One Man's Blessing
Made on: 23 Jan, 2023
Word Count: 2,086
Characters of Focus: Karl, Arma, Climber
Setting: Post-canon (LOT)
Metadata: More of a whump than I intended, Mix of canon and non canon matches
Warnings: Canon typical violence, Implied/Referenced Self-Harm
Summary: …Is another man's curse.
In which; Karl struggles with several things, the most prominent being that he is A) alive and B) not quite as made up of resin as before. The Climber's stuck on babysitting duty.
Beginning Authors Note: Some slight context for all this, via word of mouth due to… deleted DA accounts and works and all, as far as I can tell the professor used his wish at the end of LOT to get everyone who died back alive. This also turned Karl into a human because of some nonsense from the resident sentient law. Supposedly. Take this all with a grain of salt and whatnot.
(Or, well, I did actually end up trawling through the wayback machine and it does have the final entries from BlackLilith on there… just without the actual pictures being saved– Ouch!)
The ride back to the island was quiet. Mister Jack was resting after, what was for him, a terribly active and stressful handful of days. His friend, the concrete dragon beneath them, was busy concentrating on flying. Besides the Climber was Karl's unconscious form, tied up in ropes and bandages with a black bird perched atop.
Climber himself didn't mind all that much. These past couple of days were a lot, to put it lightly.
It was only once they were landed, Karl slung across Climber's shoulder, that Mister Jack spoke up.
"...I have to… tell the castle… of nations…. What happened…" he intoned, nodding slightly to the building behind him, "...can you… find somewhere… safe… for Karl to stay… and look after… him…"
"Of course! Happy to help!"
"... Thank you…"
And with that they parted ways.
While on the walk back to more familiar areas of the island, doubt started to stir in Climber's, well, not brain since he's quite sure he doesn't have one of those, but consciousness.
Karl, upon being reanimated, was apparently quite violent. Climber was too busy trying to get someone to fix the hole in his chest to catch what was going on until near the end of it. When he dashed down to the crowd after hearing screams. All he saw was the blood scattered upon the concrete and one of the larger robots pinning a screeching Karl to the ground. Bloody hands tearing uselessly at the metal, before he was finally knocked out.
That is all to say, is Climber really fit to deal with that? He hasn't even gotten the hole in his chest fixed up yet, how can he stand against whatever Karl brings out against him.
The bird —Arma?— shifts its wings, still perched on Karl's back.
Right, not to mention the bird-sword-thing. What a tricky situation to be stuck in.
Well, it's not like he could bring him back to Mister Jack, who's even more inexperienced in fighting than him, or, at least, Climber thinks that he's more inexperienced? He doesn't trust the other residents enough to hand Karl over, either.
His head hurts.
He eventually settles on staying in the cafeteria. Humans are delicate, for the most part. Karl already being injured means that Climber will have to take extra care. Which means that a roof is needed.
He deposits the sleeping body on one of the less grimey tables before realizing, right, have to be careful. Clarice said that humans need to sleep on soft surfaces or else they get back problems. That's why she had to use him as a pillow.
So he lays down on the table as well, perpendicular to Karl, and maneuvers the other's head onto his chest. There. Problem solved.
Now he just has to lay there until Karl wakes up.
The hours passed slowly, more so than they have been after the asylum, his thoughts stuck on the events of the newest tournament.
After what seemed like forever, but before the light of dawn, there was a twitch of movement from the body laying on top of him.
That was all the warning he got before Karl bolted up with a strangled noise. Eye darting around the environment, his attention eventually lands on Climber.
Karl startles, "Oh God, am I in hell?"
"No, you're back at the island. What's hell?"
Climber's question goes ignored.
"This might as well be hell." The other grumbles, struggling against the bonds at his hands and feet, "Come on now, Let me go!"
Climber reaches out to do so, before sense comes back to him.
"Uh, I don't think I should."
