tell us about your beloved agent 3 on their first night back from the metro!
SOBS,, YEAH I CAN DO THAT i owe you my life now actually
some important context on the actual happenings to start because that puts most of it into perspective i think
my personal take on the octo expansion happens over the course of around two months, give or take
before first getting dragged underground, Ollie (my 3) is only 15 years old
she's relatively extroverted and, due to a somewhat rocky upbringing, very much thrives on attention and/or approval from those around her and will seek it to a fault
unfortunately she also gets to spend the duration of the expansion entirely isolated and alone
she's very competent, and dedicated, and good at her job, but this is not her job. her job is taking down enemies and clearing obstacles and generally all the problems she'll encounter can be solved by shooting and/or hitting them really hard. this is being stranded alone in an entirely foreign place without any prior preparation, cut off from the outside world and anyone she was previously with, and being left to fend for herself. for WEEKS. which is not something she's prepared nor equipped for, emotionally or physically
and she doesn't take it well! who would! it's just a long, painful clusterfuck of scrabbling around in the dark, and though she does eventually get access to video feeds of the facility after stealing getting her hands on the employee CQ-80, for a vast majority of the time down there she isn't even sure if the others are alive- and even when she does find out, she can't so much as contact them, leaving her just as alone as ever. needless to say, despite her home life not exactly being fantastic either, all she really wants for the duration is to get out and go home and surely, then, everything will go back to normal just like that
but then there's the distress signal, then the blender, and the Telephone Goo happens, and it's all a bit of a big uncomfortable blur from that point, but the long and short of it is that she gets out. and everything is the same- nothing much has gone on in the time she's been gone, with other squidbeak members (mostly Indie/4) picking up the slack when necessary, keeping things reasonably peaceful. so naturally, of course, this means everything is Totally Fine and everyone just gets to pick up where they left off with no repercussions whatsoever and also 8 is there now i guess thats a thing :)
except no! it's not even half that easy! because while ollie is already very good at covering up when anything is wrong- she can just about hold it together in front of everyone else, at least, if a little jittery- it's super easy to tell she's had a terrible time. she's covered in dirt and soot, scratched up all over the place, dripping green goop and glowing to name but a few things, and then there's also the significant brainfog and partial blindness caused by the goop to contend with (both of which clear up with a bit of time, but her eyesight doesn't ever completely recover). all of which only rams it home that no, just getting back to the surface isn't magically fixing any of her problems, she's got long-term shit to unpack whether she likes it or not! and then to top it all off she's got to go home to an empty house and stew alone with her thoughts yet again with that increasingly hopeless knowledge in mind. not to mention it's the first time she actually gets to see the extent of what she's been through, let alone start to process it. hence the first night especially being.. like that
ollie's time in the metro and the immediate aftermath are responsible for some of the biggest turning points in her character/arc, and things do get significantly better for her following all this, but the first few days or even weeks are... difficult. in between trying and failing to navigate her emotions and trauma by herself, attempting to figure out where she stands with Eight and how to address everything that happened down there, and running away from home but actually for real this time (long story but lets be real. it was a long time coming), she ends up with her hands way more full than she'd like. with time and a lot of patience on everybody's part, though, maybe she can have a little accepting there's people that legitimately care about her and letting them share the burden. as a treat :)
Forgotten Light Ch. 3 I’m All Rainbow, All the Time
Summary: Thomas is back, and no one is sure what to do about that.
Chapters: 1, 2, 3
Everyone in the base was braced. None of them, not even King or Mare had dealt with or seen a demon like this. They had only heard rumors. Rumors of temperament creatures that lashed out with no warning, driven only by near animalistic emotions.
“Joan?” Thomas asked in confusion, reaching up to hold the side of his head.
“Yeah buddy, you okay?” Joan knelt down. “Took quite a bad fall, buddy.”
“Ugh,” Thomas moved to a seated position. “I feel like it.”
“You okay, can I get you anything?” Joan asked. “Your head hurt? You want me to get you something?”
“Yeah, I,” Thomas looked around in confusion, realizing that he wasn’t in his old apartment he used to share with a couple of his friends. “Where are we?”
“I know it’s super confusing but we’re safe right now, let me get you something for your head,” Joan promised, gesturing to a seat.
Down the hall, Virgil felt weird. His heart was racing with more than just apprehension over Thomas being freed. Now he felt something deeper, like he was being pulled somewhere or in like a limbo space waiting to be moved somewhere else. Virgil clutched onto Roman’s sleeve for dear life.
