After so long confined, even a larger cage is just like freedom. Rin is out from under the microscope, and that's enough to make her feel bizarre, and it's how she knows she was locked up too long in that godforsaken asylum: this feels like an escape.
It's not for real. It's not an escape, and it's not home; it's not even a safe place. AGI would lock her in a brothel. SERO would bring out the microscopes again. She still can't let down her guard, and who knows how many people here she can afford to trust? She doesn't know anyone, she doesn't know anything, this world is terrifying and too big for her.
Even with all that, she could scream with the relief and sob with shame because of those people who were still left behind.
She stays still for hours at a time, instead. She curls up under the bedcovers and lets silence percolate in her head, ringing hollowly behind her eyes. She figures out bathing and sits naked in front of the bathroom mirror until even with the heat wave she shivers, her skin too pale and scarred, her face gaunt, trying to recognize what she sees is herself.
She's lost weight. She looks like a ghost. She looks pathetic, and Rin doesn't realize how much until she's out one day and an older woman, someone of the age to be anyone's mother, with a lined, friendly face, presses a little gift on her. Rin looks between the woman and what she's been given, wondering if this lady with her round, somewhat lined, amiable face would have given it to her if she knew who Rin was. Or what, rather. One of the hated newcomers.
“This heat's murder, honey,” and it isn't said unkindly. “I think you ought to have something to drink, you look a little faint.”
The glass bottle (amazing) in her hands is icy cold and when Rin turns it in her hands, and little bubbles rise to the surface and pop while more collect on the side. She has to swallow around the lump in her throat. “I'm sorry. I'm just not used to it.”
“Well, none of us are,” and she'd peered at Rin quite kindly. “That ought to help.”
“...What is it?”
“Root beer, dear,” still amiable, amazing. “You never saw it before?”
Rin shakes her head, wondering whether she should give it back, or run. It could be poisoned. It could be anything. She doesn't know what root beer is.
There's no unkindness in the woman's face, but the distance is spotted, and in any other city or place she might just be a funny foreigner but here she's a newcomer, and unwelcome.
“Take it anyway.” It's a shame, these days, how she's surprised by kindness. The chill on the glass burns her hands. The woman nods are her. “Welcome to Siren's Port.”
She doesn't think longer. She takes it after all. It might be the one free thing she gets.
She's never had a pineapple before. It's a dusty thing, yellow with dust, yellow under the dust too. It's not easy to cut, because of its shape, not because it's very hard; it's not rotten, so she wonders where the dust came from. Surely if it was old enough to be dusty it would be rotten? Maybe it's just that it's been amongst all these moving and leaving things, and some of that dust shook off onto it. The little taste she tries before she puts it in the cold box is delicious. That must be it.
If she puts it away and waits to eat it, that will be even better. It's boiling hot, she doesn't hate it but she knows the contrast will be best. While she waits for it to cool she goes and stretches out on the covers, breathing and staring at the ceiling and thinking of nothing, pure clear nothing.
Two hours later she gets up. She got the pineapple for three dollars, she's not sure if that's a deal to be proud of or not. She goes anyway and takes it out of the cold box and puts it into the sink, and proceeds from there to decapitate it piecemeal.
It's so acidic it almost hurts to eat, with her bitten lips, the gnawed inside of her cheek. It's too good to stop. Juice slicks her fingers and burns the corners of her mouth. The flavor is so intense it's almost too strong entirely, she feels light-headed.
She finishes the whole fruit on her own, and even though it's sour enough that her stomach hurts since it was so empty and is still so unused to strong flavors, she swallows and keeps it down.