"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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Remember that, okay? Just...whatever happens. You're good.

((Harold Porter's stepping closer.))

Not like he didn't appreciate the vote of confidence, but Harold was having a hard time agreeing with Lizzie's words. Partly out of principle, partly because he hadn't actually done anything yet. He meant every word he had said, but that's all they were, words. He supposed that, if nothing else, they'd helped calm Lizzie down. Might have made Astrid think a bit, though he doubted it. Still, he couldn't let himself get caught up in feeling good about his little spot of philosophy back there.

He'd written a moving thesis statement without bothering to fill out the rest of the essay, laid out a grand plan and then decided to have lunch and a nice nap. Sure, it was better than doing nothing, and it gave him a place to start, but that's all it was. A start. A prelude to the things that actually mattered.

And speaking of things that actually mattered, as he stepped out into the hallway Harold had caught a glimpse of Clarice running like... well, like a furious wrestler into an asylum, the truth sounded hellish enough as it was, no need to pretty it up with metaphors, trailed by her boyfriend. Both of them were up the stairs and out of his sight before he could call out to them. He tensed for a moment, ready to intercept if it turned out someone was chasing after them, but the only thing that moved was the dust they'd displaced.

Whatever the case, they'd obviously been in trouble. Clarice and Conrad had been running together, not chasing each other, so there probably wasn't any immediate danger; still, Harold couldn't just let this sit without trying to find and check up on them. He turned back to Ty, filled him in on the situation. They agreed to head to the second floor together, then split up and try to find Clarice. Couldn't just leave a member of the team behind, after all. Well, they already had, technically speaking. Thankfully.

Harold would've felt a lot safer with Rod at his back, but he was glad that at least one of his friends was gonna live to hit drinking age. Not that Harold was planning on letting any of his friends die, at least not while he still had his body. Ty had given Harold the sword, and it was disturbing how used he'd already gotten to carrying it around. He'd swap it for a shield in a heartbeat, even if it wasn't made out of Vibranium Steel.

Just as he was thinking that the second floor'd never run out of empty rooms to poke his head into and gurney-littered hallways to walk, Harold heard a familiar voice as he reached the gate that seemed to mark the start of Solitary Confinement. He soon found Clarice and Conrad sitting inside one of the cells. "Clarice, it's me." Harold called out as he approached. He raised a hand to wave, but realized that he was also raising the sword with it, so he kind of just aborted the gesture entirely. He leaned against the doorframe, unintentionally blocking them in, and held his weapon down at his side. "It's good to see you - oh jesus," he gasped as he got his first clear look at Clarice. Happy as he was to see one of his best friends, Harold would've preferred it to be without a new, ugly wound in her shoulder.

"What happened to you guys? Are - are you okay?" His words sounded weak, even to him, but the shock of seeing Clarice, who he had always pictured as practically indestructible, seriously injured had robbed him of any momentum he'd had. Harold couldn't fix this, either. He was talented at hurting people, not healing them.
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By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you · Solitary Confinement