It wasn't too long ago that my mentor disappeared. It seemed that not even the scientists were aware of his location and it infuriated them. They suspected that I knew- but I hadn't been told anything, I was just as clueless as they were. They accused me of lying, locking me in my room for weeks and interrogating me thoroughly. I could only continue to tell them the truth, that I was unaware of Cross' location. I knew lying would be useless, I didn't know anywhere other than the compound, and making something up would either be an obvious lie or a ghost chase- it would only make me worse off. They took my answers as defiance. It was a hideously frustrating process, having no one believe you.

Eventually, they let up- or so they intended for me to think.

They allowed me to meet the other experiments, they said it was out of good faith and an apology for reaming me so hard. I knew the real reason, they thought that I would make friends and confide in another experiment. That I would trust me own 'kind' enough to spill everything I knew.

I met 12072209 the first day I was allowed out. He was a loud and cheerful red head known as 'LAVI'.

He was a genius- well, I suppose I use the term lightly. Genius was, in fact, understating. I don't even think there's a word for what he is. He was the pride of the compound, the scientists had discovered they could tamper with human intelligence when the experiment was at an early age. They taught Lavi everything and found he could memorize it all without even trying. He worked out puzzles and problems that took most people hours in seconds. He told me he'd that an hour after learning the English alphabet, he'd figured out the code behind the serial numbers- and then he'd immediately tossed that aside and began learning Arabic.

His ability to retain knowledge grew until he could outsmart the very scientists who created him. Sometimes I wondered why Lavi was still in the compound- it would have been so easy for him to find a way out. He could have escaped multiple times, and a few times I almost asked him. But there was always something very sad about him behind that cheerful demeanor. There was something very lonely that he kept hidden. He could figure out everything, nothing was a mystery to him, nothing was a secret. That made him very cold, I could always tell. He was very judgemental regardless of how much he tried not to be. He didn't trust anyone, because he could always figure out what they were hiding.

I realized that the reason he didn't escape, why he stayed locked up in the compound was because long ago he'd realized that free or not, he'd keep that loneliness no matter where he went. His skills of deduction and knowledge were probably the worst thing they could have given him.

And it was not the only thing they had given him. The limits of human strength had been broken by a scientist named Maashiima. I still remember my shock the day Lavi told me the scientists intentionally hit him with a truck. He then assured me they had equipped him with a large hammer made of Tungsten steel just in case. It didn't really help the shock value. In addition to this superhuman strength, they'd tampered with his nerves, attempting to create an experiment who could not feel pain.

It had worked- but too well. They had given him a sort of induced CIPA [congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis] a disorder of the nervous system that prevented the any nerve-related sensations. While any normal person having this would have been cause for worry, the scientists seemed overjoyed.

In fact, the only real failure they ever took into account for Lavi was when they had attempted a procedure on his right eye. Even now, Lavi never really figured out what, exactly they were aiming to do, only that it left him one eye short. Something he covered nicely with an eyepatch.

Lavi had become my first ever friend and over the course of my time, I spent many hours with him. I trusted him and felt very comfortable around him- but it did not make me miraculously produce my master's location. It's almost like the scientists expected me to walk up to them and spill everything, saying 'it came to me in a dream.'

For the time after the water endurance test, Lavi was really the only other experiment I got to see- and that was on rare occurrences. The scientists were pissed off at me [moreso than usual] for breaking their expensive toy, so they stuck me on maze trails for a week. I didn't see that dark-haired boy at all during that time.

At the beginning of the next week, they forced surgical experiments on me, testing to strengthen my muscles and pain endurance. The same thing they'd done to Lavi- and I really hoped to hell and high waters that it wouldn't work at all.

When I woke, I did not feel as if I'd been mowed down with a semi-truck. There was a small sting of panic- I could assume that they would not have given me any medication, as that would be pointless. They would want to test whether or not it was a success, and by not feeling anything I had to look at the two scenarios before me. It had worked and I couldn't feel the pain that should have definitely been present. Or it hadn't worked- but not in the way that I had hoped, and I had the form of induced-CIPA that Lavi was diagnosed with. I would have been overjoyed with the first scenario of success, and terrified with the second.

The panic must have been present on my face, because as soon as all of my thoughts were sinking in, I heard a familiar chuckle.

"Well, don't you look like a ray of sunshine."

I sat up in my bed, catching sight of vibrant ginger hair. I hadn't seen anyone other than LInk for the week of maze trials, so seeing Lavi was like a godsend. I could only deal with stoic and impatient Link for so long without loosing my sanity.

