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all of us were there

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Monday, 11:23 am

 

“Scrappy doo anti-stans”

 

Fred says fuck renamed the group “best holiday plans aye”

 

Fred says fuck: ok what’s the move for wednesday

 

Fred says fuck: i already have ideas but this is a Team Effort

 

Oh no my glASSes: tim I thought we were doing Annoy Elias Day on the fifteenth  .

 

Scooby snacc: ^yeah :/ … otherwise wouldn’t it be too soon from the one we did this month? And he might suspect something?

 

Fred says fuck: no no im talking about april fool’s day

 

Fred says fuck: smh

 

Fred says fuck: we’re getting jon this time, we prank him so much less than he deserves

 

Fred says fuck: [sent image: a handwritten list, some sections crossed out, some vigorously underlined. Pen strokes connect different ideas in the list. In the margins are stick-figure doodles of the archival assistants, each wearing sunglasses and posing.]

 

Oh no my glASSes: all right yeah i was wondering earlier why you actually looked invested in your work .

 

Fred says fuck: mystery solved *finger guns*

 

Scooby snacc: this is so comprehensive!! :o

 

Scooby snacc: didn’t we already do some of this tho? to elias?

 

Oh no my glASSes: “gradually put more and more worms on a string into his office” hmmm repeating pranks i see . 

 

Fred says fuck: shhh sasha i was just putting down what came to mind, its like a mind map,, i know not all of them are ace plus

 

Oh no my glASSes: nerd .

 

Fred says fuck: no u

 

Fred says fuck: just look at the starred ones, those are the best

 

Oh no my glASSes: “have martin ‘forget’ to bring jon tea”

 

Scooby snacc: :0

 

Oh no my glASSes: that’s cruel .

 

Fred says fuck: sash youre grinning ear to ear rn i can see you

 

Oh no my glASSes: i didn’t say it was a bad idea, i just said it was cruel . i actually think this is one of the more subtle-yet-effective ones you’ve come up with .

 

Scooby snacc: wait but!! what if he thinks about it every day afterward, when i bring him tea?? i dont want him to associate a dumb prank with me specifically forever :((((

 

Fred says fuck: marty boy he already treats you so bad, dont you want to get back at him

 

Scooby snacc: no? :c

 

Oh no my glASSes: um ? tim ? bold of you to assume martin would be able to physically resist bringing tea to someone who wanted tea, especially his gay crush ! shame on you .

 

Scooby snacc: 0/////0

 

Fred says fuck: ok fair,,,, moving on

 

Oh no my glASSes: i like this one: “cover every surface of jon’s workspace with that cursed photo of elias”

 

Oh no my glASSes: as if they aren’t all cursed .

 

Fred says fuck: ok you’re not wrong but

 

Fred says fuck: you know the one im taking about

 

Scooby snacc: oh! is it the one where he’s looking over his shoulder at the cam?? And he has that Look ™ in his eyes?

 

Fred says fuck: yeah the “come hither” look. i fucken,,, shUDDER jus thinking about it

 

Fred says fuck: and jon hates it sm, it’s incredible

 

Oh no my glASSes: yes I remember he came in and yelled at you for emailing it to him, he looked like his soul had left his body . honestly thought he was going to pass out .

 

Scooby snacc: i tried so hard not to laugh!! I think i started tearing up at some point!

 

Fred says fuck: ok you both seem on board for this one so lets goooo

 

Fred says fuck: i’ll send the photo, print as many as you possibly can 

 

Oh no my glASSes: bet .

 

Scooby snacc: yes!

 

Fred says fuck: this is going to be so good



4:33 pm



Scooby snacc: hi so!! You know how i just went to follow up on a statement for jon, and we all thought the person’s name sounded familiar??

 

Oh no my glASSes: dont tell me, their name has been subliminally printed on our brains since birth ? and they plan to take over the world ? am i right or ?

 

Fred says fuck: i know you’re a conspiracy ho and i love that about you but now is the time to Stop, Get Some Help

 

Oh no my glASSes: sorry , i cant read suddenly , i dont know

 

Scooby snacc changed Oh no my glASSes ’s name to Conspiracy ho

 

Conspiracy ho: martin !

 

Fred says fuck: he really just paused in his typing to do that

 

Fred says fuck: the absolute legend

 

Scooby snacc: So it turns out their family owns a ton of different parks!! like not picnic parks, i mean rides, games, stuff like that. And after we talked (they taught me so much about embroidery, wow!) they said they enjoyed speaking with me, and that their family just opened an indoor waterpark and if i wanted, i could bring a few friends and we’d all get free admission !! :)))

 

Conspiracy ho: !!!!

 

Fred says fuck: wh

 

Fred says fuck: martin HOW

 

Scooby snacc: i dunno, we just had a really nice conversation!! :D

 

Conspiracy ho: um martin’s charms are irresistible ?? that’s how . obviously .

 

Fred says fuck: god. you’re right, and i am a fool

 

Conspiracy ho changed “best holiday plans aye” to “The Magnus Institute - Water Level”

 

Fred says fuck: nooo dont make this bad

 

Conspiracy ho: everything’s already weird in the archives, maybe that means our version of the water level would be fun .

 

Fred says fuck: airtight logic

 

Conspiracy ho: shut up .

 

Conspiracy ho: when are we going ?

 

Scooby snacc: i cant this weekend :( i need to catch up on some things

 

Conspiracy ho: i cant do the weekend after, family’s coming over .

 

Fred says fuck: date tbd then?

 

Scooby snacc: ok!!

 

Conspiracy ho: yep .

 

Fred says fuck: we have other stuff to focus on anyway … such as certain pranks….

 

Scooby snacc: um.. pranks plural?

 

Fred says fuck: prank*

 

Conspiracy ho: ……..

 

Conspiracy ho: you’re going to prank us too, aren’t you ? wow . your own squad .

 

Scooby snacc: tim!! D:

 

Fred says fuck: no comment

 

Sasha to Martin

 

Sasha: i know we said we were going to put red pepper flakes in tim’s lunch

 

Sasha: (and we’re still going to do that )

 

Sasha: but i think we should also put hot sauce in the milk we give him afterward .

 

Martin: haha yes!! 

 

Martin: and then, at the end of the day, when he’s had enough time to recover, we slip some in his water bottle

 

Sasha: i

 

Martin: >:D

 

Sasha: …..im so glad you’re on /my/ prank team jfc

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: poor naive sasha

 

Tim: just wait till she opens the glitter bomb

 

Tim: she’ll be expecting something more elaborate, but little does she know we’re goin traditional/classic this year, yeah?

 

Martin: tim, hear me out. what if we gave her….*two* glitter bombs

 

Martin: she definitely won’t suspect the second one!!

 

Tim: ….you’re a genius. an evil genius.

 

Tim: thank god you’re on my team, marty boy


Martin: ;)

 

 

Chapter Text

Wednesday, 5:23 am

 

“best holiday plans aye”

 

Fred says fuck changed his name to Prank god

 

Prank god: i hate the fact that im conscious rn but it’ll be worth it to see the boss’s reaction amiright fellas

 

Prank god: this absolutely sucks though fr

 

Prank god: it’s so freaky to be in the archives, alone, before the sun’s up. It’s dead silent guys. Im gonna get murdered while hanging up pictures of elias, and that’s the fucking worst thing i can think of. You’d better get here soon

 

Scooby snacc: coming!! Im just getting to the entrance :))

 

Scooby snacc: i thought i saw sasha come in ahead of me tho?

 

Prank god: where u at sash

 

Prank god: umMM i just heard something drop wtfthefuk

 

Prank god: marto get in here i cant die like this!!!!

 

Prank god: martin?? hello???

 

Sasha to Martin

 

Sasha: I’ve got him distracted , operation spice is a go .

 

Martin: omg!! 

 

Martin: ok :D

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: ok jfc it was only sasha trying to freak me out

 

Tim: key word ‘trying’

 

Tim: ive got her distracted, wanna do the honours for her first surprise of the day?

 

Martin: oh, um ok!! Ill be just a mo

 

6:23 am

 

“best holiday plans aye”

 

Conspiracy ho: Jons coming

 

Scooby snacc: i have never seen tim run so fast-

 

Prank god: Im at the window ok im just waiting im waiting for him to walk in

 

Conspiracy ho: Poor guy looks half asleep, too . he’s about to get such whiplash

 

Conspiracy ho: Imagine being barely awake and then you walk into a kaleidoscope of horny elias

 

Prank god: f

 

Scooby snacc: f

 

Prank god: heS COMING IN

 

Prank god: hang on im recording this han g on

 

6:31 am

 

Prank god: today,,,, we have been given a gift

 

Prank god: and that gift is the Look on the bossman’s face when he saw the glorious metamorphosis of his workspace. bless

 

Prank god: [sent a video: taken through a window. Tim and Martin whisper with growing excitement as Jon strides toward his desk, scrubbing a hand over his face. A few steps away, he stops, abruptly. His gaze sharpens. He looks at the pile of wallet-sized Eliases littering his desk, at the countless Eliases smirking down at him from the surrounding shelves, at the framed Elias perched provocatively on the seat of his chair. His expression is mostly shrouded by loose strands of dark hair, but his stance is fight-or-flight, and he wears a grimace of utter confusion and disgust and horror.]

 

Conspiracy ho: Im so mad i missed this part but at least i got there in time to see him literally put on latex gloves before starting to take them down .

 

Conspiracy ho: As though he were dealing with hazardous waste material .

 

Prank god: what, he wasn’t?

 

Conspiracy ho: Ok true .

 

Scooby snacc: hm. too bad he didn’t get them all.

 

Prank god: ok jesus martin you need to give us warning before you deadpan sarcasm, i almost blacked out

 

Prank god changed Scooby snacc ’s name to A Danger to Society

 

A Danger to Society: :3

 

Prank god: martin you scare me so much sometimes

 

Prank god: but anyway yeah, thank u @ conspiracy ho for doing the lord’s work and continuing jon’s experience of cursed horny elias all day, maybe even all week

 

Conspiracy ho: What can i say ? I’m brilliant .

 

Conspiracy ho: Photos of elias hidden in increasingly unlikely places = the gift that keeps on giving .

 

10:56 am

 

A Danger to Society: tea’s up!! I’ll bring it over in a second :))

 

Conspiracy ho: Ta martin ! Good luck delivering to jon .

 

Prank god: ^^^oof please dont die marto, i cant live without your tea

 

A Danger to Society:  <3

 

Prank god: there he goes

 

Prank god: wait 

 

Prank god: someone else is in there??

 

Prank god: oh god, oh fuckc

 

Conspiracy ho: Wait im on my way back what is it ??

 

Prank god: sasha 

 

Prank god: it’s elias. elias is in there

 

Conspiracy ho: Oh  s h i t .

 

Prank god: our boy really tried to backtrack when he saw it was him but it was too late

 

Conspiracy ho: He’s gone tim, there was nothing you could do .

 

Prank god: rip in peace marto ;’(

 

Conspiracy ho: Even in this moment of mourning our boy , you couldn’t help but do a winky face ? shame on you .

 

Conspiracy ho: You know if elias found out about the photos and is giving martin a telling off , he’s definitely coming for you next .

 

Prank god: right uhh im off to the second floor, to um, scan something

 

Conspiracy ho: Sure .

 

11:01 am

 

A Danger to Society: um where’d you guys go? Your tea’s getting cold ://

 

Prank god: marto!!

 

Prank god: we thought you were dead so we’re hiding from elias’s wrath

 

Conspiracy ho: Speak for yourself, i’m preoccupying myself outside of the vicinity .

 

Prank god: *hiding with style

 

Conspiracy ho: Shhh

 

Conspiracy ho: So martin what happened in there ??

 

A Danger to Society: well when i came in they were talking about the photos!! I dont know how elias knew but he was telling jon that they couldnt just be put in the bin, they had to be destroyed? elias was looking pretty pale, i asked him if he was ok and he said he just had a migraine? Jon was ...pretty angry. I know he knew i helped with the photos :(( he was glaring at me. 

 

A Danger to Society: i felt bad bc he was saying he had better things to do than destroy a bunch of photos? And i know he hates wasting time….So i said i could do it, it was no trouble. They kind of looked at me for a second? Then elias told me that was fine, so i took the bin and left

 

A Danger to Society: and now im taking it up to the roof to burn it >:)

 

Prank god: SHGKSFS

 

Conspiracy ho: Oh my god .

 

Prank god: was this all some convoluted scheme, just so you could commit arson?

 

A Danger to Society: no, things just worked out that way!! :D

 

Conspiracy ho: Ok , early lunch break on the roof , everyone grab your food .

 

Prank god: if only we could have a real cookout

 

Prank god: roast marshmallows or something

 

Conspiracy ho: Would you really consume food cooked on the flames of horny elias

 

Prank god: ok just puked in my mouth a little

 

Prank god: ive seen the error of my ways

 

Conspiracy ho: Grateful for that .

 

11:28 am

 

Prank god: fUCK YOU GUYS

 

Prank god: you said there was milk in the fridge where is it????

 

A Danger to Society: it’s in a cup!! :p

 

Conspiracy ho: I even labeled it ‘Tim’ smh

 

Prank god: j e sus WHAT

 

Prank god: is this milk fckin spicy ????

 

Prank god: i am pANTING over the kitchen sink i am on the verge of death

 

A Danger to Society: drink water from the faucet

 

Conspiracy ho: m a r t i n

 

Prank god: im doing it i dont care my mouth is on fire

 

Conspiracy ho: [sent an image: On the roof, Tim and Martin sit near a dwindling fire, its flames curling up from pile of crumpled, blackened photos. Tim has taken a large bite out of his sandwich. Martin watches Tim with an expectant smile as Tim’s expression snaps to outright panic.]

 

Conspiracy ho: I will forever cherish this image .

 

A Danger to Society: same!!

 

Conspiracy ho: How ya doin tim ?

 

Conspiracy ho: At least the water isn’t spicy , right ?

 

Prank god: jon walked in

 

Prank god: i was drinking water dIRECTLY from the faucet

 

A Danger to Society: o h no!!!

 

Conspiracy ho: Tim youd better not be lying about this , this is the funniest thing i have ever in my life heard .

 

Prank god: even from his officE he heard me sprint in. and he thought there was an emergency

 

Prank god: he gave me the most withering look, and that’s saying something by jon’s standards

 

Prank god: i hope youre both happy

 

A Danger to Society: sasha’s laughing too hard to type. She said to tell you: “yes, we are.” :)

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: traitor

 

Martin: i have done nothing wrong in my life ever :))

 

Tim: smh

 

Tim: ill forgive you if you get sasha to finally look in her work mailbox, she needs to get her comeuppance

 

Martin: deal!!

 

11:59 am

 

“best holiday plans aye”

 

Conspiracy ho: i

 

Conspiracy ho: You’re helping me clean this up .

 

Prank god: hmm. no

 

A Danger to Society: ive kinda got a lot of work to do? sorry

 

Conspiracy ho: No youre not

 

A Danger to Society: it is possible that i am not 

 

Conspiracy ho: My workspace looks like tinkerbell exploded all over it !

 

Prank god: i thought you liked fae aesthetic

 

Conspiracy ho: I just washed my arms and face for five minutes and there is STILL glitter EVERYWHERE .

 

Conspiracy ho: I am honestly afraid to see how little the archive’s fifteen y/o vacuum does for what’s stuck in the carpet. this is . Traumatic .

 

Prank god: statement of sasha james regarding the trauma of some sparkles

 

A Danger to Society: who would win? A super competent professional researcher -or- one explodey glitter boi ?

 

Prank god changed Conspiracy ho ’s name to Sparkle cryptid

 

Sparkle cryptid: Im just glad neither of you got photo evidence of the moment i opened it .

 

Sparkle cryptid: It’s the little things .

 

Prank god: you’re too quick for us, sasha james.

 

Sparkle cryptid changed Prank god ’s name to Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: excuse you

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: there were at least two pepper flakes in there

 

Sparkle cryptid: If it helps you sleep at night .

 

2:01 pm

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: do you guys know where my water bottle went? 

 

Sparkle cryptid: No ?

 

A Danger to Society: did you leave it up on the roof? :/

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: ugh maybe

 

2:08 pm

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: not here

 

A Danger to Society: aw oh no :(

 

Sparkle cryptid: The faucet’s waiting for you tim .

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: im NOT drinking from the faucet again 

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: it’s around here somewhere

 

4:40 pm

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: ill create a distraction, then you can put his water bottle back :)

 

Sasha: Perfect .

 

Martin to Tim

 

Martin: ill create a distraction so you can put the “work envelope” on her desk :)

 

Tim: sounds good marty boy

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: ok go ahead!!

 

Martin to Tim

 

Martin: coast is clear >:)

 

5:03 pm

 

“Best holiday plans aye”

 

A Danger to Society: [sent an image: Tim, slightly blurred with movement, has knocked over his chair in his haste to stand, and is now running to the office kitchen, one hand to his mouth, the other clutching his water bottle.]

 

A Danger to Society: [sent an image: Sasha’s face is of pure bewilderment. She sits at her desk, her spine straight as a rod, as the contents of the “work envelope” erupt in a cheerful cloud of glitter, dousing her workspace, her lap, her front, and her already sparkling hair.]

 

A Danger to Society: ;)

 

5:29 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: We've been played . We've been played so hard .

 

Sasha: I have to ride the tube looking like this .

 

Tim: my throat is never going to recover

 

Tim: and yeah seriously,,,who knew he had it in him?? 

 

Sasha: Did you notice that martin is the only person who didn’t get negatively affected today ?

 

Sasha: Even elias got caught up in jon’s prank .

 

Sasha: And that wasn’t even intentional .

 

Tim: i knoww. And it’s not like we can do anything to him, it’d be like,,,morally wrong somehow. 

 

Tim: like trying to enact vengeance on a bunny rabbit

 

Tim: maybe the rabbit’s a menace. Doesn’t matter, you’d still feel like shit if you did anything

 

Sasha: You’re not wrong .

 

Sasha: He’s untouchable and he knows it .

 

Tim: smug bastard

 

Sasha: Wait .

 

Sasha: Tim

 

Sasha: i know how to get back at him .

 

Tim: um please share??

 

Sasha: Well we’d both feel too weird doing anything *actively* mean, because he’s honestly just too baby .

 

Tim: yeah unfortunately

 

Sasha: But what if we did something that would help him in the long run

 

Sasha: It would just kind of …. torture him along the way ?

 

Sasha: I mean, we’re dealing with two complete dumbasses, tim . do you honestly think anything will happen between them if they don’t get a push (or several) in the right direction ?


Tim: …..holy shit

Chapter Text

Thursday, 8:48 am

 

“best holiday plans aye”

 

Sparkle cryptid renamed the group “Business As (Un)usual”

 

Sparkle cryptid: Ignoring the traitorous acts of yesterday -

 

Sparkle cryptid: do you all still want to go for friday drinks ?

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: sasha do you really need to ask

 

Sparkle cryptid: Ok this was more directed toward martin , he said he had things to catch up on this weekend .

 

A Danger to Society: thats true about this weekend but !! im alright for tomorrow :))

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: sick

 

Sparkle cryptid: Can we do 6:30 or so ? I’m still scrubbing off glitter and I have a feeling this won’t change by tomorrow , so I want to have one last go at it before we spend time in public .

 

A Danger to Society: :X

 

Sparkle cryptid: Yes this is your fault, suffer .

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: hey don’t be mean to marty boy that’s illegal

 

Sparkle cryptid: It’s your fault too, suffer x2 .

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: rude

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: but anyway yeah 6:30, that works

 

A Danger to Society: same here!! 

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Step 1 of our Revenge Operation is a go .

 

Tim: we’ve got marto,,,now comes the tricky part 

 

Tim added Sasha and Jon to the group

 

Tim renamed the group “Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Sasha: You’re on thin ice with group chat naming privileges timothy stoker .

 

Tim: i showed HEAPS of restraint and you know it

 

Tim: anyways, hi jon

 

Jon: Hello, Tim, Sasha. Might I ask why you’re texting me rather than embarking on the arduous ten-second walk to my office?

 

Jon: Or perhaps emailing me, for that matter?

 

Tim: a) laziness b) email’s bad for quick casual stuff like this

 

Sasha: We were wondering if you’d like to go out for drinks with us tomorrow evening ?

 

Jon: I appreciate the offer but no, thank you.

 

Tim: your ‘no’ has been vetoed

 

Tim: it’ll be fun! It’s a no-stress hangout, just good conversation with your incredible assistants

 

Jon: I’m not sure it would be wise. After all, I am your boss, and I imagine this would put strain on the informal nature of such an outing. 

 

Tim: nah

 

Sasha: nah

 

Sasha: Jon that’s the point of going out for drinks with your colleagues, it’s to strengthen interpersonal relationships so that there’s less *strain* on them in the future . It helps at work too because you get to know each other better, which means you’ll have an easier time coordinating !

 

Sasha: I think if we were more comfortable with each other as /people/ , the work would go smoother .

 

Tim: ^exactly what i was going to say, word for word

 

Jon: Doubtful, Tim.

 

Jon: But I suppose you have a point, Sasha. Would all three of you be there?

 

Tim: yep

 

Sasha: Yes!

 

Jon: I only ask because it seems that Martin has not been included in this conversation.

 

Sasha: His phone is being weird right now , but he knows about the friday plans .

 

Tim: uh yep, his phone’s being weird. we’ll add him to the chat later

 

Jon: Hm.

 

Jon: Well, all right. 

 

Tim: yessss boss!!

 

Jon: On one condition.

 

Jon: I keep finding more copies of that dreadful picture of Elias. Yesterday one of them fell from god knows where, directly onto my arm. Earlier today there was one taped beneath my chair, and it got stuck to my leg, and it was….incredibly distressing.

 

Tim: omfggg

 

Jon: I want all of them removed as soon as possible.

 

Sasha: Ok deal !

 

Sasha: Tomorrow you can meet us at The Chickadee at 6:30 :)

 

Jon: Very well.

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: hell yeah

 

Sasha: We’re so good at this !

 

Tim: can’t believe you logicked him into saying yes

 

Tim: “interpersonal relationships” the fukc

 

Sasha: I’m fluent in Office Speak can you tell .

 

Tim: y e s

 

Tim: martin won’t even know what hit him

 

Tim: hes gonna freak out

 

Tim: when are we giving him the News? Or should we just not tell him and watch his reaction when jon shows up

 

Sasha: As iconic as that would be, I think we should tell him like...half an hour before . So he doesn’t have time to back out, but he also gets to panic a little .

 

Tim: damn

 

Tim: it’s terrifying the way your mind works, and i love it infinitely

 

Sasha: Ty <3

 

Sasha: Ok let’s go round up all the horny eliases before jon changes his mind .

 

Tim: ugh

 

9:58 am

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Sparkle cryptid: Martin, jon made tim and I clear out the rest of the photos from his office .

 

A Danger to Society: :((

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: but now we have more kindling. rooftop lunch again?

 

A Danger to Society: :))

 

11:14 am

 

A Danger to Society: tea’s up!!

 

A Danger to Society: also take this quiz, it’s really lovely :))

 

A Danger to Society: buzzfeed.com/which-flower-are-you-437431

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: i was expecting to get just a flower but noo,, i have Stats now

 

Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake: “Flower: Hyacinth; you are social and playful, but beneath your puckish exterior you are very sincere, and loyal to your friends and loved ones.”

 

Sparkle cryptid: Puckish

 

A Danger to Society: puckish

 

Sparkle cryptid changed Defeated by One (1) Pepper Flake ’s name to Puckish

 

Puckish: that’s not even all, it’s just the summary. what is this,,, astrology for flowers?

 

Sparkle cryptid: Apparently .

 

Sparkle cryptid: I got chamomile, it says that I’m self-assured and dedicated to overcoming challenges .

 

Sparkle cryptid: Tim your flower is friends with my flower ..

 

A Danger to Society: my flower shows both of you to be my friends!!

 

Puckish: uh yeah i sure hope it does

 

Puckish: drop your Stats marto!

 

A Danger to Society: ill just copy paste :))

 

A Danger to Society: “Flower: Morning Glory; you are bright, happy, and full of caring energy! However, since you experience relationships so intensely, you may assume that your affection is not matched by the other party, which makes you feel lonely. But don’t worry, your compassionate nature is something other people greatly admire!

 

Compatible flowers: Southernwood, chamomile, forget-me-not, daffodil, hyacinth, coreopsis.

 

Incompatible flowers: Columbine, belladonna, abatina, rhododendron. 

 

Perfect match: Hydrangea.

 

Sworn enemy: Snapdragon.”

 

Sparkle cryptid: Looks pretty accurate . You’re not allowed to feel lonely, though, or sad, ever .

 

Puckish: yeah we love you and there’s nothing you can do about it so,,, you’re stuck with us. accept defeat or else

 

A Danger to Society: aww guys!!!

 

A Danger to Society: It’s just a quiz, don’t worry. :p

 

Puckish changed A Danger to Society ’s name to Smothered by friendship

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Sasha: buzzfeed.com/which-flower-are-you-437431

 

Sasha: ^A prerequisite for drinks .

 

Jon: Is this really necessary?

 

Tim: um absolutely

 

Tim: boss this is flowers we’re talking about, we’re not fucking around

 

Sasha: It’s another bonding thing that will help interpersonal relations in the archives :)

 

Jon: I find that...debatable.

 

Jon: But all right. I will do it when I have a moment to spare.

 

Sasha: That’s the spirit !

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: im gonna take a shot every time you say “interpersonal”

 

Sasha: You’re already going to get sloppy drunk so thanks for warning me, I’m never saying it again .

 

Tim: that’s,,,, the opposite reaction of what i wanted

 

Friday, 1:06 pm

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Jon: I should have clarified earlier, but what is the dress code of The Chickadee? Would it be suitable to wear formal clothes? I’d prefer to finish up some extra work here before heading over, but that would not leave me with ample time to go home and change.

 

Tim: you might be a little overdressed but no one’ll be sober enough to notice tbh

 

Sasha: What you’re wearing now is totally fine jon .

 

Jon: Good to know.

 

Sasha: Are you excited at all ?

 

Tim: you should be!! tonight's gonna be fuckin c h o i c e

 

Jon: “Trepidation” may be a more accurate term.

 

Jon: But I am looking forward to it, somewhat. 

 

Tim: yes!!! Thats what i like to hear boss!!

 

Tim: id high five you if you were physically here

 

Tim: wait

 

Sasha: tim

 

Tim: brb

 

Jon: Please stay away from my office.

 

Sasha: t i m

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: bossman gave me a high five 

 

Sasha: No he did not .

 

Tim: it was reluctant, but he gave in quicker than you’d think

 

Tim: i was like “im not leaving until i get that sweet, sweet high five”

 

Tim: i think he wanted to murder me, more than usual

 

Tim: still, you can’t just leave someone hanging, sash. It’s impossible

 

Tim: ill never forget this moment

 

Sasha: I don't think jon will, either .

 

5:53 pm

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Sparkle cryptid: Took a shower and the glitter is 80% gone . I’ll take it .

 

Sparkle cryptid: Meet at the pub in 30 ?

 

Smothered by friendship: yes!! :D

 

Puckish: you know it

 

Puckish: hope you’re wearing something cute marto

 

Smothered by friendship: haha why? :0

 

Puckish: for our esteemed guest obv

 

Smothered by friendship: ???

 

Puckish: sasha did you not tell him

 

Sparkle cryptid: no, you said you were going to tell him

 

Puckish: um lies? you were explicitly going to do it

 

Smothered by friendship: guys it doesnt matter, just? what do you mean? Who’s coming??

 

Sparkle cryptid: Jon .

 

Puckish: ah beat me to it ^

 

Sparkle cryptid:

 

Sparkle cryptid: martin?

 

Puckish: hes been typing for a full minute

 

Puckish: im honestly afraid

 

Puckish: you good, marto?

 

Smothered by friendship: w

 

Sparkle cryptid: Tim, I think we broke him .

 

6:02 pm

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Jon: I’ve finished up at the Institute, and as such will be en route shortly.

 

Jon: Also, I completed the quiz you sent me.

 

Jon: For what it’s worth, I was matched with the Hydrangea.

 

Jon: I still fail to see why this is relevant.

 

Chapter Text

Friday, 6:03 pm

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Smothered by friendship: [sent an image: three jumpers laid out on a bed, the first one heavy-knit and beige with a small white heart on the end of each sleeve, the second one roomy pastel blue with a pink floral collar and cuffs, the third one stately and patterned with hues of gray and blue.]

 

Smothered by friendship: which one???

 

Puckish: all of them

 

Puckish: at the same time

 

Smothered by friendship: no!!

 

Smothered by friendship: i really need advice, please help :(((

 

Sparkle cryptid: Martin, jon has seen you wearing all of these .

 

Smothered by friendship: but that’s when we’re at work and he doesn’t really. pay attention to me at work :/

 

Smothered by friendship: he might actually notice what im wearing today? and i cant just ignore that??

 

Puckish: marto if all goes well he wont even remember this evening, much less what you’re wearing ;)

 

Sparkle cryptid: Tim we are not getting jon blackout drunk, he’ll never go out with us again .

 

Sparkle cryptid: Let’s take it slow, yeah ?

 

Sparkle cryptid: And Martin, you should wear the blue and pink one, I know you like it and it looks nice on you !

 

Puckish: ^^^that ones baller

 

Smothered by friendship: okay ty ill be by soon

 

Sparkle cryptid: Sounds good !

 

6:26 pm

 

Smothered by friendship: almost at the pub!! have either of you arrived yet? Is jon there??

 

Puckish: yes and yes

 

Puckish: sasha and i have been trying to convince him that the flower quiz is important and accurate but hes not buying it

 

Smothered by friendship: wait,

 

Smothered by friendship: what?? He took the flower quiz? when? and...what did he get?

 

Puckish: oh he took it before coming, we told him it was mandatory

 

Puckish: hmm what did he get, i can scarcely recall

 

Smothered by friendship: tim!! :(

 

Puckish: started with an H i think

 

Puckish: wasn’t the same as me, not hyacinth for sure

 

Puckish: oh right! i remember

 

Smothered by friendship: ???

 

Puckish: hydrangea! 

 

Puckish: that mean anything to you marto?

 

Smothered by friendship: um. 

 

Smothered by friendship: um No. 

 

Smothered by friendship: no that doesn’t, mean anything.

 

Puckish: haha yeah, thought not.

 

Puckish: Anyway please get here soon, jon’s going off about spooky plants he learned about in statements. Something with a man-eating venus flytrap in the 1960s? idk

 

8:41 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: fgod i knew we shouldntve bar hopped to this shitty place

 

Tim: theyr vibe is so good, their everything else so bad

 

Sasha: Why are you texting me from the loo 

 

Tim: it’s barely even a room sahsa its smaller than the stall on an aeroplane, can barely fckn stand up

 

Tim: and the locks stuck and i cant get out

 

Sasha: lmaoooo 

 

Sasha: ok Martin’s coming to help you .

 

Sasha: re: getting jon drunk, he did that all on his own , so quickly

 

Tim: i mean its not possible that he wasnt a lightweight so im not even surprised, just glad to witness whatever tf is happening

 

Tim: hes a lot less scowly while drunk. hes still a huge nerd tho

 

Sasha: Yeah like, when we came in and he saw this bar was called The King’s Deer .

 

Tim: and then he starts going off about henry the whatever and how he had his own royal deer to hunt and they wore literal signs that were like,, Fuck off we’re the king’s deer

 

Sasha: I just asked him what the signs were , he said it’s “Noli me tangere”

 

Tim: and then he started reciting an old poem with that phrase??

 

Tim: did you see the look martin was giving him 

 

Sasha: The man was practically melting, and i was melting from seeing the way he was melting .

 

Sasha: I wanted to get a photo but they weren’t drunk enough and i was p sure one of them would notice .

 

Sasha: Now he’s telling me about how new orleans came to be associated with vampirism ??

 

Tim: jon doesnt get sad drunk or happy drunk, he gets chatty drunk

 

Sasha: Lecture drunk .

 

Tim: ayyy martin has finally freed me from my, literally, shitty prison

 

Sasha: ew .

 

11:49 pm

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Tim added Martin to the group

 

Tim: [sent an image: the blurry interior of a crowded bar. Sasha raises her glass and sticks out her tongue at the camera.]

 

Tim: [sent an image: Jon, clearly drunk, explains something with fervor. Martin sits next to him, tucking the corner of his mouth into the back of his hand, watching with a quiet smile.]

 

Tim: [sent an image: the photo is wildly tilted. Several people stroll down the sidewalk, Martin walking backwards in order to face the camera, doing jazz hands.]

 

Tim: [sent an image: a selfie, grainy from the low light, Tim and Sasha squishing their cheeks together, Martin hugging them both from the side, Jon peeking over the tops of their heads.]

 

Tim: and thres more where that came from e

 

Tim: m home wbu

 

Sasha: yep yep

 

Martin: almost!!! Im about to get there,

 

Jon: yes i am. home

 

Jon: martin tell us when you are back.

 

Jon: are you back

 

Jon: martin

 

Jon: we need to know please, that youre safe and back

 

Martin: im home now!! thanks for checking youre so nice

 

Jon: im really not actualy but im glad youre back and that you said so

 

Jon: i couldnt have slept if i didnt know that you were all right

 

Jon: which would have been unfortunate as im very tired

 

Tim: all of u go to bed jfcc 

 

Sasha: goodnight , my lovely people .

 

Martin: goodnight!!! tonihgt was so fun 

 

Jon: goodnight everyone.

 

Saturday, 9:01 am

 

Tim: i hate that im awake but im awake and i cant stop being awake

 

Tim: not even hungover, im literally still drunk 

 

Tim: anyway how are you guys doing

 

Sasha: Things are loud . I’m not having fun .

 

Sasha: I’m going back to sleep bye .

 

Tim: noo dont leave me 

 

10:57 am

 

Martin: hi tim, hope you and sasha are feeling better <3

 

Martin: i have a bit of a pounding headache unfortunately

 

Martin: hopefully jon’s feeling better than the rest of us haha :))

 

Sasha: I’m up again , feel less shitty . Sorry about your headache martin, drink some water, luv you .

 

Martin: i am dont worry <3 <3

 

Tim: finally moving from drunk to properly hungover can i get a hell yeah

 

Sasha: * distant unenthusiastic cheering *

 

Tim: thanks

 

Jon: Goodmorning.

 

Martin: oh hi jon how are you??

 

Jon: Let’s just say I am...loath to open the blinds, or to move from the bed, or, in fact, to remain conscious.

 

Martin: oh no :(

 

Tim: f

 

Sasha: f

 

Jon: I just wanted to thank you all for inviting me out. Contrary to my expectations, it was fun. At least, the moments I remember.

 

Jon: I am going back to sleep now.

 

Jon: Martin, I agree with Sasha. Drink water.

 

Jon: See you Monday.

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Step 1, integrating jon into the squad, is complete .

 

Tim: god yes

 

Sasha: Now for Step 2, which requires more thinking than I am willing to do right now .

 

Tim: uhg same

 

Tim: we can talk about that,,,tomorrow. or monday

 

Tim: also off topic but

 

Tim: sasha i need to know i didnt hallucinate this 

 

Tim: that jon really did make a whole argument, like fifteen minutes long, for king arthur being in a healthy polyamorous relationship with lancelot and guinevere

 

Sasha: He most certainly did .

 

Tim: well damn

 

Tim: who knew jon could sometimes be sort of cool

 

Sasha: Yeah dunno .

 

Sasha: I’m just worried he’ll clam up on monday, you know ? I have a feeling he’s going to spend the rest of the weekend convincing himself he made a mistake, spending time with us .

 

Tim: well it doesn’t matter

 

Tim: we won’t let him back out, for our boy martin’s sake

 

Tim: not after finding out he isn’t a complete arse

 

Tim: also not after this:

 

Tim: [sent an image: Martin and Jon sit next to each other in a dark booth. Martin is facing away from Jon, laughing and gesturing at an out-of-frame Sasha. Behind him, Jon stares at Martin, openly, softly, as though he has just realized something very, very beautiful.]

 

Sasha: Oh .

 

Tim: yeah.

 

 

Chapter Text

Monday, 9:11 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Matchmaking, phase 2: increase the camaraderie between jon and the rest of us .

 

Sasha: He’s only been out with the group once, he needs to be solidly comfortable with spending time with us outside of work . Only then can we begin to set him up with Martin .

 

Tim: we could prolly just do drinks again, except turn it up a notch ;)

 

Sasha: You’re not allowed to drink more alcohol than you did on Friday !

 

Tim: ik i mean like,,we can be more real with him now, we can have conversations that are less like colleagues and more like the squad

 

Sasha: Are you trying to tell me that ranting about polyamory in king arthur’s court is normal workplace banter

 

Tim: no but you know what i mean

 

Tim: god that was such an incredible development

 

Tim: i wonder if he’s read/written essays on that, he seemed weirdly passionate about it

 

Sasha: You could, in fact, research it, since you are a researcher .

 

Tim: i’ll get back to you on that

 

9:55 am

 

Tim: this dESERVES TO GO IN THE MAIN CHAT HANG ON

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Puckish: ok martin. sasha and i were talking about how jon went off about the romance between king arthur and guinevere and lancelot, and i just thought that was kind of random for jon, so i looked it up

 

Smothered by friendship: what did you find?? :0

 

Puckish: there were some essays, none by jon (unfortunately), but tHEN i found a whole song about it

 

Puckish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9ZINNEX30M

 

Puckish: this has literally nothing to do with jon im just obsessed with the song

 

Puckish: ive listened to it several times now

 

Smothered by friendship: oh the mechanisms!! I used to go to their shows :)) they’re really good. There’s a character named gunpowder tim!

 

Puckish: what!! y e s !!

 

Sparkle cryptid changed Puckish’s name to Gunpowder Tim

 

Gunpowder Tim: i appreciate you sm

 

Sparkle cryptid: <3

 

Smothered by friendship: i think you’d really like the whole album high noon over camelot :)

 

Gunpowder Tim: im listening to all of it right now and no one can stop me

 

Smothered by friendship: i think i’ll listen too, for old time’s sake!!

 

Sparkle cryptid: jon has to know about them, right?

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Sasha: Hey jon, have you heard the song Blood and Whiskey by The Mechanisms ?

 

Jon: What? No. Why?

 

Sasha: You were talking about king arthur’s relationship with guinevere and lancelot on friday and this is a whole song about that!

 

Tim: you seemed really into the idea so you’d def like this song

 

Jon: Ah. I have no recollection of discussing that.

 

Tim: boss you were giving us so much trivia, it was like having a professor whose curriculum was Everything

 

Sasha: I remember you telling us about cultural practices in Macedonia? 

 

Martin: and you recited some medieval poetry, which was so impressive!!

 

Jon: I did?

 

Sasha: Seriously, where did you learn all that ? 

 

Jon:....I don’t know.

 

Jon: I must have read it somewhere?

 

Jon: I don’t remember learning it, but now that I’m thinking about it

 

Jon: The knowledge is just...there.

 

Tim: kind of rude that you can learn things on accident, whereas i forget stuff 2 seconds after purposefully trying to remember it

 

Sasha: maybe you have a microchip implanted in your brain that feeds you information

 

Martin: maybe you’re being possessed by an ancient ghost scholar??

 

Jon: I’m fairly certain ghosts don’t exist.

 

Martin: hey! you thought i was a ghost >:(

 

Tim: boss you done fucked up, you made martin use the angry face

 

Sasha: Oh yeah, that was during the Worm Incident right ? You asked martin if he had died in the archives ?

 

Tim: LMAO how did i not hear about this??

 

Martin: haha sorry i thought i told you!!

 

Jon: It was not my most level-headed moment, which I feel is reasonable, considering the circumstances.

 

Jon: Now, if you could please get back to work?

 

Tim: ugh fine. But listen to blood and whiskey, i stg you’ll love it

 

12:12 pm

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: [sent a video: Tim sits at his desk, his head bobbing to a tinny beat which emanates from his earbuds. He mouths the lyrics, making varied facial expressions to match the shifting perspectives of the different characters. When he notices Martin recording him, he directs the performance toward the camera and continues with more impassioned expressions and gestures. Martin chuckles off-screen and says, “You are a ridiculous person, you know?” Tim, still lip-syncing, gives an emphatic thumbs up.]

 

Martin: we’ve lost him down the rabbit hole of the mechs

 

Martin: not that i blame him!!

 

Sasha: He’s such a dork, wow .

 

Sasha: Seems I’ll have to check out this band soon, since both you and tim are so into it ! I’m just waiting because I know if I start listening and I like them, I won’t stop listening, and I won’t be able to focus on work, which is a problem when you’re literally at work .

 

Martin: yeah i know what you mean! when i find a new interest i do a sort of deep dive into it

 

Sasha: Same here . Speaking of which, for purposes of my future obsession-fueled research, who exactly are the mechanisms? What are their performances like, etc.

 

Martin: their shows are (were? idk if they still perform) basically storytelling through music, it’s very theatrical!! All the members play a character, like ashes o’reilly, the toy soldier, and jonny d’ville. I dont actually remember their real names, but you’ll probably be able to find them easily enough :)

 

Sasha: Good to know . I do hope jon actually listens to blood and whiskey, it’d be really cool if we all ended up liking the mechs. Then the squad could have a collective Favourite Band

 

Martin: we can bug him about it until he does :))

 

2:30 pm

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Sasha: Jon, thoughts on blood and whiskey ?

 

Jon: It was all right. I will say that whoever wrote it has the right idea.

 

Martin: what do you think of the sound though? And the singing??

 

Jon: As a whole they’re not bad. However, the vocalist for Lancelot is dreadful.

 

Martin: Jonny d’ville is not dreadful that’s so false jon!!! His voice is stunning!!!

 

Tim: the mechs are currently sustaining me so any and all hate toward them is a criminal action which i can not and will not allow

 

Jon: I was simply stating my opinion. Like I said, they aren’t bad. Generally. They just have a...weak link in this Jonny character.

 

Martin: i cant believe this. I cant in good faith believe that you actually think jonny is a bad singer!! You must just be saying that to be contrary, there’s no way you’re actually serious :(

 

Jon: Whatever you say, Martin.

 

Martin: :(((

 

6:12 pm

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Sparkle cryptid: I’ve been listening to ulysses dies at dawn and i can feel it starting, the Mechs Obsession .

 

Gunpowder Tim: *chants* one of us, one of us

 

Smothered by friendship: that’s such a good album!! i mean they’re all good but that one especially!

 

Sparkle cryptid: About to spend the rest of my evening with a blanket, tea, and sunflower seeds, finding out every possible thing about them, wish me luck 

 

Gunpowder Tim: haha nerd

 

Gunpowder Tim: tell me what you find tho

 

Smothered by friendship: id love to know if they’re still performing, lmk if you find that info please!! If so we can all go to a concert together :D

 

Gunpowder Tim: y e s 

 

6:59 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Tim .

 

Tim: sasha

 

Sasha: I honestly don’t know how to say this .

 

Sasha: It’s just too bizarre . But it’s real . I’ve checked and double-checked and it’s real .

 

Tim: ok um. you’re freaking me out a bit?

 

Sasha: Have you watched any of the live performances of the mechs ?

 

Tim: ive mostly been listening with youtube in the background tbh. there was one video i found but it wasn’t great quality, their costumes looked sick though

 

Sasha: You know Jonny d’ville .

 

Tim: ofc he’s stellar

 

Sasha: It’s Jon .

 

Sasha: Our boss Jon .

 

Sasha: Jon is one of the lead singers in the mechs .

 

Tim: sasha,,, no

 

Sasha: I swear to god it’s true . Listen to his voice, tim, really listen . Look up a good quality live performance . He’s younger and he’s all done up in immortal space pirate costume and makeup but it’s him .

 

Tim: ill brb???

 

7:09 pm

 

Tim: sahsa

 

Tim: sasha what do i do with this information

 

Tim: this knowledge, it’s too powerful,, i feel like im fuckng vibrating 

 

Sasha: Martin doesn’t know, and Jon doesn’t know that we know . There is so much potential here .

 

Tim: god. we’ve stumbled across a gold mine

 

Tim: still, i need time to process this

 

Tim: how am i going to look jon in the eye tomorrow??

 

Sasha: I'm going to try and avoid him as much as possible, i dont trust myself not to immediately start laughing .

 

Tim: yeah me neither??

 

Sasha: Give it some time to sink it . We can regroup later, yeah ?

 

Tim: yes, sure, good

 

Tim: jfc im still in shock

 

Tim: im going to continue to be in shock tomorrow

 

Tim: all three of us are mechs stans, sasha. And we, or at least martin and i, basically admitted it to jon?? Not knowing??

 

Tim: i cannot express

 

Tim: the emotions that are happening right now.

 

Sasha: /You’re/ freaked out and you’ve only been listening to them for a day. Just think about how Martin, confirmed fanboy who went to live concerts (!!), will react.

 

Tim: jesus

 

Tim: he won’t survive

 

Sasha: I know .

 

Tim: i can’t wait to tell him

 

 

Chapter Text

Tuesday, 9:49 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Still in shock ?

 

Tim: yes. a hundred times yes

 

Tim: but i found something to distract me from the cursed knowledge of jon’s secret identity

 

Tim: it’s loading hang on

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Gunpowder Tim: so i installed something amazing

 

Sparkle cryptid: Oh god .

 

Gunpowder Tim: no it really is amazing, and USEFUL, which you should like

 

Smothered by friendship: im really curious now :0

 

Gunpowder Tim: you know how when we play Odds, it sucks because we can’t do it over chat, and sometimes we have to wait upwards of fifteen minutes before we run into each other, and by then it’s not as fun

 

Gunpowder Tim: well cry no longer!

 

Sparkle cryptid: You sound like you’re doing an infomercial . I hate it, infinitely.

 

Gunpowder Tim: let’s try it out, shall we? *slaps the code* this bad boy can fit so much nonsense inside it

 

Sparkle cryptid: What are the Odds you’ll only drink really fruity, ridiculous cocktails with umbrellas in them the next time we go out ?

 

Gunpowder Tim: 1 out of 10

 

Gunpowder Tim: I choose 8

 

Bet Bot: 3

 

Gunpowder Tim: ok thank god

 

Gunpower Tim: what are the Odds you two swap glasses for the rest of the day

 

Sparkle Cryptid: You’re really reaching

 

Smothered by friendship: ahh i cant wait to get a headache and then not be able to read anything properly ahhhh

 

Sparkle cryptid: What do you think martin ?

 

Smothered by friendship: how about 30s or 40s?

 

Sparkle cryptid: 1 of 35

 

Sparkle cryptid: 30

 

Bet Bot: 31

 

Smothered by friendship: that was way too close for comfort!!

 

Sparkle cryptid: Not a fan of what almost happened there .

 

Gunpowder Tim: so closeeee

 

Smothered by friendship: this bot is actually really cool!! how did you find it??

 

Gunpowder Tim: oh you know, as you do

 

Sparkle cryptid: That’s the sketchiest non-answer I’ve ever heard for something so completely not sketchy but sure

 

Smothered by friendship changed Gunpowder Tim ’s name to Agent of the Dark Web

 

Agent of the Dark Web: shhh they’ll find me out

 

Sparkle cryptid: Hey dark web mods, he’s over here !!

 

Agent of the Dark Web: does the dark web even have mods

 

Sparkle cryptid: Idk, you’re the agent here .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: you’re the hacker

 

Agent of the Dark Web: i bet martin legitimately goes on the dark web. I just have a feeling

 

Smothered by friendship: what?? no, i dont, that stuffs freaky

 

Agent of the Dark Web: what so you /haven’t/ hired trained assassins to murk your enemies?

 

Sparkle cryptid: It’s okay to admit it, martin . This is a safe space .

 

Smothered by friendship: itd be a lie tho!! theres no one id want to kill

 

Smothered by friendship: i mean, mostly 

 

Smothered by friendship : i mean i wouldnt ever actually do it!!

 

Agent of the Dark Web: wait who???

 

Smothered by friendship: oh i dunno

 

Sparkle cryptid: Yes you do .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ah. It’s jon

 

Smothered by friendship: !!! no!!!!!

 

Agent of the Dark Web: yeah ik lmao

 

Agent of the Dark Web: what are the Odds you’ll tell us

 

Smothered by friendship: um. 1 of 15.

 

Smothered by friendship: 4

 

Bet Bot: 4

 

Smothered by friendship: :(((

 

Agent of the Dark Web: pay up marto

 

Smothered by friendship: ….elias

 

Sparkle cryptid: I support this decision .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: rip elias

 

Agent of the Dark Web: actually i take that back he can suffer

 

Sparkle cryptid: Out of curiosity, why him ? I mean I know he’s a bastard and the Worst but is he really the most murk-worthy person you know ?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ooh marto’s been typing for a while

 

Sparkle cryptid: Drag him martin .

 

Smothered by friendship: it’s just that every single time he shows up, you know someone is going to end up feeling worse off. A few minutes ago i saw him walk out of jon’s office with this gross smirk on his face and it just...reminded me of all the times he’s cornered one of us and made us feel ashamed or incompetent for no apparent reason, other than he thought it was entertaining, or he wanted to act powerful or whatever. thats so not okay!! thats bullying!!

 

Smothered by friendship: and now im worried about what he said to jon :(

 

Sparkle cryptid changed Smothered by friendship ’s name to Elias’s Days Are Numbered

 

Agent of the Dark Web: hell yeah go off!!

 

Agent of the Dark Web: you should actually ask jon what happened, i took a peek through the window and he’s fucking fuming

 

Sparkle cryptid: Yikes .

 

“Archives More Like Ourchives ;)”

 

Martin: hi jon, are you okay? :/

 

Jon: Why wouldn’t I be?

 

Sasha: We noticed you had a visitor .

 

Jon: Ah.

 

Jon: Yes, well.

 

Tim: what the hell did he say to you

 

Jon: Nothing of consequence.

 

Sasha: Sharing is caring, jon !

 

Tim: boss, we of all people understand your pain, elias gives us shit CONSTANTLY

 

Tim: also martin just needs one more thing to push him over the edge and get him to actually hire an assassin

 

Martin: Tim!!

 

Sasha: Timothy stoker, any illegal activities or plans are sanctioned to the archival assistants group chat, don’t make me blacklist you .

 

Tim: noted

 

Jon: How expensive is the assassin?

 

Martin: :0

 

Tim: SSGKSJFS

 

Sasha: Jfc jon what did elias do ??

 

Tim: this is the second time today someone has typed for a full minute dragging elias, it’s beautiful

 

Jon: I hardly understood the pertinence of half of what he said, as it was largely broad, yet cryptic generalizations about the Institute and my place in it. He discussed his satisfaction with my “progress,” yet failed to mention what I was meant to be progressing in. None of my questions were answered, or even acknowledged. The encounter was both frustrating and unenlightening, as well as a complete and utter waste of my time.

 

Jon: He also left the door open on his way out. Prick.

 

Sasha: Ew .

 

Martin: that’s awful jon!! Im so sorry :(

 

Tim: elias doesn’t deserve rights

 

Tim: can we fill his office with legos next

 

Jon: “Next.”

 

Martin: :X

 

Sasha: Tim wtf .

 

Jon: What...did you fill it with before?

 

Tim: which time

 

Sasha: TIM WTF

 

Martin: oh noo

 

Tim: one of the best was when we hid little bits of cheese everywhere. Not only did he get ants but his office smelled so fucking bad

 

Jon: Wait. You were the ones who caused the ant infestation?

 

Tim: i cant tell what your tone is rn but um… yeah?

 

Tim: sasha i can hear you stomping around trying to figure out where i went but you’ll never find me

 

Sasha: The fact that you can hear me stomping means that you’re hiding somewhere in the room .

 

Tim: fuk

 

Martin: hm sasha? maybe check underneath the green bean bag chair 

 

Tim: martin you’re dead to me

 

Martin: :p

 

Jon: This is all highly unnecessary.

 

Jon: As long as you don’t cause serious damage or draw Elias’s attention to me or to any of you, I have no problem with the continuation of your schemes.

 

Jon: In fact, I’d very much like to see them continue. When he’s well and truly annoyed, he prefers to sulk in his office rather than to bother me.

 

Jon: Also, especially after this latest “meeting,” I’d thoroughly enjoy it if Elias were to become as confused and irritated as I currently am.

 

Tim renamed the group “personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Jon: Fitting.

 

Jon: Now, I believe we’ve spent enough time on personal drama?

 

Sasha: We’ll get back to work now !

 

Martin: thank you for telling us what he said, jon!!

 

Jon: I daresay the professional barrier has already been damaged by Friday’s events. What’s one more dent?

 

Tom: dont worry boss, we respect you way more than we’ll ever respect douchard

 

Sasha: ^

 

Martin: ^ :)

 

Jon: A rather low bar, but thank you, I suppose.

 

10:14 am

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Agent of the Dark Web: sash what are the Odds you go into elias’s office and start telling him how satisfied you are with his “progress”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i almost spit out my tea 

 

Sparkle cryptid: 1 of 500, I’m not doing that .

 

Sparkle cryptid: 491

 

Bet Bot: 201

 

Agent of the Dark Web:  i would have laughed so hard for the rest of my life

 

Sparkle cryptid: That wouldn’t have lasted very long .

 

Elias's Days Are Numbered: uh tim? she's sharpening her pencil, angrily

 

Agent of the Dark Web: im finding a new hiding spot

 

 

Chapter Text

Wednesday, 11:25 am

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: tea’ll be around in a mo!!

 

Sparkle cryptid: Thank you martin ! I’ll be back soon, i'm just finishing up in artefact storage .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: thanks marto my body is ready

 

Sparkle cryptid: Tim i'm begging you to think about the things you say before you say them .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: hmm,, no i dont think i will

 

Agent of the Dark Web: drinks again friday?? (and karaoke ;) )

 

Sparkle cryptid: Yes but i can't get plastered, I have weekend plans .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: booo

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: sasha you have family coming over, right? I hope you have a lovely time with them!! :D

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: also im free for drinks! um, is jon coming?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: we havent asked yet but yeah he is

 

Sparkle cryptid: It’s just going to be my aunt and cousin, my flat isn’t big enough for any more people! But i'm definitely looking forward to it, they’re both really nice and I don’t spend nearly enough time with them .

 

Sparkle cryptid: It also means i’m going to have to log some extra hours this evening, sadly .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: wow imagine being pr

 

Agent of the Dark Web: imagine being proa

 

Sparkle cryptid: dont hurt yourself

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: ...proactive?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ugh. yeah that

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered changed Sparkle cryptid ’s name to Proactive Facial Wash

 

Agent of the Dark Web: i think the actual face wash is spelled without an e

 

Agent of the Dark Web: because they’re Modern and Cool

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Does that mean, by default, I’m old-fashioned and boring ?

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: no!!

 

Agent of the Dark Web: haha yeah

 

Agent of the Dark Web: jk jk aha (...unless?)

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Martin is now my favourite .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Anyway, let’s confirm that jon is coming .

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: im about to bring him tea, i can ask :))

 

Agent of the Dark Web: dont take no for an answer!!

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: marto what happened

 

Tim: what did he say

 

Tim: martin?

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: i think i just witnessed something

 

Sasha: What, like a crime ?

 

Tim: maybe?

 

Tim: marto practically shot out of the boss’s office after delivering his tea, and his face was bright red. I asked him about it but he didn’t stop walking, just stuttered that my tea was on the kitchen counter and then left the room

 

Tim: he’s not answering his texts either

 

Sasha: I mean not that I want to Confront Jon but…

 

Tim: sasha if he bullied our boy, he deserves Confrontation

 

Sasha: Let’s just . Check in with jon first . See his side of things ?

 

Sasha: And then if he’s guilty we beat him up in the parking lot . He’s scrawny, we can take him .

 

Tim: i like this violent side of you

 

Sasha: Ok well you and I are the only ones allowed to be mean to martin, and only on certain vengeful occasions, so jon is Breaking the Law .

 

Sasha to Jon

 

Sasha: Hi jon, did you say something to martin ?

 

Jon: I’m not sure what you mean? I said “thank you” when he brought me tea?

 

Jon: He also asked me whether I would be coming to drinks, and I said I would, if you all would have me.

 

Sasha: And that’s it ?

 

Jon: Yes. Why?

 

Sasha: Tim said he seemed upset when he left your office .

 

Jon: Hm. I can’t imagine why that would be. 

 

Sasha: I’ll talk to him, I guess . See what’s wrong .

 

Jon: Please do.

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Jon didn’t seem to know anything about it .

 

Tim: we just have to corner martin and force him to tell us what jon did

 

Tim: i have no idea where he went though

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Martin we’re on your side, whatever jon did we’ll deal with it together, ok ?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: yeah we’re here for you, please let us help!!

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: um?

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: did jon do something??

 

Proactive Facial Wash: We...thought he did ?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: yeah he must’ve, you look so freaked out when you came out of jon’s office

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: ah

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: um. no, that’s not

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i was just a bit flustered. um

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ??

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: jon didn’t do anything bad!! 

