Summary: Laurence is getting better.
When Laurence awoke, he noticed that he wasn't in his room.
It wasn't his office either.
He blinked, wanting to get up, but his body didn't obey. He felt awfully weak. Was he sick?
What had happened to him? His mind felt like there was a big blank.
With much effort, he pulled himself up into a sitting position and scanned the room.
There wasn't much into it. He was laying in a bed with white sheets, dressed in some kind of gown of the same colour. There was a night stand next to him and a cupboard in the corner along a table with two chairs. The room was illuminated through a small window high up in the walls. In the corner he could spot a wheelchair.
That place awfully reminded him of a hospital.
A hospital? Why should he have been brought into a hospital? Just what had happened to him? What was the last thing he remembered?
The creature... Odeon Chapel...
Laurence' heart sank.
What if that wasn't a hospital but an institution like the research hall? Had they experimented on him? Where they in cahoots with that nightmarish monster?
The door to the room opened and Laurence froze as an unknown woman entered it and said: "Vicar Laurence, it is time to get you ready for the day." She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him, loudly exclaiming: "You are awake." She was at his bed in a flash. "How are you feeling?"
Laurence backed away against the wall. "Who are you?", he asked. His voice felt hoarse and weak. "What happened to me? There was... that ithing/i... O.. Odeon Chapel... Are you working with it? Have you kidnapped me?"
"What, no, of course not. You are getting this all wrong.", the woman said, but her tone couldn't calm Laurence down. He wanted to get away. He shuffled to the side of the bed, ready to run once his feet would hit the floor, faintly hearing the woman say: "Wait, what are you doing? You aren't..."
When he connected heavily to the floor, he heard the woman finish her sentence: "...able to walk yet." He noticed a sharp pain in his left hand with which he had tried to stop his fall and he could taste blood. When he raised his right hand to wipe over his lips, he noticed that it steadily trickled out of his nose.
"By the gods, are you alright?", the woman said, kneeling next to him, laying a hand on his shoulder, apparently trying to help him up. "You are bleeding. We need to get you fixed up."
i"Don't touch me."/i, Laurence hissed, weakly trying to slap her hand away.
"Please calm down, you are my patient.", the woman said. "You are still sick, and now, also hurt, we need to get you back into bed."
i"Liar!/i Laurence exclaimed. "You are working with it, iright/i? Why can I barely move? You.. have you poisoned me? What have you done to me?" He started to shake uncontrollably.
"Jules, I need a little help!", the woman loudly called, making Laurence flinch. Soon after she had called, a man entered the room, asking: "What happened? Oh, he's awake."
"Jules, get five drops ready. We need him to calm down. He's having a panic attack.", she said.
i"I don't need to calm down! You have kidnapped me"/i, Laurence shouted, trying to fight off the woman holding him, but it was no use, his body felt far too weak. He could feel tears prickling at his eyes, his breaths came swallow and he almost felt like suffocating.
The man came over with a glass of water. "Drink this, please.", he said. Laurence only started to shake harder. What if that was poison? He didn't want to take it. He also didn't want to deal with any of this. He felt like climbing under the sheets and not think about anything anymore, as an intense feeling of anxiety bubbled up in his chest. He turned his head away, not wanting to know what his kidnappers had planned with him.
"Please take the medicine.", the woman said. "You... you have been in a catatonic state for several weeks now and your body isn't ready for moving so much yet. You just woke up. And already hurt yourself. Just how shall I explain this to Ludwig? He trusted you in our care."
"Ludwig...?", Laurence asked. A scurry of memories washed over him.
Ludwig reading poetry.
Ludwig playing the violin.
Ludwig feeding him.
Ludwig cleaning him up.
Ludwig talking to him.
"...Has Ludwig brought me here?", he asked, body slumping. He felt so weak.
"Yes.", the woman nodded. "Like I said, you are our patient. And now would you be so kind to take your medicine?"
Laurence stared at the man who had offered him the glass and simply nodded. After he had emptied the glass, a certain calmness spread within him. He almost felt like floating away. Like if he hadn't a care in the world.
"Let's get you back into bed and treat your injuries.", the woman said. Laurence didn't complain. Once he was securely tucked back in, she took care of his injuries, cleaned the nosebleed and bandaged his hand.
"It's not broken, but sprained. Don't move it around so much.", she said. "But well, you aren't exactly able to move a lot yet. By the way, I am Dr. Isabella, this is my brother Dr. Jules and we need to ask you some questions. Do you think you can do this?"
Laurence nodded. All these anxiety from earlier seemed to have washed away.
"How are you feeling?", Dr. Isabella asked.
"Good.", Laurence answered. "Like floating." He wondered if he really could float.
The doctor glanced at her brother. "I think we gave him too much.", she said. "We better do this later." She turned her attention back to Laurence: "Tell us if you need something."