"So, did it work?" Lavi questioned, his remaining green eye practically shining.

"I don't really know." I stated, fingers pulling at the uncomfortable collar of the hospital gown I was in. I was amazed that something could fit me worse than my usual clothing, it was almost as if the scientists did it intentionally. Make the little brat look ridiculous - it'll make him spill about the missing experiment. They had it out for me, I swear, and it was all Cross' fault. The jackass.

"I feel fine." I said, "Or moreso I don't feel anything." I dropped my hands to the thin bedsheet that covered me. My fingers moved over the surface and I could barely feel the cool texture of the fabric- but the fact that I could feel it even a little made a wave of relief fall over me. "I don't feel pain," I corrected then, my hands grasping at the sheets, feeling it crumped up in my hands. The feeling was not as strong as it should have been, it was dulled, sort of akin to the sensation you get when you're recovering from a sensation of numbness "I can feel other things, it seem, but it's dulled, so I'm nowhere near your level."

"Well, I can't go allowing people to ruin my success just yet." Lavi grinned. "Maybe one day."

I was hit with a small feeling of guilt- the fact that Lavi's nerve disorder was treated as some great success never really sat right with me to begin with. But I returned the grin regardless, automatically- Lavi had that sort of infectious sense to him that just made me smile, regardless of how I was feeling. My thoughts were interrupted then, by that nameless dark-haired male. The sight of his scowling expression caught suddenly in my mind.

The entire week of solitude had me wondering about him. I hadn't really had anyone to ask- Link never really answered my questions unless he was required to. Lavi generally knew everything that happened in the compound. The scientists never particularly cared about whether or not he knew things they'd never tell anyone else.

"Lavi, has there been any new experiments?" I questioned. I didn't really mean new, it was how we referred to experiments being released from solitary.

"They're letting that kid, 20091315200525, out like us." Was the response. Being 'out like us' was just another term for solitary. It meant free to roam around the compound and out of our rooms. At certain hours we were allowed "outside" into the garden [my favourite place].

I want to state now that I use the term "free" in it's loosest meaning. If we were free, we would be allowed outside of the compound to join the general population. A notion so hilarious it was painfully sad. We were not even free enough to wander alone. At all times we were required to have supervisors; our "keepers." For most experiments, these supervisors were our teachers- older experiments. But mine was missing, abandoning me for some godforsaken reason and leaving me at the mercy of the scientists. So as a solution they graciously gifted me Link. Not that he had been too keen on the idea either. Now saying that the older experiments are mentors is not to say that they did not have tests and trials of their own.

Whenever a supervisor was caught up in other duties, we were generally stuck with another scientist until our supervisor had completed their task.

Lavi's supervisor was an old man 02151511130114. He was the oldest experiment any of us knew about, and the wisest man I have ever known. He was a quick-tempered, endearing man known as 'BOOKMAN.' Often I would get to see the generally hilarious instances of Lavi upsetting the man, only to have the shit kicked out of him for it.

The experiment that Lavi had mentioned, 20091315200525, was the youngest experiment in the compound. Being in solitary, no one had been permitted to go near him other than scientists and his supervisor, 1112012104- a woman I had never met, but I had heard that she was beautiful and quiet.

Younger experiments were placed in solitary out of fear that the older ones would 'taint' them. A hilarious notion to me, as my own mentor had probably tainted my mind more thoroughly than anyone else could have ever even hoped to. I still can't get over the trauma.

Though the news of 20091315200525's release was somewhat exciting, it was not the news I wanted. "Anything else?"

Lavi clicked his tongue against the room of his mouth, shifting where he sat on the edge of my hospital bed. He leaned forward, his arms resting on his knees as he made a face, something he did when he was racking his brain. "I heard they moved an experiment from some Asia compound. Somethin' about them not bein' able to handle him or his scientist supervisor. Said he got here about a week or two ago, but he's stuck in solitary for bein' a regular pain in the ass."

"They transferred the supervisor too?" It was an unusual scenario, hearing that a scientist was hard to handle. The ones I had seen were generally mild-mannered or completely stoic.

"Heard her talkin' to the old man a few days ago." He stated with a shrug, fingers tapping against his leg. He had this habit of talking with a sort of accent- the scientists always told him he talked like a street rat. No one could really figure out why he had it, no one on the compound talked like that, but he'd never really made any attempt to change it. Seemed he was content with having something different. "Short lil' thing, got real pissy and started yellin'- seems like she's got quite the temper on her. Her name's Fo; the experiment's 1101140401-252121. Fo called referred to him as 'Kanda', but from his numbers I'd say he's Japanese- which'd make his first name Yuu.