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i was just. not entirely prepared for his fashion choices today?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: his w h a t

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: :///

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I am heading back to the room, right now immediately .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ok im checking through the window and i can tell he’s not wearing a suit but. not sure what im looking at

 

Agent of the Dark Web: im going in

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: noo tim dont bother him :(

 

Proactive Facial Wash: RIP jon’s peace and quiet .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: it’s been 30 seconds...maybe tim has been Stunned TM

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ok stfu both of you, i was in and out so fast

 

Agent of the Dark Web: and marto

 

Agent of the Dark Web: oh dear sweet marto

 

Agent of the Dark Web: now,, i understand

 

Agent of the Dark Web: which element got to you the most, i wonder...was it the multiple earrings? the combat boots? the flannel tied around his waist? or maybe it was the fact that for the first time in the history of jon’s entire existence,,,his sleeves were rolled up?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: it may also have been the eyeliner

 

Proactive Facial Wash: p a r d o n

 

Agent of the Dark Web: you heard me

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I know Jon’s style has been getting less stuffy since the Worm Incident but...this is New .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: or maybe...a blast from the past

 

Agent of the Dark Web: who knows what sort of punk rock look jon had at uni

 

Agent of the Dark Web: who knows what kind of stuff he got up to. was he in a band? the world may never know

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Jon ? In a band ? Nah .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: weirder things have happened sash. today, jon made marto even more gay,,,which we all assumed was impossible

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: can we please change the subject :(

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Oh of course ! Sorry, we didn’t mean to call you out like that martin ! Also im back at the room, tim has this shit-eating grin

 

Agent of the Dark Web: haha yeah

 

Proactive Facial Wash: You can come back now, from wherever you went .

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i was just walking around outside the institute, getting some fresh air. my face felt like it was well and truly on fire. I think it’s better now? just need to avoid jon, i suppose

 

Agent of the Dark Web: sure sure

 

Agent of the Dark Web: but what are the Odds you’ll go in and tell him his outfit makes him so attractive that you had to physically remove yourself from the building

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: zero

 

12:19 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: So I’ve been thinking about Jon’s new fashion statement 

 

Tim: havent we all

 

Sasha: and, well. it could be ~interesting~ to flip the script .

 

Tim: ooh tell me more

 

Sasha: I think the three of us should go on an outing to some shops today, have martin try on some things, have him experiment stylistically

 

Sasha: What I’m saying is I want jon to experience the same level of gay panic as martin did today

 

Tim: have i told you you’re a genius

 

Sasha: Yes, because i frequently am one !

 

Tim: ok so im thinking, the boss’s New Look is more dark academia with a sprinkling of punk--kind of vampire-y? Martin’s usually cottage core-esque. We can either make him even more cottage core so that he looks fuckingh adorable or we can go the other direction, the punk direction, and literally make jon pass out

 

Sasha: I like both options ! We’ll have to see what martin is most comfy with .

 

Tim: hell yeah

 

Tim: i just asked him if he wanted to go become a fashion icon after work and he was a lil confused but he said he was down!!

 

Sasha: s u c c e s s

 

3:51 pm

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Tim: i have a question

 

Jon: Is it related to your job?

 

Tim: absolutely not

 

Tim: which of the mechanisms would you most want to date

 

Tim: ill go first, the vast majority of them

 

Jon: I am not participating in this.

 

Sasha: Probably gunpowder tim !

 

Tim: ah yes, because his name is tim. that’s a very sexy name

 

Sasha: Um no, it’s because he’s beautiful and I love his hair .

 

Tim: ok that’s actually. yeah, both those things are true

 

Tim: @Martin who do you want to date

 

Martin: oh! umm well when i was at uni i had a huge crush on jonny d’ville 0///0

 

Tim: good choice ;)

 

Sasha: Tim you are being so creepy rn .

 

Jon: Perhaps we could bring this discussion to an end!

 

Tim: fiiine

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: i would have given my soul to see jon’s expression

 

Sasha: I couldn’t see his face from the window, but i imagine he was quietly having a crisis

 

Tim: if only martin knew the things we do for him. *sigh*

 

Sasha: If martin knew--at this point in our Operation--he would be absolutely mortified .

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: Martin, I was informed by one of your colleagues that I may have upset you earlier today? If that is the case, I apologize.

 

Martin: oh, um. No, no it was all a big misunderstanding, i wasn’t upset, you didn’t upset me, it’s.

 

Martin: I wasn’t upset. You have no reason to apologize, but thank you, jon, for doing that. It means a lot that you’d reach out anyway.

 

Jon: Well, good, I am glad you are all right.

 

Jon: I know I haven’t been...the most kind person in the past. And I am trying to be less standoffish, but, well. It is a process. Sometimes I act like a complete arse and I don’t realize it.

 

Jon: Please let me know in the future if I am unduly harsh with you.

 

Martin: oh, um okay! will do :))

 

5:00 pm

 

“Business As (Un)usual”

 

Agent of the Dark Web: tis time

 

Agent of the Dark Web renamed the group “walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Ok give me a minute and ill be ready !

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: want to meet out front??

 

Agent of the Dark Web: for sure

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: :)))

 

7:21 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: That went surprisingly well !

 

Tim: what do you mean surprisingly, i never had any doubt that we’d be great at this

 

Tim: tomorrow, martin is going to look amazing, and jon is going to lose his shit, and i am going to sit back and enjoy the show

 

Sasha: That is definitely something I am looking forward to .

 

Sasha: It also made me really happy to see martin getting past some of his insecurities, like at first he was nervous about trying things out of his comfort zone, but there was this moment where it all shifted for him and he started to genuinely enjoy himself . Did you see how excited he got when we were looking at necklaces ?

 

Tim: “I’ve wanted to try this stuff for so long, I just never really let myself” tysm marto for ripping my heart in half

 

Sasha: I know, I felt so bad !! But now he has us to remind him that it’s okay to do things like that, things that seem scary and maybe a bit societally rebellious .

 

Sasha: Anyway, I’ve gtg, I’m back at the institute and I don’t want to be here for longer than I have to . I already have a feeling it’s going to be a late night .

 

Tim: ew that sucks so much

 

Tim: ill leave you to your *gags* proactivity 

 

Sasha: see you tomorrow xx

 

Thursday, 1:03 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I know you are both asleep 

 

Proactive Facial Wash: but something just happened, and I need to talk about it before work tomorrow .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Just

 

Proactive Facial Wash: text me when you wake up .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: And, please, don’t tell jon .

 

 

Chapter Text

Thursday, 7:53 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: sasha are you okay?? those messages you left are really concerning :///

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Yeah sorry I didn’t mean to be cryptic, I was just really unnerved . I feel much better now !

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: that’s good, that’s really good!! um, do you still want to talk about what happened, or?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Oh definitely .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: As you know, I was working late at the institute, and it got to be late, like really late. You saw the timestamp on my messages, I didn’t even leave until after midnight .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: So I assumed, reasonably, that I was the only one there . I wanted to put a file on jon’s desk to save myself some trouble in the morning, and his door was unlocked. I could see through the window that the lights were off . I didn’t think much of it . I didn’t knock . I just went in .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Since it wasn’t too far to his desk, I didn’t bother with the light switch, I let the light from the breakroom come through the doorway. I think the darkness on either side was why I noticed the sound so quickly ... You’re more in tune with your other senses in the dark, you know? So I had only taken a few steps when I heard a tape recorder and a hushed voice, and I saw the yellow shine of a lantern spiking out from a nearby row of filing cabinets . I caught something about “supplemental recordings” before the voice cut off .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Then jon came round the corner, and we both startled, badly. I think I laughed, just because I was so weirded out, and because I was relieved that it was jon and not some worm creature . But jon didn’t laugh . Even when he saw it was me, he looked...nervous . Almost more nervous than before, as though I had been the thing he was hiding from ?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I assumed he had been hiding, at least . It’s possible he wasn’t, but . It felt like he was . Like he had tried to burrow into the archive. To shield himself .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I told him I was sorry for barging in. He didn’t seem to hear, just straight away asked if I was the only one still in the building. Before I could even answer, his eyes kind of...glazed over, and he said, “Ah. Yes, you are.”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Then things got even more bizarre . He started asking me questions, like why was i working late, why was i in his office. I answered those easily enough . But then he asked...did i know about the tunnels before the Worm Situation, and what was my relationship to gertrude like, and what did i know about the entity that tried to replace me, and i don’t know why but told him everything i knew, it all came spilling out and i couldn’t stop it until i had said it all .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I was freaked out and jon looked equally freaked out, even though he was the one asking me these things, and eventually i realized the point he was getting at, which is when i got hit with this wall of just,,,anger ! and i told him, in no uncertain terms, that i did NOT kill gertrude, and i did NOT want to kill him either !!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: He just sort of. Looked at me . Through me ? His eyes did the same glazed thing for a moment . Then I think he realized how paranoid he was being because he got really quiet and embarrassed. He said he believed me . That he was sorry . And i just walked right out and slammed the door behind me . I didn’t even notice i was still clutching the file in this crazy death grip until like ten minutes later. I didn’t bother trying to deliver it to his desk again . I slipped it under his door before leaving .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: It was only after i got home that i messaged you two . As you can imagine, my first priority was getting the hell away from the archives .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: hey uhhh wtf

 

Agent of the Dark Web: I woke up halfway through your messages and wow, what a way to start the morning

 

Agent of the Dark Web: that is honestly terrifying

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: sasha how did you sleep after that?? I would have been up all night!!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: No idea, but I was out when i hit the pillow . I guess i was more exhausted than scared .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: does this mean jon is Spooky TM?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Maybe ? At the very least he’s up to some shady business .

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: he has definitely been jumpier since i found gertrude in the tunnels. :( i guess he thinks one of us did it, and now we’re after him??

 

Agent of the Dark Web: that would explain why he’s been looking even more sleep deprived than usual. the guy’s paranoid someone is going to come murk him in the night

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: we need to convince him that we aren’t murderers!! :((

 

Agent of the Dark Web: i mean speak for yourself but

 

Agent of the Dark Web: yeah we don’t want to kill him 

 

Proactive Facial Wash: ….ignoring tim’s apparent murderous tendencies

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I agree . And maybe it will be easier now that he believes at least one of us is innocent ?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: yeah he should just Spookily interrogate us like he did you

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: maybe we shouldn’t do it first thing though? i feel like he might get defensive, especially since he probably expects us to confront him :/ if we do it later in the day, it might feel less targeted

 

Proactive Facial Wash: That’s a really good idea, martin ! Let’s just treat it like a normal day and we’ll talk to him later on .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: marto you’re still wearing your new Look today right??

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i mean, i can!! I’ve been thinking, i used to do something different to my hair….

 

Agent of the Dark Web: intriguing! you 10000% should go for it

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: oh ok! then i will :)

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Thanks for listening fam, I’ll see you all at work .

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: we’re here for you!! see you soon <3

 

Agent of the Dark Web: cheers sash

 

11:33 am

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: mayday mayday we have a problem

 

Tim: jon is being even more socially withdrawn than usual

 

Sasha: I mean...that seems understandable? based on what happened last night ?

 

Tim: ok but i need him to Not

 

Sasha: What specifically is the problem here .

 

Tim: martin went in to give him tea, the boss apparently kept his eyes down, on his work, didn’t look up at all

 

Tim: and he didn’t see martin’s new fashion choices!!!

 

Sasha: Ah .

 

Tim: marto says it’s fine but it is NOT. to reiterate, the boy is wearing: a vintage fleece-lined denim jacket, a black turtleneck, tWO necklaces of varying lengths for ultimate Aesthetic, and fashionably mismatched earrings?? I didnt even know his ears were pierced? And did you see what he did to his hair!!

 

Tim: it doesn’t look waaay different but he styled it so that rather than having the “sweet library sunflower boy” look, he’s like,,, rough n tumble? a grunge sk8er boy? like tf?? he so easily could have done his hair like that before, without warning, and sasha, i would not have survived, and you wouldn’t have either

 

Sasha: I take back what I said, Jon needs to Pay Attention .

 

Tim: im gonna make martin go back in at some point, this opportunity shall not be wasted!!

 

1:02 pm

 

Tim: i stg

 

Sasha: Did martin try again ?

 

Tim: yes and jon did the same exact thing i want to die ughhh

 

Tim: hang on im taking this discussion to the gc

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Agent of the Dark Web: if jon doesn’t notice marto’s boppin new outfit soon im going to lose my mind

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: it’s really not a problem :/ im enjoying wearing it, that’s what matters right?

 

Agent of the Dark Web: ok that is the most important thing. but getting jon to rethink all of his life choices is also a necessity

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: haha yeah, it would be pretty entertaining >:)

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: but also im a bit worried? when i went in i saw that he had these scratches on his wrists and forearms. sort of looked like when you trip and scrape yourself on concrete? sasha did you notice this yesterday?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I did not, but to be fair, it was really dark, plus I was not exactly concentrating on his arms .

 

Agent of the Dark Web: how dare you not notice jon’s arms lmao

 

Agent of the Dark Web: im gonna check this out for myself. also gonna test how little attention jon is paying to his dearest assistants…

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Oh god what does that mean ?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Tim ?

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: tim came over to ask if he could borrow my denim jacket, and now he’s wearing it like a scarf?

 

Martin: his shirt has.. vanished, by the way

 

Martin: he also has a bunch of pencils sticking sharp end up out of his trouser pockets. I feel like he’s going to somehow impale himself

 

Martin: he just walked straight into jon’s office?? i cant watch this 0.0

 

Sasha: I am honestly at a loss for words

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Agent of the Dark Web: i tried. I tried so hard. boss didn’t even GLANCE in my direction

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Timothy stoker your privileges are revoked

 

Agent of the Dark Web: which privileges

 

Proactive Facial Wash: All of them .

 

Proactive Facial Wash changed Agent of the Dark Web ’s name to [Name]

 

[Name]: damn,,,,even my identity privileges

 

Proactive Facial Wash: You can have them back once you have thought seriously about your actions !

 

[Name]: what i just did was iconic and you know it

 

[Name]: anyway, moving past jon’s refusal to acknowledge a Look that has every right to be acknowledged, i did see the scrapes on his wrist

 

[Name]: gotta say, they seemed pretty fresh, and painful. Normally i would make a joke about him taking a tumble while doing a 360 ollie kickflip at the nearest half-pipe but i wont because im Thinking Seriously About My Actions .

 

[Name]: and now that im fr thinking about it, the way jon was clearly avoiding looking in my direction was so,,,tired. it wasn’t him being rude or anything, he was just. folding into himself, into the desk.

 

[Name]: i agree with marto. there are some Concerns to be had

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: how do we help him if he wont even look at us? :((

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I think...I need to talk to him .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I mean, that’s honestly the last thing i want to do right now .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Obviously jon is going through something, and if he wants to be in his feelings, that’s fine . But refusing to address the elephant in the room will make it worse, for him and for me . 

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Besides, martin looks slick af and jon is not allowed to ignore that .

 

[Name]: hell yeah sash

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: that sounds like a good idea, i think! good luck <3

 

Sasha to Jon

 

Sasha: Can I talk to you ?

 

Jon: Is this work related?

 

Sasha: Jon, you know it’s not .

 

Jon: Right.

 

Sasha: Before you start apologizing, I don’t blame you . I’m not going to go off on you for whatever happened last night . I just need some honesty, okay ? And I think you need some, too .

 

Jon: I...yes, of course. You’re right. A sit-down would be beneficial.

 

Jon: Please meet me in my office at your earliest convenience.

 

Sasha: Sure. Should I get martin to make us some tea? :)

 

Jon: That would be greatly appreciated.

 

2:11 pm

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I’m back .

 

[Name]: ok im out rn but jfc sasha it’s been a full hour, what the hell went on in there

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: yeah, did everything go well?? what did you guys talk about? :0

 

Proactive Facial Wash: It went really well, actually ! That was by far the most frank and revealing communication I have EVER had with jon . (I know that’s a low bar, since it’s jon, but even by normal standards the conversation was good .)

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Some of what we went over is more delicate - jon wants to tell you two about it later, on his own terms, and im going to respect that because what he told me is absolutely batshit and requires a lot of explanation. He was really struggling to be open about it, which is why i trust that he was telling me the truth .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: What I can say is that the manner of gertrude’s death really got to him, just like we assumed . He convinced himself that whoever had killed her was also after him, which is why he’s been looking even more exhausted than usual, and why he’s been acting off . He actually admitted that i was at the top of his whodunnit list ! He figured it had something to do with why that lookalike creature failed to take my place, like maybe--because i supposedly killed gertrude--there was some secret alliance between me and creatures like it which prevented harm from coming to me ?

 

[Name]: are you sure this isn’t the batshit part

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I didn’t say only part of it was batshit, because all of it is . It’s just that the ~secret~ stuff is a different variety of batshit .

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Anyway, he now thinks elias did it .

 

[Name]: SGSJKSGS

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: >:)

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Surprisingly, he’s also still down for drinks tomorrow, but only if you guys don’t try to talk about this stuff with him !

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: we wont!! right tim??

 

[Name]: fineee we wont, but i do support his decision to pin elias with murder

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: me as well!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Oh same, whether or not he actually did it .

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: do you think elias actually killed gertrude??

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I really don’t know . Weirder things have happened ?

 

[Name]: idk why he would but he’s a bitch boy so he might as well have, and i low key hope he did so that he’ll get charged and Suffer

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: ^^^that would make my day!! :D

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Martin for xmas maybe i’ll get you a handcuffed elias

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: 0-0

 

[Name]: SASHA

 

[Name]: sasha i am choking, i cannot breathe

 

[Name]: please reread what you just sent i am fuckign,,, begging on my knees i 

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Oh my godddd I did not mean it like that !!!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I am laughing so hard, martin i did not mean to say i will gift you with bdsm!elias

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i um. i know what you meant it just. took a second to process…

 

[Name]: ok but, i think, given the opportunity, jon would for sure non-sexually whip elias, thoughts?

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: no thoughts head empty

 

[Name]: is that a statement or a wish

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Im blocking you .

 

4:36 pm

 

[Name]: [sent a video: at first the view is shaky and blurred and pointed down at Tim’s feet as he runs across dark carpet. Then: rapid tilt up and zoom through the window to the archives as Martin makes his way toward Jon’s desk with a handful of papers. Jon visibly steels himself, then says something and looks up at Martin, reaching for the papers. He does a double-take as Martin deposits the papers in his hand. Eyes wide and mouth hanging open, he forgets to close his hand on them, and so fumbles and drops the papers—they scatter everywhere. From behind the camera, Tim struggles to contain himself as the two scramble to gather it all. Breathless from laughter, Tim wheezes, “I can not fucking believe this, I’m witnessing the archives version of two teens in a high school romcom bumping into each other in the hallway, what the fuck.”]

 

[Name]: i am satisfied with this turn of events

 

[Name]: i considered sending this vid to the gc with the boss in it and then acting like, oops wrong gc, but I didn’t because I’m a good person who is thinking seriously about his actions

 

[Name]: so can I have my identity privileges back now

 

Proactive Facial Wash: The fact that you thought about doing that does not help your case…

 

Proactive Facial Wash: But you managed to capture the Moment on video despite Martin’s sneakiness so I’ll give in

 

Proactive Facial Wash changed [Name] ’s name to Tim

 

Tim: ew

 

Tim: i feel so seen, in the worst way possible

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Then change it

 

Tim: nah im too lazy

 

Tim: @martin i know you’re getting these notifs, what was it like to give jon an existential crisis

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: oh! um, well at first when he dropped the papers he sort of blamed it on factors that were Not my outfit, saying it had been a long day and he was out of his head a bit. and of course i told him that was fine, it was an accident! but when i made to leave, after we had gathered all the pages off the floor, he stopped me and told me he thought i looked nice :))

 

Tim: translation: jon’s brain functions immediately halted when he saw how hawt martin looked, rebooted when he dropped the papers, then whipped through the five stages of grief in fifteen seconds, starting with denial, ie “it’s been a long day”, and ending with acceptance, ie “you look nice”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: but maybe it really was just a long day! i mean, it was, for him! just...i dont see why jon would get so worked up over a moderate change in what im wearing

 

Tim: uh marto, maybe he ~likes~ you

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: no that cant be it

 

Proactive Facial Wash: There is so much dumbassery happening in this chat right now .

 

Tim: yeah? what are you gonna do about it, huh? punk?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Nothing, i know it’s unstoppable, like the eventual collapse of the sun

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: oh no maybe there was a stain or a rip in my shirt or something and i just didnt see it, but jon saw it?? and he said i looked nice for pity??? :’((

 

Proactive Facial Wash: ........Exhibit A .



Chapter Text

Friday, 2:50 pm

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Did someone tell Jon we’re doing karaoke tonight ?

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: no…

 

Tim: haha nah

 

Tim: we just have to get him a bit tipsy before springing it on him

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i dunno...even if he’s drunk, i feel like jon’s not exactly the type of person who likes to sing? especially in front of people?

 

Tim: guess we’ll have to find out!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: You never know martin, he might surprise you :)

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: If jon refuses to sing, thus depriving us of watching martin’s realization that our boss is the one and only jonny d’ville, I am never talking to him again !

 

Tim: we’ve just gotta be clever about it. we’ll get him on stage, dont worry 

 

Sasha: I also have some other ideas for furthering our Operation…

 

Tim: youre in artefact storage rn, right? im headed there anyway, give me all the deets in person

 

Sasha: Sure thing .

 

5:00 pm

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Tim: time to get absolutely smashed!!

 

Sasha: Time to babysit three embarrassingly drunk adults .

 

Tim: we <3 our designated chaperone

 

Jon: I assure you I will not be getting “smashed” tonight.

 

Tim: we’ll see

 

Martin: shall we meet upstairs at reception? :))

 

Sasha: Yes ! Although I have a feeling rosie is going to silently judge us .

 

Tim: that’s ok, she’s used to our antics by now, it’s a friendly judging

 

5:54 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: i just looked it up , the pub we’re goin gto has mechs sonngs in karaoke 

 

Sasha: How are you texting me right now ?

 

Sasha: We are at a booth, having dinner, and you’re literally in the middle of a conversation with martin, AND you’re not looking down as you type .

 

Tim: im skilled ,

 

Tim: andwe need to capitaliz e on this opportnity 

 

Sasha: Agreed ! We can ~casually~ give jon the news after dinner .

 

Tim: yess

 

6:49 pm

 

Sasha: Just did a bad thing .

 

Sasha: I regret the thing I did .

 

Tim: do u tho

 

Sasha: No .

 

Sasha: [sent an audio recording: The recording is somewhat muffled by fabric, with the sound of footsteps on pavement and passing cars underlying the conversation.

 

Martin: ––would be quite interesting, I think. Maybe.

 

Tim: Oh most definitely!

 

Sasha: So guys. Karaoke.

 

Tim: Karaoke!

 

Jon: Karaoke?

 

Martin: Oh. Yes, there’s...karaoke? At the next pub? If you want to do it, you don’t have to, of course, if singing isn’t fun for you, or––

 

Tim and Jon start talking at the same time, then both stop.

 

Tim: C’mon, boss, we can go as a group, or in pairs if you want, you know you’ll like it.

 

Jon: I don’t know, I...I doubt I’ll know any of the songs well enough, I’m not very up-to-date with popular music.

 

Sasha: That’s all right! Tim looked into it, and it turns out they have music we all know.

 

Jon: Music we...What do you mean?

 

Sasha: The Mechs.

 

Tim: Yep!

 

Martin: Wait, they really––? Wow, wow, that’s––wow!

 

Jon: Oh, no, um. I’m. Hm.

 

Tim: Roles, let’s assign roles. I’m Gunpowder Tim, obviously, I’ll sing his parts with pride .

 

Martin: Ooh, um, can I be Ashes?

 

Sasha: Of course, Martin! And I can do Toy Soldier.

 

Tim: Last but not least, Jon is the humble Captain Jonny!

 

Sasha and Martin, in unison: First Mate!

 

Jon: I’m not––I don’t–– Listen , there’s––

 

Tim: Do it for Martin, he’d be so disappointed without the full archives crew!

 

Martin: Oh! Um. Well, I mean. If you really...don’t want to do it, Jon, I’d understand. But I don’t want you to be left out, either? And I think you’d have fun. No, actually I know you’d have fun, I’m positive. So. That’s. Those are my thoughts on the matter.

 

Jon: Well…

 

Martin: I––Yeah, I know not everyone likes to sing in front of a bunch of people, I get it––

 

Jon: God, no, Martin, it’s not that, I––Hm. You know what? All right, fine, I’ll be this...immortal space pirate. Whatever his name is.

 

Tim: That’s the spirit, boss! You’ll make a fantastic Jonny D’ville.

 

Jon (mumbling): It’d be depressing if I didn’t.]

 

Tim: i had to act like i was getting a phone call and walk all the way outside the pub to listen to this but,,,hearing how obviously jon gave in once martin sounded disappointed, plus that thing he said at the end which i did NOT hear the first time around?? makes it worth it

 

Sasha: I know ! Just thought you should hear it before we actually do karaoke .

 

Tim: yeah can we do that soon? ive listened to the other performers for long enough, against my will, and ive determined i need to be at least their level of drunk to be able to handle a gaggle of karens going up one by one to do their own personal rendition of chandelier

 

Sasha: Im getting that printed on a t-shirt .

 

7:21 pm

 

Jon to Sasha

 

Jon: You know.

 

Sasha: What do I know ?

 

Jon: About me and the mechs

 

Jon: I didnt mean to Know it but I got suspicious, because when we were all singing you looked at me and you seemed too smiley, or something. you and Tim did. So I wondered about it, and now I Know

 

Sasha: You got me…

 

Sasha: To be fair, it wasn’t very hard to find online .

 

Jon: I suppose not.

 

Jon: Martin doesn’t know, though?

 

Sasha: Not yet ! But I think he’d be truly dazzled to find it out :)

 

Jon: ...Yes, probably

 

Jon: I’ll wait until tim has finished singing

 

Sasha: Oh ok ! How are you going to reveal it, then ?

 

Jon: With style

 

Sasha: o h

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: [sent a video: Jon and Tim stand on the raised stage, Tim singing the doleful part of Briar Rose in “Sleeping Beauty”. Then the tempo picks up and Jon blazes fully into his role, blasting away with taunts at the invisible guards without even glancing at the lyrics on the screen. The camera pans quickly to the right, where Martin is watching with delight. He notices Sasha filming and pulls a face.

 

Martin: He’s really going for it! What’s this for then?

 

Sasha: What, the camera?

 

Martin: Yeah, that.

 

Sasha: I want to get your face when you realize.

 

Martin: When I realize…I don’t know what I’m realizing.

 

Sasha: Jon’s singing voice sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

 

Martin: It––Does it? His…

 

Martin looks back at Jon, who laughs with maniacal glee as the sounds of gunfire rain down in him, then sings fervently that the guards should give up, as he cannot die. The moment Martin realizes, his expression slackens, his eyes go big, his hands come up to cover his mouth. Sasha snickers, the video jiggling slightly. A few seconds later, Sasha whips the camera back to the stage, where Tim and Jon have moved to the very edge. Then she backs up so that Martin is also in the frame.

 

Jon: Is this her? How do we wake her up?

 

Tim, gesturing down at Martin: Well, you could try kissing her.

 

Jon, blanching: I–I’m not going to kiss a sleeping stranger, Tim. That’s really fucking creepy.

 

Tim, looking far too pleased with himself: Oh? Well, try your normal plan. Shoot the machines until they explode.]

 

Sasha: I know you’re not looking at your phone right now, but whenever you read this, I want you to know that you’re an evil mastermind .

 

Sasha: You already know what this video is, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching it later !

 

7:43 pm

 

Tim: i will definiteleley be watching this later

 

Tim: and this, what were doing rn, is a good plan im gla d u told me about it earlier in storage

 

Sasha: It makes logical sense, furthering our Operation by easing jon into spending some alone time with our dearest martin !

 

Sasha: I told them i had to go to the loo but what was your excuse ? You left after me .

 

Tim: i told them i saw someone i knew and wantedd to saw hi

 

Tim: can you see them from wherever you are

 

Sasha: A bit . Looks like they’re just talking .

 

Tim: boooring

 

Sasha: Wait they’re laughing about something .

 

Sasha: Oh !

 

Sasha: Jon touched Martin’s arm ,

 

Sasha: and didn’t immediately remove it .

 

Tim: yeah boss!

 

Sasha: They’re both so awkward i can feel it from here .

 

Sasha: We’ll give them a few more minutes .

 

Tim: jfc they’d be hopeless without us

 

10:19 pm

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Tim: slushiiiies

 

Tim: yesss

 

Martin: tim we know, we’re all here lolol

 

Tim: im recording my excitement for slushsis so that tomorrow when i forget what we d id then ill knowe we got them

 

Tim: i got it now yesssss, future Me i got  a slush at 10 20

 

Tim: everyonn put your flavours 

 

Jon: why, when you’re drunk, are you more dedicated to recording evidence than i am?

 

Tim: ew gonna disregard that. now--flavours

 

Jon: green apple

 

Tim: disgusting

 

Tim: marto go

 

Martin: i mixed strawberry with vanilla syrup :))

 

Tim: better. sasha

 

Sasha: Pina colada !

 

Tim: i respect that mostly

 

Tim: and i got blue raspberry bc it fukcing SLAPS

 

Tim: marto whered you do

 

Tim: haha its like the game. waldo

 

Tim: wheres marto

 

Tim: or marco polo

 

Tim: marto polo

 

Tim: god im so fuckinh smart

 

Jon: We are in the next aisle getting snacks, do you want something specific

 

Tim: ooh la la alone togethre in the snack isle 

 

Tim: if theyve walkers then yea

 

Tim: just not prawn cocktail gfuck 

 

10:39 pm

 

Sasha: Tim, some more “evidence” for your future self :

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: In the bright artificial light of the store, Tim, bent at the knee, raises up his slushie with both hands like a chalice or a sword. His face is tilted upward and his eyes are squeezed shut, as though he is paying homage to some slushie deity.]

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: Also in the store, Martin is talking about something with a quizzical smile as he holds out his red-and-white slushie for Jon to try. Jon is in the middle of scooping some out with his purple plastic spoon-straw, his expression concentrated, yet much more open and relaxed than usual. He has forgotten about his own slushie, which tilts in his other hand, on the verge of spilling over.]

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: Outside in the darkness of the evening, Sasha gives the camera an unimpressed look. Behind her, illuminated by the fluorescent lights beaming out through the windows of the store, Martin and Tim duel with their spoon-straws while Jon does his best to appear annoyed.]

 

10:54 pm

 

Tim: water

 

Tim: rivers at night

 

Tim: just tim things ™ 

 

Sasha: I cant wait for you to read through this chat when you’re sober .

 

Tim: note for futre less fun sober self, jumped in river, good times

 

Sasha: No you did not and you will not .

 

Tim: hhaha times. tim(e)s. tims. im father time yo

 

Tim: daddy time ;)))/))

 

Tim: and we shalle see, sasha jamms

 

Tim: sasha pyjammas

 

Sasha: I don’t know why you’re suddenly so into wordplay but it should immediately stop .

 

Jon: at the risk of being pulled into this, i very much agree with sasha

 

Tim: im calling you sasha pyjamms for ever :)

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: sasha separated us along the river bank when i wanted to do Odds but she forgot about phones hehe, sneaky sneaky

 

Martin: im not asking for the Odds that you’ll jump i the river because i know you want to do that anyway!! :(

 

Tim: fineee

 

Tim: ...Odds you’ll ask me what are the Odds ill jump in the river

 

Martin: 1 of 45

 

Martin: 12

 

Bet Bot: 29

 

Tim: fuk

 

Tim: Odds you’ll take jon on a romantic moonlit walk down the river

 

Martin: ...1 of 5 

 

Martin: 2

 

Bet Bot: 3

 

Tim: overridden, betbot: 2

 

Martin: :0

 

Tim: additional Odds,,tell jon he looks hawt

 

Martin: tim!!

 

Tim: ok Odds you’ll tell him he lookes cute

 

Martin: 1 of 50!!

 

Martin: 9

 

Bet Bot: 9

 

Tim: SFHS FINALLY

 

Martin: oh no oh no this was a mistake

 

Tim: youve got tthis buster

 

Tim: i believ in u

 

Tim: shit sash pjamz saw me grinning sneakily shes marching over

 

Tim: remember me at my best, m

 

Martin: rip

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: um im going on a quick stroll with jon ill be back...

 

Sasha: Oh ok have fun ! <3

 

Martin: btw tim is sneaking toward the water now that youre distracted

 

Sasha: shiT

 

1:03 am

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Sasha: Is everybody back home yet ?

 

Martin: yes!

 

Tim: yeas

 

Jon: i am, yes

 

Sasha: Great !

 

Sasha: I hope all of you sleep well and have a great weekend

 

Tim: hmph

 

Sasha: Tim I know you’re mad I kept you from jumping in the river, that i literally half carried you away from the shallows, but you’ll thank me later .

 

Tim: doubt it, u skewerd my dreams

 

Tim changed Martin ’s name to Marto polo

 

Tim changed Sasha ’s name to Sasha pyjams

 

Tim changed his name to Daddy time

 

Marto polo: finally nicknames :))

 

Jon: i  am extremely relieved i have been spared

 

Daddy time: i couldn think of a good one for u, i tried so hard

 

Jon: anyway, im going to bed now

 

Sasha pyjams: Goodnight !

 

Marto polo: goodnight guys!! and especially to our esteemed immortal space pirate :D

 

Jon: your humble captain bids you all goodnight

 

Martin changed Jon ’s name to First mate

 

Daddy time: gOT EM

 

First mate: the Disrespect, i swear

 

Marto polo: :p

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: martin, we should walk again

 

Jon: the walk, i mean. at the river, it was nice. so we should walk again

 

Jon: it doesn’t have to be at a river

 

Jon: anywhere really

 

Jon: if that would be all right with you that is

 

Jon: actually no i apologize i am being unprofessional. im making you uncomfortable, river and non river walks are unprofessional, im very sorry martin, please disregard this

 

Jon: goodnight

 

Martin: wait no jon i’d love to ://

 

Martin: walks. aren’t unprofessional?? what???

 

Martin: i swear youre so ridiculous sometimes, id love to do more walks with you jon

 

Martin: if you still want to?

 

Jon: oh.

 

Jon: yes, i would.

 

Jon: i look forward to it

 

Martin: me too!! 

 

Martin: night then :) sweet dreams

 

Jon: goodnight martin. sweet dreams.



Chapter Text

Saturday, 10:24 am

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

First mate: There are some things I’d like to discuss with you all.

 

First mate: I realize that this is not the ideal time or mode of communication for confessions, and that aside from Sasha, we are all likely quite hungover at the moment. You may all still be asleep. That is just as well. Although I don’t exactly deserve it, I’d prefer to say my piece in its entirety, without interruption.

 

First mate: I’m sure Sasha told you some of this already. Discovering the nature of Gertrude’s death took a toll on me. I became distrustful and angry and distant. Due to my own fears, I treated you all unkindly, even more so than before. I am ashamed to admit that I suspected at least one of you to be involved in Gertrude’s death, and, as such, to be plotting against me.

 

First mate: This was one of the reasons I agreed to go out for drinks the first time. I wanted to see if the change in environment would reveal the true culprit. Perhaps you would drunkenly let something slip about your plans or motivations. I didn’t expect it to be simply a fun night out. Of course, I am grateful for it now, but the following day, having gotten no closer to determining which of you wanted to kill me, I...struggled. I became more paranoid. More afraid.

 

First mate: To make matters worse, there was the whole matter of Elias and whatever “progress” he saw in me. And then you informed me that I had known things during our night out. Very specific things, detailed and nuanced things. Topics I had never studied nor even wondered about. As you can imagine, this did nothing to alleviate my anxieties. I believed I was going through some sort of mental episode.

 

First mate: The night Sasha stayed late was the night it came together for me. I have been making supplemental recordings, usually after working hours, on the subject of Getrude’s murder and its potential suspects. For reasons too convoluted to attempt to explain through texting, I was very suspicious of Sasha. So when she entered my office, without knocking or turning on the lights no less, I immediately assumed she had come to kill me.

 

First mate: Then there was this overpowering urge, not to fight or flee, but to understand. Why exactly did she want to kill me? Which of my hypotheses was correct? I began asking her questions, but they were more than questions. They had a weight to them. I felt them hook into Sasha and draw the truth from her, easier and with less resistance than a fisherman reeling in a twig caught on the line. I couldn’t stop casting out, either. It was automatic, and cyclical. The knowledge, which I had chased for so long, was intoxicating.

 

First mate: When Sasha told me she was not Gertrude’s killer, and that she would not be mine, either, I knew it instantly to be true. I Knew it. All doubt vanished, because it was to me a fact, just as the Earth is round and the sun is hot. 

 

First mate: After she left, I went down to the tunnels. I’m not entirely sure why. I have been secretly exploring them for a while now, trying to chart them. Trying to understand how they connect to Gertrude’s death, I suppose. I can hardly remember where I went, or what I saw, but I know that at some point while I was down there, I came to accept my situation for what it was. Something unnatural was happening to me. And Elias knew about it––wanted it, perhaps.

 

First mate: I can Know things. I don’t always know when it will happen, and I am not usually able to control what I Know. But it is somewhat of a tool that I have at my disposal, albeit an enigmatic and unpredictable one.

 

First mate: Last night, I Knew that none of you killed Getrude, and that none of you planned to kill me. Although I had already been warming to the idea that my suspicions were baseless, it was confirmed for me in a split moment of Knowing. And then I was at a loss, because I couldn’t understand how I could have honestly suspected any of you in the first place. You were so obviously innocent. The knowledge was clear and unwavering.

 

First mate: So I would like to apologize. In my attempts to defend myself, I was malicious and illogical. I pushed each of you away. I kept important, potentially dangerous information to myself. I am truly sorry, and I do not expect (or merit) forgiveness, but in any case I wanted to be candid about what has been going on. I hope, at the very least, you will find this information illuminating.

 

First mate: The fact that every single one of you immediately started typing after I finished my spiel is both impressive and concerning.

 

Sasha pyjams: My fam is over rn so I can’t stick around but I wanted to say that even though I already heard all of this I’m super proud of you for telling Martin and Tim <3 <3 And you know I forgive you !

 

First mate: Thank you, Sasha.

 

Marto polo: Jon, that’s..ok first of all, apology accepted, and i forgive you, /we/ forgive you, because you do actually deserve forgiveness, you know that right?? it isn’t totally unreasonable to act like you did. i mean you were worried one of us wanted to end your life! gertrude got shot to death, and that’s terrifying, even for those of us who weren’t hired as her replacement! i cant imagine how stressful it would be to feel mortally targeted like that, that’s seriously awful jon :( even if i dont exactly approve of you going down into the tunnels all by yourself, im glad to know about it, that explains why your wrist was all scraped up? i wasnt sure what you were doing and i was worried...and as for the Knowing thing, we’ll figure it out together, just please don’t shut us out again!!

 

Daddy time: ^^yeah same as what marto said. true that you were (and sometimes still are ngl) a huge prick but i guess anyone would be if they were expecting one of their assistants to burst in unannounced and shoot them in the face. plus there’s elias being a creep and you spookily Knowing things, neither of which are exactly good developments, so you get some slack. we do honestly forgive you, boss. you can talk to us AND trust us. the only person who definitely should not trust us is elias, he can absolutely get wrekkd

 

Daddy time: speaking of which, i just remembered monday is the fifteenth, aka annoy elias day, so we need to figure out what we’re doing. jon, you’re v welcome to join in

 

First mate: I am...slightly at a loss for words, I did not expect the two of you to so readily forgive me? Thank you, both of you. I will do my best not to shut you out again.

 

First mate: I would love to be a part of anything that puts Elias in a bad mood.

 

Daddy time: alright sick. im going to get some food, everyone brainstorm some ideas, reconvene later

 

Daddy time: also whoever chose these gc names is the funniest person alive

 

Daddy time: also does anyone know why my tongue is sort of purple

 

Marto polo: tim you should probably look back through the chat…

 

Daddy time: aight

 

12:13 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: ty for keeping me from jumping in the river

 

Tim: like, it would have been great, but only for a second, and then it would have been terrible

 

Sasha: You are very welcome . Does this mean your future drunk self will stop trying to jump in rivers ?

 

Tim: prolly not

 

Sasha: Yeah, I didn’t think so .

 

Tim: spontaneous drunk river diving comes with the package baybee

 

Sasha: Hey Siri - How to Return an Unwanted Package

 

Tim: felt that like a machete in my soul thank u

 

Sasha: <3

 

3:16 pm

 

“personally victimized by eliass douchard”

 

Daddy time: ive been thinking

 

Marto polo: since when :0

 

First mate: Precisely what I was wondering.

 

Daddy time: both of you stfu, since always

 

Daddy time: if elias is involved with all this bs, which he probably is, then him wanting to see jon’s “progress” is def supernatural, and def something we want to avoid

 

Daddy time: actually it kind of gives me horror movie vibes, like he wants to harvest jon’s power once it gets strong enough

 

Marto polo: what if that’s what happened to gertrude??? she Knew enough and elias killed her to collect her knowledge!!

 

First mate: I’m not sure how that would work but it’s possible, I suppose.

 

Daddy time: the more elias can check on jon, the more opportunities he has to do whatever it is he wants to do

 

Daddy time: the more often jon is at the institute, the more he’s in danger

 

First mate: I am nervous for wherever this argument is heading.

 

Daddy time: since we’re his assistants, the more often we’re there, we too are in more danger by default

 

Daddy time: which is whyyyy

 

Marto polo: oh dear

 

Daddy time: next weekend we (especially jon) are not even going to THINK about work

 

Daddy time: instead, we are going to take advantage of that free admission waterpark deal that martin mentioned like two weeks ago, and we are going to have a great time, and elias can be sad and gross and alone thinking about how he’s not at a waterpark

 

Marto polo: that actually makes a bit of sense?? but mostly im just excited for the water park :))

 

First mate: I am not sure I even own swim trunks.

 

First mate: Ah. Consequently, it seems I do, but they’re at the bottom of a storage tub I haven’t thought about in years, and at this point they’re hopelessly wrinkled.

 

Daddy time: did you just

 

First mate: It appears so.

 

Marto polo: wow :0

 

Marto polo: spooky but also cool! and useful!!

 

First mate: Quite.

 

Daddy time: this is a non-excuse, u can splurge for a cheap pair of trunks

 

Daddy time: it is water park hours and attendance is mandatory

 

Daddy time: anyway, you fr need a break, boss

 

Marto polo: i agree with tim, you should have fun, take a holiday! maybe even see if you can get a long weekend!!

 

Marto polo: but going back to tim’s point, maybe we should legitimately be thinking about jon’s safety? not just semi-thinking about it as an excuse to go to a water park?

 

Marto polo: if elias is truly a threat, we need to make sure he can’t easily get to jon

 

Daddy time: are you thinking what im thinking

 

Marto polo: i really doubt it but i do want to know what you're thinking

 

Daddy time: barricade

 

Marto polo: yes, but actually no

 

Marto polo: more of a...social barricade? we keep an eye on jon, we don’t leave him alone with elias, and that way elias cant do anything he doesnt want us to see!

 

First mate: Martin, are you suggesting that my assistants collectively babysit me?

 

Marto polo: um sort of?? not that you cant um, take care of yourself. it’s more like...a neighborhood watch kind of thing? 

 

Daddy time: you’re the neighborhood, we’re the watch B)

 

Daddy time: elias is the bitchass burglar we get to chase after with pitchforks and torches

 

First mate: Ah, yes, because this is the fifteenth century neighborhood watch.

 

Daddy time: it is, because you were born in the fifteenth century

 

First mate: I’m? Thirty years old?

 

Marto polo: wai t what

 

Daddy time: nO YOURE NOT

 

Daddy time: there is literally no way, that’s impossible

 

Marto polo: this is illegal i think

 

Marto polo: im a full year older than you?? i thought you were older?? all this time??

 

First mate: I don’t know what you want me to say.

 

Daddy time: ????

 

Marto polo: right um....moving back to the original point, 

 

Marto polo: we can take it in shifts. at the very least for the rest of this week. maybe this weekend we can stay at the water park hotel, figure things out together? the more i think about this, the less i like the idea of any of us being alone somewhere that elias can easily access :/

 

Daddy time: sounds good, and sasha will agree

 

First mate: I am inclined to say this is overkill, but I’m rather pleased that both of you now share my belief that Elias is, in fact, a threat.

 

Marto polo renamed the group “we protecc”

 

Marto polo: we’ll get through this!! we just have to continue to communicate :)

 

Daddy time: oh, we’re doomed then

 

Sunday, 9:58 am

 

Sasha pyjams: I read through all that and Tim is right, I very much agree ! Not only does spending time at the water park sound fun, but it allows us the space to regroup and figure out our next move . Martin’s “neighborhood watch” is something we should definitely put into practice . I don’t trust Elias alone with any of us !!

 

Marto polo: oh hi sasha! how was yesterday for you??

 

Sasha pyjams: Good morning martin ! It was really nice, we spent some time crafting because all of us are sixty-year-old ladies, and then we had some casual drinks, and played cards . My cousin’s film got nominated at sundance so he showed us that, and it was really special !

 

Marto polo: all that sounds lovely, honestly, i guess im a 60 y/o lady too :)) and wow! is he the director or??

 

Sasha pyjams: He was a major actor in it, and he did a really outstanding job, im so proud of him !

 

Daddy time: ooh a star in our midst. did you get his autograph

 

Sasha pyjams: No, he’s my cousin ! That’d be so weird to ask for haha

 

Daddy time: he’s an actor, he’s got a creative mind, you should ask him for prank ideas for tomorrow

 

Daddy time: “if you wanted to distress your creepy, potentially dangerous supernatural head boss, what would you do”

 

Sasha pyjams: I will ask him, but I think I’ll leave out the second half of that description .

 

First mate: Please do ask, I haven't been able to come up with anything subtle.

 

Marto polo: um, does that mean all your ideas are..not subtle?

 

First mate: To put it lightly.

 

Daddy time: for example??

 

First mate: Dousing his office with several gallons of Febreeze.

 

First mate: Drawing a sharpie moustache on his beloved portrait of Jonah Magnus.

 

First mate: I heard he’s finalizing his umpteenth divorce, so, forging the papers to make it seem as though this time, somehow, the marriage has been determined legally permanent.

 

First mate: I just want to make him cry.

 

Daddy time: fuckkkk

 

Daddy time: boss has gone feral

 

Marto polo: go off jon!!!

 

First mate: Like I said, hardly subtle.

 

Daddy time: ok but let’s save these for a rainy day because they each hold so much power they’re giving me heart palpitations just by existing

 

Marto polo: hang on, i just thought of something problematic 

 

Marto polo: if elias is involved in all this Knowing stuff, does he Know things too? does he Know about our past pranks??

 

Daddy time: god i hope not

 

First mate: If it is anything like what I have experienced, it’s not a constant Knowing. You have to direct your attention toward something that you want to Know (whether or not you do it intentionally). So maybe he was distracted while you were pranking him? Otherwise it seems likely that he would have performed some disciplinary action by now.

 

Marto polo: that makes sense!!

 

Marto polo: do you think that has something to do with why he wanted all those cursed photos of him destroyed? :0

 

Daddy time: whoa,, marto, my mind is blown rn

 

First mate: Yes, that seems to be the logical explanation. Especially since he had a migraine when he came in.

 

Daddy time: you know what that means

 

Marto polo: we’re printing more images of horny elias?

 

Daddy time: many, many, many more

 

First mate: Please do not put them in my office this time.

 

Sasha pyjams: I’m back guys .

 

Sasha pyjams: Firstly, holy hell jon, remind me never to cross you .

 

Sasha pyjams: Secondly, Kit suggested that the best pranks are the ones that 1) are personalized, 2) make a lasting impression, 3) make the victim really question their sanity.

 

Daddy time: can your cousin possibly stay an extra day

 

Sasha pyjams: He said it depends on what for?

 

Daddy time: ok so. sasha

 

Daddy time: s a s h a 

 

Sasha pyjams: Yes tim 

 

Daddy time: actually this is directed toward all of you

 

Daddy time: jon

 

Daddy time: marto

 

Marto polo: yeah tim?

 

First mate: We’re listening, you don’t need to type out our names.

 

Daddy time: i need it for dramatic effect

 

Daddy time: you know that creature that tried to replace sasha? and in the statements with that same entity it was like,,,no one noticed the not-them was any different from the original except for a single person?

 

First mate: Yes.

 

Daddy time: also, and i swear this is related, have you seen that one episode of the usa version of the office where jim pranks dwight by having someone else come do his job for a few hours, and everyone pretends not to notice it’s a different person

 

Marto polo: I GASPED 

 

Sasha pyjams: !!!

 

First mate: Hm. Yes. 

 

First mate: Elias is going to hate this. >:-)



Chapter Text

Monday, 8:05 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I just untraceably printed out an excessive amount of wallet photos of horny elias on the institute’s dime . Also, Jon’s info on the company site has been "updated" .

 

Tim: all hail the mighty hacker

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: where did you put all the photos??

 

Proactive Facial Wash: It’s possible they’re stuffed in a trash bag and hidden away in artefact storage .

 

Tim: that’s perfect in so many ways

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i just peeked into elias’s office, he looks a bit unwell! :)

 

Tim: ooohoho the day is only getting started for him

 

Tim: still cant believe jon agreed to stay home for this

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I guess his hatred for Elias overpowers his work addiction ?

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Anyway, Kit has somehow absorbed enough details of Jon’s job experience to be, at this point, almost unbreakable under scrutiny . 

 

Proactive Facial Wash: He’s playing the “cool” version of Jon so that he can hang with us in the breakroom instead of being alone in the archives .

 

Tim: a cool version of jon that no one questions? yeah elias is going to lose his mind

 

Tim: in addition to the fact that kit has the Most laid-back vibe?? he looks like a camp counselor who plays guitar and lets you stay up past curfew. he’s literally wearing a bandana rn

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: he definitely puts off a more...goofy aura than jon. do you think itll be long before elias notices?? :0

 

Tim: if he Knows stuff, even with his brain clogged, i feel like he’ll spooky-sense that something’s wrong

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: his door’s openingin im coming back ahhh!!

 

Tim: run marto run!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Everyone act natural !!

 

8:24 am

 

“we protecc”

 

First mate: Are there any updates? Has Elias seen my Not-Me replacement yet?

 

Marto polo: yes!

 

First mate: And?

 

Marto polo: at first it was amazing!! printing the photos must have worked because elias didn’t seem to know what hit him, he just kept saying “thats not jon, this man is not the archivist” and kit!! kit was incredible, he said “does this mean all the statements i recorded are null and void?” and, in this really soft, devastated voice, “...are you firing me?” and elias looked like he was about to have a stroke. idk how i kept my composure.

 

First mate: Ha! That does sound highly entertaining. But you implied that something went wrong?

 

Marto polo: erm, yeah

 

Marto polo: elias brought kit into his office

 

Marto polo: we tried to stop it but kit practically volunteered himself

 

Marto polo: so now we’re worried, especially sasha. she’s been wanting to break down elias’s door, and tim’s been trying to keep her calm :/

 

First mate: And you’re making everyone tea.

 

Marto polo: did you Know that??

 

First mate: No, I just know you.

 

First mate: Um. Anyway. Please tell Sasha that Elias is unlikely to harm Kit, as this is a situation which confuses him. He won’t do anything if he is unsure of the consequences that his actions would bring.

 

Marto polo: ok ill tell her!!

 

8:41 am

 

To: ringmistress@gmail.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: This is Not Funny

 

Nikola,

 

While I assume you are aware of the situation at hand, I admit it is possible, if unlikely, that this was the doing of a lone rogue member of the Not-Them, so I will extend to you the benefit of the doubt.  In any case, I am frankly astounded that one of your ilk would dare replace my Archivist, into whose development I have put so much time and effort.  If he is still alive, you will recover him immediately.

 

Obligingly yours,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

8:58 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: ringmistress@gmail.com

 

Subject: RE: This is Not Funny

 

Well Jonah, I beg to differ! This IS funny! I had NO idea that your Archivist had been replaced! But shouldn’t you know that, Beholding’s Own? ;) This was LOVELY to hear, thank you for giving me a laugh!

 

Are you quite sure it is one of ours? It seems ODD of us to target such an important figure with such important skin!



9:06 am

 

To: ringmistress@gmail.com 

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: RE: This is Not Funny

 

Nikola,

 

The only logical explanation is that Jonathan has been replaced.  His assistants appeared entirely unfazed by his new appearance and mannerisms.  I just checked the Institute’s website and Jon’s identifying photo has been changed to that of this new “Jon”.  

 

I interrogated him alone, as well, but he didn’t break.  I asked him about certain statements that Jon had recently engaged with, about his position before Head Archivist, even about his knowledge of the incident with Jane Prentiss.  I asked him where all his scars had gone, and he insisted he had found a miracle cream of some sort?  I told him that was ridiculous, and he said, and I quote, “Nah, what’s ridiculous is how great my skin looks and feels, plus it's super cheap! No cap, my guy, no cap. Can you believe it? Science is wild. ”  Then he rambled about the healing nutrients of volcanic springs until I demanded that he stop.

 

This is not my Archivist, Nikola.  He even admitted to it, somewhat!  I told him I knew he served the Stranger, and at first he reacted with subdued discomfort, as though caught off guard.  Almost immediately, however, he nodded with enthusiasm and said, and I quote, “Yeah, the Stranger, love those guys. How’d you know?”  I asked him if he took me for a fool?  It was obvious.  He glanced down at himself, as if it were his clothing which had given away his position––which is not entirely untrue, as he wore apparel distinctly different from what Jon wears, notably a pink button-down with a strawberry pattern, cuffed acid-washed jeans, and socks which said something about eating the rich.  Absolutely dreadful.

 

He is currently in the archives, performing the Archivist’s job.  This is how I shall keep him occupied until you straighten out this mess.  I expect Jon to be returned as soon as possible.  If you desire some sort of payment, we can perhaps come to an arrangement.

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

9:10 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: ringmistress@gmail.com

 

Subject: RE: This is Not Funny

 

Oh, PLEASE ask him what moisturizer he’s using, I would LOVE to try it. Volcanic nutrients are SO good for the skin! 

 

That does sound like Not-Jon! Also, his fashion sounds impressive! If I were you I’d PREFER him to the original, he seems MUCH more fun! I still don’t know anything about this situation though! And I don’t control the Not-Them!

 

Unfortunately, if your Archivist has truly been replaced, he is never coming back! 

 

Better luck next time!

 

8:35 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Marto polo: Kit’s back from the office! he seems fine :)

 

First mate: Oh, good. Sasha must be relieved. What did Elias talk to him about?

 

Marto polo: it was mostly what we expected, elias asked him about statements, and stuff about your job and whatnot. also about working with a stranger? i guess he meant the not-them? even though we didn’t say much about that whole thing, kit managed to get through it! elias also asked about your scars from the Worm Incident, and if kit was the real jon where were his scars? apparently kit tried to convince elias he just used a really good moisturizer lolol

 

Marto polo: i saved the best, most genius bit for last. after elias dismissed him, kit told us how he started to leave, then looked up at elias’s precious portrait of jonah magnus, scrunched his eyebrows together, and said, “I think you should get a new janitor, they missed the bin on that one.”

 

First mate: Christ. That is beautiful.

 

First mate: Please tell Kit that he has my undying gratitude for his work today.

 

Marto polo: i will! and who knows what else will happen?? we’ve still got a few hours left before the switcheroo ;)

 

First mate: Ah, the possibilities. I am anxious to hear more, but admittedly it is not quite as entertaining without being able to witness Elias’s distress first-hand. So I am very much looking forward to seeing his expression when I come in this afternoon.

 

Marto polo: trust me, we all are!!

 

9:49 am

 

To: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: A Catastrophe

 

Peter,

 

I believe that my Archivist has been replaced by a minion of the Stranger.  I am extremely distressed by this news.  As you know, I have dedicated vast amounts of time and resources toward readying this one, and now he is dead, presumably.  I say presumably because I find it difficult to concentrate on the Truth;  there has been a sudden increase in replicas of my eyes, and for the life of me I cannot figure out where they are.  When I try to Look, all I See is darkness.  There is meagar light coming from somewhere, but all that this tells me is the nature of the replicas: photos, printed on plain paper.  Or rather, copies of the same photo.  It is the regrettable one you took of me when we were off sailing during our 2006 honeymoon and I had just finished off my fifth tequila sunrise.

 

I know we are in the middle of a divorce.  I simply desire...reassurance, perhaps.  You are the only person I can talk to about this.

 

Frequently yours,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

10:42 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

Subject: RE: A Catastrophe

 

Dearest Eli,

 

That seems pretty unfortunate. Too bad you didn’t have a backup Archivist! Or maybe you do? You’re a capable man, I wouldn’t put it past you. But by the tone of your email...I guess not. I’m surprised you let Jon get snatched up like that. And now, despite your position and power, and despite your connections, you suddenly find yourself...so very lonely.

