The Healing Miracle

Participants:

abby_icon.gif ben_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Healing Miracle
Synopsis For Belinda.
Date November 20, 2008

St. Luke's Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital is known for its high-quality care and its contributions to medical research. Its staff place an emphasis on compassion for and sensitivity to the needs of their patients and the communities they serve. In addition to nearby Columbia University, the hospital collaborates with several community groups, churches, and programs at local high schools. The associated Roosevelt Hospital offers a special wing of rooms and suites with more amenities than the standard hospital environment; they wouldn't seem out of place in a top-rated hotel. That said, a hospital is a hospital — every corridor and room still smells faintly of antiseptic.


Needless to say, it's late at night. The appointed time for the miracle at St. Luke's is soon coming. One part of the equation, how to get Abby into the hospital was solved, but not in the way that it was supposed to happen. Instead of being at the bedside of Little Belinda Chu, Abby's in her own bed, hooked up to drugs, hospital gowned, nose splinted and still black eyed, a few scrapes from glass here and there. Deckard's punch having done some damage that she's being kept, after her insistence that she be brought here.

So the healer lays quietly in the room, lucking out in being the only one in the room of four beds, waiting for her appointed guardians to show. A long night that's not looking to end anytime soon.

Personally, Teo was glad to see the sun finally go down. It's the day that had been long for him, though he still isn't feeling it, just yet. He isn't feeling anything at all. Pleasantly numb from a combination of painkillers and the tedium of police intake, he trails down the hallways with a dazed expression that causes a few orderlies and nurses to ask him if he's lost. There's no question that he belongs here, somewhere: gauze over his right ear, bruises marching his jaw, the side of his face, his hands scabby ruins on the back, the left one wadded up with bandage on the palm.

He has a hard time remembering where he is, keeps getting lost in the fragmented frames of moments before. Smoke, a bloody shoe, Mallory's eyes, tear-rimmed and huge, the distracted calculations of load-bearing walls and falling second stories, ambulances, Elisabeth, a… rabbit hutch? They'd given him beta-blockers to cut off post-traumatic stress disorder. It's funny, how you can just program the brain. Chemically. Hi-larious. "Buona sera, Abigail." The murmur precedes him and the door swings shut behind. "They didn't know details." The nurses, he means. "What happened to you?"

There's Teo! Looking just terrible and an equally doped up, stoned look. Save she can press a button and get more. He can't. "I don't know. Police say I hit a dead guy. I can't remember though. Boy you loooook pretty Teo. Colors of the rainbow," Her words are heavily drawled, and nasally, the silly grin on her face, as much as she can grin with her split lip. "If I didn't have a job to do, you'd be my job. What happened to you?" His question tossed back at him. Abby doesn't make a move though, content for the moment to just lay there, boneless.

"Non tanto." Damn it. He tries again: "Not much!" Teo manages to answer, in a voice a little more subdued than a chirp, a small smile that doesn't seem entirely inappropriate. His gait is steady enough as he maneuvers across the floor to her bedside, gazes down at her prone shape underneath the covers. "I cut my hands up pushing stuff around to help things. There were bombs at work. I was really lucky. Job first," he agrees, slipping fluidly from one association to the other. He closes a hand on the railing of her bed. His knuckles go white: squeezing, experimentally, not because he needs the help to remain upright but because he wanted to check.

Himself; his strength. Residual weakness aside… belatedly, he splays his mouth around a grin. "Bellissimo yourself, sweetheart. Ben should be here in less than half an hour." He's functioning. Really, he is. Anchoring himself in the present with a deep breath of cold, chemically-tainted air, he glances over his shoulder. Look! Her wheelchair is over there.

"Oh Heavens… Teo. Anyone you know.. get hurt?" Abby moves, twists, making room for him to put the rail down if you likes and to sit on the bed with a pat of her IV laden hand. "Sit. Till he gets here. I think that Grace's contacts have been arranging things already. Why I'm in a room by myself. "What's Belissimo? You speak all this Italian around me and I don't know a drop of it. Sit. I promise you'll be able to get back up. It's not that comfortable but, better than standing."