"And why not?" Karl hisses through his teeth.
"I don't want to fight you. Not again. And, um, you're still recovering! You have to… to… 'take it easy!' that's what the nurse said."
"A nurse. Now what use is a nurse to me?"
Climber just stares at him for a moment, unsure how to respond, as Karl's casual expression turns slowly to terror.
"No… No this can't be! I can't be a— a—"
He curls, shaking, onto himself. Arma hops onto his shoulder, nudging at him, and Climber awkwardly walks over to pat him on the back. They both go ignored.
Eventually, Karl tires himself out. The light of dawn settles upon the three of them through the rotted holes in the ceiling.
He lays sprawled across the table, face down, Arma still settled on his shoulder.
Climber, meanwhile, has flumped himself onto the ground and has started picking at the clovers that have sprouted between the cracks in the floor.
The light of dawn soon settles into mid day, and then evening. Climber has migrated across the room in his quest to find nice looking clovers. Karl has not moved at all.
It's when the light starts slipping away that Climber remembers another important thing that he knows about humans. Ferris wheel, how could he have worked at a cafeteria and then forget that humans need food! No wonder— no, he's not thinking about that today.
He deposits his clover collection on the table Karl's laying on, and with a quick "be back soon!" He departs for the kitchen.
It remains unchanged since the last time he was here. Just a new layer of dust, that's all. Most of the food is in a quality that Clarice refused to eat, but there should still be those cans.
He comes back with his arms full of spoils and sets them down, with a loud clatter, next to his clover collection.
Karl doesn't look up, he doesn't even move when Climber starts poking at him. Arma chases his arm off after a couple of moments with a snap of the beak.
"... Karl?" Climber asks, just to make sure that he didn't actually die somehow.
He gets a muffled groan in return.
"I brought you food. It's canned…" he squints at the label, "pinto beans."
Arma pokes at him.
"Fiiinnnneeeee." He groans again before forcing himself up into a sitting position.
Climber peels off the top of the cans under the others' judgemental gaze.
"So," Karl starts with a drawl, "how exactly are we going to do all this? Because I'm not exactly keen on letting you spoon feed me."
After he sees where Climber immediately glances at, he tacks on, "and Arma can't feed me either, so how about you untie me? Just a little bit?"
The climber contemplates it for a moment. He could just go ahead and try to feed him himself, but he doesn't want his fingers to get bitten off.
Karl gets his hands untied.
"Yes! Now— ow! Arma!" He swats at the bird poking at his head, "What are you…? Oh? Hmm, well. I suppose you do make a good point."
He settles down again and picks up the can. He squints at it, tilting it around, before hesitantly bringing it up to his lips. He nibbles at the beans, chews it mechanically long enough that it must have turned into a fine paste, then swallows.
"Gross." He declares, "Absolutely terrible. How do— do humans—"
He keens, shoving the can away from him, startling Climber up and out of his seat at the table.
Karl's hands dart to his own face, pulling at his hair and scratching at the bandages covering his lost eye. Climber grabs at him, attempting to grapple his arms away from himself, but as soon as he makes significant contact Karl's attention turns to him.
Karl lunges, still hindered by his tied together legs enough that it ends with them both toppling to the ground.
They tussle for a bit. Dull fleshy fingers attempting to rip at seams and cloth hands trying to push the other away. Eventually, Climber manages to pin the other beneath him. Before a snap rings through the air and he's suddenly kicked off.
He rolls a handful of times before colliding into another table's leg.
"How did you…?"
"Thank you, Arma." Karl stands above him now, jamming his now free foot into the other's chest. Effectively pinning him down. "Now would you be so kind as to be still for a moment?"
With that, Arma morphs into a dark blade that glimmers in the light of the sunset before being shoved into Climber's chest. Who then stares up for a moment waiting for what's next.
"Oh, right. I forgot you don't bleed."