 

This might be good for you, starfish. A little social disconnection is the best remedy for most disappointments; it helps you come to terms with the fact that things can always get worse! It also helps you realize that you did this to yourself. That no one wants to hear about your problems. That isolating yourself is truly the best thing you can do.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Peter

 

10:44 am

 

To: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: RE: A Catastrophe

 

Peter,

 

You know how I feel about you speaking to me that way.  You know what it does to me.

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.



10:45 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

Subject: RE: A Catastrophe

 

I know, starfish. That’s why I did it.

 

Drinks later?

 

10:46 am

 

To: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: RE: A Catastrophe

 

Fine.

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

12:03 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Daddy time: marto’s talking to kit so im here with updates

 

Daddy time: not a ton happened, which we’ve figured is because elias seems to literally be in shock

 

Daddy time: martin has gone past his office several times and each time he’s been at a different level of sulking

 

Daddy time: he has come by twice with some bs excuse, but we all know he just wanted to make sure that yes, “jon” is still there and no, nobody else has noticed the change. each time, he gave kit this super intense look and i stg, kit is a superhuman or sth because both times he gave some ridiculous response, like “my eyes are up here, buddy” when elias was already making direct eye contact with him. what?? sasha’s cousin has way too much power and i have never been so attracted to someone who intimidates me so much, fucK

 

Daddy time: shit this is the gc

 

Daddy time: sasha dont read that last bit thx in advance

 

Sasha pyjams: The last bit was the first thing I read and I immediately regretted it .

 

Daddy time: ok uhhh this is why i said NOT to read it

 

Sasha pyjams: It sounded suspicious, I wasn’t just going to ignore that . I definitely should have, though . Yikes .

 

Sasha pyjams: Anyway, Jon we’re heading to lunch now if you want to meet us ? It’ll be easier if we all come back to the Institute together after Kit leaves .

 

First mate: Yes, I suppose you’re right. I’ll be there shortly. This is the place Martin likes?

 

Daddy time: yeah, the diner-style one where the staff is apparently super friendly and calls you things like “luv” and “sweets”

 

First mate: Hm. Sounds terrible.

 

Sasha pyjams: Aw, you’ll enjoy it .

 

First mate: That is. Not even a possibility, no.

 

Daddy time: we’ll see ;)

 

11:53 am

 

To: the.existentialist@gmail.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: Jonathan Sims

 

Oliver,

 

I would not reach out to you unless it were of the utmost importance.  I need to know whether or not the Archivist Jonathan Sims is still alive.  Please do not question why I do not Know this, as it is a temporary personal matter.  If you happen to hold this information, I require it, immediately.

 

With moderate respect,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

11:59 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: the.existentialist@gmail.com

 

Subject: RE: Jonathan Sims

 

Elias -

 

Why the hell would I tell you? 

 

Piss off.

 

Oliver

 

12:38 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: well that was a Lot

 

Tim: who knew lunch could contain so many emotions

 

Tim: on one hand, im low-key high-key disappointed your cousin is taken. but relieved this information came up before i started relentlessly flirting with him

 

Sasha: Yes, that was an intentional tactical decision .

 

Tim: appreciate it

 

Tim: now that we’re on the tube, i just want to say, idk how you so effortlessly corralled martin and jon (who were NOT standing close to one other in the first place) into sitting practically in each other’s laps in that teeny tiny booth, but it was bloody brilliant

 

Sasha: Thank you, but it was nothing in comparison to your stroke of genius . I mean, when you said you were getting up to ask the waitress something, I assumed you were either about to hit on her or you were going to do some other Tim-esque nonsense that I couldn’t hope to guess at . Then she came back with this evil little smirk, and you glanced at me with that same look, and I just. I KNEW you had involved her in some scheme . And it took me a bit to figure it out . But, god, it went so well .

 

Tim: kady was completely down for it too. and her performance was *chef’s kiss* perfection. subtle at first, then building up and up and up…

 

Sasha: Exactly . At first I thought I was imagining things, it was so subtle. The way she referred to the group as individuals, then to Jon and Martin as “you two” . And some of her little quips about loving to see “friends and more-than-friends” .

 

Sasha: Then it got just the littlest bit more obvious, like when Martin was asking about one of the dishes, and Kady casually pointed out that he could get it in a larger portion for two to share. And she winked ?? At the time, Jon was looking down at the menu, not paying attention, and I honestly think that was the only reason Martin survived the encounter .

 

Tim: i have no clue how no one, you especially, noticed me quietly losing my shit every time she said something. although i hid it pretty well, i think

 

Tim: at least until she did THAT

 

Sasha: t h a t

 

Tim: i endlessly admire her decision to hold off until we were about to leave. it’s like,,,i was wondering where the leadup was heading, because it was so obviously leading to something, and then she comes up to us with a nikon camera in her hand and asks jon and martin if she’d mind taking their photo for The Wall and was fuckin,,, oh my godd

 

Sasha: Jon: The wall…?

 

Kady: Yep, we have a wall where we keep pictures of the absolute cutest couples that come in here, and you two are practically the definition of a-do-ra-ble! 

 

Martin: Oh! Um, no. What?

 

Kady: Have you been together long? Aw, look at you, I bet the relationship is new, you’ve got that “sweethearts” glow.

 

Tim: she wasn’t wrong, they were blushing harder than i have EVER seen anyone blush and i almost had a heart attack i was trying so hard not to laugh

 

Sasha: I’m looking over at Martin and he is still a bit pink in the face .

 

Sasha: Ok so our stop is next but we can talk more about this later . For now, let’s focus on the Encounter we’re about to have with Elias .

 

Tim: i want to cry, this day just keeps on getting better

 

12:57 pm

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: did anyone get footage of what just happened because if so i need it for scientific reasons!!

 

Tim: i did not but it’s playing on repeat on my brain, i can transcribe it real quick

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Yes Tim, apply your career skills to real life !

 

Tim: i. hate that you described it like that thanks

 

Proactive Facial Wash: yw <3

 

Tim: Right so all four of us are j strolling down the hall, as you do, Jon’s making a big show of saying how he needs to get back to work, so that elias hears his voice yk, and we’re all staring at Elias’s office. It takes approx five seconds for the big boss himself to throw open the door. The literal moment he sees Jon, he goes pale af, then marches the hell up to him. Is he angry? Relieved? Lil bit crazed? Yes, to all of the above.

 

Elias: Jonathan. You’re alive. 

 

Jon: ...Yes?

 

Elias: You’re––But then––The other man, where is he?

 

Jon: What?

 

Elias: The other––He was pretending to be you. It’s no matter. Where have you been? Where were they keeping you?

 

Jon: I wasn’t being kept anywhere.

 

Elias: This morning, where were you this morning?

 

Jon: I was here. Working.

 

Elias: No. No, no you weren’t, I know you weren’t. Don’t lie.

 

Jon: I’m not lying, I was here. I remember because you called me into your office to ask me ridiculous questions about my job, as well as about my previous position at the Institute, all of which was entirely unnecessary. So if you’ll please allow me to get back to work, perhaps I can make up for the time you had me waste, yes?

 

Tim: to summarize: jon dropped the mic, elias got Obliterated

 

Tim: idk how much of what i wrote out was word for word, but im confident that jon’s final blow against elias is dead on, exactly what he said

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: im screenshotting this so that i can relive the hilarity of jon straight up murdering elias !!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Martin, in a way, you finally got the assassination you were fantasizing about . And the assassin was Jon, of all people ! How do you feel about that?

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: >:))))

 

 

Chapter Text

Tuesday, 7:56 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: I think I may be a few minutes late, I’m so sorry about that .

 

Daddy time: g a s p

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim, I’ll kill u.

 

First mate: I appreciate you letting us know, Sasha. Even if you are cutting it a bit close already.

 

Daddy time: hey jon um,,, RUDE

 

Daddy time: ok but sash, the tea? why u late tho

 

Marto polo: did something happen? :0 are you okay?

 

Sasha pyjams: Honestly I don’t know what I did but as soon as I woke up and my leg started cramping up . It got better when I walked around on it but it has since taken a turn for the worse …

 

Sasha pyjams: I’m basically hobbling toward the Institute right now .

 

Daddy time: are you in sight of the building

 

Sasha pyjams: Yes ?

 

Daddy time: hang tight ;)

 

Sasha pyjams: Oh no what are you doing .

 

Marto polo: he just. ran out of the room?

 

Sasha pyjams: I don’t trust this .

 

Sasha pyjams: I feel like I should be getting the “enemies are nearby” notif .

 

Sasha pyjams: Okay I see him coming . He’s jogging over . Whatever is about to happen, I have accepted my fate . Tell my family I love them . Martin, pour tea on my grave, I want to experience your famous cuppa one last time .

 

Marto polo: im almost afraid to ask but what is he doing now

 

Sasha pyjams: He just squatted down and went “hop on” .

 

Sasha pyjams: Basically I’m getting a piggyback ride to the breakroom . 

 

Sasha pyjams: Rosie didn’t even bat an eye when we came in .

 

Marto polo: tim omg :))

 

Marto polo: the absolute madlad

 

Sasha pyjams: It feels vaguely like when i was ten and i rode a horse down a nature trail, except this time the trail is a stuffy dim hallway in the basement of a creepy building and the horse is an idiot .

 

First mate: I just saw you both pass by in the hallway. I’m pleased to say you’re right on time.

 

Marto polo: jon that’s the least interesting part of this situation!!

 

First mate: Well, it’s. Still a part of the situation. So.

 

Sasha pyjams: I think this is the first time Tim’s antics have actually positively impacted my job .

 

Daddy time: ahh noted, i’ll make sure to never do that again lmao

 

9:12 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: just spoke with mx. jo eberson (the person i talked to before?) about coming to the water park this weekend and! u guys are not going to believe what they said!!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: The waterpark is a government coverup ?

 

Tim: we dont have to pay for anything!

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I think mine is more likely honestly .

 

Tim: sad but true

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: um :3

 

Tim: ????

 

Tim: marto [B]lease tell me you’re serious

 

Tim: i cant afford to skim from my self-care budget, how else am i supposed maintain this Look,,,I need to woo info out of police officers, i

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: well i told mx eberson about how i was bringing three of my friends and coworkers, and they went “oh, do you all work at the same place?” and i said yeah, the magnus institute, and then they asked if i knew elias? and i said...yep, he’s our boss (unfortunately) and they must have heard the Ugh in my voice because they chuckled and said “I feel that, I’ve met him, he’s a bastard. Bet you all need a break from his bullshit, yeah?”

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: and then they said!! our rooms would be fully paid for as well!!

 

Tim: marto wtf?? how did you manage to one-up yourself

 

Proactive Facial Wash: I said it before and I’ll say it again, Martin’s a charmer <3

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: aww sasha :’)

 

Tim: this also means we have a bigger budget for whatever else is in the hotel. sometimes bougie places like that have like,,,arcades and glow in the dark minigolf and stuff

 

Proactive Facial Wash: They also have restaurants (and room service) so yes, we will very much be taking advantage of that .

 

Tim: do you think they leave mints or, or chocolates on your pillow?? ive seen that in movies idk

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: i guess we’ll find out! :D

 

Tim: even if that happens im just expecting jon to say some shit like “i dislike chocolate” tf

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: tim dont even joke about that!!

 

Tim: ok ill compromise, i feel like jon would like chocolate but only a cursed kind of chocolate. like, only white chocolate.

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: white chocolate isn’t that bad!

 

Tim: i beg to differ, but the point is that it’s not liking white chocolate that’s sinful, it’s ONLY liking white chocolate, disregarding all other chocolates

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: ……

 

Tim: got im

 

Proactive Facial Wash: Wait speaking of jon, @tim how did the first anti-elias protection shift go ?

 

Tim: tbh it wasn’t bad, jon only stayed an extra hour, which was about five hours less than i was expecting

 

Tim: i did have to run some interference tho. elias came over pretty soon after you two left so i strolled into the archives and started loudly moving files around. ofc elias was all “Tim if you’d be so kind, this is a private meeting” and jON

 

Tim: im still laughing about this

 

Tim: jon went “Don’t worry about him, he’s not listening to us”

 

Tim: as iF

 

Proactive Facial Wash: “Who, Tim ? No, he doesn’t eavesdrop, ever . He’s a stickler for the rules, that Tim .”

 

Tim: so obviously everyone knew it was a lie, jon included, and elias bitched for another minute before giving up and leaving

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: tim the insistent eavesdropper, the hero we all secretly needed. say goodbye to your privacy! say hello to tim.

 

Elias’s Days Are Numbered: is it a bird? a plane?? no, it’s tim, the fly on the wall!

 

Proactive Facial Wash changed Tim ’s name to Flyguy - Resident Hero

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: i do everything in my power to help the citizens of this shitty archive

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: along with my two sidekicks

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero changed Proactive Facial Wash ’s name to Hackergirl

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero changed Elias’s Days Are Numbered ’s name to Teaboy

 

Hackergirl: “Elias” already sounds like a supervillain name .

 

Teaboy: i think jon is the damsel in distress in this situation?? o.o

 

Hackergirl: Ironic since he’s the one who actually has supernatural abilities .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: tru. also not to worry marto, we’re deviating from the script on this one, bc there is no fucking way im getting together with jon

 

Teaboy: oh that wasn’t um. what i meant to ask!! but.. ok

 

Hackergirl: (((It was, but it’s ok, we won’t acknowledge it .))))

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ((((((yeah and we wont even think about how marto was picturing jon as a damsel in distress)))))))

 

Hackergirl: (((((Do you think he can read this even with all the parentheses))))

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: (((((no this is telepathic texting, our convo is completely invisible rn))))))

 

Teaboy: ((((you guys are the worst :( ))))

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: (((shit we’ve been infiltrated))))

 

Hackergirl: (((We love you Martin ! So much <3)))

 

Teaboy: ((....)))

 

Teaboy: ((.....<3))

 

10:12 am

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: I realize neither of us were exactly sober when we discussed this, but

 

Jon: would you still want to go on walks? 

 

Jon: Or a single walk, I mean. If you just want to go once.

 

Martin: oh, yeah um, that’d be really nice!! :) (and walks plural is good with me!)

 

Martin: it’s supposed to be beautiful out today, would you want to go during lunch break?

 

Jon: Yes, that’s actually what I was about to suggest. 

 

Martin: ok great :)) it’ll be good to get some fresh air!

 

Jon: Agreed. The archives do not exactly have the most refreshing atmosphere.

 

Martin: mmmm smell that dust!

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Did I just hear Jon laugh ?

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: Perhaps the Institute should invest in some air fresheners. Not that I want the archives to smell like “cinnamon winter” or whatever odors they’re concocting these days.

 

Martin: if you actually do want to use a freshener, both warm vanilla and fresh cotton are nice

 

Jon: Perhaps I’ll look into it. Thank you for the recommendations, Martin.

 

Martin: it’s no problem!! :)

 

10:21 am

 

Jon: Is there a particular reason Tim is pushing Sasha in a rolling chair?

 

Martin: yeah sasha’s leg has been hurting :/

 

Martin: did they go into the archives??

 

Jon: Yes. Tim nodded cordially at me as they went past, Sasha tried not to look at me. She was trying and failing to maintain a neutral expression, which I found highly suspicious. Still I decided it best not to say anything, which I believe I may regret, as Tim immediately sped up, audibly, when they were out of my line of sight. I haven’t heard a crash yet, but...I am not optimistic.

 

Martin: oh no

 

Martin: ….yeah neither am i

 

10:33 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Daddy time: elias has been cockblocked once again

 

Sasha pyjams: Why must you phrase things the way that you do ?

 

Daddy time: i took an oath

 

Marto polo: wait what happened? :0

 

Sasha pyjams: Elias came in to talk to Jon but we made sure our presence was known .

 

Sasha pyjams: I almost fell off the chair so many times from the sheer velocity .

 

Daddy time: but ya didnT

 

Marto polo: wait, wouldnt elias just ask to see jon in his office if you guys were being distracting?

 

First mate: He did, but I insisted I was very busy and couldn’t be bothered. Also I needed to supervise my assistants, lest they do any damage to the archives, or to themselves, while pursuing a followup on certain cases.

 

First mate: He was not pleased, but he seemed to agree with the second excuse. You two were making quite the racket.

 

Daddy time: making a racket?? mission accomplished ;)

 

Sasha pyjams: I really wish you wouldn’t put a winky face there .

 

Sasha pyjams: It Changed The Meaning, Did You Intend This

 

Daddy time: sigh

 

Daddy time: winky face retracted

 

Sasha pyjams: Thank you .

 

First mate: There was also the matter of Elias’s state of being - despite the fact that we have not destroyed those photos of him, his focus seems to be improving. I think his migraine has worn off, as well. This leads me to believe that he is growing accustomed to our interference, which is unfortunate, because if we choose to employ the same tactic in the future, printing the same amount of photos may prove less effective.

 

Marto polo: um yikes, we should destroy them soon then!!

 

Daddy time: gotta be honest i completely forgot about the photos lmao

 

Sasha pyjams: Bonfire on the roof tonight ?

 

Marto polo: yes!!

 

Daddy time: marto immediately perked up when you suggested that, his whole posture changed

 

Sasha pyjams: He’s getting his fire fix, what do you expect ?

 

Marto polo: im not um, addicted to lighting things on fire, that’s crazy ahaha

 

First mate: ...Should I be concerned?

 

Marto polo: no!

 

Sasha pyjams: …..No .

 

Daddy time: ……………...nope

 

First mate: You are all very convincing. I am convinced, thoroughly.

 

Daddy time: ((((haha he bought it, great job guys))))

 

12:48 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Would you help me over to artefact storage ? You don’t have to carry me, my leg is actually feeling much better, I just need to use you as a crutch in case it gives out or something .

 

1:01 pm

 

Tim: oof sorry i was taking some guy’s statement

 

Tim: im obv going to carry you dont even think you’re getting out of that

 

Tim: give me a minute to finish up the forms

 

Sasha: Oh did Jon ask you to take a statement ?

 

Tim: nah he’s literally just not here rn. idk where he went, but someone had to take the person’s statement and Here I Am

 

Sasha: Huh . Do you think he’s out for lunch or ?

 

Tim: who jon? doubt it

 

Tim: in fact i saw him eating in his office earlier so that’s a definite no

 

Sasha: Hang on .

 

Sasha: Martin was taking his lunch earlier than usual, too .

 

Sasha: Do you think …

 

Tim: where IS marto, i havent seen him since uhh

 

Tim: wait

 

Tim: since….the exact same time as jon lefT

 

Sasha: Did they …

 

Sasha: go on a  d a t e

 

Tim: im grilling marto when he gets back holy fulc

 

Tim: also not that i dont want to theorize about whatever they’re doing rn but. i need to tell you about how the statement giver has given us a Gift

 

Tim: he was going on and on about how his ex gave him a haunted guitar. he says that after they broke up, he started learning to play it, and ever since then he’s had all this “bad luck”

 

Tim: all this stuff suddenly caught up to him, like how he DMs random women telling them how hot they are, and when they reject him he “realizes” that they’re not worth his time and he tells them so in ways that i am not going to repeat

 

Tim: obviously all the screenshots got out, so almost everyone hates him now, plus he got fired from his job. and he thinks it’s because of the spooky guitar, which he was VERY insistent on getting rid of

 

Tim: so now we have a guitar

 

Tim: which means jon is legally obliged to give us a one-man mechs concert on the roof tonight

 

Sasha: Oh my god .

 

Sasha: Does Jon even play the guitar

 

Tim: idk but i do

 

Tim: so there are no excuses, he even has accompaniment

 

Sasha: I am so excited !

 

Sasha: You really are going to be gunpowder tim .

 

Tim: it’s my destiny

 

1:33 pm

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Teaboy: where are you guys??

 

Hackergirl: In artefact storage . Where were /you/ ?

 

Teaboy: oh, you know. out

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ok if you’re not going to tell us you have to suffer through the nineteen most likely possibilities that sasha and i came up with

 

Teaboy: nineteen *most likely*? so there’s more?? and they’re just. less likely???

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: 1 - you and jon were making out in a nearby alley, for a full hour

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: 2 - you went to a museum or sth and you just held hands...for a while, at least ;)

 

Hackergirl: I can feel the frantic energy of Martin’s typing .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: 3 - you went to an italian joint where you shared a plate of spaghetti. you both scooped up opposite ends of the same noodle so you ended up kissing, lady and the tramp style

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ik you both already had lunch but i like that one

 

Teaboy: no!!! we just! went for a walk! that is all we did!! we did nothing else! no holding hands! no kissing! nothing else! and yes it was fun but! in a platonic way!! because we are sort of friends now! which is great!! but that doesn't mean we’re dating!!

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: so did you hold hands….platonically, or..?

 

Teaboy: no we didnt hold hands at all :(

 

Teaboy: that wasnt a frowny face of disappointment, that was a frowny face of disapproval @tim

 

Hackergirl: Are you sure it’s not both ?

 

Teaboy: um. i am not.

 

Hackergirl: But you had fun at least ?

 

Teaboy: oh yes! the sun was out but there was this lovely breeze, and we just strolled and talked for a while, and we popped into a few nearby shops and browsed things like air fresheners and candles. i think his favorite was one called autumn air because he kept sneaking back to smell it. and it was just so..normal, for once, and casual. and i think we’re going to walk together more often because he said he also had a really good time! :))

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: im fucking tearing up this is so domestic

 

Hackergirl: He actually is wtf

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ok marto im about to carry sasha back to the breakroom so ill see you there

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: but plz tell jon to get his voice warmed up or whatever singers do idk

 

Teaboy: wait why?

 

Teaboy: tim??

 

5:02 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Daddy time: we have a conundrum

 

Daddy time: i know we have a lot photos to burn but if we’re going to do a proper bonfire this time, we’re going to need firewood

 

Sasha pyjams: Oh ... you’re right .

 

First mate: I propose we purchase some wood on the Institute’s card. It is for Elias’s benefit, after all.

 

Daddy time: counterproposal - we do that, AND we order pizza, and meet up on the roof in an hour

 

Sasha pyjams: How are you going to justify buying pizza ?

 

Daddy time: by burning the photos, we are doing Labor, and pizza Fuels us so that we may do that Labor

 

First mate: Good enough.

 

Daddy time: see, it’s boss approved

 

Marto polo: is 6:30 okay? i actually have a few more things to do so the extra time works out well for me 

 

Sasha pyjams: Sounds like a plan !

 

Daddy time: ^

 

First Mate: That’s fine.

 

Marto polo: great :))

 

7:27 pm

 

Sasha pyjams: Martin where did you disappear to ?

 

Marto polo: oh i just went down to get blankets from the breakroom, it’s getting a bit chilly up here, even with the fire

 

Marto polo: actually do you know where they are? i thought they were by the beanbag chairs but maybe not

 

Daddy time: there’s one in the back of the storage closet, but im p sure that’s the only one we have. the other one went missing

 

Sasha pyjams: Spooky .

 

Marto polo: found it!

 

Daddy time: hell yea

 

Sasha pyjams: Oh hey before I forget (since im the only one who takes pictures anymore apparently) :

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: On the roof, Tim triumphantly holds up the trash bag full of cursed photographs as though hoisting a large fish by its tail. Behind him, Jon and Martin set up the wood for the fire.]

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: Martin grins mischievously, cupping in his two hands an origami donkey made from of one of the photos. Over his shoulder, Tim’s hand is visible, waving his origami attempt, which looks vaguely like a broken stick.] 

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: Martin, Tim, and Jon all sit near the fire, eating pizza. The sky is still bright, but visibly darker. Tim is in the middle of saying something to Jon while Martin slowly feeds a photo to the fire, entranced by the flame.]

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a video: With Tim strumming on the “haunted” guitar, Jon and Tim enthusiastically duet “Favoured Son” while Martin and Sasha, out of frame, cheer them on and clap to the beat.]

 

Daddy time: god we’re so iconic

 

Sasha pyjams: Martin really went and made elias into a donkey, a literal ass .

 

First mate: Trust me, Elias did that himself.

 

Daddy time: OOP

 

Marto polo: ok but i still cant believe we got a concert :)

 

Daddy time: also got to be PART of the concert, sick

 

First Mate: Well, you are all perfectly decent singers/performers, which was a nice surprise.

 

Daddy time: i’ll translate, “decent” in jonspeak = “amazing” in english

 

First Mate: ....I won’t refute it.

 

Marto polo: aww! :)

 

Marto polo: ok im coming back up, see you in a mo 

 

Sasha pyjams: Thank goodness, I can barely remember what you look like !

 

Daddy time: when will my husband return from the war??

 

Marto polo: in about sixty seconds!

 

8:01 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: u done being edgy or

 

Sasha: I’m not being edgy, I’m just admiring the view. The sun’s going down .

 

Tim: you’re sitting waY too close to the edge of the roof, miss james

 

Tim: hence, edgy

 

Sasha: Ha

 

Sasha: Ok I’m moving back, happy now?

 

Tim: move back more, by about fifteen meters

 

Sasha: What, back to what’s left of the fire ?

 

Tim: yes,,,i miss u 

 

Tim: also how are you not cold wtf

 

Sasha: Come here dummy .

 

Sasha: I have a warm cardigan on, Let Me Hug You .

 

Tim: and what, abandon marto and the boss? leaving them alone, with only each other, only one blanket, in the romantic light of the setting sun?

 

Tim: damn,,,if you insist

 

8:33 pm

 

Tim: for future in-depth analysis

 

Tim: [sent a photo: The quality is grainy, both from the darkness and the fact that it is zoomed in from a slight distance. Sitting near the dying fire, Martin and Jon share the beige cotton blanket. Jon has dozed off on Martin’s shoulder. Martin clearly does not know what to do about this aside from remaining completely, utterly still.]

 

9:51 pm

 

Sasha: Is this what the success of our matchmaking schemes looks like ?

 

Tim: yes, or at least mostly. they haven’t admitted anything to each other yet

 

Tim: but still

 

Sasha: Still .

 

Sasha: We’ve done so well .

 

Tim: yes we have

 

Sasha: ...I’m making this picture my lock screen .

 

Tim: ……....beat you to it



Chapter Text

Thursday, 8:10 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Teaboy: sasha!! your hair!!

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: wait what about her hair

 

Hackergirl: You’d know if you were here on time . ;)

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: uh rude im walking down the hall as we speak

 

Teaboy: she cut it to just above her shoulders!! it looks really nice :))

 

Hackergirl: Thanks Martin ! That’s not all I did though…

 

Hackergirl: [sent a photo: A selfie - Sasha, smiling broadly, has gathered up her hair behind her head to expose a sharp undercut.]

 

Teaboy: whoaa :0

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: i

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ok first of all, that looks TOP

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: second of all i am extremely inspired

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: i just want to be as cool as sasha james

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: unrelated, does anyone know where the scissors are

 

Teaboy: i do

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: are you going to share that information with me

 

Teaboy: unsure

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ill give you a free haircut

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: marto im probably really good at it, ive never ever done it but. trust me

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: wait can i koolaid-dye your hair

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: do we have koolaid

 

Hackergirl: Tim ... slow it down, be calm .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: im very calm

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: wheres the bleach

 

Hackergirl: Jfc .

 

11:01 am

 

“we protecc”

 

First mate: Elias will be attempting to have a private meeting with me sometime within the next hour. So please be on your guard.

 

Sasha pyjams: Did he...tell you this ?

 

First mate: No. I um. I Knew it, actually. Just now.

 

Daddy time: spooOOoooky

 

Marto polo: wait can you predict the future too??

 

First mate: No, I assure you that this is a very clear intention of Elias’s, not a premonition of mine. I Knew that he wrote down on his schedule, somewhere between now and noon, “Meet with the Archivist”.

 

First mate: If I could predict the future, I would feel much less anxious; I might have some idea as to what I am dealing with––what all of us are dealing with, in fact. I would always be able to avoid Elias, as well, which is a very good position to be in.

 

Sasha pyjams: Jon, come work in the breakroom with us . Just for an hour or so . We can keep a better eye on you there, which feels necessary since elias has been getting more insistent on talking to you one-on-one .

 

Marto polo: yeah..and the fact that he physically wrote it down in his schedule today? doesn’t seem great. like maybe he wont take no for an answer?

 

Daddy time: so sasha’s haircut got me thinking

 

Marto polo: i just got conversation whiplash 0.0

 

Sasha pyjams: t i m

 

Daddy time: noo this is relevant i swear

 

Daddy time: i’ll admit my first inspired idea was to give marto a new ‘do

 

First mate: Tim. Please do not cut Martin’s hair.

 

Daddy time: i wont that’s what im saying, i have discovered a new and better idea

 

Daddy time: jon when you get set up in here we should do like,,,one of those human centipedes of hair braiding, do you know what i mean

 

Sasha pyjams: I do know what you mean but I absolutely loathe the way you described it .

 

Daddy time: ill be at the back, and it’ll go like: i work on martin’s hair, martin does sasha’s hair, sasha braids jon’s hair, everyone walks away looking fabulous, myself included, because i already look fabulous .

 

Daddy time: jon is at the front so that he can do work

 

First mate: How thoughtful.

 

Marto polo: i dont think my hair is long enough to braid?

 

Daddy time: not to worry marto, we shall make do

 

Daddy time: “we” being me and my creative muse

 

Daddy time: boss i see you typing, dont say no just yet. think about it. let it simmer

 

Sasha pyjams: I trust Martin to braid my hair, but I wouldn’t trust you to put up a ponytail .

 

Daddy time: sasha, you wound me

 

First mate: If one of you could perhaps come help me move some of my documents into the breakroom?

 

Marto polo: be there in a minute :)

 

First mate: Thank you, Martin.

 

First mate: Tim, I do not foresee this happening.

 

Daddy time: yeah but,,,you just said you cant see the future tho so uhh

 

First mate: Please get back to work.

 

Daddy time: :’(

 

11:17 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: If we do the braid train, we should get Martin to work on Jon’s hair .

 

Tim: oh i know, i just didn’t want to say that outright

 

Tim: didn’t want to spook em

 

Tim: but yeah definitely

 

Sasha: I’m sorry I ever doubted you .

 

Tim: unbelievable smh

 

Tim: also do you want to dye my hair later, i want to look slick for the waterpark

 

Sasha: Tentative yes...What colour are you thinking ?

 

Tim: uhhh something obnoxious

 

Sasha: Ah, perfect !

 

Tim: r u d e

 

Tim: can i give marto frosted tips

 

Sasha: Jon would shoot you like a dog .

 

Sasha: You can decide for yourself if it’s worth it .

 

Tim: god,,,it honestly might be

 

Sasha: Sometimes I wonder if the decision-making part of your brain actually works .

 

Tim: i think we’ve established that it doesn’t ;)

 

12:31 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Daddy time: i am never going to stop laughing about what just happened

 

Sasha pyjams: Our timing was impeccable .

 

Sasha pyjams: Or maybe it was elias’s timing . He’s the one who chose to walk in RIGHT as we were doing the braid train .

 

Marto polo: i don’t think i’ve ever seen him look so confused!!

 

Daddy time: he still went for it, tho. gotta give the guy credit

 

Marto polo: elias, desperately trying to remain professional: “Jon, I need to speak with you immediately, in my office.”

 

jon, without even glancing away from his work, hair half braided and studded with flower clips: “I’m busy.”

 

First mate: I do actually enjoy the end result, for the record.

 

First mate: And it was true. I was busy, I’m always busy. And I hardly could have gotten up and left; Martin would have been forced to start all over.

 

Marto polo: oh, i wouldn’t have minded really

 

Marto polo: i mean um

 

Marto polo: i realize that’s,, besides the point, sort of contrary to the point actually, but. im just saying

 

Sasha pyjams: It’s good that elias didn’t know that haha

 

Marto polo: uh yepp!!

 

Daddy time: ok but what really gets me is that he was so Done with our avoidance bullshit that he literally started to talk to jon about ~private~ spooky shit even though we were right there

 

Daddy time: he just thought to himself, fuck it, these assistants are never going away, i give up

 

Sasha pyjams: And STILL we blockaded him .

 

First mate: That was impressive, admittedly. Albeit ridiculous.

 

Sasha pyjams: Literally as soon as Elias started talking about Knowing things, tim just goes “Wait elias you’re psychic? Can you read my mind? Can you see my future? Can you tell me the winning lottery numbers? Can you––?”

 

Sasha pyjams: And then all the rest of us join in, and elias just looks like a sad, broken man .

 

Daddy time: i love the variance of everyone’s demands, too, like marto was going off about astrology and tea leaves and palm readings, and sasha was just like,,,Do You Know About Runes??

 

Daddy time: idk about you guys but just in case he wAS reading my mind, I was thinking “elias is a is a little baby bastard man” on repeat

 

Marto polo: i was doing that too! i was internally reciting the bee movie script

 

Sasha pyjams: I had “I’m blue, da ba dee da ba die” playing in my brain.

 

Sasha pyjams: I hope it’s stuck in his head now .

 

First mate: Damn, I should have thought of something like that. I was keeping my mind as neutral as possible. 

 

Sasha pyjams: There’s always next time !

 

Sasha pyjams: Also can everyone send pics of your hairdressing work, I require them .

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: Martin smiles at the camera, a single blockish braid working its way around the side of his head like half a crown. Several colourful bobby pins hold the braid in place.]

 

Daddy time: [sent a photo: Two big, fluffy braids cascade down either side of the back of Sasha’s head, tied off in simple pigtails. Thin multicoloured ribbons are threaded through each of them, resembling the streamers wrapped around a maypole.]

 

Daddy time: big shoutout to youtube beauty gurus, i owe you my life

 

Marto polo: [sent a photo: several deftly woven braids of different patterns and thicknesses loop around each other across the back of Jon’s head, coalescing into a single short but intricate braid, which is peppered with tiny shining flower pins.]

 

Daddy time: like,,you could have given a bit of a warning? marto? before you annihilated us?

 

Sasha pyjams: I already knew it looked amazing but just looking at the picture….Wow . I’m honored to have my flower pins used in such a masterpiece .

 

Marto polo: aw thank you guys!! 

 

Marto polo: i mean, i did work for a renaissance festival for quite some time so. i have experience :)

 

Daddy time: i have many, many followup questions but im going to wait until we check into the hotel so that you can’t escape

 

Marto polo: bold of you to assume i wont find a way to deflect anything you ask.

 

Daddy time: bold of you to assume i won’t enlist jon’s Spooky Knowing powers to assist in my cause

 

First mate: Tim, I am not going to Know anything about Martin if he doesn't want me to. At least, insofar as I can control it.

 

First mate: However, I am interested in hearing about your time at this job, Martin. It seems that the experience of working for a renaissance festival would be unique, to say the least.

 

Sasha pyjams: We can add that to the weekend check-list, then ! Have Martin tell us renaissance festival stories .

 

Daddy time: marto we need the tea on the 16th century

 

Daddy time: also we need 16th century tea

 

Daddy time: wait when you worked there did you make era-appropriate tea

 

Marto polo: maybe so

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim I don’t even know why that question needed to be asked .

 

Daddy time: i needed to be sure. even though i already knew the truth, in my soul

 

First mate: I have a question. For all of you.

 

Daddy time: oh?

 

Marto polo: :0

 

Sasha pyjams: I am Nervous Lite ™ .

 

First mate: Would you please get back to work? Thank you in advance. 

 

Daddy time: aw

 

Daddy time: its sad boi hours 

 

First mate: Actually, it’s work hours, Tim.

 

Daddy time: same thing

 

5:00 pm

 

Daddy time: just 24 hours until weekend fun

 

Daddy time: i am so fucking ready lads

 

Daddy time: i havent used my swim trunks in ages, i feel bad for them

 

First mate: Ah. That’s what I was forgetting.

 

Sasha pyjams: Jon have you still not replaced your gross ancient swim trunks ?

 

First mate: ....It may have slipped my mind. But to be fair, a lot has been going on. New trunks are hardly a priority.

 

Daddy time: well they are now boss!! you have Limited Time 

 

Daddy time: you should get one of those pairs with iridescent strips so that they’ll flash in the light and blind everyone in the general vicinity. that way we can take advantage of their temporary disorientation to get better spots in line for the popular slides

 

First mate: No.

 

First mate: I’ll pick up a pair after I finish a few things. There is a statement I need to record on tape, as well as some filing that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

 

Marto polo: well, it happens to be my anti-elias shift today! you can take your time, jon, it’s no trouble. and i can do some of the filing, if that would help lighten the load? you’ll need to get to the shops before they close, after all. which means leaving the institute before midnight :)

 

First mate: Hm. Yes, you have a point. Thank you, Martin.

 

Marto polo: of course! :))

 

Daddy time: boss, martin is going to accompany you to pick out trunks so that you don’t get something painfully bad. despite the fact that you’ve been more punk lately, i dont trust your fashion decisions

 

Marto polo: oh! um, i guess i could? if that’s okay with you, jon?

 

First mate: I don’t really see why you would want to, but...I suppose I don't have a problem with it.

 

Marto polo: it could be fun, i think! just like going for another stroll, but further downtown. we could go back to that soap and air fresheners shop if you want :)

 

First mate: That won’t be necessary, I’ll have kept you out long enough without going on an additional errand to someplace we have already visited. But yes, shopping would perhaps be less dull with company.

 

Sasha pyjams: You’ll probably have an easier time than some of us, this evening…

 

Daddy time: um as if?? im the most fun person to be around

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim, we are about to go pick out hair dye for you . What’s going to happen is this: you’re going to see all the different colours and you’ll make a really quick decision--like you always do--but THEN you’ll change your mind a hundred times in the span of ten minutes and each time you’re going to insist you’ve finally found the one .

 

Daddy time: ok that’s fair

 

Daddy time: you know me so well <3

 

Sasha pyjams Tim I love you but you are a bloody handful sometimes . Let’s go so we can actually get to the dyeing part ?

 

Daddy time: hell yeah 

 

Sasha pyjams Great . See the rest of you tomorrow !

 

First mate: See you then.

 

Marto polo: good luck to you both!! cant wait to see what colour tim decides on :0


Sasha pyjams Trust me, neither can I .

 

 

Chapter Text

Cursed Elias Gallery

 

By SeddonEJ and OurHappyPlace123 (ao3)

The artists' interpretation of the photo was that CCTV footage just happened to catch Elias looking Like That, which is SO funny and valid.

 

By starryknightart (instagram) (Yours truly!)

I really tried to capture the overexposed early-2000s aesthetic here.

 

By Starhilm (ao3)

The artist may not think this piece looks sufficiently cursed, but I beg to differ! P sure Elias's expression going to haunt me.

 

By hail-briar (tumblr)

If any iteration of Cursed Elias could be considered cute, I think it would be this one.

 

By mitchievousness (tumblr)

This is just straight-up legendary.

 

By mus3art (twitter)

The context of this, as described by the artist, is that Elias invites Peter over, gets wine tipsy, and decides to put on one of Peter's shirts while he's waiting "because he's the Worst." Truly cursed.

 

Fic Art Gallery

 

By spaghetti_plays_guitar (instagram)

This adorable piece illustrates a scene from late in Chapter 4!

 

By starryknightart (instagram)

Tim being a smoothie model in Chapter 16 :)

 

By starryknightart (instagram)

Sasha and Tim making their way out of the waterpark - takes place between Chapter 19 and 20.

 

By SeddonEJ (ao3)

This artist is legendary because they recreated *that* scene from Chapter 25, complete with digital Martin and Sasha looking Capital-W Worried.

 

By occasionally-always (tumblr)

Here we find a really, really beautiful rendering of monster!Jon from Chapter 25 :) She also made THESE:

The following are from Chapter 30 for 1) the arcade scene and 2) the confession scene.

Timion (ao3) made them and I love them sm :))

Chapter Text

Friday, 8:02 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Teaboy: tim!!

 

Teaboy: i would come over and and talk to you but there are tears in my eyes i

 

Teaboy: your hair i

 

Teaboy: i am laughing so much!! 

 

Teaboy: it’s not even funny, it looks so good it’s just a LOT and i am. overwhelmed

 

Teaboy: one side is bright green?? and the other side is? hot pink??

 

Teaboy: i truly love it tim i just cannot. physically speak

 

Hackergirl: It’s true, I just passed by him and he’s having somewhat of a meltdown .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: tysm marto, id say im sorry for causing this but im thoroughly enjoying your reaction

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: also water park today!! finally!! hope you guys brought your stuff bc we are going straight there the Moment the clock hits 5

 

Hackergirl: I bet jon didn’t bring his luggage .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: say sike right now

 

Hackergirl: I bet he assumed we would all be heading there later on, so he left it at home .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: sasha say sIKE

 

Teaboy: guys don’t worry!! when we went to get swim trunks yesterday we talked about the plan for today, so he knows we’re going right after work :))

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: thank gOD martin i was about to be sad

 

Hackergirl: ...Which trunks did he end up with though ?

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: iridescent,,,im begging you,

 

Teaboy: not iridescent. but!

 

Teaboy: i did steer him away from this truly awful striped pair, it was the first thing he saw, i dont even think he checked the size before picking it up, he just went “Right, this one’s fine.”

 

Teaboy: so obviously i suggested that we take another look, and he found some plain trunks of much better quality. i made sure they actually fit him this time!

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: hey martin

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: what do you mean by that last bit

 

Teaboy: ill never tell

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: dont think i didnt see you slip out the door just now

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: wait im looking out into the hallway, where the hell did you go

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: wtf he disappeared

 

Hackergirl: This is more entertaining than I thought work could possibly be at 8 in the morning .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: martin i have questions for you,,,you cant avoid me forever!

 

Teaboy: :3

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: fine. keep your secrets. ill just ask jon

 

Teaboy: ok um im joking tim nothing Different happened i swear

 

Teaboy: i just forced him to actually look at the sizing!! that’s all :/

 

Teaboy: he was trying to convince me the sizing didnt matter as much because the elastic is stretchy??

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: he’s hopeless, your honour

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: imagine if i hadnt sent you with him, what horrors that would have occurred

 

Hackergirl: Jon: shows up in boring poorly fitting trunks -- all of us, simultaneously: “oh no...we got the Bad Ending .”

 

Teaboy: “this IS the Bad Place!”

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: did he perchance try on the trunks in front of you?

 

Teaboy: no, definitely not

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ah yeah, stupid question, you wouldn’t have survived i dont think

 

Hackergirl: Hey, tim?

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: yes sasha

 

Hackergirl: You know that martin is about to not only see jon wearing those same swim trunks, but wearing them while shirtless ? And dripping wet ? Because, you know, we’re going to a water park ?

 

Teaboy: wait wait um

 

Teaboy: is it too late to reschedule um

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: hahaha oh fuck

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: dont worry about it marto. just concentrate on your work for now. dont think about jon, shirtless, dripping wet

 

Hackergirl: Yep, just don’t think about it !

 

Teaboy: so ummm you both are the worst! mid-morning tea privileges revoked!

 

Hackergirl: Oh shit .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: fukc ,, uh what about afternoon tea tho???

 

Teaboy: hm. i havent decided yet

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: marto ill do anything,,,pleas,,

 

Teaboy: then perish

 

Hackergirl: Breaking news, there has been another murder at the esteemed magnus institute, it appears that the body of one timothy stoker has been completely destroyed . Nothing remains, not even his dignity .

 

12:42 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: If anyone has anything they definitely want to do this weekend, please let me know so I can add it to our checklist .

 

Sasha pyjams: So far all we have is 1. Do some brainstorming about everything that has been going on so that we (Jon in particular) can feel more safe and in control when we come back to work, and 2. Have Martin tell us about his job at the renaissance festival .

 

Daddy time: i have several additions

 

Sasha pyjams: Wow I’m shocked !

 

Daddy time: i know, im usually such a shy, resigned guy and all

 

Daddy time: unless we do every single one of the following, my life will never know peace

 

Marto polo: so sorry for your loss :’(

 

Daddy time: marto have confidence in us ! we’ll get these done they aren’t nearly as wild as they could be

 

Daddy time: first: we have to take candid photos of each other like we’re celebrities or models or something. the three genres are: running from paparazzi AND acting casual (but actually high key modeling) AND/OR legitimately acting casual

 

Sasha pyjams: I like the database search engine format of your list of genres .

 

Daddy time: yeah I’m tryna impress the boss obv

 

Sasha pyjams: Jon are you impressed ?

 

First mate: ...Should I be?

 

Sasha pyjams: So that’s a no .

 

Daddy time: moving on,, we also need to rate the food because we are food snobs, or at least we all have the potential

 

Marto polo: i dont um. i dont think any of us are food snobs?

 

Daddy time: but we have the potential

 

Sasha pyjams: Alternate possibility: Martin can rate the tea selection and preparation .

 

Daddy time: jon can rate the environment. like how hard it would it be to get work done

 

Daddy time: even though he’s not allowed to work this weekend 

 

Sasha pyjams: Did you hear that jon ? No files, no statements, no tape recorders .

 

First mate: Surely we’ll have enough downtime for me to do some work.

 

Daddy time: even if we did, (which we won’t!) you’re banned from official institute stuff for as long as we’re at the hotel

 

Marto polo: it’ll be good to take a break, jon. i really think getting away from work obligations will help you feel better :/

 

First mate: ...If I must.

 

Sasha pyjams: That’s the spirit !

 

Daddy time: ok i have two more things,, first we need to do a bunch of competitions whenever and wherever possible. like you know how on some water slides you can race someone else? and also there are jungle gym structures with water guns and shit? point is, i require Battles

 

Daddy time: also, this is probably a given, but we need to take advantage of aLL the amenities. like if there’s arcades, saunas, open bars - we’re there

 

Daddy time: wait im sure they do weddings at this fuckin bougie place, do you think they have a dance floor / ballroom??

 

Daddy time: i didnt pack for a ballroom!!

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim don’t worry, it’s a water park hotel, I doubt they’ll have a ballroom .

 

Sasha pyjams: And I shall add “many, many competitions” and “get the full Eberson Parks experience” to the list !

 

Daddy time: god im so hype for this. whether or not they have a ballroom

 

1:19 pm

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: Come to my office bring a file

 

Martin: oh ok! should i bring something specific or?

 

Martin: jon? 

 

Martin: ok um. i'll just. grab something then? i'm coming

 

1:24 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: Heads-up, I just passed Elias in the hall !

 

First mate: Yes, he already paid me a visit.

 

Sasha pyjams: Oh god were you alone with him ? Are you all right ?

 

First mate: I had Martin interrupt our conversation on the premise that he had found a lead on a time-sensitive case. I doubt Elias believed me, but in any case, he left shortly after.

 

First mate: It’s strange. All this week he has been irritated and insistent, but today he was. Calm? Smug, maybe? As though he understands something that he didn’t before––which, admittedly, is entirely possible.

 

Marto polo: he was saying some weird things, too? like. vaguely threatening things, actually? :(

 

Sasha pyjams: Oh god, really ?? What exactly did he say ??

 

First mate: I believe his parting words were: “Keep an eye on your assistants, Jon. They are so easy to misplace.”

 

Daddy time: hi i just got here but What the Fuck

 

Sasha pyjams: Maybe he’s just trying to get in your head and freak you out ? I mean, we’re going to an INDOOR water park, there is literally nowhere for us to get “misplaced” .

 

First mate: Perhaps you’re right. 

 

First mate: Still. We should be cautious.

 

Daddy time: i guess we could use a buddy system but let’s uhh not give elias the satisfaction of getting freaked out

 

Daddy time: today’s meditation shall be: ridding ourselves of ideas involving elias and in turn manifesting waterslides

 

Sasha pyjams: Breathe in the smell of chlorine, breathe out thoughts of the bastard man .

 

Daddy time: no but seriously, itll be fine. we’re not going to let elias ruin this weekend!!

 

Marto polo: agreed! let’s just. not think about it too much?

 

First mate: Very well.

 

Sasha pyjams: Agreed !

 

Marto polo: im sure we’ll be fine, guys. it’s just a water park :)

 

4:59 pm

 

Daddy time: i know it’s a minute early but i cannot physically wait any longer let’s go

 

Marto polo: ok!! ill grab my pack!

 

Sasha pyjams: Jon finish up whatever you’re doing and meet us in the breakroom!

 

First mate: I’ll try to be quick.

 

First mate: This seems ridiculously early to be leaving work. There is so much left to do.

 

Marto polo: jon um...this is a normal time to leave work? it’s just that you sort of. dont ever leave. even when you probably should :)

 

Sasha pyjams: m a r t i n

 

Daddy time: im chokinG

 

Marto polo: ok but!! i mean, this is the whole reason for this weekend, right? to take a healthy break from the archives??

 

First mate: Yes, well.

 

Sasha pyjams: It’s officially 5 pm !

 

Daddy time: boss we’re leaving literally right now, we are walking into the hallway

 

First mate: Christ all right I’m coming.

 

Marto polo: yess!

 

6:12 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: how goes the investigation?

 

Sasha: This place is enormous ! I think we’re going to have a lot of fun exploring after dinner .

 

Sasha: Speaking of which, I checked out our options . Tonight we should go for Paseo del Mar, it seems the most casual . Tomorrow can be fancier, I took a peek into Singapore Dunes and it seemed very classy ! The room was dark and candlelit, and there were more spoons at each place setting than is strictly necessary !

 

Tim: sick, ill tell marto and jon and we can meet you there

 

Tim: jon hopped into the shower after you left but i cant hear the water running anymore, so i think he’ll be ready to go soon

 

Sasha: I do love how our hotel rooms are connected by a sliding door, it’s cute . Like a family vacation where the parents are in one room and the kids are in the other .

 

Tim: obviously we are the kids in this situation, dunno about you but i am not responsible enough to be a parent lmao

 

Sasha: I’m responsible enough but I still think we, as a pair, are the more energetic ones .

 

Tim: that reminds me, are you still down to do sprints down the hall at two in the morning

 

Sasha: Yeah it was my idea in the first place !

 

Tim: i know, and it’s brilliant

 

Tim: ok i hear them chatting so they must be ready to go. see you in a hot minute

 

Sasha: Great ! Hurry down, the smells are making me super hungry !

 

7:34 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: Have you guys found anything interesting yet ?

 

Marto polo: yes!! on the ground floor there’s hall of different boutiques, they’re very tiny but nice. im seeing a lot of plants and baubles? it’s quite pretty :))

 

Marto polo: i also found an arcade on the lower level, as well as a spa!

 

Daddy time: spa retreat? i think yes. put cucumbers on my eyes, i need the nutrients

 

Daddy time: i just took a look in the fitness center, and it’s beautiful. kinda small and the ceiling’s low but it’s like. spotless. which makes sense since this resort is new, but still.

 

Daddy time: the highlight of this is that there is a sauna and hot tub, which we will undoubtedly be using

 

First mate: I didn’t discover much, although there is a lounge with bookshelves and a grand piano, which is admittedly an attractive area to me.

 

Daddy time: ok mr librarian 

 

Daddy time: sasha what did you find

 

Sasha pyjams: Since I already did some exploring of my own, I went back to the lobby to ask about the amenities, and the lady at the front desk told me that we had 24/7 room service included in the room package, plus we have the option to rent waterproof phone cases so that we can keep them with us in the park and take photos ! Also, there is a daily breakfast buffet from 7:30 to 11:30 .

 

Daddy time: this is such good news

 

Daddy time: ok team, regroup at our rooms so we can make a game plan for how to tackle All of this in 48 hours .

 

Marto polo: haha oh no

 

First mate: Good lord.

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: I also found out that the rooms have mood lighting options, including “romance” .

 

Sasha: There is also a connected speaker system .

 

Sasha: But jon and martin don’t know that .

 

Sasha: And I figured in this situation, we should show rather than tell :)

 

Tim: fuckk

 

Tim: sasha i am in awe 

 

Tim: of your evil genius

 

Tim: hello? 

 

Tim: sasha?

 

Sasha: Sorry, I’m back . That was weird .

 

Sasha: I must be losing my mind a bit .

 

Tim: uhh youre easily the most sane person in the squad so this concerns me

 

Sasha: It was bizarre, I was walking down one of the hallways toward an elevator when I saw this...yellow door . And none of the doors at this resort are yellow, have you noticed that ? They’re all dark warm colours . But this one was vivid, highlighter yellow .

 

Sasha: I got a weird feeling just being near it, like the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up, so I sped past it and hit the button for the elevator . As soon as I worked up the nerve to glance behind me, it was gone . There was no yellow door, anywhere . 

 

Sasha: I swear it had been there, Tim . Or at least I had a real, serious hallucination .

 

Sasha: My phone was fritzing out for a minute, too ?

 

Tim: ok um

 

Tim: hOW could a brand new hotel already be haunted??? this is record-breaking probably. quickest place to get ghosts

 

Tim: i cannot believe our luck

 

Tim: are we not allowed to go anywhere that’s just. normal?? smh

 

Sasha: I guess not .

 

Sasha: How much alcohol is in the minifridge ?

 

Tim: less than you probably want right now

 

Tim: but remember, we have 24/7 room service ;)

 

Sasha: Oh thank god .

 

9:58 pm

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Teaboy: heyyy not that i dont trust you guys? but up until now you’ve been listening to music pretty loud, and channel surfing and whatever, and currently the only sound coming from your room is um. hushed whispering? and laughing? and i am honestly afraid

 

Hackergirl: Hmm maybe ,you should be

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: marto,,,whats jon doing rn ;)))

 

Teaboy: um? hes reading, over in his bed? why?

 

Hackergirl: And what are YOU doing

 

Teaboy: jotting down some ideas for poetry? i dont see why this is important :/

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero:  both of you,, put down your books, do it

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero:  this requires your full attention

 

Teaboy: ok, fine. done. we’re both at your mercy, i guess

 

Teaboy: why did you just lock the door to your room

 

Teaboy: i hear you guys laughing, this is not making me feel much better

 

Teaboy: why did the lights just

 

Teaboy: wait there's music? from somewhere? it kind of sounds

 

Teaboy: oh 

 

Teaboy: oh no

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Hackergirl: [sent a video: Tim, clearly tipsy, winks as he dangles a small white remote in front of the camera, so close it blurs out of focus. In the background, Sasha snickers and whispers, “Okay, lovely, go ahead.” The camera quickly pans to the door separating the two rooms. There is an audible click as Tim presses a button on the remote. From the crack beneath the door, the light in the other room shuts off, accompanied by a small yelp of surprise. The light slowly returns, fading from darkness to a soft glow which oozes between a deep rosy hue and a lascivious red. Over the speakers, sultry jazz music begins blasting at full volume. Both Tim and Sasha have dissolved into uncontrollable giggling, and the camera shakes and struggles to remain facing the same direction. The dark silhouette of two feet quickly appear in the crack below the door. Martin knocks quietly but urgently and says something lost to the blaring saxophone. Sasha and Tim take a long moment to gather themselves before, with another click, the music shuts off and the light returns to normal. Sasha says, “Um, yeah so there’s this ambient function we wanted to show you. Isn’t it nice?” Tim wheezes “ isn’titnice” , and they both collapse once more into helpless laughter.]

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero:  we are such genius people, it amazses me



Chapter Text

Saturday, 8:34 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: you guys need to get your arses down here already, the breakfast buffet popped off

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: even jon approves,,,he’s over at the omelet station, probably getting egg whites or some shit

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: there’s the usual stuff, like sausage and toast and such, but there’s also like,,fancy cheeses, and lox, and something on a kebab which i cannot identify, but it looks both expensive and delicious

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: yesterday’s dinner was a 6.5 out of 10, mostly because the food was ehh and the room was a bit chilly, but just looking at all this,,im tempted to score the buffet higher on presentation alone

 

Hackergirl: About to be on our way ! Save two seats for us please and thank you :)

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: sick. cant wait to see how the tea rating will go. do you think they’ll be up to your standards, marto?

 

Hackergirl: He said to tell you he doubts it haha

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ? yeah probably,,,is his phone not letting him type or?

 

Hackergirl: Nope, his phone is fine .

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: ahah uhh ok, cool

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: You fucked up .

 

Tim: i did what now

 

Sasha: Do you remember what you did last night ?

 

Tim: youre going to need to be more specific

 

Sasha: Circa 3 am ?

 

Tim: ...no??

 

Sasha: Hang on, I’m making this seem bigger than it actually is .

 

Sasha: You fucked up, but just a little bit . It wasn’t all that different from our mood lighting prank, it was just...the timing, and the way it happened, I guess, but basically martin ended up getting proper embarrassed . He’s fine now that I’ve talked to him, it’s just that he’s a tiny bit annoyed with you still . Give him an hour, he’ll warm back up .

 

Tim: jfcc i dont even know what i did but i feel like the biggest arsehole in the universe

 

Sasha: Martin took a video because he woke up hearing noises and he thought it was something Spooky, but it was just you stumbling around our room doing whatever the hell you were doing, I was awake with you but I don’t even remember. Here:

 

Sasha: [sent a video: Everything is dark and grainy, and the only sounds are Martin’s shallow, anxious breathing and the sporadic, admittedly sketchy-sounding thumping and bumping. Martin whispers, “Hopefully this catches on tape. Or, I mean, on um...iPhone? But. There are sounds, noises, just––” The camera records the sounds for a few more seconds before there comes a series of knocks on the door separating the two rooms. Martin’s breath catches as the door slides partially open. Lamplight from the other room illuminates the head that pokes out. “Jesus, Tim,” Martin says, just as Tim asks in a not-at-all-quiet whisper, “Hey, are you guys awake?” Jon grumbles into his pillow.