He'd pushed stuff around to help things. What things? What stuff? That was the most ridiculous thing he's ever said, and he stumbled around a good while before achieving any kind of fluency in English. Teo blinks at himself before he fades into silence, emotion creasing his eyes. He closes them, squeezes, reopens. "I'd rather not sit," he answers a protracted moment, belatedly. "I've sat a lot. I had to talk to the police. Not that that was a good idea, you know," though how could she? "Just." He'd been one of the very few feeling capable of doing so. So…

So he'd spoken to the police. He twitches his face to another expression; leans down, his elbow on the railing, ignoring the searing whine of the nerves in his back. "Sorry. Bellissimo. 'Very beautiful,' or 'wonderful.'" Closer, the blue eyes pale in his eyes, bright as the sky had been over Washington Irving hours ago. Clumsy with bandaging, his hand drops to hers, a long finger prodding the hollow of her palm where life-line and love-line intersect. Not that he's into that palmistry shit. Softly now: "Is there a miracle hiding in there, tonight?"

"I'm hoping… that there is. Though it could come out of my nose. It's not just my hands. Just skin, to skin." Abby pauses at the touch. "I can't feel that. No… I can, just… like, it's not my hand." Her own hand closes around that probing finger. She doesn't ask permission, just starts speaking quietly. "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." With the start of the words, the warmth, the tingle that she doesn't try to disguise and the latching on of blue eyes to blue eyes. Her other hand going to where her little gold cross normally hangs.

He waits until amen to pull back, either because his reflexes are fucked or because his senses are fucked or because Teo was being a little greedy: doesn't mind if the cutting-wire agony stops racing up and down his back. Gentle insistence, without rancor, his finger slips out of her hand easily as it would have the grip of a soft kitten. "Belinda needs you more than I do, bella," he murmurs. Though only quietly: he knows she already knows. Teo's hand falls to his side, the other still perched on the safety bars of her bed; his expression eases a little blank. He just realized: he hasn't prayed since last night. Not that it had done one flying fuck of g— "Do you need your cross?" Blue eyes rove the bedstand, then the cabinets on the far side of her small white room.

"No, you need me too, I need me too. It's just a matter of doling out what I can spare to who I can and make sure there's enough for her. I can do a bit more, Teo." But Abby doesn't press it. Just closes her eyes for a moment, a looong blink as he asks about her cross."No. I don't need it, it's just comfort. I like having it close to me, close to my heart. Not that they could find it. I asked. They said they'd call down to where they found me. But I don't think they'll find it. I'll get another. The chain was breaking anyways." She's blinking slowly. "Like being naked without it though. Did it help? the healing. I can do more tomorrow if you'll let me. After Belinda. Unless your needing to stay, like you are as a reminder, like Ben does. Helena will need every one of you at your best" Abby's shifting then, moving to sit up looking for the second hospital gown to use as a housecoat.

When he's better, he'll be angry. Teo knows himself well enough to know that. He'll be angry enough to throw up. He'll be angry for a long time. He'd rather not sully the night with that, survivor's guilt, or the inevitable barrage of mental calculations and considerations that will seize him once he has the better part of his intellect back. It's quiet he is right now. Nothing he can articulate, not even in Italian. "It helped," he says, softly. And, deliberately, in English: "Thank you.

"I know you're right." About Helena. Maybe about the other things, too, but if he can push that back, he'd like to. "Maybe tomorrow, then." His eyelids fall, his silly girl-sized eyelashes dropping a fan-shaped shadow down his cheekbone under the light above her bed. "You can use mine," he says, sudden with the memory. Reaches an arm back over his shoulder, runs a forefinger up the back of his neck until it scrapes the thin chain up. Thumb digging in, he pinches the thing up and undoes the lock on more tries than it ought to have taken. It's gold. Small. Like hers spare the fact it's a crucifix rather than a simple cross. A frail figure spreadeagled in detail softened by age and touch.

