A Small Triumph


jj_icon.gif kaitlyn2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Small Victory
Synopsis JJ finds his fellow FRONTLINE coworker has a heart under all that gruffness, after all, which gives a glimmer of hope for someone currently lost in the dark.
Date January 22, 2011

Textile Factory 17

Spanning the entire third floor of the tower, FRONTLINE's recreation area is seperate from the gym facilities elsewhere on the property. Here pool tables, leather couches, dart boards and a stocked refrigerator offer easily accessible comforts within the fortified appearance of an old castle that the Textile Factory affords. Tall and narrow windows secured with aged iron bars let in light and a view of the surrounding neighborhood of Red Hook and the East River.

On days their morning is free, JJ tends to be a late sleeper, up after the rest of them, mostly because he spends the nights before a free morning gaming or on the computer; he's a typical American male in his mid 20s, after all. But the last two nights, he hasn't been in the rec room with the gaming console or on the couch with his laptop. And today, despite it being only mid morning and not late morning or almost noon, he is awake.

Cleaning the refrigerator.

Elisabeth Harrison didn't punish him with anything other than a reminder to keep his weapon secure, but it seems like the man is punishing himself.

Armed with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge, JJ is currently rubbing at a stubborn brown patch where someone's take-out Chinese had leaked, sticky soy sauce and orange chicken sauce combined, that's been there for at least two weeks. Next to him is a trash can where anything expired or questionable has been tossed, ready to be hauled out to the dumpster.

"Ah damn, Rookie." Comes the low drawl of a familiar voice, a touch of smugness too it. Maybe some rare amusement at his situation. "Boss must have been mightily pissed." A ponytail of dark hair swings lazily at the back of her head, when Kaitlyn Dooley rests arms on the top edge of the fridge door. Head craning down to take a look at what he's doing.

She is probably more of a morning person then him, but then she is a lot older then him. Use to early rising. She's wearing a jog suit of dark blue, sneakers white. The flush of her cheeks says that's she been working out. Fairly recently.

There is a wrinkling of her nose. "Whooo wee. What have people been keepin' in there?" Kait asks sending a glance to the trash can. "Stuff will clear the sinuses… and the stomach."

Rising with a wince, his bare knees a bit red from kneeling on the floor, JJ moves to the sink of the kitchenette to rinse out the now brown sponge that was once blue, giving a rueful grin to Kaitlyn as he passes. "Sorry. I'll get it out of here quick so it won't offend your delicate nostrils any, Dooley," he teases, green eyes meeting hers, then shrugs.

"Not the boss's orders. Just figured I should make myself useful," he adds, a little flatly. "And I think that particular carton," he nods to the takeout that is the source of the sticky mess he's attacking, "is the original recipe orange chicken from the Ming Dynasty."

He moves to shut the fridge, but thinks better, reaching in for a bottle of cold water which he tosses to Kaitlyn. "How cold is it outside?" Inside, he's in his Laker shorts and a sweatshirt, feet bare.

"Please." Dooley gives a flick of dismissive fingers. "I've smelled worse, dunno about the other ladies." She nudges the toe of shoe at the trash, before inching past it. "I was homeless for a time. There is much worse out there." As if Kaitlyn knows for a fact.

"And it's cold. Cold enough that you don't want to dilly dally in your run." Moving to the correct cabinet a glass it pulled out so that the ex-NYPD can fill it with tap water.

Turning to rest her rump against a cabinet, fingers bush strands of hair from her face, to tuck behind her ear. "Warmin' up, tho. Give it a few and you'll spare your delicate bit from falling off with frostbite," Kaitlyn assures with a tight lipped smile.

JJ's eyes widen and his cheeks flush a bit with the mention of his delicate bit. "Yeah, I may just run on the treadmill. I don't like the cold," he says with a shake of his head.

Moving toward the trash can, he bends to double knot the garbage bag to cut off some of the noxious smell. "If I did, could you regrow it?" he asks, a smirk tipping his lips in an upward curve. "Wait, that sounds… never mind."

Though when he straightens, he has a more thoughtful expression on his face.

Kaitlyn laughs, actually lets loose with a short bark of sound. The woman almost never laughs. Maybe it's the question or the flush of his cheeks. "Regrow no… but maybe put the original back, if it ain't too far gone." There is a flash of teeth as she grins at him, before taking a deep drink of water.

Setting the glass on the counter, she gives him a pointed look, "But I'd probably let you suffer. Gonna be stupid enough to freeze it off, spare younger generation." Kaitlyn doesn't seem in the least embarrassed by the talk.