 

Martin: “We are now. What time is it––?”

 

Tim: “Oh wow, why are you both awake? It’s super late?”

 

Martin, slightly exasperated: “Because you were knocking on––”

 

Sasha’s voice floats in, telling Tim to leave them alone, but he is already gasping at some bright, shiny new revelation. He says, “Oh shit, I get why. Congrats you crazy kids, I knew you’d make it work! Hope you didn’t forget to use protec––” Sasha’s hand slaps over Tim’s mouth as she drags him back into the other room. The sliding door shuts loudly, plunging everything into darkness. Martin holds his breath for several seconds before releasing it, slowly and shakily.]

 

Sasha: Basically martin assumed that jon would hate him now, but I convinced him that made no sense and jon was half asleep, anyway, so he probably doesn’t even remember what was said .

 

Tim: god why the fuck

 

Tim: disregarding the fact that jon’s ace, they werent even in the same bed why would i say that, i am the biggest idiot

 

Tim: you take breakfast with jon, im going to sit with marto, i cant physically handle it when hes mad at me so this needs to be fixed asap

 

Sasha: Good call .

 

9:05 am

 

Sasha: How did it go ?

 

Tim: we’re gucci now, thank god

 

Tim: basically i apologized profusely and dramatically, in typical stoker fashion, and he caved and said, “Yeah, sorry for the sort of...silent treatment this morning, I know you didn’t mean it,” because he’s the only person who accepts apologies by apologizing, and anyway i eventually made him laugh about something, and then he rated the tea like 4 out of 10 and went OFF about it, which had me nearly on the floor,

 

Tim: but yeah we’re cool

 

Tim: how was breakfast with jon? also what type of damn,,bland omelet did he get i need to know

 

Sasha: It looked like spinach, mushrooms, and peppers, which is actually super tasty, for your information ! And it was nice, we chatted a bit about normal stuff, about what’s planned for today . Don’t say I said so, but he is actually really looking forward to what the park has to offer !

 

Sasha: Also, I took a Risk .

 

Tim: oh??

 

Sasha: Yeah I um...asked him if he remembered what happened last night…

 

Tim: sashA

 

Sasha: To my complete surprise, he remembered...All. Of. It.

 

Sasha: But he didn’t seem to care about the content ! He was just pissed at you for waking both of them up (but mostly about waking up martin) .

 

Sasha: “This is supposed to be a restful weekend, is it not? I hardly think startling Martin awake at 3:22 in the morning is ‘restful.’”

 

Tim: uhh never thought id be so relieved to be the target of jon’s ire??

 

Tim: anyway,,,let’s get the hell to the waterpark already. today is supposed to be iconic, not stressful

 

Sasha: Couldn’t agree more ! Let’s all just go have some fun, yeah ?

 

Tim: oh absolutely

 

Sasha: I hope you brought stuff to protect your newly dyed hair from the chlorine !

 

Tim: what

 

Sasha: ......oh dear .

 

9:15 am

 

Sasha: Poor Martin :)

 

Tim: idk what you expected sasha, if youre as head over heels for someone as marto is for jon, you’re going to have some sort of reaction to seeing him shirtless for the first time

 

Sasha: I think he actually handled himself fairly well ! It’s just that we knew he was going to have some sort of Emotion over it, so we were paying attention, which is why we noticed how flustered he got . I don’t think Jon did, though, thankfully .

 

Tim: jon notices nothing so thats the least surprising development ever to have developed

 

Tim: i wish so hard that i got a photo, but at least i got to witness the way marto froze up like a deer in headlights

 

Sasha: It reminded me of those romcoms where the girl takes off her glasses and suddenly she’s attractive, and the guy is so shocked he fucking dies .

 

Tim: marto is so gay for jon that there are infinite ways to describe a single moment of its incarnation, do you ever think about that

 

Sasha: I can honestly say I do not .

 

Tim: it’s poetic, he’d like that!

 

Sasha: Feel free to tell him his gay panic over jon wearing swim trunks is poetic . I’ll watch .

 

Tim: uhhh maybe later

 

Sasha: Coward <3

 

Tim: u know it bby <3

 

9:26 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Marto polo: [sent a photo: Taken underwater - Grinning like a shark, Tim swims toward the camera, reaching out his hand as though to snatch it, his multicoloured hair vivid beneath the bright overhead lights of the park.]

 

9:43 am

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: The shot is of a large jungle gym-esque structure with bridges, tunnels, and slides. Standing side by side on the upper level are Jon and Tim, who smile with malice as they triumphantly aim their water shooters down toward the camera. On either side of the frame, Sasha and Martin’s hands flip them off.]

 

10:11 am

 

First mate: [sent a photo: Back in the pool, Sasha sits on Tim’s shoulders, wielding a pool noodle like a whip. Together they advance on a helpless Martin, who uses his pool noodle like a shield.]

 

First mate: [sent a photo: Tim wades alone in the pool, shoulder-deep, scanning for signs of an attack against him, his pool noodle at the ready. Behind him, Martin is low in the water, only his eyes and nose above the surface. His pool noodle is visible as well, and this time it is being held much less like a shield and much more like a mace.]

 

10:31 am

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a video: The shot pans slowly from the pool to a white plastic lounge chair, where Tim is posing luxuriously and staring off into the distance. He does a double-take at the camera, then says, with mock surprise, “Oh hi, didn’t see you there. Have you ever wondered about...anything?” As he hops to his feet he adds, “Well, let me show you something. Follow me.” He and the camera walk a couple meters down the row, where Jon and Martin sit. “Hey, Jon,” Tim says, “what’s the exact humidity in here?” At first, Jon starts to grumble that he doesn't know, but then the video briefly warps, and when it returns to normal, Jon is saying, “––referring to the relative humidity, then 56.2 percent.” Tim addresses the camera, which swings up to focus on him: “Now introducing Spooky Google! He can be all yours for just 19.95.”

 

Martin, out of frame: “Hey––But––Okay, Jon’s worth more than twenty pounds, Tim!” 

 

Jon, also out of frame, faking an indignant tone: “Obviously, I’ll go for no less than twenty-three.”]

 

10:57 am

 

Daddy time: [sent a video: The camera is propped up on a chair, facing the pool. One by one, Tim, Martin, Sasha, and Jon break the surface and try to flip their hair like swimsuit models. The attempts get progressively better (or rather, less terrible) until Jon gives it a go; his hair swings more sideways than upwards and ends up plastering across half his face. Everyone starts cracking up, and even Jon quirks a small smile once he’s swiped the hair away. Tim hops out and jogs over to pick up the camera, saying, “Right, real quick, let’s play that back to––”]

 

11:12 am

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: idk why you need to find a drinking fountain, like,,,there’s water everywhere?

 

Sasha: Ew .

 

Sasha: I found it, anyway !

 

Tim: ok hydrate before you diedrate, then hurry back bc we’re doing actual rides next

 

Sasha: Ooh ok !

 

Tim: youre not gonna believe this but jon is the one who brought it up, he really went “So are we going to take full advantage of the actual *interesting* aspects of the park or…?”

 

Tim: like damn boss,, you could have been this fun before? yet you decided to be a grumpy stickler man

 

Sasha: I think the excitement of teaming up to shoot each other with water pistols really unleashed his inner immortal space pirate .

 

Sasha: Who knew that temporarily shedding the emotional and psychological weight of a job filled with incomprehensible horrors and a potentially murderous boss could make someone less stressed and more fun to be around ?

 

Tim: ikr?? i never would have guessed

 

11:30 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: A POV shot from Sasha’s perspective (her legs are visible, tucked up at the bottom of the frame). Everybody is huddled in an inflatable boat, drenched, sliding into each other and clutching the handles for dear life as their momentum brings them halfway vertical up the side of an enormous funnel.]

 

11:49 am

 

Marto polo: [sent a photo: In the middle of a rollercoaster ride, Martin has lifted the camera to capture himself and the others in frame. Jon, who sits next to him, gives the camera a subdued smile, but his eyes are bright with adrenaline. Just behind them, Sasha pretends to be fast asleep while Tim cheers, throwing his arms up in the air.] 

 

12:04 pm

 

Daddy time: [sent a video: The shot is focused on the gushing mouth of a blue tube slide. After a few seconds, Sasha flies out and splashes down into the pool. She paddles straight toward the camera, and as she lifts herself out to sit on the edge, she says, in a faux-cheerful voice, “Wow, don’t you hate it when that happens? Hi, I’m Sasha James, advocate for the complete disposal of all water. Tell me, have you ever choked on water?” Tim doesn’t hesitate: “Multiple times a day.” Sasha: “Thought so. Here are a few reasons why we should get rid of water.” Tim’s leg comes into frame as he starts slowly bulldozing Sasha back into the pool with his foot. “It’s easy to choke on,” she says, counting on her fingers, “there’s way too much of it, it’s clear, it’s...um, useless, it doesn’t taste of anything interesting––” Tim finally topples her back into the pool. When she resurfaces she spits water at the camera, and Tim yelps.]

 

12:37 pm

 

Daddy time: [sent a photo: A POV shot with Tim’s legs in view, splayed out on an inner tube. Ahead of him, both Martin and Jon drift along the lazy river in their respective inner tubes. Jon has his hands folded across his stomach, and appears incredibly relaxed. Martin points subtly at Jon, making an unbelieving expression at the camera–– Are you seeing this? ]

 

Daddy time: [sent a video: The same POV, now further down the lazy river. Tim zooms in on where Jon is drifting, eyes closed––then to where he is headed, directly beneath a falling pillar of water. The camera snaps around to Martin as Tim nudges on his tube with his foot. “Marto, there is about to be a tragic awakening.” When Martin looks over and realizes what he’s talking about, his eyes go wide and he immediately slips down through his tube, breaking back up through the surface a meter away. As Tim quietly cheers him on, Martin makes his way through the water, then, just in the nick of time, gently steers Jon’s tube safely around the waterfall. “Oh my god, what!” Tim whispers, and laughs as Martin glances over, shaking his head slightly, with a look of utter disbelief at his narrow success.]

 

1:01 pm

 

Sasha pyjams: All right, I looked into it, and once we’re all finished showering I think the best option for lunch would be a nice little place just a block away . They have smoothies and sandwiches, which sounds delightful right about now !

 

Marto polo: oh perfect! Ta sasha :)

 

Daddy time: im totally down

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim aren’t you in the shower right now ? I can hear the water still running .

 

Daddy time: im making the most of our waterproof phone cases obv

 

Daddy time: hey marto,,at lunch you should uhh tell us about your job at the renaissance festival

 

Sasha pyjams: Please Martin, we are SO curious .

 

Marto polo: ah. sure, why not :) 

 

Daddy time: BLESS

 

Daddy time: also we should check out the arcade after lunch, if you guys are cool with that?

 

Marto polo: oh yes definitely!! i haven’t been to an arcade in ages!

 

Sasha pyjams: Same here martin, it’s been years ! I’d certainly love to see what games they have .

 

Daddy time: @jon respond 

 

Sasha pyjams: Omg Tim he’s in the shower . Wildly enough, some people do not think to bring their phones in the shower with them !

 

Daddy time: hey marto can you like,, peek into the bathroom and let him know the plans

 

Marto polo: no????? i will not?????

 

Sasha pyjams: T I M

 

Daddy time: i mean ofc you’d cover your eyes when you did it. for privacy ;)

 

Marto polo: ...yeah somehow that still doesn’t make me want to do it 

 

Sasha pyjams: Hey tim maybe finish your own shower so that I can get in ? Thanks so much xx

 

Daddy time: it’s fine, i get it,,,,you guys arent ready for my brilliant ideas,,my shower thoughts

 

Daddy time: one day youll look back and think “huh, it would have saved us so much time, like thirty whole seconds, if I had just Slightly invaded my boss’s space while he has no clothes on”

 

Marto polo: i don’t think. i will ever have that thought

 

1:09 pm

 

First mate: You do realize I can read all of this, yes?

 

First mate: Once again, I find myself thankful to be sharing a room with Martin rather than with you, Tim.

 

Daddy time: ooh “once again”?

 

First mate: I doubt I would have been able to sleep with all the noise you and Sasha were making. Martin is much quieter. 

 

First mate: What could you have possibly been doing?

 

Daddy time: uhh ,,two person tag,,combined with the floor is lava

 

First mate: Christ.

 

2:13 pm

 

Sasha pyjams: Photos incoming !

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: At an outdoor cafe, Tim sits back in his chair, pink smoothie in hand, a decorative umbrella pinched between his teeth.]

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim, the fact that you specifically asked for an umbrella, since they don’t usually give umbrellas with smoothies ? Kills me .

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent a photo: Martin and Jon sit at the table, leaning slightly toward each other and facing the camera. Martin wears his usual big, adorable smile, while Jon’s smile is smaller, more polite, but still genuine. Their half-finished smoothies sit on the table in front of them, Martin’s green and frothy, Jon’s a deep purple.]

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: ok when you took that second picture, i almost lost it because you kept saying, “no you’re not in frame, lean in closer, closer...closer….” 

 

Tim: i half expected you to say “and now, kiss” and god,, maybe they finally would have

 

Sasha: At first I thought you sent these messages in the gc where jon could see them ? and my heart DROPPED .

 

Tim: that would have been hilarious for a few seconds

 

Tim: ok but can we talk about martin’s role?? as a face painter at the renaissance festival???

 

Tim: not only did he do braids for the performers, but he painted butterflies and flowers on little kids’ faces-

 

Tim: aND while in character?? that’s the cutest, most martin thing i have ever heard

 

Sasha: He said he wore synthetic elf ears, right ? And a cloak ? Please tell me I’m not misremembering this .

 

Tim: you are nOT

 

Tim: i would do anything for photos,, like you dont even know

 

Sasha: Maybe I can uncover some things...I’ll do some digging later :)

 

Sasha: Where are you rn, anyway ?

 

Tim: watching jon slay at pinball. where are you ?

 

Sasha: The other end of the arcade . Martin and I are doing guitar hero. He’s choosing a song .

 

Tim: do through the fire and the flames, on expert

 

Sasha: No . I should be doing Slow Ride on Easy, because that is my skill level .

 

Tim: boring

 

Sasha: Oh, no .

 

Sasha: Martin picked Reptilia on Hard so, which means I have to at least do Medium in order for it to be fair . Nice knowing you .

 

Tim: f

 

4:09 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

Daddy time: i just got hit with the biggest wave of fatigue -

 

Daddy time: so glad we’re back in the rooms rn, im taking a nap now, bye

 

First mate: I believe I will be following suit. Today has been thoroughly exhausting.

 

First mate: To clarify, it has been quite fun. I enjoyed much of what we did. But it was still exhausting.

 

Sasha pyjams: Don’t worry, we understand what you mean !

 

Marto polo: i'm actually not too tired, i think i might pop down to the lounge jon was talking about. it sounds nice 

 

Marto polo: should we reconvene in an hour and a half, then, for dinner?

 

First mate: Yes.

 

Sasha pyjams: For sure !

 

Marto polo: great, get some rest guys :))

 

7:21 pm

 

Daddy time: drop ur photoss

 

Daddy time: [sent a photo: Sasha is curled up beneath the covers with an eye mask on, her hands tucked preciously beneath her cheek. The eye mask says, in elegant cursive, “Sleep is a conspiracy”.]

 

Daddy time: from the siesta sesh earlier ;)

 

Sasha pyjams: Two can play at that game .

 

Sasha pyjams: [sent photo: Tim is passed out on the bed, on top of the crumpled-up comforter, his face planted firmly in the pillow, his hair tousled. One leg dangles over the side while the other is half bent at the knee and tucked firmly to his chest.]

 

Sasha pyjams: You sleep like a serial killer .

 

Daddy time: thanks i try

 

Daddy time: did anyone get a pic of the dessert we ordered? please say yes

 

First mate: [sent a photo: A waiter places an unexpectedly large chocolate lava cake, dusted with powdered sugar and melded to two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, on the table between Tim and Martin, both of whom are in complete shock, Tim with his jaw hanging open and Martin with his hand clapped over his mouth.]

 

First mate: This was very entertaining to witness.

 

Daddy time: ok that thing was twice the size of normal lava cakes, dont even tell me im wrong

 

Daddy time: she was Thicc

 

Sasha pyjams: We finished most of it, which I don’t really want to think about .

 

Marto polo: me neither :/ i am anyway, tho

 

Marto polo: tim, what was your rating for tonight’s dinner?

 

Daddy time: 8.5/10, Singapore Dunes is a cool name for a restaurant, the atmosphere was classy, the food was great and the portions (other than monster cake) were good. points off for being pricey and also for taking away the bread bowl instead of giving us another refill like we wanted

 

First mate: It was probably in our best interest that we didn’t get a fourth bowl of bread.

 

Daddy time: maybe so,,,but i dont care

 

Sasha pyjams: Martin and Jon, do you want to come in here and watch something on telly or play cards or something ? We can save the serious discussion about what to do about elias and work for tomorrow, right now I just want to relax and then sleep .

 

Marto polo: sure, that sounds good! :))

 

First mate: We’ll be over in a moment.

 

10:55 pm

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: hey. um are you awake?

 

Martin: wait, sorry, i hope sending you this didnt wake you up

 

Martin: nevermind, i dont need to talk about this right now, sorry

 

Sasha: Hey it’s okay, I was awake anyway . Apparently my nap earlier was overkill .

 

Martin: oh no! im sorry about that :(

 

Sasha: Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world .

 

Sasha: Are you all right ?

 

Martin: yeah, i am. it’s just

 

Martin: well i mean

 

Martin: maybe im not. not all right, i mean. sorry, i dont really know how to talk about this. i dont know why im not texting both you and tim, because i trust you both, i just um. i thought you might be ..better? for this conversation?

 

Martin: god, that still sounds awful. this is really nothing against tim!!

 

Sasha: Martin, it’s truly okay . You don’t have to justify anything . I know Tim can be a lot sometimes, and that’s great when you need somebody to motivate you or make you laugh, or just generally to cheer you up, but his personality is not a perfect fit for every situation .

 

Sasha: I’m listening, Martin . I’m not judging you .

 

Martin: ah, thanks. um. ok.

 

Martin: i think i need to tell jon.

 

Martin: how i feel about him, that is.

 

Martin: not tomorrow, obviously, not while we’re all stuck together here. i wouldnt want to make things weird for everyone.

 

Martin: but soon. monday, maybe. after work? something like that.

 

Sasha: That’s certainly a change of heart ! If you don’t mind me asking, what made you want to tell him ?

 

Martin: ah. well

 

Martin: there were some things that happened today. and not all of them were captured in pictures or videos, they were just...little things. little important moments that nobody would ever notice, but i noticed them because. because, well. they were meaningful to me.

 

Martin: jon has always been quite against touch, you know? doesn’t like hugs, barely tolerates handshakes. but all today when we were sitting next to each other on rides and things, he didn’t seem to mind? he even sort of. um. leaned against me during one of the rides? and it was so, so nice, and i was so stunned i almost forgot to get off the ride when it stopped

 

Martin: and when he wanted to get my attention, he would nudge me or, or even put his hand on my arm, and it’s just. so different from normal. that has to mean something, right?

 

Martin: you know when we were in the arcade, and you and tim were taking your turn at air hockey, so jon and i were watching?

 

Martin: well at some point, i caught his eye, and. i dont know. the way he was looking at me was so...open? he sort of glanced away right then, i dont think he meant for me to see that.

 

Martin: but still, he was looking. at me. like that.

 

Martin: and um

 

Martin: when everyone was taking a rest before dinner, i went down to the lounge for a while, like i said.

 

Martin: and when i came back up to the rooms, jon was fast asleep. i was very careful not to wake him, of course. i just figured i'd read or something, in the meantime.

 

Martin: but i was walking over to my bed and i saw him and in his sleep he was smiling this soft smile and i

 

Martin: he just

 

Martin: he looked beautiful, sasha

 

Martin: and i dont know what to do

 

Martin: because now i cant unsee it. obviously he was handsome before, but this is. there’s something new about this, because he finally looks peaceful, and even a little bit happy. and apparently when he isn’t busy being grouchy or sleep-deprived or haunted by things he cant control, he is. beautiful.

 

Martin: and i want to see him this way again, as much as possible. more than that,

 

Martin: i want to be the reason he smiles in his sleep.

 

Martin: that’s why i have to tell him. 

 

Martin: i hope it, um. i hope that makes sense?

 

Sasha: It does .

 

Sasha: Clearly Jon is learning to be more open, so I think it would make sense that he would be more obvious about his feelings .

 

Sasha: Jon cares about you, Martin . It’s not my place to say what type of affection that is, but he enjoys spending time with you, and he trusts you, and at this point he sees you as more than an assistant .

 

Sasha: If you want to tell him, then I think you should . And if you need me to do anything to help make that happen, just let me know, okay ?

 

Martin: ok, i will. thank you, so much, sasha. truly.

 

Sasha: Of course . I’ll see you tomorrow, martin <3

 

Martin: see you tomorrow :)

 

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, 8:22 am

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: Today we have to have the Chat, unfortunately .

 

Sasha pyjams: We need to figure out how to handle elias and whatever is happening to jon .

 

Sasha pyjams: Meet at the buffet in ten ?

 

Marto polo: sure :)

 

First mate: All right.

 

Daddy time: what happens if i meet you at the buffet in eleven

 

Sasha pyjams: I’ll kick your arse .

 

Daddy time: fair enough

 

9:54 am

 

Sasha pyjams: All right, this was time well spent . I’m posting the notes I took here so you all have the summary .

 

Sasha pyjams: Plans moving forward:

-Look further into Gertrude’s murder/Try to get a confession out of Elias

-Figure out Elias’s motivations (interrogate him and his contacts, research his history, snoop around his office)

-As a rule, Jon must never be left alone in the building with Elias

-Jon should test his control over his Spooky powers (but NOT to the point where the effort causes him more harm than good, or else Martin will Aggressively Care For His Wellbeing)

-Weekly squad get-togethers are mandatory, for safety reasons, and also for fuckshit reasons

-We shall vandalize Elias’s portrait of Jonah Magnus (just for fun)

 

Sasha pyjams: Anything to add ?

 

Daddy time: alcohol is now allowed at work :)

 

First mate: No.

 

Daddy time: :(

 

First mate: Unless you can be subtle about it.

 

Daddy time: :)

 

Daddy time: you wont regret this boss

 

First mate: I already do.

 

Daddy time: you slowpokes need to get over here, marto and i are literally at the spa rn

 

Sasha pyjams: Some of us like to stroll, enjoy the walk .

 

Sasha pyjams: Also, some of us are not giants and thus do not have long strides @martin .

 

Marto polo: i feel. so attacked? yet i did nothing

 

First mate: You’re tall. That’s reason enough.

 

Marto polo: wow

 

Sasha pyjams: We’re almost there, thank god . I don’t know about you all, but with all this tension lately, the spa sounds heavenly .

 

Daddy time: i think jon needs to live in the spa for at least a month, as a treatment

 

First mate: A treatment for what?

 

Daddy time: Grouchy Boss Disease

 

Daddy time: it’s curable if you catch it quick enough

 

First mate: Are you suggesting that it would otherwise be fatal.

 

Daddy time: metaphorically. you’d die on the inside,,always grouchy

 

First mate: I’m not that bad.

 

First mate: Hm. Or um. Maybe I am. Was.

 

First mate: I don’t want to be. I didn’t try to be.

 

Marto polo: you’ve been getting a lot better lately, dont worry! :)

 

Daddy time: yeah i guess you’re already in your recovery phase. congrats! youre a survivor

 

First mate: That’s good to hear.

 

Sasha pyjams: Okay we’re about to walk in, see you guys in two seconds !

 

10:12 am

 

Daddy time: my bones, are loose

 

Sasha pyjams: Hm .

 

Daddy time: in a good way haha

 

Sasha pyjams: Unsure if that’s possible but sure .

 

Daddy time: im so happy i got cucumbers put over my eyes, that was a dream of mine

 

Daddy time: my skin is radiating light

 

Daddy time: side note, i have zero doubt that if jon had gotten a massage, his spine would have crackled like a crisp

 

First mate: Lucky for the masseuses, I didn’t want any stranger touching my back.

 

Daddy time: what colour did you get your nails

 

First mate: Black. Except for the middle fingers. They are gold. And more glittery than I had anticipated. Frankly it’s a bit distracting but I’ll make do.

 

Daddy time: you can flip off elias in style!!!

 

First Mate: Yes.

 

Marto polo: that sounds so cool!! wait can i see? where are you?

 

First mate: I’m in the waiting area with Sasha. You did the same thing as Tim, yes?

 

Marto polo: yeah, we both got massages and facials, which was really really nice

 

Marto polo: but now i feel bad that we’re about to go into the waterpark and wash off all the oils and things :/

 

Daddy time: it’s ok marto, what’s important is not the oils, it’s the stress we relieved along the way

 

Daddy time: besides, there are rematches that need to happen,,,also some rides that need to be ridden again

 

Sasha pyjams: And to be ridden for the first time ! There was one that I didn’t get to yesterday but it looks wild .

 

Daddy time: do you mean the one where it’s just you, no inner tube, and you slide around this funnel before dropping down out the bottom of it like you’re falling through a waterfall

 

Daddy time: and the freefall drop into the pool below is like. 5 meters

 

Sasha pyjams: Yes !

 

Daddy time: i’ll miss you when you’re gone

 

Marto polo: that sounds freaky, i will not be participating in that one!

 

Sasha pyjams: That’s okay, I can plummet to my death by myself :’)

 

Daddy time: i do want to watch tho

 

Daddy time: ok im done in here, ill be out in a minute

 

Marto polo: time for waterpark day 2!

 

Daddy time: god yes

 

11:34 am

 

Sasha pyjams: Tim and I are heading over to the twin tube slides, we’re going to race a few times !

 

Marto polo: okay, have fun ! :)

 

11:43 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Where did you go ?

 

Sasha: I thought you went in the other slide at the same time as me ? I didn’t see you come out, though .

 

Sasha: It’s been a few minutes, is this a prank or something ? It’s a pretty bad one, if I’m to be honest .

 

Sasha: Seriously, where are you ?

 

Sasha: Tim ?

 

“we protecc”

 

Sasha pyjams: Hey, is tim with you guys ?

 

Marto polo: no, i thought you said you two were going to race? :0

 

Sasha pyjams: We did . It’s just that I seem to have lost track of him, and he’s not answering my texts .

 

First mate: Perhaps his phone ran out of battery ?

 

Sasha pyjams: That’s possible, but I still don’t know why he would go off somewhere .

 

Marto polo: i guess he could have gotten distracted? maybe he’s chatting someone up :/

 

Sasha pyjams: That’s actually somewhat likely . Which makes me feel a little less anxious, sort of .

 

Sasha pyjams: I’ll come join you two, then .

 

First mate: He knows where to find us. At the very least, he can go back to the hotel room.

 

Sasha pyjams: Yeah . Yeah, you’re right . I’m probably worrying for nothing .

 

Marto polo: do you want to do that ride you were talking about? the freaky one? 

 

First mate: It could take your mind off of Tim. Although, I will be elsewhere, because, frankly, I don’t find it pleasant to watch people drop like that.

 

Marto polo: the line’s not exactly short for it, so maybe tim will have come back by the time you’ve tried it?

 

Sasha pyjams: Sure, yes, let’s do that . Thank you martin <3

 

Marto polo: of course :) meet you there!! 

 

12:05 pm

 

Martin to Sasha

 

Martin: ok sasha youre really worrying me, wherever you are

 

Martin: it’s not like you didn’t go down the slide, i saw you near the front of the line, and i saw you drop down into the pool, but

 

Martin: i must have missed it somehow, but i didnt see you surface? and of course i checked underwater but there’s no one there, nothing there. there’s just water.

 

Martin: please message me back

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: jon meet me at the wading pool as soon as you can

 

Martin: sasha’s gone, i dont know how, she’s just. she’s gone.

 

Martin: we need to look for them. they cant have left the park. they’re here. they have to be here.

 

Martin: maybe someone took them? someone invisible, or something? that sounds crazy, but this is all crazy, so whatever, it’s fine. it’s

 

Martin: jon, you’re getting these messages, right?

 

Martin: jon?

 

Martin: please tell me you didn’t disappear too

 

Martin: you cant leave me alone here. 

 

Jon: Sorry, I didn’t hear your texts come in, it’s a bit loud.

 

Martin: oh thank god

 

Jon: What do you mean she disappeared?

 

Martin: just. meet me. right now, please?

 

Jon: All right. I’m on my way.








 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim

 

Tim: i dont know who tf im sending this to, my phone is glitching out like nobody’s business

 

Tim: hopefully this is sasha

 

Tim: sasha you need to fuckin,,, call maintenance or something

 

Tim: im still in the tube slide. the water got shut off, so im basically army crawling downward. it’s not steep where im at or anything. it’s just a slight decline. it’ll probably get steeper around this bend

 

Tim: the tube is also getting narrower, which is weird. i dont think i noticed that before, when i did this slide yesterday. my shoulders are brushing the sides. i feel like that’s sort of a hazard

 

Tim: it’s dark, too. i can still see light coming in from the places where the nails fit into the slide, but idk. it’s creepier when you’re stuck here. you’re not meant to be in the tube for more than thirty seconds

 

Tim: im around the bend, but nothing’s changed, except the tube’s a bit narrower.

 

Tim: i mean, i think im around the bend

 

Tim: theres another bend ahead of me. it seems like theres always a bend ahead of me

 

Tim: wait. i know what the tube looks like from the outside, and it isnt shaped like this.

 

Tim: this doesnt make sense

 

Tim: this is some top tier bullshit

 

Tim: i literally have to be near the outlet by now so if youre getting these messages, just yell at me, ill hear it

 

Tim: itd be nice to hear your voice, sash

 

Tim: i just realized cant hear the water rushing through the other rides, or little kids screaming or whatever else

 

Tim: i cant. fucking hear anything

 

Tim: it’s so silent it’s painful, it hurts. it feels like pressure in my head

 

Tim: ok, im going to keep moving forward. ill have to reach the end eventually

 

Tim: i just need to keep going. 









 

 

 

 

 

12:27 pm

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: do you see either of them on your side??

 

Jon: No. They aren’t in the lazy river, apparently.

 

Martin: they arent in line for any of the rides, either. or, they werent, when we checked.

 

Martin: should we go check again?

 

Jon: Let’s look at each area first. Then we can come back to the lines.

 

Martin: ok. yeah.

 

12:39 pm

 

Jon: They aren’t at this end of the wave pool. I don’t know why they’d be here, but. Well. I don’t know what’s going on.

 

Martin: yeah, might as well look anyway?

 

Martin: wait, hang on

 

Jon: I see you looking at something, what is it?

 

Martin: i think i see sasha, maybe??? in the deep end?? looks kind of like her?

 

Martin: wait whered she go?? she was just there?? i’ll

 

Martin: im going to

 

Jon: No, Martin don’t.

 

Jon: Stop, don’t go into the

 

Jon: Stop!!

 

Jon: Wait, just wait, Im losing sight of you, 

 

Jon: Where did you go?

 

Jon: Martin!

 

Jon: I can’t see where you went

 

Jon: You were there, and then you

 

Jon: Martin??

 

Jon: Martin please respond

 

Jon: Please i

 

Jon: This isnt

 

Jon: Martin I can't see you

 

Jon: I can’t see you









 

 

 

 

 

Sasha

 

Sasha: psf e

 

Sasha: plse h elp im 

 

Sasha: underwate

 

Sasha: water rushing abov

 

Sasha: from theride

 

Sasha: keeps pushnd me back dow n

 

Sasha: as soonas i ge t air

 

Sasha: help .martin

 

Sasha: tim

 

Sasha: jjon

 

Sasha: im tryingto swimn sidways

 

Sasha: to escape

 

Sasha: but waterfal is everyywher above

 

Sasha: every where

 

Sasha: can u see thse

 

Sasha: the messa ges

 

Sasha: somebody

 

Sasha: anybo dy

 

Sasha: pleas help me

 

Sasha: please help









 

 

 

 

 

1:52 pm

 

“we protecc”

 

First mate: Your things are still here. You can’t have left.

 

First mate: I don’t know why I’m still pretending to believe that you all simply left the hotel.

 

First mate: Sasha saw Tim disappear, Martin saw Sasha disappear. 

 

First mate: I saw Martin

 

First mate: Oh fuck this.

 

First mate changed his name to Jon

 

Jon renamed the group “Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I hope you are receiving these texts.

 

Jon: In the case that you are, I will keep you all updated on what I am doing.

 

Jon: Please be safe, wherever you are. But don’t get too comfortable. You obviously won’t be there forever. There is a way to bring you back, I just have to find it.

 

Jon: Maybe I can try to

 

2:09 pm

 

Jon: As it turns out, I can’t Know where you are. I tried but I

 

Jon: There is a wall, of sorts, that I am unable to break through. When I try to Know. You’re all on the other side of it, I can feel that much, but I don’t have the means to reach you. Not yet.

 

Jon: I need the mental equivalent of a hammer, I suppose. Or a stick of dynamite.

 

Jon: I’ll call Mx. Eberson. Surely they’ll be gracious enough to hold the hotel room for us, under the circumstances. That way I won’t have to figure out how to transport all of your belongings to the Institute.

 

Jon: Speaking of which, I realize we recently agreed that I was not to be left alone in the Institute with Elias, but I don’t see a way to avoid it, so that is where I am going now. I just left the hotel room. I don’t expect Elias to be much help, but maybe he’ll be so kind as to give me a push in the right direction.

 

Jon: He did seem to Know something like this would happen. He did say assistants are “easy to misplace”.

 

Jon: He Knows what is going on, and I swear I’ll

 

Jon: I see a d̸o̶o̴r̶ at the end of the hall.

 

Jon: It is d̵i̸f̴f̶e̷r̸e̴n̴t̷ from the others. it’s painted b̶r̴i̴g̷h̴t̷ ̵y̶e̸l̶l̷o̶w̶.̶

 

J̴̟̪͔̦̾on: The han̵d̷l̵e̶ ̵i̴s̸ t̴̨͗͠ͅur̷͝ͅni̶̍n̵̰̣̑g̶. Thë̴̇͝ d̷̩̈́̃ọ̵̠̖̎ő̵r̶ ̷̢̫̋̍͑̀is̸̽  ̴o̷̪̅̍pę̵͎̬̀͌̌n̵̩͗̉ĭ̴͊n̴͗g̶̈

 

J̶o̶n̵: W̵a̸i̷t̷,̶ ̶I̸ ̸t̴h̵i̶n̶k̵ ̷I̷ ̸r̷e̵c̴o̷g̷n̵i̵z̴e̴

 

J̵̧̈́͝o̵̼͐ṇ̶̛͕: I̵s̶ ̵t̶h̵a̷t̶

















Martin

 

Martin: i c ant get to the surface

 

Martin: i cantbreathe

 

Martin: im. drowning? but 

 

Martin: somehow ?im not

 

Martin: i feel like i am but i havent   passed out and its been so long. so long .

 

Martin: the surface is far above me, the waves and the lights

 

Martin: the wave pool cant be this deep

 

Martin: it   cant

 

Martin: the weight of the water is pressing on me

 

Martin: its getting colder as i sink

 

Martin: getting darker

 

Martin: its quiet but everythin g hurts

 

Martin: my lungs hurt

 

Martin: i dont know if anyone is getting these texts

 

Martin: i dont know

 

Martin: tim and sasha

 

Martin: i hope jon finds you

 

Martin: i hope you arent in as bad a place as this

 

Martin: i hope we get to see each other again but

 

Martin: mostly i hope youre okay

 

Martin: im not okay

 

Martin: it takes so long to type, its so hard to focus when you cant breathe

 

Martin: jon

 

Martin: i have things i need to tell you

 

Martin: so dont give up on finding me

 

Martin: although

 

Martin: if you never do

 

Martin: sasha can tell you what i wanted to say

 

Martin: but if im being   honest

 

Martin: id prefer to tell you myself



Chapter Text

Monday, 8:11 am

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I apologize for my absence.

 

Jon: There is much to explain. I do not have time to go over the details but I will answer any clarifying questions you may have when you return.

 

Jon: The entity known as Michael paid me a visit yesterday. This is the individual who, for whatever reason, showed Sasha how to fight against Prentiss’s worms.

 

Jon: He told me a number of things, and I’m honestly not sure where to begin. Elias was never so upfront. Actually, I just spoke with Elias a few minutes ago, but I’ll get to that later.

 

Jon: Michael told me that there are categories of Entities. Different fears. They all go by different names, and they each have identifying characteristics. For example, Michael is of the Spiral, meaning unreality, the deception of the senses, non-logic, etc. The Institute is a temple to the Eye, otherwise known as Beholding, which has to do with having your secrets exposed or, alternatively, chasing knowledge to the point of destruction.

 

Jon: Michael hinted that you have been taken by one of these Entities. Of course, he didn’t say which one. He said he wanted to give me just enough information to “neutralize the playing field.” I think this is a game to him. At least he is invested in its outcome, I suppose.

 

Jon: Elias continues to be a waste of space. When I confronted him, all he did was gloat and make off-hand remarks about getting me hardier assistants. I did glean a few things, though. He and Mx. Eberson have a history, and they do not like each other one bit. Apparently when Elias discovered we were going to this particular water park, he was confident Eberson would try something, for revenge. They wanted to harm Elias by claiming a handful of his employees.

 

Jon: I should have been the one taken, if that were the goal. Elias didn’t bat an eye when I told him that you all had disappeared, but he seems to care about what happens to me. I wonder if an exchange could be arranged.

 

Jon: I can practically hear Martin protesting that. I’ll try to think of something less permanent, Martin. I promise. But there might not be another way.

 

Jon: Elias did say something particularly cryptic. That if I cared strongly enough about finding you, I would be able to “accept the Knowledge.” He really is a prick. But he may be right. I need to be somewhat drastic in my efforts.

 

Jon: I’m starting with statements. I’m going to read and record as many as I can. That may sound strange, to record them when my primary focus is researching your whereabouts, but. It feels like the thing to do. It feels like recording them will chip away at the mental wall that keeps me from finding you.

 

Jon: Anyway. I will let you know if I find anything relevant. 

 

Jon: Please stay safe.

 

11:28 pm

 

Jon: Apparently I fell asleep at my desk an hour ago. Today has been difficult.

 

Jon: Normally I find it strenuous to record more than one statement a week. They are incredibly taxing, for some reason.

 

Jon: Today I recorded three. It is not enough. It was all that I could do, but it is not enough.

 

Jon: I tried looking through older statements and files, but Gertrude left such a mess that I doubt I found anything useful. I did recognize the characteristics of some Entities while reviewing them, which was illuminating. Illuminating, but unhelpful.

 

Jon: It has been quiet all day. The lack of chatter from the breakroom is unnerving. I'll admit I recorded two of the three statements there, in the spot where Tim normally sits. I thought working there would be comforting, or at least less isolating than spending all my time in the archives. But the breakroom is just a room. What I really wanted was for you all to suddenly reappear, and that fantasy seemed more likely if I was physically in the breakroom, because I associate you with that space, with the desks and the beanbag chairs and the kitchenette. And I could almost see it. See you.

 

Jon: But of course you did not come back. It was foolish to consider, really. A romantic notion. 

 

Jon: I’ll keep reading and recording. I wish I could say doing this will lead me closer to finding you all, but. I don’t feel any closer than I was this morning. 

 

Jon: I just don’t know what else to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim

 

Tim: idk how long it’s been

 

Tim: this high key sucks tho fr

 

Tim: my limbs are taking turns falling asleep and i do Not like it, it’s like endless pins and needles

 

Tim: i just wish i could sit up

 

Tim: itd also be great if i could stand, and maybe even walk around? you know, just for the record

 

Tim: @sasha when i get out of here i’ll do that weird hippie yoga vid you were telling me about, the one on that DVD you found stuck to the underside of a biscuit tin

 

Tim: @sasha @sasha @sasha @sasha

 

Tim: ive been looking at all the pictures and videos we took

 

Tim: like when we filled jon’s office space with those photos of elias, and we thought he was going to have a conniption

 

Tim: god that was classic

 

Tim: we did that three weeks ago. it feels like longer

 

Tim: it feels like so much longer

 

Tim: i changed my lockscreen. not that i dont adore the photo of jon falling asleep on marto’s shoulder but. you werent in it, so

 

Tim: now it’s the one where most of us were super drunk, and we had just gotten slushies, and i was swordfighting martin with my spoon, and jon was being all fake-annoyed, and you were looking at the camera like “god, these idiots”

 

Tim: that was one of my favourite nights

 

Tim: even if i was so drunk i barely remember it ;)

 

Tim: i havent moved forward in a while. it doesnt seem like there’s a point. i keep thinking i see a faint brightness just around the bend, but it’s never really gotten me anywhere

 

Tim: it’s so fucking narrow. if i go any further, i dont know how well ill be able to hold my phone

 

Tim: i dont know if ill be able to look at the pictures

 

Tim: i think ill stay in place for a while. i wont move and ill watch the videos one more time. 

 

Tim: one more time, that’s it. just in case the tunnel gets too narrow when i go around the next bend. 

 

Tim: just in case i wont be able to watch them again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 4:31 am

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: I doubt this will work.

 

Jon: But I thought that maybe if I sent a direct message it would be less confusing. To the signals, or something. And maybe you’d see this and be able to respond.

 

Jon: If you get this, please respond, Martin.

 

Jon: No, this was

 

Jon: This was a stupid idea. It doesn’t make sense. Of course it wouldn’t have worked.

 

Jon: Unless you are receiving my messages and can’t send any back?

 

Jon: Either way, it doesn’t help me find you.

 

Jon: I have things I need to tell you, Martin.

 

Jon: But I want to say them in person. So you’ll have to come back at some point. And you’ll have to be okay.

 

Jon: If you aren’t okay, I

 

Jon: You have to be okay.

 

Jon: Maybe you’re asleep, wherever you are. Is that too much to hope for? That the reason you aren’t responding is so obvious and simple? God knows I should be asleep right now. But I couldn’t stop thinking. About statements and Elias and entities. And then I was thinking of you, and. Well. These messages are what came of that.

 

Jon: I was hoping to go on another walk with you, if you’d be amenable.

 

Jon: I’d even go right now, at half past four in the morning. If you showed up, that is. Of course, it’s dark and cold outside, and nothing’s open, but. I’d be happy to go anyway.

 

Jon: So let me know what you think, whenever you read this. 

 

Jon: Sleep well, Martin.

 

Thursday, 5:09 pm

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I have been doing much of the same these past few days. At first I didn’t think I was getting anywhere. But I can no longer deny it. Reading the statements is having an effect on me.

 

Jon: They are still very difficult to get through, I don’t enjoy them. But Tuesday I read four, and yesterday I read seven.

 

Jon: Today I read fourteen.

 

Jon: I find myself pulled to read them, even though they are so intense and disturbing. My usual exhaustion after recording them has slowly been warping into something like dry rejuvenation, and it is addictive. I feel that I am approaching something. A decision. A switch. Something I cannot undo.

 

Jon: There is something I need that I cannot get from the statements. They aren’t...full, I suppose. They aren’t enough for me.

 

Jon: I have never seen Elias so insufferably cheerful. At least that means I am making some manner of progress, which is still not the most comforting thought. I just pray I’m headed in the right direction, and not further away from the truth.

 

Jon: I tried Knowing where you are, again. The wall is still there, but it does seem thinner. Easier to destroy. 

 

Jon: And that is something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim

 

Tim: i can hear water

 

Tim: like falling water

 

Tim: it’s distant but holy shit?? does this mean im back?

 

Tim: im moving forward again im going

 

Tim: it’s still getting narrower

 

Tim: jfc i almost dropped my phone

 

Tim: is anyone receiving these messages??

 

Sasha: tim?

 

Tim: sasha ????where are u ???

 

Sasha:

 

Sasha: underwater pleas help

 

Tim: wait what?? what do you mean?

 

Sasha: h

 

Tim: sasha i cant get to you, im stuck in this tunnel. in the tube slide. at least it used to be the tube slide

 

Tim: please dont drown, swim as hard as you can, or call someone or

 

Tim: i cant get to you

 

Tim: im moving forward as fast as i can, but it’s not fast, it’s too tight. the sides are so rough, like gravel. i thought they were supposed to be smooth

 

Sasha: i miss y

 

Tim: god i miss you too, we’ll be all right, just

 

Tim: wait i cant hear the water anymore

 

Tim: sasha??

 

Tim: are you still there?

 

Tim: sasha?

 

Tim: ill keep moving, just hang on, just

 

Tim: im coming



Chapter Text

Friday, 11:19 am

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I just met with the manager at Mx. Eberson’s park. I took his statement. 

 

Jon: I didn’t intend to. I needed answers, and he wouldn’t tell me anything, he just kept pretending to be sympathetic. And I Knew he was hiding something. He had a story to tell, I could feel it. I needed to hear it.

 

Jon: I asked him, and he told me.

 

Jon: The details of how he came to work there aren’t important, but what I gleaned is that the water park is a front for the Buried. It isn’t quite a temple, like the Institute, but it still serves that Entity in much the same way.

 

Jon: So that is where you are. In the Buried. I can’t yet See exactly your position, but. I will be able to soon.

 

Jon: Taking a live statement is different than making a recording. It’s...better. It helps me understand, I think. To be honest, I feel more clear-headed than I have in days.

 

Jon: I’m so close to finding you. And I think taking live statements is the most efficient way to reach that point.

 

Jon: So that is what I will do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin

 

Martin: poetry notes-

 

Martin: (sorry if anyone is receiving these

 

Martin: they’re just for my own sanity)

 

Martin: black ember/ash, floodgate lights (lanterns?)

 

Martin: thrum of endless waves, cold pressure, immense closeness

 

Martin: something about monotony, but also anticipation

 

Martin: anticipation is not dull

 

Martin: but after a while, it feels like a constant

 

Martin: sometimes you cant help it and your lungs twitch and you try to breathe in but

 

Martin: you suck in water, freezing water

 

Martin: and its so bad for a long time

 

Martin: because youre choking and you cant stop

 

Martin: but you just have to make yourself stop

 

Martin: even though it feels like your lungs are going to burst

 

Sasha: martin

 

Martin: wait sasha?? hi where are you? are you safe??

 

Sasha: no, 

 

Sasha: can you helptim

 

Sasha: hes in the slide

 

Martin: oh god

 

Martin: no im underwater and i cant reach the surface, ive tried but

 

Martin: how are you texting me, are you safe

 

Martin: are you with jon

 

Martin: is jon okay

 

Sasha: no i

 

Sasha: m underwater too

 

Sasha: hrd to get air

 

Martin: oh no um

 

Martin: this sounds bonkers but

 

Martin: try..not to breathe?

 

Martin: at least. that’s. for me, it

 

Martin: if you feel yourself passing out, please disregard that!!

 

Sasha: no i

 

Sasha: it hurts so fucking much, in my lungs, but

 

Sasha: youre right, i can just be

 

Sasha: underwater

 

Martin: yeah it’s awful and it doesnt stop being awful but

 

Martin: it’s something

 

Martin: it’s so good to talk to someone sasha

 

Martin: do you know how long we have been here?

 

Martin: ive sunk so far, I can barely see the surface

 

Martin: and the pressure of the water is so

 

Martin: sasha?

 

Martin: are you still there?

 

Martin: no please dont leave me alone again please

 

Martin: sasha

 

Martin: ….maybe this means you got out??

 

Martin: i dont really think so but

 

Martin: i have nothing else here to hope for

 

Martin: im glad you might be safe

 

Martin: i hope you can get to tim soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 11:51 am

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I have been thinking about what Elias said. That I need to “accept the Knowledge.”

 

Jon: It could be utter nonsense meant to confuse me. But I don’t think so.

 

Jon: Yesterday I found two other people and I took their statements, and each time it felt like. I don’t know. It felt like I had the capacity to understand more, in general.

 

Jon: Before, when I tried to Know where you were, I lacked confidence. I resisted it. I still am, I think. Because I am afraid of what will happen once I make this decision. Once I break the wall.

 

Jon: But if I am going to find you, I have to give something up. I’m willing, I’m just.

 

Jon: I don’t think I’ll be the same as I was.

 

Jon: I hope you’ll forgive my hesitation. Giving up part of myself is...easier said than done. I’m not even sure how to go about doing it. But I’ll figure it out, sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim

 

Tim: im so mad because i have slow ride stuck in my head, on repeat

 

Tim: i didnt even listen to it, it’s just that sasha said that was her guitar hero level

 

Tim: slow ride on easy

 

Tim: sasha if you can read this, i tried to get to you, i swear i did

 

Tim: i feel like i crawled for fucking hours

 

Tim: now it’s so narrow my arms are folded to my chest, my phone is right near my face

 

Tim: i think ive scraped all the skin off my knees and shins

 

Tim: infinite rug burn, except it’s rough sharp plastic or whatever

 

Tim: im gonna need some hardcore bandaid coverage after this

 

Tim: wait i hear water again

 

Tim: it’s different tho it’s like. underwater sea noises?? 

 

Tim: sasha do you read me come in sasha

 

Martin: tim is that you??

 

Tim: marto wtf where are you

 

Martin: um. not sure? in the water?

 

Tim: what does that mean??

 

Martin: im sort of. sinking. underwater

 

Martin: but it’s fine!!

 

Martin: i mean no. it’s terrible but im not drowning. im not dead

 

Martin: sasha said you were in the slide?

 

Tim: you talked to sasha??

 

Tim: yeah i am

 

Tim: wait im gonna try something

 

Tim: [sent a photo: A selfie. The light is very dim, but there is enough of it to see the prominent graininess of the tube slide’s walls. Tim’s hair is bedraggled, and his eyes are puffy and exhausted, but his expression is of forced coolness, as though he is only slightly annoyed at the situation. He has managed to raise one of his hands enough to fit a peace sign in the frame.]

 

Tim: im not vibing i can tell you that right now

 

Martin: oh tim

 

Martin: im so sorry this is happening.

 

Martin: im so sorry.

 

Tim: hey it’s not your fault

 

Tim: also can i 

 

Tim: could i please see your face, like i really just

 

Tim: ive been looking at all our photos and itd be nice to see a new one

 

Martin: i can try

 

Martin: [sent a photo: A selfie. The light is blue, heavy, cold. Martin’s hair floats weightless around his face, which is distressingly pale and tinged blue in the light. He gives the camera a small, almost painless smile.]

 

Tim: god

 

Tim: you look

 

Tim: this is so fucked

 

Tim: but we’ll get out of this somehow, we will

 

Tim: marto?

 

Tim: it’s quiet again. you must be gone

 

Tim: thanks for the photo. although,

 

Tim: i thought it would make me feel better

 

Tim: and now im just 

 

Tim: so fucking scared

 

Tim: my hands are shaking again, it’s so stupid

 

Tim: now that i see you there, in that photo, it’s more real

 

Tim: i know i said we’d get out eventually, but

 

Tim: i just

 

Tim: i'm really starting to think that we won't

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:39 pm

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: I’ve been slowly chipping away at the wall. I think it’s about to go but. There is this last layer that just. Won’t budge.

 

Jon: Why can’t I make the leap? I am accepting it, whatever it is. Shouldn’t that be enough? What else do I need to sacrifice?

 

Jon: I have spent a week building up a tolerance to statements, researching, devoting all of my energy to this, so why isn’t it working?

 

Jon: Why can’t I

 

Jon: Oh. There is something I am not supposed to Know.

 

Jon: The Eye is hoping I will accept its gaze, just...because?

 

Jon: As in, without strings attached.

 

Jon: It wants me devoted to it, but not at the expense of my attention being diverted to anybody’s else’s needs.

 

Jon: It wants me to abandon you.

 

Jon: Well. If that is the case, I can still refuse it entirely.

 

Jon: Ah, it really doesn’t like that I Know this, I feel its frustration like a. Like a hot needle. It is very unpleasant.

 

Jon: Still, these are my terms of acceptance. I will accept, but not for myself.

 

Jon: Because I need you three. And the Eye must understand that.

 

Jon: I

 

J̵̋̇ơ̴n̶̑:̶̖͆ Ŵ̴͈a̶i̸̳̖͠t.̷

̸̰̮̕

̸̬̈́̋J̸̞́ö̵͕̭n̷̳̠̈́:̶̮̂͐ ̸̊ S̸̥͊͑ö̸͎́m̸̉é̵tḧ̶̨̦́̋i̴n̵̹̗͋g̴͋ i̷̅̂s̸̘̅̌

 

J̶̣͇̟̔̔̂́̌̅o̴͌n̷͋̂̃̌͝ :̷̗͑̇͂̈́͝͝ ̵̖̋̀̀̏̆Ǐ̵̪̖͖̼̭͂́̃͌̚ ̵͓̘̭̜̿̃S̴̫̙̀͒e̵̕ê̷̻̌̈́ ̶̩̘̓So̶̓̔͗͐̉m̸̌̍̕e̷̢͓͗̊̈́̅̂t̸̆͆͌̅h̴̥̯̙̼̔̅ĭ̵̳̬̲ṉ̶̡̟̞͋g̶̨͌

 

9:55 pm

 

Jon: I See you.

 

Jon: In relative terms, you’re in the shallows of the Buried. Martin, you’re deeper but. Still accessible. You’re going to be okay, I swear it. I Know how to bring you back, all of you.

 

Jon: Please hold on, just a bit longer. I’m coming.

 

11:13 pm

 

Jon: The park is closed, obviously. I had them call the manager, the one whose statement I took earlier. Needless to say, I’m currently walking toward the entrance.

 

Jon: The hall is completely vacant. It’s silent, and dark. “Spooky” as you would say, Tim.

 

Jon: I have an artefact in my bag. It is possible that I did not properly check it out from storage, but under the circumstances, I don’t exactly care.

 

Jon: It is a metal clip that once belonged to a parachute harness. It is influenced by the Vast, which is why I’m not touching it unless the situation requires it. I’m hopeful that bringing it into the space will loosen the hold that the Buried has on you.

 

Jon: Right, I’m here.

 

Jon: Christ, that is a strange sensation. The artefact seems to be interacting with the area. I feel simultaneously smothered and dizzy.

 

Jon: My phone is behaving oddly, as well.

 

Jon: Tim, I’m approaching the tube slides. If you feel a change, I need you to move as quickly as you can.

 

D̴̰̻̖͔̤̆͝ͅa̷̝̾͂̒̅͠d̵̍̄̅̏͝ḋ̴̨̡͍͕̝̞͖̆̓̓y̷̨̳̘̣̒̃̑ ̷̬̹̰̍͊̉̎͠t̵̢̟͖͌́͑̕ì̶̊̈m̴ĕ̶́͝͝:̷̢͔͈͎͔̉͝ͅ my phone is glitching outstill in the tube slidetheres always a bend hear your voicepressure in my headlooking at all the pictures and videosyou werent in itbarely remembertoo narrowtoo tighti miss you too, we’llare you stillill keep movingscraped all the skincould i please see your facequiet again. you’re goneso fucking scared

 

T̵͊i̶̔m̸̈́ t̷̕o̴̎ S̶͉͌a̸̦͐s̴h̶͂â̶̦

 

T̸i̶m̸: [sent a video: The upper half of Tim’s face is visible, as well as the top of the slide’s interior, which is now smooth plastic. Tim blinks at the camera, confused, before his eyes dart upward at a faint voice.

 

Tim: Is that––Wait, Jon? Jon!

 

Jon, muffled: Tim, can you hear me?

 

Tim: Yeah, yes, I can! Oh my god. Okay, hold on.

 

The frame shakes as Tim crawls quickly forward. Jon continues to call for him, his voice becoming clearer as the seconds pass. The space becomes lighter, the colour on the slide’s interior more vivid. Then, there is a blur of movement and a soft cry from Tim as he slips and splashes down into the pool. For a moment, the only thing visible is water and bubbles, and the sound is muted. Then, as Tim scrambles out onto dry ground, the camera breaks the surface and settles on a canted view of the waterpark, partially blocked by Tim’s scraped, bloody leg.

 

Jon: Christ, what happened? Your arms and––

 

Tim: Where’s Sasha? And Martin, are they out? Did you find them?

 

Jon: Ah, I was about to. You’re the first.

 

Tim: We need to get them, then, come on.

 

Jon: Yes, Sasha’s just over––

 

The video goes dark as Tim shoves his phone into his pocket. For a few seconds, there is only the sound of two pairs of pounding footfalls.

