A Full House


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Scene Title A Full House
Synopsis Malachi and his sister find themselves under the care and protection of Margaret, joining the small family that lives at The Smith Inn.
Date January 12, 1889

The Smith Inn

"I will be grateful for spring to finally come around."

In the chill of the late morning, three figures make their way down the street. Boots crunch down the snow, even as thick flakes drift down to start covering them up again. The white blanket muffles sound and brings a sort of desolate feeling to it, even in a huge city as New York.

"You and me both."

"You can make it a third."

Kaylee smiles a little at the agreement of her companions, Margaret Smith and Timothy Renolds. All are dressed in their Sunday best, on their way back to The Smith Inn after the sermon. Kaylee's blonde hair is neatly done up and partially hidden under a light purple hat, that matches the fancy light purple dress she's wearing, finished off by a cream colored shawl. She wasn't a fan of the dress, the telepath had picked out a red one, but Margaret had turned that one down, stating it made her look like a woman in a questionable profession.

"You know who I did not see?" Margaret asks, the Inn's owner dressed in her customary black dress, always mourning the lost of a husband she loved dearly. Glancing at Timothy, her brows lift slightly. "Your young friend, Malachi and his little sister. Such a delicate thing… I hope they are alright."

"I'm sure they are fine," Timothy brushes off the concern. "He had mentioned being busy, when I asked him if he'd be able to help with rebuilding that bed frame in room 4."

Kaylee is only half listening to them by now, her thoughts a little distant. It's been just a little over three years now. Sometimes, she gets so busy working that she forgets that she is a woman out of her time. Sunday's and church always bring it back, it's her time to pray in the house of God for a miracle and the way home.

And every Sunday she feels ignored.

The thought gets a misty sigh from Kaylee, as she finds herself growing weary. Eyes lift to the Inn that is now her home, at least til she can get away.

It's a little hard to see the distance through the snowfall, but as the trio approaches the inn, a dark figure can be seen forming through the weather. His pace is quick, despite the burden in his arms. Panicked.

"Miz Smith!" Malachi's voice calls out, stress and worry making it higher than usual, falsetto through the strain. And when he gets to the inn, they can see a pale, limp Deborah in his arms. She's wrapped up against the cold, Malachi forgoing his usual heavy coat for the occasion.

"Miz Smith… she's sick. Fever," he says, explaining between gulps of breath. "Couldn't find the doctor… I didn't know where else to go…" It's an apology and a plea all at once.

As soon as the familiar figure of Malachi comes into view and it becomes apparent who he has with him, Timothy is rushing forward, to help relieve the smaller man of his burden. "Here, le'me take her for you."

Shortly behind the Inn's handy man, Kaylee and Margaret are hurrying forward, though it takes a bit longer with all those skirts, even with them lifted enough to stay decent and yet allow them to hurry through the snow. "Lets get her inside." Margaret states, voice calm even though her own heart beats with fear.

Over the years, Malachi and his sister had become well known and even welcomed. Even last Christmas they had been invited to dinner. "Come on. No dragging those feet boys." The older woman snaps out with impatient, hurrying up the steps to open the door for the men and their burden.

"She's broilin'" Timothy comments, giving Margaret a worried look. "The fever is bad, Ms Smith."

Even as the others rush in, Kaylee brings up the rear, shutting the door behind them, sealing what little warmth there is inside.

Grateful for the help, Malachi passes Deborah over before letting himself stumble a bit. It is a long walk, after all, even on a clear day. "I'm sorry to… upset your Sunday," he says softly to Margaret when the ladies get close. but he pulls himself up to follow Timothy and his sister into the Inn.

"She couldn't eat a thing all mornin'," he adds to Timothy's words, "She was retchin' even with nothin'. And then she got sort of drowsy and that's when I noticed the fever. She was mutterin' for a bit, too. That's when I tried to find the doctor…" And, apparently, it's just getting worse. "Is she dyin', Miz Smith?" It's a soft question, but there's a deep, unspoken fear under it.

"Not if I can help it." Margaret states with a firmness of determination in her voice. Turning to stop Timothy long enough for her to press a gentle hand to the young girls forehead, lips pressed firmly together. "And don't you go apologizing for bringing her here. I'm sure the Lord will understand and approve."

After a moment, she steps back and works to untie her shawl and after hanging that up, works at the pins holding her hat in place. "Timothy, I want her up in one of the spare rooms on the top floor." As always she takes control of the situation, "Kaylee, I want you to get Malachi set up in the room next to his sisters. Then I want you to get a broth started on the stove."

The telepath gives a short sharp nod of her head, glancing at Malachi, as Margaret turns to him. "And you — young man — I want you to lay down. You look like death and I won't stand for you getting sick as well." With the tilt of her chin, it's obvious that Margaret will have no arguments from Malachi.

And really, Malachi looks relieved that the woman takes charge. he's saved his sister from a lot of rough spots, but this one is beyond him. He sweeps his hat off when they get inside out of habit, but clutches it to his chest. Life raft.

"Oh no. No, I couldn't rest now if I wanted to. I gotta make sure she's alright. I'm supposed to look after her, she's all I got in the world, Miz Smith," Malachi goes on, and it becomes quite clear he's holding back tears. "Jus'… give me some errand. Somethin' to do to help all this."

Margaret studies him for a long moment, her expression almost unreadable, or at least those who know her well would see it as such, to strangers she always seems disapproving. "Fine," she sighs out softly. "Go into the kitchen — Kaylee will show you where — get the black elder and set a kettle to heat for some hot tea."

Timothy by now can be heard carefully taking the stairs up to the topmost floor of the inn, his heavy boot make the boards creak. The top floor has always been strictly for Inn staff.

