It wasn't something that Lúcio had ever put much thought into, as books in the horror genre weren't exactly things that tended to concerned him. As far as he'd known, nothing of the sort would ever come into use for him, and there were much more important things he could be focusing his time on, such as his music or training to fight.
He found himself drawn in by the tales more and more now, though, as the days slipped by.
The scare-factor from those stories come from the eldritch beings that haunt the pages. Indescribably inhuman. Supernaturally terrifying. Wrong in a way that the protagonist's minds simply couldn't comprehend. Before, he never really got the appeal, as the things happening seemed so fantastical it wasn't even frightening.
As Lúcio looked at "Subject Sigma," he understood.
At first it was merely a passing interest, as all of the other members of his team had shown.
He was a scientist, apparently, who had an unfortunate accident involving a black hole in the past that had left him shattered. Because of this accident he'd been contained; left alone for years until Talon had broken him out to exploit for both his incredible powers and brilliant mind.
He was incredibly smart, from what Dr. Ziegler had told him. At least, he was when he was actually aware what was going on, which wasn't very often.
Most members of the team had decided to give the containment room that was specially modified for him space, partially due to unease, partially because they had better things to do with their time. The exceptions were Lúcio, Lena, and, of course, Dr. Ziegler and Winston.
Dr. Ziegler was the one who was doing her best to treat him, in hopes of recovering his mind somewhat. According to her, the real him was in there, but it was buried under the trauma of what had happened to him and the years of neglect that had followed. His true personality only peeked out sometimes on the best days. Winston worked alongside her as a scientist, helping her understand some of the theories.
Lena, Lúcio later found out, had felt a sort've twisted sense of camaraderie. She too had been altered by reality splintering around her, and she was convinced that his mind could be repaired. She had admitted that partially, her fascination came from the fact that, all things considered, what happened to him very well could've happened to her, had she not had Winston there to rescue her.
Lúcio was interested because of the music.
It sounds so callous, out of context. That Lúcio only really paid him any mind because the man was haunted by some repeating, twisted melody. However, as a musician, Lúcio couldn't help but be drawn in. Subject Sigma truly was a black hole, after all. Not to mention how lonely the man must feel, trapped in a small room all day.
But viewing the man through a camera was different to being near him, as Lúcio immediately found out once he'd slipped into the room in an attempt to communicate with him.
He'd happily volunteered to be the first to attempt face-to-face communication, and though he was scared, he'd originally been too fascinated to put that to mind.
Entering the room felt like stepping into an alternate dimension where things stopped making sense. The room was incredibly cold, though Lúcio felt hot despite this. He felt as though the universe itself were extraordinarily fragile here, as though reality had chafed and wore thin around the man. The air seemed to ripple and buckle under the weight of itself, and as Lúcio walked forward he felt both as light as air and as heavy as lead.
According to what they'd figured out, Subject Sigma could control what he did through focus, though sometimes the ability to think on it slipped away and things got away from him. Lúcio hoped that things wouldn't get any worse than this, because he already was having trouble comprehending what was going on.
Lúcio's head ached, but he decided to ignore his surroundings and instead focus on the man instead. They knew his real name, but he didn't seem to acknowledge it as his own 99% of the time. Instead, they stuck to calling him Subject Sigma, or just Sigma, for short.
He seemed... Wrong. Eldritch, Lúcio now knew to describe him. He was human, but not. Fundamentally wrong and broken in ways that his mind couldn't comprehend.
The human mind was not built to fathom viewing a black hole in person, as shown by Sigma. The human body was also not meant to undergo severe fluctuations of gravity either, Lúcio realized.
Sigma was floating, which gave him an unearthly appearance. His eyes were sharp and focused, yet he didn't seem to be staring at anything in the room. It felt more like he was looking past the physicality of the area around him and into the inner workings of existence and listening to what it was saying. Lúcio shivered, and it was only partially due to the cold.
However, Lúcio had pushed all of that to the side, and was dumbfounded to find that the thing that was really concerning him wasn't the horror that was the room he was in, but the fact that he was positive that Sigma was cold too. He was wearing a baggy Overwatch hoodie that sagged off of his thin frame, as well as sweatpants, but surely that wasn't enough when the room was so cold Lucio could see his breath. The man wasn't even wearing socks. After what could've been either seconds or hours (who knew how time worked around him? Dr. Ziegler and Winston had warned him to expect time fluctuations around the man, as his harness on gravity could make time itself buckle and shift).
"Hi!" He chirped out cheerfully. Sigma blinked and turned his head to look at Lúcio, appearing to only just notice that he was in the room with him. He didn't say anything in response, so Lúcio just kept talking.