 

Jon: We should be in range by now, so if––]

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

S̸͒ã̸̭ͅs̶̡̈́͝h̶̳̐ͅḁ̸̸͂͋ P̸̱͍y̸͇͋j̶̞̗͋͗ǎ̷̤͔̚m̶͍̪̀̄s̵̥̾:̷͉͇͑͐ plse h elpim tryingto escapesomebodyanybo dyunderwateri miss ycan you helptimhrd to get air it hurts so fucking muchbut youre righti can just be

 

S̶͉͌a̸̦͐s̴h̶͂â̶̦ t̷̕o̴̎ M̴̘̒̂a̷r̸̻̓̈́ẗ̵͔́i̶̛͓̩͐ñ̵̦̭̕

 

S̶a̸̦͐s̴h̶â̶̦: [sent a video: The camera is out of focus, underwater, in a small pool with the sound of thunderous raging water coming from above. Sasha’s kicking leg flutters in and out of frame. Suddenly, the thundering water ceases, there is the sound of two muffled voices, then a sharp splash. The camera jerks as Tim comes partially into view, then blurs again as it moves toward the edge of the pool. It breaks the surface, and the worried voices and sounds of water rippling are louder, crisper. Sasha is gasping and coughing and on the verge of hyperventilating. The camera clatters facedown onto the ground, snapping to darkness.

 

Tim: Hey, hey, it’s okay, just breathe, I’ve got you, just––yeah, in and out. Yes. Now a bit slower, in. And out.

 

Sasha, still breathing frantically and painfully, but slightly more controlled than before: Tim––You.

 

Tim: I’m here, shh, it’s okay, we’re okay.

 

Sasha: I thought––You were gone––Thought I’d never see you––see you again.

 

Tim: Can’t get rid of me that easy, ay?

 

Sasha, laughing breathlessly: God––Oh my god––You’re such an idiot––My best friend––is the dumbest person alive.

 

Tim: Someone’s gotta do it, right? Here, let’s stand––Oh, I’ll put your phone in my pocket. Important blackmail stuff on that thing.

 

The video goes bright for a moment before being shoved back into darkness.

 

Jon: Sasha, are you––

 

Sasha: Oh my gosh, Jon!

 

Jon makes a soft, startled noise, then: Ah, I’m––I’m glad you’re all right.

 

Tim: What, I don’t get a hug?

 

Sasha: You’re next.

 

Jon: Um, not that I’m not––Sasha, I need to go get Martin.

 

Sasha: Oh! God, where––Is he still––?

 

Jon, his voice growing fainter with his footsteps: Yes, you can stay there if you like, but I need to go to him.

 

Sasha: No, I’m coming. Tim?

 

Tim: Yeah, here, just lean on me––yep.

 

The slap of two pairs of bare feet on the hard floor continues beneath the rustle of fabric. Then it stops, and the only sound is Sasha’s strained breathing and the quiet lapping of the wave pool.

 

Sasha: Do you see him?

 

Tim, after a moment: Maybe we’re not close enough?

 

Jon: We’re close enough. It should work. It will work.

 

A long, tense pause.

 

Tim: Are you sure it’s close enough?

 

Jon: Yes, Tim, I’m sure , he should be––God, maybe he’s deeper than I thought, or––or––

 

Sasha: Martin, can you hear us? Martin!

 

Tim: Marto, come on, buddy! Boss, what’s––?

 

Jon, over the noise of stiff canvas fabric and a zipper: Maybe if I bring out the artefact, if I––? There. Right, I’m holding you, you useless thing, now work .

 

Another long, tense pause.

 

Jon, softly: Why won’t you work?

 

Tim, under his breath: Come on, Martin. Please.

 

Sasha: Jon, what are you––?

 

Jon grunts with effort, and after a brief silence, there is a small splash.

 

Tim: You threw it in.

 

Sasha: This can’t be happening.

 

Tim: Where the hell is he? Martin! Martin!

 

Jon, panicked: I don’t understand. He’s close, he’s right there . I Know he is. This is supposed to work!

 

Sasha: It worked with us, why isn’t it––?

 

Tim, frantic: Wait, wait, wait, guys, look over––]

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

M̵̼͍̐å̸̧͇ř̴t̴̟̓ö̴̳̘́ ̴p̶̄o̶̪͒l̶o̷̟͆͝:̴̻́͒͗ cant breatheits been so so longgetting coldergetting darkereverything hurtshope youre okayhard to focus wheni have things i need to tell youcold pressure, immense closenessyoure choking and you cant stopi cant reach the surfacesafe with jonis jon okaysinkingim so sorryi can try



M̷̱̚a̴͊r̷͇͐t̵̯̎ī̸ͅn̸̕ to J̸͇̒̍̕ǫ̷n̴̐:̶̿

 

M̷̚a̴r̷t̵i̸n̸̕: [sent a video: The only light is what filters through the fabric of a pocket, the only sound is the quiet burbling of water. Then the stillness breaks with the sound of several voices and of clumsy splashing, getting louder, closer. Something jostles the camera, allowing it to peek out from the pocket. As the seconds pass, the bottom of the pool slopes upward until it is directly below the camera. Legs frantically shuffle around, stirring up the water into white froth, before the camera finally breaks the surface, giving a slanted view of the edge of the wave pool and of Sasha’s shins.

 

Tim:—alive but not breathing, I’m going to do CPR.

 

Sasha, half-crying: Oh my god, Martin.

 

Jon: Martin, you’re going to be fine, just—just breathe . You’re here, you’re out.

 

Tim: He’s not responding. Fuck.

 

Sasha: Keep trying, Tim.

 

Tim: I know, I am. Not giving up on you so soon, Marto. And it’s only slightly because I can’t live without your tea. 

 

Jon: Tim, wait. I’m...going to try something.

 

The audio crackles and the video warps, and Jon Asks: What is your name?

 

After only a brief pause, there comes the sound of Martin gasping and spitting up water, and in between enormous breaths he rasps: Martin—Blackwood.

 

Jon: Christ.

 

Martin, struggling to catch his breath: Ah—oh! Um, wow, hi to you too, Jon!

 

Tim: Everyone’s getting hugs, everyone but me.

 

Sasha: That’s an easy fix!

 

Tim, laughing, voice now muffled against Sasha’s shoulder: Finally, I get the affection I deserve, it only took diving into two pools and giving Marto the kiss of life.

 

Martin: Oh, wait, really?

 

Tim, voice still muffled: I mean yeah, you weren’t breathing, I wasn’t just going to do nothing. Jon did his Spooky thing, though. He’s the one who got your lungs working. 

 

Martin: Jon, you—?

 

Jon: Mm. Yes.

 

Martin: Are you—Not that I’m complaining, but are you going to let go of me and talk about this?

 

Jon: No.

 

Martin: I can’t imagine this is comfortable, I’m probably pretty cold and wet.

 

Jon, his voice raw: Martin, I don’t honestly care.

 

Martin: Oh! Um. Okay then! That’s—that’s okay. (Relaxing further): That’s okay.]

 

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, 12:36 am

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: where are you??

 

Sasha: I thought you were asleep !

 

Tim: i was but i woke up and you were gone

 

Sasha: God, I’m sorry tim . I’m in the other room, don’t worry . I just wanted to talk to jon .

 

Sasha: We were gone for a week, apparently .

 

Tim: huh

 

Tim: felt more like a month

 

Tim: maybe because we didn’t sleep? more time to be aware of how much everything sucks

 

Tim: which is part of why i fell asleep the second we got back to the rooms

 

Sasha: Which is a Problem because we haven’t bandaged you up yet !

 

Tim: eh they’re all scabs by now, none of my various scrapes are actively bleeding

 

Tim: they do sting like a motherfucker tho

 

Sasha: Tim we should at least sanitize them .

 

Tim: yeahh i know. im up anyway, ill go do that

 

Sasha: Good ! And by the way, jon said that the thing that took us doesn’t have influence over the hotel, only the water park . so we should be completely all right for the night .

 

Tim: honestly i would’ve slept on the ground outside and i wouldnt have cared

 

Tim: at least there’s open space outside

 

Tim: and fresh air

 

Sasha: Having access to air, fresh or not, is definitely a plus .

 

Sasha: Ok jon is making a diagram of Spooky things, it’s looking pretty complex, I don't know if I'm awake enough to handle this right now .

 

Tim: he cant help himself

 

Sasha: I know . Also, I noticed that jon and martin have pushed their beds together ? And I was wondering if we could do that too .

 

Sasha: I don’t really want to be alone again . Not right now .

 

Tim: no me neither

 

Tim: why dont you just come sleep in my bed? it’s not like it’s small, there’s plenty of room

 

Sasha: Sure, although “plenty of room” is a bit contrary to the point ! :)

 

Tim: ok fair but what i mean is that neither of us is going to push the other person onto the floor just by turning over

 

Tim: also i take up a lot of space when i sleep, you know this

 

Sasha: It’s true, you look like a flying squirrel .

 

Tim: so you’ll have the space to escape my limbs, wherever they may sprawl

 

Sasha: Haha I don’t think any bed is large enough for that !

 

Sasha: But anyway . Thank you .

 

Tim: hey, it’s no problem

 

Tim: this is helping me too

 

Tim: if i can open my eyes at any time and see that youre safe, thats a huge weight off my shoulders

 

Tim: (literally and figuratively)

 

Tim: actually now that youre going to be sleeping Right There, im gonna uhh hop in the shower, for everyone’s benefit

 

Sasha: Yes, please do .

 

Sasha: When you were asleep earlier, I tried to shower but um

 

Sasha: It was too hard . With the water running over me . The sound of it especially .

 

Sasha: So I sort of cupped water from the sink to get my arms and face ? But fair warning that I still smell like a walking bucket of chlorine .

 

Tim: thats understandable sash

 

Tim: dont worry about it at all

 

Tim: youve smelled a lot worse :)

 

Sasha: RUDE

 

Tim: remember when you were tracking down that statement giver,

 

Sasha: I knew you were going to bring this up, I just knew it .

 

Tim: and she had a bad hoarding problem, so when you went to confront her, there was all this rotten food lying around, and you slipped and fell into a puddle of expired milk

 

Sasha: The expressions everyone made when I returned to the Institute were unforgettable, they still haunt me .

 

Tim: before you even reached the breakroom, jon marched in and asked, genuinely, if something had died in the vents

 

Sasha: I had to trash everything I wore that day. The smell refused to wash out ! It was tragic . That was such a cute cardigan :(

 

Sasha: Anyway, jon’s diagram is finished now, so I’ll be back in after he’s given me all the details .

 

Tim: ok see u in 8 years then

 

Sasha: Ha .

 

3:29 am

 

Sasha: Are you okay ?

 

Tim: im so sorry did i wake you up

 

Sasha: Not really . I mean I woke and I noticed you were gone, but the bathroom light was on, so I figured you were fine, and I was about to go back to sleep .

 

Sasha: But I didn’t hear you moving around or anything . And it’s so quiet in here . And of course my half-awake brain supplied me with the idea that you had passed out or something .

 

Sasha: So I was listening hard to try and dispel that idea and

 

Sasha: I heard you crying .

 

Sasha: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to invade your privacy . But I wanted to let you know I’m here if you need anything, if you want to talk about it .

 

Tim: it’s just a lot. there’s a lot

 

Tim: and it’s so stupid

 

Sasha: It’s really not, tim . We’ve been through something horrifying, and you have every right to have emotions about it .

 

Tim: i know, im not saying

 

Tim: i mean, that’s not the stupid part

 

Tim: i dont want to make you feel bad, because it’s not your fault, at all, it’s my fault for overreacting

 

Sasha: You won’t make me feel bad, okay ? Let me know what’s bothering you .

 

Tim: like i said, i overreacted

 

Tim: i woke up and you were sort of cuddling me, with your arms around me, which is fine, and normally that would be awesome because you give great hugs and everything

 

Tim: but it felt. tight

 

Tim: and i felt like i was back there

 

Tim: it was easy enough to move your arms away, but the feeling wouldnt go away, the feeling that there was this awful, increasing pressure, and i sat up to breathe but the room was so dark, just like it was in the tunnel, and i stood up to try and walk it off but the feeling just kept getting worse and worse

 

Tim: i went into the bathroom and turned the light on. that helped for a little bit, but my chest just felt so fucking tight. and i kept thinking what if? like what if jon had never found a way to get us out? what if martin had drowned? what if the artefact hadnt brought you back? what if none of this was real, and i was still in the slide, hallucinating that i got to escape, that everyone was safe and alive? and any second i would snap back to reality, to that dark, silent tunnel and id be alone again, forever? what if what if what if

 

Tim: what if i never got to see you again, sasha? it could have happened! we’ve read plenty of statements with far less happy outcomes than ours. we got so lucky. if jon hadnt been able to get access to a very specific, very rare supernatural object, we would have been stuck there, and we never would have gotten out

 

Tim: so

 

Tim: thats why im having an existential breakdown on the bathroom floor

 

Sasha: First of all, you’re not overreacting .

 

Sasha: I just heard you laugh like I’m lying but it’s true, everything you’re worrying about is real . Those things could have happened . But they didn’t, and it isn’t helpful to freak yourself out over awful hypotheticals .

 

Sasha: What is important is that you are safe, I am safe, Martin and Jon are both safe . We are all here, together, and for the moment things are okay .

 

Sasha: I’m really glad you told me what set you off, because now I’ll be more conscious to keep out of your personal space . Please always tell me if I make you uncomfortable in any way .

 

Tim: sasha you know that normally i love when you invade my personal space, you are basically a co-owner of my personal space. it’s just that right now, it’s different, and i wish it wasnt, but it is.

 

Sasha: I know . And it’ll probably be different for a while, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely isolate yourself .

 

Sasha: I can just hold your hand when you come back ? If that would be better ?

 

Tim: yeah that might be ok. i really hope it will be. i want to hold ur hand :(

 

Tim: i do feel less shitty now, which is good

 

Tim: thanks sash

 

Tim: ill be back in a minute, let me just. make myself less of a wreck real quick

 

Sasha: It’s okay, take your time . I’m not going anywhere .

 

11:41 am

 

“walk walk fashion baybee”

 

Hackergirl: You’re all back home, right ?

 

Teaboy: yeah!

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: yep

 

Hackergirl: So...what are we thinking about what Jon told us over breakfast?

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: the part about how the world is a feeding ground for fear monsters and we work at a temple to one of them? or the part about how we should take a week off due to trauma?

 

Hackergirl: The second one .

 

Teaboy: i just feel like he’s going to use our absence to do some self-destructive nonsense :( did you notice how he was acting this morning?

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: yeah, he looked almost guilty,,,idk why?? he’s the one who saved our arses

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero: which, btw

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero renamed the group “we lived bitch”

 

Flyguy - Resident Hero changed his name to Tubed

 

Tubed changed Hackergirl ’s name to Waterfelled

 

Tubed changed Teaboy ’s name to Sunken treasure

 

Waterfelled: Oof...too soon .

 

Tubed: wdym it’s been like half a day

 

Waterfelled: Martin’s nickname is cute though !

 

Tubed: it’s because he’s a gem ;)

 

Sunken treasure: aw! <3 

 

Sunken treasure: ok but what do we do about this week?

 

Waterfelled: You’re probably right about Jon, which means we need to take some preventative action .

 

Tubed: aka smother him with attention and love

 

Sunken treasure: ooh he’s gonna hate that :))) especially since he isn’t expecting us to show up at all!

 

Waterfelled: Let’s brainstorm for a second. What are all the unhealthy things Jon has probably been doing in the past week

 

Tubed: not sleeping

 

Sunken treasure: not eating :/

 

Waterfelled: Not taking any breaks .

 

Sunken treasure: being too hard on himself!!

 

Tubed: i doubt he left the institute very much

 

Sunken treasure: it’s also possible that when he next sees us, he’ll try to emotionally distance himself again??

 

Waterfelled: Yes to all of this . Now we just have to counteract each one directly, and we should be golden .

 

Tubed: jon did not know what he was getting himself into with this group. we Do Not Allow you to treat yourself poorly

 

Sunken treasure: forceful friendshipping :D

 

Waterfelled: The not eating and self-isolating can be fixed easily enough, but what about the others ? Even if we get him to leave for the night, he might just continue working at home .

 

Tubed: sasha it’s obvious

 

Tubed: we let him stay at the institute

 

Waterfelled: ?

 

Tubed: and we host a week-long slumber party

 

Waterfelled: Ah, there it is .

 

Sunken treasure: that sounds so ridiculous but so fun!! :)))

 

Tubed: ngl it’s also for me, because i am home alone right now and i Dont Like It

 

Sunken treasure: ...same :/

 

Waterfelled: Yeah, I keep expecting something bad to happen . And no one would be around to know if it did ...

 

Tubed: exactly. obviously, having a mega-sleepover is the only option

 

Sunken treasure: anything i should bring? :0

 

Tubed: cards and whatever games you think would be fun. cards against humanity, uno

 

Sunken treasure: if we can find a screen to set it up with, i do have a wii

 

Waterfelled: There is a functioning TV in artefact storage, and I know this for a fact because when I worked in that department, I was supposed to examine and catalogue it, and those were the most peaceful days of my career at the Institute .

 

Tubed: please,, explain why someone gave us a normal tv

 

Waterfelled: An elderly gentleman had watched The Grudge with his grandkids, and the next day he heard his TV making “weird sounds,” then managed to convince himself that a creepy dead girl was going to crawl out and kill him .

 

Waterfelled: It turned out to be a problem with the sound system but, well . He didn’t want it back .

 

Tubed: that’s so fucking funny what

 

Tubed: marto which games do you have

 

Sunken treasure: mario kart, just dance, zelda, a few of the lego adventures, like star wars, harry potter, etc. and um, some fighting ones

 

Tubed: fightingones

 

Tubed: martin what fighting ones

 

Tubed: m a r t i n what fi

 

Sunken treasure: well they’re not specifically for fighting but you do use weapons a lot

 

Tubed: marto im begging u please

 

Tubed: what games are these i need to know i

 

Sunken treasure: um 

 

Sunken treasure: silent hill, resident evil

 

Waterfelled: You work at the Magnus Institute...yet you want more horror in your life ?

 

Sunken treasure: it’s kind of nice sometimes!! because it’s not real, so it’s just. fun, you know? you don’t have to worry about your actual safety.

 

Sunken treasure: sometimes if i cant sleep ill just play it :)

 

Tubed: wait wait you cant sleep so you sit in the dark, alone, at 2 in the morning, and you play some of the scariest video games of all time?? and that helps????

 

Sunken treasure: ...yes?

 

Tubed: what do i do with this information

 

Sunken treasure: i mean you could try it for yourself? at the mega-sleepover :)

 

Tubed: jfc i think the fuk not

 

Tubed: sasha hes trying to permanently give me insomnia

 

Sunken treasure: i would never!

 

Waterfelled: Your sleep paralysis demon is just Martin, standing over your bed with a wii controller in hand, saying over and over again, “Let’s go play Silent Hill.”

 

Tubed: chills

 

Sunken treasure: im just shaking my head, i dont even know what to say.

 

Tubed: it’s because you know we’re right

 

Waterfelled: Ok if we’re doing this, I need to pack some things, and also I need to see if I have anything fun to bring !

 

Tubed: bring your weighted blanket so that we can wrap jon up like a burrito

 

Waterfelled: Will do !

 

Sunken treasure: i need to gather some things as well - but before that, i was just thinking

 

Sunken treasure: if we technically have the week off...does that mean when we go into work, we arent actually obliged to do anything?

 

Sunken treasure: meaning we can spend all our time working on our Spooky To-Do List (like researching elias)?

 

Waterfelled: Oh my god you’re right .

 

Tubed: hot damn

 

Tubed: i am so thankful for you and your galaxy brain

 

Sunken treasure: happy to help! 

 

Sunken treasure: oops hang on, jon is texting me.

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: Are you feeling any less sick today? I didn’t get a chance to ask earlier.

 

Martin: oh no please dont tell me i woke you last night :( throwing up water is. not lovely ambiance.

 

Jon: Actually, I slept through that. But it’s easier to Know things now, even if I’m not actively searching for an answer. So this morning the information was all too happy to enter my mind. 

 

Martin: ahh im so sorry that doesnt sound pleasant.

 

Jon: Martin, there is absolutely no reason for you to apologize. If anything, I should be the one apologizing. You were alone, in the middle of the night. 

 

Jon: I wish I had woken up. I could have sat with you, had I known. Or helped or just. I don’t know. I should have done something.

 

Jon: You have already been through something incredibly difficult. You deserve to have someone care for you.

 

Jon: Take care of you.

 

Jon: Is what I meant.

 

Jon: So please don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything, however silly it may sound.

 

Martin: that’s really really decent of you jon, thank you so much

 

Martin: i still am glad you did not wake up to witness me being sick, but. i get what youre saying. i would have wanted to help as much as i could if it were you

 

Martin: or anyone, i mean. if the roles were reversed.

 

Jon: Understood.

 

Jon: And do keep me updated. I won’t be seeing you or the others this week, so it would be helpful to hear how you all are doing.

 

Martin: wont you just spookily Know it? :))

 

Jon: I won’t be “spookily” doing anything, thank you.

 

Jon: And I suppose I may Know generally how you three are, but I’m going to try and resist, if resisting is actually possible. I don’t trust the Eye. 

 

Jon: And in any case, I’d rather hear about it from you.

 

Martin: well dont worry, i think youll be hearing from us plenty this week :) maybe more than you bargained for.

 

Jon: Nonsense. None of us bargained for any of this. The least I could do is listen. And assist, if needed.

 

Martin: you really have changed, you know. 

 

Martin: in a good way.

 

Martin: and to be clear im not talking about any weird supernatural stuff, i mean. just.

 

Martin: you, jon. you have changed.

 

Jon: My initial instinct is to reply with “It’s good to hear my efforts at becoming less of a prick are paying off” but

 

Jon: At this point, it’s not even that.

 

Jon: You were gone. You three. And I had a lot of time to think. And

 

Jon: Well. Anyway. It’s not important.

 

Jon: I’m assuming you’re back home, so I’ll let you get settled. Like I said, let me know if you need anything.

 

Martin: okay. and thank you again. for everything, not just the support, but for getting us out. for not giving up on us.

 

Jon: Of course.

 

Jon: Take care, Martin.

 

 

Chapter Text

Monday, 7:49 am

 

“Archival Assistants Retrieval”

 

Jon: You are all on your way here. I Know it. You’re supposed to be taking the week off.

 

Daddy time: it do be like that

 

Jon: What.

 

Sasha pyjams: We /are/ taking the week off, Jon ! We’re just choosing to spend our free time at the Institute .

 

Jon: Why...would you do that?

 

Marto polo: innocent reasons :P

 

Jon: Hm.

 

Daddy time: do you want a hint ;)

 

Jon: I’m almost afraid to ask for one.

 

Daddy time renamed the group “there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Jon: Oh no.

 

Daddy time changed his name to Self-care supervisor stoker

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Sasha pyjam ’s name to Nurse James

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Marto polo ’s name to Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood

 

Jon: Why are you doing this.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Jon ’s name to Unhealth

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: it’s inescapable, our friendship

 

Unhealth: I understand you are trying to be helpful but I will not tolerate you returning to the Institute right now. This is for your own good.

 

Nurse James: Hm . I’m unconvinced . I feel fine, what about you guys ?

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: im all right!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i fucking love trauma it wakes me up better than caffeine

 

Unhealth: This is not. Entirely about your psychological recovery.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: ...what do you mean?

 

Unhealth: I don’t really know how to talk about this but. When you were gone, I had to do things. I changed, and not for the better.

 

Nurse James: We read the texts you sent, we know how much you sacrificed for us, and we are so appreciative !! So can’t you let us take care of you in return ?

 

Unhealth: Not everything is in the texts.

 

Unhealth: I feel that I may be dangerous now. That I could lose control. I’ve recently been experiencing strong inclinations to do certain things that are morally reprehensible. And I am not ashamed to admit that I am afraid of what I may do to one of you.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: um. what sort of things? maybe they aren’t as bad as you think they are?

 

Unhealth: I keep thinking about taking live statements. Which doesn’t sound terrible, I realize. But please understand that when I take them, I Take them. I find innocent people, and I force their story to spill from their lips. I force them to relive that terror. And I now Know that reliving it causes the event to stay with them for the rest of their lives. Each night they dream about the most horrifying moment they have ever experienced, and even in the midst of this, they see /me/, and are reminded of the moment their trauma became permanently solidified in their nightly existence.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: ok so that’s maybe a bit bad

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: but you won’t do that to any of us. because... you just won’t! you have self-control, and you care about us, and that’s all you really need right? i felt completely safe around you before, and i still do

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: so maybe you’re a Spooky eldritch trauma muncher like? yeah? and?

 

Nurse James: Yes to all of the above, plus, we made a deal which involves not leaving you alone in the building with Elias, and that is even more important now that we know he’s for sure up to some crazy bullshit nonsense .

 

Unhealth: Did none of you read what I just wrote!? I am a monster! I crave fear! I psychologically scar people, permanently! You will not come here, and try to take care of me or whatever you’re planning, because I do not deserve it. What I do deserve is to be kept locked in the archives so that I don’t harm anyone else, and if Elias has to put me down, then so be it.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: hey boss

 

Unhealth: What.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: wanna play a quick game 

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: it’s called Odds

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto help me show him how it works

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: tim what are the Odds you won’t wear any bright colours for the next week

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: 1 of 20

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: 3

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: Bet Bot: 19

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: see how it works

 

Unhealth: Did you not just type that in?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: no the bot is connected to my phone so that’s how it shows up

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: yup that’s right!!

 

Nurse James: Yes, that is how it works .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: do another one to convince him it’s fair

 

Nurse James: Martin what are the Odds you’ll tell Elias he’s a thot .

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: omgg 1 of 10 he doesn’t even know what that means

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: 5

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: Bet Bot: 1

 

Nurse James: Aw darn !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: see if it were me typing that i wouldnt have had the willpower to decline such an opportunity

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ….well boss?

 

Unhealth: What is the question?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: nope you have to agree first

 

Unhealth: Fine.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what are the Odds you will let us take care of you? as in, you have to do what we, the health professionals, say for this whole week?

 

Unhealth: 1 of 5000

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: D:<

 

Unhealth: 3296

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: Bet Bot: 3296

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: :D

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: there you have it!

 

Unhealth: What the fuck.

 

Unhealth: No, I’m not doing this.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yes you are, you played the game, you’ve got to go by the rules !

 

Unhealth: This is preposterous.

 

Nurse James: We won’t be that bad ! We mostly know what we’re doing .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: obv all three of us went to med school ;) i personally know so much about uhhh cells

 

Unhealth: Don’t you understand I am worried about what I could do to you??

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: eh ive had worse

 

Nurse James: Martin oh my goodness 

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: im deceased

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto’s really out here,,not caring about any single thing

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: i do care about a single thing! actually 4 single things because all of us are single ;)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: that sentence decked me in the jaw

 

Nurse James: What can we do ? Martin holds too much power .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: is this,,,news to you?

 

Nurse James: No I just felt like reiterating .

 

Nurse James: Anyway, Jon, we’re almost there so you should mentally prepare yourself for a week of pampering !

 

Unhealth: At this point I don’t know what to say that would make you change your minds. Just, please, if I start to do something, do not hesitate to defend yourselves.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what are the Odds you’ll stop talking about yourself like you’re a rabid squirrel

 

Unhealth: I’m not doing this game again.

 

Unhealth: And that is not how I’m talking about myself! I’d simply rather not curse one of you to relive your trauma every night, just because I’m feeling peckish. I don’t think that is an unreasonable concern.

 

Nurse James: You’re right . It’s understandable . But we’re still going to smother you with affection, and dammit, you are at least going to tolerate it !

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: we brought food anyway, and you wouldn’t want that to go to waste :/

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto cooked some of that food jon, he made it just for you, with love

 

Unhealth: You really shouldn’t have, Martin.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: well I did, so! it’s too late >:) 

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: also i know that back in the texts you sent while we were gone, you were hoping to go for another walk and. i’d really like to do that again, jon, if the offer still stands? we don’t have to go at 4:30 in the morning, but we can if you want! I really wouldn’t mind :)

 

Unhealth: Well. Hm.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: you’ve probably been lonely with only bitch man elias as company so we can hang out whenever you want, and if you really want some space that’s cool, we can just be in the breakroom with the door open so you can hear our voices

 

Unhealth: I suppose...

 

Nurse James: We aren’t going to make you go home either . You can sleep at the Institute, but you won’t have to worry about getting murdered because we’re going to be there too, all throughout the week . We felt that sleeping with each other nearby would help us feel safer after our incident, and we think that it will benefit you in the same way .

 

Unhealth: If that will help you heal, so be it. Even if it is a bit ridiculous, wanting to sleep at the institute.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: uhhh you say that, yet

 

Unhealth: I realize that sounds hypocritical.

 

Unhealth: Well. I’m not getting into this again, I feel like a broken record.

 

Unhealth: What I wanted to say is that I appreciate the lengths to which you are trying to help me, even if I am hesitant to allow it. 

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: you deserve it jon, truly, and you’re not allowed to say you don’t! because that would be an awful, terrible lie!!

 

Nurse James: You should get used to the feeling ! Especially since we’re going be more intense than normal this week, and yes that is a threat <3

 

Unhealth: ...Fine. Do your worst, I suppose.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh we will ;)

 

8:38 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: That was so cute . And sad . Like finding a kitten in a box on the street and giving it a bowl of milk .

 

Tubed: catboy jon

 

Waterfelled: Tim do not be like this right now I am begging you please .

 

Tubed: ;3 nyah

 

Waterfelled removed Tubed from the group

 

Sunken treasure: :0

 

Waterfelled: He can come back when he has thought about his actions .

 

Waterfelled: Anyway, I don’t think I have ever seen Jon look so beaten down, yet happy ? He is just a walking bundle of stress and self-detriment but for the moment he seems to have accepted the fact that we genuinely care for his well being, even if that acceptance comes from being mentally exhausted.

 

Sunken treasure: we really wore him down before getting here! and yeah did you see the expression on his face?? i wanted to cry it was like. just so hopeful? like he finally let himself open to the idea that there are people who love him and are here for him?

 

Waterfelled: Yes exactly ! He really liked those muffins you brought too :)

 

Sunken treasure: yeah :)) it’s so nice to see him actually, truly enjoy something for a change

 

Sunken treasure: especially something that i made!! that makes it even better haha

 

Waterfelled: If it comes from you, Jon is more likely to enjoy it and that’s a fact !

 

Sunken treasure: ...are you sure it’s not the opposite??

 

Waterfelled: Okay, I know he is (was?) extra hard on you but I don’t think there’s any substance behind it, he’s just grouchy and a perfectionist and it’s easier to pick on one person than three . I do think he’s beginning to realize how much of a jerk he’s been to you, though .

 

Sunken treasure: he definitely has, he actually talked to me about it recently? he said to tell him if he was being “unduly harsh” lol

 

Sunken treasure: but he really hasn’t, since then. which is nice :)

 

Waterfelled: Must be something magical about those walks alone together…

 

Sunken treasure: ahhhh sasha noooo!!! :0

 

Waterfelled: Just joking ! Although while we’re on the subject, do you think you’re going to tell him today ? Or are you going to wait a bit ?

 

Sunken treasure: oh i dunno, it’s um. it’s harder to think about doing that, now that it’s...today, you know. if we go for a walk i might. i’ll have to gauge what mood he’s in? i dont want to spring this on him if he’s already upset :///

 

Waterfelled: Hey, what do you mean “already upset” ! He’s not going to be mad at you for expressing your feelings, martin . But you do have a point . It would be better to have the conversation if both of you were in a good headspace .

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: let me in, let me innnnn

 

Sasha: Hm . Why should I ?

 

Tim: since u and marto are off scoping out the institute for potential sleepover entertainment, im here on jon protection duty, and i have News

 

Sasha: Dammit .

 

Waterfelled added Tim to the group

 

Tim changed his name to Tubed

 

Tubed: i am losing my mind, i am grinning like a madman, jon just went OFF on elias

 

Sunken treasure: elias came in?? what did he do???

 

Tubed: well i think he was planning on being all smug about jon munching trauma? but he only got in about half a sentence in before jon completely cut him off and said (word for word i stg, my memory is Perfect): “If you’ve come to gloat, I don’t care. If you have professional business, it can be sent in an email. To be blunt, Elias, unless you’re going to answer my questions, I don’t care about what you have to say, and I don’t care what you think about my progress or about my assistants’ sudden reappearance, so if you’d be so kind as to get the hell out of my office, I would be very, very grateful.”

 

Tubed: you could just see elias’s dumb smirk slowly fade away

 

Tubed: he said something snooty to jon afterward but he still left almost immediately after, like,,,elias kNEW he’d picked the wrong fucking day to do this shit

 

Sunken treasure: jon omggggg :))

 

Waterfelled: Jon is FED UP . Elias is cancelled !

 

Tubed: elias was always cancelled tho let’s be honest

 

Sunken treasure: ...maybe we should get back at him :)

 

Tubed: SKSJF YES

 

Waterfelled: Guys I just overheard chatter about how one of the printers keeps printing out duplicates, which means a ton of paper has to be shredded ...

 

Waterfelled: Paper shavings are so frustrating to pick up, don’t you think ?

 

Tubed: you are a queen, a legend

 

Sunken treasure: bring us the paper!!

 

Sunken treasure: also with the extras we can cut out some snowflakes maybe?? i remember that being really fun :))

 

Tubed: wAIT MARTO u just gave me the best idea im sdjfsdfsb

 

Tubed: u know the movie elf

 

Tubed: u know how he just fuckin,,,covers every inch of the store and his dad’s house with xmas decorations

 

Sunken treasure: i am. SO excited for what is about to happen

 

Waterfelled: Tim you are redeemed for your earlier slip-up

 

Tubed: uwu i couwd cwy teaws of joy >w<

 

Waterfelled: Don’t push it stoker .

 

10:53 am

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Unhealth: I hear quite a bit of laughing coming from the breakroom.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh u thought we were working today?? lmfao

 

Unhealth: If you aren’t working, then what are you doing?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: things

 

Unhealth: Right.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: here i’ll show you

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: tim if you send the video i’ll fight you!!! i swear i will!!!!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: haha aw <3

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: [sent a video: Sasha and Martin both sit on the floor in front of a dusty television, which displays the Mii Creator screen. Sasha is in the middle of adjusting her new Mii’s hairstyle. As the wii theme song plays, both of them absentmindedly move their heads and shoulders to the beat. At some point, through some unspoken signal, a smile creeps onto both of their faces as they begin to improvise some sort of dueted choreography.]

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: jsyk i peeked in and jon was smiling soooo much while watching the vid

 

Martin: :’)

 

Martin: im still going to fight you though!! :0

 

Tim: *slides glasses so they glint like in an anime* so be it

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Unhealth: I’m glad you’re entertaining yourselves, at least.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh we are,,,@sasha what’s the update on paper shavings

 

Nurse James: I am back to scouring the Institute and I can honestly say I think we’ve collected most of it . But I’ll check again later in the day so we can get the scraps !

 

Unhealth: Paper shavings?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh yeah we’re getting back at elias on your behalf

 

Unhealth: Ah, right. You overheard that.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yes,,,and it was iconic

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: tonight we’re putting paper shavings all over his office! you can help if you want :))

 

Unhealth: Not that I don’t wholeheartedly approve of this, but you need to be careful around Elias. We don’t know what he is capable of.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: dont worry boss we’ll do it after hours! even if he is Spooky Watching during the day,,idk why hed be doing that in the evening? on a random monday? like?? he’s gotta have sOME other obligations after work, besides being the Worst

 

Unhealth: Fair enough.

 

Unhealth: He did actually send a followup email in which he whined about the fact that I left the artefact of the Vast in the deep end of the wave pool, and he had to send someone to collect it. It is truly incredible how he so readily complains about getting somebody else to do his dirty work.

 

Unhealth: I would like to assist in this prank.

 

Nurse James: Haha yes jon ! :)

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: the more the merrier!! also im about to put the kettle on so you all should let me know if you’d like a cuppa :)

 

Nurse James: Of course !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: u think i wouldnt??

 

Unhealth: That would be very greatly appreciated.

 

Nurse James: We’ve gone too long without your tea, martin . Especially jon ! He was at the Institute all those days ! Tea-less !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: now im just imagining jon at his desk, head propped up in his hands, staring wistfully, “when will i get martin’s tea? how can i go on until then??”

 

Unhealth: I’d like to think I wasn’t quite so dramatic.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: so you admit it?? you did something like that????

 

Unhealth: No.

 

Nurse James: Hmm ...

 

Unhealth: I am finished with this conversation.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: he’s backtracking because i hit the nail on the head, he knows it, we all know it,

 

Nurse James: It’s true !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: it’s because he loves marto

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ‘s tea

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i hit send too early ;)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: @boss you cant hide, we all know you’re a ho for his tea

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: tim why. why do you have to say it like that :///

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: because i personally am a ho for your tea is that a crime??

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: ..no

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: and sasha is too, so the logical conclusion is that jon is as well

 

Nurse James: He’s more dignified than you, thus rather than a tea ho, he is a tea enthusiast .

 

Nurse James: But only for Martin’s tea of course ! A martin’s tea enthusiast .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: let’s just shorten it then ;)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Unhealth ’s name to Martin Enthusiast

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: my work here is done

 

Martin Enthusiast: You have not done any work today, at all.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: and i will continue to not. hence, my work here is done

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Don’t think I didn’t notice that little “i hit send too early” bit .

 

Tim: oh don’t worry i knew you’d notice

 

Sasha: How hard is Martin blushing right now ?

 

Tim: just glanced into the kitchen. his back was to me but his ears are a deep, deep red

 

Sasha: You are such an arse <3

 

Tim: ;)))

 

12:00 pm

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Nurse James: Hey Jon it’s time for your mandatory lunch break !

 

Martin Enthusiast: What?

 

Nurse James: Yep, come spend some time in the breakroom with us :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I can eat at my desk, it’s more efficient.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: but the rules of our agreement,,,,

 

Nurse James: I remember something about doing everything we say for the week ?

 

Martin Enthusiast: Right. How long must I be on break?

 

Nurse James: An hour .

 

Martin Enthusiast: That is entirely unnecessary! Thirty minutes.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: we have more for you to do than just eat your lunch so, don’t worry!! it will be a fun break!!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: boss the longer you stay in there,,,the longer we’re waiting to start the timer on that hour

 

Martin Enthusiast: Christ. Fine. Although I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy whatever you have planned.

 

Nurse James: Wow, so grumpy .

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: you should allow yourself a little fun jon! you’ll like it :))

 

Nurse James: And no work is allowed at the family table ! Don’t think I don’t see you gathering up files in there .

 

Martin Enthusiast: Worth a shot.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Anyway, I’m coming.


Self-care supervisor stoker: finally!! let the pre slumber party bash commence ;))))

 

 

Chapter Text

Monday, 1:07 pm

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: we told you you’d have a fun lunch break! :))

 

Martin Enthusiast: I suppose you were right. I did not expect all of that.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: we aim to shock, to dazzle,,,, to please ;)

 

Nurse James: Everyone spam your photos so tim will get distracted away from sending discomfiting innuendos .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh, the fact that you think this will defeat me?? laughable

 

Martin Enthusiast: Christ.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: [sent a photo: Jon sits at one of the work tables, its surface completely covered with cut-out bits of paper. He rubs deeply at his temples, half in dismay, half in embarrassment. With his free hand he holds up a paper snowflake, which appears to be riddled with eyes of varying sizes. To his left, Sasha continues working on her snowflake, tongue just barely poking out from between her teeth. To Jon’s right, Tim looks straight into the camera with an expression of mock fright, clearly mouthing the word “Spooky” and wiggling his fingers ghoulishly.]

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: [sent a video: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” blasts in the background as Tim and Sasha do some sort of swing-salsa-ballroom dance hybrid in the center of the breakroom. It involves spinning and dipping and careening into chairs and tripping over each other’s feet.]

 

Nurse James: [sent a photo: A selfie - only the upper half of Sasha’s face is visible. Behind her, the others distractedly eat their lunch, more focused on whatever discussion they are having than on their food. Tim is gesturing and grinning, a word half-formed on his lips. Jon stares at him with incredulity, his fork frozen, forgotten, halfway to his mouth. Martin watches Tim with a small confused smile as he reaches for his tea.]

 

Nurse James: [sent a photo: Tim tries out Martin’s paper fortune teller - a cootie catcher - by pointing to a certain section of the boxy contraption.]

 

Nurse James: [sent a photo: Martin reveals Tim’s fortune with false sympathetic eyes. Tim’s jaw has dropped as far as it can possibly drop.]

 

Nurse James: [sent a photo: Martin, wearing a surprisingly impish expression, shows the camera Tim’s “fate” handwritten within the cootie catcher - “Peter Lukas thinks you’re flirting with Elias, so he comes and beats you to death with a bit of rigging.”

 

Nurse James: [sent a video: Tim sits back in his chair, his feet propped up on the table, his face suspiciously turned away. As the intro to Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” plays, the video slowly zooms in. Then, just as the lyrics begin, Tim turns to face the camera, lip-syncing with an expression and mannerisms which are over-the-top coquettish. Stifled laughter comes from out of frame as Tim winks and bats his eyelashes, bites his lip, and drapes himself even further over the chair. The longer this goes on, the more seductive the performance becomes, and the less Tim’s audience is able to hold back their giggling––even Jon can be heard chuckling softly.]

 

Martin Enthusiast: [sent a photo: Martin holds up two origami human figures. The first one has an evil smile drawn on with marker, his eyes green, his eyebrows a V. On his torso, he is labeled: Bad Spooky Boss. The other figure has a more neutral, serious expression. A black square “tape recorder” is taped to his palm. He is labeled: Good Spooky Boss.]

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: christmas in july? pff, nah, christmas in april, that’s where it’s at

 

Nurse James: Can we acknowledge the fact the martin is the king of origami and paper crafts ??

 

Martin Enthusiast: Acknowledged.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: aww! thanks guys :))

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: it’s high key impressive,,,what he can do with paper

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what he can do with those hands ;))))

 

Martin Enthusiast removed Self-care supervisor stoker from the group

 

Nurse James: Thank you, I didn’t want to have to do that twice in one day !

 

Martin Enthusiast: ...Do I want to know what he did the first time?

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: nope!! jon! no you do not!!

 

Martin Enthusiast: I didn’t expect so.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Anyway. I’m going to get back to work now. There is much to do, as usual.

 

Nurse James: Ah yes, recording some more statements I’m assuming ? :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: Um. No, actually.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I haven’t been. Doing that.

 

Martin Enthusiast: It’s somewhat of an experiment. To see if I can train myself out of them, completely. Maybe I can give them up. It would be better for everyone if I could.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: do you um. do you really think that’ll work? not because i think it wont! i really really hope it does, jon, it’s just. i dont exactly fancy the idea of you potentially hurting yourself? or getting sick?

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: so um. are you sure this is the best course of action?

 

Martin Enthusiast: I don’t have much of a choice.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’ll be fine, Martin. It’s just a test.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: yeah. i mean, i guess so.

 

Nurse James: I will Hesitantly allow this...but if you start to feel bad you need to let us, the professional caregivers, know so that we can help you !

 

Martin Enthusiast: Noted.

 

Nurse James: Good .

 

3:12 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: whats new with the snooping

 

Sasha: It’s not snooping ! It’s personalized research .

 

Tim: how goes the finding-out-everything-about-elias research

 

Sasha: Not great . I feel we may have already hit our peak today with uncovering Peter Lukas’s e-mail and the address of Elias’s old roommate from uni .

 

Sasha: How is that going by the way ? Or I guess both of those things ?

 

Tim: lukas hasn’t emailed me back yet, but that’s not surprising, based on who he is as a person. im a bit relieved he hasn’t,,, believe it or not, i don’t exactly want my cootie catcher fortune to come true

 

Tim: as for the other thing, the roommate isn’t home yet so marto and i are on a stakeout

 

Tim: anyway the most important things on my mind are none of these

 

Sasha: Oh ?

 

Tim: first of all, you know that origami Good Spooky Boss martin made? well when i went into the archives to look for more statements on eye stuff, i saw it on our dear boss’s desk ;)

 

Sasha: That’s really cute actually !

 

Tim: i just asked martin if he knew about this and his whole face went pink so im guessing Not

 

Tim: speaking of marto, we have a conspiracy on our hands…

 

Sasha: Ok yes I am very very interested, give me the details, right now .

 

Tim: you know earlier when marto had a playlist of this boppin piano music playing in the background while we were doing stuff

 

Tim: so i asked him for the link bc i like it a whole lot and he was like,, Oh i dunno, i might not be able to find it again, dunno where it was

 

Tim: and i said he could just peek at his search history and he was STILL like no it was uhh not a playlist, just a bunch of recommendeds on youtube

 

Tim: which is a LIE and everyone knows it

 

Tim: so if you could uhhh do the honours

 

Sasha: Tim, I’m not hacking into Martin’s computer ! That’s impolite .

 

Tim: but,,,

 

Sasha: Nope .

 

Tim: ok at least give me your theory on what he’s hiding

 

Sasha: The “playlist” was actually a livestream of a famous pianist who faked their own death and now exists solely to give concerts to those in the know . That’s why Martin doesn’t want you looking - you’ll never find any trace of a piano playlist….because it never existed….

 

Tim: yeah that’s definitely it

 

Sasha: Glad you agree .

 

Tim: oops roommate’s back time to grill him

 

Sasha: Good luck ! Ask him for embarrassing stories about elias .

 

Tim: as if i wouldnt ;)

 

4:01 pm

 

Tim: on our way back. not much luck, although we did learn that elias was a huge pothead, which is a bonus

 

Sasha: ???

 

Tim: nothing about psychic powers tho

 

Sasha: Aw no ! Well, good effort :(

 

Tim: more important is not the past, but the future…

 

Tim: wait add me back to the gc this is important

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Nurse James added Tim to the group

 

Tim changed his name to Self-care supervisor stoker

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: xmas movie marathon tonight, all in agreement say aye

 

Nurse James: Aye !

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: aye :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: Aye.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ok good we were going to do it whether or not everyone agreed

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: everyone put in your faves and we’ll narrow it down

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: any of the classics, like miracle on 34th street, winter wonderland, and the rankin bass ones (rudolph, the year without a santa claus) are so nostalgic :)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: elf, christmas vacation, home alone,,,

 

Nurse James: Of course you’d pick the comedies .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what do you take me for,,,,a sap?

 

Nurse James: Perhaps .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ….damn you’re right i love the hallmark ones tho

 

Nurse James: I know .

 

Nurse James: Don’t ask me why but the Santa Clause franchise is something I consistently enjoy .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: that’s because you've got the hots for jack frost

 

Nurse James: Tim omg that’s . Not true . Anyway, besides, he’s only in the third one and i like all of them .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: sure

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: jon, lemme hear it

 

Martin Enthusiast: This may sound childish but I have always thought that The Polar Express was fascinating. It is surprisingly dark, and there are many questions left unanswered, which adds to the haunting atmosphere of the tale, in my opinion.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: also hot hot hot hot chocolate

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: also found family :)

 

Nurse James: Are we just going to ignore the fact that the plot of this movie could be taken directly from a statement ?

 

Nurse James: “When I was a child, a train appeared out of nowhere and lured me onboard, where I joined dozens of other children. Within a few hours, we had traveled across landscapes that did not exist in my area, including a frozen lake, vast wilderness, and jagged mountains. We barely escaped with our lives. Ghostlike entities fed us refreshments. Another ghost took me skiing on the roof of the train, then chased me with a marionette. Eventually we arrived at the North Pole, where I got lost and almost fell into a bottomless void, then spiraled down an immense gift-sorting contraption into an impossibly large bag. Santa Claus gave me a bell, after which I woke up in my bed, on Christmas morning. I never saw any of the other children again.”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: hot hot hot hot chocolate

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: analysis time, the conductor belongs to the distortion, and the train is his hallway

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: billy, the boy who lives in that cold dark house and sits by himself at the back of the train? a victim of the lonely

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: flattop tunnel is a domain of the buried, the lake is a domain of the vast, the train car with all the marionettes is a domain of the stranger, 

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: the train tickets that end up describing the individual truths of their owners? a ploy of the eye. santa claus also serves the eye - the most important thing he does is ask the main character what he wants for christmas...

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: the north pole is a mix of the lonely (the empty streets), the vast (the abyss), the distortion (the gift funnel), and the stranger (the elves)

 

Martin Enthusiast: Ah. So you’ve seen this movie.

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: once or twice yeah

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: im begging u, what does jon look like right now

 

Sasha: I’m checking through the window hang on .

 

Sasha: He has his eyebrows up in that way he does when he’s genuinely impressed by something .

 

Tim: if he didnt want martin before, god,,,,he does now

 

Tim: his inner monologue is just , “damn...a man who can Analyze...”

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Nurse James: We can decide which movies we are watching once tim and martin get back . I think it’s safe to say that Polar Express will be one of them, though .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: good,,,the only part i remember is, you guessed it, the hot chocolate scene, so everything you described in the “statement”, sasha? plus what marto just said? sounds absolutely wild. what is this, dark christmas willy wonka?

 

Martin Enthusiast: That’s a fairly accurate way to describe it, yes.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: hi jon, would you want to go on a walk after the movie marathon? or maybe between movies, as a break?

 

Martin: it doesn’t have to be tonight, if you don’t feel up to it.

 

Martin: but i do need to talk to you.

 

Martin: i mean um. i have specific things to talk to you about, specifically. not just generally.

 

Jon: Yes, I have been meaning to discuss some things with you, as well.

 

Jon: I think I’ll take you up on your offer. Although I may not be at my most energized, depending on what time we end up going.

 

Martin: ahah me neither, im not expecting to get a full night’s rest, especially not after watching polar express with the Entities in mind

 

Jon: It is rather unsettling. Perhaps we can watch that first, followed by something a bit more light-hearted.

 

Martin: yeah, that’s probably for the best :)

 

8:19 pm

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: If I send you photos of something incredible, are you going to be able to keep a neutral face 

 

Sasha: If you laugh, Martin is right next to you on the couch, and he is going to look and see what you’re laughing at .

 

Tim: ok i was wondering why you were smirking, but you had your computer turned away, and i was about to pester you because you’re missing the best parts of elf (which is all of them)

 

Tim: but yes i can handle it

 

Sasha: Terms of the deal, you stop prodding my side with your foot, you know im ticklish there !! I stg, just because I’m sitting on the floor ,

 

Tim: ok fine ill stop, even though it’s hilarious when you screech like some demented barn owl,,,

 

Sasha: I can’t help it ! But anyway - a deal is a deal ….

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: A professionally taken picture, clearly from the official website of a renaissance festival. At a wooden booth decorated in feathers, streamers, and tiny glass jugs of glitter that hang from delicate chains, Martin leans on the counter, smiling and chatting with a huddle of visitors. While the visitors are dressed in modern clothing, Martin is in full costume, sporting a heavy emerald cloak over a beige tunic. Elf ears emerge from the waves of his hair, which is much wilder and curlier than usual.]

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: Another picture taken from the website, this time more of a close-up. Martin sits across from a young girl, who is dressed as a Princess Aurora. The girl sits primly on the stool, eyes shut. Martin steadily paints swirls of blue and pink bursting from the corner of her eye, traveling up to her temple and down again, swooping across her cheek in thin calligraphic loops. Martin himself wears a beautiful green design near his eye, as well as a speckling of glitter across his cheeks, which catches the light and emphasizes his freckles.]

 

Sasha: You look insane right now, I hope you know .

 

Tim: i havent said a word, i havent made a sound, i havent moved a muscle, i am Coping

 

Sasha: Your eyes got so big, immediately . Also I know you’re trying not to smile but you are failing spectacularly and it’s really suspicious.

 

Tim: yo i am doing my best, this is prime material and you know it

 

Tim: dkjflhgdf i know i just snorted but i thought of something and i couldnt stop myself

 

Tim: coincidentally, we just happen to be watching Elf

 

Tim: HA, now you couldnt resist smiling

 

Sasha: Ok that’s actually perfect, I will admit it .

 

Sasha: But anyway, I have other news ! I did a bit of research and found out that there’s a Renaissance festival coming up in May ...

 

Tim: YES. GOD YES.

 

Tim: i need to unleash my inner Victorian 

 

Tim: holy shit costumes sahsa we can get costumes we can get c

 

Tim: character design???? 

 

Tim: im Gonna be a hot witch

 

Sasha: If you don’t stop bouncing your leg I’m going to lose my mind .

 

Sasha: Please include a shirt in your outfit ?

 

Tim: no

 

Tim: what are you gonna be??

 

Sasha: A witch hunter .

 

Tim: sasha! >:o

 

Tim: our battle shall be legendary

 

Sasha: We can probably sword fight at the festival so .

 

Tim: oooohohohho you’re going down

 

Sasha: Bet

 

9:41 pm

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: Is there a problem?

 

Martin: ahh im so sorry for making you wait, i realized the forecast is looking rainy so i was searching for an umbrella just in case

 

Jon: We’ll probably be fine. There are dark clouds to the east but none overhead.

 

Martin: oh are you outside already?

 

Jon: Yes, it was stuffy in the lobby. But the air is cool out here, if a bit wet. It’s nice and dark.

 

Martin: spooky :0

 

Jon: On second thought, I’ve changed my mind, this walk is canceled.

 

Martin: im. pretty sure youre joking? please tell me you are.

 

Jon: I am. Despite your usage of my least favourite word.

 

Jon: I do make jokes, for the record, yet everyone is always so surprised.

 

Martin: to be fair, your humour is very dry, so it’s hard to tell sometimes? also i dont want to accidentally laugh at something that is very much not a joke.

 

Jon: Hm. Maybe I’ll do a signal. Whenever I make a joke, from now on, I will give a thumbs-up.

 

Jon: Before you ask, yes, that was in itself a joke.

 

Martin: pff ok good :)

 

Martin: well the umbrella is nowhere in sight, i guess we’ll have to risk it! be there soon

 

Jon: Right. Take your time.

 

Martin: ?

 

Jon: What?

 

Martin: oh, i guess just. well. youve always been very prompt about getting things done?

 

Martin: and i mean, youve been waiting for me for nearly ten minutes now. but you dont mind?

 

Jon: Well it’s. Um.

 

Jon: To be frank, I don’t know how this conversation is going to go. With what I have to tell you.

 

Jon: I’m expecting the worst, so. Waiting is fine. Things won’t change while I am waiting here. Things can remain safely as they are.

 

Martin: whatever you have to tell me, im not going to think any less of you, if that’s what you’re worried about. i promise, with all my heart.

 

Jon: I believe that you will try. 

 

Martin: well. not good enough! believe that i will. 

 

Martin: honestly, i think my thing tops yours this time. i think mine will be the thing that wrecks it all. no matter what freaky eldritch secrets you have.

 

Jon: My topic of discussion is not actually related to my current “freaky eldritch” situation, as you suggest. It’s worse, somehow.

 

Jon: And don’t be daft, almost nothing you could say could be so destructive.

 

Martin: yea it’s the “almost”

 

Jon: It’s not. 

 

Jon: Mine is.

 

Martin: ok this is getting ridiculous, im coming up there and we are going to walk and we are going to be adults, and. we’re going to say what we have to say and then we’ll be done with it. yes??

 

Jon: If we must.

 

Martin: all right then. good. great.

 

Martin: see you in a minute

 

9:54 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: marto left his computer unlocked ;)

 

Sasha: I leave the room to stretch my legs for ONE second,

 

Tim: dont worry you’ll love this, even if it means your conspiracy theory has been debunked

 

Tim: ok first of all our boy has a blog

 

Tim: and all of it is just,,,Aesthetic

 

Tim: picture this, a cozy site full of lo-fi vibes, poetry (in cute cursive font), vintage photos,,,

 

Tim: and a playlist of about twenty videos of a certain somebody playing the piano ;)))

 

Sasha: Tim are you telling me that Martin is the secret pianist ??

 

Tim: come back and i’ll do you one better, i’ll show you Evidence

 

Tim: wait i found a Double Secret playlist, he did nOT show us this one

 

Tim: holy shit

 

Tim: it’s more piano videos except instead of soothing, he’s just fucking,,,going ham, i did not know punk rock piano existed??

 

Sasha: I am speedwalking .

 

10:48 pm

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: sasha told me not to bug you but im a strong independent bisexual

 

Tim: so uhh just checking in since it’s been a hot second, and i think it’s starting to rain,,,you’re not back in the buried or anything?

 

Martin: dont worry im okay! we’re heading back now.

 

Tim: ha sick

 

Tim: since ive got you here,, when were you gonna tell us you’re a master pianist???

 

Tim: i demand a concert??

 

Tim: ok and when did you start playing, and how did you specifically learn all these cool punk piano songs like??

 

Martin: i will answer these when i get back but im a bit preoccupied right now so

 

Tim: ooooooooOOOoo are you two ;)) you know ;)))) holding hands ;)))))))

 

Martin: t i m

 

Martin: not even going to answer that! i will see you when i get back!

 

Tim: (¬‿¬)

 

Tuesday, 2:57 am

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: just woke up with Realizations that i cannot forget, i know you’re asleep and everyone’s asleep but you can read this when you wake up ok so

 

Tim: jon and marto were definitely hiding something when they came back, like,,,something had changed while they were out. bc they were soaked from the rain but they seemed weirdly happy, even jon?? and their whole energy was,, different idk

 

Tim: just looked over and theyre both asleep on the couch rn and they arent like,,, cuddling, but they’re Close and

 

Tim: when i asked marto if he and jon were holding hands he didnt deny it?? he just deflected my question?? am i reading too much into this??? you’re the theorist, tell me if im wrong

 

Tim: wow im suddenly dead exhausted, wonder why

 

Tim: have fun reading my barely coherent rant about our two mutually pining coworkers first thing tomorrow morning ;)

 

Tim: also, off-track, but now im just thinking

 

Tim: it’s good for us all to be in the same room. after the water park, u know. 