"Can I have something to drink?", he asked. Laurence felt pretty thirsty, after having screamed so much after just having woken up.
"Of course.", Dr. Isabella said and soon handed him a full glass of water, which Laurence drank eagerly.
"Ludwig will be so happy to see that you are awake.", she mentioned.
Hearing this brought Laurence down from his high feeling for a bit: "Is he coming here?", he asked.
"Yes, he has come here to see you every single day once you have been brought in.", the doctor nodded. "Tell us if you need anything more. We will talk later."
Spending the rest of the morning in bed, the high feeling dwindled and left Laurence with anxiety and questions again. He believed that this place was a hospital, he knew he could fully trust Ludwig on this, but...
A few things came into his mind. Had the doctor mentioned he had been in a catatonic state? For several weeks? Who had been taking care of the church while he had been out? Laurence hoped Ludwig could answer this questions once he came. Which hopefully was soon. Once the feeling of being on a rush completely dwindled, Laurence became aware how much his nose and hand did hurt. The impact had been rather hard. He wouldn't be surprised if his face was all bruised.
When Dr. Isabella came back a while later, asking if she could talk to him now, Laurence first had to ask for a bathroom break. His mind asked himself how in the world he had gotten this done while being unresponsive and the image of Ludwig flashed before him once again. Had Ludwig really... Laurence didn't knew if he should be embarrassed or thankful for it.
Once he was back in bed, Dr. Isabella repeated her question from earler once again: "How are you feeling?"
"Weak.", Laurence answered. "Like being sick. Have trouble moving. And anxious."
"That's because you had been in a catatonic state for, let's see, five weeks now.", the doctor mentioned and Laurence eyes widened.
"How long?!", he exclaimed. He thought it had maybe been two weeks. "..What kind of sickness do I have? What was the medicine you gave me earlier?", he wanted to know.
"We call it a Frenzy. The medicine we gave you is called sedatives, we concocted it back when we were at Byrgenwerth and got the permission to work further on it here in Yharnam.", she answered.
Laurence face darkened as the mention of Byrgenwerth, but the part before that was much more interesting.
"Frenzy...?", Laurence asked. "Is this place something like an asylum?"
"I wouldn't exactly call it like this, but we specialize on healing people who have lost their mind. From seeing things they shouldn't. Being in a Frenzy simply means that your brain couldn't handle certain information.", she explained. "Your way of coping with it was by shutting down, but you have responded to the sedatives rather quickly. We can focus on getting you back to society soon."
Laurence relaxed just a tiny bit at this answer. This condition probably also was the reason for the anxiety he was feeling.
"You mentioned you were from Byrgenwerth?", Laurence asked further. He didn't knew how he should feel about being treated with a medicine from a place he broke all bonds with and never intended to return.
"We know your history with Master Willem and I can assure you, while we originally made this medicine at Byrgenwerth, now our research is our own. We simply needed permission. We strife to make it better, so that anyone in a Frenzy can be healed instantly."
"Alright.", Laurence said, staring at the ceiling. "This anxious feeling.. has it something to do with that so called Frenzy condition?", he asked after a while.
"For this we need to talk about the cause of your Frenzy.", Dr. Isabella said. "Are you already ready for this? I would like to let you settle first because of the severity of your condition."
Laurence shook his head. No, he wasn't ready talking about it yet. He felt very much far too terrified even thinking about Odeon Chapel. He almost wished he could get another dose of this medicine.
"You haven't had breakfast yet, you must be hungry.", the doctor stated. "Would you like to try and eat something?" Before Laurence could answer, the door creaked. "Oh, seems like Ludwig is here.", Dr. Isabella smiled and moved out of the way. Not a moment too late because once the door was open, Ludwig basically rushed to Laurence, giving him a suffocating hug.
"Laurence, I was SO worried.", he sobbed. "I thought you would never wake up. Just... what has happened?"
"I... I'll tell you if you stop suffocating me.", Laurence gasped.
"Sorry.", Ludwig said, releasing Laurence, sitting down on the bed next to him. Laurence gasped for air and Dr. Isabella gave Ludwig a scolding look.
"Be a bit more gentle, would you?", she said. "I am leaving you alone for now. Call me should you need something."
Once she was gone, Laurence shuffled closer to Ludwig, leaning his body against his large frame. Ludwig stroke over his hair and Laurence instantly felt like melting. That always happened when someone petted his hair. He slumped against Ludwig, just relishing the feeling.
"Laurence? Are you still there? Please answer me.", Ludwig suddenly shouted, shaking him. Laurence hissed in sudden pain.
"Ludwig, what the hell?", he asked.
"Sorry.", Ludwig apologized once again. "I thought you were going unresponsive again... Just please tell me what happened. I wanted to know this for five weeks now!" Ludwig stared at Laurence face, asking: "Wait, what happened to your face? Your nose is all bruised up."