"I'm Lúcio Correia dos Santos, we've talked through the mic system, remember? What's your name?" He asked, unable to keep his excitement to be talking to the man in person out of his voice. After he spoke, Sigma continued to just stare at him. The closest thing he got to a response was a crackling noise as his ears popped due to the sudden change in air pressure. Lúcio swallowed, feeling a little more uneasy, but still not ready to exit the room. He knew he was being watched on cameras, with a team right outside of the door ready to extract him in case anything went wrong. He wasn't truly worried, though. Just... Concerned.
"I'm just in here to talk, so you've got nothing to worry about from me. Can I come closer?" He asked, smiling. This time, he got a response. Sigma looked around, confused as though he forgot what was going on. After he noticed Lúcio again, he finally spoke.
"Do you hear it?" Was what he asked. Lúcio felt all of the hair on his body rise. He was unsure if the immense pressure he was suddenly feeling was from gravity pinning him down or from the weight of Sigma's eyes boring into his soul. Lúcio shook his head.
"Nah, man. The music is a psychological thing triggered by your incident with the black hole in your past, remember? You and Dr. Ziegler talked about it through the mics." Sigma seemed stumped by that as he looked around the room, as though searching for answers.
Finally, he turned his attention back to Lúcio, looking even more confused. At the very least, he was coherent and at least mildly aware of what was going on.
"Why are you here? It's dangerous. I'm..." Dangerous, Lúcio filled in the blanks mentally. Not supposed to be around people, was also another option. For a majority of his time after the incident, Sigma was completely isolated from people, up until Talon. They weren't sure exactly what Talon had done with him, but he definitely hadn't had much human contact even then.
That was another part of what made Lúcio want to see him. Just the thought of being alone for that long terrified Lúcio, and he wanted to comfort the man in any way he could. He seemed incredibly kind when stable, if a bit eccentric, and it was charming.
Now that Lúcio had been around him for however long, his mind was relaxing; simply accepting whatever bizarre reality he had stepped into as the new truth. His pounding headache went from a crashing roar to a dull rumble, much to his relief.
"I told you, man. I just wanted to talk. I figured you were pretty lonely, so I stopped by." Lúcio confessed, and Sigma appeared to process that for a while. He seemed a mix of both hopeful, confused, and hesitant, as though he wasn't sure what Lúcio meant, exactly, but he figured it was too good to be true. None of that, Lúcio decided. He'd already made up his mind that he was going to befriend the terrifying, reality warping barely-human creature in front of him, and this was only making him more determined to show that he was trustworthy.
It was so cold in the room, as Lúcio had been distracted by before. He couldn't turn up the thermostat (apparently the coldness was something to do with Sigma's Nature, so it wouldn't do anything even if he could), so he decided that the next best thing was blankets.
"Are you cold?" He questioned softly. The man blinked at him as if surprised by the question, but nodded slowly. Lúcio figured that maybe the man was hovering off of the ground to keep his bare feet from touching the floor. He walked over to the bed and pulled off the blankets and sheets. He folded the sheets up and slowly approached Sigma, trying to be innocuous as possible so he didn't spook him. He gently slid the sheets underneath Sigma's floating form, making a cushion between he and the undoubtedly freezing floor.
"You can actually sit now, if you want. It'll make it easier to get warm." Lúcio said, smiling as he stepped back once more to retrieve the blanket from its place on the now bare bed. Sigma tilted his head curiously, before slowly lowering his foot to the sheets. The rest of his body gently followed, and soon he was sitting cross-legged like a child at school, looking up at Lúcio with less hesitancy and something that looked more like disbelief.
Lúcio approached him with the soft blanket in hand.
"Can I put this on you? I don't want to touch you without permission." There was an oppressive silence as the weight of Sigma's gaze left him feeling heavy once more, before suddenly the weight vanished- literally, actually, since Lúcio's ears popped once more at the drastic change in pressure and he suddenly felt as light as a feather as the gravity where he was standing decreased. The blanket drifted through the air effortlessly, and Lucio felt like if he were to jump up fast enough, the ground would lose its grasp on him entirely. Sigma nodded, and so Lúcio stepped forward and wrapped the blanket around Sigma's shoulders.
"Thank you." Sigma said, his voice soft and shaky with emotion that broke Lúcio's heart. He seemed to be on the verge of tears, in fact, all over a simple blanket. Lúcio wondered how long it had been since anyone had shown Sigma kindness of any sort, no matter how small. It wasn't a happy thought.
"Hey, no problem man. Anything you need, ask me, and I'll do anything in my power to make it happen." Sigma perked up a little, seemingly becoming more human and less... Other, every moment that Lúcio spoke to him. It was like a spell had broken that had been keeping Sigma with one foot in some other place, and now he was finally fully present and aware.