 

Tim: i mean, it feels safer than being alone at my flat. It feels better. with you near me.

 

Tim: anyway. 

 

Tim: that’s all i guess. im about to pass right back out. so.

 

Tim: see you tomorrow sash. 

 

Tim: love u.



Chapter Text

Tuesday, 8:41 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: I’m out getting coffee, do you want something ?

 

Tim: every drop of caffeine, ever

 

Sasha: I’ll see what I can do !

 

Sasha: Also I screenshotted your messages from last night because they made me smile. I love you too, idiot .

 

Tim: d’awwww ;’)

 

Sasha: As for your speculations, I have no idea if Jon and Martin are a thing now, however I wouldn’t be surprised . I feel like it’s been a long time coming . Plus you’re right, their energy was definitely different when they came back from their walk yesterday !

 

Sasha: Are they awake yet ?

 

Tim: yeah i was the last one up, big surprise

 

Tim: i need my beauty sleep, there’s so much to maintain ;)

 

Sasha: Oh so you missed it then .

 

Tim: .i

 

Tim: i missed wha t

 

Sasha: The cutest thing I’ve ever seen .

 

Sasha: [sent a photo: On the couch, Jon and Martin are still asleep. During the night, they have shifted positions, and now Martin lies along the couch, on his back, with Jon curled up against him. Martin’s arm is draped around Jon, cuddling him close, and Jon has his head rested on Martin’s chest with his top arm slung across Martin’s stomach.]

 

Tim: marto is literally Right Here and i almost had a heart attack trying not to react

 

Sasha: Did you succeed in not reacting ?

 

Tim: no

 

Tim: he asked me what i was grinning at and i panicked?? and i said uhh just kinky shit u kno

 

Sasha: Ah yes, cuddling, the smuttiest of the smut .

 

Tim: well it worked!! he was no longer interested in seeing my screen ;)

 

Tim: also i am So tired still. Wanna do caffeine shots with me 

 

Tim: i may have also brought a fukton of sugary shit for moments like this

 

Sasha: Caffeine AND sugar ??? Sure .

 

Sasha: I don’t want to be of sound mind if Elias comes in and starts telling us off about decorating his office with paper snowflakes (and filling his desk with shaving cream, which was a great last-minute addition !)

 

Tim: he's neVER going to get all of it out

 

Tim: he can complain about the shaving cream but if he even Tries to tell me he doesn’t like the snowflakes??? he shall receive Immediate Death

 

Tim: we worked so hard on them!! and they look stellar

 

Sasha: We should have kept them . Elias doesn’t deserve our artistry !

 

Tim: u got that right

 

9:12 am

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: heyyy boss

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: did marto tell you he’s a piano legend

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: tim. why.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: your legend status deserves to be shared!!

 

Martin Enthusiast: I was not actually aware of this. Martin, you play?

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: um yeah, a bit. it’s really not a big deal.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: um?? marto?? what??

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: i dunno what you want me to say! it’s not a big deal, it’s never come up in conversation in the past, it’s. like. yes? i play the piano sometimes? :/

 

Nurse James: It appears that I have to speak for the both of us now, as tim is utterly despondent, he literally has his face in his hands . I don’t blame him ! Martin is underselling himself to an extent that is ...frankly ? Upsetting .

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: yeah where even are you guys? i am very much by my lonesome in the breakroom :(

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: boss, go keep marto company, you coward!

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’m not the one who left him in the first place.

 

Nurse James: Tim just keeled over again .

 

Nurse James: Sorry we abandoned you martin !! We’re outside the institute if you want to join us, but we figured you wouldn’t want to since we’re drinking c*ffee .

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: i honestly feel more cheated about you drinking That than about anything else >:0

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: and it’s okay, im just making it so that all of my piano videos are set to private now :))

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i cant believe this

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: if only i had downloaded every single one of them when i got the chance

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh wait!

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: no. you didnt. tim you did not

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: [sent a video: Martin sits at a grand piano in a small, cozy room. The ceiling drips with twinkling fairy lights, speckling the polished wood of the piano with starry blips and throwing an uneven glow across Martin’s form. He places his phone on the stand, next to the sheet music, then pulls an earbud into one ear. After a few seconds, he begins to play, his fingers landing softly on the keys, yet with practiced precision. Then the melody picks up, both in speed and in dynamics, and Martin throws his hands across the piano, bobbing his head to the rhythm, a grin spreading over his face like a wildfire. Nobody is watching, and he wouldn’t care if they were, anyway. He is having the time of his life. He is in his own little world. He plays like this until the song’s finale, which is raucous, complicated, and beautiful.]

 

Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood: i feel i have been. attacked

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Martin “Go to sleep or I’ll put you to sleep” Blackwood ’s name to The Piano Man

 

Nurse James: This is my favourite video of all time .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: im never watching anything else ever. just this, on repeat, until i die

 

Martin Enthusiast: Martin, that is extremely impressive. I only wish I’d known about this earlier.

 

The Piano Man: noo stop guys, i cant be properly mad when youre all acting so nice :(

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: then dont be mad and start,,giving us a concert. problem solved! ;)

 

The Piano Man: there’s no piano in the archives!!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: @boss can you uhh get on that thx in advance

 

Martin Enthusiast: Perhaps you should look into it, Tim, since some of us are working this week. Thank /you/ in advance.

 

Nurse James: If jon keeps this up, tim isn’t going to live for much longer . The destruction to his ego is taking its toll .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i think i hear an angelic choir! singing to me,,,,it sounds so beautiful!!!

 

Nurse James: Actually I take it back, his cause of death is going to be: consuming an uncountable quantity of caffeine shots as well as half a baggie of expired candy corn .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: just because you and i both lost count! doesnt mean it’s uncountable!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: also you cant judge me, you finished off the rest of the candy corn, plus you’re hoarding the most sugary stuff like,,,some sort of sweets dragon

 

Nurse James: Yeah ? And what of it ?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh, nothing. it’s not like you get crazy sugar rushes or anything, which im definitely not looking forward to at all ;)))))

 

Nurse James: Um . No comment .

 

The Piano Man: maybe we should break out one of the wii dance games. i mean, to help you both burn off some energy?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yes yes yes yes yes yes

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: id do that anywa but yse

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: youre all going dOwn

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: unless we’re doing a team effort in which case we’re all goign uP

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: on a Tuesday

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: wait it’s actually tuesday!!! like the song! holy shit guys!!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: jon youre joining! or else!! i want to see your moves, boss. wait,,your -boss moves- !! ahhhh it’s perfect , so many things are perfect

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i hope there are good dance songs, i mean,,,,prolly since it’s a dance game but sometimes the songs are still shite u know. slow songs in dance games?? it happens!!!!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto can u check. the sonksg

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: lmk if there’s shakira shakira ;)))

 

Nurse James: ...Wii dance it is .

 

11:12 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Tubed: i have never wanted to take a shower more in my life

 

Tubed: im so glad we dragged stefan down from the second floor to make sure elias doesnt commit a hit and run on jon while we’re gone,,i look forward to cleansing myself with full peace of mind

 

Waterfelled: Yeah agreed !

 

Waterfelled: Also are you not back home yet ?

 

Tubed: delaysss

 

Tubed: plz entertain me while the tube continues to stop every five seconds due to mechanical problems

 

Waterfelled: Yikes .

 

Waterfelled: Right well you’ll be pleased to know I am So jittery, I have never had more energy ever, and it’s terrible .

 

Waterfelled: When I got back to my flat my bath lasted five minutes because I could not stay still and I wanted to run !! 

 

Tubed: im just mad i cant witness this with my own eyes like

 

Waterfelled: Oh, trust me, you will once I get back to the institute .

 

Tubed: what are the Odds you’ll do another caffeine shot the moment you step in the door

 

Waterfelled: 1 of 200, I would actually explode I think !! I feel like I’m going to explode already !

 

Waterfelled: 80

 

Bet Bot: 171

 

Waterfelled: Good .

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: hmu with some conspiracy theories on what jon and marto did last night ;)

 

Sasha: I think they were out walking and they got abducted by aliens who kept them in a timeless state of being for a few months (actually a few minutes our time) and over the course of their captivity they grew closer together and admitted their feelings . Then they escaped, and now they’re here.

 

Tim: sasha what

 

Sasha: You asked !

 

Tim: ….give me more ;)

 

Sasha: Ok hang on .

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: Tim, what are the Odds you’ll ditch the tube and run the rest of the way to your flat ?

 

Tubed: hmm 3 km? im already sweaty but also so tired from dancing

 

Tubed: so 1 of 10

 

Tubed: 2

 

Bet Bot: 3

 

Tubed: my body has been spared by the immortal merciful Bot

 

Waterfelled: The Bot took pity on you .

 

Tubed: im so thankful u dont even know

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Tim: also why’s marto on radio silence hmmm

 

Sasha: He’s probably showering !

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Tubed: marto when you’re done practicing personal hygiene can you bring your piano to the archives??? thmanks

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: wait put a hold on conspiracies, what are our plans to find out about Pining

 

Tim: bc like,,,until we know for sure they’ve gotten together, our scheme is still a go

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: I mean they may have confessed already so there’s probably not much more for us to do, Scheme-wise . But we could always rope them into having some more alone time together ! That would be beneficial for everyone involved, even if they don’t think so at first . :)

 

Tubed: sasha,,,,wrong chat,,,,,,,,

 

Waterfelled: Oh . My god .

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: I can’t believe I just did that .

 

Tim: the sugar-caffeine high caught up to your brain lmaooo

 

Sasha: If anything I have more adrenaline now but it’s anxious adrenaline which is very unhelpful ! What is martin going to say ??

 

Tim: idk but i am afraid for my life

 

Tim: thank god we’re not in the same building rn

 

Sasha: But we will be soon…

 

Tim: haha oh yeah. shit

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Sunken treasure: um :/

 

Sunken treasure: so there has been an ongoing Scheme i see?

 

Tubed: ahhh yep in fact there has

 

Tubed: honestly surprised you didnt pick up on it before, we are not as sneaky as we pretend to be

 

Waterfelled: Martin I’m so sorry, this must seem totally invasive and deceptive . Tim and I knew about your feelings for jon, and we wanted to sort of push you both into situations where it would be more likely for something to grow . We kept it a secret because we didn’t want you to think that if anything romantic ended up happening, it was fake or cheap by default . I completely understand if you’re angry, you have every right to be .

 

Sunken treasure: noo sasha it’s ok! it’s actually really sweet that you and tim would go out of your way to try and make something of my ridiculous crush

 

Sunken treasure: ok now that im thinking of certain situations that were most definitely orchestrated by you two, i can definitely see it. sure, maybe you could have erm...forgone certain things. like locking me in the hotel room with jon and turning the lights out and blasting careless whisper? a little on the nose, if im to be honest

 

Tubed: SHGKFSGG NO REGRETS

 

Sunken treasure: but generally, i dont mind a shove in the right direction. i think i’d take all the help i can get, romantically speaking :)

 

Waterfelled: You are the most forgiving person I have ever met and neither I nor tim deserve you in any way, shape, or form .

 

Sunken treasure: <3

 

Tubed: does this mean our Scheme worked ;)) like, are you two,,,u know,,,,, ;)))))

 

Tubed: like something happened on that walk don’t even lie ;))) a little lip action mayhaps,,

 

Sunken treasure: omgggg

 

Waterfelled: Tim ! We just got off so easy ! Don’t push it !

 

Sunken treasure: we did not kiss!! what?? :0

 

Tubed: danm,,,i guess sash and i shall continue Scheming then

 

Waterfelled: Martin, I apologize on tim’s behalf, we will not continue the Scheme if you don’t want us to .

 

Sunken treasure: like i said, i dont mind really. just dont do anything too crazy please!! :(

 

Waterfelled: We won’t !

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Tim, I’ll kill you !

 

Tim: your threats do not phase me, miss james

 

Tim: pretty rude that the boss hasn’t kissed our dear marto yet

 

Tim: im still convinced something happened yesterday though

 

Sasha: I’d like to think they’re dating ...but wouldn’t Martin tell us ?

 

Sasha: Maybe not after This ...

 

Tim: nah, don’t worry, he’s cool with it remember? plus if he and jon were dating, there’s no way they’d be able to hide it

 

Tim: i am truly glad marto’s not going the revenge route. we both saw the damage he could do,,,this year’s infamous april fool’s day, where We became the fools

 

Sasha: Oh yes, we’re VERY lucky he’s a forgiving guy, or else we would be goners .

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: tim and sasha have revoked their right to know things!

 

Jon: So...we’re not telling them that we’re dating?

 

Martin: nope! at least not today.

 

Jon: I’m almost afraid to ask, but what did they do?

 

Martin: um so. they’ve been scheming. to get us together? and thats fine mostly but also they caused some of the more um. embarrassing things that have happened :///

 

Martin: so im getting back at them

 

Jon: By withholding information?

 

Martin: yes!

 

Jon: Honestly, I think we could take it to the next level.

 

Martin: oh?? :0

 

Jon: We could simply...act as though nothing has changed. Not that we’ll alter how we interact with each other at all. But if they ask, the answer is always, “No, of course we aren’t dating.”

 

Martin: omg 

 

Martin: they are going to lose their minds haha

 

Martin: jon you are a genius

 

Jon: Well, the idea was based upon your own plan, so the praise is equally yours.

 

Martin: aw if you say so :)

 

Jon: Will you be coming back to the Institute soon?

 

Martin: yeah, im leaving in a mo. is something wrong?

 

Martin: wait is elias there?? stefan was supposed to keep an eye out! :((

 

Jon: No, no, it’s nothing like that. Nothing is wrong.

 

Jon: I was just hoping to see you, is all.

 

Jon: Nothing against Stefan. I’m sure he’s a very decent person. But well. He isn’t you.

 

Jon: Ah, I’m sorry, that was perhaps too forward. It hasn’t even been 24 hours, after all.

 

Martin: no it wasn’t, jon, it wasnt too forward i promise. im just. im smiling, so much, i am not used to you being all that affectionate? and i really really love it, so please dont think you made me uncomfortable or anything because i just

 

Martin: im just really happy. that’s all. im just happy.

 

Jon: Oh, good. Well I’m glad. Because I am too. Very much so.

 

Martin: good :))) i’ll see you soon

 

Jon: See you soon :-)

 

12:00 pm

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: lunch break, boss get in here 

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: we have plans for you

 

Martin Enthusiast: That’s not suspicious at all.

 

Nurse James: Hey ! We’re harmless !

 

Martin Enthusiast: Still does not fill me with confidence.

 

The Piano Man: it’s nothing bad, we promise! :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’ll be there momentarily.

 

1:09 pm

 

The Piano Man: [sent a video: Sasha and Tim duet “Love is an Open Door” on Wii Sing It. Their performance is incredibly over-the-top, both of them making exaggerated expressions––including: Tim acting positively flabbergasted when Sasha finishes his sentence with “Sandwiches”, then replying, “That’s what I was gonna say????”––as well as doing whatever spurts of choreography they happen to remember from the movie. During the chorus, they sing, “Love is an open DOOOOR” at the top of their lungs, which sometimes sounds less like singing and more like shrieking. At one point, Martin aims the camera at Jon, who sits on the couch next to him. He is plugging his ears.]

 

The Piano Man: [sent a video: Jon solos “Be Prepared.” He is channeling all of his experience from The Mechanisms for this performance, meaning that he prowls around the room, as far as the length of his corded microphone will allow, and sings directly to the assistants, all of whom watch this spectacle from the couch. Sasha and Tim are just losing it almost every sentence because between the haughty lyrics and unimpressed demeanor, it all sounds like something Jon would normally say. Jon stalks forward. “It’s clear from your vacant expressions––” he waves a hand in front of Tim’s face “––the lights are not all on upstairs.” Tim flips him off. Sasha laughs so hard that tears spring to her eyes. Behind the camera, Martin is giggling like a maniac. After the first chorus, Tim and Sasha hop into the roles of the hyenas, easily bantering back and forth with “Scar”. Martin captures it all on camera––Sasha and Tim, bobbing their heads from side to side in unison: “No king, no king, lala-lala-la-la.”]

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: [sent a video: Martin and Jon duet “I See the Light,” Martin starting off by singing Rapunzel’s part, peeking over at Jon but mostly keeping his attention on the lyrics rolling down the screen. Then Jon begins Flynn’s verse. At first his eyes linger on the screen, but soon enough they wander over to Martin, where they remain. Jon makes a slight alteration to the lyrics: “Now he’s here, shining in the starlight. Now he’s here, suddenly I know.” Tim flips the camera around to show his and Sasha’s faces, both of which are utterly stupefied. Sasha’s expression melts into a huge, sappy smile, while Tim just looks like he has no idea what the hell is going on, but he is 100% here for it. He spins the camera back onto the scene before him, in time to catch Martin noticing that Jon is staring at him. Martin does a double-take, then flushes red, but smiles and turns to face him. When the chorus comes along, Martin joins in, and now they are singing to each other, and only to each other. They continue like this until they have sung very final line: “All at once, everything is different, now that I see you.”]

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: are you guys gonna explain that last one or

 

The Piano Man: hm. no.

 

Martin Enthusiast: No.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i need answers so badly it hurts

 

Martin Enthusiast: What is there to explain, Tim? We sang a duet. That is the point of playing a singing game, yes?

 

Nurse James: Okay but it felt like there was...another layer to it ?

 

Martin Enthusiast: Unsure what you mean.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ok im just gonna say it, are you guys dating because uhhhhh

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: if not,,,,how

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: like actually how? why are you not? why not? why?

 

Nurse James: Are you having a stroke .

 

Nurse James: Martin zipped into the kitchen immediately after checking his messages and I don’t blame him .

 

Martin Enthusiast: Tim, I am not dating Martin, that is ridiculous. And your question is inappropriate for the workplace, might I add.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: says the guy who just channeled the spirit of an evil cartoon lion

 

Martin Enthusiast: ...Fine.

 

Martin Enthusiast: But anyway, no, we aren’t. We performed a duet wherein the characters who originally sang the duet had feelings for one another. This says nothing about Martin and I. Perhaps you were confused. It’s called acting.

 

The Piano Man: :X

 

Nurse James: I am speechless . I

 

Nurse James: I actually fumbled and dropped my phone just then .

 

Nurse James: Jon, I have never respected you more than in this moment . I think you legitimately crushed Tim’s ego beyond repair this time .

 

Nurse James: He just walked right past me and face-planted into one of the beanbag chairs . He isn’t moving .

 

Martin Enthusiast: Well. Whatever helps him cope, I suppose.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Before I get back to work, I was wondering if you three have planned something for tonight? If so, I need to know so that I can adjust my schedule accordingly.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I will be heading back to my flat at some point for a shower and a change of clothes, so if anything needs to be picked up, I’ll be out anyway.

 

Nurse James: I don’t think we have anything specific planned, actually . Which feels almost shameful to admit .

 

The Piano Man: yeah i mean i guess we could just hang out? 

 

The Piano Man: tim still hasnt moved from the beanbag chair. i keep expecting him to respond to the chat and then he doesn’t and it’s weird.

 

Nurse James: I’ll respond for him . *cracks knuckles*

 

Nurse James: no plans tonite but we could, u know,,,,simply Vibe ;))))

 

Nurse James: Martin is laughing so I consider my impression a success .

 

The Piano Man: oh it was spot on!! :0

 

The Piano Man: also, for this evening, there are board games we could do! also more wii games... :)

 

Nurse James: If you’re referring to the horror games you brought, I will Not be participating . I’ll watch you do that but I’m not playing Resident Evil , especially not at night, in the archives ! That’s like triple nightmare fuel .

 

Martin Enthusiast: Why...would you voluntarily add horror to a place that is already dedicated to horror?

 

The Piano Man: for fun :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: Preposterous.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I won’t be participating either. But I will watch.

 

Nurse James: It’s settled then, we’re having a watch-Martin-play-terrifying-video-games night .

 

The Piano Man: if either of you want to play as well, the option is always there!! :D

 

Nurse James: Um, no .

 

Martin Enthusiast: No. Not happening.

 

The Piano Man: pfff guys it’s not that scary, i swear!

 

The Piano Man: sasha just gave me the most scrutinizing look, but im not lying, its really not that bad!

 

Martin Enthusiast: We’ll be the judge of that.

 

Nurse James: ^

 

The Piano Man: lolol fine

 

4:29 pm

 

To: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: The Final Straw

 

Peter,

 

My Archival employees are out of control.  In the past, they have infiltrated my office to perform largely harmless and trivial pranks, and I allowed it, because I knew that their peaceful days at the Institute were limited.  I am not always a cruel man, Peter.  I wanted them to have their fun, while it lasted.

 

But the time for pranks should be well in the past.  Jonathan Sims has given himself over to the Eye, and his assistants know this.  Finally, my Archivist is an Entity of Fear.  This is an undeniable fact.  Yet those damned assistants act as though nothing has changed.  They are anxious, yes, and still traumatized from their time in the Buried, but they do not fear the Archivist.

 

I do not necessarily require that they fear him.  However, due to their lack of fear, they have not consigned themselves to the archives, as I suspected they would. Rather, they have decided that continuing to assault my office is a perfectly reasonable course of action, and for this I will not stand.

 

I believe some chastisement is in order.

 

Periodically yours,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

5:03 pm

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

Subject: RE: The Final Straw

 

Dearest Eli,

 

Interesting, though not surprising. Based on what you’ve told me about these assistants, they seem like a pretty tight-knit group. And after getting trapped in the Buried, it makes sense that they’d feel closer to each other and to Jonathan than before. Especially since your little Archivist was the one who saved them.

 

Huh. It’s pretty funny that I have a better sense of how social groups function than you do, starfish. Maybe you’ve gotten a bit too comfortable, watching without engaging. Sounds like something I’d do. Are my habits rubbing off on you?

 

Anyway, if their pranks bother you so much, perhaps it really is time for some chastisement, as you say. After all, now that the assistants are aware of the realities of this world, what’s stopping you from showing them what you’re capable of? 

 

If they don’t fear the Archivist, they can always fear you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Peter

 

 

Chapter Text

Wednesday, 9:42 am

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: [sent a photo: A selfie. In the darkness of the room, Tim smirks into the camera. Behind him, Martin sits on the couch with a wii remote in his hand, Sasha and Jon bunched up either side of him. All of them are wrapped in several layers of blankets, so thoroughly covered that only their heads poke out. The light of the TV screen illuminates their faces––Jon and Sasha with matching expressions of wide-eyed dread, Martin with a small relaxed smile.]

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: last night’s watch-marto-whip-through-horror-games event was so good

 

Nurse James: It was Terrifying actually !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: we should make it a weekly thing ;)

 

Martin Enthusiast: No.

 

The Piano Man: i still dont know why you guys think it was scary, it really wasnt! :))

 

Nurse James: Martin doesn’t know what he’s saying . He isn’t thinking straight .

 

The Piano Man: tim before you say something..dont

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto never thinks straight

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oops!! too late ;)

 

The Piano Man: :I

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: what, u want me to lie?? ok yeah marto aLways thinks Str8 he’s a Hetero thinker, that one

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i almost threw up typing that i hope youre happy

 

Nurse James: Martin he’s lost his tea privileges again .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: sasha! you have,, betrayed me

 

Nurse James: And I’d do it again <3

 

The Piano Man: actually um, probably best i dont make the tea today. im feeling a bit under the weather :( dont want to spread germs

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto,,,,noooooo

 

Nurse James: So that’s why you’re lying on the couch ? This is a tragedy !

 

Martin Enthusiast: Martin, what are your symptoms? I believe I have some cold medicine somewhere in my office.

 

The Piano Man: ah just. my head feels sort of foggy? and im really, really tired even though i just woke up :/ just all around dont feel great, but it’s nothing serious.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll bring you something in a moment.

 

The Piano Man: thanks jon :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I could also try making you some tea, if that would help?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: hey boss noah fence but your tea tastes like a mix of windex and untreated well water ;)))

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: dont worry ill get the tea marto,,,i wont let jon’s “”””””tea”””” hurt you anymore, u are safe here

 

Martin Enthusiast: My tea is not that bad.

 

Nurse James: :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: Sasha, you too?

 

Martin Enthusiast: Martin, my tea is not that bad.

 

The Piano Man: yes, it’s not. that bad :)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: even texting, i can see him straining to keep a neutral face

 

The Piano Man: no im not, im not doing that!

 

Nurse James: He is .

 

The Piano Man: how can you both be such lovely people, yet. you do this?

 

Nurse James: Depth of personality !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: multitasking ;)

 

Martin Enthusiast: In any case, I’ll be by with the medicine--and not tea--in a minute.

 

The Piano Man: thank you, truly. and we can um. work on your tea skills later? :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’d be amenable to taking lessons from the master tea maker himself.

 

The Piano Man: ha! that sounds really fun actually, i look forward to it!

 

Martin Enthusiast: Me as well. :-)

 

10:45 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: cbryrenfaire.com/tickets-for-admission/

 

Waterfelled: Assuming Martin is feeling better this weekend…

 

Tubed: reN FAIRE REN FAIRE

 

Tubed: marto please reprise your role as an elf face painter i Need this

 

Tubed: oh fuck i think he’s asleep hhh

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: if our boy stops being sick in time for this weekend like,, u already know im down

 

Sasha: Now we just need to ask Jon !

 

Tim: i can text him dw

 

Sasha: ...I don’t trust you Timothy Stoker .

 

Tim: dw dw im not going to do anything ;) nothing at all ;)

 

Sasha: I can’t tell if you’re actually trying to convince me, but if you are, that’s a very pitiful attempt .

 

Sasha: This is about what happened earlier, isn’t it ?

 

Tim: hmmmm idk,,,what do you mean? i noticed nothing out of the ordinary

 

Sasha: Ah, right . Jon coming in to give Martin some cold medicine, then staying to sit with him, in very close proximity, for a good half hour before getting back to work...is normal .

 

Tim: dont forget the part where the boss was actually smiling this sweet, absent-minded smile-

 

Sasha: Oh so you do remember ! :)

 

Tim: hold that thot im gonna text jon about the faire

 

Tim: and about nothing else

 

Sasha: Oh goodness .

 

Tim to Jon

 

Tim: heyy wanna head to a ren faire this weekend so that we can see elf!marto in action

 

Tim: sasha found one nearby and it looks stellar,,,we just need to figure out costumes and we should be good to go ;)

 

Jon: Actually, that does sound enjoyable. I’ve been to renaissance faires before and they’re usually quite something.

 

Tim: hell yeah boss!!! that was so much easier than i expected

 

Tim: also,,,saw u had a good ;) convo ;) with martin ;) earlier today ;))

 

Jon: Yes?

 

Tim: just think it’s interesting is all……;)

 

Jon: If you send another winky face I’m blocking your number.

 

Tim: .....

 

Tim: ;(

 

12:00 pm

 

Tim: it’s breaktime bossman!!

 

Tim: wouldve texted the main gc but marto’s still asleep lmao

 

Jon: It’s good that he is, sleep will help him get better quicker.

 

Jon: I’ll be over in a moment.

 

Tim: ahh gucci

 

12:41 pm

 

-Incoming FaceTime Call from Kit-

 

[On the screen, Kit sits at the table of a cafe, earbuds in, a steaming hot chocolate and a croissant placed off to the side. He’s wearing a button-down patterned with purple octopi. When Sasha answers, he smiles wide.

 

Sasha: How’s my favourite fake boss?

 

Kit: I dunno, how’s my favourite cousin?

 

Sasha, snorting: Kit, you can’t say that when I’m not your only cousin.

 

Kit: I’ll scream it to the rooftops, I’ll tell everyone here––Sasha’s my favourite cousin!

 

Sasha, trying not to smile, failing miserably: Shhh shut up! You’re in a public space!

 

Kit looks around in mock surprise, and says: Oh. Thought I was in my living room. I should probably put on trousers. Anyway, how have you been?

 

Sasha’s smile falters, but she manages to keep it mostly level.

 

Sasha: It’s been difficult lately. For all of my coworkers. But we’re…improving.

 

Tim (off-screen): Are you talking to your hot cousin?

 

Sasha, visibly in pain: I’m not going to call him that, but yes, it’s Kit.

 

Sasha flips her camera to face one of the tables in the break room, where Tim is doing something on his laptop. He grins and throws a peace sign.

 

Sasha: Tim here has been aggressively researching ren faire costume inspiration.

 

Tim: I want an outfit that says, “Yes, I’m a witch. Yes, I am adhering to the ren faire dress code by a literal thread. Yes, those rips in the fabric over my biceps are done on purpose, but they’re representative of my own personal truth.”

 

Kit: That’s a very talkative costume.

 

Sasha: He has a vision. Oh, and here are the others.

 

Sasha pans the camera over to the couch, where Martin and Jon are sitting. Martin is wrapped up in a blanket, and despite having just taken a nap, there are bags under his eyes. He looks frazzled and bleary-eyed, but he still gives the camera a quiet smile when he sees it pointed in his direction. Jon, leaning against him, has his hand resting delicately on the back of Martin’s neck. He doesn’t remove it when he sees the camera; he only gives a short, “Hello, Kit.”

 

Kit: Hey, it’s my double! Or I guess I’m his double. By the way, how has that Elias guy been since I left? Is he still terrible and cryptic?

 

Sasha flips the camera back around and nods emphatically.

 

Sasha: He’s still the worst! But we’ve been able to mostly avoid him lately, which is great––

 

Jon (off-screen): He’s coming down the hall.

 

Sasha: …What? Right now?

 

Jon: Right now. And it feels…different this time. Like he’s going to do something.

 

Sasha stares past the camera, her joyed expression melting into one of worry.

 

Kit: Sasha? What’s happening?

 

Sasha: I’m really sorry, I’ll call you back later, Kit.

 

Kit: Wait, is everything––?]

 

-Call ended-

 

1:04 pm

 

To: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: Comeuppance

 

Peter,

 

I am pleased to inform you that I have successfully shown the assistants their proper place.  It was hardly difficult to tug at their insecurities; each of them are equipped with plenty.  

 

Martin Blackwood was the easiest to influence, of course.  His fears consume him in such an obvious way that even the least perceptive individual in the world could see it.  It didn’t take much to distress him.  Just a few off-hand suggestions about what his mother thinks of him--what she sees in him.

 

Tim Stoker resisted, but his mind is more fragile than he believes it to be.  Forcing him to relive the unfortunate passing of his brother would have been the most straightforward choice, but I decided against it.  Too easy.  Low-hanging fruit, if you will.  No, I wanted a challenge, so I Looked deeper into his mind and I found something better.  Something affecting not only his past, but his present.  You see, despite his confident exterior, Tim has this deep, burning anxiety about his own importance to the world.  After all, what has he done to avenge his brother?  Nothing of consequence.  What has he done to deserve Sasha’s affection?  Nothing at all.  He just doesn’t try hard enough at anything.  That’s why when he fails, it is his fault.  When he lets down Jon, Martin, Sasha––again, his own fault.  All these years, he has wasted his own time.  And now, he is empty.

 

I simply reminded him of this.  All of this, at once.  As you might expect, it worked beautifully.

 

Finally, there was Sasha James.  She was trickier to parse out, I will admit, but it did not take long to discover that what keeps her up at night is not dissimilar to Tim’s own fears.  Years of struggling against the current, of working her way into this position of semi-importance, have taken a toll.  Because, yes, Sasha is qualified for much more than she has been given.  She has fought harder than many of her colleagues, and ended up with less.  Perhaps she is competent, but nobody cares about that. No matter how hard she tries, she is helpless .  The pursuits of her life are limited.  On any given day, if she is not the best, if she makes the tiniest error, this position she has worked so diligently for may be snatched away.  She is not important enough to feel secure in her position. She will never be important enough.  And if the higher-ups care so little for her, what about her friends?  Her family?  

 

What if it isn’t the system?  What if it’s just…her?

 

Well.  I reflected these concerns back.  Of course it’s just her.  Sasha was never important enough to be irreplaceable, not to anyone.  Tim insists she is, but deep down, she suspects that he is lying to make her feel better.  To make her feel important enough .

 

Jon tried to prevent me from doing all of this, of course.  He even tried to punch me.  But discounting the fact that he is comparatively small and weak, it was laughably facile to distract him with his own childhood memories of a very hungry arachnid.  By this point, I was actually having fun.

 

There was a surprising development, however.  Jon attempted to influence me, to force me to stop.  And for a moment, it worked.

 

I’m not sure whether to be pleased about his progress, or concerned for my own control over him.  I’ll discuss this further with you this evening.

 

In any case, I believe there will be no more invasions of my office.  It may take the archival staff a while to heal from the psychological devastation I have bestowed upon them.  Well, I can afford to damage a few assistants.  That is one such perk of being me.

 

See you tonight,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

1:12 pm

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: lads can we play uno later

 

Nurse James: Yes please .

 

Martin Enthusiast: If you’d like.

 

The Piano Man: ah. sure :)

 

The Piano Man: wait

 

The Piano Man: your deck is the one that has those blank cards where you wrote in “+10”

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i mean yeah if you have to take ten,,,things get spicy ;)

 

Nurse James: Last time, you and Martin daisy-chained them when I had two cards left, and I haven’t been the same since .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: watching you sloooowly pick up twenty cards,, one by one, was one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed 

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: also that evil smile marto tried and failed to suppress before slapping down that second +10,,,, fucking mINT

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: @sasha wth are you doing over there u look v focused

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: crouched like a gremlin at ur desk

 

Nurse James: How do you even see me right now ? You’re lying on the floor with all of the beanbag chairs piled on top of you .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: x-ray vision

 

Nurse James: Fine .

 

Nurse James: Anyway, I’m fucking over Elias .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh???? how so???

 

Nurse James: I’m hacking into his email .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: you are a wonder

 

Nurse James: No, I’m just pissed off .

 

Nurse James: He had the AUDACITY to prance in here and screw with our heads, just to show us he’s powerful ?? As though we needed any more pain and fear in our lives ?? As though we didn’t JUST escape from fucking water level purgatory ??

 

Nurse James: You make my friends cry, I make you cry . That’s how it works .

 

Nurse James: I am going to make this man suffer like he has never suffered in his goddamn life, and I am going to do it through his email .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: elias is doomed :) all hail sash jamboree

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto can i come hug u yet or are you still vibing alone outside

 

The Piano Man: tim im sick, i dont want to get you sick by hugging you!

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: martin withdrawal,,,,,,,kills thousands each year,,,

 

The Piano Man: ill be back in soon i just um. need another minute

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: take ur time <3

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: jon wbu,,if you take a short trip out from your office im here waiting with open arms,,beneath the bean bags. your door is already open to the break room….

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’m fine, thank you.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ok

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Are you all right

 

Tim: haha nope

 

Sasha: Please come out from under the bean bag chairs . I know you’re trying to punish yourself for some reason and I really wish you wouldn’t .

 

Tim: dunno what you mean

 

Sasha: Tim, just a few days ago you had a lot of trouble being confined in any way, hugs included . And now you’re literally burying yourself, and you’re /asking/ for hugs .

 

Sasha: Whatever Elias showed you, it doesn’t matter . You don’t deserve to hurt, even if it’s to try and make other people feel better . And maybe I’m being overbearing, but I don’t care . I can’t pretend to ignore it when you’re being self-destructive . You’re too important to me .

 

Sasha: Why don’t you come sit with me ? We don’t have to talk about it . We can just be two gremlins hacking into Elias’s email .

 

Tim: hm.

 

Sasha: Timothy Stoker come hold my hand .

 

Tim: danm,,,

 

Tim: how can i say no to that? 

 

Tim: also we can talk about it soon but just. not right now. my brain hurts. i dont want to think about it anymore.

 

Sasha: That’s fine . I don’t want to think about it either, honestly .

 

Tim: in that case i shall,,emerge. like a hermit crab

 

Sasha: Sigh .

 

Sasha: Ok weirdo :)

 

Tim: ;)

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: It would be silly to ask if you’re okay. I know you’re not. But if you wanted some company, I would be happy to join you.

 

Jon: I also understand if you’d prefer to have some space to process.

 

Martin: i think i am feeling slightly less awful, finally. being alone for a bit helped.

 

Martin: but now that ive had a moment to myself, i wouldnt mind at all if you came by :)

 

Jon: Good to hear, on all counts.

 

Jon: Martin, I’m so sorry.

 

Jon: I should have been able to stop him. I think I could have, had I been intelligent enough to realize we should lock the doors before he arrived. Or had I been quicker to act.

 

Jon: Elias should not have the right to do something like this in the first place.

 

Martin: i agree with you on that second part, but you know this isn’t your fault, jon. you tried to help us. elias is just extra spooky i guess. :(

 

Jon: Yes, I suppose. 

 

Jon: Also he is several inches taller than me…

 

Martin: yeah but thats not hard :)

 

Jon: You are despicable.

 

Martin: yep

 

Jon: And tall. Which makes you even more despicable by default.

 

Martin: and you’re small. which makes you cute by default :)

 

Jon: No.

 

Martin: yes. it’s indisputable actually!

 

Jon: It is disputable. I am disputing it.

 

Martin: but you’re wrong, so your disputing doesn’t count. accept the truth jon! you’re cute!

 

Jon: I am now going to pretend to agree so that you will stop being so blatantly incorrect and we can move on with our lives.

 

Jon: “I agree.”

 

Martin: wow. terrible

 

Jon: I know. Also, would it be helpful for you to go for a short walk? Obviously you’re sick but. Fresh air and all.

 

Martin: yeah i could go for a short one, if im not too fatigued. this cold is really taking it out of me

 

Jon: Understandable. That would work for me as well, in fact. I’m feeling a bit run down myself.

 

Jon: I’ll be there momentarily.

 

Martin: oh, i thought you meant this evening!

 

Jon: I mean, we can, if you’d prefer that.

 

Martin: no i can definitely go now, i just...wasnt expecting you to be okay with taking an extended break from work?

 

Jon: Fuck work.

 

Martin: 0.0

 

Jon: If it annoys Elias for me to be working less, then good riddance.

 

Jon: Besides, you matter more to me.

 

Martin: oh

 

Jon: It’s just a fact. So.

 

Jon: See you in a minute.

 

Martin: yeah! ok :)))

 

1:58 pm

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: how’s the hacking going, hackerlady

 

Sasha: A lot more frustrating than I expected, but I’ll get there . I’m probably going to take a break and come back to it .

 

Tim: i belief in you ;))

 

Tim: also uhhh

 

Tim: i didnt say it before but 

 

Tim: youre really important to me too. and i need you to know that.

 

Tim: i honestly dont know what id do without you, sash. 

 

Tim: and im not saying this because youre smart or capable or helpful (which you are, obviously), im saying it because of who you are as a person. not what you are. not what skills you bring to the table.

 

Tim: maybe you think im just trying to make you feel better, but it’s actually way more selfish than that. like, when you feel bad, /i/ feel bad. i hate seeing you afraid. and i know you were trying to hide it before, but i could tell anyway.

 

Tim: there’s so much in the world to be scared of, but whether or not you’re loved? you should never have to worry about that.

 

Sasha: Tim you’re going to make me cry on my computer :(

 

Tim: then move your head,,,5 centimeters to the side ;)

 

Sasha: Is this why you randomly got up and went into the archives .

 

Sasha: So you could say these lovely things and make me cry without facing the Consequences .

 

Tim: ;3

 

Tim: the fact that you have stopped typing scares me

 

Tim: o fuck i thought i locked the door 

 

Tim: your footsteps are incredibly quiet and, once again, that scares me

 

Tim: feel like im livetweeting the moments before my own death

 

Tim: ironic how it’s going to be you who ends me, and not some Fear Bastard

 

Tim: wait.. are you actually crying?

 

Sasha: :(

 

Tim: ok, im coming.

 

 

Chapter Text

Thursday, 2:02 am

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: I think we cant continue

 

Jon: Us, I mean

 

Jon: We cant continue us.

 

Jon: It’s not your fault

 

Jon: I’m so sorry Martin.

 

Jon: I thought I could resist the Eye but i cant and it’s too much i have to

 

Jon: I can’t let myself hurt you

 

Jon: Im going away

 

Jon: This is for the best

 

Jon: Im leaving and you will be safe. That is what matters the most.

 

Jon: Im so sorry

 

4:57 am

 

Martin: jon please tell me what youre doing

 

Martin: i dont know what youre experiencing but please we can deal with it together

 

Martin: i promise youll be fine, and ill be fine, just come back from wherever you are ok?

 

Martin: wait i hear your phone going off??

 

5:14 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: Have either of you found him yet ?

 

Tubed: no, ive been looking all over the archives, jon is def not here

 

Sunken Treasure: i checked artefact storage and the entrance but no i cant find a trace of him 

 

Sunken Treasure: i dont understand why he would just leave in the night? even if he was feeling out of control, couldnt he just read one of the written statements??

 

Tubed: yeah idk

 

Tubed: like i noticed him gone when i woke up around 3, but i figured he had gone to the loo or sth

 

Waterfelled: It’s pretty worrying that he left his phone in his office .

 

Tubed: maybe he figured you’d track him down with it?

 

Sunken Treasure: he must have left the building.

 

Sunken Treasure: im going to check outside.

 

Tubed: ahhh boss!! wtf are you up to!!!

 

Waterfelled: This sort of thing goes against our take-care-of-jonathan-sims protocol and he knows it :(

 

Tubed: …..oh shit

 

Tubed: i know where he went

 

Sunken Treasure: ??

 

Tubed: just think about it. where would you go if you wanted to isolate yourself as quickly as possible, to make it so you couldnt find your way back?

 

Waterfelled: Oh goodness .

 

Sunken Treasure: nooooo

 

Sunken Treasure: of course it had to be the bloody tunnels!!

 

Tubed: im already in the archives so imma take a look

 

Waterfelled: Wait for us !

 

Tubed: dw fam it’s gucci ;)

 

Sunken Treasure: tim it is not gucci!!

 

Waterfelled: If you get lost in there I swear to god, tim .

 

Tubed: oh dang ahah there’s internet connection in here

 

Sunken Treasure: um, how?

 

Tubed: no idea but it’s actually kinda freaky ngl

 

Waterfelled: Maybe that’s the secret; it scares you, so a Fear made it happen .

 

Tubed: ah yes, the Entity of Wifi Where There Should Be None

 

Tubed: it’s really fucking dark damn

 

Tubed: i did bring a torch,, im not that dumb, but still yikes

 

Tubed: also hey fam can we just do a call, it’s taking longer to search when i have to stop and text

 

Waterfelled: Good point !

 

-Incoming Group FaceTime Call: “we lived bitch”-

 

[When the call picks up, Tim’s screen is grainy, partially from the spotty connection and partially from the darkness. As he moves through the tunnels, he holds the flashlight so that it illuminates his smirking face from below. Sasha is trying to glare, but her expression is mostly one of worry. Martin, on the other hand, is so distraught that he has circled back around to appearing deathly calm.

 

Tim: Welcome to my cooking show. As you can see, the producers really pulled the plug on our set budget, but you know. We make do.

 

Martin: Do you see anything?

 

Tim turns his torch beam onto the route in front of him, which plunges his face into darkness.

 

Tim: Just the tunnel. Can’t even see the end, the light doesn’t reach that far. It ends in blackness.

 

Sasha: That’s comforting.

 

Martin: We should come with you, this doesn’t seem safe to do alone.

 

Tim: Wait, wait, there are doorways. Look.

 

He flips the camera. Now a long, narrow tunnel with a dirt floor and stone walls is visible, the torch beam harsh and highly contrasted against the darkness. Along either wall appears several open doorways, and beyond each lies a near-impermeable blanket of pitch black. Tim moves closer to one of them and shines his light inside, illuminating the cracked walls and the linoleum floor, which is caked with dirt and grime, and is barren save for a single mannequin foot.

 

Tim: I’m not vibing.

 

Sasha: Ew!

 

Martin: This is really making me nervous, and I’m not even physically there. Please be careful, Tim.

 

Tim sneaks into the room, snickering, and takes the foot.

 

Tim: I’m always careful!

 

Martin: Oh god, why?

 

Sasha: This is serious. Be careful .

 

Tim moves to the next doorway and finds a similar room, except rather than a single foot, the floor is littered with opened cans, and there is a ripped-up, olive green loveseat in the far corner, facing the wall, as though placed in time-out.

 

Tim: Maybe I should just live here. Nobody seems to own this lovely little room.

 

Martin: Hm, I wonder why that could be!

 

Tim: Ooh, sass from Marto! This is shaping up to be a good day. Aside from everything else currently going on, I mean.

 

Sasha: Ah, right. Aside from everything else.

 

Tim directs the camera to another doorway and shines his light inside. The room has the same structure as the last two.

 

Tim: Do you think we could––?

 

The beam lands on a man, sitting in the center of the room, eyes wide open. He is dirty, stocky, pink-cheeked, with fine blond hair and stuffy clothing. He rocks himself, head cocked slightly to the side. 

 

All of the assistants SCREAM.

 

Tim sprints back down the tunnel for a few strides––then stops himself. After a moment, he turns, and inches back to the doorway, breathing hard. When he shines his torch into the room, the man has not moved, but he seems more aware of his surroundings. His glassy eyes turn to Tim.

 

Tim: Oh my GOD, oh my god. What the fuck? Who the hell are you?

 

Leitner: I. I am Jurgen Leitner. Yes. I am Jurgen...Leitner.

 

Sasha: Wait, that Jurgen Leitner?

 

Martin: This doesn’t...make any sense. Why would he be beneath the Institute?

 

Leitner: I am in hiding. 

 

Something flashes in the man’s eyes, and he shudders.

 

Leitner: I was in hiding.

 

Tim: Right. Okay, we have a lot of questions for you, but first of fucking all, did you see a guy come through here?

 

Leitner, his lip curling: Not a man. He wasn’t... It wasn’t human. It attacked me. It Looked at me, and made me talk. It made me say everything .

 

His stare, directed at Tim, is suddenly urgent. He struggles to his feet, and Tim takes a big step back.

 

Leitner: You need to take it away, please . I can’t live knowing it is down here with me. Other creatures, yes, but not that thing. I’m begging you, take it away.

 

Leitner’s gaze drifts as he loses himself once again. Almost on their own, his hands come up to rest over his mouth.

 

Leitner: Its eyes...God, its eyes

 

Tim stumbles away from the room and hurries down the tunnel. On the screen, Martin and Sasha’s faces are tight with shock.

 

Tim, under his breath as he walks: Hey, guys, what the fuck.

 

Martin: He couldn’t be talking about Jon, right? I mean, that’s...that’s crazy. Right?

 

Sasha: The description did match up, in a way. But Jon is clearly a human. I mean, really. Even if he terrorized somebody, that doesn’t make him a...a creature .

 

Martin: Yeah, exactly. So. It can’t be him.

 

Sasha, unconvincingly: Yeah.

 

Tim: Okay, but that doesn’t help us, because now we don’t know if he’s actually been sighted by our resident tunnel man. 

 

Tim reaches an intersection where the tunnel splits into three, the middle one continuing directly forward into darkness, the other two gently sloping off in opposite directions. Tim sighs and takes the center tunnel.

 

Tim: God, this place is a maze. I’m just going to not make any turns if I can help it. Wait. Do you see...What is that?

 

Tim stops walking. He shines the torch beam into the blackness. Far down the tunnel, the light just barely catches on the form of something curled against the wall.

 

Martin, softly: Do you think…?

 

Tim: Jon?

 

His torch flickers.

 

Tim: Oh, fuck no. Don’t you dare go out. Don’t you––

 

The torch flickers again, and the figure down the tunnel moves, slowly. It unravels, and stands. Something glitters, floating, in the darkness around it. Many, many somethings, blinking in the light of the torch like wet, green shards of glass.

 

Martin: Tim.

 

Sasha: Tim, you need to leave. Right now.

 

Tim: But...what if it’s Jon? We have to help him. We promised we’d help him.

 

Sasha: And what if it’s not Jon? You can’t help him if you’re dead!

 

Tim, calling out: Boss, hey! It’s me, your very attractive, equally claustrophobic assistant. D’you think it’d be cool if we could go back up to the archives right about now?

 

Sasha: What’s that noise?

 

They all pause to listen. Sure enough, there is a new sound humming and clicking in the quiet of the tunnels, seemingly emanating from the figure. It takes only a moment for all three of them to recognize it.

 

The video warps. The figure is now facing Tim, his eyes bright like reflectors. He takes a smooth step forward, then another, and now pinpricks of green light open along his arms, his neck, his face, and the glittering things floating in the nearby darkness push forward like a mass of gnats.

 

Eyes. Hundreds of bodiless, crystalline eyes.

 

The purr of a tape recorder seems to come from every direction, echoing off the stone walls. Tim’s torch flickers again, and again, and each time, the figure and the eyes are closer, even as Tim backs away. The video lags, and fragments, and twists.

 

Tim: It––’s him, I––––J–n–!–H––w––––s–––I––––]

 

-Call ended-

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Waterfelled: Tim ???

 

Sunken Treasure: im trying to call him but it’s not connecting !!

 

Waterfelled: I’m in the archives . I’m going to try and find him .

 

Sunken Treasure: wait im on my way!! i should go with you!!

 

Waterfelled: No, Martin, I need you to be on the outside, just in case something goes wrong . Let’s say I get lost . You can direct me back, even if that means shouting at me from the tunnel entrance .

 

Sunken Treasure: i mean. i guess so? i really dont like this

 

Waterfelled: Neither do I, but we don’t have a better option .

 

Waterfelled: I’ve got a torch . I’m entering the tunnels now .

 

Sunken Treasure: im almost to the archives, ill be waiting at the entrance when you come back

 

Waterfelled: Perfect .

 

Waterfelled: I’ll keep you updated .

 

Sunken Treasure: ok!!

 

5:41 am

 

Waterfelled: Just had a very short chat with Leitner . He’s a mess of a man . I think he was trying to be hospitable, but something about him made me want to punch him .

 

Sunken Treasure: um. did you?

 

Waterfelled: No, I don’t know if he’s dangerous, what with all those books connected to him .

 

Sunken Treasure: ah yeah. probably wouldnt be best to get cursed by hurting him :/

 

Waterfelled: Maybe later. :)

 

Sunken Treasure: ha, yeah

 

Sunken Treasure: any sign of tim? or jon?

 

Waterfelled: No, but I believe I’m getting closer to where we last saw Tim .

 

Waterfelled: It shouldn’t be much farther th

 

Sunken Treasure: ?

 

Sunken Treasure: sasha??

 

Sunken Treasure: are you ok???

 

Sunken Treasure: im doing my best to think positively but if you dont respond for five minutes im going to have to come down after you. i know you said to stay up here but. well. the plan has changed.

 

Sunken Treasure: this is NOT going to be another water park situation. i wont let it be.

 

Sunken Treasure: three minutes left before im going down. yes thats a threat!

 

Waterfelled: I’m here .

 

Sunken Treasure: oh thank god

 

Sunken Treasure: what happened??

 

Waterfelled: I’m sorry for scaring you ! Everything’s fine, we’re heading back .

 

Sunken Treasure: wait, “we”?

 

Waterfelled: Yes, Tim came marching out of the darkness and scared the hell out of me . He’s carrying Jon, who seems fine aside from being unconscious .

 

Waterfelled: Apparently, when Jon got close enough, Tim threw the mannequin foot at his head . Knocked him right out !

 

Sunken Treasure: huh

 

Waterfelled: Yeah lol

 

Sunken Treasure: ...so that really was jon

 

Sunken Treasure: what we saw, i mean

 

Waterfelled: Yes .

 

Waterfelled: Martin ? Still there ?

 

Sunken Treasure: yeah, im just. thinking.

 

Sunken Treasure: im so scared for him, sasha.

 

Sunken Treasure: and how am i supposed to help him with this? i dont know how to de-entity him!! i cant save him from whatever he’s become.

 

Sunken Treasure: and it’s my fault, if you stop and think about it

 

Sunken Treasure: i was the one who talked to mx. eberson that day. i was the one who got us the invitation to the water park, the one who told them about our connection to elias.

 

Sunken Treasure: if it werent for me, jon would be fine

 

Sunken Treasure: he’d be happy, maybe.

 

Sunken Treasure: god, everything was so good before. and now we cant go a day without something terrifying coming to meddle with our lives.

 

Sunken Treasure: it all just feels hopeless

 

Sunken Treasure: i dont know what to do. i dont know how to fix it.

 

Waterfelled: You don’t need to fix it, Martin . That’s not your responsibility, even if you think it is .

 

Waterfelled: We’ll figure this out together, just like we always do, okay ?

 

Sunken Treasure: i guess so.

 

Sunken Treasure: i mean. yes. you’re right. 

 

Sunken Treasure: we’ll figure it out.

 

Waterfelled: Tim and I are nearly back . We can talk more once I’m out of this horrifying place, okay ?

 

Sunken Treasure: okay. sure.

 

5:59 am

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: hey marto,, find any snacks for the boss?

 

Martin: im doing my best, but there are so many statements that are just rubbish.

 

Martin: ive already read a few sentences from a dozen different ones and they all record digitally.

 

Martin: is he awake yet?

 

Tim: nope, still snoozing on the couch

 

Tim: he looks so normal, it’s wild. no extra eyes or anything. just an exhausted, overworked archivist. kinda makes me feel like i hallucinated that whole thing before tbh

 

Martin: it does feel a bit like a fever dream, doesn’t it?

 

Tim: this whole morning has felt like a fever dream

 

Tim: actually, speaking of which,, you should def get some rest, my friend. youre still sick, so youre probably even more tired than the rest of us

 

Tim: sasha’s making tea at the moment, but once she’s done she can take my place as the Jon Supervisor, and i can take your place as the Snack Finder, and then you can get some well deserved sleep

 

Martin: thanks tim, but im all right.

 

Tim: hmmmm,,,,,i detect lies

 

Martin: ok yeah fine, i can barely keep my eyes open. 

 

Martin: i just um

 

Martin: i want to help him. and i cant do much, but i can at least do this.

 

Tim: yeah. i actually do get that

 

Tim: just let me know if you want to swap out at some point. statements are tiring to sort through, whether or not they’re the real deal

 

Tim: plus, i think jon will want to see you when he wakes up

 

Tim: yeah,,i know you’re “”””not together”””” but

 

Tim: he cares about you, martin

 

Tim: if it wasn’t obvious from the way he’s been acting when he’s around you, then take the fact that he texted only you, out of all three of us, before fucking off to the tunnels

 

Tim: have you ever considered, idk,, asking him out ;))))

 

Martin: nope, never! :))

 

Tim: haha yeah didnt think so!

 

Martin: thank you tim. seriously. 

 

Martin: and i promise i’ll come back in as soon as ive found a real statement.

 

Martin: just please let me know if he wakes up?

 

Tim: smh,,, of course i will

 

Tim: but you’ll have to deal with the grumpy bossman once he’s up, im not fuckin,,,equipped for that

 

Martin: ha! okay. 

 

Martin: it’s a deal :)

 

 

Chapter Text

Thursday, 7:09 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Sunken Treasure: on a coffee run, do either of you want anything?

 

Tubed: you’re what

 

Sunken Treasure: please don’t make me type it again :/

 

Waterfelled: Talk to us, Martin . What happened ?

 

Waterfelled: You seemed fine sitting with Jon, but then you suddenly left ?

 

Sunken Treasure: it’s nothing, just needed some fresh air

 

Sunken Treasure: so should i pick up anything while i’m out or?

 

Tubed: no, we’re good bud

 

Sunken Treasure: okay.

 

Sunken Treasure: um. has he woken up yet?

 

Waterfelled: Yes ! We were about to tell you .

 

Tubed: yeah the boss was super disoriented at first,, tbh it would have been sort of funny under other circumstances 

 

Tubed: but then he started piecing together what happened

 

Tubed: he remembered finding leitner and just,,,Knowing it was leitner, but not really caring that the guy happened to be living under the institute? to jon it felt like,, somebody with a story, and that’s all he was thinking about at the time

 

Tubed: apparently the rest of it was sort of a blur for him. i mean, understandable, since he didn’t have a torch or anything,, he was just walking around in the dark. then eventually i came along, and he didn’t even know it was me, he just sort of,,,sensed it was another Person with Trauma, and he acted on that

 

Tubed: marto, when he remembered..,he couldn’t even fucking look at me

 

Tubed: you picked a damn perfect time not to be here, like you’ve been spared the awfulness that is watching jon slowly hate himself more and more

 

Waterfelled: Right now he is in his office reading the statement you found for him . He said he’s going to stay in there until he’s certain that he has it all under control, which is not unreasonable . Still, Tim and I have been doing our best to keep an eye on him through the window, just to make sure he doesn’t go back into the tunnels or do something stupid .

 

Waterfelled: He asked about you, right when he woke up . He asked where you were, if he had done something to you .