"No. No, Teo. It's yours, and you need it. He'll not be upset, for a wayward cross on a ground somewhere. Maybe someone will pick it up. But you need yours." Something about taking someone else's cross, or even crucifix. "But thank you, Teo. I'll take your help to get up though. How do I look? Is the splint fetching? I tried to go for purple but they looked at me funny when I asked it." She's batting her eyes, trying to erase the levity of the moment, bring some modicum of humor to it. "They didn't use purple did they? I bet they used plain old brown."

Teo would as soon force his cross on someone who doesn't want as he would any other element of his religion. The chain stops in his hand and he blinks like he's a bit dense, which he's pretty sure he is. Slowly, the cinch locks back into place, released from underneath a fingernail freshly soaped free of grit. A smile jigs on the corner of his mouth, up and down, two or three jolly beats. She's being silly.

That's awesome! Obligingly, he shuffles backward a few steps and cranes his head back, squinting over the modified distance to her splint. "Brown," he confirms, regretfully, before brightening a little, exaggeratedly. "But the contrast works for you. Brings the rest out. You have purple here." He points to his own face to map out the injuries in sympathy. His bottom lip, nook below chin. "Festive." If you like beaten wives, anyway. A moment later, he winces at this notion. Offers her his hands, palm up. "Slowly," he requests.

"Does it? I hear that nose splints are all the rage in Milan" She's trying, even though she, like him knows that it's a facade, somewhat. She's blessed with not knowing what happened to her. He can. "Can't feel a thing, Teo. Whatever they have in here but I'll still go slowly." There's a gesture to tubing and machine and the liquid that drips within. "Can't feel a thing. I should be asleep, but I'm not. I think.. again, one of Grace's contacts" Her hands slide into his after she gets the rail down. The sound grating in the darkness of the room save the light from the bathroom. Ever careful of the bandages in his and slides her legs over the sides. "And I hear gauze will be on the runways in Paris and New York." She not that out of touch with the real world. No matter how much she isolates herself.

Facades are occasionally acceptable. Teo generally advises against lying like the next Catholic, but like the next Catholic over, he makes exceptions. And he keeps glimpsing things underneath anyway, and… and this is preferable. Slowly, then. Slowly, she's pulled upright, and when she moves off the bed slowly, too, slowly does he move away, snags the IV stand by her bed. He lifts the brake with a nudge of his shoe against the bottom. Wheels squeak as he tugs it closer, offers the long, cold shaft for her to hold. He's smiling while he does this. Means to say something about the way her splint flatters her cheekbones, maybe that she ought to add a little lace to soften up the angles. What emerges from him instead is: "You really don't remember anything, eh?"

Her fingers settle around the stainless steel pole, below the blue plastic casing that encases part of it. Abby carefully shakes her head. "I remember… driving, the scooter, they said I was in Spanish Harlem. A guy shot beside me. There was a body, I think they said, that was beside my bike, but.. I don't remember. But I know too that when I left Ben… that my nose wasn't in this state. Broken. So's a cheekbone." There's a slight pose. "But I don't.. remember anything. Just riding, killing time." She gestures towards the door and her file that is likely there. "They'll toss me out, soon enough, i'm sure of it. I think they're just worried about my brain." Success there's another gown draped across the back of the wheelchair. "Blessed be for small miracles, now my rear won't be hanging out and scaring Ben!"

Closing fingers around the edges of the gown, Teo lifts it up, ruffles it out so that it falls in a rough configuration of the way it ought, to enclose Abby's wobbling body. He holds it out for her. Even as he does so, he turns his eyes away. Will congratulate himself, later, on managing not to let his gaze waver back. "I didn't realize Ben was gay," he remarks, thoughtlessly. "And your butt doesn't ha…ng." Not that he was looking! Not right now, anyway. But she pulls off jeans well, and Teo has a habit of looking at people when they're in jeans; he's a butt guy, and all the religion in the world won't…

"Maybe it's better you don't remember," he says, without pursuing that train of thought too far. Always, he prefers not to examine the ins and outs of damaged psychology too closely, trauma or repression in their innumerable permutations. "Did your bike survive?"