"I fell.", Laurence answered. "Ludwig, you will probably be mad at me for what I tell you. I have made a big mistake. I... actually... don't really want to talk about this either. "
"You are not the only one who made a mistake...", Ludwig murmured. "...I won't force you to talk, but could you at least try? I have been worried sick about you for far too long now."
"You remember O... Odeon Chapel?" Laurence hated that he started stuttering.
"The thing I saw on it? It... it wasn't a hallucination.", Laurence explained. "I... went t.. to face it.", he brought out. The feeling of anxiety in his chest had gotten suffocating again and so he just leaned into Ludwig's embrace, silent tears dripping down his face.
"Let me guess.. alone and at night?", Ludwig asked. Laurence nodded.
"You iidiot/i!", Ludwig shouted, tears in his eyes, embracing Laurence once more. "Why haven't you come to me?"
"I should have.", Laurence sniffled. "I wish I had."
They spend a while in this embrace until both of their tears had ceased.
"What about the church?", Laurence asked. Ludwig huffed at this question, clearly mad.
"They said that you were a lost cause. They were talking about replacing you. Believe me, me and Florence have done everything to delay their votes. Now that you are awake, they don't have a reason for this anymore."
"Have I been this bad?", Laurence asked, leaning a bit more into Ludwig. Ludwig took upon the hint and gently placed Laurence on his lap.
"It has been bad. You barely responded to anything. You looked, like, you were awake, but... you didn't move or talk and when someone spoke to you you didn't answer. It felt like talking with a statue. Which could breathe.", Ludwig said. Laurence could hear the stress and worry out of his voice alone. "Laurence, do you remember anything of it?"
Laurence shifted around on Ludwig's lap. "Bits and pieces.", he answered. "I remember that you were there. You were reading to me. Or playing the violin. I think I remember you playing with Mick and he knocked down all the books on my night stand."
Laurence could feel how Ludwig embraced him a bit more. "I was hoping that you wouldn't realize that you were stuck in your body..." His voice sounded so ihurt/i. It must have been bad for Ludwig.
"I hardly was aware of myself.", Laurence answered. "I remember... being anxious. I think I clung to you when you were close."
"Anything else?", Ludwig asked.
"...I think you accompanied me to the bathroom.", Laurence said with a blank face, cheeks turning slightly red. Ludwig scooped him up, bringing Laurence closer to his face, whispering: "That was better than having to change your whole garb every time you needed to go." His face was flushed slightly red too.
"Don't you remember anything of your time in the clinic?", Ludwig asked. Laurence shook his head.
"I only remember being with you."
With their faces so near to each other and the realization that they practically didn't had a chance to do this since weeks, th next thing Laurence knew was, that they were kissing each other. It bordered on them making out with each other, when Dr. Isabella entered the room, saying: "It's time for your medicine." She dropped whatever she was holding when she saw both of them laying like that on the bed. Ludwig shot up, carefully helping Laurence in a sitting position. Laurence felt awfully busted.
"I am sorry to interrupt.", she said, clearing her throat. "But he still is a bit too weak for, uh, that... Please control yourself."
Laurence questioningly stared from Ludwig to Dr. Isabella and to Ludwig again. "She knows.", Ludwig said. "Don't worry, she swore that she would say nobody." This allowed Laurence to relax.
"So, would you like to try and eat something along taking your medicine?", Dr. Isabella asked. Laurence considered and then nodded. His stomach felt like it hadn't had anything decent to eat in a while.
Ludwig picked Laurence up with no effort at all: "Let's get you into the wheelchair."
The way Laurence was lifted into the air by Ludwig made it clear that Ludwig had done this countless times by now. "You are far too thin.", Ludwig murmured. "Only skin and bones." He gently lowered Laurence into the wheelchair and went behind it to push him.
"He will take on some weight now that he's awake and can eat properly again.", Dr. Isabella said. "But first, the medicine." She handed Laurence a glass with a tiny amount of water which was probably mixed with the medicine. Laurence took it and swallowed it in one gulp.
A few moments later, Laurence felt far better, his anxiety once again taken away from him. What he still felt though, was annoyance. Ludwig seemed to insist to have to feed him.
"I surely can eat on my own.", Laurence said as he once again tried to snatch the spoon out of Ludwig's hand and failed because Ludwig was much taller than him and it cost him great effort to even lift his arm that high.
"But... what if you eat to hastily? And choke? Or eat to quickly and need to vomit? Or what if you let the spoon drop and burn yourself?", Ludwig rambled on.
"I am not a toddler, Ludwig. Just let me eat on my own.", Laurence complained.
