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ofdevotion wrote in pandoraheartsdr
[ there is what appears to be a boy in his mid-teens stumbling through the halls, trembling like a leaf, crimson eyes wide and a little blank in his face. he's clearly in shock, dressed in archaic clothing and clutching, of all things, the mad hatter's signature top-hat against his chest. ]


[ his voice is a hoarse, shaky croak, as if it hasn't been used in a long time, or as if it was damaged from screaming. when no sign of break appears, the youth staggers to a halt in the middle of the foyer. for a long moment, he only stands there, swaying.. but at last, his expression crumples, and he shrieks. the scream goes on and on, until his hands spasm, the hat dropping from his fingers and rolling away as he lifts his hands to clamp them over his mouth to try to muffle the sound. it's like he can't stop. his knees go weak, and he sinks to the floor, rocking slightly, gasping desperately for breath behind his palms.

.. even so, between the heaving gasps, the sound of break's name can just faintly be heard, over and over and over again, like a mantra. as if it's the only thing keeping him grounded there and sane. ]

[ ooc; so this was brought about by plurk convos. basically, there was some curiousity over what hatter might've been before he was.. hatter. i couldn't resist. .. meet canterbury, the son of one of the first researchers into the abyss, and (probably) one of the very first sacrificed to it. .. i'm a little horrified with myself, actually. ]

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[Liam was tentatively exploring, trying to find a kitchen, when he heard the scream. Although he can't really do much with his injuries and has no weapon, he does feel obligated to investigate the sound, since it's so close.

He hovers just inside the hallway, uncertainly. He's certainly not going to approach a potentially-violent stranger, but it feels wrong to leave.]

[ at first, he doesn't even notice-- but at last, the sensation of eyes on him brings his own gaze up, blurry as it is from tears and anger and-- all those things he's trying not to think about.

.. oh. oh, he-- knows that face, doesn't he? break's friend. the hare's contractor.

god, god, he shouldn't know this man, shouldn't know his chain. it's wrong, he's human. he's supposed to be.. human.. ]

You-- [ he can barely speak, but the panic is being strangled down, wrapped up, hidden away. he can't.. break again (for the first time?). not like this. not in front of this man. ] .. Where-- Where's Xerxes?

[The question brings back his own concerns--that Xerxes, his Xerxes, could be dead. And the uncertainty hurts more than he cares to admit.]

I'm sorry. I don't know.

[The answer is barely a whisper, and it's hard to find the words to say more, but Liam tries to clarify anyway.]

I don't know if I quite believe it... but this is supposedly a different world. The Xerxes Break I met was not the one I know.

[He shifts, wincing as his injuries protest the movement.]

I'm... looking for him as well.

[ he shudders and, movements careful, as if he feels fragile, he shifts, leaning forward to take up the fallen hat again. for a long moment, he stares down at it (a different world), but then, slowly, he lifts it (i'm... looking for him as well), placing it on his head. it's too big, meant for a taller man (monster), but it's his, after all, isn't it? he should wear it. or.. he will wear it.

he rises to his feet again, clumsy in his grief and fear, expression solemn as he lifts crimson eyes to meet liam's gaze. ]

.. You're-- Liam. Right?

[The hat... looks so familiar, but Liam can't place it. It doesn't seem to fit the youth in front of him. He's surprised this unfamiliar boy seems to know him.]

Ah, yes. Have we met?

[Come to think of it, he doesn't even know how this boy knows Xerxes.]

.. Sort of..

[ he takes a shaky breath, hands open at his sides, fingers twitching against his pants-legs. ]

A part of me has met you. [ he glances down, away. ] You call me the Hatter.

[Liam just stares at him for a moment, shocked beyond words for a moment.]

[He recovers quickly, hopefully before the boy notices, swallows hard. This chain is, after all, a killer.]

You, er, don't look like a chain. [This is offered tentatively.]

Because I'm.. not. I mean-- I will be. But I'm not right now. I'm who I was, I think.

[ he steps forward, knees still feeling a little weak, gaze finally coming back up again. ]

I remember you. And-- Hare.

[It takes Liam a moment to understand what he's saying, but the realization is surprising.]

So you're human...?

[Liam would normally step back, simply out of caution, but he hurts too much to move unnecessarily. He's surprised that the Hatter even knew of his existence.]

You remember me?

[Softly,] Hare... I don't feel the Hare in my head anymore, but I met her when I first came here. She led me to a room to rest. She's here, somewhere.

[Wherever here was.]

.. Mostly. I think. [ it was so confusing. he shuffles from foot to foot for a few moments, but finally moves forward again, crimson gaze flickering over liam uncertainly. ]

You're-- hurt. [ an uncertain pause, gaze sliding away again, shy. ] You should be resting, shouldn't you?

[Liam watches the youth uncertainly for a moment before asking softly,]

Then, surely, your name isn't Hatter...?

[He grimaces at the reminder of his injuries.]

I have been for the past several days, but... I'm rather hungry. I've been searching for a kitchen.

.. It used to be Canterbury.

[ as far as he's concerned, it still is. he's supposed to be.. canterbury, not a monster. not the mad hatter. but he's also aware that he's only ever been the hatter to pandora.

he offers the use of his shoulder, glancing back up at him again. ]

I-- I can help you, I think.

Canterbury, then.

[He wonders about the name; maybe if he searches that library arrived in...

He's surprised by the youth's assistance, but he accepts it, partially out of gratitude and partly because he has an inkling the boy needs to feel useful.]

Ah, thank you.

[ a small nod, expression still solemn, still in a little shock. any distraction is good right now.

he sets them off down the hall, pace slow so that it doesn't jar liam's injuries too badly. ]

.. Will you.. help me find Xerxes later..? I need him.

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