He should have considered him more highly before, not before it was almost too late, not when he'd thought that it was too late. He hadn't known what he had until he'd thought it was gone. The man who had protected him on that first day in Brunnhold, snapping at those who had wanted to berate him for crying. The man who had saved him when Fred was on the verge of killing him. Saving his life had definitely cemented something for him, some feeling towards his roommate but the beating and Lars' presumed death had added to it, as had his remembrances. His feelings for Ayden, as well as the parse's influence over him, were waning in directly proportion to how he felt about Lars.
Of course he'd do anything to ensure his safety.
So he remained still as he heard the murmurs of Monite, felt the mona shift as Castor cast. He wasn't sure if it was necessary for him to stay still while the magic washed over him but he didn't think that it could do any harm. Better to let the man work in peace, take his catalogue of the extent of Fionn's misery and suffering. Presumably he was gaining the same exceptional level of detail that Harper had gotten earlier in the month in Laboratory Beta. What he must have learned... he took it well and he didn't seem all that surprised or he didn't show it. There was a brief flicker of something unreadable in his eyes before he backed off, seemingly ill amused by the passive's request to remain damaged but it was the middle Madden's burden to bear as he saw fit.
He hadn't had a golly to help him when he needed one so there was no point in having one when it was really too late. He could deal with this. This wasn't his idea of a good time but he'd live.
The servant seated himself gingerly, the utmost caution taken as he lowered himself, allowing pained parts to move and bend until he fit into the required shape. The blond wasn't wholly comfortable but it was good to get off his feet, good to relax a little after hovering apprehensively for so long.
"I've never been good with rules, Professor Devlin," he commented with a shrug, wincing and hissing a curse almost immediately as his shoulder twinged. He placed his hands in his lap, fingers dancing together as he found himself restless but with few options for releasing it. He couldn't pace and even if his body would let him, he wouldn't do it, he wouldn't let this golly see it. Although he had a feeling that this one could tell that it was what he wanted to be doing.
Castor might have acted as if he wanted to be his friend before when they'd moved Fred's body and the passive had certainly been willing to talk away to him, glad for the chance to speak his mind a little and indulge his curiosity but he didn't think that the galdor actually wanted to be his friend. The man did what suited him. He'd only helped himself and Lars because it had suited him, he'd wanted the dead passive's body but if he hadn't, he didn't think that he would have hesitated to turn them in, not if it would have been beneficial to him. The older man was calculating, quietly observant and Fionn didn't think he missed a trick. Ayden was like that and given how often the parse had seemed to be his friend when he most definitely wasn't, the blond wasn't inclined to take Castor at face value. He didn't trust him, partially because he was a galdor it was true, but he didn't really have much choice here. He wasn't going to get to interact with anyone else and even if he did, it wasn't as if the servant was going to trust them either.
It meant that the man's words weren't something he was all that willing to believe, no matter how prettily he might say them, and it would be quite clear from his expression what he thought of his sentiments. His face had settled into its habitual state of sullenness, mouth occasionally twisting into a sneer. Why should he pretend? What good would it do for him to wear the face of meek and obedient passive? No one would believe that, just as he thought that what Castor came out with chroveshit. No matter what he thought, the professor didn't truly understand any of it and how could he? He was the privileged son, kept comfortably away from his broken and abandoned siblings his whole life, his interactions with them akin to a rich individual deigning to give money to a beggar - they never truly touched and he never really saw.
The mention of his parents drew a snort and a sardonic laugh, the laugh issuing forth again with greater bitterness when he claimed that how he'd been born didn't make him deserving of punishment. In truth, he'd been fucked long before he'd been found as passive, the suspicion of his birth enough to make him outcast in his childhood home, constantly punished for something that was his mother's fault, not his. He was quite familiar with being punished for things that weren't actually his fault. Something being dreadfully unfair didn't tend to put a stop to it though.
