Scene Title Blood
Synopsis Colette Nichols is afforded time with someone long since lost while she recovers from her injuries sustained while traveling through time.
Date October 31, 2006

The soft beep of a heart-rate monitor echoes in the confines of a darkened hospital room. Outside, a ligh train is falling, visible when rain lances through the illumination provided by a streetlight. Stickbare trees outside show as shadowy fingers of branches on the inside of the hospital's walls, long and gangly shadows clawing at white paint.

The files set into the footboard of the hospital bed indicate the patient is Doe, Jane, a slew of notations and reports from surgery indicate her arrival in the Emergency room of the hospital, suffering from gunshot wounds. She was not capable of moving herself, the hospital staff has no idea how she wound up where she is.

That was weeks ago.

Halloween has come and nearly gone, for all that the clock approaching midnight says in clear detail. The tick is what stirs her, what rouses Colette Nichols from sleep and has mismatched eyes focusing up on the tiled ceiling. Wearily looking askance to the heartrate monitor, Colette's eyes track down to the cord attached to it, connected to a clip on the tip of one finger.

Sliding her tongue over her lips, the teen slowly pushes herself up to sit, eyes wrenching shut as she lays a hand over her bandaged midsection. Heavily lidded eyes regard the Autumn scene outside, then sweep aside to consider the hospital door. Bare legs swing around the side of the bed, feet touch down on the cold tile floor. IV tubes tug at Colette's wrist painfully, the drip stand skittering over as if some sheepish pet.

She reaches out for it, shakily, bracing her weight on the wheeled stand once pale fingers are wrapped around it. Her eyes move to the heart rate monitor again, then look away as she flicks the power button off and unclips the sensor from her finger.

She has somewhere to be right now, before she goes home. She has someone to see one last time.

She made Hiro promise, and a samurai is nothing if not their word.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, Massachusetts

October 31, 2006

It's an entirely different wing of the hospital where Colette eventually finds herself. There's no subterfuge to be had here, no sneaking about in patient registries to find one name, no invisible dodging of medical staff; Colette is simply too tired.

Closing one door and stepping back out into the hall, its the ninth room the teen has searched for the person she's looking for, uncertainty beginning to show in her expression on whether or not Hiro was good on his word.

Down the hall, the noise of approaching footsteps just out of sight gives the brunette pause. Colette's back stiffens and the bandaged wounds at her stomach ache some as she hunches away from the sound and brushes her shoulder up against the next door, edging it open and stepping inside, wheeling her IV stand with her.

When the door softly shuts behind her, Colette waits for the sound of footsteps in the hall to draw closer. Quietly humming to himself, a white-jacketed doctor breezes past in the hall, viewed through the narrow window in the room's door. Colette exhales a soft sigh against the silence of the room, then slowly lifts her brows as she turns to look back at the room behind her.

There's only one bed, partly cordoned off by a white privacy screen. Outside the window at the back of the room, branches scrape against the glass and rain patters down on the window softly, creating odd shadows on the floor.

In the dark of the hospital room, Colette's socked feet tread silently across tile as she makes her way around the screen. The hairless woman laying like a weathered corpse in the bed is unfamiliar, at least at first. Her arms lay at her side weakly, IVs plugged into them, eyes shut, a cloth bandanna wrapped around her head.

It's only on seeing the tiny, blue butterfly necklace set between her collarbones that Colette knows who this is laying in the bed and immediately feels her eyes welling up with tears, feels her heart fluttering in her chest and throat tightening. There's a certain mockery of life that the woman laying in the bed presents, so hard to look at in its wasting ways.

"Mom," is croaked out in a tiny voice, and yet the woman laying in the bed remains still. That the EKG is silent has Colette worried at first, until her mis-matched eyes flick to the display and sees that the rhythm of heart beats are perfectly fine, just that this woman's doctor had the common decency to turn it silent while she slept.

