vyvyan: (yeaaah)
The town hall is crowded, and people give Vyvyan the usual evil glare as he walks through. It doesn't help that he's reset too recently, after Rick shoved him through a wall, meaning that he's got his usual ghastly odour. Bastard.

"Yes?" the woman behind the counter asks, glaring at him and getting out some air spray.

"I want a copy of my birth certificate please." Vyvyan says.

The woman makes him try and fill in a form, which he struggles with, and show his driving licence.

"Thank you. Four to six weeks." the woman says.

"What? That's no good, I need to know my date of birth." Vyvyan says.

"You don't know your date of birth?" the woman raises an eyebrow.

"I don't care about the day, I just want the year." Vyvyan says.

People behind him begin to snigger. He barely contains the urge to smash the place up. He knows what they're thinking. How can anyone not know their date of birth?

"It should be on your driving licence." the woman says, irritably.

Vyvyan looks at his licence.

"Well it isn't." He says, showing her. "Look. I need to know how old I am."

"You don't know how old you are?" she starts to laugh.

"Yes, what part of that don't you understand, you patronising middle-class shit?" Vyvyan yells.

They throw him out. Of course they throw him out.

He's never had a birthday party, so how is he meant to know when his birthday is? Okay, sure, every now and again as a kid he said it was his birthday, so that people wouldn't realise he didn't know. He knows Mum doesn't know, because he's asked her before. A wave of anger rushes over him. What kind of mother doesn't even know her own son's birthday.

He'd asked Neil and Rick what age they were. Rick had said that was 'a bit personal', which was stupid, and probably meant he didn't know either. Neil had said he was eighteen. Vyvyan knew that wasn't correct. They were at university at least three years before they all got kicked out, and Neil certainly wasn't fifteen when they started. That was how they started the argument that ended up with Rick shoving him through the wall. Great. No chance of getting their security deposit back now.

***

Back in his Milliways Man Cave, he turns on the video camera to update with his latest findings.

"I estimate our ages to be somewhere between twenty one and thirty. My mum is still aging. So are Neil's parents. Whatever this is, it keeps us young.

"Here's what I know so far.

"Something happened to us in our late teens before we turned eighteen. The last age I can remember being before I started university was about fifteen or sixteen. But, I didn't always get my birthday right, so it's possible I didn't lose a whole year. Maybe I just didn't realise I was seventeen.

"I don't remember applying to Scumbag College and the form you have to do it is too complicated for me to fill in. I don't have the qualifications for medical school. So someone got me in there. And someone let me stay.

"Mike keeps telling me to stop asking questions. I think he knows something I don't.

"My mum knows something but she won't say what. She quoted a Cliff Richard song, the Young Ones. Rick called us that once before, when I was about to crash the bus off the cliff..."

He pauses the camera for a moment. Then starts again.

"Something has always bothered me about that bus crash. When I looked up, and saw Cliff Richard on that poster at the side of the road, I couldn't stop. We all stared straight at it. We went straight through the middle, I didn't even brake. Why? Why didn't I brake?"

***

When he steps back into his own world, Neil is cleaning up some of the mess from the broken wall. Mike is home now, and Vyvyan goes up to him.

"Have you got a job yet?"

"Working on it." Mike says.

"Mike, how old are you?" Vyvyan asks. "What year were you born?"

"I'm the same age as you." Mike says. "Why?"

"I don't know how old I am." Vyvyan says. "I'm trying to work some stuff out."

Mike stares at him. Vyvyan goes to his own room, and sits on the horrible tatty bed. It's still better than sleeping on the floor as he was the best part of a year. After about fifteen minutes, he hears a banging noise, and then the record player being turned on.

It's the Young Ones, by Cliff Richard.

He gets up and goes back into the living room. The record player is playing, alone, and someone has hung a sheet on the wall on a washing line attached with two nails. And right in the middle is that same picture, stuck to the sheet with selotape.

Cliff.

A second later, there is a sharp pain in the back of his head, then sudden darkness.

Mike takes the silencer off his gun, and tucks the gun back in his pocket. He pulls the sheet off the wall, blood and all, then picks up Vyvyan, shuts his own eyes, and chucks him back through the doorway into the hallway.

Mike opens his eyes and looks at the unconscious Vyvyan. The bullet wound is already gone. Good. Killing him completely would be a pain, since he's the only one paying any rent at the moment and it takes him ages to get back to a useful state when he dies properly. He gives Vyvyan a prod with his foot.