"Are... Are you cold too?" Sigma asked, his voice still soft. He shifted and lifted one side of the blanket with his arm, looking up at Lúcio with hopeful eyes. Despite the fact that he was more than twice Lúcio's age, he had the demeanor of a small child that was hoping for a treat, but was afraid that asking would result in punishment.
Lúcio approached him and slowly, as nonthreatening as possible, sunk down to his knees and leaned close, not quite touching him. He was surprised when Sigma wrapped an arm around him, pulling him against his side as he wrapped the blanket around him too.
Despite the fact that the source of the cold in the room was undoubtedly Sigma, the man was quite warm and Lúcio could almost ignore the splitting headache he got from being so close to him despite his previous resilience to whatever about him that was on the verge of shattering reality. The human mind truly wasn't built to cope with that, after all.
However, a painful headache wasn't enough to stop Lúcio from snuggling closer to the bizarre man next to him, sighing contentedly. Sigma seemed stiff and strange, but Lúcio understood that that was to be expected with cuddling someone who likely hadn't had any proper human contact in years. He definitely seemed to be enjoying himself, if his firm but gentle grip on Lúcio were to be believed. He didn't want Lúcio going anywhere any time soon, clearly.
Perhaps if Lúcio had more common sense, or perhaps at least the vaguest idea of self-preservation, he'd be frightened. But honestly, looking at Sigma's soft doe eyes and happy, hopeful expression, he could ignore the fact that reality felt like it were crumbling around the room with Sigma being the epicenter.
"So... What would you like me to call you, again?" Lúcio said, his voice gentle as to not startle or break the moment. Sigma pursed his lips and seemed to be trying to recall something. After nearly a minute, he answered.
"They called me Subject Sigma. My name is Siebren de Kuiper, though. You can call me that, if you wish." Lúcio was shocked, as in the past he hadn't seemed to remember his name, much less offer it. He wasn't going to complain, though. It honestly made him feel warm inside knowing that he seemed to be helping him recall his past.
"Siebren." Lúcio said, testing the name. Sigma- Siebren blinked at him, his smile returning. "I like it." Lúcio decided. He knew he was being watched at that very moment, but he couldn't help but feel as though the rest of the world had stopped existing as Siebren's expression lit up and he grinned, showing teeth.
After that, the two fell into an easy silence, with Lúcio leaning against Siebren and relaxing into a more comfortable position. He wasn't sure how long he was there (he hadn't exactly been on a time limit to be in the room, he supposed), but after some time, Siebren's hold on him slackened and the general wrongness of the room subsided. Lúcio glanced up and saw that he'd fallen asleep.
He pulled away gently, doing his best not to wake the man. He seemed much more peaceful in his sleep, though that may have just been Lúcio's mind letting out a sigh of relief as things returned to normal and the room's temperature rose and gravity restored. He realized that perhaps leaving without telling him wasn't the best idea, as Siebren could panic, so he gently tapped his hand. He blinked up at him blearily.
"I'm gonna go now, but I'll come back tomorrow night, if you want. If you wanna see me again sooner you can always ask Dr. Ziegler and she'll come call me. I'll see about getting you a phone." Siebren blinked for a few moments, comprehending, before frowning. Lúcio was worried he wouldn't take him leaving too well, but he didn't seem angry or anything.
"I see. Goodbye for now then, Lúcio." He said, and Lúcio grinned at the fact that he'd remembered his name.
"Goodnight, Siebren. You should get back to sleep, alright?" Lúcio left the room shortly after, giddy despite the fact the migraine he still had.
As he walked outside of the door, he ran into Soldier: 76 and Lena, who were presumably there in case something went wrong in there. The two looked tired, and Lúcio felt a small twinge of guilt at making them wait so long.
"Hey guys. How long was I in there?" He asked, his smile still present despite feeling a little bad. Lena hummed and looked over at Soldier expectantly. Right, any devices that measured time shorted out if she wore them long enough. Much like Siebren, reality around her seemed thinner, though her oddness had a much smaller radius, and rarely made anyone feel sick.
"Three hours, almost four. I guessing everything went well, if that smile of yours is anything to go off of." His voice and words were harsh, but Lúcio knew that he was simply like that. It didn't help that he hadn't been the most supportive of what Lúcio was doing anyways, saying that it was a fool's errand that would only end up with Lúcio getting hurt.
Lena seemed much giddier, smiling and grabbing Lúcio's hand to get his attention.
"Oh Lúcio, what was he like? Was he scary? Nice? Was he out of it, or was he entirely there? Did he talk to you?" Lúcio laughed as she rambled, but she cut herself off and gently punched him in the arm.
