Come In, Space Cadet
Made on: 18 Jul, 2023
Word Count: 654
Relationship(s): Belle Leskowitz & Paul Leskowitz
Characters of Focus: Belle Leskowitz, Paul Leskowitz
Warnings: The fic is about someone in an altered mental state, presumably caused by a mix of experiencing bad events and sleep deprivation. There’s also 1 swear word and general spoilers for the series. (Petscop 14, 15, and 16 in particular.)
Summary: A (metaphorical) return to earth, helped along by Belle.
The game was dizzying, although that's a bad choice of words. Paul's not one to get motion sickness, it's more that somehow the thing tends to get under his skin. Easily digging into his nerves, burrowing deep into the threads that make up himself. Some sort of parasite.
This, again, is poor word choice. It's a game. A disk with data on it. there's no way for it to really actively do anything to him. It's not alive in any meaningful way. No back and forth, really, just cheap tricks.
Except— Except there's that conversation.
That's always the kicker, isn't it. It shouldn't be able to know things. Or, these sorts of things, at least. There's some sort of bleed through here. Paul's been unable to open doors lately, although that could be because they're simply locked. Does he try them? He can't remember.
It's all hazy. Was that conversation really what he thought it was? Or coincidence? Why wouldn't he be able to open a door in reality? He should go and play back the recordings, just to make sure. But the room is warm, and the sheats are sticking to his skin. To lift his head up would be more effort than it's worth, really. To try and lift an arm would be even more inane, what would he even do with that. He should get rest while the machine isn't beeping at him.
His bones feel like they're trying to drag themselves down into the ground, still for some reason Paul can't seem to sleep. It feels like he's been trying for forever, but the machine goes off every 48 or so hours, so that can't be true.
Shattering the dull soundscape, a sharp noise rings out. He looks to the ceiling for the familiar glow of red from the monitor, before realizing that it wasn't the headache-inducing beep from the console, but instead simply just someone knocking on the door to his room.
After a moment of Paul staring dumbstruck into the ceiling, the door creaks open, and Belle's voice fills the room.
Footsteps. There's someone leaning over him now. The sudden lack of light over him makes Paul squint, face above him temporarily obscured by shadows until his eyes adjust a bit. It's just Belle, of course. Who else would it be. Her face is pinched, just a little, a small downward curve of the mouth and eyebrows.
”Got stuck in a loop again, didn't you?“
Paul's tongue currently feels and tastes like cotton and is trying to move into permanently sticking to the roof of his mouth, so he doesn't reply. There's a sigh from Belle and the bed dips easily under her as she sits. She's on his leg, just a bit, and the contact feels like TV static.
”That's alright.“ She says even if he didn't answer, ”It happens. Did you get tetris-effect-ed by the door again or something...?” She laughs to herself, glancing away from him to, presumably, the door, “Would you believe me if I told you there's no piano in this room?“
What the hell does that have to do with anything? He's too tired for Belle's typical puzzles, which he struggles with when fully awake and functional. He mumbles nonsensically to that, just to show that it's silly and he really isn't in the mood to have rational conversation about her newest brain twister and would really just rather go to sleep.
”Ok, yeah, you're tired. I get it. Hold on, I'll go grab your melatonin and water. I'll be back soon, don't move.“
She takes her leave at that. The bed goes back to its normal state, but the static in Paul's leg still remains. He squints into the ceiling, before there's a click and the room does dark.
She returns, after some period of time, with the items in hand.
Good old Belle, what would he do without her?
Ending Authors Note: This was written for tinyfandomflash over on dreamwidth!