He crouches down beside his captor turn captive. "Well, since I have you here. I have a couple of questions to ask you. First of all: how do I go back?"
"To the city? I don't know, you'd have to ask—"
Arma is pushed further into his chest. "No, you moron, how do I go back to being my regular self."
"I don't know." The tear in his chest gets larger, "Sorry."
Karl's remaining eye twitches, "How could you not know. I don't believe you."
"I wasn't there when the wish happened! I don't know why you didn't just return as a—" a glare, "as you normally are! You just did!"
He tsks, glancing over to the large gap in the wall that was once windows, and mutters, "That cursed law… I should’ve known that wasn't going to be the end of it."
He gets back up, rolling back on his heels, "Well, I don't particularly feel like ripping you up into a million little pieces today, so I'll see you later. Sayonara!"
With that, Karl yanks Arma out of the other's chest and makes to walk out of the building.
"Wait!" Climber calls out, stumbling to his feet, "don't you want your canned pinto beans?"
The next time he finds Karl, he’s tucked away in one of the many nooks that the pirate cove has, bent over a violin. As much as Climber wanted to avoid this type of conflict all together, he did say that he would watch after Karl. Which means that he would try his best to keep track of him, somewhat.
“Darn humans and their squishy fingers, how on earth do they get anything done?” Karl grumbles to Arma, who tilts her head in the other direction, gesturing at the intruder.
“Hmm, what's… Oh.” He questions before turning and spotting the Climber, “What are you doing here? Scram. Get lost.”
Climber continues walking towards them.
“Stupid doll, can’t you understand that– what on earth happened to your chest?”
After hesitating a moment, unsure if it was a trick or not, he looks down to find his chest in the same condition as before.
“You stabbed me?” Was this a trick question?
“Well, yes. I did, but I’m referring to why it looks like…” Karl gestures in the other’s general direction, “that.”
Climber looks down again before realizing, oh right, he did try to fix himself up between then and now, “I’m learning how to sew.”
“Well, my pal, you're doing a terrible job at it. This is the worst I’ve seen anyone do at sewing. Ever.”
There was still fluff pouring out of the holes, and the stitching was uneven and loose enough that it might as well be doing nothing. Still, it was a good attempt by someone who had to make their own needle.
“Ok. Oh, right, I brought you some more food.”
He slings the bag off his shoulder and sets it down with a clunk as Karl sneers down at him.
“I don’t need–” A loud grumble echoes around the surroundings.
Karls face is still stuck in his signature grin, but is slowly tinting pink. Arma moves to flutter around him.
“Right, well. On second thought. I’ll… take your offering, if that gets you out of my business faster.”
As Karl hops down from his perch to collect the bag, Climber gets a better look at his face. It, somehow, looks worse than when he was in the hospital a couple of days ago. All thin and pale, dark lines residing under his one visible eye and the bandages over the other were already dirtied.
Bag now secured in hand, Karl makes a shooing motion at the Climber. “Well, go on now.”
“I mean; get out of here. Skadoodle. Make like a tree and leaf. I don’t feel like undoing your,” He stares dubiously at the other, “...’sewing’ job today and now that you’ve done your delivery there's not much point to you hanging around, right? So, shoo.”
“Alright, I’ll see you later!”
Climber hears a loud groan as he leaves.
Ending Authors Note: Saw a kasane territory meme on YT with these guys in it and fell down the rabbit hole. Somehow I actually have heard some of these characters before from the "can I have a hug?" animation memes back in uh… the early 2010s I think? Could not place where on earth I've heard these guys before that exact scene popped up. (yet somehow I pinged Steffi immediately as “hey, this looks like a design the Sleepless Domain gal would do!” despite the difference in art style...) Anyways.
Thanks for reading and all that!
… Hmm? What’s that? The canon final entries have been found and it’s no longer considered lost media? Oh, hmm, well, I guess this ended up as more of an AU than I intended. Cheers to whoever dug that up!