"Why're you asking?"

I shrugged, "I saw him. Two weeks ago, I guess he is assigned the room down the hall from mine. I haven't seem him since... I think it was Tuesday."

"That's the day the old man said he got confined. Scientists're sayin' he's a mean one, that Yuu."

I thought back to when I had seen Kanda Yuu, imagining that piercing glare he'd fixed me with. It was definitely one that demanded 'don't fuck with me', and after I'd been locked in my room I'd spent a good hour trying to think up why he'd given me such a look. The unhappy look he'd had before he saw me looked as if it was an expression he wore a lot- so if he was just flat out an asshole, it would explain the glare. I still couldn't imagine why someone had cause to glare at another person they didn't even know- mean spirited or not, but it's not as if I really had anything to go on.

The last bitter person I knew was my mentor, who did whatever he wanted for no reason at all. I don't think Cross ever looked at me with anything but a glare, so the thought of having to relive such things only made me cringe.

A sigh escaped my lips- another experiment with a shitty personality and little to no sanity was the last thing I needed. Another on the list of problems I had with.. well, everything. It was quite the list and I told myself one day I'd write it out just to portray how ridiculous the living conditions were.

Regardless of the fact that I now knew Kanda Yuu would be one to avoid- it didn't stop the urge to see him again. Perhaps it was because I hadn't actually seen in person that he had an angry demeanor, that's what I told myself. In the end it was most likely due to the fact that I'd never seen anyone like him. There was some hidden attraction to the man with deep blue eyes and dark hair like silk that I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable to admitting, even to myself. It was still too early to tell.

"12012209, I hope you are not distracting 0112120514 from the rest he very much needs."

Lavi jumped, right off the edge of the bed. He stumbled in his landing and tripped forward, his hands flying out to grab the counter across from the bed and bracing against it to avoid hitting his face on it. "I did no such thing!" He hissed, sounding offended by the mere notion. "I even waited for him to wake up on his own!"

There was a man in the doorway, the source of the accusation. He arched a brow, not looking entirely convinced by Lavi's reponse, but he didn't push the subject. He was a tall man with lightly tanned skin, his dark hair running in curls down to the mid of his back. As he stepped into the room I realized that I had never come in contact with him, I wasn't even aware of his name, though I knew I'd seen him before. Probably passed by him in the halls of the compound.

He muttered something under his breath as he moved past Lavi (who was now leaning against the counter, watching the scientist like a hawk) and tapped his clipboard against his shoulder. He examined the EKG with a bored expression, hinted with annoyance, and part of me wanted to make a comment about how if he didn't care about my condition he shouldn't bother looking. But, as usual, I kept my snarky and bitter comments to myself. All for the good of maintaining my kind and polite demeanor, some sacrifices had to be made.

"Heart rate is normal, he's not feelin' any pain or exhaustion. Nor does he show signs of side effects, said he's feelin' stuff just fine, the sensation's're just a bit dulled'n'stuff." Lavi stated knowingly, pushing himself up on the counter and kicking his feet.

"Thank you for your experienced medical evaluation, boy." The sarcasm was dripping from his words, almost making me chuckle. Almost. I did, however, grin.

"You're welcome." Lavi said graciously. A grin crossed his lips, teasing and full of himself.

The look the man gave him was incredibly annoyed, rolling his eyes before turning his gaze to me. He looked as if he were trying to measure whether or not Lavi had been telling the truth or waiting for me to tell him Lavi was wrong. A frown crossed his lips, a look of frustration on his features. He let out a sigh of defeat, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. 'You seem fine." He stated with reluctance. "You'll stay here for the remained of the week in order to make sure there are no side effects." He took a pen from his coat pocket, jotting a few sentences onto his clipboard.

HIs shoulders sagged slightly, seeming a bit tired. In another instant it was gone, his posture lifted as he let out a breath."I'll be leaving you to your rest." He stated, glancing over at the ginger still kicking his legs like a child.

Lavi gave him a challenging look and they stood like that for a moment, having a silent battle.

Part of me figured I should say something- but that may have made it more awkward, so I bit back my words.

"Unless someone has more medical expertise to inform me of."

"We're good." Lavi stated matter-of-factly. "You can leave."

I couched in order to hide the laugh that had forced it's way past my lips. The battle of wills going on before me was too much.

"You can leave too," The scientist said. "Leave the boy to rest, shoo."

