They’re angry today, they’re pulling a lot more out of Lux than he can give without quaking in his seat, body wracked with a cold sweat. The whispers in his head today are more like disgruntled orders, and the things he sees are more terrifying, they put more of panic and desperation in him to use up his magic to help. His friends in… nearly in pieces, and screaming hoarsely, begging him for mercy - he has to save them, every time - he has to.
Lux is sobbing by the end of it, he’s heaving for air and curling forward, as the last gem is pried from his fingers.
You failed, he’s told in his mind, and Kiara, lying broken before him in his hallucination, stops breathing.
He’s blabbering miserably, apologizing, begging for another chance, begging for his friend to come back, to keep breathing. He’s left strapped into the chair, weeping.
After a short time, the door opens again, only one person entering this time. A young man. He’s helped Lux sit up on the floor to eat, before, he’s helped Lux drink water and warmed his hands with his own.
“You didn’t mess up, no one died,” The guy says, trying to get Lux’s eyes to focus on him. “Hey, Lux, look at me.”
Lux’s head stays dipped down as he cries. Either he doesn’t hear the words, or he can’t answer. His shoulders shudder with emotion.
“Do you want to see something better? I can make you feel safe.”
Lux still doesn’t answer, but he doesn’t try to pull away either, when an unsteady hand presses to his temple, palm and all.
“Still getting the hang of it,” The guy mutters. His other hand comes up to Lux’s other temple. “Can you let down your wards? It’ll hurt less.”
“…’kay,” Lux answers faintly, and lets his mind be open, unguarded. His wards don’t do any good here anyway.
His mind is clumsily barged into. Lux winces, but doesn’t cry out. Old pain.
Then, he sees Anders - coming in, to save him. “Resistance found out you were here,” His friend explains, undoing Lux’s restraints and holding his wrists worn raw, his touch gentle. “Wanted me to let them put together a team or some shit. I told them to go fuck themselves. You ready to go home, Lux?”
Lux nods, unable to hold back an emotional sound. “Yes - yes, please - An-Anders - thank you.”
“I’d never leave you in this hell hole,” Anders answers, and he picks Lux up without a grunt of pain.
“Your - your leg - ‘ll hurt…”
“My leg?” The hallucination shimmers, and Anders buckles a bit. Now, his leg hurts. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. You’re the one that can’t focus your eyes. What did they do? Is there any magic on you?”
Lux wraps his arms around his friend, and he doesn’t whimper as he’s carried out into the hall with no details to it, no shadows or light source, and with no ends or turns. He doesn’t notice. “I dunno, hard to - think, I don’t… maybe… maybe they, drugged me, I can’t - And-ders, is this real?”
“Yeah it’s fucking real. It’s over. You were only gone three days, you know that?”
“Three - three - r-really?” Lux tucks his face into Anders’ shoulder.
“Would I leave you in a place like this for longer? Come on, use your head.”
Lux nods against Anders’ shoulder, and they’re out of the hallway to find themselves, suddenly, in sunlight. Tears bead in his eyes and he smiles, big and shaky.
The presence in his mind grows to a suffocating size, too bulky and untrained to do much else. It’s unkind, the caretaker thinks, to let Lux come back to his senses after this peaceful hallucination. So he knocks Lux out, and pulls free of his mind, making sure he’s still breathing.
“Sorry I can’t do more,” He whispers to the slow-breathing captive, and then leaves.