Sucking back a sniffled breath, Colette paws at her face as she dries her eyes, slowly creeping over to the bedside. By the time she's close enough to hear Evangeline Nichols' breathing, Colette's jaw is trembling and her cheeks are soaked with tears that she can't stop. Too hard to marshal her emotions, Colette turns with the intent of leaving, right up until a voice quietly croaks from the bed.

"Cole?" It's a whisper, but in the silence of this solemn room it has all the explosive power of a gunshot behind it. Colette freezes where she stands, staring down at her mother with trembling jaw, wide eyes and both hands gripping her IV stand for dear life.

The wheels on the stand creak, it's easier to hear than the shuffle of Colette's feet as she approaches the bed. Throat tight, Colette can't form proper words, she just sucks back a sniffling breath and bites down on her bottom lip. What do you say to someone who you know is going to die? How can you be angry at her for everything that she didn't do when you were a child, when she is just as helpless to defend herself now?

"Cole?" This time Evangeline's words are more hushed, pleading sounding, and the noise breaks Colette. Exhaling a ragged sob, the young girl practically chokes out her words as she wrings both hands around the IV stand.

"Mom," is a squeakily belated answer from the young girl, sniffling noisily by the bedside. Evangeline's left hand weakly slides across the blankets, turning over to offer a palm up towards her daughter's voice, fingers curling in a weak request to take her hand.

At first there's just an awkward silence between the two, but in lieu of all the other questions that Evangeline could ask, the simplest one winds up being what she decides to go with. "Did you bring your sister?" Never mind that it's well past visiting hours.

Colette sobs, a sound she's not proud of, but when her shoulders hunch forward and that ragged noise comes, she reaches out to take her mother's hand in hers, squeezing it so gently it's as if Colette were afraid she'd break.

"M— Mom I— " The sound of Colette's voice halts when she notices her mother's eyes open, staring vacantly up at the ceiling instead of trained on her. There's nothing quite as obvious as milky white cataracts to denote blindness, but the stare is demonstrative enough.

Evangeline is likewise quiet, though the squeeze of her frail fingers around Colette's hand is almost more than enough. "I didn't think you'd come," breaks Colette's heart, because she didn't. A bitter, angry teenager was content to let her mother waste away from the cancer eating her alive. A bitter, angry teenager was content to never say goodbye.

A regretful, older Colette isn't.

"You didn't…" Evangeline swallows dryly, "You didn't have to come down here on your birthday, baby. Your father didn't even tell me you were coming here." Her birthday hits Colette like a truck, the notion that she's spent six weeks in the hospital tumbles down like a collapsing house of cards. Technically she's 19 now, six weeks would have bypassed her birthday in her own time too.

"I missed you," is Colette's croaking answer as she squeezes her mother's hand again, her eyes wrenched shut and head turning away, unable to look at what is left of her mother on that bed. "I— I'm sorry." Sorry for blaming her, sorry for leaving her to die alone, sorry for blaming her mother for so many things she couldn't control.

Tears well up in blind eyes, roll down the sides of Evangeline's face, and as her mother turns to face her there's a furrow of her brows. "Baby," she whispers softly, "baby it's okay… you— you never did anything wrong. I'm— "

Hearing her mother fail to finish her sentence because she's crying is a demoralizing sound, one that causes Colette to break down as she hunches forward and leans her forehead against her mother's. The smell isn't a familiar one, too much hospital antiseptic and some unidentifiable smell which perhaps would let an animal know to not eat this dying hunk of meat. It's one further layer of horror to the situation, but it won't drive Colette away.

Pressing her lips to her mother's forehead, Colette exhales a ragged sob and a breathily stated, "I love you." She hadn't said that since she was probably eleven.

Evangeline says nothing in return, just squeezes Colette's hand.

There's a long, awkward silence between the two, enough so that Colette starts to lean away as she looks down to her mother. Evangeline's vacant stare implies an absence of something, though nothing tangible.

"You don't mean that," Evangeline whispers as her brows crease together and fingers unwind from Colette's hand. The accusation has Colette's throat tightening, breath hitching in the back of her throat and a wave of nausea swimming up from the pit of her stomach.