"They…" Abby slides an arm in, the free arm at least and just drapes the other side over her shoulder. "I think so. They spoke alot to me, questions. Someone's got it. I think, I was only somewhat, paying attention and I don't think he is. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't, it's not my business whether he kisses men or women. God made us who we are, and nothing can stop that. What about you? Yours?" Now it's time to ease down into the chair, she's getting ready to be moved about when the time comes.

Plenty of verbal confusion to go off, there. Fortunately, Teo found himself momentarily disinclined to speak, lulled by the quiet sussurration of the fabric folds swinging and knocking into her back. He smooths them along her shoulders with a deft pat-pat, before gripping hold of the wheelchair, bracing gently against her weight. He watches her hands and her feet, lest something slip or miss.

"I killed my bike the other day." It takes him too long to produce that answer, and then he pulls his head upright, blinking wearily in the thin light of the room tuned down for night rest. "It was an accident. Not really," he rescinds that comment the next instant, compelled not to lie just this once; not with her. He's lied to everyone else about it. Everyone. "I'm lying. It was no accident. My friend kicked my ass for not wearing my helmet and gear. I promised I would, then I broke my promise. He was so angry, he knocked ten types of shit out of me then broke the bike with his feet." Somewhere between here and there, his voice fell from a conversational murmur to little better than a whisper.

It takes her a few moments, to let his words sink in. When she speaks, her voice is low as well. "Promises break, Teo. It's what you do afterwards that counts even more." She pauses, her brains slow to respond. Hey. it's drugs. "What will you do now? You have someone's trust to get again. And your bike's broken" Abby lets her head fall back, to look up at him, the big brown splint and tape keeping it in place on her face, blue eyes looking upward. "Besides. look at me. I was wearing a helmet and gear."

"I learned my lesson," Teo answers. He isn't looking down when he says that, and the bruises on the line of his jaw— stubbled, by now— show like flowers smudged along it. The next moment, he does glance down, realizing that she's looking at him; his attention had momentarily shifted elsewhere. "I think he's going to help me get a new one. And I'll behave. Promessa. I saw what happened to Elvis, too. Gear and all. But I was being stupid. I'm a quick learner, but not a particularly good one," he says, though that isn't relevant, not really. "It took a few tellings for me to understand the words." Experimentally, he leans his weight against the handles. The wheelchair rolls forward a few smooth inches; he creaks forward a step. Practicing. He grins at her. Upside-down, not a frown. It takes a few moments to fade.

"Elvis was scary," Abby admits. She braces herself for the movement of the chair, keeping the pole clear of the wheels, settling her feet onto the little platform. "Think they'll do the test here? The one that will say Evolved, and not Evolved?" the thought had been running in her mind, somewhere. She's had a lot of time to kill. "Bring me drinks? Stuff to eat. Sugar is always good, if not, I'm sure Ben will come equipped." Her head is still laying back, watching him, in her stoned state, enjoying the view. "Big nose for an Italian." Then sticks out her tongue.

Concern or some revulsion clouds Teo's features briefly, at that question. You don't start in their line of business— pro-Evolved terrorism— and fail to keep up-to-date with the current events of detection technology and related biological sciences. Though the media tend to receive such news in too little quantity and too late, they'd be remiss in failing to know what there was. The test has been some concern for him. "I don't know," he says. "Maybe, someday. I hope not.

"I hope never." His bandaged hands tighten on the handlebars of the wheelchair, and he pulls them gently backward, tucking her out of sight of anyone who might come to glance through the window in the door. He acquiesces verbally the next moment, grin peeking enamel through momentarily. "Si. I'll bring you your caffeine and sugar." He lets go of the wheelchair, meets her gaze; crosses his eyes; uncrosses them when she makes fun.

"It's from my father. He's part Finnish. It used to be bigger. I broke it a few times." Teo reaches up to tweak the centerpiece of his face a little ruefully. The next instant, his arm snaps out: stops just short of pinching the pink protrusion of her tongue; he gives her a warning look. A ridiculous one. His features stay softened even after it's gone. "Every saint is proved by trials. I wouldn't want losing your tongue to be yours, ragazza." One playful wink, and he turns for the door.

