Joyeux Noel! Or something.


Who: Will and open to multiples ("...where's Scott?" ;D)
Where: The house
When: 8 am, promptly

Will woke to the blaring tune of "Jingle Bells", loud enough to flood the entire upper floor of the house. At first he rubbed his eyes and rolled over, wondering if someone with a sense of humor was putting their musical instruments to good use, before he realized that -- well, for one thing, it was October; for another, there were lyrics.

Will blinked awake and found himself looking at a neatly wrapped box sitting on his nightstand. He sat up. The rest of his room was reset, just as it always was; the family photos, his letters and stationary, books and clothes, all back in their place as they had for the last two mornings. But this box, wrapped in shiny paper and tied with a bow, about the size and shape of a shoebox. He was simultaneously terrified and transfixed. "Merry Christmas," he said to himself, pulling at the ribbon.

Footsteps in the hall distracted him, however, and, after a moment of deciding whether or not to just carry the box along with him, Will put it down; better see what was going on with the household than be selfish with gifts. He'd save it for a quiet moment later. He pulled on clothes quickly and headed out to see who else was awake.

 - Gigglefest

Leah had woken up around seven thirty, and found the envelope in her room detailing everything about the clinic. She had gotten up, gotten dressed, taken some of her new meds (silently praying that they weren't placebos or different meds, but didn't know one way or another, so she took them anyway), and was on her way downstairs when the Christmas music went off. She had jumped badly, but managed to not scream this time or panic too bad. She had gotten downstairs to see the sign asking everyone to see the Christmas decorations, and was thinking of going when she could hear others getting up in the house. Maybe she should go with others?

 - .

Will raised a hand in hello, seeing Leah at the foot of the stairs. "Merry Christmas," he said with a grin. "Have you been up long?"

 - .

"About half an hour," Leah said, waving back to him. "I apparently got a clinic for Christmas. Did they leave you anything?"

 - .

"A box," Will said, nodding, "But I haven't opened it yet. I was a little - afraid, to be honest. Is that silly?" He rubbed the back of his neck. "But, now that I hear we get real estate..." He laughed softly. "Is it a good gift -- the clinic?"

He almost never had a chance to talk to Leah, and he was enjoying this one. Part of his mind, however, was reminding him that the loudest force in their house should undoubtedly be awake by now. Well, one of the two, anyway. That was interesting...

 - .

Leah could understand being a little afraid of opening anything that was left for them. She just figured that the envelope couldn't hide too much that would hurt her. "It is a good gift," she said with a soft smile. "That means that, just in case someone gets hurt, maybe I can actually help them."

"I was actually about to head over there, maybe check out the Christmas lights as well. Would you like to join me?"

 - .

"Oh, you're a doctor, then?" he asked. Or a nurse, he thought, or something. Having a clinic around was good, but aside from peroxide and bandages -- or maybe Xanax -- Will hadn't the first idea what to do with someone who was hurt, and Leah seemed like she did. Will really hadn't had time to get to know anyone here; not as people, at any rate, just - names and experiments. Like labels on files. He was a little relieved to know there was someone with some medical experience around. It made more sense, now, too, giving her the clinic.

He nodded. "I'd love to come. It would be good to see the town a bit - it's been snowing since I got here." He laughed, bemused. "Especially all decorated."

 - .

"Yes, I had just finished my training when I agreed to enter the experiment I was in," Leah said. "I thought I'd make some money to pay back some loans." If only things had been that simple. "At least we'll have things around just in case something happens. Hopefully, we won't need them."

She smiled when he said that he'd love to come. "There's not much of the town to see, but it might be good to see some Christmas decorations, even if it is technically October."

 - .

Will smiled ruefully. "I'm beginning to think they have a deal with the student loan brokers." He nodded. "It's good to know there's someone in town who has the training, though. I wouldn't have the first idea."

He leaned to see out the windows. The blustering snow had stopped, blue sky in its place, but it still looked cold. "Let me get my coat." He ran up the stairs and grabbed the overcoat that had come with him from the house -- as if he had needed it, in that place, but not knowing what kind of experiment he was in for, he'd packed layers, an experienced traveler -- and came back downstairs.

"Well - shall we?" He opened the door a little, gestured outside.

 - .

"If they didn't, they certainly knew where to advertise," Leah commented. "I may not be the only one: the clinic has two offices. The more people with training, the better, though."

Leah snuggled a little more into her coat as Will got his. She was pretty sure that she'd never get used to all of this snow and cold weather. Sure, Georgia got a little snow on occasion, but it was nothing like this. At least she had the clothing for it: the runners of this experiment had been so 'thoughtful' as to provide some for her. At least they didn't plan on her suffering from hypothermia any time soon.

"Yes, let's," she said with a smile, heading out the door.

 - .

In the snow, it was sort of a walk into town, but the cold was offset by the glitter of snow under their feet and the ostentatious -- if a little bizarre - decorations strung from lamp posts, trees and houses. It was all very beautiful and completely surreal.

"It's like a dream, or a strange movie," he couldn't help but say out loud as they crossed the vibrantly decorated intersection of Main and Park and continued on towards Ash Street. "I mean - I know that it's October, but, well, it doesn't snow like this in the fall, where I'm from, and with all the decorations it might as well be Christmas. It's...a little crazy."

It reminded him uncomfortably of the mind games they liked to play in his experiment, just to make everyone feel they were crazy. He didn't voice that aloud, though. There, he had tried to fight it, had been unable to reconcile the changes to anything. Here, he had calendars proving himself right; others to back him up that it wasn't really Christmas. It was at least reassuring, to talk about it to someone else.

 - .

"We're lucky to get snow in January or February in Georgia, where I'm from," Leah said. "With the snow around, it actually does feel a little like Christmas, or at least it's easier to trick myself into thinking that it is so." She kind of wondered what trick the scientists had up their sleeves for this, but wasn't sure if she really wanted to know.

"I have to wonder why this is going on, though," Leah mused out loud. "Why Christmas in October, at any rate."

 - .

Will nodded. "I'm from Reims." His accent could tell her where he meant by that. "I've been living in Michigan for a while, but even there we didn't get snow too much earlier than November. It does seem like Christmas."

He tilted his head a little. "In my experiment, the scientists liked to...change things. Take things in and out of our rooms. Change the facts in our books." He left out the parts that had really bothered him, the pictures of his family, the altered video feeds. "They're almost..." he searched. "Capricious?" He made a querying face at her, not sure of his word usage. "I don't know why we're getting gifts, though."

 - .

"I think it would have been nice to at least see snow every year, although it was fun to see full grown adults go nuts in the snow when we got it." Her father would turn into a little kid again whenever they did get snow, sliding down hills on trashcan lids and everything.

"The scientists liked to change things in my experiment as well, but our's was a house that had tunnels underneath. Walls would move in the house, and the tunnels seemed to change direction at will." Rather terrifying, actually. "I just hope that they stay in a nice, giving mood for a while. At least not a nasty giving mood."