"But no…" Turning a bit more serious, Kaitlyn explains, "I ain't ever been able to regrow too much. Some, enough to close a hole in a guys back where a bullet exited…" Brows furrow as she studies the glass for a long moment. "Shoulda let that fool die too, damn junkie." There is a small scowl at a memory. The money was good though, not that she'll say that outloud. "Anyhow, whole limbs, no."

JJ grins and picks up a Redbull where he left it on the counter, taking a swig. The thoughtful look in his green eyes is still there, a more solemn look than the impish man usually wears. "Yeah, I guess getting frostbite in your nether regions is as good a reason as any to be a Darwin Award winner. Can't let that happen — there's future generations that need my genes in their pool."

That sounds weird, too. He smirks, taking another swig of the energy drink before he tips his head to her.

"If… if someone had something wrong with them that wasn't their fault — that wasn't from being dumb, and it was a good person, a really good person, who deserves better… who doesn't deserve to be disabled for the rest of their life," his voice is earnest, his brows knitting together as he watches Kaitlyn for her reaction, "would you heal them? If you could? No regrowing limbs."

He snorts a little. "By the way, I mean, not getting into any size confessions, but I donno I'd call that a limb…" Back to the netherbits.

Shaking her head slowly, Kaitlyn can't shake the amusement. Dark eyes do flick back to the younger man at his question, the smile does start to slowly fades from her features. "Disabled… You know… my In-laws use to trail service dogs. K-9's too. It's how I met…" her husband. Taking a step away from the counter, unconsciously — or maybe consciously — the healer is putting distance between her and J.J.

"You ever read my file?" Kaitlyn asks casually. "I don't like healin'. I don't even like being what I am." Her chin tilts up as she studies the young man from a distance. Judging maybe. The humor is completely gone by then, "I heal your little friend, I'm gonna have people knockin' down the door askin' for charity. Every time they get some damn fool papercut."

Green eyes drop to survey his bare toes, cheeks flushing again and he gives a nod. "I understand, ma'am," he murmurs, brows furrowing and looking like that might be the end of the discussion.

Sorry, Nora, I tried.

But that's not really much of a try, and his head jerks up. "She's seventeen," he says suddenly. "Seventeen, and bright and strong and kinda like you. She doesn't take shit from nobody, never has, never will, and she's proud. Too proud to ask for help most the time, I'm sure of it, not that I've seen her a lot since her accident." If by "a lot" he means at all, that is.

"She got blinded. Nothing she was doing wrong, nothing she asked for, nothing she deserved, Dooley. She was in the city on the 8th, trying to get away from all the chaos out there, trying to get somewhere safe, and there was some explosion, and she woke up blind."

"Ain't my problem." Kaitlyn snaps, but there isn't any real anger to it. It's bitten off quickly, as if impulse drove the healer. Her dark eyes widen slightly, surprised at her own reaction, but quickly recovers.

All of a sudden, her whole body straightens, stretching to it's full height. A woman who won't be budged. "I'll…. " There is a strange hesitation. It's not like her, she seems nervous and almost…. uncertain. "I'll get you the number to my in-laws. Maybe a seeing eye dog." She doesn't wait, turn to leave… to get some space.

When she hits the door, her own hand comes out to stop her, palm slapping against the trim around the doorframe. The way she stands there, as if struggling with something in her own head. Hesitating.

J.J. Might find hope in that moment.

Shoulders finally slump and she twists to look back at him, a soft scowl pulling at her lips. "Set up a meetin'. Away from this place. Last thing I need is anyone thinkin' I give a shit about anyone." Of course, the healer does care… but not like people need to know that. "Then Harrison will expect me to actually heal her when she's stupid enough to take that helmet off."

JJ's eyes close when she walks away. A dog might be better than nothing, but he can only imagine what it must be like for Nora — the disability would be horrific for anyone, and while Nora's strength and independence most likely help her to bear it better than a more typical teen, they would also make it all the more frustrating in a bitter sort of Catch-22.

When she looks back, his eyes open, widening, the broad smile returning to his face as he nods eagerly. "No one'll know. I promise. And I promise, you never have to heal me, if you do this for me. Even if…" even if he's dying seems too melodramatic, even if he means it. "Even if I have a frostbitten bit."

Eyes narrow at the young Frontline soldier. "Don't get me wrong, Rookie," Kaitlyn starts in a cool voice. "You'll definitely owe me. I don't know in what way, but you'll owe my big time." Nothing with this healer is free.

After a quick glance down, a small smug smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. "Don't worry, J.J." A glance goes to the hall beyond, "I wouldn't dream of leaving you unmanned. Gonna make someone a good husband someday." She sounds almost sad when she says that.

Her hand slaps on the door frame and Kaitlyn takes her leave without even a good bye. At least J.J. found a way to wiggle through her defenses and find a heart in there. A small triumph for the young man.

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