A little ways down the hall, a janitor is trundling his cart along. Cap pulled low over his face, he doesn't seem to really fit the jumpsuit he's wearing — it's too big.

"I'm not a saint. I never want to be a saint. I was to just be Abigail. And when I meet God I just want Him to say "you did what I wanted you to do, no more, no less, you are made welcome." Abby tries to relax in the chair, the slow blink that screams 'drugged' double dagged in the hospital gowns so her ass doesn't hang out when she has to get up again. It's time, and she braces herself to be moved out of the room keeping the IV pole close. Her tongue now safely in her mouth adn away from potentially pinching fingers. "Am I still moving in with you and Alexander, Teo? So I know what to tell Jezebel."

Teo pokes his head out through the doorway, glances down to find an ever so slightly unconvincing janitor there, at the end, approaching with the squeak of wheels. A smile hitches his mouth, an almost imperceptible nod serves as signal. He steps back in, stubbing the door open with one heel, an experiment with his personal balance that fortunately doesn't end in misery or upside-down. "I think we'd both like that. A lot," he says quietly. "I'm looking at places. Ben's here." He closes his hand on the pole of the IV stand, shifting it gently from or in the little Southern belle's grip as he moves it to the rack at the back of the wheelchair.

Fortunately, it's no rocket science to finagle the clamps, screw the into place, so that the bottom hovers a good few inches above the floor and the woman's fluids continue to flow uninterrupted down the tubes taped to her arm. "Belinda Chu's room is just a few hallways over. Grace's people did good with location."

Ben looks up at Teo; he nods slightly and wheels his cart that-a-way. He leaves it outside and pokes his head into the room. "Okay, now your nose is broken. Is this still happening?"

"Ben," happily whispered. Whether or not Grace's contacts are working things out, there's still the chance of a normal nurse coming in. "And cheeks. But I can't feel a thing" there's a nod to his question. "I'll need.. drinks, and food, but it's still happening. I can concentrate. God will give me this at least, I feel it" The pole relinquished without protest. "You get in fine?"

With a whirr and click of wheels, Teo pulls Abigail and her wheelchair out into the hallway, slow, angling past Ben to avoid clipping the other man's toes or getting the Americano an accidental elbow in the kidney. "I'll get your refreshments while you're doing the healing," he murmurs. "You'll be watching the hallway, right?" A glance at Ben. He seems to have abandoned the hostilities that had characterized their initial acquaintance; all that's left, now, is blank efficiency, the corners rounded out and softened by his own doses of painkillers and twilight's insinuation of gentleness on an otherwise spectacularly fucked up day.

Ben nods, reclaiming his cart outside. "Hey, Abby. Yeah, I'll play lookout." He rustles a plastic bag dangling from the cart. "I have a kid's second Halloween in here with some Gatorade. Room's that-a-way, right?" He gestures down the hall.

"Gatorade's good. Gatorade's always good. Caffeine between Gatorade…" Abby beams at him, 'bout the best that she can, then her head flops back to beam up at Teo. "They gave you money to get the good stuff, yes?" Abby looks to Ben. "Red bull. Gives you wings. Appropriate, no, since many people think I'm an angel after I've touched them." She lifts her head again, taking a deep breath. "Onward Teo, my faithful Italian. Thank you Ben, for showing up. I'll need you both to get back to my room after."

Teo answers Ben with a nod of his head and a quiet Italian murmur of thanks. The room is that-a-way. "Hang about three or four me— yards back, should do us fine for discretion, amico," he suggests. St. Luke's Hospital keeps clean and airy spaces. In Morningside, sponsored by the phantasmic forces of the nameless Ferrymen and millionaires who send — or used to send — their children to the renowned institutions just down the sidewalk, they can certainly afford to.