"Sorry.", Ludwig said. "I am just still worried about you. I mean, you just woke up and shouldn't overexert yourself." Ludwig finally handed the spoon to Laurence.
"How shall I overexert myself by eating soup?", Laurence said, chuckling, slowly starting to eat. It took him quite some while to get the plate empty, especially with Ludwig watching every single one of his movements. He eventually gave in and allowed Ludwig to feed him the last few spoons.
After eating, Ludwig asked if he could take Laurence out on a walk and after he got permission, he pushed Laurence through a few small side roads which he recognized were somewhere in Central Yharnam.
"Laurence, I hope you are never doing something like this again.", Ludwig mentioned. Laurence didn't answer. The medicine seemed to wear off and filled his chest with anxiety again. He asked himself if he could ask the doctor for more later?
Seemingly worried by his unresponsiveness, Ludwig asked: "Laurence? Please answer me."
Ripped out of his thoughts, Laurence simply said: "Sorry."
"Please try to understand me.", Ludwig told him. "You have been unresponsive for so long. I get worried when you don't speak to me."
"Sorry.", Laurence said once again.
"Laurence? Can I ask you something?"
"What exactly was it that the ithing/i did to you that left you in this state?"
Laurence wanted to open his mouth to give an explanation, but he couldn't. Instead he started to shiver, hugging himself, breathing in short intervals. Ludwig rushed from behind the wheelchair to the front, kneeling down, saying: "It's alright. You don't have to answer. Just please, calm down."
After a copious amount of hair petting Laurence managed to calm down.
"I am sorry, Ludwig.", he said. "I still need some time."
The next few days in the clinic were spend mostly with careful muscle training and Dr. Isabella interviewing Laurence on the incident at Odeon Chapel.
While Laurence became a bit more confident talking about it, he still shut down and quietly panicked whenever he tried to recall what happened after that creature had grabbed him.
Soon, the day for Laurence' discharge came. He still wasn't able to walk for long periods at a time, but Ludwig had learned how to help him with the muscle training and being able to walk again was only a matter of time. At the moment, Laurence still was bound to the wheelchair, while Dr. Isabella explained to him how he should take his sedatives.
"Take two drops in the morning, two during lunch and two before you go to sleep. You shouldn't take more than 6 drops a day. Be sure to take them with enough water. Please don't put them in any other drink."
Laurence nodded. "Understood."
"It should be enough to last for a month. We should make an appointment in the next three weeks, to see how you are doing."
"I will send Florence to make one.", Laurence said. "My personal secretary.", he added. According to Ludwig, Florence had been as worried as him and was all to eager to welcome Laurence back in the church.
"Then you are good to go.", Dr. Isabella smiled at him. "I assume Ludwig is coming to fetch you?"
Laurence nodded: "Yes." After a brief moment of silence, he added: "Thank you..."
"Having the thanks of the Vicar of the Healing Church, what an honour.", Dr. Isabella laughed, but then said: "It has been my pleasure. Seeing this things that nobody else can see is scary, right? I have been there, that's why I opened up this clinic."
Laurence simply stared at her. At one hand, knowing that he definitely wasn't the only one seeing things felt incredibly comforting, on the other hand... it was worrying.
Back at the church, the first thing that happened was that Florence gave Laurence one of her motherly hugs, quickly pulling away and getting her secretary persona in place again, once she realized what she was doing.
The next thing the three of them did was paying the church ministers a visit. While Laurence lectured them about their hasty decisions, he had the feeling, that Florence and Ludwig both looked very satisfied.
And then... Laurence pretty got back into his daily routine with the exception that he was still wheelchair bound and often was accompanied by Florence or Ludwig simply to be able to move around. Ludwig continued muscle training with him however and soon he was able to walk a bit more again, even though it still took him at least a month before he felt secure enough to leave the wheelchair for good.
He also went to his scheduled appointment with Dr. Isabella who was very satisfied about his progress. He still needed to take the sedatives though. Every time he thought about leaving them be, the anxiety came back and Laurence didn't want do deal with it on top of everything else.
The current day had been one, where Laurence didn't went to sleep and instead decided to research a bit more, but decided to take a break and wandered through the church.
As he came to the window overlooking Yharnam, his gaze fell on Odeon Chapel.
The creature was still on it, with its too many limbs, too many eyes, too many tentacles.
Uneasy, Laurence made his way back to his office, gaze on the sedatives bottle on his desk.
He already had taken his full six drops for the day.
Pouring himself a glass of water, Laurence opened up the bottle of sedatives.
...Surely eight drops a day wouldn't hurt.
(Author's note: And that's it! This story idea hit me like crazy and I just needed to write it out. I decided to make the last chapter a bit longer because it felt just too awkward getting a break anywhere in there.
So, how did you like the story? Do you think my idea of the condition of Frenzy worked? What was your favourite part? Tell me in the comments!)