A Flu Scare


brian_icon.gif nora_icon.gif

Scene Title A Flu Scare
Synopsis The mention of a flu scare causes a flu scare for one sometimes Pollepel resident.
Date February 13, 2011


The day is cloudy but warmer than it has been, making it almost pleasant for a stroll through city streets to run some errands. Instead of snow boots, Converse chucks carry Nora Rosenthal's lean frame through the winding byways and alleys until she comes to the farmer's market she seeks, having seen signs for the weekend's event a few days earlier. It hasn't taken her long at all to get acclimated to the neighborhood, to note when the police do their daily circuits, to know what stores require ID and which don't.

The baseball cap covers her long dark hair, the coat she wears is a man's cut, and jeans and sneakers are unisex enough — though the cut of the jeans just a little too feminine, and the slight curves beneath might suggest female to a discerning eye, she could be mistaken for a small teen boy.

She gravitates to the stall of a merchant selling pastries, decadent butter- and sugar-laden muffins and croissants and pies. There's money in her pocket but it's not her money, not really, which makes her hesitate in buying anything not frivolous.

"Last time I bought from that guy, I was sick for forty eight hours."

The words come from over her shoulder. The young man there smiling gently. A kind of smile that says, 'hi i know we're not friends but don't punch me in the nose'. He increases the smile a little. 'pls'. Gray beanie pulled down to his brow, aviators pushed on his nose, the young man tilts his head back some as if to see her better.

Winters pushes his hands into his jean pockets, eyeing the pastries through his dark shades. Then allows his eyes to run over Nora's features again. He takes a slow step towards her as if to 'join' her. "Hey." He murmurs.

She doesn't have to turn to know who it is — the time spent without vision has honed her hearing and her ability to pick out noises and voices. She glances over her shoulder anyway, dark eyes flickering up to his face, brows arching. Turning back, Nora offers a smile and a little wave of 'thanks but no thanks' as she moves away from the table.

"Hey," the teen says softly. "I don't want to get fat anyway," she teases. If anything she's underweight by a good ten pounds.

Taking a step to move along with her, he drops his shoulders some. "Blind people aren't supposed to be vain. Maybe you should go back to being blind." Brian brings one hand up to ease his glasses lower on his nose. Eyes slinking over to look at her without the impairment of the glasses.

"You know what you should get? Toys." A small gesture to the side reveals the small booth where transformers without heads are being sold. A light smile dancing on his lips. "For when you go back to the island." The statement is obviously a leading one. More of a question to discern whether or not she is going to the island.

"So.. First kiss, huh?"

Her brows knit together at the implication she's vain, and then the frown deepens at the mention of the island. She swallows, and tosses her long dark hair out of her face as she walks past the toy table, not giving it much of a glance.

"Not sure when that will be," she says with a shrug. "I'm trying to figure out some things here, too, now that I can see."

She keeps moving, dark eyes darting to the contents of each table though nothing seems to catch her attention for long. Her cheeks color slightly in regards to the other question he'd asked, but she doesn't choose to answer it.

Instead she asks another. "Are you really sorry?"

"Well I'm sure we'll all be excited when you come back." Brian murmurs, smiling gently.

Hands hanging in his pockets, he watches her for a moment as she asks her own question. His eyes float away for a moment before coming back. "You guys are oddly secretive." He points out quietly. "And stupidly evasive at questions that normal people aren't evasive on." A little shrug is rolled. "But you all seem to be good people.. So. I'm sorry with how.. Digg-y, I was. And I'm good to live and let live."

Nora chews her lower lip and nods slowly. She can't really argue with him, not without inviting him to prove him wrong, but there's still a slight twitch of a headshake of irritation. Normal people.

"How is everyone? I haven't checked in." Her cheeks color again, this time with a little shame. She's been enjoying her freedom, enjoying civilization, even if it's closed off to her in so many ways.

"Scared of numbers and letters." Brian murmurs with a light shrug. H51N0. "Not that they shouldn't be, of course. But." He lets out a light sigh. Glancing back at her. "So what's it like? Getting vision back after being blind?" A light smile curling on his lips. "And getting kissed by a smelly guy. Seriously. Does he ever take a bath?" He gives her a teasing look. But seriously. He doesn't think he does.

Either the euphemism doesn't register or she is avoiding the questions regarding Calvin. Nora shakes her head. "Numbers an letters?" she repeats, glancing at a middle-aged woman who is coming within earshot. Her hand curls around Brian's upper arm and she steps suddenly to the side, pulling him between two tables to the sidewalk on the other side.

She moves to sit on the bottom step of a stoop, reaching down to retie shoes that don't need it. It's quieter here. She looks back up at him. "What's going on?"

Allowing himself to be tugged, Brian quirks his head to the side, brows shooting up. As she releases, his lips turn down briefly. "Flu scare." Winters intones quietly. "Everyone's worried. But you know. I've never taken them very seriously, swine flu, bird flu… Evolved flu. We'll be ffine." Brian murmurs confidently. A light charming smile joining his words.

Her eyes grow large as she stares at him. "A scare or is someone sick?" she whispers. "It's not a 'scare' if it's sick. It's real. It's real if someone's sick."

