hatch

Unlike the last time that Miranda had gone downstairs to see Rena, which was admittedly the only time, he was traveling under his own will in the hallways, solitary albeit for a few caretakers going through the halls and making sure that the building was ready for the breakfast rush. Normally, Miranda would be accosted by one of them and sent back to the dorms, but since accepting Anders’ proposition, she’d been promoted to almost queen status. Anders, however, had fallen asleep strewn across his bed the night before in unkinglike fashion after a brief dip in the bathtub and had clocked out without waiting for Miranda to join him. Not that the two would have done anything that required an early bedtime… Anders was probably just having a migraine and needed to take a break from the world.

Heading to the same heavy doors as he’d graced before, this time armored with socks and a daytime outfit that featured pants warm enough for the drafts of January, he looked over his shoulder every three seconds to make sure that a curious caretaker wasn’t following him so that there would be no unplanned disturbances. When facing the heavy iron doors at the bottom, slightly rounded and imposing a deep gloom, he slipped the card that would grant him clearance out of his bra where he’d hidden it and sneaked it into the slot on the wall. No sounds were made as the doors rushed open and promptly closed behind him.

“That’s strange. Rena, where are you?” None of the bunks contained anybody, much less a disheveled freak of circumstance, and Miranda stashed the card back in his bra. “It’s me, Miranda. Anders doesn’t-”

At the mention of Anders, a prominent thunk resounded from the left, and he spun around only to find the isolation tanks as peaceful as they’d been before… at least for a few minutes spent anxiously until the thunk happened clearly again from the tank on the far left. “Oh, Rena… so you’re a detractor. I’ll let you out.”

Miranda was answered with a few quieter taps on the walls, as if to say a thank you in lieu of screaming. As the silence cleared up again, he apprehensively made his way over to Rena’s pod, stepping as quietly as possible so that anybody who was standing at the top of the stairs wondering what was about to happen would just assume that Rena was failing at an escape attempt. You know, I have no idea how to unlock this thing… Do I twist the blue lever? Or do I push the green button first? Shouldn’t this thing have an instruction manual or at least a sticker stating what to do? He tapped lightly on the green button flashing on the little touchscreen, figuring that it was a good start, and then yanked on the blue handle loosely bolted to the pod.

Rena bulleted out from her wet captivity the moment that the lid clicked to unlock, and Miranda’s attempts to grab some appendage of hers to keep her from dashing upstairs completely naked resulted in one of her wings getting caught on his right leg and slicing the pants open, leaving a gash in her wake as she pulled free.

“Oh… sorry about that,” Rena whispered, looking back at Miranda crumpled up on the floor curled around his leg, around which blood was starting to drip. “I’m not exactly the most coordinated yet.”

Miranda gritted his teeth, averting his gaze from the injury to Rena’s lackadaisical face. “Bloody hell, Argentina.

“Yeah- wait, what?” Her arms dropped from searching the door for an escape that didn’t include the clearance card. “Are you serious?”

Miranda slipped the card out with a shaking hand and slid it to Rena, who eagerly accepted it. “I meant Rena. I don’t know where Argentina came from. Just please get some help down here.” With that, Rena bounded up the stairs to the vocal panic of everybody on that floor- but Miranda knew from the glint in Rena’s eyes that no help would be sent his way anytime soon.

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