Labi opened his mouth to protest but settled with a huff. He pushed himself off of the counter, landing balanced this time. "See you later then, 0112120514." He gave the man a distasteful glare before turning on his heels and marching out of the room with a level of sass that was almost tangible.

The scientists clicked his tongue again, looking back at me and mouthing the word "rest" sternly before he took his own leave.

I was alone then, and as much as I probably needed the rest, I didn't want it. I'd been by myslef long enough- not just the prior week but before Cross had disappeared as well. I was in longer than most, even. 20091315200825 was being released at nine, I hadn't been let out until I was fifteen. ANd that was with reluctance and strategic intent. I didn't even want to think about how long they would have kept me in solitary if they'd had the option, and I didn't know what made me different- but I didn't appreciate it in the least.

Rest was synonymous for lay in your bed by yourself- the last thing I wanted at this point.

With a frown, I looked towards the door. There was an IV drip imbedded into my arm, so unless I wanted a scientist to rush in later and give me a lecture, I couldn't get up.

I looked around, trying to find something to preoccupy my time. There was no doubt Link or some other supervisor was standing outside the door- and it wouldn't be against any rules to have them in the room. It was only a matter of getting their attention.

A pen sat on the desk in between the bed and the EKG; the scientist from earlier had probably forgotten that he'd set it down.

I leaned over, extending my arm as far as I could, just barely able to grab the pen. When I leaned back against the headboard, I aimed and tossed the small object towards the door. It hit with a loud enough clamour, dropping to the floor in two pieces and each rolling underneath my bed.

There was a long silence, for a moment I considered that perhaps the door was too thick. Or maybe they had left me completely alone. If there was someone on the other side of the door then I would have to find a new object to throw- and unless there happened to be another pen, the only things I could get my hands on were the desk and the EKG.

As I was contemplating which would be easier to toss, the door swung open. Link regarded me with a cocked eyebrow and pursed lips- a look I was very accustomed to at that point. "0112120514," He began, words clipped. "I believed you were indformed you are under orders to rest. Pelting objects at the door hardly falls under that order."

Ah, Link. Ever the robot, always with the orders.

"I haven't exactly broken the orders. I've stayed in my bed, as I figured I should." I responded knowingly. "Would you rather I have gotten up instead?"

There was a sort of strain that appeared on Link's features and I had to keep myself from grinning. I know it's mean, but stressing him out always made my day. A guilty pleasure, if you will.

"What did you need, 0112120514?"

I couldn't very well tell him I was lonely and wanted someone to sit in my room with me. That would be strange and the blonde would definitely chastise me for wasting his time. So how to approach this was a bit of a mystery that I thought over for a moment before repsonding.

"THere's no point in standing outside the door all day." I mumbled. "If I'm inside the room alone- there are plenty of thing I could break or damage in any way." It sounded like I was threatening to throw a tantrum if he stood outside.

Link gave me a look, opening his mouth for what I knew would be a lecture. I heard the beginnings of my number before he paused, pursing his lips and opting for silence. He scanned the room, a look of disappointment when there was no chair. I bent my kneeds, hugging them to my chest so that he could sit.

There was a silence that settled over us. Not a particularly awkward or uncomfortable one, it was quite alright. I had grown used to this silence of the year. Link was not the most talkative of people,but it wasn't as if I really needed a conversation at the moment.

I rested my chin on my knees, staring down at the sheets of my bed. My fingers constantly moving over the fabric around my knees, my mind trying to get used to the dulled sensations being sent from my nerves.

It was strange. I knew the feeling, my mind remembered how strong it should have been and trying to make up for what it wasn't. I pinched my leg, just to see what would happen- but I couldn't feel it. I registered nothing more than a small amount of pressure and while I really shouldn't complain about the lack of pain, it upset me.

It's not like I could have said 'no, you can't do that' when the scientists had brought up the procedure. I didn't have a choice, it was completely up to them- but if ever someone were to ask I think that would have been the one thing I would have refused.

"Is there something wrong."

Link's voice made me jump slightly and I blinked, noticing that the blonde was staring at me. "It's nothing," I assured, managing a small smile. "Simply thinking too hard."

The look on my supervisor's face stayed expressionless, but I could tell he didn't believe me. He generally didn't, Link was always good at telling when I was lying. On most occasions, he would simply ignore me and act as if the conversation had never taken place. "The procedure went successfully, don't focus too hard on it." He said, voice quiet as he looked away from me.

I stared at him, a bit unsure of how to react to that. Was he trying to console me? It was strange. Incredibly so- but not bad. A genuine smile found it's way across my lips this time and I nodded. "You're probably right."