldn't have done him any good either. Anyone who'd spent real time in the desert knew that.
"I should say thank you." Misawa spoke without looking up from his glass. "You didn't have to do that."
Amon knew quite well what he meant and he shook his head at once. "Don't worry about it." It wasn't really something he felt he needed thanks for. "How are you feeling?"
"Better." Misawa took another quiet sip, turning a little toward him. "I don't think we've been formally introduced. Misawa Daichi. Before I left Duel Academia, I was in..." He hesitated before he finished the sentence. "Ra Yellow."
"Amon Garam, from East School." He nodded politely, sitting up as he did. He wasn't going to have any sort of conversation while on his back.
Misawa ran one hand through the tangled mess of hair that hung past his shoulders, making a face Amon could only marginally see in the infirmary's dim light. Given how long he'd been out there, Amon considered it just as well that there wasn't much of a breeze in the room.
"This wasn't what I expected when I came here for the exchange program." He also wasn't much of a conversationalist, but since he couldn't sleep and didn't feel like staring up at the ceiling all night, it would at least pass the time.
Misawa made a noise that was something like a laugh but not quite. "I know how that feels. I didn't expect any of this when I decided to start working with Professor Zweinstein. I wanted to learn how the worlds fit together, not actually go traveling through them myself. At least not without some kind of a warning."
"Warnings are in short supply, I think." He rose to his feet and moved over to get a glass of water of his own. "Do you think we can get back to our own world?"
"I don't know." Misawa stared down into his cup as if it held the answers he didn't. "I'm going to try to find a way, though. If there's a way here, there should be a way back. What's difficult will be finding out where that way is and getting it open."
That sounded logical enough to Amon. He didn't think it would be easy, especially not with Yubel and whatever plans bubbled beneath the surface there. But they had to do something.
Misawa set his empty cup down on the counter and stared at the tap in the sink, eyes lost in thought. Amon still couldn't seem him very well, but what he did see showed far more strength than he would've generally expected someone like him to have.
"How long have you been here?" Any information would be useful, especially if he could find anything out about this world itself.
Misawa blinked, glancing over to Amon at the question, then considered it. "What month is it?"
"The accident was in September. I've been here ever since." Misawa looked down at himself and the tattered clothes that bore only a vague resemblance to a proper Duel Academia outfit. "I wonder if anyone has any spare uniforms." The way he said it indicated he didn't expect Amon to answer.
Amon did manage a noncommittal shrug. "What's it like out there?" He'd lived in a desert before, but that was one on Earth, one devoid of sand, with nothing but bare rock and the occasional cactus for miles around.
"Sand." Misawa's voice held a breath of dryness to it. "There are a few oases out there, but they're few and far between."
"Are there people there?" Something lived there, or someone, given the existence not only of Harpie Ladies, but of the 'terrifying spirits that rule this world' Misawa himself babbled on about earlier.
"Spirits, mostly. I've met one or two humans, but not many." Misawa took a long, deep breath. "There's one oasis about three days from here." He gestured to where all of his gear lay piled next to the bed he'd been in. "That's where I filled my canteen up last. It's run by Emissary of the Oasis."
Monsters. "A world ruled entirely by monsters." Not so much different from Earth, except perhaps in being more honest about their monstrosity. "I've never imagined such a place." He had better things to do with his imagination than dream up worlds he'd never been to.
"It raises quite a few questions on the nature of reality." Misawa admitted. "I'd like to discuss it all with Professor Zweinstein one day."
Theoretical sciences weren't Amon's forte at all. He gave a neutral nod, probing for other points that might be of use to him. "Do you think the building's safe against those monsters?"
"Some of them, yes. But there are others who could give us trouble. Getting out of here altogether is our best method." Misawa poured another glass of water and took his time drinking it. "What is that?" He nodded his head toward the dis-belt still fastened around Amon's wrist. "I've seen almost everyone here has one."
Amon lifted his arm to stare at it in distaste. "A dis-belt. Professor Cobra passed them out at the start of the year. He claimed they were supposed to measure one's passion in dueling, but they were really meant to suck our energy out of us." He shook his head. "I don't know what he intended to do it, though." Though he had his suspicions, given everything that he'd seen.
Misawa nodded as he reached for a pen and paper someone had left on the counter and began to scribble, brow furrowed. "Is there a way to take it off?"
"They came off once," Amon told him, fiddling with the fastener. "But not since then." He suspected that had been part of Cobra's plan to kill him. Not that he could ask; the word he'd heard was that Cobra died before they'd entered this world.
He stifled a yawn; he didn't know what it was, but sleep now hovered much closer than it had a short while earlier. The trouble this time was that he didn't want to sleep. Every question answered or even unable to have answered brought another dozen up through his mind. "I think getting home is more important right now, though."
Misawa glanced up and nodded, his attention flickering over toward Juudai for a single moment before going back to his notes. "It wouldn't be the first unusual situation that we've dealt with. Though this is a little harder than most of them."
Amon nodded as well; he'd done his research on the events of the last couple of years at Duel Academia. People like the Seven Stars and events such as the Society of Light sent rumors throughout the world. "So I've heard."
Another few notes ended up bring scribbled down before Misawa stopped and rubbed his eyes. "I think I should get some more sleep before I try to figure all of this out."
"A good idea." Amon started back toward his own bed. Everyone would be best served getting as much rest as they could, before whatever Yubel's plans were began. Amon suspected they would all need it.
Misawa didn't move right away, though. He glanced toward the door, the faintest of frowns forming.
"Do you think you're going to need something to help you sleep?" Amon recalled very clearly his own desert experiences. The thought of free running water and being able to sleep without watching for scorpions, as well as just being under an actual roof for the first time in ages, had kept him awake for hours the first few nights in the Garam household. He suspected Misawa could feel much the same way now.
"No." Misawa moved over to the door and cracked it carefully, glancing up and down the hall, taking pains not to disturb either Rei nor Juudai. "I thought I saw someone going by, that's all."
Amon hid the curving up of his lips. "Probably one of the patrols. Johan wanted to make certain no monsters attacked while everyone was sleeping." Yubel. Exactly what business the strange creature could have wandering near here he didn't know, but it was far more likely than a patrol. Most of the would be too noisy. Since he hadn't heard anything, Yubel was a far better option.
"Good idea." Misawa closed the door and headed toward his bed. If he felt any of the uncertainty in sleeping under a roof Amon had, he didn't show any of it as he pulled the blankets over his head and closed his eyes.
Amon curled up in his own bed and watched the ceiling once again. Sleep dragged at his eyes, but he didn't let it catch him, not yet. A world of monsters. Was that why Yubel had brought them to this world in particular? He didn't doubt for a moment it factored into whatever Yubel's plans were.
He had his own plans, tentative and unformed as they were for now. Yubel's promises whispered in the back of his mind at all times, offering a hope he hadn't dreamed of in years. The chance for freedom from his brother's shadow. There would be a price for it, without a doubt. All that remained for him to learn was what it was, and if it was a price he wanted to pay.
Until then, it would be best for him to remain undercover. He was very good at that. He was just one of them, a student caught up in all of this madness who wanted nothing more than to go home. He would keep an eye on what they were doing and if he could help, he would. These were a unique group of people. If anyone could tear open holes in reality, then they could.
But for the first time, he began to question if he wanted to go through that hole.