A hand touches Malachi's elbow, as Kaylee tries to get his attention to follow her, so that the Innkeeper can hurry up after her patient. "Black Elder will help with the fever." The telepath explains watching the older woman retreat. "Possibly relieve some of the symptoms."

"Black Elder. I can do that." Malachi watches Timothy disappear up the stairs with his sister, fingers curling the brim of his hat. It takes that touch to his elbow to get his attention off those stairs.

Looking over at Kaylee, he nods quickly. "Good. Good. Um. Lead the way, Missus Thatcher. And I'll try not to get underfoot in the kitchen." He does seem to remember to hang his hat then, while he tries to breathe a little more steady.

There is a small smile and a shake of her head. "You know, I would insist you call me Kaylee… again, but I think it's a lost cause." There amusement in her voice is very evident as she leads the way into the kitchen. As they walk, she works at the bobby pins holding that pale purple hat on.

"It sounds like, though, that you brought her over just in time."

The comment is made in an attempt to make the young man relax, she can sense his stress even without taking a poke around in his head. Even here, Kaylee barely uses her ability, except to push away the suitors that pop up now and then. Not that she has to all the time, Timothy seems to be quick on his feet when the telepath gets unwanted attention.

Kaylee has her suspicions on why.

Leaving the hat on the small work table, she travels into the pantry to look for the special jars meant for various home remedies. Bottles are pulled down and glanced at one at a time. "The kettle is on the stove. It has water in it, since I wanted it ready for tea. Just see if you can get that wood stove burning so we can heat it up."

"It ain't proper, Missus Thatcher," Malachi says back, and while he doesn't actually smile at the insistence, it does seem to settle him. He's always been staunch about being clear about his respect for her. Perhaps He doesn't want to get lumped in with those suitors.

"I hope you're right there… I shouldn't've wasted time lookin' for the doctor. I should've jus' brought her here…" Already, the guilt is setting in, the disappointment for fumbling his responsibility, so on, so forth. But, he follows her directions and heads over to the stove to get the fire going. He's pretty good about getting that old thing beating, at least. "Missus Thatcher…" he says, his voice quiet again, "I don't know what I'd do with myself if I lose her." He doesn't look over at her just now, but she might catch his hands moving to brush at his cheeks.

"Ah!" Kaylee holds up a warning finger even as she steps out of the pantry with a pair of earthenware jars tucked against her chest with one arm, her look holds that same warning. "Do not. I repeat. Do not blame yourself." Her skirts swish loudly as she crosses the distance between the two of them, the heels of her shoes tap lightly. "You did the right thing trying to find the doctor." She points out, even as she watches him try to get that stove burning.

"For one thing, none of us are doctors. We can only do what we can, with what we have." Jars are set on the counter, a bit heavier then she planned, the ring on her finger catching her attention briefly. "That being said… with the doctor missing, we are better then nothing." Kaylee is just thankful the older woman knows her home remedies. "And you are among friends here."

Malachi nods to her words, but silently so. He keeps his head down for a few long moments until there's a sniff and he straightens up and looks over at her. "I know it. Deborah and I… we never had much in the way of friends. It's been… a real nice change. Especially jus' now," he says with a gesture toward the stairs.

"Let me know how I can help. I know my way 'round the kitchen. A bit, anyway. I won' burn 'er down or nothin'…"

"Trust me, I have been where you are. It took me awhile to get any real friends." Kaylee assures gently. "Even back where I use to live. Before the mugging and all, I had a lot of good friends."

From behind them, someone clears their throat. Glancing that way, finds Timothy standing there. One could almost where there is a hint of jealousy there, when he looks at them, even if they were only talking. "Ms. Smith needs that tea as soon as possible, Kaylee.

"Malaki." Turning his attention to his friend, all hints of any hurt he's feeling vanishes into the business at hand. "Ms Smith says to leave off what you are doing and to go get whatever belonging you have at whatever place you are living at." One corner of his mouth ticks up just a little, but it doesn't reach his eyes. "You and her are getting rooms here.

"She also says that I am to ignore any arguments you might have." Now the smile does reach his eyes, melting some of the jealously that might be there.

"Y'got a good bunch of them now, I dare say, Missus Thatcher. I'm glad to be one of." It's just bad lucky that Malachi is just turning to give Kaylee a hint of a smile just as Timothy clears his throat. But it is with genuine innocence that he turns to look at the other man. Not jumping and stuttering like he'd been caught at something.

"We couldn't —" Oh, but his arguments are being preempted. "I… I don' know what to say." And it seems he really doesn't, as he looks between Timothy and Kaylee there. Accepting kindness was something the Gibbses learned not to be swept away from their senses by, but this group seems to be free from Malachi's inherent suspicion.

Giving Timothy an approving smile at the news, she leans over a bit, Kaylee says in a stage whisper. "I wouldn't be arguing with Ms Smith on something like that so…" She straightens and shoos at him. "Go do as she says, sooner you go, the sooner you will be back and at her side." There is a gentle smile for the young man.

"It's going to be a full house, but somehow I don't think the mistress of the house, will even care." It saddens Kaylee to see the older of the two woman, making up with her lack of family, by taking in all the strays like her… and like Malachi and his sister.

"Now go." The telepath gives another shoo, before turning back to the kettle.

Malachi lets out something akin to a disbelieving, breathy chuckle. It's brief, but… hopeful. "If she comes to… tell her I won't be but a minute." Under exaggerating, but it's the spirit of the thing. "Look after her," he's saying as he grabs his hat again to shove on his head before he turns to head out into the snow again. "I won' be long!" It's a call followed by the sound of the door shutting, and Malachi's diminutive figure running past a window.

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