She glances at him suspiciously, suddenly standing as if to flee. "Did you come from there, or are you just the one who's always here?" she asks, looking like she might throw holy water and garlic at him if she had any. "I can't… I can't get sick again." It seems irrational, phobic, compared to the girl who headbutted and nearly asphyxiated him in a sparring round.

"No one is sick." Brian assures her quietly. "It's just a scare." His brows furrow as she seems to get irrationally scared over the 'scare'. "I was just saying.. Everyone's scared of it. Like the whole world is right? Like on the news and stuff. It's not actually here. Why are you ffreaking out?" He brings up one hand to set on her shoulder to try and ease her down a little bit.

"What happened that there's a scare?" Nora demands. And when he doesn't assure her he hasn't come from the island, she jerks away from his hand on her shoulder, taking a step back — or attempting to. She's still on the stoop and ends up sitting down rather hard with a wince.

She's back up on her feet instantly. "I'm not freaking out," she snaps before he can comment on the fall. "What happened? Who's worried and why?" she demands again, taking a step down this time instead of back, giving Brian a wide berth.

"You are definitely freaking out." Brian assures her with somewhat wide eyes. "The whole world is freaking out. People are just getting worried it's spreading this way. And when you're in a place that is full of evolved.." He gives a light shrug. Offering her his hand, he blinks as she jumps up. "When were you sick? Nora you need to calm down. No one is sick at the island. I'm not sick. It was a conversation piece. Jesus." Winters furrows his brows some.

She stares up at him, chest rising and falling with quick breaths spurred by adrenaline. Her arms cross herself protectively, and she presses her lips together. "I almost died," Nora says tersely, taking to the sidewalk again, this time toward the open end of the cul-de-sac.

"The last time I had it," she adds, over her shoulder, apparently expecting him to follow. "I hadn't… I hadn't decided if I was going back or not, but a place like that … it'd be like a petri dish, wouldn't it? I mean… here, the numbers are higher…" she gestures to the city that surrounds them, "but it's probably easier to not catch it, at the same time."

She sighs and turns back to face him, walking backward for a few steps. "Are they taking precautions? When people come in from the boats and stuff? They should… they should do something. I don't know what."

"You caught it before?" Brian asks, taking a step behind her. Going to follow her, his hands tuck into his jacket pockets as he keeps the pace up. "I'm sure they are." He offers up lightly. "How did you — when did you catch it before?" Winters asks, tilting his head at her. "Can't you not get it, if you've had it before? Or is that just pox?"

"You can get it again," Nora says angrily, though the anger isn't directed at him. She spins back around to walk forward, shorter legs taking long and fast strides. "It's like any flu. The strains mutate. They're not really the same year after year. It's why you can catch a cold more than once. It's always changing. The viruses, they want to last. So they mutate, right. So they can exist."

She snorts slightly. "Kinda like us, I guess, right? They evolve." There's a hardness to her eyes, a tightness to jaw that suggests she's trying to be mature, trying to be calm. Even as she tries to escape the flu, subconsciously with her hurried gait.

"When did you catch it?" Brian asks a little quietly. Following her closely, he frowns gently as she compares them to a flu. "You sound like a humanis first member." He teases lightly, trying to ease the tension lightly. "Nora. I'm sorry I scared you. But no one's sick, okay? You're not going to get sick. You're fine."

Her brows twitch at the question. "Before. Whenever, does it matter?" she snaps, tears springing to her eyes as she looks away. "Last year." There's a tentativeness to that answer, before she repeats it again. "Last year. God, it feels like so long ago. The flu. The storm. The vision. The riots… now this dome thing, and the flu again. Round and round we go."

A hand comes up to swipe the tears from her eyes. "It's never going to stop. If we survive this, it'll just be something else next month, and the month after that. People aren't meant to live like this, Brian." Despite the fact her hand just wiped her tears away, more slip down her face, running into her parted mouth.


She sniffles and shakes her head. "Sorry. Mala and Hailey are more mature than I am. Jesus."

Lips pursing, Brian reaches up to pull the sunglasses from his face. Folding them up, they are tucked into the collar of his shirt. His lips compress in a sort of sympathetic sad smile. One hand goes to take its place back on her shoulder. Tugging her forward, his other arm goes around her back. The first hand pulling her head against his chest. The only thing he says at this point are quiet variants of 'it's alright' and 'shh shh'.

He holds her there until her last comment, bringing a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes.

"Yeah, they really are."

"Asshole," comes with a sniffle and a laugh though Nora doesn't break out of the hug. Instead she leans into it, accepting it, and after a moment, giving back when her arms wrap around his waist, fingers curling into the fabric of his coat.

After a moment of taking the consolation given in that embrace, she steps backward. "Thanks," the teen says, lashes and cheeks wet from the tears as she looks up at him. "Take care of them. On the island. Don't let them get sick. Any of them." It's an unreasonable demand, completely out of his control, but her eyes lift to peer into his eyes imploringly.

As she leans back some, he tries to give her a warm smile. His arms then go to tug her back towards him. Brian folds her back up into his embrace, head going to rest against hers. "You know I will."

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