The hallway side-scrolls past their entourage, dark windows and the sleeping figures behind them, white walls and clean, fluorescent lights, waiting benches empty of visitors, one of the Ferrymen's associate orderlies walking past with a wordless nod of greeting. Abby looks at him upside-down again, and he is, for a moment, hard-pressed to suppress a guffaw of laughter. She's like a possum. "You're like a possum." That was irrelevant; he winces at himself. "I have money to get the good stuff," he confirms, with a crooked grin.

Ben's lips quirk slightly at the corners; he inclines his head to Teo, staying where he is 'til there's a suitable distance between them. The orderly's given a curious look, but that's all. Passing by some of the kid's ward's art on the walls, he barely takes in the multitudes of colors and crayoned images. He walks in silence, his own thoughts enough to keep him company. Whatever doubts he has, he doesn't voice them.

"Possums. Oh heavens, don't say that. Don't say that or i'll start laughing and I think, once I start, I won't stop." But Abby doesn't, just lifts her head proper, taking in the same art that Ben does, occasionally reaching out to rail her hand and fingers along the wall. Abby as a kid, one could imagine, no inhibitions or proper manners, before the gift reared it's head. She's touching everything as they go, fleeting, as if trying to capture the texture. "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go," murmured under her breath.

Teo, in the meantime, is immune to Crayola and its technicolor optimism. His mind is occupied by other things. The emptiness of the hallway, the layout of the building, the possibility of an emergency escape, the probability of its failure. He can tell that Romero has the other side of the tesseract open already. Lets his guard fall, and glimpses the inside of the Cathedral against the shadows, a second-hand experience from the other end of the portal that stretches silent between the physical miles that separate brothers. The next moment, he blocks it out again, pushes it out of his mind. As Romero prefers. "Here," he murmurs.

They're into the children's wing, now. There are pictures of families on the wall. You can tell things about the kids who drew them. A mulatto boy's multi-racial parents, a girl with two mommies, a kid who already has glasses— just like his parents and his big brother, all four faces rendered with a figure-8 of spectacles perched above dot noses.

Bumped by Abigail's foot platform, Belinda's door opens easily. She's on the bed, as all the hospital inpatients ought to be, in the wee hours of the morning. She is Chinese, though it's harder to tell from her skintone under the cold light and pallor, and all of her lovely black hair gone from her little round head, even her brows and eyelashes gone; she has only one arm. Sleeping. Dreaming, probably. Remaining limbs placed with oddly sterile precision underneath her blankets, she looks like an unfinished doll. Her heart-rate monitor bleats beside her, an oxygen bag hung above.

Teo had picked her because he'd had to pick someone. It wasn't the hardest thing he'd ever had to do. Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Her cancer is in her bones and she only had a month left. Maybe two. She doesn't move, as the misfit trio approaches her, her eyelids wrinkling around a bright dream.

Ben parks his cart near the entrance of the room; he doesn't look inside at Belinda just yet. He's got work to do; he takes one of the bright yellow CAUTION: WET FLOOR signs from the cart and walks it toward the elevators, setting it down to get in the way of people exiting. Maybe that extra second or three's worth of time.

Stoned or not, Abby's breath is caught at the sight of the little girl. "She's missing an arm…" She hangs her head again, looking up at Teo. "I wasn't supposed to make a limb grown back, Teo, was supposed to be cancer…" Abby's not cluing into the bald head. She doesn't seem like she's complaining either, just, surprised. She kicks her feet off the platforms though and starts to slowly rise from her wheelchair. "I can do this. Ben can come in, if he likes, it'll be a few hours. Then i'll need someone to get me back to my room. But I can do this" She waits, for Teo to detach her IV pole from the chair, a look to the door to see if Ben's coming in or not. "Pleas god, see fit to grant this. She needs this."

"She had it before," Teo says, a touch abashedly. "I should have warned you. She had it amputated just a few days ago. A tumor metastasized around her upper-arm and… well, she's definitely going to be under for this whole thing." It's pointless to get into it, at this point. She's already up, and he's helping her to get her IV pole down. The wheels hit the floor with a muted clack; he resists the urge, again, to offer Abigail his crucifix, and slides the stand closer to her hand. Unbidden, his other hand rises, closes a gauze-fattened palm on her shoulder to steady her. He glances over his shoulder too. Arches a brow at the glimpse of the yellow blocks, waving in the edge of the door window. "Fuckin' smart Americano," he murmurs to her, softly. Confidence boost. "You'll have the time."