Joan smiled and Thomas got up on shaky legs, almost falling forward but Joan caught him and helped him into a chair. “Just sit tight, we’ve got coffee, juice, soda, water?”
“Just water’s good,” Thomas looked around, Nate tensed when he stared in his direction a touch too long. “I . . . Who’s house is this?”
Joan opened their mouth to answer — they were actually going to redirect the conversation — as they were getting a glass of water and some random painkillers they always had stashed in the common room for little aches and pains any of the heroes so often got from their line of work. Before Thomas could hear their answer a sharp shock of pain shot through his brain, it was one all the Sides felt regardless of their distance to Thomas.
The pain brought with it brief flashes of memory. Of alarm as something was dropped, and then relief of catching the object . . . followed by pain so intense and deep his body couldn’t process it.
“Thom—” Joan began, watching Thomas double over in pain before he froze because suddenly wisps of blue aura appeared before Logan and Patton materialized out of almost thin air. They had been standing down the hall with Roman and Virgil, and suddenly it felt like something had shoved them away.
Thomas still had his eyes closed for a second as the dull throbbing subsided down again, Logan realized with minute horror that Thomas would see himself and Patton and there was nothing he could do to stop that.
The world seemed to come to a tense halt as Thomas startled at their presence, and Patton spoke.
“Hey there kiddo,” Patton greeted loudly, he’d had plans to rush out before Logan could because the logical Side had been asked to make enough sacrifices lately in Patton’s mind. But this worked as well, Logan wouldn’t have to be alone.
“Who?” Thomas stared in confusion and Logan was at a complete loss of what to say.
Patton however was not, “Hello, I’m your conscience. I tell you all the good you should do, and remind you of all the good emotions you feel.”
Logan stared at Patton in alarm. Patton was a terrible liar, anyone who knew him well enough, knew that.
And the situation was precarious enough.
“Uh, okay,” Thomas told him nervously, down the hall, Virgil felt the pulling sensation again. But there was something in him that was fighting it.
“Do you remember anything?” Logan cut in, he still felt like his usual self so if he was a thrall, it was no different from how he usually conducted himself.
“No, should I?” Thomas asked, feeling anxious.
“Well Thomas, we didn’t want to rush you but you’ve been kinda having amnesia lately,” Joan lied.
Logan panicked, knowing how unsustainable the situation was, “Stop. Stop.”
Joan, Patton, and Thomas all looked at him. “We cannot start all this with lies when the instant he steps outside he’s going to figure out we deceived him.”
“What’s going on?” Thomas asked as Logan rubbed at his eyes.
“You’ve been dead for almost twenty years,” Logan admitted, adjusting his glasses. “Truthfully no one can say if you even are the original Thomas or a projection based on aura.”
Thomas stared at him in horror and alarm, “What?”
“Lo, maybe we should do this delicately?” Patton urged.
Logan looked around and saw the broken camera that had been the source of so much trouble lying on the ground and held it up for Thomas to see. “You were killed over twenty years ago and were split into multiple parts. Morality and I are two of those parts.”
“Wait, I am so confused, I don’t remember anything, I was at some party before,” Thomas’s voice was starting to pitch towards hysterics.
“Yes, we only recently discovered there was anything left in the camera and you came out,” Logan explained.
Thomas felt his heart beat faster and the sensation of needing to run away as fast and far as possible. And finally the tugging sensation inside of Virgil overcame whatever was keeping him clinging onto Roman in pure terror. He was ripped away from Roman’s arm and came to stand directly behind Thomas. Thomas immediately sensed there was something behind him and turned.
Virgil looked over at Thomas and the two of them startled before they screamed at the same time.
Thomas threw himself off the couch to get away from Virgil, and the anxious Side ducked behind Patton and Logan, nervously looking around him at Thomas, his hood tugged deep over his eyes.
“Uh, hi,” Thomas greeted nervously from the floor.
Virgil, surprising even himself, hissed at Thomas like an angry cat. His eyeshadow darkening, pupils little more than needle-thin slits.
Thomas leaned away in alarm, Joan rushing over to him. Roman rushed out of his hiding place when he heard the hissing but calmed down when he saw that Virgil was hiding behind the other two Sides.
“He’s not that keen on new people,” Joan apologized, helping Thomas up. “He just about hit me in the face when we met.”