"Wakey wakey."

Vyvyan opens his eyes and sits up. He's got a banging headache and the first thing he does is to vomit all over the floor.

"Oh nice one, Vyvyan, can't you hold your drink?" Mike asks, watching him carefully. "Neil's not going to thank you for making him clean that up."

Vyvyan takes a breath. What just happened? Is he hung over? He doesn't feel hung over. He feels like he did the time Wilford shot him at point blank range...

And suddenly, he's on his feet. He grabs Mike by the throat, and forces him into the wall.

"You shot me."

"What?"

"You shot me." Vyvyan says. "You tried to make me do a full reset. I was getting close, wasn't I? You know what happened to us."

"No, I don't..." Mike protests.

Vyvyan reaches into his pocket, pulls out the gun, and holds it to Mike's head. "I can do this as many times as it takes."

"All right!" Mike puts his hands up. "I don't know all of it, okay? But I'll tell you what I do know."

Vyvyan lets him go, but keeps the gun. Mike takes a deep breath.

"You're a test subject. We all are." he says. "For immortality. Scumbag College was observing us until the project ended. You're still being tracked but you're not being watched."

"Immortality?" Vyvyan asks.

"Yeah. We're involved with something called the CLinical Institute of Forever Fledglings. CLIFF." Mike says.

"How do you know about this?" Vyvyan asks.

"Because I signed up for it." Mike says. "I wanted to be young and handsome and get all the girls. You three didn't know."

Mike is quiet for a moment, then continues.

"They did me first. They weren't happy with the results, said I didn't have enough powers. They started looking for volunteers but they were struggling. Then Rick's parents approached them, said they'd give their permission if they could make Rick stay their little boy forever. They never told Rick."

"And Neil?" Vyvyan asks.

"His parents signed him up too, in the hope that immortality would keep him safe from himself." Mike says.

"What about me?" Vyvyan asks.

"You were in the gutter. They picked you because nobody would miss you, and then paid your mum off to keep quiet. You were the last one. They succeeded in giving you all the powers they meant to give the four of us, but they didn't bank on you going quite so insane. That's when they put the four of us together. They only agreed to let you loose if I carried the gun just in case."

Vyvyan glances at him. So he was picked because he was disposable. Nice.

"You need to stop asking questions now." Mike says. "You know all you need to."

"Or what?"

"Bloody hell, Vyvyan, they've tried to kill us at least three times." Mike says.

"You tried to kill me tonight." Vyvyan says.

"No I didn't." Mike says. "I'm about the only one who knows how, and I didn't, did I?"

"I'm keeping the gun." Vyvyan says.

"You're not. They find out I'm not capable of neutralising you any more, they'll put both of us down." Mike says. "Permanently. And probably Rick and Neil too."

Vyvyan looks him in the eye, then reluctantly hands over the gun.

"No more questions, right?" Mike says, pleading.

"No more. For now." Vyvyan says. "But if you ever shoot me again, I'll leave you so no girl will ever look at you again."
vyvyan: (clean)
There's one useful thing about having a very distinctive style. Stick a woolly hat on, and you're almost unrecognisable.

Vyvyan had made his mind up how go to about it during his work shift.

"The Circle Line is delayed by fifteen minutes due to a faulty signal." he announces into the microphone on his final job of the afternoon. "There's nothing we can do to make it faster, so shut up and stop complaining!"

He puts the hat on as he leaves, saying goodnight to his boss, and walks down to Scumbag College. A woman glances up at him.

"Yes?"

"Can I have a form, please?" Vyvyan asks.

"What kind of form?"

"The type to become a student here." Vyvyan says, managing not to add an insult on the end.

She hands him a form with a dirty look and he takes it away. He looks at it carefully in the student centre. The first thing that becomes apparent quickly is that while he can read some of it, there's no way he filled this in on his own. Which means either someone helped him and he can't remember, or someone did it for him.

He goes back to the desk.

"Where's the... like... adviser?"

She sends him over to 'Learning Support'. He's confident nobody here will recognise him, even if he hadn't had the hat on. He hardly ever showed up to class. He failed all his exams. He certainly never set foot in 'Learning Support'. So it's easy to pretend he's a new student. He still looks eighteen.

He hesitates for a moment outside the door, as another thought crosses his mind.

How old even is he? How many years has this been going on for exactly?

He knocks at the door and goes in. An elderly gentleman waves him in.

"Hallo! I'm Roland." the man says. "Come to talk about your careers options, eh?"