Wide, mis-matched eyes stare down vacantly at Evangeline. Colette's silence is confused, somewhat horrified at what her mother had said. "I don't blame you," is Evangeline's rasping continuance of that train of thought, "sweetie, I— don't blame you."

"N— no. No, mom— "

"Colette." For all her physical weakness, Evangeline's spirit seems to have only grown in the absence of her health. It's not the typical behavior of a cancer patient. Colette looks down and away, can't defend herself to that tone of voice. Suddenly she's thirteen again and being told don't say that about your father.

"I'm glad you're with your sister…" Evangeline's eyes fall shut, pushing tears to the corners of her eyes, one dribbling across the bridge of her nose from the angle of her head turned to face Colette, the other immediately staining her pillowcase. "I knew." The words are like a knife slipping between a chink in Colette's already fractured emotional armor.

"I always— I always knew what was happening, but I couldn't— I chose not to do anything, because I love your father." Wheels squeak as Colette takes a few anxious steps away from the bedside, the IV stand wobbles under the teen's trembling grip. "I knew you were telling me the truth when you tried to tell me what was happening… I knew your sister was too."

Colette wants to scream, shout, throw something. All she does instead is cry. It's a pitiful, silent thing, tears streaming down her cheeks, a line of mucus wetting her upper lip, face flushed red and hands trembling.

"I let it go on, because I was afraid of losing your father. Because I was afraid of breaking up the family…" Turning her head again, Evangeline opens her eyes as she looks up to the ceiling vacant green eyes looking sightlessly upwards. "Don't say you love me," she whispers hoarsely, "when I know you don't. Don't say you love me, when you can't."

Furiously swiping her hand over her face, Colette backpedals towards the door, even as Evangeline turns her vacant-eyed stare on her again. "I love you," Evangeline wheezes, "and I always will. But don't stand here and lie to me."

It was a terrible idea to come here, it was a childish idea. As Colette tries to retreat through the door, she feels sick to her stomach. This was everything she's forgotten about her home life in the years that have passed since then. This was every guilt-laden conversation, every accusatory tone, every wordless dinner and every loveless embrace.

"Colette Elizabeth Nichols," is brandished like a verbal knife, "don't you dare walk out on me when I'm talking to you." The words lack the energy and vitriol that they once had, but it still burns Colette just as easily. Sobbing, Colette steps backwards into the door with an audible thump and clatter of the IV stand.

The way Evangeline's moods vacillated haven't changed, the way she switches from a loving mother to something uglier, something unhealthy, something dangerous is in no way different. The only difference now, is that Colette is strong enough to leave on her own.

The sound of the door handle jerking open precedes Colette pushing herself out into the hall on shaking legs, socked feet slipping on the floor, eyes wrenched shut and ragged piteous sob choked out behind trembling lips.

"Colette— honey wait. Please don't go," is the last thing she hears her mother apologetically offering as the door to her room swings shut. Wiping her face with one hand, Colette's jaw trembles and she doesn't make it any further before slouching against the wall beside the door with one shoulder.

A ragged sob escapes the teen, still able to hear her mother's muffled shouting through the closed door as she slides down the wall and sits on the floor, her head turned towards one shoulder, unable to stop the flow of pent up emotions now that they've been released.

A hand on Colette's shoulder causes the young girl to jolt up from her seated position, though it's strong enough to keep her down from the firmness of it. Mismatched, tear-filled eyes stare up at Hiro Nakamura's apologetic expression.

The dark-haired time-traveler squeezes the teen's shoulder. He needn't ask her if she's ready to go to know her answer, Colette's silent and embarrassed stare is all the words he really needs. That he's sorry things ended this way shows on his features, at the downwards curve of his mouth and the avoidant turn of his eyes away from the teen.

"Not every story has a happy ending," Hiro offers with difficulty and an attempt at apology, before both he and Colette Nichols disappear without ceremony or fanfare, a cut frame at the end of a sad film.

Roll credits, the audience leaves disappointed.

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