"Oh well, you need somebody to take your frustrations out on. When you make someone else suffer for your problems it makes you feel better. Almost," the passive commented, fingers knitting together as Castor continued to speak, squeezing tightly enough that his knuckles gave a soft crack. What he was saying... gods, was it just him or did it seem really patronising? No, he was being spoken to as if he didn't really understand about culpability. Obviously, he wasn't responsible for the suffering of every single passive around him but he was definitely responsible for the suffering that he had caused directly. Just because someone had looked the other way and he'd been allowed to get away with things didn't mean that he wasn't a deplorable person. It wasn't really his fault because the whole system was shit.
Isn't that the most golly thing you've ever heard in your life? he thought with disgust, face reddening in anger. He didn't even know what to say to that and that was frustrating. But he was glaring, brown eyes trying to drill a path through the monic theorist. That he hated every syllable that had just come out of his mouth was quite obvious.
"It's funny how you can call be bright but sound like you think I'm stupid. Oh wait, no, I'm sorry! I'm bright for someone without a golly education but I'm not on your level, my mistake!" he snapped out, unlocking his hands so that he could rest one of them on the arm of the chair, leaning on it with a wince until the sharpness of the pain passed.
"I don't believe you about the blame and I don't think I want to because if you want to let me away with things that I've actually done just for telling you how things are then you aren't really changing much, are you? I did what I did and I'm sorry for a lot of it - not all of it, mind you - but I can't undo it either. Those are actual things I should be punished for, not like getting my erse kicked for chroveshit ones like not letting someone fuck me when they want to."
The words were out before he could stop them, spat out with vehemence before the shame could catch up and still his tongue. The blond bit his lip, eyes closing briefly while his face heated and the young man visibly deflated. He was anger and bravado when he needed that but without it, he was small and young and scared.
Sweet Lady, he didn't want to talk about any of this. He didn't want to spill everything and then be thrown back into the ward as if he'd done nothing for them. Fionn didn't want Ayden to get ahold of him again. He didn't care if they wanted to punish him by traditional means but he did care about being tortured again. That idea was pretty terrifying, almost enough to cow him. Self-preservation was a hard habit to kick but there was more in this than him, there was Lars too. Besides if his patron was going to come down on him, he had a quick way out, far kinder than anything he'd face at Ayden's hands. So he'd speak, he had to but he didn't believe that the galdori could protect him from what he nearly needed protection from. He didn't think they wanted to do that.
He sighed, his mouth pulled down in an expression of absolute misery as he reopened his eyes. "I never learned to play the system well. I got by, I'm lucky I didn't get myself killed but I'd probably have been better off if I'd never tried to play it. I wouldn't have known that there was a way to play it if I hadn't seen it done," Fionn explained, running a hand through his hair before leaving it resting on the back of his neck.
"I didn't notice straight away, I couldn't have and I don't remember a lot from the beginning but I know... that everyone looked out for themselves. You might have a friend or two and look out for each other but... plenty of people were on their own and didn't trust anyone else. Most passives try to make friends in the beginning before they realise that it doesn't really work. I think some of the older passives do it on purpose, make sure that you don't make friends. I think Ayden- So then you're on your own and you're scared and you're seeing bad things happen so when someone comes along and offers you protection, friendship, you take it. Ayden was that for me and... for a lot of people, I think. He's always seemed to know a lot of people, people who did things for him or who he did things for. Back then, he knew patrons, it was done across the ward, I think. He knew some matrons as well and I think... Well, he had things done for them that wouldn't be traced back to them and some of them... might have been doing them for galdori but I don't know."
The hand moved from his neck to his leg, fingers tapping against it a little nervously, rolling his shoulders somewhat uneasily before he continued.
"Before he came back, he had a nice job with some old galdor, own room with him and everything out of the scrapyard and he made it happen. Whatever he did though, whatever system is running in the ward it must have been here when he started, he can't have set it up himself. But he might have made it work better and he was allowed to get away with more because of it. Some of the patrons like the power, some of them are just a bit moony and buy into the idea that we should be grateful and good and all that so they're scary in their own way but I don't think they can see what's wrong because they don't want to?"
The young man gazed at the older man uncertainly. He didn't know what he was saying. He didn't know what he was meant to say.
"I don't know what you want to know, Professor Devlin. What am I meant to tell you?"