 

Tubed: obv he was super relieved to learn that you were fine, just out on an errand or whatever, but uhh. still might be good for you to text him yourself and let him know you’re good? he’s in a weird headspace and maybe it would help him

 

Sunken Treasure: yeah, maybe. thank you both for letting me know.

 

Tubed: np ;)

 

Waterfelled: Of course .

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: hey wtf was that 

 

Sasha: I have no clue .

 

Sasha: What I wouldn’t give to have Jon’s ability to Know things right now !

 

Tim: like what could possibly have happened?? we were both across the room so that they'd have some space, bc we’re polite, and martin seemed perfectly happy to sit with jon, but then?? he just left??

 

Tim: it’s not like jon said something,,,he was unconscious??

 

Sasha: Unless he said something in his sleep ? Although I think we would have heard it . It’s not like we were far away .

 

Sasha: I guess we’ll find out whenever Martin’s ready to talk to us .

 

Tim: good in theory, except that i am Impatient

 

Sasha: I know .

 

Tim: im going to subliminally bug him until he breaks,,, im sending him my thoughts,,,Tell Sasha And Tim Why You Are In A Panic!

 

Sasha: Surely that will work .

 

Tim: 5% of the time, it works 100% of the time ;)

 

Sasha: Impressive statistics !

 

Sasha: Also, have you broken into Elias’s office yet ?

 

Tim: yeah, he hasn’t updated his locks because he thinks we’re still quaking in fear of his all-mighty mind powers 

 

Tim: like,,,joke’s on you, loser, the only thing we’re afraid of is water, tight spaces, isolation, abandonment, clowns, spiders, the Fears that run our world, and also pretty much everything else

 

Tim: everything EXCEPT our twink double-boss

 

Tim: still, we’re going stealth this time,,,and ngl i thought that subtlety wouldnt be fun but i was sO wrong

 

Tim: i cant stop thinking about how he’ll find this little origami man labeled “Bad Spooky Boss” in his cabinet, and later he’ll find a pen that isn’t his, and a little scrap of paper from a magazine, and he’ll gradually lose his mind trying to figure out what all this random shit is and what it all means 

 

Sasha: It’s about time we tried something different ! Variety, and all that .

 

Tim: truly

 

Tim: how’s jon doing?

 

Sasha: He seems to have finished reading the statement, and is now pacing . It’s hard to tell through the window, but I think he looks a little better . He seems more lucid, but also more worried .

 

Tim: i guess i’ll hold off on joking in front of him ;))

 

Sasha: Joking about what ?

 

Tim: so glad you asked

 

Tim: joking about the fact that i’m now a boss-certified snacc ;)

 

Sasha: Oh my god .

 

Sasha: I’m not even drinking anything and I STILL choked .

 

Sasha: Why, tim ? Why are you like this ??

 

Tim: i just say it like it is ;))

 

Sasha: Sometimes….I wish you wouldn’t .

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: are you feeling any better?

 

Jon: Yes, I think so.

 

Jon: I’m still going to remain in the archives until I’m more confident, however.

 

Martin: sure, if you think that’d be best

 

Jon: Martin, I need to apologize.

 

Martin: you don’t, jon. this isnt your fault.

 

Jon: I mean about my texts earlier. It was wrong of me to communicate like that, and I’m sure it caused you a lot of undue stress.

 

Jon: I was terrified that I would hurt you, so I wrote what I thought was necessary to write before leaving.

 

Martin: i understand

 

Jon: Good. 

 

Jon: I mean, that’s good to hear.

 

Jon: Do you think you’ll be back soon?

 

Martin: probably

 

Jon: Ah.

 

Jon: Well, I’m glad.

 

Jon: See you then, I suppose.

 

Sasha to Martin

 

Sasha: I never thought I’d ask this, but are you being mean to jon :(

 

Martin: what? no!!

 

Martin: i mean im not trying to!!

 

Martin: it’s just. it’s hard to talk to him right now i guess

 

Martin: wait, why do you ask??

 

Sasha: I saw him stop pacing to text somebody (I’m assuming you, since he was very quick to grab his phone) and now he’s slumped at his desk, looking sad .

 

Martin: oh no

 

Sasha: Look, I want to give you space to process things, but really, Martin . What is going on ?

 

Martin: ok. um. 

 

Martin: it’s pretty ridiculous, mind you.

 

Martin: im not entirely sure where to start

 

Sasha: You can start at the beginning ! :)

 

Martin: ha! very insightful thanks :))

 

Martin: ok so um. you know when jon and i went on that walk the other day? and i was going to tell him how i felt?

 

Martin: well, i did! and actually, he did too!

 

Martin: which was. wow, it felt completely unreal, like he felt the same way?? about me??

 

Sasha: That’s amazing, Martin ! I’m so happy for you !

 

Martin: thanks :) but yes, so we decided to start (secretly) dating, and i know it’s only been a few days, but it’s been an absolute dream

 

Martin: anyways, um

 

Martin: i told you that he messaged me this morning about leaving, that he was feeling out of control

 

Martin: but i didnt tell you all of it. he also said that it would be a bad idea for us to continue seeing each other. so.

 

Martin: i guess that was his way of trying to neatly end things? if he never came back?

 

Martin: except that he is back, and at first i assumed this meant those texts were um. negated? because he’s okay now? and he’s here? which means we’re still together?

 

Martin: but now im thinking

 

Martin: maybe he really did mean it. in the texts.

 

Martin: maybe he realized that it was a mistake. agreeing to a relationship with me. maybe, i dont know, back when i confessed to him, he got caught up in the moment and “confessed” to me too?

 

Martin: i mean, when the water park happened, jon wasn’t sure if he was ever going to see any of us again. and as far as i know, we’re his closest friends? so it would make sense that he’d latch onto that connection, and maybe rather than tarnish it, he’d say he liked me back. or even worse, he’d say it as a sort of pity thing. because like. i was drowning, for a week. and i almost did drown, near the end. and how can you reject someone who has just been through something like that?

 

Martin: i shouldnt have told him so quickly. it was stupid of me to put him in such a position. and now i just wish he would drop the act, because it’s worse when i know that he’s pretending to care about me. i would rather him hate me honestly. it would hurt so much less.

 

Sasha: Martin, I think you need to take a step back and look at this from an outsider’s perspective . Because, yes, all the little bits and pieces of your theory fit together . But that doesn’t necessarily mean it's true .

 

Sasha: You don’t know what Jon meant by those messages . It’s safe to say he wasn’t entirely clear-headed when he sent them .

 

Sasha: Also, to be blunt, it seems like quite the stretch for Jon to fake interest in you ? I mean, you didn’t even ask him out, did you ?

 

Martin: no, i told him how i felt, and i said it was okay if he didnt feel the same. i just needed to tell him.

 

Sasha: Exactly ! Which means he wouldn’t have “rejected” you by saying he didn’t share those feelings; you weren’t asking him for anything .

 

Martin: i guess :/

 

Sasha: I just think you need to talk to him . You need to trust that he’ll tell you the truth .

 

Martin: id rather do it later :/ i dont want him to even think about me right now

 

Sasha: Why ? :(

 

Martin: ...well, ive noticed that when he thinks about certain people or things, he’s more likely to accidentally Know things about them.

 

Martin: and um. assuming that he meant it when he said that we shouldn’t be together

 

Martin: i dont want him to think that i just ignored that?

 

Sasha: Wait, I feel like I’m missing something here ? What don’t you want him to Know ?

 

Martin: um. so.

 

Martin: you know i was sitting with him, when he was asleep

 

Martin: and, well, i assumed we were still together

 

Martin: so i kissed him on the forehead :(

 

Sasha: And this is...a bad thing ?

 

Martin: yes, because if he Knows i did that, he’ll think i wasnt respecting his wishes to break up :(

 

Sasha: Martin .

 

Sasha: Are you telling me that All Of This stems from you going into an internal panic about giving your boyfriend a kiss on the forehead ?

 

Martin: we dont know that hes still my boyfriend :((((

 

Sasha: Okay - meet me at Rosewater Café, we’re getting tea and some breakfast, and we’re going to have a chat .

 

Sasha: This is not optional !

 

Martin: um….ok :/

 

8:28 am

 

Tim to Jon

 

Tim: hey boss, how are you holding up in there?

 

Jon: I’m fine, surprisingly enough. 

 

Jon: And I should be the one asking you how you are doing.

 

Tim: im good. id be having more fun if i werent playing cooking mama by myself in the break room….

 

Jon: Tim, I attacked you a few hours ago. I’m not going to risk it.

 

Tim: aw 

 

Tim: and you didn’t attack me, you /tried/ to attack me, there’s a difference ;)

 

Tim: plus it wasn’t really you, you know? it was like if you were possessed by an eyeball demon

 

Jon: Ah. Right. An important distinction.

 

Tim: just putting it out there - i dont blame you, jon. ik you probably want me to, because that would make things more straightforward, but too fucking bad,,,,you’re not going to stop being my friend? just because you’re an eldritch terror? lmfao

 

Jon: I don’t understand how you are so unaffected by this.

 

Tim: practice ;)

 

Jon: Hm.

 

Jon: Ah, it seems Sasha has left the building?

 

Tim: yeah she wanted me to tell you she’s getting breakfast with marto but they’ll both be back afterward

 

Jon: ...And you didn’t want to join them?

 

Tim: leaving you alone at the institute, especially in this condition, is against the squad rules!

 

Jon: Oh. I apologize for making you miss out.

 

Tim: nah it’s fine, i got the sense there was something sasha wanted to talk to martin about in private anyway

 

Jon: Martin has been fairly elusive this morning, it seems.

 

Jon: I was wondering if you knew why that was?

 

Tim: god i wish, sasha and i realized he was being weird the moment he said he was going out on a “coffee run” and my life hasnt known peace since then

 

Tim: i bet sash figured it out, and thats why she’s off with martin. pretty rude not to share that info with the rest of the class if you ask me

 

Tim: have any theories, Fear Google?

 

Jon: Unfortunately, yes.

 

Tim: oh,,,do tell?

 

Jon: I think it’s rather obvious. Martin is afraid of me.

 

Jon: Now that he understands what I have become, he wants nothing more to do with me. He probably feels tricked.

 

Tim: tricked into what, like,,,being your friend?? 

 

Tim: and by friend i mean…. ~friend~ ;)

 

Jon:

 

Tim: oh come on it’s obvious you two are a thing

 

Jon: Were.

 

Tim: were??????

 

Tim: boss i stg youd better not tell me you broke up with marto. because there’s no way he broke up with you

 

Jon: Well, I suspect he wants to now that he’s seen me. So I’m assuming we’re through.

 

Jon: That’s part of why he’s avoiding me. He has finally recognized how dangerous I am, and he is acting accordingly. Not that I blame him. It is in his own best interest, after all, seeing as I could so easily ruin his life.

 

Tim: ok im losing my fucking mind

 

Tim: jon, do you know the first thing martin said after finding out what you were? the very first thing?

 

Tim: he said “I’m so scared for him.”

 

Tim: FOR him. 

 

Tim: the moment the three of us were back in the archives, martin started looking for a statement that you could read as soon as you woke up. even though he was exhausted and sick. and not because he was afraid of you, but because he wanted to help, and he didn’t know how, so he did the only thing he could think of

 

Tim: all martin wants to do is take care of you, jon. because that’s the kind of person he is. and because that’s how much he likes you. 

 

Tim: look, i dont know why he’s being weird right now, but i can tell you it has nothing to do with him being afraid of you. that’s just not a thing.

 

Jon: Oh.

 

Tim: yeah

 

Tim: whenever he gets back, you two need to have a conversation. as in, face to face, not hiding behind your phones. yes, that means you need to be in the same room. and no, sasha and i are not going to supervise to make sure you dont get spooky, because believe it or not, we all trust that you’ll know whether or not youre going to lose control

 

Jon: I should be fine, in theory. I just took a live statement, as well as a written one. That should be enough.

 

Jon: Still, it doesn’t prevent me from feeling anxious about the notion of letting myself near any of you.

 

Tim: let’s fix that ;)

 

Jon: What.

 

Jon: Tim, do not come in here.

 

Tim: but boss, i havent gotten a high-five from you in ages ;))

 

Jon: Tim, I’m being serious. Do not come near me.

 

Jon: Please don’t come near me.

 

9:21 am

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: guess what

 

Sasha: What?

 

Tim: no you have to guess

 

Sasha: The secret race of technologically advanced amphibious jellyfish that live underground have risen to claim human civilization as their own ?

 

Tim: pff. you wish

 

Tim: no, jon gave me a high-five. the second one ever!!

 

Sasha: How did you convince him to do that ??

 

Tim: literally the exact same as last time,,,i cornered him, held out my hand, and said i wasn’t leaving until i got that sweet, sweet high-five

 

Tim: the method is tried and true, works like a charm ;)

 

Tim: i also gave him a big hug because he looked like a wreck and it was making me sad

 

Sasha: Aw, I’m glad you did :’)

 

Sasha: And it was okay for you ? Hugging him ?

 

Tim: actually yeah. i think it was because i was doing most of the hugging, so it didnt feel very restrictive. also the boss is Small

 

Sasha: That makes sense !

 

Tim: i have leveled up to Lite Hugs ;) im speedrunning trauma-induced claustrophobia ;)))

 

Tim: how’s the spontaneous café date with marto going?

 

Sasha: It’s going okay . I think Martin is just working through a lot right now, but he’s making progress .

 

Tim: damn,,,good for him

 

Tim: i hope he’ll be down to talk to jon when he gets back, because ive been chatting with the boss,,,and i feel that if some communication doesn’t happen between then soon, there will be a lot of really unnecessary distress

 

Sasha: Don’t worry, after the conversation we’ve just had, I’m fairly confident that talking to Jon will be the first thing Martin does !

 

Tim: oh bless

 

Sasha: Also if you want to talk about anything that’s been bothering you (including the events of this morning) we can definitely do that, too .

 

Tim: i mean,,, we could

 

Tim: but also, ive been sitting here, playing cooking mama,,,

 

Tim: and it’s no fun when you’re just playing it by yourself, sash

 

Tim: flipping virtual crepes does not fill the void in my soul

 

Tim: especially since i suck at it, and i keep burning the batter and hearing that little disapproving jingle of failure before mama dropkicks me out of the game

 

Sasha: I guess we could play a few rounds :)

 

Sasha: I won’t go easy on you, though…

 

Tim: oh of course

 

Tim: i wouldn’t have it any other way ;)

 

 

Chapter Text

Thursday, 10:40 am

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: Are Jon and Martin still talking things out ?

 

Tim: actually, i think they’re finally done,,, I mean you’d hope so, after like an hour lmao 

 

Tim: they've moved from the archives into the break room and rn they’re on the couch wrapped in blankets, like,,it’s fucking cute ok? whether or not they are actually a thing now, which they shoULD be

 

Tim: I am Resisting the urge to joke with them about it because i live in constant fear that you will once again take away my identity privileges

 

Tim: sash, between marto having a cold and jon recovering from his lil monster mash, we have two sick boys to take care of, and that,,,is Two more than I can handle on my own so uh come back from your mysterious errand soon

 

Tim: should I give them beets? i think there’s something about beets being good for the immune system??

 

Tim: or is that radishes

 

Tim: what is the difference between beets and radishes

 

Tim: would reading Jon a statement in the form of a bedtime story make me an instant avatar of the eye, like instant oatmeal where I’m the oats and the eye’s annoyance @ my personalized narration of its statements is the heat,,,,or would doing that just make jon threaten to take my life ;)

 

Tim: “Once upon a time, in a magical, far-off land called Manchester, there lived a young woman who kept finding finger bones in her washing machine…”

 

Tim: citrus is good for something health-related im p sure. 

 

Tim: im going to squeeze oranges into their tea and not say anything

 

Tim: turns out we don’t have any oranges

 

Tim: change of plans, im going to squeeze apple slices into their tea because an apple a day keeps the doctor away

 

Tim: shit,,,,they’re going to need to drink a fukton of tea to get a full apple’s worth of juice

 

Tim: id better get started

 

Sasha: Tim, no !

 

Sasha: Maybe just give them some tea with ginger and honey, that should help .

 

Sasha: I will be back from my “mysterious errand” at some point today !

 

Tim: u n h e l p f u l

 

Tim: i dont want you to miss it when elias starts freaking out over all the random objects we put in his office,,like it could be any second now, and jon’ll be like “Ah yes I am Jonathan Sims, the Local Eye Man, and I Know that these Things are Happening.”

 

Sasha: I read that in his voice and I hate it thank you so much <3

 

Sasha: I don’t know how long it will take, but trust me . It’s worth it .

 

Tim: ok obv i trust you so….guess i shouldnt complain

 

Tim: i will complain tho ;)) 

 

Sasha: I wouldn’t expect anything less ! :)

 

Tim: hEY

 

Tim: ;(

 

Sasha: :)

 

Tim: ........

 

Tim: ;)

 

Sasha: Glad you’ve come around .

 

Sasha: Do you think you could send me a sneaky picture of Jon and Martin ? I really want to see this .

 

Tim: miss james! scandalous!

 

Tim: [sent a photo: The picture is taken at a slight distance - from the doorway of the kitchenette - but Martin and Jon are clearly visible on the couch, draped in blankets, leaning onto each other. Martin appears to be dozing off, and Jon, though still awake, seems entirely relaxed with his head resting against Martin’s shoulder. Both of them have deep bags under their eyes.]

 

Sasha: That’s very sweet ! They look so tired though ...

 

Sasha: It’s good that Martin is getting some rest, I’ve been worried that all this stress will exacerbate his cold symptoms ...

 

Tim: yeahhh same

 

Tim: he seems to be doing ok at least

 

Sasha: That’s true . But you can’t always tell what someone is feeling, just by how they act, you know ?

 

Tim: haha. uh yeah.

 

Tim: anyway im going to bring them their ginger tea, no apples included! ….unless ;)))

 

Sasha: Tim, goodness gracious, do NOT give them apple-juice-tea .

 

Sasha: Tim ?

 

Sasha: Oh dear .

 

11:23 am

 

To: arachniche@gmail.com 

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: Invasion of Privacy

 

Annabelle,

 

I have recently discovered several items placed around my office.  I Know that one of my Archival assistants placed them there, but I doubt he acted alone.  Under normal circumstances, he may have wanted to “prank” me or attempt to irritate me in some manner.  But these items are not inherently frustrating.  Most of them are everyday office items such as pens and paper.  Additionally, I have recently shown him his proper place, which certainly would prevent him from willingly inducing my anger.  He is far too afraid of me to act on his own.  For these reasons, I have come to the conclusion of your probable involvement.

 

Kindly keep your hands (and your co-conspirators’ legs) out of my business, and out of my Institute.  This is your first and final warning.

 

With most severe regards,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

This e-mail may contain confidential or otherwise privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), please delete it and notify the sender of the error.

 

11:52 am



To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com 

 

From: arachniche@gmail.com 

 

Subject: RE: Invasion of Privacy

 

Elias -

 

Those are serious accusations. 

 

Which assistant did this? Tim? Martin? And before you get into a huff about me snooping around, it’s not even hard to find their names. Everything is on the official institute website–– your website––for the world to see.

 

Maybe the culprit would like to come work with me instead. Aside from the fact that he broke into your office, which is dazzling on its own, it sounds like he hates you as a person. That’s a very strong qualifier. I think he and I would get along perfectly well.

 

In fact, I am interested to see what would happen if I were to pay your institute a visit. Are your threats as empty as they seem? Truly, what are you going to do to me? Look at me? I’m so scared.

 

I’ll remind you that I was Remade under the scrutiny of experimenters’ eyes. At this point, I’m so accustomed to the sensation of cold judgement on the back of my neck that it almost feels nostalgic.

 

Sorry you got scared over a pen.

 

Annabelle

 

2:19 pm

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Sunken treasure: so sasha, tim told me you’re on a secret mission of sorts?

 

Waterfelled: Of sorts …

 

Tubed: of skorts

 

Waterfelled: No, this does not involve skorts .

 

Tubed: not even jean skorts??

 

Waterfelled: Especially not jean skorts !

 

Waterfelled: Martin, are you feeling any better ? (And how did your talk with Jon go ?)

 

Sunken treasure: good news on both ends! feeling less sick, and jon and i had a proper chat, so we’re on the same page now :))

 

Tubed: hmm wonder what type of page that could be ;)))

 

Tubed: not that id know, im just uhhhh speculating ;))))))

 

Waterfelled: Timothy Stoker ! If Martin and Jon were together, and they felt comfortable enough to tell us, they would tell us . No need to drown the poor man in winky faces !

 

Tubed: no need, that is true,,,but a desire--a calling, if you will-- is what drives me ;)

 

Sunken treasure: um wait. im confused?

 

Sunken treasure: jon said he talked about this with you, tim. and i talked about it with sasha. so…both of you know that we’re together? :/

 

Tubed: w h A T DFGJSDJ

 

Tubed: sa shA

 

Waterfelled: Tim, you knew ??

 

Tubed: me?? yOU knew????

 

Tubed: i was tryign to be all stealth!! bc i thought it was supposed to be a s ecreT

 

Waterfelled: Well, I was doing the same thing ! Martin told me in confidence, so I didn’t want to share that information !

 

Waterfelled: I’m shocked and impressed, Tim, I know it has only been a few hours, but still . Not only did you NOT tell me about this, you didn’t even hint about it, aside from your usual “oooh hmm marto and jon ;)”

 

Tubed: i have never once said,, or texted, the words “oooh hmm marto and jon” but okay sasha pyjama

 

Tubed: like,,,currently im just wondering under what circumstances martin told you ;))

 

Sunken treasure: um

 

Tubed: yeah marto? got sth to say ??

 

Waterfelled: :)

 

Sunken treasure: i have nothing at all to say ever!

 

Sunken treasure: except that i appreciate both of you for being thoughtful, truly, that’s really kind of you.

 

Waterfelled: It’s what we’re here for ! Moral support and friendship and such <3

 

Tubed: ^yuh

 

Tubed: and dont think you have escaped me grilling u for details ;)

 

Tubed: im just waiting for the opportune moment,,,like maybe when both sasha and the bossman are back in the room, and there is no escape

 

Waterfelled: Hang on, is Jon not with you right now ?

 

Sunken treasure: sigh

 

Tubed: double sigh

 

Sunken treasure: he’s back in his office :((

 

Tubed: he’s a workaholic, like,, he should by all means be having a rest and relaxation day

 

Tubed: and i told him that. both of us did!

 

Tubed: but he went anyway, so marto and i have been keeping an eye on him. seems like he’s just going thru old statements and organizing things and shit. keeping himself busy

 

Waterfelled: Hm . I don’t like that .

 

Sunken treasure: me neither :(

 

Tubed:  wait i have a brilliant theory

 

Tubed: u know schrodinger’s cat

 

Tubed: like if a cat is in a box, it could be alive or dead,,u just dont know,,,so it’s basically both?

 

Tubed: well jon is arguably a cat as a human

 

Tubed: if he’s in his office, and nobody looks at him, he could be an eldritch trauma muncher but also he could be miraculously cured

 

Tubed: schrodinger’s cat but elias’s archivist

 

Tubed: thots?

 

Sunken treasure: i mean. hate the name, first of all. but it’s the best idea we have, if you can call it an idea.... which is kind of sad to think about :/

 

Tubed: r u d e

 

Tubed: sasha, thots?

 

Waterfelled: That’s...weirdly logical, Tim .

 

Waterfelled: The Eye is always looking at Jon, right ? But if it suddenly stopped, then maybe he would stop being spooky ?

 

Sunken treasure: oh. yeah, actually. wow.

 

Tubed: see? im a genius

 

Tubed: now all we need to do is thwart an omnipresent god

 

Tubed: sasha can you pick up more apples on your way back

 

Waterfelled: Please tell me you didn’t do what I think you did .

 

Tubed: bone apple tea ;)

 

Sunken treasure: is that why my tea tasted like apples???

 

Tubed: nutrients! *finger guns*

 

Waterfelled: Martin, I am so sorry, I told him not to .

 

Sunken treasure: ...not your fault :((

 

Waterfelled: Also, I have to go, things are happening . Good things, but things I need to pay attention to .

 

Tubed changed Waterfelled ’s name to Keep your secrets

 

Tubed: right, marto and i will be here. waiting for you to get back.

 

Sunken treasure: not making apple tea

 

Tubed: not making apple tea

 

Tubed: yet

 

Keep your secrets: I’m not picking up apples on my way back .

 

Tubed: is that a promise ;)

 

Keep your secrets: I honestly don’t know how to respond, I am getting so many conflicting energies from you today .

 

Sunken treasure: he’s been trying to get to a “professional” level in every wii sports game for a few hours now and i think his brain is um. melted?

 

Tubed: i just want the bowling ball to go sparkly

 

Keep your secrets: I don’t .. know what that means ?

 

Sunken treasure: you get a different design if you earn enough points. it’s sparkly

 

Tubed: it’s sparkly yeah

 

Keep your secrets changed Tubed ’s name to Wii Sports Pro Bowler

 

Keep your secrets: There, now you can give yourself a break !

 

Sunken treasure: he collapsed onto the floor just now. very dramatically. as though he just ran a marathon.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: sasha i owe you my life

 

Keep your secrets: I know <3

 

3:38 pm

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: You should drink water.

 

Martin: what?

 

Jon: You’re dehydrated.

 

Martin: oh! um. ok?

 

Jon: If you don’t drink something, you’ll feel more sick. And you’ll be well on your way to a headache.

 

Martin: that’s...kind of unsettling. 

 

Martin: to hear about my own um. physical state?

 

Martin: i mean not like unsettling like bad!

 

Martin: it’s just freaky i guess

 

Martin: no no not that!! i mean um

 

Martin: out of the ordinary!

 

Martin: yes. that.

 

Martin: im not used to it, is what i mean

 

Jon: Right. I suppose it would be unsettling.

 

Martin: jon it’s just out of the ordinary, not unsettling :(

 

Jon: No, no, I see what you mean. I’m sorry, Martin. I didn’t think. 

 

Jon: I’m trying to do better, but it’s

 

Jon: I can’t quite explain it. Half the time I feel like I’m slipping into a daydream. Like I can’t keep track of where I am, and all I have is this constant deluge of knowledge to steer me. 

 

Jon: I find myself forgetting that not all knowledge is equal. Not all of it is wanted.

 

Jon: It’s frustrating.

 

Martin: yeah. wow um. that sounds absolutely terrible, honestly

 

Martin: why dont you come back to the breakroom, hm? i really think you should take the day off from work

 

Martin: i mean, boarding up in your office can’t possibly be helping you?

 

Jon: ...It is, actually.

 

Jon: Martin, I realize you must think I’m avoiding you. I’m just trying to ground myself. Sorting through statements does that for me. At least in a small way.

 

Martin: oh.

 

Martin: well, i can respect that, i guess :/

 

Martin: is it wrong for me to wish that you’d sort through statements...in the breakroom? :)

 

Jon: Ah. It isn’t. :-)

 

Martin: ...so does that mean you’ll come back in?

 

Jon: I’m not certain I should.

 

Martin: jon..

 

Jon: I know you think I’m being paranoid, but you can’t ignore what I did. What I became. Yes, I am stable right now, but for the time being, I am very nervous to be anywhere near you.

 

Jon: When I woke up this morning, after Tim brought me in, and I didn’t see you, I was certain I had done something to you. It was the worst feeling. It was like being back at the wave pool, when I lost sight of you, and I felt that first trickle of dread.

 

Jon: Obviously, in this instance, I was wrong. But the storm hasn’t passed, Martin. I am still dangerous, which is why I am still afraid.

 

Jon: After you and Sasha came back to the Institute, you and I talked about a lot of things, and I know I already said this, but I’m going to say it again, because I need you to know it. I need you to believe it. When I texted you telling you that we wouldn’t work, that we should stop being together, it wasn’t at all what I wanted. Not even a little bit. I was desperate. I was trying to toss you a shield. But it wasn’t a shield, it was just me, not thinking things through before doing them, and hurting the people I care about in the process. 

 

Martin: wait, ok i know you have a lot to say, and just. i dont want this to turn into another apology? you dont need to apologize, jon. you really dont. 

 

Martin: and i have things i want to say, too.

 

Martin: like im just now realizing ive been sort of...selfish?

 

Martin: you know i dont like the idea of you isolating yourself, but i mean. you aren’t wrong for doing it. you’re not being unreasonable. you’re not going into your office and sitting in a corner with the lights off and letting yourself disintegrate. you’re keeping yourself busy. you’re doing what is best for you, as you see fit. 

 

Martin: and i guess i keep thinking about all the times you’d fall asleep at your desk, or miss a lunch break or stay up so late working that it was painfully obvious, when the rest of us came in the next morning, that you hadn’t even gone home.

 

Martin: but i know you’re not helpless, jon. and as much as sasha and tim and i tease about babysitting you, you’re not a child. you’re clever, and smart, and so much more capable than you give yourself credit for.

 

Martin: i trust you. but ive been doing a shitty job of showing it.

 

Martin: so ill really try not to badger you too much. and im going to stop pretending like the only reasons i dont like you being alone in your office are because it’s not what i, personally, think would be best, and because im worried that you’ll fall into your bad habits. it’s more than that. like i said, it’s totally selfish. i just um. 

 

Martin: i miss you. and i want to take care of you. and i cant exactly do that when you’re not here with me. so.

 

Martin: that’s that.

 

Jon: Martin.

 

Jon: Could you come to my office, please.

 

Jon: Just for a moment, I don’t want to risk it too much.

 

Jon: Drink water first. You’re still dehydrated, and I don’t like that.

 

Martin: hm. and what if i dont drink water? :)

 

Jon: Ah. Well you can stay in the breakroom then, I suppose.

 

Martin: i

 

Martin: how did this turn into me doing two things for you or, or else i face the consequences?

 

Jon: It’s like you said. I’m clever. >:-P

 

Martin: how about i drink water and come to your office, and you never type that emoji ever again?

 

Jon: Sounds fair.

 

Martin: :’)

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: sashA

 

Tim: dlkgfjdfks im evaporating from my body

 

Tim: marto just came out of the boss’s office and his face is like,,,so pink

 

Tim: he’s in the kitchenette now, waiting for the kettle, and he keeps touching this certain spot on his cheek

 

Tim: im f

 

Tim: the amount of control and poise i have, to be able to resist laughing at the top of my fucking lungs

 

Tim: jon really went,,I am now Allergic to Human Contact,,,,,Except! I Must give my boyfriend a Small Kiss.

 

Tim: thats valid of him tbh, like?? i respect him so much right now

 

Sasha: Oh my goodness, this news makes me unbearably happy !

 

Sasha: And you’ll be pleased to know that my secret mission is officially a success …

 

Tim: does that mean i finally get to know what you’re up to??

 

Sasha: Soon ! I’m about to do something slightly idiotic . Wish me luck :)

 

Tim: wh

 

Tim: w h a t

 

Tim: wait actually sasha, what 

 

Tim: you’re not doing something legit dangerous right

 

Tim: like you’re not going to the waterpark

 

Tim: you’re not doing that right

 

Tim: sasha

 

Sasha: I’m not . Tim, I promise I’m not . 

 

Sasha: It’s not ...quite that stupid ? I think ?

 

Sasha: I guess we’ll soon find out !

 

Tim: uhhhhh that is definitely not as comforting as you think it is but ok??

 

4:18 pm

 

To: arachniche@gmail.com 

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: RE: Invasion of Privacy

 

Hi Annabelle,

 

I read your email exchange with Elias . Sorry about him, he’s got his head so far up his own arse I’m surprised he can See anything at all . I’m guessing you know that already; you two seem to have a history, albeit a tumultuous one .

 

Tim and I are the masterminds behind the invasion of Elias’s office . I’m happy to see it properly irked him, although I’m not sure whether to be relieved or insulted that he doesn’t think Tim and I are capable of being the culprits . Despite what he did to us, we are far from cowering in his shadow .

 

I would have reached out to you via my own email, but I wasn’t sure whether or not you’d read it, since you don’t know me . I don’t know you, either, so I’m going out on a limb here . I can only hope I’m correct in assuming you are not on Elias’s side, that you wouldn’t mind it if he were to lose the ability to act like a pompous little god all the time . Because that is exactly what I want to talk to you about . For the sake of my friends and myself, I want to know how to take Elias down .

 

I will be deleting this email after sending it, so that Elias doesn’t see it . (A friend and I hacked his account, if that wasn’t clear .)  Assuming you’re interested in talking more, please contact me any way you see fit––my info is, as you know, on the institute website. :)

 

All my best,

 

Sasha James

 

Archival Assistant at the Magnus Institute

 

 

Chapter Text

Friday, 9:03 am

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: hey just double-checking that yesterday evening was not a fever dream

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: like we did in fact order pizza and sit around sasha’s laptop and read elias’s emails for like 3 hours

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: and elias is actually jonah magnus,, that’s a thing we found out, mostly through really uncomfortable email-format flirting between him and peter lukas

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: like,, that happened in real life, right

 

Keep your secrets: It did .

 

Keep your secrets: And to make things even more strange, I’m currently on my way to a rendez-vous with an avatar of the Web !

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: oh shit i forgot you were doing that this morning, fuck

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: i shouldve gone with you

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: wait i can still go with you ill catch up give me two seconds

 

Sunken treasure: tim, she left over half an hour ago :/

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: yeah but im made of Speed

 

Keep your secrets: It’s all right, Annabelle knows I have some powerful people in my circle ! (AKA Jon :) ) I also said I’d meet her alone, and I don’t want to go back on my word, especially since she’s helping us .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: yeah but spider people like manipulating and controlling, so,,,,i dont uhh trust that

 

Keep your secrets: I know, but this is the best option we have at the moment . I’ll be careful, Tim, I promise .

 

Keep your secrets: What have you two been up to since I left ?

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: well i just woke up so im chilling by the couch, and marto’s in the kitchenette, prolly making tea

 

Sunken treasure: tea without apples in it, thank you very much! :))

 

Sunken treasure: im actually feeling quite a bit better today! i feel like i've got more energy, i think

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: hm it mustve been the apple tea ;)) a Cure

 

Keep your secrets: Yes, or it was the fact that he got a lot of sleep, and that Jon made him drink water .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ok fine, compromise. it was all of those things combined 

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: (but mostly the apple tea)

 

Sunken treasure: um speaking of jon

 

Sunken treasure: i know he sort of stood at the doorway to the breakroom while we read through most of the emails, so that’s good i guess. like he’s getting more comfortable being near us.

 

Sunken treasure: but still, he slept in his office. and he’s in there now.

 

Sunken treasure: i want to give him space to handle this the way that’s best for him, it’s just that. i dunno. i worry? i dont want him to be so scared of interacting with us. and i feel like if we continue to avoid it, there will always be this invisible barrier of insidious fear between us

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: first of all - hey marto do you uhhh write poetry or anything because ;)))

 

Keep your secrets: It’s the “insidious fear” for me .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: second of all - good points, points i agree with, very pointy points

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: look, ive known jon for a hot second, and although he can be a damn,,, enigma, i know how his brain works. there are a few running themes you two would recognize (like throwing himself into a project, either to distract himself or because the project is all he can think about) but the one that matters here is that jon Needs to know how things work.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: one time, back when we were in research, we got this assignment involving these weird books, probably leitners. they appeared normal, but the material they were made from was not quite right. it seemed like paper made from trees, u know, normal paper. but apparently testing had revealed that it was definitely not.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: we were supposed to look into the instances where this material had been located,,,like, in order to find out if they all did the same sort of thing to the people who were in contact with them (made you think your skin was somebody else’s skin)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: and i stg jon spent hours, DAYS, trying to figure out what the books were made of and where the material came from. it had fuckall to do with our assignment, but he just Had to know. even after we sent in our reports, i can guarantee you he kept looking into it.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: what im saying is that jon has a hard time dealing with uncertainties. and this situation?? pretty much fits the bill. because he has no idea what will set him off again, and that’s paralyzing to him. in his mind, at any given moment he could slip into eldritch horror mode and start further traumatizing his coworkers.

 

Sunken treasure: so if we help him identify what set him off in the first place, that could help him?

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: that WILL help him

 

Sunken treasure: ok, but doesnt he already know…? i mean, it’s pretty obvious. he quit reading statements, so he got, erm. hungry?

 

Keep your secrets: Yes, statements were definitely the main cause . But there may be more to it than that ?

 

Keep your secrets: I’m just about to the meeting spot, I’ve got to go, I’ll check back in later . Talk to him please !

 

Sunken treasure: we will! and be careful 

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: tell annabelle that if she does anything sketchy i have,, SO much bug spray

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ok it’s boss confrontation time. mind if i give it a try first marto?

 

Sunken treasure: go ahead :)

 

Tim to Jon

 

Tim: jonathan

 

Jon: Yes, Timothy?

 

Tim: ew i take it back

 

Tim: let us consider, for a moment, wednesday

 

Tim: the eve of your Monster Mash

 

Jon: Yes, I know what day Wednesday was.

 

Tim: you hadnt been reading statements for, what, four days? after reading like thirty of them daily?

 

Jon: That is a bit of an exaggeration, but most generally, yes.

 

Jon: I see where this is heading, and I doubt it’s necessary. I already understand that I now require routine statements to remain of sound mind. That is not new information.

 

Tim: ok yeah but you didnt seem tooo worn out wednesday, right? like you were feeling run down, but not terrible

 

Tim: what im saying is you went from “a bit peckish” to “lovecraftian horror” in a matter of hours, so something specific set you off

 

Jon: Hm. That’s possible, I suppose.

 

Jon: I get the sense you have a theory?

 

Tim: fuck yeah i do

 

Tim: i dont remember how much of elias’s emails we skimmed and how much we read out loud, so idk what you heard, but he had this whole email to peter lukas where he was just,, shamelessly boasting about messing with our worst insecurities

 

Tim: right at the end of the email, he said that when you tried to influence him, to get him to stop, it momentarily worked

 

Tim: jon, i think that’s what happened. i think that’s what set you off. 

 

Tim: you arent used to dealing with overpowered people like elias, so it would make sense that after pulling a stunt like that, you’d be utterly exhausted, and much more prone to Monster Mashing

 

Jon: Must you call it “Monster Mashing”?

 

Tim: why not?? it’s perfect

 

Tim: anyway youre avoiding my brilliant insights

 

Tim: if you keep taking statements, and you avoid doing anything beyond your limits, you should be completely fine.

 

Jon: ...That does seem logical.

 

Tim: that’s because it IS logical

 

Tim: also as a safe-guard, i could always knock you out with a mannequin foot again ;)

 

Jon: I’d rather avoid that in the future, but good to know, I suppose.

 

Tim: im about to force martin to look at ren faire inspo with me, care to join?

 

Jon: Ah. I forgot about that particular event

 

Tim: dw we dont *have* to do it this Sunday if you arent comfortable in public yet

 

Tim: but also like,,, youll get to see martin all dressed up so,,,those are the stakes here, idk what else you want from me

 

Jon: Hm.

 

Jon: For the record, I do already have a costume in mind. On the off-chance we attend.

 

Jon: But it couldn’t hurt to look at what other people have done.

 

Tim: sooooo is that a yes?

 

Jon: I’ll be there in a moment.

 

Tim: !!!!

 

Tim to Sasha

 

Tim: [sent a video: Martin sits on the couch sipping a cup of steaming tea and scrolling through images of Renaissance Festival costumes, mentioning which ones he thinks are high-quality and authentically woven, as well as the ones he thinks just look nice. Tim hums in agreement off-screen. The camera angle is such that it’s obvious the video is being taken secretly, from half behind a cushion.

A few seconds pass, then: the sound of a door creaking open. Martin turns to look. “Oh,” he says, softly. “Hi, Jon.” After a moment, Jon comes into view. Carefully, as though willing himself every inch of the way, he sits down next to Martin. They lock eyes. Jon opens his mouth to say something––then his expression shifts, as though he has just realized something. He looks dead into the camera. Tim snorts and immediately stops recording.]

 

Tim: so that happened

 

Tim: the Romantic Tension in this room, i swear

 

Tim: (i know youre still chatting with spiderwoman so no need to respond, im j giving updates)

 

Tim: the three of us are now browsing ren faire inspo and ooohohoh it is Coming Together

 

Tim: jon wont tell me what his costume plans are but the fact that he has them in the first place is enough

 

Tim: anyway, reasons we should get elias arrested -

 

Tim: 1. he admitted, extensively, to killing gertrude in his emails. (JON WAS RIGHT ABOUT THAT ALL ALONG DFGFKDLSJSFKLDFSKGJ) he also mentioned a tape that has evidence on it?? i bet we could use our resident spooky hidden-item-locator boss to find it

 

Tim: 2. he’s a prick

 

Tim: 3. with him in jail, it’ll be easier to figure out how to take him down. i mean, who wouldnt be more productive without the stress of thinking your creepy double-boss is telepathically Watching you, or about to walk in and traumatize you?

 

Tim: 4. he’s planning to do something involving jon. idk what since we didnt find much about it in his emails but like,,,im certain that whatever it is, it’s Really Bad.

 

Tim: 5. he said that the cursed photo of him is from his 2006 honeymoon, which implies that he has to specify which honeymoon it was, when talking to the same person he went on multiple honeymoons with. that’s probably illegal.

 

Tim: 6. 100% homophobic i dont care if he has a husband/ex-husband

 

Tim: 7. his bougie arse won’t survive prison. they won’t let that twink wear a business suit.

 

Tim: thanks for coming to my ted talk

 

Tim: hopefully he isnt looking into my thoughts rn lmao

 

Tim: i mean im glad you were being secretive about this yesterday, like it made sense once you explained it. if elias came in and looked into one of our heads and Knew that we were trying to hack his email, he probably would have done something to make sure we never got access. but since none of us three knew that you were doing that, he was in the dark along with us.

 

Tim: at this point, even if he did find out we hacked his email, we have what we’d need to lock him up so like,,,,what’s he gonna do?

 

Tim: still impressed that you hacked it ;)))) fuckin WILD miss james

 

Tim: anyway, ill leave you to your spider gossip

 

Tim: dont forget to tell her i have lots of bug spray….

 

10:36

 

Annabelle to Sasha

 

Annabelle: Safe travels back.

 

Sasha: I didn’t realize you had my phone number .

 

Annabelle: Found it on the institute website, of course.

 

Annabelle: I wonder, once you return to the institute, how much of our time together you will be sharing with the class…?

 

Sasha: If you’re implying I’m going to lie to my friends, you would be wrong .

 

Annabelle: Wouldn’t dream of it, Sasha. Lying is the cheap way of doing things, and neither of us are cheap. We like things to be done with a sturdy hand. Because that’s how reliable outcomes are woven into reality, don’t you think?

 

Sasha: Whatever you say .

 

Annabelle: You should tell them where we talked. I’m sure they’d be jealous.

 

Annabelle: Which reminds me, I wish you had taken the leftover champagne. You barely drank any. What am I supposed to do with the rest of it?

 

Sasha: I’d rather not drink champagne at ten in the morning, even if we were sitting in a frankly stunning lounge bar . I’m not sure if I should ask how you got access to it, or why nobody else was there . 

 

Sasha: Also, I don’t know how much I trust you yet . So no, I am not about to bring my friends potentially dangerous champagne .

 

Annabelle: You trust me more than you did before. 

 

Sasha: No, I understand you more than before .

 

Annabelle: Ha! Typical servant to the Eye. Do you know what the difference between trust and understanding is, Sasha? 

 

Annabelle: When you understand someone, you know why they do what they do. And maybe that’s true for you, maybe you think you’ve gotten a glimpse into my brain--into the way I function, and what I stand for.

 

Annabelle: But if you understood me without trusting me, you wouldn’t have let me place a spider in your palm. I told you she wouldn’t bite, and she didn’t. 

 

Annabelle: You let her crawl all the way up your arm.

 

Sasha: I was trying to be polite .

 

Annabelle: To me or Esther?

 

Sasha: Both .

 

Annabelle: How is she doing, by the way? Still at the base of your neck?

 

Sasha: Yes, and it’s taking all of my willpower not to swipe her off . She keeps twitching her furry legs, and it reminds me that she is not exactly small .

 

Annabelle: Good thing you have longer hair than me . People might get worried if they saw her crawling around back there .

 

Sasha: Esther and I will be parting ways as soon as I step into the institute, I’m not a personal taxi for your spiders .

 

Annabelle: I’m sure she appreciates the transport. I know I do. Elias is surprisingly good at keeping my babes out of his temple.

 

Annabelle: I hope you don’t mind if Esther comes out from the shadows every so often to visit you. I can tell she likes you. And she’s very cuddly.

 

Sasha: As long as I know she’s about to crawl on me, that should be fine .

 

Annabelle: You’re handling this much better than most would. You’re a natural.

 

Sasha: Well, you’re helping me with Elias, so it seems right to help you in return . That’s all it is .

 

Annabelle: That’s all? ::::)

 

Sasha: Yes, that’s all .

 

Annabelle: Aw, if you say so .

 

Annabelle: Text me any juicy updates that come along. 

 

Annabelle: And don’t forget to think about my offer.

 

Sasha: I won’t .

 

Sasha to Tim

 

Sasha: 20+ unread messages Tim !! I was concerned !!

 

Sasha: I’m really glad that Jon came out of isolation though, that’s so good .

 

Sasha: And I agree we should put Elias in prison .

 

Tim: fjgdlsj perfect

 

Tim: how was your date with spiderwoman???

 

Sasha: She didn’t actually give me much information on Elias, but I did ask about his mortality, and I think she assumed I was considering straight-up murdering him, so she informed me that since we are all linked to him, if he dies, we die .

 

Tim: oh fuk,,, there goes my weekend plans i guess

 

Tim: how do we stop him tho?

 

Sasha: I’m not entirely sure . I’m meeting with Annabelle again soon, so hopefully she’ll give me more to go on .

 

Tim: did you tell her i have bug spray

 

Sasha: I did not !

 

Tim: betrayal

 

Tim: also jon wants you to know that he Hates the fact that you’re interacting with a member of the Web

 

Tim: he thinks that before you come to the break room, you should do a full-body check to make sure you have no spiders on you

 

Sasha: Will do :)

 

Tim: i feel like we should celebrate sending elias to prison like,,,should we get a cake? let’s get a cake. institute funds baybeee

 

Tim: the boss and marto agree. 

 

Sasha: I agree !

 

Tim: sick. will you be back soon? we’re basically getting the police involved the moment you arrive

 

Sasha: Aw, thank you for waiting, I appreciate it . Yes, I’ll be back soon .

 

Tim: finally,, we’ll have an elias-less workplace, can you imagine?? bliss

 

Tim: cant wait to see his face when they slap him in cuffs

 

Sasha: This is shaping up to be a very good Friday !

 

Elias to Peter

 

Elias: Peter, this is Elias Bouchard.  Respond at your earliest convenience.

 

Peter: Elias?

 

Elias: Ah, good, you’re here.  I am currently text messaging you from my portable telephone.  The program is somewhat unfamiliar but I am making do.

 

Peter: Forgive me for being a bit confused, but you normally talk to me via email.

 

Elias: Yes, Peter, I realize that.  I would not be using this interface if not for the strenuous circumstances under which I have found myself.

 

Elias: Somehow, the Archival staff have infiltrated my e-mail account and have discovered evidence which they are planning to use to get me arrested.  Prison would be far too bothersome to deal with at the moment, so I have decided to take an extended work break.  The Institute will be notified of this before the end of the day.

 

Elias: Unluckily, this leaves the Institute without a director.  I would appreciate it if you were to manage my affairs until I am able to safely return.  You will be compensated for your time.

 

Peter: That is quite the conundrum, Elias. Pretty funny, if you ask me.

 

Elias: I didn’t ask.

 

Peter: I’m not sure if you remember, but I do have a life, and a full-time job.  Why should I up and leave, especially to go work in a building that opposes my very nature?

 

Elias: Like I said, you will be compensated.

 

Peter: In what way?

 

Elias: You can have one of my Archival assistants.  Martin is perfect for you.

 

Peter: That easy, huh?

 

Elias: I am slightly desperate.  I don’t say this lightly.

 

Elias: You are the only person I trust to operate the Institute while I am indisposed.  With anyone else, I wouldn’t be able to reliably predict how they would handle the position.  With you, however, I can.

 

Peter: That seems different than trust, Elias. I think you just Know me. Even after all these years, do we trust each other? Truly?

 

Peter: Anyway, I’ll do it. I’m running low on shipmates.

 

Elias: Perfect.  You will start Monday.  I’ll send an itinerary.

 

Elias: And I do trust you.

 

Elias: We trust each other.

 

Peter: Oh, we do?

 

Peter: Good to know.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Friday, 6:39 pm

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

The Piano Man: is everyone back home?

 

Nurse James: Yes !

 

Martin Enthusiast: I am.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yeah it’s weird. feels so empty

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: but hey, this week was fun guys

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: maybe not the Monster Mash parts or the traumatic elias parts but other than that we went hard ;))

 

The Piano Man: also that last bit with elias...

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: nooo i knowwww

 

Nurse James: We were so close to getting him !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ofc he had to flee, like the coward that he is

 

Martin Enthusiast: Well, he will no longer be physically at the Institute, at least for the foreseeable future. And that is a definite improvement. 

 

The Piano Man: i mean yeah but like...where is he, though? it’s a bit worrying? he could be anywhere :/

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: shit,,,youre right,,I Hate that

 

Nurse James: He’s at the Hôtel Maison Souquet in Paris .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: SDFHJKS WHAT

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: How

 

Nurse James: He is still logged into his email on his phone, so I used that to track his location :)

 

The Piano Man: of course he’s in paris. staying in luxury! x)

 

Martin Enthusiast: He can’t help himself, I’m afraid.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: i bet he’s lounging in a hot tub this exact moment, drinking a margarita on the rocks

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: bastard

 

Nurse James: I’m guessing Peter Lukas will be less posh .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yeah but thats not hard lmao

 

The Piano Man: actually while we’re on the subject

 

The Piano Man: i know we all got that email about him taking elias’s place temporarily. but um. i also got an email directly from peter lukas.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: oh gfod 

 

Martin Enthusiast: Christ, what did it say?

 

The Piano Man: well

 

The Piano Man: he said elias “promoted” me to the role of peter’s personal assistant?

 

Nurse James: Oh dear .

 

Martin Enthusiast: I don’t like that. Not one bit.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: this feels very scheme-y,,,,,elias or peter or both are def up to some evil bullshit

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: heres how we fix it gang

 

The Piano Man: that was suspiciously quick...

 

Nurse James: I’m quite interested to hear this :)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I am as well.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: peter has never met marto, so maybe he doesnt know what he looks like

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ill go undercover as martin,

 

Nurse James: But then you’ll be in the same position he would have been in .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: wait there’s more

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ill pretend to be martin, and every few days, we swap out. mondays and tuesdays, i am martin. wednesdays and thursdays, sasha is martin. friday, martin can be himself.

 

Martin Enthusiast: This is foolproof, Tim. What would we ever do without you?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: stfu jonathan im brilliant

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: peter’s like,,,150 years old probably, who knows what his eyesight/memory is like

 

The Piano Man: yeah there’s no way im banking on him not being able to recognize the fact that multiple people are pretending to be me :))

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: this is fucking tragic

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: who will make us tea

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: who will provide immaculate comfort vibes all day long

 

The Piano Man: :(

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ive said it before and ill say it again, martin withdrawal kills thousands each year,,,how will we Survive

 

Nurse James: Our next plan: find out Peter’s crimes, imprison him . Return Martin to the archives .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: yes

 

Martin Enthusiast: Yes, or -

 

Martin Enthusiast: We could contact Elias and inform him of our desire to return Martin to his position as an archival assistant .

 

Martin Enthusiast: In this message, we would strongly suggest that he comply. That if he doesn’t, he may notice some unfortunate emails being sent out from his account.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: bOSS

 

The Piano Man: :o

 

Nurse James: Jonathan Sims suggesting we resort to blackmail ? Is this real life ?

 

Martin Enthusiast: Well, we can hardly allow Martin to be put in danger.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Not more than he has already been, at least.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: if i were physically there id be spraying you with a plant mister

 

Martin Enthusiast: Why? I’ve done nothing.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: you know what you did

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: youre being moody because you think your Monster Mash put him in danger

 

Martin Enthusiast: To be fair, I was mostly referring to the waterpark incident. But you bring up a good point, Tim. That was a rather close call.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: fuk

 

The Piano Man: dont make me come over there! that’s an actual threat! i’ll do it, jon! i’ll come to your flat and i wont leave until you stop thinking so lowly of yourself!

 

Martin Enthusiast: ...And this is supposed to be a punishment?

 

Nurse James: I just laughed SO LOUDLY .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: the Homosexuality in this chat is astronomical

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: go get him marto ;)

 

The Piano Man: wait what nO

 

The Piano Man: im trying to get you to stop being mean to yourself :( so. stop it.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Hm.

 

Martin Enthusiast: No. No, I don’t think I will.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: go geT HIM MARTO

 

Nurse James: I never realized Jon could simultaneously be so petty and so flirty .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: he’s a man of many talents,,,new ones are discovered every day, much like species of insect, and reasons to hate elias

 

The Piano Man: ok haha yes, very cute, but im pretty sure youre joking? because like. you must be sick of me by now, we’ve been in the same place for nearly a week? surely you want some time to yourself?

 

Martin Enthusiast: In all seriousness, I’ve spent more than enough time alone.

 

Martin Enthusiast: I’m not saying you do one thing or another. But to answer you honestly, no, I am not sick of you. I am not sick of any of you.

 

Martin Enthusiast: Well. I could use a break from Tim.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: wh AT THE HELL

 

The Piano Man: pffFFF

 

Nurse James: Jon stop making me laugh ! I have thin walls ! My poor neighbours !

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: after all i do for you

 

Martin Enthusiast: Such as?

 

Nurse James: JON .

 

The Piano Man: um tim? are you still alive over there??

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: nope im retiring from life. id like to thank you all for your support. all of you except jon :)

 

The Piano Man: tim using a normal smiley face is the scariest thing that has happened today.

 

Nurse James: Martin, you’d better go protect Jon from Tim’s wrath !

 

Martin Enthusiast: Yes, I’m clearly in mortal peril.

 

The Piano Man: clearly! id better come over then :))

 

Martin Enthusiast: I suppose you should. :-)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: of course the one SINGLE time you type an emoji it’s the one with the nose

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: that’s what sixty-year-olds use, boss. you’re not helping your case for trying to convince us that you’re “”””thirty”””””””

 

Martin Enthusiast: I am thirty. I don’t know what you want me to say.

 

Martin Enthusiast: And I’ve used this emoji before.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: uhhh i feel like i would have remembered this???

 

Martin Enthusiast: Ah. Nevermind.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ??????

 

The Piano Man: :))

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: i know you know whats going on

 

Tim: im begging u,,,,why is he being weird

 

Martin: hahah it’s really not a big deal

 

Martin: i just think he realized he’s only really sent smiley faces to me before, so he just exposed himself :’)

 

Tim: sdlksjskj jON

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Martin Enthusiast: I can send Elias an email with our request. Hopefully he will be prompt in his response. 

 

Nurse James: You could do that .

 

Martin Enthusiast: ...I get the sense you have another idea?

 

Nurse James: That’s very astute of you :)

 

Nurse James: In considering what I know of Elias, of who he is as a person, I have come to the conclusion that even if we were to threaten him, he would find some way to make the situation end badly for us . Whether or not he were officially to retract Martin’s “promotion,” he’d still find a way onto higher ground, and we would be left stranded, at the mercy of whatever torrent he had stirred up for us .

 

Nurse James: What I’m saying is we shouldn’t bother with blackmail . We should go straight to punishment .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: !!!!!!!!!!!

 

The Piano Man: my eyes are. SO WIDE.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: s ahsa i am YELLING,,, i

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed Nurse James ’s name to The cause of Elias’s downfall

 

The Piano Man: i feel genuinely afraid on elias’s behalf, which is something i never thought would happen.

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: He deserves it . You know why .

 

Martin Enthusiast: Change of plans - we are not blackmailing Elias, but rather, we are destroying him.

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: fuckin agreed

 

The Piano Man: agreed!!

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Agreed .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: well then,,,,,let’s get this party started >;)))

 

7:22 pm

 

Elias to Peter

 

Elias: Peter, I require immediate assistance.  This is of terrible, terrible importance.

 

Elias: Peter.  Contact me.

 

Elias: This involves you, if it weren’t clear from my blatantly obvious agitation.

 

Elias: I understand that you like to be alone with your thoughts, but this is no time for such piffle.  I am in the midst of a crisis.

 

Peter: Elias, what in the world are you talking about?

 

Elias: I am unable to access my e-mail.

 

Peter: Is that all?

 

Elias: No, that is not “all.”  Each of my attempts to regain access have been met with error screens and loading bars that never properly load.  My account, along with the magnificent amount of both personal and private information that it holds, has been stripped away from me.

 

Elias: I Know that Sasha James is the central culprit.  However, the other three members of the Archival team are certainly involved.  I did not realize the depths to which I affected them.  Their fear of me must be spurring them on.

 

Peter: That’s not great news. I don’t really know why you’d reach out to me for help, though. I’m not exactly well-versed in things like this.