"Oh bugger, Lúcio. I'm just excited! Answer the questions, will yah?" Lúcio looked up as Dr. Ziegler walked out to them, a small but genuine smile on her face. She'd been watching through the cameras, and so had seen everything.
"I have some questions as well." She said, looking down at him, clearly amused. Lúcio suddenly felt a little self-conscious, knowing that she'd been spying on his cuddling session, but he pushed that aside because he knew if it showed on his face then Lena would pounce on him and demand details. Lúcio noticed that Soldier seemed curious as well. He opened his mouth to speak, and was cut off by Hana coming to greet him.
"Hiya, Lúcio! I was wondering when you were finishing. How'd it go?" He turned around to face her and grinned.
"I was just about to talk about it, actually." He stretched and yawned. It was getting pretty late. "Can we go sit down somewhere, though? I'm tired." Hana laughed.
"I don't blame you, kid." Soldier spoke up. "That guy's a freak of nature. Surprised you lasted that long." Lúcio's smile turned into a grimace. Sure, Soldier probably didn't mean anything by it, but Lúcio had been protective of Siebren even before he found out personally how sweet he was.
"Siebren's really sweet, actually. What happened to him wasn't his fault, you know. He barely knows anything more about his condition than we do, and he certainly doesn't like it very much." He said. He must've come off as too defensive, since Lena and Hana seemed a little taken aback. Dr. Ziegler, of course, knew what had transpired in the room, and understood why Lúcio was so protective of him.
Soldier, rather than backing down, huffed and only doubled down on what he said.
"I don't trust him. He's Talon, and the chances of him breaking out and killing us all in our sleep increases every day we have him here." Before Lúcio could respond, Soldier turned around and walked stiffly away, presumably back to his room to brood. Lúcio's mood was officially soured, and he crossed his arms and glared at him as he went. As soon as he was out of sight, he went back to being cheerful. The other three hadn't been rude, after all.
With only an exchange of glances, the four went and settled in what the team had claimed was the living room to speak. Not the most official place, but Lúcio liked the lumpy yet soft couch, and the only person in the room was a snoozing Bastion, who gave a low beep in greeting as the group walked in.
Lúcio settled on the couch, and Lena and Hana took their places next to him, as Dr. Ziegler set on one of the chairs nearby.
"So?" Lena chirped. "What happened in there?" Lúcio's grin became wider as he quickly recounted what had happened, though leaving out the part where they cuddled. After he finished, the two ladies who hadn't been watching the cameras seemed to be shocked.
"So, just to clarify," Dr. Ziegler said, who had somehow acquired a notepad from somewhere. "His presence alone was enough to cause significant physical pain? As well as potential psychological damage?" Lúcio frowned. Yeah, he could see that, but he worried that she would deem his visits too dangerous for him to continue them, so he backpedaled.
"I mean, you can't blame me exactly for not being able to comprehend what was going on, right? And it's just a migraine. That probably just came from the gravity constantly changing. He seemed to like doing that." Dr. Ziegler raised an eyebrow at him.
"Even so, that is quite concerning. Perhaps the risk involved in talking to him doesn't outweigh the potential benefits." Before Lúcio could even open his mouth, Lena and Hana were both protesting for his sake.
"Oh, come off it, Angela! Lúcio's clearly fine." Said Lena.
"That's no fair, Doc. Not to Lúcio or to Sigma!" Said Hana, at the exact same time. Dr. Ziegler raised her hands in surrender.
"I see your point. Even so, it's probably for the best that you don't spend too much time with him, Lúcio. The only reference we have for what Sigma's powers do to his mind is the man himself, and he's..." Her voice trailed off. Lúcio knew she was right, but just the thought of not going and visiting him every day made his chest ache. He couldn't imagine that being trapped in a room entirely cut off from human contact was very healthy, nor was it very ethical.
"Do mental evaluations on me every week, then. If you notice anything wrong, then we can cut back on the amount I visit Siebren. I told him that I'd be doing so every day, and I'm not the type of person to go back on my word." Lúcio said, keeping his voice level. He really did understand her concern, but that didn't erase the fact that Siebren was a human person, no matter how Wrong everything about him seemed to be.
Angela tapped her chin with the pen she had been using for notes a few times, contemplating, before nodding.
"Alright, but I'm still capping the maximum amount of time you can spend with him at three hours, unless there's a specific reason you need to be in there longer. If we don't observe any negative health effects, then perhaps we could extend the time." Lúcio grinned as the two beside him cheered.
"Now." Dr. Ziegler said, fixing him with a firm stare and the girls quieted.
"Do you want some pain meds for your headache?"