Ben walks past the door again with the second yellow stand-up sign; this time he's going to the other side of the hall. Not too much longer, he pokes his head into the room and looks at the kid. A crooked little smile lights on his lips and he murmurs, "Is she going to wake up, you think?" He's just got his hands on the threshold of the door and his upper torso poking in; doesn't look like he's coming all the way in.

"Language. I'll not have you swear when I'm doing His work." She's not that stoned to let that slip. Abby makes her way to the bed and carefully eases up onto the side to sit down there. A glimpse to the place where the phantom arm should be. She purses her lips and begins to carefully remove the gauze. Teo might not know what will happen, but Abby does. She knows full well. "It's going to grow back. I should have told you, I didn't know. I can't control where it goes, I can't heal a specific wound. It just… works on the whole" Abby' careful, loosening the wrapping just enough, not taking them off completely. Then she reaches for Belinda's hand, sliding palm to palm, the soft texture of the girls palm against hers. Then she starts.

No fanfare. No bright light, no soft light, no visible anything coming from her except perhaps a look of peace that smooths across Abby's face. "O Angels of God, from heaven so bright, watching beside all children to lead them aright; Fold your wings round them, and guard them with love; Softly sing songs to them of heaven above…" And it starts, the trickle, that she turns up a notch. She can feel it starting to wind it's way through Belinda and seek out where it's needed. In for the long haul.

Teo shakes his head at the query that comes from the janitorial impersonator from behind, before realizing that Ben's turned around and can't see him. "She's pretty deep under. She just got out of surgery a few days ago, and she's so small." Despite that he knows that sentence was, perhaps, slightly inconclusive, he doesn't know how to finish it so he doesn't try. Abby's reprimand warrants a faint wince and a word she's probably concentrating too deeply to be able to hear: "Mi dispiace." He reaches up to grip the bed curtain and pulls, quietly, extending the sheet just a few feet along the ceiling railing to cover Abby's back from view of the door. Starts to step backward, putting himself out of view behind the cabinet beside the crash cart.

Almost freezes, when he hears the click of hurried steps in the hallway. Heels. A woman, though only Ben can tell for sure: her blonde hair in a fluster, and pea-green scrubs showing from underneath the panels of her coat, a silk dress strung over one arm. She's rounding the corner, mumbling to herself. "Where the fuck is my purse?" The personification late for a date.

Uh oh. Ben pulls his head back out of the room and turns toward the hallway, stepping out into the light. "Uh… do you need help?" he inquires, tipping the brim of his cap up a little and attempting a friendly smile. A friendly, if nervous, smile. Don't concern yourself with the room, ma'am. I will help you find your purse!

Abby's not so oblivious and she can hear the woman coming down the hall. She doens't stop the healing, she's not about to even though it's just started, but she does look towards where the door should be, willing the person to keep moving on.

"What is this?" the woman asks, peering to and fro. Her nametag flashes out from the breast of her scrubs: Anna. "You're…" Anna's intelligent enough, of course; she's a doctor. She understands what's going on here. Oh, she knows, no doubt about that: they're cleaning up after the kids in the deepest hour of the evening in order to avoid congesting hospital traffic. "Oh, great. That's great. I just need to get past." She motions toward the hallway, blocked off by the folding signs, craning her head to check the texture of the hallway floor, in vain hope that Ben hasn't soaped it up so badly as to make walking across it on four-inch heels an entirely suicidal prospect. "I'm looking for my purse. It's brown, has a gold square buckle?" She maps it out with her fingers to explain.

Teo's eyes shift silently to and fro; he strains his hearing, both toward the hallway and behind him, where Abigail is working.

"I haven't started yet," Ben says, gesturing toward the upright signs. "So you're clear to go, actually." He pauses. He can say he's been through the rooms and hasn't seen her purse, but who'd just give up like that? And since he's not a familiar face… Dammit. "Uh. Where'd you see it last? Sometimes if you retrace your steps…" Ben winces faintly. He sucks at this. He is a bookworm, not a social… guy.