Not offering an immediate comment, Thomas watched Virgil cautiously. Logan broke the tension by stepping in the middle.
“He’ll calm down a bit if you keep your distance,” Logan promised and Thomas nodded, looking around and seeing Roman standing down the hall. “Is the color theme normal?”
“Yes,” Logan answered. “Princey, you are doing no favors by loitering in the halls.”
“I do nothing of the sort,” Roman huffed out, strolling over. “I was merely waiting to make my grand entrance, which you so rudely spoiled.”
Logan rolled his eyes, “This is Princey, the one in purple here is Anxiety.”
“Anxiety,” Thomas repeated tensely and Virgil hid even further into Patton’s back.
“Yes, he wanted to be a little overdramatic with his name,” Logan answered. “But if you don’t harm him, he’ll leave you alone.”
“Okay, but I never did get an answer on where I am,” Thomas reminded.
“You are in the Coalition of Heroes’ base,” Logan answered. “We store all types of magical artifacts here. Some heroes live here, others like us only come in and out for patrols.”
“Heroes?” Thomas repeated.
“We’re superheroes,” Roman waved his arms and red sparks of magic spread across the air.
Thomas gasped in excitement, “Like Spiderman?”
“If that helps you internalize the idea,” Logan sighed.
“We all have superpowers,” Patton smiled.
“Cept for Lo over here, he’s just a nerd,” Roman joked, jabbing finger at Logan.
“I happen to be a very crucial part of this team,” Logan huffed. The more jovial atmosphere helped calm Thomas down, which in turn was calming Virgil down. “I helped redesign all of our suits.”
With the mere idea that superheroes were real that got Patton and Roman to start recounting some of their wilder stories. Thomas was clearly excited and Virgil was starting to unglue himself from Patton’s back.
The situation was starting to de-escalate. Logan dared to get hopeful. But he wasn’t going to just accept that Thomas couldn’t turn them into his thralls. Logan needed to bridge the gap first. Consciousness wasn’t enough to thrall them. Proximity wasn’t enough. Even the knowledge of what they all were didn’t do it.
But would tactile contact—
“Come here!” Patton cheered and threw out his arms before he tackled Thomas with a hug, alarming everyone in the room except for Thomas.
“Oh, we’re, uh,” Thomas stammered in surprise but accepted the hug.
Everyone in the room stayed braced but Patton pulled away and smiled.
“See, a hug always makes things better,” Patton gave Thomas a huge smile. Both his and Thomas’s eyes were a sky, baby blue color.
“Yeah,” Thomas echoed his smile as his eyes slowly bleed back into his normal brown. “It does.”
“We should go home,” Patton suggested warmly as his eyes were slower to fade back to brown. “Been a long day, I’m hungry.”
“What do you want?” Logan tried to remain calm, trying to see if there was anything different about Patton.
“Cake!” Patton cheered, and Logan couldn’t help but smile.
“Nonsense, you will eat something of substance,” Logan told him and Patton pouted, making Logan roll his eyes and give a relenting huff. “If you eat a full, nutritious meal, then you may have cake.”
“Yay!” Patton threw his hands up.
Logan brought all of them into the little kitchen area. Distracting Thomas and the other Sides as Joan went to talk to Nate and orchestrate a way to empty the room to feed people back in bit by not.
Thomas was, at first, nervous with meeting new people. King kept his distance, and Mare didn’t even make himself visible. The young hero refused to get closer than halfway across the room. Eventually Thomas warmed up to people, irregardless of whether King’s presence made him wary.
Logan chalked it up to the presence of food and brightly colored costumes. The newcomer was enamored by the idea of being a superhero and if it kept Thomas close enough for them to watch for any hint of violence or thralling the Sides, then no one was going to fight it.
When it came time to turn in for the night, the Sides quietly decided to stay close to Thomas in case anything happened. Roman, Virgil, and especially Patton we’re so exhausted they fell right asleep.
However, Logan wasn’t so fortunate. He found himself unable to sleep. But he wasn’t tired, the farthest thing from it, in fact. He was wide awake. As if he had slept a full eight hours and was ready to restart his day.
Logan lay in bed and tried to get to sleep. But as the night passed, he found sleep was impossible, but unlike every other time he was not exhausted and fatigued come morning.
In fact as he watched Virgil check his phone, the anxious Side pressed up against him as the others were getting out of bed, Logan found he still felt rested.
And he worried if Thomas’s re-emergence had anything to do with it.