"Er, yeah." Vyvyan says. "My name's... Jim and I'm thinking of being a medical student. I'm just wondering if you have to be able to read and write good."

Roland looks at him kindly.

"I'm not sure you'll be able to keep up with the demands of medical school without being able to read and write well. Do you have any O levels, or CSEs?"

"No." Vyvyan says.

"Well, Jim, I admire your spirit. You might need to set your sights a little bit lower. We do have evening classes for improving reading and writing, if you're interested?"

Vyvyan feels himself suddenly getting sidetracked, but he does take the details. That might come in handy later. He thanks Roland, and goes outside for a smoke.

So. He can't have enrolled as a medical student under normal circumstances. So does that mean that either his enrolment was pushed through, or was he never a real student here? But he got a grant, and he got paperwork from them, and they let him into the classes he did show up to.

He sat exams with his name on. So he must have been enrolled on the course. So either someone lied to get him here, or someone here knows something about him.

Quickly, he gets up and leaves. If it's someone here that is part of it, then it's not safe to hang around here. He goes back on the underground, avoiding the fated Circle Line and its signal failure, and pops out near where he used to live, taking a few streets on foot to the pub they used to frequent. He hopes his mum still works there.

She does.

He has to wait a few minutes for her to be free. But then he gets her in a quiet corner.

"Mum, how did I get into uni?" he asks. "I can't remember."

"Don't be silly, Vyvyan." Mum says, pouring a pint.

"No, really. Did you help me with the form?" Vyvyan presses. "Did I apply when I was back home with you, or was I in care? How did I get in when I don't have any CSEs or O levels?"

"Vyvyan." Mum's voice is quiet now, serious. "Don't ask."

"How did I get my powers, Mum? When did it happen? Why don't I remember?" Vyvyan asks, urgently.

Mum puts her hands on his shoulders suddenly.

"Oh my darling, can't you see?"

"Can't I see what?" Vyvyan asks.

But she shakes her head and moves off down the bar. Not that Vyvyan expected much from her. Maybe she doesn't know. Maybe a social worker filled in the form.

He gets home late. Mike eyes him when he goes through the door, but says nothing. Nearby, Neil is petting Duster, the little alien thing Vyvyan rescued from Wilford a few weeks back. The lads had accepted the presence of Vyv's new pet without a great deal of questioning, since Duster wasn't anything like as weird as some of the other stuff in their world anyway. Vyvyan had just told them Duster was a really deformed dog.

Neil loved him - they had decided between them that Duster was probably a boy - whatever he was. While Vyvyan was at work, Duster followed Neil around and listened to Neil talk about his feelings. Otherwise, Duster could generally be found with whoever was watching television.

When Vyvyan returns, Duster shoots up to him, because as his rescuer, Vyvyan is still his favourite person. Vyv pets Duster above the eyeball.

"Where's dinner, you bastard?" Vyv asks Neil, to try and make himself feel more normal. To try and pretend to Mike that things are more normal, because Mike is watching him intently. Rick is upstairs, his stupid Cliff Richard LP blaring.

Once in every lifetime
Comes a love like this.
I need you and you need me.
Oh my darling can't you see.


Vyvyan goes upstairs. He bursts into Rick's room, without knocking.

"What song is that?"

"What?" Rick snaps.

"What song is that?" Vyvyan demands.

"The Young Ones, by Cliff Richard." Rick says. "Why?"

"No reason." Vyvyan says, going back downstairs again without bothering to close the door.
vyvyan: (clean)
After talking to Jim, Vyvyan goes home, makes his way straight to his room, and shuts the door.

It's a horrible little room, barely the size of a large cupboard. With only one of them working, it was hard to find anything for four people. He could, of course, have ditched the other three, but something Mike had urged him before had made him decide against it.

They are, as far as they knew, the only four of their kind.

Mike had freaked out when Vyvyan had started trying not to scene change, trying not to reset back to his usual insane self. He'd said whatever was behind their resetting powers, it probably wasn't to be messed with. Vyvyan had been forced to admit that Mike might be right, and had allowed himself to scene change when his powers started to weaken, at very least every couple of weeks, though more often it happened because he forgot to concentrate.

Jim has just made him realise something else.

He was a kid once. Of course he was. They all were. But at some point, he must have stopped being a kid, and become a perpetually resetting young adult. Not only that, but all the super strength, and being basically invulnerable, he didn't have any of those as a child.

If you suddenly developed superpowers, wouldn't you remember it?