 

Peter: Maybe you should call tech support?

 

Peter: Best of luck.

 

Elias: Wait, I’m not finished talking to you.

 

Elias: Peter, return.

 

Elias: Peter, “please” return.

 

Elias: Well, good riddance.

 

8:38 pm

 

To: jeberson@ebersonparks.com 

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: An Overdue Thank You

 

Mx. Eberson,

 

I realize we haven't talked in quite a while, but I wanted to personally thank you for traumatizing my employees. I understand your intention for bringing them into the Buried was to get back at me, but you actually did me a huge favour. Because of you, my Archivist is much, much spookier than before. As an added bonus, his assistants are now scared of everything. It has made my job a lot easier. Sometimes I will walk into the break room, and they will cower in fear, or hide under the table. It is very funny. I love being feared. It is one of my favourite things!

 

In the future, I will send as many of my employees as I can muster to your waterpark. It would be a dream come true if all of them were to be traumatized. My ideal workplace is one in which I walk down the hall, and all I hear is the dulcet sound of my inferiors shrieking in terror.

 

Gratefully,

 

Elias “Beholding” Bouchard

 

P.S. I appreciate how overpriced some of your restaurants are. Spending exorbitant amounts of money is, as I’m sure you know, one of my most cherished pastime activities.

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: I have been laughing for the past five minutes . How dare you two do this to me !

 

Martin Enthusiast: The very first thing Martin said when I let him in was, and I quote, “I know who we’re going to email, and I know what we’re going to say.” So it’s mostly his doing.

 

The Piano Man: ok but jon contributed elias “beholding” bouchard, plus he typed out my thoughts in a way that sounded very elias-ish, so it was definitely a team effort :))

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: this email is the best thing i have ever fucking read

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: jon, martin, i love you

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: boss, im sorry i used to think you were incredibly uncool,,,,because as it turns out, you are almost as cool as sasha, which is saying something

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: elias “beholding” bouchard eviscerated me. i have no energy left to text. reading that masterpiece was like five hours of liquid adrenaline on hyperspeed and now i want to pass out

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: but first imma write an email of my own ;)

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Oh, I can’t wait !

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Sunken treasure: i have a feeling yours is going to be very fun to read. :))

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: yeah it WILL be

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: also why’d we switch to the jon-less chat? is there Drama?? ;))

 

Sunken treasure: pff no his phone is just full on storage, so he’s trying to offload some stuff at the moment. and if he kept receiving texts, the problem would get worse.

 

Keep your secrets: Haha, I’m glad he told me he was having storage problems earlier today ! As I showed him, it’s really quite an easy fix .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ok what the hell would jon even have enough of on his phone to max out the storage? ebooks?

 

Sunken treasure: i just asked him, and he was very um. vague? in his answer?

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: wtf,,,,bossman has Secrets

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: maybe it’s a ton of paranoia-driven notes and research from back when he thought sasha a) killed gertrude and b) was going to kill him

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: wait a sec, sasha, you’re being awfully quiet

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: you know what’s on his phone

 

Keep your secrets: I do !

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ok what do you want in exchange? drinks on us? a manifesto on why shakespeare didnt actually write “his” plays? a vintage tea cup set made in Belgium? a bread bowl full of five cheese lasagna?

 

Sunken treasure: i actually do have a really nice recipe for white cheese spinach lasagna, just so you know :p

 

Keep your secrets: Wow, this is all so tempting ! I was going to give you a hint anyway, but I wouldn’t mind some home-cooked lasagna :)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: we’ve been scammed,,we’ve been scrambled

 

Sunken treasure: um, tim? i think you’re the one who did this to us, to be honest

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: damn,,,maybe so

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ok sasha pyjamas, pay up

 

Keep your secrets: Well, you know when you’re around your parents or grandparents, and they have a tendency to leave their phone flashlight on ? Or have the brightness completely up ? Or just generally not quite understand how to work a phone ?

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: i am so excited for wherever this is heading

 

Keep your secrets: It is possible that Jon sometimes accidentally opens up the camera function, like maybe he’ll swipe the screen when his phone is in his pocket ? And then (again, accidentally) he hits the record button :)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: are you t

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: are you telling me that jon has enough 19 minute videos of the inside of his pocket that his phone stopped working

 

Sunken treasure: is it weird that i find that more endearing than funny? :’)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: no it’s just very, very gay ;))

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: jfc thank god im not whipped for jon

 

Keep your secrets: *no longer

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: what

 

Sunken treasure: what

 

Keep your secrets: What

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: no lasagna for you, lasagna revoked

 

Keep your secrets: Hey !

 

Sunken treasure: tim, did you used to like jon??

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: i Cannot believe i have been exposed like this

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: sasha you’re dead to me, unfollowed blocked reported 

 

Keep your secrets: I revealed something about Jon, so now I’m revealing something about you, for balance <3

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: wait but marto hasnt gotten any secrets exposed?? this feels targeted

 

Keep your secrets: He used to hate poetry :)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: WHAT

 

Sunken treasure: :0

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: dlfkgskj martin!!

 

Sunken treasure: ok, used to!! like, as in, years and years ago! 

 

Sunken treasure: i didnt really understand it, and when i couldnt get meaning out of it in the first read, it made me feel sort of dumb?

 

Sunken treasure: but like, now i know that poetry isnt really supposed to be easy. and sometimes it’s nice to just let things be as they are, even if you dont understand them.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: yo that’s legit deep

 

Keep your secrets: He must be a poet !

 

Keep your secrets: Also, you may now expose one of my secrets so that everything is even .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ooooh decisions decisions ;)

 

Sunken treasure: i think ill let tim do this one, he knows more of your secrets than i do :))

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: when she was in high school,

 

Keep your secrets: I already know what this is :(

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: she liked to stir up drama by putting rude little notes in her classmates’ lockers and signing them as though she were somebody else

 

Sunken treasure: pfff really??

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: yeah, so theyd all be waving notes in each others’ faces and accusing each other of having written them,,,and sasha, dear sweet sasha, would sit back and enjoy the show ;)

 

Keep your secrets: Okay, for context, I only did this to the kids who bullied me or my friends ! I wanted to get back at them, and this seemed as good a way as any …

 

Sunken treasure: i mean, i get it! i sort of wish id done something similar when i was in school. wouldve been nice to be the one pulling the strings, you know?

 

Keep your secrets: Yeah, I do . 

 

Keep your secrets: It was nice, in a strange way . To be that person .

 

Keep your secrets: Anyway, I haven’t done that in a long time, so neither of you have to worry about receiving rude and/or cryptic handwritten notes :)

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: aww but what if i wanted one of your infamous drama-starters ;(

 

Keep your secrets: You don’t <3

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ...fair enough <3

 

9:15 pm

 

To: ringmistress@gmail.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: A Question

 

Dearest Nikola,

 

First of all, how are you? We haven’t chatted in a while. I know I haven’t been the kindest to you, so let’s clear up one thing right now: whatever I said, I didn’t mean any of it. I was so blind, and conflicted. But today I’m going to be honest with you. I am tired of hiding. 

 

Let us set the stage. The two of us are lounging in an abandoned warehouse. Outside, a blustery storm rages, but in here, a crackling fire warms us, fills us with emotion. Could it be nostalgia? Adoration? Fear? Yes. All of these, and more. I am wearing my best suit, and you are wearing your best skin. The air is rife with comfort and tension in equal measure.

 

Nikola, ever since I laid Eye on you, I have admired you. The passion you put into your craft is awe-inspiring. Your skill at dancing is enviable. The way you play the calliope brings me to tears. And when I imagine the way you move in candlelight, glistening with your victims’ blood, well––it gets me in a tizzy.

 

I am just a Victorian man standing before an eldritch mannequin, asking her if she feels for me a fraction of what I feel for her. A fraction would be more than enough. At the moment, all I have of you is your mannequin foot, and it is but a reminder that even though I have a part of you, I can’t bear for us to be apart.

 

I do have an on-again-off-again husband, but I asked, and he said he’d be fine with this.

 

With all my heart,

 

Elias

 

(But you can call me Jonah)

 

“we lived bitch”

 

Sunken treasure: off to bleach my eyes wish me luck <3

 

Keep your secrets: Maybe if I knock my head on something I’ll forget what I just read ? Only one way to find out .

 

Sunken treasure: [sent a photo: Jon sits on his couch with the laptop balanced on his knees. Since arriving home, he has changed from his work clothes into a t-shirt and soft cardigan, and his hair is down, curling up at odd angles from having been held in place all day. His expression is an intense mix of horror and delight, with one hand gripping the laptop and the other pressed over his mouth.]

 

Sunken treasure: this is the only good thing to have come from that email :))

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: ah a fan of my work ;) he’s the only cultured one 

 

Keep your secrets: Jon is of stronger constitution than me, it seems …

 

Sunken treasure: the first thing he said after reading it was “Terrible. Dreadful. I despise it.” but he was openly smiling so i suspect he is a liar

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: jonathan “monster mash” sims is into elias x nikola rp pass it on

 

Keep your secrets: No .

 

Sunken treasure: noooo

 

Sunken treasure: i hate that you put this into my head because what if jon Knows?? what if he looks in my head and sees “jon enjoys elias x nikola roleplay”???

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: that’s rough buddy

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: good luck with that ;)

 

Sunken treasure: tim! :(

 

Keep your secrets: I have an idea: don’t think about it !

 

Sunken treasure: wow yes so helpful thank you sasha :)))))

 

Keep your secrets: You’re welcome <3

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: maybe sasha’s email will be less cursed? we can dare to dream 

 

Sunken treasure: oh i think it would take a lot to be equally as cursed or more cursed than yours, tim.

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: tru enough ;))

 

Keep your secrets: I have some ideas … I’ll get to it, then .

 

Wii Sports Pro Bowler: hell yeahhhh

 

Sasha to Annabelle

 

Sasha: There is something I’m considering doing, but I wanted to check with you first . I need to know that it will shift things in our favour, and not the other way around .

 

Annabelle: Good evening, Sasha! I suspected you might be texting me sooner rather than later.

 

Sasha: So you know what I’m planning, then ?

 

Annabelle: More or less. Have you thought about my offer?

 

Sasha: I’ve been trying not to .

 

Annabelle: Implying that you ~have~ thought about it ::::)

 

Sasha: Annabelle, if I go through with this, I want it to harm Elias and Elias only . If it will cause something bad to happen to someone I care about, it’s not worth it .

 

Annabelle: Oh, no one knows for certain how the future will unfold. Not even me. All we can do is weave the best fate we can, using the tools we have and the realities we understand.

 

Sasha: Can you please give me your best guess, then ?

 

Annabelle: First tell me what you think will happen.

 

Sasha: I really don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you .

 

Annabelle: But I’m not asking you to know. I’m asking you to think.

 

Sasha: Okay . Fine .

 

Sasha: I think Elias will suffer, because he will be forced to spend more of his energy cleaning up the mess I’m about to make .

 

Annabelle: And?

 

Sasha: That’s all .

 

Annabelle: Oh, is it?

 

Sasha: Yes .

 

Sasha: I mean, mostly .

 

Sasha: Since he’ll be spending more of his energy on this, I think he will peer into our heads less often .

 

Sasha: And I think we will have more space to plan against him . Once he returns to the institute, he will check once to make sure we have learned our proper place, that we are to fear him and continue with our archiving work, and after that he will retreat into his office . He will allow his narcissism to prevent him from sparing practically any energy on making sure we are not in the midst of a rebellion .

 

Sasha: And I think, despite of (or maybe because of) him having stayed in luxury while he was away, he will feel the need to integrate that decadence into the institute . Once he resolves the mess, he will host an event, partially to indulge, partially to congratulate himself on having set things right again . This will give us an opportunity to strike him down .

 

Annabelle: Impressive!

 

Sasha: Oh god . I didn’t mean to do that .

 

Sasha: Why did I know that ?

 

Annabelle: You didn’t “know” it, you were just seeing things from the perspective of someone like me - from the center of a web.

 

Sasha: That’s impossible, I am not like you . I don’t serve the Web . I haven’t agreed to your offer yet .

 

Annabelle: Yet? 

 

Sasha: I haven’t agreed to your offer .

 

Annabelle: Sasha, listen. I can tell that in spite of you seeing for yourself what your little hypothetical attack on Elias may do, you still have some reservations. And you don’t want those reservations. You don’t want to hold yourself back. What you want is to be convinced that you’re doing a good thing, hurting Elias, and that the risk is worth it.

 

Annabelle: I think you trust me more than you trust yourself. Does that sound correct?

 

Sasha: I truly just want a second opinion . And you’re quite experienced in the subject, so here I am, asking .

 

Annabelle: Aw, well I think you should go through with it. Frankly, it would be incredibly funny.

 

Annabelle: Now tell me honestly. Are you satisfied with that answer?

 

Sasha: No, not really . I thought I would be .

 

Annabelle: Of course you did! That’s nothing unusual. Most people would take my opinion as an excuse to go right ahead and do what they wanted. But you’re not most people. You need to feel, deep down, like you’re right.

 

Annabelle: So let me ask you something.

 

Annabelle: How is Tim doing?

 

Sasha: What ?

 

Annabelle: You told me about what happened last weekend, and it sounds pretty terrible. Something like that would haunt any self-respecting citizen for the rest of their life. And yes, you all got out alive, and you seem to be doing better now. 

 

Annabelle: But can you say, truthfully, that you aren’t afraid that the Buried followed you home? That it will open up beneath you, at any moment, and you’ll plunge down into it, never again to see the sunlight, or taste fresh air, or hear anyone’s voice besides your own? 

 

Annabelle: Do you think you will ever go swimming again?

 

Annabelle: As you told me during our rendez-vous, Elias knew what would happen if you went to the waterpark. He didn’t care whether or not you died, or were trapped forever, as long as his precious Archivist benefited from it. And now he is off somewhere, having evaded prison, having evaded any consequence to his actions. And you are at home, alone, afraid of water, afraid of the ground on which you stand. So is Martin. So is Tim.

 

Annabelle: If you’re pretending to be better, to be okay, why wouldn’t they be, too? From what you’ve told me of Tim, he’s quite the people-pleaser. He likes to make everyone around him happy. And if you ask me, telling your friends that you are recovering is one of the best ways to make them happy. I bet he has told you all sorts of things, acting like he’s getting better, like living is getting easier. But how much can you really heal in a week?

 

Annabelle: So, Sasha, I’ll ask again. And I want you to really think about the answer.

 

Annabelle: How is Tim doing?

 

10:01 pm

 

To: nathaniellukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

From: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

Subject: Regarding our Business Relationship

 

Nathaniel,

 

I hope you are doing well.  I will keep this email short and to the point.

 

I would like to formally sever the ties between your family and the Magnus Institute.  I realize this will result in the loss of your generous funding, but due to personal matters, I have decided that dissociating myself from the Lukases as a whole would be best.

 

If you require any paperwork to be signed, please send it through email or fax, and I will return it to you as soon as I am able.

 

With my sincere gratitude,

 

Elias Bouchard

 

Head of the Magnus Institute

 

 

Chapter Text

Friday, 10:51 pm

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: im back at my flat. please don’t stay up all night going through your accidental videos! you need proper rest :/

 

Jon: I only have a few more to sort through. That will give me ample storage for the foreseeable future, I’d imagine. So long as I don’t document the entirety of the Renaissance Faire on my phone.

 

Jon: Also, thank you for coming over tonight, Martin.

 

Jon: Not that I don’t enjoy spending time with Tim or Sasha, but

 

Jon: It was nice to be with just you.

 

Martin: i feel the same way :))) 

 

Martin: guess that’s why we’re dating, yeah?

 

Jon: Hm...I think you may be onto something. :-)

 

Martin: i think so too :))

 

Martin: well, i’ll let you get to your video sorting. the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can go to bed. which you should do!! please do not do more work afterward!!

 

Martin: or else!

 

Martin: or else there will be ummm consequences! and the consequences will be

 

Martin: that i'll be sad :( 

 

Jon: Oh, well we can’t have that.

 

Martin: :)

 

Jon: Hmph.

 

Jon: The videos will probably be exhausting to look through anyway. They’re a bit scrambled, so I have no idea what is on the rest of them.

 

Martin: good things, I hope?

 

Jon: I suppose I shall find out soon enough.

 

Martin: i suppose you shall!

 

Martin: good luck :)

 

Jon: Thank you. I believe I’ll need it.

 

Delete all (22) selected videos?

 

-

 

22 Videos Deleted

 

4 Videos Remaining

 

-

 

Video 1

Taken Friday - April 3, 10:57 pm

Duration: 09:03

 

[The screen shows a hazy, close darkness––the interior of a pocket. Despite the loudness of the late-night pub’s bad music and drunken chatter, a few familiar voices emerge.

 

Jon, sloppy drunk: ––and if you look, if you really look at the texts, like––Both of you should read Historia Regum Britanniae . Will you?

 

Tim, half-laughing: Noooooooooo!

 

Sasha, her smile audible: Yes, we will. We will , Tim, shhh.

 

Tim, well past sloppy drunk: But only if it’s written by...by somebody I like.

 

Jon: Geoffrey of Monmouth!

 

Tim: Booooo, he sounds like a killjoy, Jeff, Jeff of––um. Monmouth. Nope, not doing that.

 

Jon: But it’s interesting , Tim, you like interesting things, I know you pretend you don’t but you do, you truly do. 

 

Tim: Jeff lives in a cave somewhere, I bet. He sounds like someone who would.

 

Jon: Don’t be ridiculous. He wrote all about King Arthur, and that’s what I’m trying to tell you, is that if you look at his texts, you’ll see that Arthur and Lancelot and Guinevere were together, and they were all...completely, utterly fine with it. Better than fine! Where’s Martin?

 

Sasha: What?

 

Jon: Martin’s not here. When did he leave?

 

Tim: Chill out, boss, he’s prob’ly getting us another round, because he’s a real one. He’s the MVP! MVP––Martin’s...Very…

 

Jon: Pretty.

(Simultaneously)

Tim: Perfect.

 

Tim: What’d you say?

 

Jon: I don’t know. I said what you said.

 

Sasha: You look tired, Jon. Do you want to call it a night?

 

Jon: Maybe. Yes. I haven’t done this in...I don’t know how long. A long time. I’m not used to it.

 

Sasha: Hey, the table’s dirty, don’t––Here, use my jacket as a pillow.

 

Jon, muffled: Thank you.

 

Sasha: We can go after Martin gets back from wherever he went. Okay?

 

Jon makes a noncommittal noise into the jacket.

 

Tim and Sasha chat quietly for several minutes, snickering under their breaths, until they reach a natural lull in the conversation.

 

Tim: Is he already asleep? Damn! Jon , Earth to Jon? Hey, uh, I’m gonna go sift through the archives while holding a full, steaming mug of coffee. What do you think? D’you think that’s a good idea that’ll end well for everyone? (Pause.) Okay, yeah, he’s out.

 

Sasha, suddenly tearful: Aw, oh no, we’ll have to wake him up , Tim, I don’t want to do that!

 

Tim: Why not? What’s wrong?

 

Sasha: He already gets so little sleep.

 

Tim: I know, and it’s all his own fault. He’s––He can’t do things that he knows are good for him.

 

Sasha, louder: It’s self-disrespectful!

 

Tim, even louder: Self-dis-repesc–– disrespectful!

 

They immediately shush each other, equally as loud as they were when they were speaking.

 

Tim, half-whispering: Did you see how he was looking at Marto, though?

 

Sasha, distressed: No, how did he look at him?

 

Tim: Sasha, it’s a good thing, it means our Scheme is working.

 

Sasha: Oh!

 

Tim: Yeah, Jon was like...he was like googly eyes over there.

 

Sasha: No way.

 

Tim: Yes, yes way. Very googly eyes, very much like...like star-crossed lovers googly eyes.

 

Sasha: I can’t believe I missed it.

 

Tim, mischievously: Don’t worry. I got a picture.

 

Sasha: Tim!

 

Tim: I’ll show you later!

 

Sasha: You’re the best, you’re the co-MVP, with Martin.

 

Tim: Nah, he’s the only Perfect one. If we’re all MVPs, he’s Perfect, Jon is…

 

Sasha: Posh?

 

Tim: Pretentious. Or Posh. You’re...Perfect-er.

 

Sasha: You just said only Martin can be Perfect.

 

Tim: That’s why I said Perfect- er .

 

Sasha: That’s cheating. But fine, then you’re...Pretty. A Pretty boy.

 

Tim: D’aww.

 

Sasha: Actually, you’re just...Pretty annoying.

 

Tim, laughing: Hey!

 

Sasha: ....I think Jon said that.

 

Tim: What?

 

Sasha: Pretty. He said that about––Oh, Martin!

 

Martin: Hell-ooo.

 

Tim: We missed you, buddy, you’ve been gone for ages.

 

Martin: There was this whole big thing with the...um. Is Jon asleep?

 

Tim: He died from longing for your return.

 

Martin, slightly panicked: Um, what?

 

Sasha: Tim’s just being an idiot. I think Jon wore himself out from all the lecturing on ancient rites and polyamory.

 

Martin: That would tire anyone, I think.

 

Sasha, whispering: Let’s get him up, and we can go part of the way with him on the tube. I want to make sure he gets home okay.

 

Martin, softly: Right. Okay. Jon?

 

Jon: Mmph.

 

Tim: Wakey-wakey, bossman.

 

Martin: Jon? We’re about to leave.

 

Jon: Martin. Hi.

 

Martin, fondly: Hi.

 

Jon: Hi. Was I asleep?

 

Martin: Yeah, but it’s okay, we––

 

Jon: What time is it?

 

The darkness shifts on screen as Jon’s phone is abruptly pulled out into the open, its camera settling on a canted view of a grungy table, which is littered with shot glasses. Half in frame is Sasha’s purple jacket, hopelessly scrunched.

 

Jon: That’s odd. My phone’s reco––]

 

Video 2

Taken Saturday - April 20, 2:01 pm

Duration: 12:46

 

[For the first several minutes, the video displays only a dark screen. The jaunty cacophony of a busy arcade is the most prominent sound, but every once in a while, one of the archival staff will say something that the phone’s mic only half captures. Eventually, the background noise dims ever so slightly, allowing Tim and Jon’s voices to be properly heard.

 

Tim: ...quieter over here, I couldn’t hear myself think.

 

Jon: Likewise. 

 

Tim: Ooh, I see some old-school options. Pac-man, Street Fighter––what do you think, boss?

 

Jon: Ah, you can pick.

 

Tim, exasperated: Please tell me you know the difference between these games.

 

Jon, an odd lilt to his voice: I do indeed.

 

Tim: ...You’re up to something. And I’m going to find out what it is. But first––(his voice becomes slightly distant as he walks off) pinball. One-v-one. Highest score wins.

 

Jon chuckles and strides over, saying: Fine, if that’s how you want to play it.

 

Tim: You’re trying to rattle me, and it won’t work. You’re looking at a pinball master, okay? I’ve played this thing probably...five or six times.

 

Jon: I’m terrified.

 

Tim: Yeah, you should be.

 

The following sounds can be heard: coins sliding into the metal slot, the machine whirring and switching its theme to “Game Mode”––tropical music, full of steel drums, screeching gulls, and rolling waves––then, the steel ball pinging around the environment. Within twenty seconds, the ball clunks down the gutter, and Tim huffs.

 

Jon: Impressive.

 

Tim: Okay, that’s––that was a warm-up round, for your information. The warm-up is very important.

 

Jon: Right, I see. In which case, the next two rounds will show off your true capabilities, then?

 

Tim: Yes, they will. So. Get ready.

 

Tim starts the next round.

 

Tim: Not that this is an excuse or anything, but we may have to do a rematch later. This morning’s activities are catching up to me. There’s just something about spending a few hours at a waterpark that wears you out, you know?

 

Jon: I do, actually.

 

Tim: It was fun, though.

 

Jon: It was.

 

Tim: It was fun to see you have fun. It seems like you don’t–– Damn . (The pinball goes down the gutter; Tim starts the final round.) It seems like you don’t smile much nowadays.

 

Jon, minorly offended: Yes I do.

 

Tim: Not like today. (Pause.) Not like when we were on some of the rides. Or when we took siege of that structure with the water pistols attached to it, and forced Martin and Sasha to surrender.

 

Jon: That was fun. But to be fair, work at the Institute is hardly as thrilling.

 

Tim: I know. I just...want you to be happy more, I guess.

 

The pinball goes down the gutter––an announcer’s voice declares: Gaaaaame Over!

 

Tim: I don’t know. Anyway, it’s your turn.

 

There are a few moments of quiet. Jon enters coins into the machine, but doesn’t start the game.

 

Jon: It’s not that I’m––I mean, when I’m at work I’m used to––Christ, I don’t know how to explain myself. I’ll admit that I was skeptical about this weekend, but spending time with the three of you...Tim, I’ve been happier today than I have been in a long time. And I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful that you’d go out of your way to include me.

 

Tim: Okay but we didn’t go out of our way, Jon. See, that’s––I feel like you view everything as a consequence of you just existing . We didn’t say to ourselves, “Oh, might as well invite Jon to the waterpark, since we work with him.” No. We wanted you to come because we wanted you to be happy for once, and because you being happy makes us happy. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like––like things aren’t quite as terrible as they actually are. Because I look over and I see you smiling and...it’s better.

 

Jon: Well…(Pause.) Sometimes, I may not seem terribly happy. But I am. And it’s usually because of something one of you did, or said. Honestly, you three make working at the Institute bearable. Especially as I get to know you better. Moreso Sasha and Martin, since I haven’t known them for nearly as long. But Tim, I’m still learning new things about you. I didn’t pay much attention the first time around, back in research. And I regret it.

 

Tim: It’s honestly fine––

 

Jon: No, it’s not. I’m sorry for...more than I’d care to delve into right now. But I’m especially sorry for how I’ve been acting since being assigned to Head Archivist. I’ve been harsh, and impatient, and dismissive. I––I treated you as though we were complete strangers.

 

Tim: ...Yeah. You did. I legitimately thought I was imagining things, at first. But...I mean, you grew out of it, you got less like that .

 

Jon: Eventually, yes.

 

Tim: Like, we’re not just two strangers in an arcade right now.

 

Jon: Hardly.

 

Tim: We’re two worm-eaten coworkers-with-a-potentially-murderous-and-supernatural-boss in an arcade.

 

Jon: Don’t be ridiculous. We’re two (clears throat) friends in an arcade.

 

Tim, gasping: Did Jonathan Sims just say the ‘f’ word?

 

Jon: I did nothing of the sort.

 

The pinball machine’s theme song begins; the steel ball rolls into place.

 

Jon: There is something you should know.

 

Tim: Oh?

 

Jon: When I said you could pick which game we played, it wasn’t because I didn’t know which games were which. It was because I wanted you to feel like you had a chance at winning.

 

Tim: I’m sorry, what?

 

Jon starts playing. Unlike Tim, his “warmup” round lasts a solid minute.

 

Tim, audibly grinning: What the hell.

 

Jon: There was an arcade near my childhood home in Bournemouth. Sometimes, when I ran out of books to read, I was bored enough to spend my time there.

 

Tim: What, were you constantly running out of books?

 

Jon: No. But I was constantly bored.

 

Tim: I guess I’m learning new things about you, too, boss.

 

Jon: I guess you are.

 

Jon starts the next round. After about a minute and a half, his phone and Tim’s chime in unison. Jon keeps playing.

 

Tim: Oh, Sasha’s sending photos from the smoothie place. (He laughs.) That one turned out fantastic, I look like a model.

 

Jon, still playing: If you say so.

 

Tim: You haven’t even seen it yet, you can’t judge. (Their phones chime again.) Hey, here’s one with you and Martin. 

 

The pinball drops into the gutter, and Jon clicks his tongue. Then––with a rustling of fabric, the video brightens, landing on the brightly patterned carpet of the arcade. Jon, assumedly having noticed that his phone is recording, sighs.]

 

Video 3

Taken Monday April 22, 7:27 am

Duration: 29:10

 

[The first thirty seconds are hopelessly corrupted, glitching RGB, buzzing with static. Then the video clears—its view is tilted, facing the sidewalk, catching one of Jon’s shoes in frame. Passing cars and pedestrian chatter constitutes the background noise––as well as quick, panicked breathing. Almost imperceptibly, the video trembles.

 

Jon: Wait, Michael, Michael .

 

The video whips around, catching different angles of the street and sidewalk in view, as Jon turns; evidently, he has forgotten he is holding his phone.

 

No yellow door appears in frame.

 

Jon mutters to himself, then starts off down the block. For nearly ten minutes, this is the video––an unsteady, moving view of the sidewalk, and occasionally, a glimpse of somebody passing in the opposite direction.

 

Then: we enter into a lobby. Jon’s footfalls echo on the linoleum. No other sound can be heard––no voices, no hush of fans. Deep, clinical silence.

 

It is only when Jon takes the squealing wooden stairs down to the basement that noise returns––the arthritic snaps and creaks of an old building, the hum of temperature-controlled ventilation. Jon pauses for only a moment––we hear the frantic jingling of keys––before hurrying into the archives. Boxes on the floor, sagging, overflowing with files, flash past. Then the phone is placed facedown on Jon’s desk, and the video stills, auto-focusing on the sloped beige ceiling.

 

For the next few minutes, we hear Jon striding around, shuffling through papers, opening and closing filing cabinets. A handful of times, he mumbles something to himself, but he is too far away for the phone’s mic to capture the shape of his words.

 

Elias: Lose something?

 

Jon audibly flinches, dropping a folder.

 

Jon: Christ. You could have knocked.

 

Elias, conceding: I could have. But your door was open.

 

Jon: Well, I didn’t think anyone else was here. It’s Sunday, at...whatever time it is.

 

Elias: It’s Monday morning, Jon.

 

Jon: ...Oh.

 

Elias, smug : You look disoriented. Did something happen?

 

Jon: You knew. You knew that the water park––

 

Elias: I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

 

Jon: Martin, Tim, Sasha, they’re all...I don’t know, they’re just gone. They were there , but now they’re––god, it doesn’t make any sense!

 

Elias: That is unfortunate. We should get you some hardier assistants, hm?

 

Jon: That’s not funny.

 

Elias: Goodness, it’s a few missing researchers, Jon. It’s not the end of the world. And what’s most important is you’re here. You survived.

 

Jon, frantic: What do you mean “survived”?

 

Elias: I just mean––

 

Jon, with venom: They’re not dead. Don’t you dare try to tell me that.

 

Elias: They could...conceivably...still be alive. It might be better for them if they weren’t. But, well, that’s not my business. (With contention:) Mx. Eberson will tend to them, as they are wont to do.

 

Jon: You know Mx. Eberson.

 

Elias: Unfortunately.

 

Jon: Then you know how to get my fr––my assistants back. You know where Eberson put them.

 

Elias: Not my business, Jonathan.

 

Jon: They’re your employees.

 

Elias: They are replaceable. Besides, you seem rather interested in finding them. I think I’ll let you handle this little project on your own. Take as much time as you need.

 

Jon: But why won’t you just tell me?

 

Elias: Because I owe you nothing. Yet, here I am, trying to help you. (He sighs.) I’d like to give you some advice: if you care so much about them, you must evolve. You must…accept the Knowledge as it comes to you.

 

Jon: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

 

Elias: You’ll find out, in time. Good luck.

 

Jon: Wait. Wait , I still have––

 

The door to the archives shuts with a sturdy click.

 

Jon: ––questions.

 

There is a long moment of quiet. Elias’s footsteps fade away. Jon releases a shaky breath, then takes in a new one––exhale, inhale, exhale. 

 

Jon: I–I’m just a person. How am I supposed to––? (Inhale, exhale.) Fuck. (Inhale, inhale––exhale.)

 

Jon fights to steady his stuttering breaths, forcefully sucking air in and blowing it out. Then, in the middle of an inhale––he stops.

 

Jon: Maybe...Maybe their phones …?

 

He hurries back over to the desk. For a brief second, his face flashes in frame––he is an awful sight, looking skittish and bone-weary––then he flips the phone over. Notices the video recording. Laughs, softly, painfully.]

 

Video 4

Taken Monday - April 29, 10:14 pm

Duration: 11:40

 

[The video begins right as the phone is being shoved back into a pocket. Through the fabric, the microphone captures the sound of distant cars and thin, quiet rain.

 

Jon: ––supposed to rain all night, after all.

 

Martin: See, I thought it would. I just could not, for the life of me, find that umbrella.

 

Jon: The archives are a wreck. I wouldn’t bank on successfully finding anything you’re actually looking for.

 

Martin: Yeah...Well, at least it’s not a downpour, I guess?

 

Jon: Right. That’s good.

 

Martin: Yeah.

 

For a long moment, they just walk.

 

Martin: Listen, I should––

(Simultaneously)

Jon: Martin, there’s––

 

Martin: Oh, I’m sorry, you can––

 

Jon: No, you should––

 

Martin: I mean––I could but––

 

Jon: Yours would be better, before mine.

 

Martin: You don’t know that. (Pause––then, mildly panicked:) You don’t Know that, do you?

 

Jon: No, lord no, I don’t. It’s just my assumption, based on what I have to tell you. Like I said, my thing is, in all likelihood, much more destructive than whatever yours is.

 

Martin: And I still think mine is more destructive, but––Okay, okay, no. We are not doing this again.

 

Jon, audibly smirking: What, you don’t like talking in circles?

 

Martin: Psh! Have you met me? I could do this all day. Or, um. Night, I guess. Twilight?

 

Jon: Hm, twilight. Poetic.

 

Martin: Well.

 

Jon: I think after ten PM, if not nighttime, it’s at the very least solidly evening.

 

Martin: We’re still doing it, we’re still talking in circles.

 

Jon: Yes. We’re naturals. Do you think we could make a profession out of it? Avoiding the point?

 

Martin: Politicians do it.

 

Jon: True. And Elias does it all the time.

 

Martin, as though he has just had an epiphany: Elias does have the energy of a politician!

 

Jon, laughing: Well, he acts like a dictator, so! I’m not surprised!

 

Martin, now laughing too hard to speak properly: Wh–What a (snicker)––What a bastard .

 

Jon, trying and failing to compose himself better than Martin: Utter bastard. He’s a–a joke .

 

Martin, wheezing: A “joke”?!

 

They both collapse into laughter. This bout lasts for a good while before, little by little, fading away...then immediately starting up again.

 

Martin, still giggling: Here we go again. Circles. Talking in circles.

 

Jon, audibly grinning: That one was my fault, I’m afraid. I, um…(Clears his throat) I’m sorry, I’m being avoidant.

 

Martin: I am too. I mean… (softer) I am too.

 

Jon: Right. Anyway.

 

Martin, getting progressively shorter of breath: I guess I’ll just...say it. Um. Jon, I really...I’m really happy that you’ve let yourself... exist with Tim and Sasha and I in a way that isn’t strictly professional. And not just because I like spending time with you––which I do, obviously, it’s, um. It’s lovely. Y-you–– You’re lovely. To be around. And just in general. But, um, the point is that in the process of all of us getting to know each other better, spending more time together, doing––doing whatever , I have...learned things. About myself. And you. Not in a creepy way, just in a...in a normal way. 

 

Jon: Martin. Breathe.

 

Martin, sort of breathing: Right. Sorry. I mean…(He exhales shakily.) Right.

 

Their footsteps stop. The only sounds now are the distant cars and the pattering rain.

 

Jon: You’re not...working with Mx. Eberson, are you?

 

Martin laughs, and we hear the first notes of his preemptive heartbreak.

 

Martin: No. You don’t have to worry about that. It’s actually that. Um. (He clears his throat.) I have feelings for you, Jon. And it’s––it’s completely fine that you don’t––or, um, if? ––no. That you don’t. I just. I needed you to know. And I’d understand if you wanted to...I don’t know, move me to another section of the Institute? Or something? Not that I want to. But––But I could , I mean, if that would be better for you. Not that I really have a hand in where I go. Um. But either way, what I’m saying is I’d understand if––

 

Jon: Martin, I’m not––(chuckling) I’m not going to deport you from the archives.

 

Martin: Oh. Okay. That’s good, I think.

 

Jon, audibly grinning: I’m so sorry, please do not think I’m laughing at you, because I am not. You’ll understand why I’m smiling in a moment.

 

Martin, hesitantly optimistic: ...Okay?

 

Jon: First off––I don’t think your thing is worse than my thing. In fact, they’re fairly...equal.

 

Martin: Oh?

 

Jon: And second––I’m not great at...emotions.

 

Martin: Hm.

 

Jon: That was the most sarcastic “hm” I think I’ve ever heard.

 

Martin: It wasn’t sarcastic, it was––it was perfectly neutral.

 

Jon, smirking like the bastard he is: Sure it was.

 

Martin, failing to resist being incredibly endeared: It was!

 

Jon: Let’s say it was. Anyway , I don’t really...know how to say things of this nature. Without messing it up. So I’ll just. Ah...I’ll just say I wish you wouldn’t assume that I don’t feel the same way about you. Because that wouldn’t be true.

 

Martin: ...I...But.... What? You don’t, though.

 

Jon: I...don’t?

 

Martin: Oh. Wow, I really just said that, didn’t I? I really just––Well, that’s just peachy. That’s really, exceptionally brilliant. Ha. No, I didn’t mean to flat-out accuse you of lying, I am simply. Hm. Very confused. And––And pleasantly surprised! Except “pleasantly surprised” makes it sound like you just...gave me an extra ten minutes off for lunch break or something. So, to clarify, I am slightly more pleasantly surprised than that.

 

Jon: As though I gave you fifteen minutes off.

 

There is a pause, and despite the quiet, you can feel the way they’re smiling at each other.

 

Martin: Yeah. Like that.

 

The rain starts to come down harder, prompting the two to begin walking again.

 

Martin: We’re going to be soaked by the time we get back.

 

Jon: Don’t poets like the rain?

 

Martin: I mean, yeah, when it’s not harassing you in the cold and the dark. What time is it by the way?

 

The blackness on the screen shifts, then sloughs away as Jon lifts the phone from his pocket. The camera, on selfie mode, shows Jon––face speckled with raindrops, hair frizzy from the humidity––peering down at the phone. When he realizes it’s recording, he rolls his eyes.

 

Jon: Oh, for god’s sake.

 

Martin, mildly panicked: What?

 

Jon, glaring into the camera: It’s nothing. Nothing at all. ]

 

Saturday, 12:06 am

 

Jon to Martin

 

Jon: I hope you’re asleep by now, Martin.

 

Jon: I finished looking at the rest of the videos, which should be more of a relief than it is. It feels as though I’m still watching them, as though they’re still spooling out in my brain. Perhaps I’m subconsciously reliving them because I can’t remember the precise details of what happened after the recordings ended, and that bothers me. Perhaps it’s simply because the videos hurt to watch. Even the good ones, somewhat.

 

Jon: It helped, though. To see things from an outsider’s perspective. I noticed things I was too oblivious to notice at the time. And if I’m lucky, when the time comes, I’ll know how to say what I need to say.

 

Jon: That’s a bit of a stretch, to think I’ll be so eloquent with my words. But one can hope.

 

Jon: Anyhow. I should try to get some sleep. I’ll talk to you in the morning.

 

Jon: Goodnight, love.

 

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, 10:09 am

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Are we all still on board to do the renaissance faire tomorrow ?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: if you thought anything could stop me from becoming a hot witch,,,youd be wrong

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Oh, you have your costume ready then ?

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ...fuk

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: uh yeah haha i do have my costume,,, it is here, at my flat, because i did not forget to purchase it

 

The Piano Man: oh tim.

 

The Piano Man: i might still have some things in a box somewhere, i’ll look for anything particularly witchy :)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: marto you’re a lifesaver

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: lmk if you have anything that would make me look specifically like id lure you into my candy house in the woods, and serve you dinner, and treat you SO right,, but also i wouldnt let you leave after, and i might turn you into a frog? who knows ;)

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: ,,,witchy-sexy

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: no wait

 

Self-care supervisor stoker: magically delicious ;)))

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Oh my god .

 

Self-care supervisor stoker changed his name to Lucky charmer

 

The Piano Man: oh no :’)

 

Martin Enthusiast: I may regret this, but...I think I have some old clothes that somewhat fit this description.

 

Lucky charmer: SDKLSJS ARE YOU SEREIOSI

 

Lucky charmer: and you havent worn any of it to work why??

 

Martin Enthusiast: Because it’s unprofessional? I can hardly show up to the institute showing *that* much shoulder.

 

The Piano Man: i

 

Lucky charmer: o fukc,,,,,,shoulders

 

Lucky charmer: what next?? ankles??????

 

Lucky charmer: collarbone?????????????

 

Lucky charmer: im going to pass out

 

The Piano Man: jon i only barely handled myself when you wore your leather jacket and eyeliner, so um. i think it may be for the best that you didn’t randomly wear that to work?

 

The Piano Man: not to say i don’t want to see you wearing that, because i very much do.

 

The Piano Man: but when you do, i will um. need some warning! just a little heads-up! just like, “by the way, martin, i’ll be wearing less fabric than usual” that’s all i need

 

Martin Enthusiast: By the way, Martin, I’ll be wearing less fabric than usual.

 

The Piano Man: yep just like that

 

The Piano Man: wait

 

The Piano Man: was that um

 

Martin Enthusiast: Yes, that was a heads-up. For tomorrow.

 

The Piano Man: oh

 

The Piano Man: right!

 

The Piano Man: ummmm good to know

 

Lucky charmer: ooohohoh boss what in the world do you have planned???

 

Martin Enthusiast: That’s for me to know and you to find out.

 

The Piano Man: :0

 

The Piano Man changed Martin Enthusiast ’s name to An absolute menace to Martin, specifically

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Pfff you earned that one, Jon :)

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Also I am very excited for this ! It’ll be good to spend time doing fun, non-stressful things, somewhere away from the institute .

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Somewhere far away from water :/

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: Good point.

 

Lucky charmer: fukin amen to that

 

The Piano Man: yeah, the less water the better.

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Oh before I forget, Martin, can you please braid our hair again :)

 

The Piano Man: ah sure! ill try out some fancier ones this time.

 

Lucky charmer: uh fancier?? fancier how?? the one you gave jon was already royaltycore as all hell how can that possiblY get fancier???

 

The Piano Man: youll see ;)

 

Lucky charmer: h

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: Well I’m certainly interested :-)

 

11:01 am

 

To: martin.blackwood@magnus.com

 

From: peterlukas@lukasvoyaging.com

 

Subject: Personal Assistant Duties

 

Hello Martin,

 

As I told you in a previous email, starting Monday you’ll be working as my personal assistant for the duration of my managerial position at the institute. Elias informed me that you would be a good fit, and I am anxious to put this to the test. Here is a taste of what you should expect in your new role:

 

-You will no longer be forced to share a workspace with others. You will have your own office, to minimize distractions.

 

-You will no longer answer to the Head Archivist or to any of your colleagues. In fact, the gross majority of the time, there will be no reason to go to them for any reason whatsoever.

 

-You will have access to many confidential documents, which you will be tasked with digitizing, fact-checking, copying or updating. This portion of your job may necessitate that you visit various areas of the institute, but even so, you will not interact with anyone. You are looking for documents, not people.

 

-You will use a new kitchenette, for coffee, tea and lunch. As Elias has told me, this one is limited-access to upper level workers––it’s where the more expensive refreshments are kept––so it is vacant most of the time. Nobody will bother you.

 

I hope all of this seems appealing to you. Something tells me it might.

 

I look forward to meeting you on Monday.

 

Peter

 

11:50 am

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

The Piano Man: can’t wait to be almost completely isolated for an unspecified amount of time :))

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: I just read the email you forwarded and...wow, does he know how unsubtle he’s being ?

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: This is not happening. I am not allowing this to happen.

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: Martin, when we return to the institute on Monday, just go to the archives, as usual. Whatever assisting you are asked to do, you can do it in proximity to the rest of us. There is no reason for you to move to a new area of the building.

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: And if Peter Lukas has a problem with that, he’ll have to deal with me.

 

Lucky charmer: and me obv,, fuck that guy

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Yeah . I mean I really hope it works out that way !

 

Lucky charmer: ?

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: Why wouldn’t it?

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: I don’t know how to explain it really . I just have a bad feeling that things won’t turn out the way we expect ?

 

Lucky charmer: …...boss, confirm?

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: I’m not a psychic, Tim, I can’t Know the future. Although that would make everything a lot simpler.

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: You’d think so .

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: I mean, I assume it wouldn’t actually be quite so straight-forward to get glimpses of the potential future . That’s all .

 

The Piano Man: yeah, you’re probably right sasha :/ i guess we’ll never be sure, though, since none of us are actually psychic. unless….somebody has something they’d like to share? :)

 

Lucky charmer: i may not be a psychic,,,,, but i see ~you~ in my future ;)))

 

The Piano Man: eugh

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Haha ew :)

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: Terrible.

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Has that one actually worked for you ?

 

Lucky charmer: ahaha no *finger guns*

 

Lucky charmer: wait guys,,, i just checked elias’s account and there’s an email from the waterpark bastard, in response to the godawful message jon and martin sent yesterday….

 

The Piano Man: oh dear

 

11:56 am

 

To: elias.bouchard@magnus.com

 

From: jeberson@ebersonparks.com

 

Subject: RE: An Overdue Thank You

 

Mr. Bouchard,

 

I don’t recall you being quite so egotistical, but then again, it has been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of your majesty’s company. Honestly. If this is some bizarre attempt at a guilt trip, I should be pleased to inform you that it is having the opposite effect. Even though your little Beholdings-in-training only remained in the Buried for a week, they fed my Entity plenty. It was a smorgasbord of fear. 

 

Especially from the one who got taken in the water slide. Tim . That’s his name. Yes, the others practically oozed terror and panic, but Tim had the luxury of stewing in his thoughts. The others had an immediate purpose: to find a way to breathe, or to survive without breathing. Tim had nothing like that. His only distraction was his mind. His doubts. 

 

Have you ever scared yourself, Elias? It doesn’t take much. I mean, you know better than anyone how to make your own lungs constrict in dread, how to cinch your spine, frost your blood. It’s just a matter of intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts, and how long you can keep them out. 

 

I only wish your archivist had gotten the opportunity to contribute to the mixture. Then it would have been a true feast.

 

That being said––for god’s sake, do not send all your employees here. What happened with your trio of assistants was a rare thing. If you send anyone else from the Magnus Institute, they will not be coming back. That is a promise. I don’t care about your “ideal workplace” full of screaming thirty-somethings. I’m sure you can find another way to traumatize them.

 

The Buried prefers variety, you understand. All members of the Eye have the same aftertaste.

 

Don’t contact me again, if you can help it.

 

Jo Eberson

 

“there’s no ‘i’ in magnus but there is an ‘us’ <3”

 

Lucky charmer: haha yikes ;)))

 

The Piano Man: tim…

 

Lucky charmer: guys it’s fine, dont let this claustrophobia simp tell you what’s what

 

Lucky charmer: we’re all out, right? we’re safe. there’s nothing to be worried about anymore, so don’t worry about me.

 

Lucky charmer: honestly sasha and martin had it worse, anyway. eberson’s just being dramatic because they fantasize about being slowly crushed into the earth or whatever. drowning for a week is objectively way worse than being bored in a tube slide.

 

Lucky charmer: seriously, it’s fine. i’m fine. im not the one to be worried about. okay?

 

The Piano Man: i mean :/ if youre sure

 

The Piano Man: and it’s completely all right if you, i dunno. change your mind later? it’s okay not to be okay. i know /i’m/ still having a hard time doing certain things. so it’s not like you’d be alone in that, you know?

 

Lucky charmer: yeah. thanks buddy

 

Lucky charmer: im still skittish, but def improving ;)

 

Lucky charmer: the anti-trauma grind never stops. can i get a hell yeah?

 

The Piano Man: ….no <3

 

Lucky charmer: ;(

 

The Piano Man: i’ll give you a somewhat enthusiastic “sure thing”

 

Lucky charmer: ehhh good enough

 

Lucky charmer: sasha can i get a hell yeah?

 

Lucky charmer: wait wait wait before you say no,, can we j talk about sasha’s fukcng,,,, email to nathaniel lukas??

 

The Piano Man: yeah jon and i were just staring, wide-eyed, when we read it!

 

Lucky charmer: sldkgjkj sasha you just destroyed elias's whole career, good for you babe

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Well, I had plenty of motivation to do so .

 

Lucky charmer: hell yeah you did ;)) with what that prick did to us, and to jon especially,,,elias wholly deserves it

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: He does, Tim . He really does .

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: You haven’t received an email back, have you?

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Not yet, but it hasn’t even been 24 hours .

 

The Piano Man: we havent heard back from nikola either :0

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: That’s probably for the best, don’t you think?

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Goodness, if I were Nikola, and I received a message like That, I would IMMEDIATELY block Elias’s contact .

 

Lucky charmer: ;)))))

 

The Piano Man: im surprised i didn’t have nightmares about that, frankly

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: The true nightmare is that it exists.

 

Lucky charmer: aww you guys flatter me <33 

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: No, we’re steadily working through our remaining discomfort together. This is not a compliment?

 

Lucky charmer: well boss, since i was actively trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible, everyone’s collective disgust actually iS a compliment ;)) so thank you

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: You’re welcome, I think ?

 

The Piano Man: maybe we’ll eventually get all elias’s contacts to block him? only time will tell

 

An absolute menace to Martin, specifically: This can be our plan for Monday, perhaps. Send as many disturbing emails out from Elias’s account as possible.

 

Lucky charmer: dsfjgld gOD yes!! 

 

Lucky charmer: i cant wait ;))

 

The cause of Elias’s downfall: Yes haha :) If Monday works out that way, that’d really be great .

 

The Piano Man: uh yeah! right.

 

12:48 pm

 

Tim to Martin

 

Tim: heyyyy marto 

 

Tim: whats uhhhh new, whats the vibe,

 

Martin: nothing really? just looking through some boxes. ive managed to find some of my old ren faire things, and some of it’s sort of witchy, so you’re in luck :)

 

Martin: something on your mind, tim?

 

Tim: psh nah, j checkin in 

 

Tim: or well uh now that you mention it there is one thing

 

Tim: do you think sasha’s been acting,,,,a bit off lately?

 

Tim: like idk, could be nothing

 

Tim: probably nothing tbh

 

Martin: well um. actually yeah. ive noticed that.

 

Tim: oh

 

Martin: yeah. i cant quite put my finger on it, but she seems...changed?

 

Martin: and it’s not the not-them, we wouldn’t both notice her acting strange if that were the case.

 

Martin: but something’s definitely different. and it feels...sort of bad? :/

 

Martin: i mean you’re the one who brought it up, so did you happen to notice anything specific?

 

Tim: well i guess,, like. there was something that tipped me off.

 

Tim: bc i trust sasha more than anyone. and that’s not just because i love her, she has earned that trust. she has never purposefully broken a promise, and if I tell her something in confidence, she never lets that shit slip. because she knows it’s important to me.

 

Tim: i mean. it was like that until yesterday.

 

Martin: ah. you mean what she said about you and jon?

 

Tim: yeah. and about your poetry thing, too.

 

Tim: idk how important that secret was to you. maybe it was very important. all i know is that my secret was very important to me. it was important that it be /kept/ a secret.

 

Tim: because it’s not just “oh tim used to have a dumb little crush on jon yada yada, how funny, how adorable” that’s just not how it was, there was more to it

 

Tim: fuck, i shouldnt be talking about this with you. im sorry martin. youre literally dating jon right now, you dont need to hear this nonsense from me

 

Tim: ill talk to you later

 

Martin: wait, no, tim it’s fine!

 

Martin: i know it was wrong of sasha to tell your secret like that, and you have every right to talk about it. 

 

Martin: i want to be there for you, because we’re friends. okay?

 

Martin: tim?

 

1:20 pm 

 

Martin to Jon

 

Martin: somehow i forgot to respond to your most recent messages??

 

Martin: i say “somehow” because um. theyre a bit concerning? jon?

 

Martin: well i mean except for that last one :)

 

Martin: but so

 

Martin: you said the videos were painful to watch?? they were taken! on accident! what could possibly have been on them??

 

Martin: and need i mention ”I noticed things I was too oblivious to notice at the time. And if I’m lucky, when the time comes, I’ll know how to say what I need to say.” ???jon???

 

Martin: this is highly ominous and ive got to say i am quite worried?

 

Jon: Ah. Yes, that does sound fairly ominous now that I’m rereading it.

 

Jon: It’s nothing you have to worry about, Martin. I just think I should talk to Tim at some point.

 

Martin: oh?

 

Jon: Like I said, it’s nothing to worry about. But it is a relatively sensitive subject, so I don’t think I should say too much about it without Tim’s permission.

 

Martin: this is going to sound...a bit weird, but i think i know exactly what you’re talking about.

 

Martin: and i think you should definitely talk to him. sooner rather than later?

 

Martin: he’s obviously having a harder time that he’s letting on, and this additional thing has got to be weighing on him. he doesnt want to talk about it with me, which is understandable? but id hate to think that he’s keeping all this bottled up. he needs to talk to somebody, jon. and i think, at least for some of it, you could be that somebody.

 

Jon: I certainly hope so. Although, I could see him not wanting to talk to me about it, either.

 

Jon: Anyway, I won’t discuss it with him today. In case the conversation goes...less than pleasantly, I don’t want to ruin tomorrow for him.

 

Jon: I know he’s been quite looking forward to dressing as a hot witch. :-)

 

Martin: ha! he very much has :)) and im incredibly excited to see what his final look is going to be, with the combination of whatever the two of us have found in the back of our closets.

 

Martin: oh speaking of, did you come across any clothes that meet his specifications? ive found a flower crown, a wand, and a few rings that i accidentally forgot to return to someone :/ oops. still feel kind of bad about that.

 

Jon: Martin, I’m sure they don’t lie awake at night wondering where their rings got off to. Assuming they’re costume rings, of course. Not wedding rings or something.

 

Martin: yeah well :/

 

Jon: I’ve found a variety of things, on my end. Tim will have quite the selection to choose from.

 

Martin: you have...a variety of clothes that fall under the category of “hot witch”??

 

Jon: It’s not like I wear them anymore.

 

Martin: ...anymore? :)

 

Jon: Well it’s

 

Jon: Look, I was a different person at uni.

 

Jon: I’m also a different person outside of work. Just as everyone is. So.

 

Martin: wait so. are you saying you wear your um. hot witch clothes when youre not at the institute?

 

Jon: Christ, no, I hardly have the energy for all that.

 

Martin: you dont have “the energy” for it, like?

 

Martin: implying that it’s?? a whole ensemble you have to put together???

 

Jon: I. Hm.

 

Martin: ???

 

Jon: I think I should stop talking now.

 

Martin: do you perhaps have any photos of you from uni? just wondering.

 

Jon: No, I don’t have any photos of me from uni. None exist. So don’t go looking.

 

Martin: hm. suspicious.

 

Jon: There’s nothing to be suspicious about. Don’t be suspicious.

 

Martin: oh ok, i’ll just. stop then. i’ll just flip the suspicion switch in my brain.

 

Jon: Yes, do that. And while you’re at it, if you could delete a few memories of me being painfully incompetent in talking to you, that would be ideal.

 

Martin: oh for goodness’ sake, jon, is that what was in the videos?

 

Jon: Some of them, yes.

 

Jon: I really did not need to be reminded of my inability to shop for swim trunks but that was captured in great detail.

 

Jon: That, and. Well.

 

Jon: Monday. When we went on our walk.

 

Martin: oh god, i was a nervous wreck that evening :((( um, how much did your phone..?

 

Jon: I must have pressed something while checking the weather forecast, because it recorded everything from then until the moment we decided to head back, which is when I realized it was recording.

 

Jon: I can’t believe I asked you, with complete seriousness, if you were working with Mx. Eberson.

 

Martin: oh gosh, i forgot about that actually!

 

Martin: i mean...you did ask if i was a ghost that one time :)

 

Jon: Yes, yes, we don’t need to acknowledge that.

 

Martin: it’s ok, it was cute of you :)

 

Jon: I’m hardly “cute,” that’s ridiculous.

 

Martin: we are NOT having this conversation again!! accept that youre cute or um

 

Martin: or i won’t braid your hair tomorrow!

 

Jon: All right. I’ll go braidless.

 

Martin: :(

 

Jon: Martin.

 

Martin: yes? :(

 

Jon: Wait, don’t do that.

 

Martin: im not :( doing anything :(

 

Jon: Damn.

 

Jon: Fine. I will accept that your truth is real to you.

 

Martin: :/

 

Jon: That’s the best you’re going to receive. 

 

Jon: ...And I’ll show you a single photo of me from uni. Tomorrow. When you come to braid my hair.

 

Martin: ….ok :)))

 

Martin: wait, since we’re going to the ren faire pretty early tomorrow, are you going to be in full costume by the time i get there? because if so i need to um. mentally prepare.

 

Jon: Oh, right, the Reminder.

 

Jon: By the way, Martin, I’ll be wearing less fabric than usual.

 

Jon: There you go. 

 

Jon: :-)

 

Martin: …….bastard :’)