Abby's deathly silent. and tapers off her healing a trickle, so that if she has to stop, she can and not harm the girl on the bed beside her.

You could saw through the tension with a knife, it's so thick. Fortunately, so is Anna's perfume. She scowls irritably, and so deeply enough that she probably would have creased the oil-base of her matte foundation if it wasn't quality stuff. They pay her the big bucks. "It's all right. Honestly." An immaculately sculpted brow hitches quizzically. "I think it was in the break lounge. It's just on the other end of the wing. So if I could get past you…" She doesn't seem to desire Ben's assistance in any capacity whatsoever.

If anything, as she sidles past him, she seems to desire to minimize contact with his ill-fitted jumpsuit at all. Her bob swishes behind her head as she moves, sending a nigh suffocating eddy of Gucci's top-line fragrance cloying into Ben's face; fortunate, as his head and shoulders are blocking the window to the door. Her heels stab her way forward, seeming just barely short on force to pierce the floor. She snatches her arm back when her dress seems at risk of touching him as well. Soundlessly, some seven yards away, Teo exhales with relief.

Only to catch his breath again when she stops. "You'd better not awaken that poor girl," Anna says, eyes hardening imperiously on Ben's face. Meeting her gaze feels like having his face molded into cement.

Ben holds his hands up in the traditional 'not me' pose, offering a smile. "I hope you find your purse!" he hiss-whispers over at Anna. "Have a good evening!" Look, even if she thinks he's a smelly janitor, there's no reason why he shouldn't be polite. He picks up his mop and dunks it into the bucket on the cart to slosh it around on the floor. And hums. Off-key. Innocent people HUM.

Abby relaxes, the woman's leaving, hopefully. Her attention in whole, not split, return to Belinda and her hurts, elevate the rush to what it was before the interruption. Her spare hands reaches out to press the button on her own IV, the keep me out of pain button when the edges creep back just a little. But then, just little that, she settles in for the long haul once more.

Anna smooths her brow and straightens. At her full height, and on the additional stilting of her heels, she's as tall as the young janitor. "Very good," she says, curtly. "Have a good evening." She turns her head so sharply that the molecules of chemical fragrance probably would have cut Ben's face were he standing just an inch closer. With that, she starts away at a trot that's somehow both elegant and hateful.

And that will be it for interruptions tonight. For the first time in the hours since he probably should have, Teodoro crosses himself. "All clear," he whispers. His eyes fall to Belinda, who remains motionless under Abigail's hands, but for the rise and fall of her tiny, hollow chest and the eyelid twitter of REM sleep. Still dreaming, perhaps of somewhere better than the one she left her failing body anchored in. She has no way of knowing that the world will be better when she reawakens.

Another half-beat, and Teo steps out to give Ben's elbow a gentle fist-bump of gratitude. Another few minutes, and he'll need to go and make the drink run. The dispensing machine is just a few strides down the hallway, due homage to the dedication of parents to their children.

Ben nods to Teo as he's bumped; he just sort of takes it in stride. That, and he sneezes. Three times, in rapid succession, because that woman's perfume STANK.

Fade.


Slumber, my darling, thy mother is near,
Guarding thy dreams from all terror and fear,
Sunlight has pass'd and the twilight has gone,
Slumber, my darling, the night's coming on.
Sweet visions attend thy sleep,
Fondest, dearest to me,
While others their revels keep,
I will watch over thee.

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flow'rs are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm.

Slumber, my darling, till morn's blushing ray
Brings to the world the glad tidings of day;
Fill the dark void with thy dreamy delight—
Slumber, thy mother will guard thee tonight,
Thy pillow shall sacred be
From all outward alarms;
Thou, thou are the world to me
In thine innocent charms.

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flow'rs are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm


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November 22nd: Any Questions?
Previously in this storyline…
Go Diego, Go

Next in this storyline…
Promise Me

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November 22nd: The Road Taken
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