He goes to nick some paper from the room that Rick and Neil are sharing. As the only one paying the rent, he was adamant that he wasn't going to be the one that shared. But his writing isn't good enough to put down enough words of what he's thinking, so he goes downstairs to find Mike.

"Mike?"

"What?" Mike asks.

"Where did we meet?"

Mike stares at him. "What are you on about?"

"Where did we meet?" Vyvyan asks. "It's just... I don't remember us ever meeting. I remember us going to the first house together, but I don't remember us ever going 'Hello, my name is Vyvyan' and all that shit."

"We were probably drunk." Mike says.

Oh. Yeah. Actually that could be a point.

But that doesn't quite make sense either. Could he have been drunk enough to forget ever having even applied to university.

Mike is staring at him. "You ill or something? You look a bit queasy."

He does feel a bit queasy. Suddenly realising a chunk of your memory is missing will do that to a man.

He doesn't get any more sense out of Neil or Rick as to how they met. Rick just babbles on about being dropped off at the house by his parents with all his stuff and them kissing him goodbye and everything being one incredible party. Neil just tells him how much of a dark shadow was over his life back then and he can't specifically remember.

Half an hour later, Vyvyan heads back to the bar, and goes straight to his man cave. Fortunately, the video camera Teja gave him was not one of the things that got nicked when he was robbed, though that makes no sense to him.

He starts a new video and faces the camera.

He hesitates for a moment, then says.

"I need to record this. There is a gap in my memory.

"I grew up with my mum like a normal kid, with no super powers. Well, I say normal, we didn't really have anything and I was on my own a lot and... well, I remember just fine until I was about fifteen or sixteen, and then at some point, I got taken into care and..."

He pauses the video for a moment, thinking, then presses record again.

"I went into a couple of foster homes, not for very long, and then I ran away back to Mum's for a bit, and then they tried to take me into care again, and then there's this gap. I remember moving into the house with the others, but I don't remember applying to university... I mean, I can barely read and write, how did that even happen?"

He rubs his forehead, coming into contact with the studs in his forehead.

"I... I don't even remember getting these. How can you get a bunch of piercings and not remember?"

He pauses the camera again and just sits quietly thinking for a moment. Then he presses the button one more time.

"There's only three explanations I can think of. Either I can't remember because I'm mad, or I can't remember because I had an accident, or I can't remember because someone wiped my memory. But whatever it was it seems to have happened to all four of us, except for some reason I have more strength powers than the rest of them."

He turns the camera off. What's the use of this? Where can he even start to try and find out what happened?

It's all too much.

He gets the half bottle of vodka he's got tucked away in a corner and lies down on the blanket in the corner. This is still a better bed than he's got at home, and at least the little orange guys clean it for him if he takes it inside.

But it's of minimal comfort. He just doesn't know what to do.
vyvyan: (clean)
"What the ruddy hell happened to your hair?" Rick scoffs, when Vyvyan comes back into the squat. Vyv blinks for a moment, then remembers - holding off the scene change is getting to be a better habit but the guys have never seen him looking even remotely clean before.

"I washed it." he says, climbing over a pile of rubbish.

"You look like a girl." Rick says.

"Well you look like a turd." Vyv says back. "Where's Mike?"

He looks around the derelict pub. It was abandoned before they took shelter in it - sadly, without any booze left - and it's only got dirtier since. Neil doesn't even bother trying to clean it any more. There wasn't much in the way of proper furniture left when they moved in, and there's no central heating. Since it got colder, they've all just slept in what used to be the bar, which has a fireplace. Vyv really has the best 'bed', on top of the broken pool table, and that was only because he cheated at Monopoly.

"He's upstairs, probably got a dirty magazine." Rick says. "Why?"

"Because I want to talk to him, and I don't want you listening behind the door." Vyvyan says, marching up the stairs. Half way up, Neil is sitting with his head in his hands. Vyv doesn't bother to ask why, but he doesn't hit him over the head with anything either.

Mike isn't actually masturbating when Vyv goes into his room without knocking, which is something of a relief.

"Mike, I'm fed up." he says, sitting down on Mike's floor.

"What happened to your hair?" Mike asks.

"I'm trying not to scene change." Vyvyan says. He explains what happened in the Bar - a place Mike knows about - and what happened when he didn't change scene for a week.

"You're playing with fire, Vyvyan." Mike says. "You do realise that if you don't scene change, you're probably going to age?"

"I can't do this any more, Mike." Vyvyan says. "I'm fed up with the filth."

"Who says you have a choice?" Mike demands. "We're all in this together Vyvyan. And you generate more mess than the rest of us anyway."

Mike is looking at him with caution. This isn't unusual, given that they have been quite aware for - nobody is quite sure how many years - that Vyvyan is clinically insane and fluctuates between manic and risk-taking and lethargic and destructive.

"I've got a job interview." Vyv says after a moment. "For the Underground. I need to be clean."

"They're not letting you drive are they?"

"No no, customer service." Vyv says. "They need someone to tell people to piss off."

"Does sound up your street." Mike admits. "But Vyv, we can't change what we are. You don't know what will happen. If you stop scene changing, you might not be invulnerable any more."

"Don't tell the others." Vyvyan says. "If I can earn our way out of this squat I'll bring you with me."

He grimaces slightly as he says this. They aren't exactly his favourite people, but Mike has a point. They are all trapped in the same cycle of never-ending scene changes. It probably makes sense to stick together.

"We could do with the money, but be careful." Mike admits.

Vyv goes to his room, to look for something to wear for the job interview. Nothing suitable. Nothing clean.

He goes back to the main room. Mike, Rick and Neil look up as he comes down the stairs.

"Rick, I need to borrow some of your clothes." he says.

"Why?" Rick asks, suspiciously.

"I'm going on a date." Vyv says, marching back up the stairs, going into Rick's room and slamming the door.

There's no way to wash the clothes, and they don't really fit well, but they're vaguely more appropriate than his. Rick is hammering on the door, so he smashes the window with his head, climbs out, and drops down. He hasn't got a coat on, and it's raining. He hasn't got enough money for the bus. He turns Rick's collar up against the rain, and slopes off down the street.

"I think he's lost it." Rick says, going back downstairs. "And he bloody well better not stretch my jacket!"

"What are we going to do?" Neil wails.

"It's simple." Mike says. "He's gone funny because he's not scene changed. So we need to make him do a total reset."

"How?" Neil asks.

"Simple. We kill him." Mike says, casually. "And then he'll come back how he was."

"Bagsy I not be the one that has to try and kill him." Neil says, shuddering not at the thought of Vyv dying, but the thought what he'd do if they did half a job.

"I already said double bagsy." Rick says. "While you were on the stairs. Mike you have to kill him."

"Oh now I can't kill him, look at the size of me." Mike says. "Be reasonable Rick, he's a foot taller than me."

"Yeah, but you've got a gun." Rick says.

"It only shoots blanks, you know that." Mike shakes his head.

They argue for several more minutes about who has to kill Vyvyan, before collectively giving up on the idea, and going to find more scraps of furniture to burn in the fireplace.
vyvyan: (clean)
It was almost liberating. For a whole week, he didn't change scene. Nobody bothered to visit. Nobody was watching. Perhaps, if he'd pushed himself, he could have forced a scene change, but why bother?

It meant the smell didn't come back when he bathed, after the first couple days. His hair unstiffened. His skin felt better. It was a surprise when, after four days, the studs fell out of his forehead, but he didn't care.

Alone, Vyvyan pondered his future. It was boring in the cell.

And then, it was all over. Released. Wilford is alive. He'd never been more relieved.

***

He has to muster every ounce of concentration not to change scene when he steps out the cell. If he's going to stay looking like this, he'll have to concentrate in every doorway, between every room. Sooner or later he will forget, he knows, but he's determined not to do it today.

He deposited a note at the bar.

'Wilf,
I know you came back, but I want to apple aplogy say sorry for causing your death. It was an accident, but I was careless, because I knew that you reset if you get hurt, and because I was bored and winding you up was funny.
I should have been more simplethetic, really. I know what it's like to reset every five minutes to look like a knobhead. We're probly the only two of our kind here, which doesn't mean we should be like poofs or anything, but perhaps if I hadn't been a bully we could have been mates or something.
Anyway, you're not dead, well done.
Vyvyan'


Now what? Young, clean, normal-looking, only slightly insane... where to go next?

He concentrates, heads outside, and lights a cigarette. Maybe he'll have to give these up if he's not going to reset. Probably worth it.
vyvyan: (Default)
Vyvyan leads Seras in, picking up his giant super vacuum cleaner as he goes.

"The others aren't here yet, but the lads are, how much d'you want flirting with?"

Profile

vyvyan: (Default)
vyvyan

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
345 6789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 02:00 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios