Brain Pains


dumortier_icon.gif zachery2_icon.gif

Scene Title Brain Pains
Synopsis Zachery gives a briefing on why life sucks right now(tm).
Date November 12, 2020

Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital

The Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital is a 10-story state-of-the-art hospital that opened in May of 2020. The 1.2-million-square-foot hospital has 240 private patient rooms spacious enough to accommodate overnight stays for families. The rooms have large windows, flat-screen TVs, reading lights, dual-layer window treatments and a state-of-the-art paging system, all of which not only increase comfort, but also helps to improve treatment outcomes.

The new facility offers 21 spacious operating rooms (ORs) able to accommodate patients with the most complex medical conditions requiring multidisciplinary teams. The spaciousness of these rooms also accommodate more robotic surgical procedures. Of these ORs, 7 are designated “robot rooms,” with new larger robotic systems that allows two surgeons to work simultaneously at separate control consoles.

The facility also houses special areas for cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, surgery, and imaging making it the single most advanced hospital in the post-war United States.

The Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital owes its name to Lorraine Fournier, an SLC-Expressive medical professional and victim of the Cambridge Massacre that ignited the Second American Civil War and Salvatore Bianco, a cosmetic surgeon and SLC-Expressive who was gunned down by Humanis First in 2009.

"Come off it. You can't have gotten stuck again."

Somewhere in one of the lobbies of Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital stands a man who looks like he's fully given up on life. Zachery Miller, in grey sweatshirt and sweatpants, is staring intently at a bag of chips that has wedged itself against the clear acrylic in front of him, and holds with both hands onto a vending machine that has, much to his dismay, been secured to the back wall.

He gives it a yank anyway - even if it only succeeds in dragging him closer to the immobile machine. Finally, he lets go, letting his head fall back as he takes a deep breath to think, before shoving a hand through his hair and somewhat more carefully past the shaved patch of skin over the sutures that run in a small arc from the top of his head and down nearer to his ear.

"Are you trying to make me go downstairs where the fucking people are? Is that it? Be honest." He hasn't even got shoes on, just socks. He hasn't shaved in about a week. Downstairs is feeling exceedingly unlikely, the longer he waits.

His stomach rumbles audibly despite.

"Could try pretty please," Miller's intrusion of the machine's personal bubble gets interrupted by these words and the metal clink of keys. "Or just get handsy." Dumortier's presence is hopefully more inviting than vexing as he makes his way down the rest of the hall, jacket open, pulling a steel ring of what only sounds like keys in one hand.

"You're probably not into the fisting thing, though." Blue eyes are quick to take in the whole of Zachery's look, drifting between concern and reproach before settling on the former, joking falling aside. "You look terrible, Miller."

Rene lets his words linger as he begins to test the security of the machine's lock with a few of the tools hanging on the keyring.

"That's odd, I feel fucking fantastic," Zachery fires back through gritted teeth, the comment about fisting pointedly ignored beyond a sneer of distate.

He steps back, hands sinking into his pockets as he watches Dumortier work, expression sliding back into a more passive look of annoyed exhaustion. "You know, I adore the fact that I can literally just message you my location, and I don't even have to tell you to kick a man when he's down - you just know to do it. Just your own, special little trick. Sublime. Wonderful. A delight."

"World's worst Christmas elf." Worst presents, worst times. At least intentions aren't the worst too. "I am very talented, thank you." Which seems to be his last bit of commentary on how he manages to come stomping in on Zachery's self-worth. It's not always intentional. After a few fidgets and the heel of his hand giving it a strike inward, the door hatch releases with a tiny beep. Rene reaches in to take the stuck prize and hand it over.

"Could at least make them give you a razor… they obviously have one…" Dumortier gestures towards his own head, where Zach's current shorn spot would be; with the other hand he's stowed his ring and taken a drink out of the machine. "Seriously, though, what the hell?"

Blondie does care, or he wouldn't be here.

And of course he does. That's possibly more annoying than anything else.

Zachery offers a raise of eyebrows at the beep, some of his disdain draining away to make way for mild surprise. His voice is still flat when he says, offhandedly, "You've been here twelve and a half seconds, and you're already committing a crime." Then, clearing his throat and turning to wander further into the lobby (away from any potential hallway-installed bubble cameras, just in case) and answers easily, "Biopsy. Removed an implant of unknown origin from my frontal lobe. I've got razors, just— why should I care, at this point? I'm stuck here for a week, maybe more. Plus I think the woman I married tried to kill herself, and now she can't move half her limbs, which is…"

Which is something, but instead of a word leaving his mouth, a handful of chips is shoved into it instead. Fuck putting a descriptor on that particular event.

Dumortier crams a candy bar into a pocket for good measure before closing up the machine again- - he refrains from actually digging into the change box before traipsing along after Miller, shoulder to the wall. Biopsy, implant, brain. And wait- - Rene slows somewhat before catching up enough to dip ahead.

Whoaaa, whoa, what And he thinks? While the shorter man doesn't stop him, he stays apace, "You're hitting me with a lot here. Is she here too?" A passive plan of finding her stews under his other thoughts now. "Is she lucid?"

"The thing they took out…" Blonde hair falls back over a shoulder when he checks the hall at his back. "I know you've been ass deep in what happened to you- -" In less words, he wonders if it's related.

As soon as Zachery makes his way to a long row of unwelcoming looking chairs lining a wall, he stops, but does not sit. Instead, he stares out of a large window nearby, across rooftops and at nearby buildings. When his hand tightens around the bag with a small crinkle noise, he glances down at it.

"… She…" He starts to answer as if on auto-pilot, eventually, turning to look at Dumortier. "Is she lucid— Yes, she has been, fortunately. She's been - with a friend, recovering. And I know it's a lot." Where honesty was spewed forth just moments ago, this leaves him much more reluctantly, and the trend only continues, words slowing to a more awkward crawl as his expression clears.

"Forget ass deep, it's been—" He lifts his free hand demonstratively over his head, "Up here. It's been everything. It's been her, it's been my head, it's been… this, even. I'm…" His hand comes back down, sentence abandoned.

Rene shoves the drink he's swiped into his jacket pocket, eyes on Zachery as he- - attempts- - an explanation. He knows that Zach doesn't exactly owe him one, yet he allows it to continue until the words run out. Figures it's better that way.


Zachery's honesty gone for the moment, replaced by what might be some kind of fear; Dumortier bites softly down on his lower lip, grasping for more words than 'I'm sorry'. The quiet finds him lacking, for once, and he doesn't fall back on that sympathetic default.

"…Tired's an understatement." is decided on more thoughtfully. No wonder he looks, through and through, like he was hit by a bus. Didn't get the plates on that one. A slim hand moves out to grip Zach's arm with a squeeze; Rene knows that his friend's not about the physical comforting so much- - he can't help himself here, though. It's too much not to offer something.

"Tired's an understatement," Zachery repeats, both as confirmation and to keep the silence from settling in properly. He doesn't quite seem to know what to do about the squeeze, but maybe it's that same kind of tired that keeps him from drawing away. He's just still.

Or maybe it's that he's distracted by his bag of chips again, lifting them up to give them a small shake while asking, "Sorry, did you get me these?"

Dumortier's eyes narrow, catlike in their suspicion. His hand stays where it is, and seems to assert its grasp more firmly.

"No. You paid for it. The machine didn't give you change." Half-truth, half-lie, he waits a moment more.

"Right, and it was my last bit of cash, too." Zachery replies, firmly, his apparently hard-won prize sinking slowly back down as his eye searches Dumortier's face. Then, he turns his head to look out of the window to their side again. "I really could stand to go, if I'm honest. They want to keep me three more days, and…"

He just shakes his head, even if only barely.

"You need to stay." Expression solidly set in consternation, Rene's mouth flattens before he continues. "Cause I just lied right to your face and either you're being a gigantic twat, or something's the matter."

"So you're staying." Given that Nicole is here in traction or god knows what- - and this isn't looking terribly great- - aside from Richard, Dumortier is unsure of if there's someone actively kicking at doors for Zachery. Maybe a spook.

Though Zachery's stare at the outside hardens, it isn't until he's stopped being spoken at that he turns his attention to Dumortier's face again. With some amount of confusion, then — misplaced amusement trying to work its way into half a curl of a grin, before that, too, fades.

"I'm not," he manages on the end of a breath, before inhaling to continue with more stability to his voice, confidence rising with the thread of anger that finds itself weaves into his tone. "Staying, that is. Past— tomorrow, anyway. I'm just having some trouble, which…"

Something else knits his brow as he searches for a way to finish his sentence, but there is no satisfaction to what he finds. "Which lying doesn't help with."

"I was checking if you were being a weasel, which, still not sure about that…" The insistence that he won't stay past tomorrow is taken into account, though he won't be fighting about it- - not here.

"If there's trouble, leaving isn't going to help. I know you have a thing about throwing yourself into the wind," Rene pauses, frowning, "You can't do shit for Nicole if you're fucked up too, Zachery."

Not Miller, not Doc, not Handsome. Given name, a rarity, a product of the times, it appears.

And what a fucking time it is. The literal name calling does little to endear Zachery to this situation, his shoulders squaring as if by way of bracing himself for something.

But then, he just crams some more chips into his mouth, turning to that window again and stepping toward it. "Alright, but—" He says past half a mouthful, still chewing between broken sentences, scratching idly at the scruff on one of his cheeks. "That's the thing, I haven't been throwing myself to the wind at all. Not lately. The only reason I've got these issues now is because I was responsible! I waited. For four months, I waited, to do this through the proper channels, and…"

He trails off again. More chips are loaded in. Surely he can't be blamed for not finishing his sentence if he's literally upending a bag of chips into his face, and looking very annoyed about it.

"I meant leaving the hospital." Not all wind all the time, goob. "I know you've been, for lack of better words, good. More than I would have been if I were you." Twelve seconds. Crime. It would certainly bleed over into uncharted territory were he in Zach's shoes. Lack of shoes, in this case.

"I get it." Waiting got him nowhere. Doing things right. Dumortier knows the feeling all too well, and it seems to set in while listening. "Well, fuck, if you leave, you can't be left alone if you're having issues remembering what happened five fucking minutes ago." It's nearly a hiss, though more to quell his volume than anything.

Even while he wolfs down his food, it's not terribly difficult to see some relief surface in Zachery's expression when he looks at Dumortier again, empty bag crunched into a closed fist.

"That's why I've waited." His arms go wide for emphasis. "I was here two days, first, for Nicole, then— the biopsy, then I spent another three days here, trying to recover, myself, but I'm neither better nor worse, and now Nicole's going to be home after today, and what am I supposed to do? Stay here and watch the fucking telly, like a geriatric patient?"

He laughs, but it's a cold and spiteful noise that ends only because he lifts a hand to scrub it over his face, and over closed eyes. "I'm not sure if I summoned you here to talk me off a roof or give me a shove, at this point."

"So they're sending her home first? That's bullshit…" Rene, personally, would figure an inability to move around would signal the need to Stay Here. "I couldn't tell you. As much as I love jerking you around, I do prefer you in less of a pancake shape."

"So maybe a bit of both." A shove, except with a trampoline at the bottom. Dumortier crosses his arms and flexes his jaw into a clench. He can't hold it for very long, so it transfers to his brow and the clasp of his arms. "I can stick around, you know, if you want me to. I was in town but fuck if there's anything better to do in Providence during the winter."

Zachery eyes Dumortier with tension of his own stiffening his posture. "I…" This time, his stalled sentence isn't a case of confusion or doubt, but deliberation.

He starts over, this time with more confidence. "I know Nicole's being taken care of. She can move, now, mostly, and she'll get better, still. And so will I, presumably. I don't need you to take care of me, just because my memory's got a few… hiccups in the system. But."

He leans forward into another impromptu decision to //fuck off/ somewhere else, shoving the empty chip bag into a trash bin on the way, and turning to say to Dumortier while wandering backwards and throwing a thumb over his shoulder, "Why don't I find some shoes and we can crash somewhere that has real food? The nurses won't miss me for an hour or two."

"Didn't say take care of you, just- - " Hiccups. System. Yeah. "If it weren't for the shit you've been through I wouldn't be as disturbed. Get it?" Dumortier holds his hands out briefly at his sides. Automatically tagging behind Zachery when he moves, he gives a brief, flat look. Of course he wants to dip now.

"I'm sure they won't. Back door, then? I don't know about you, but it's cold and I could go for something heavy. The wind goes right through me." Unsurprisingly. It's why his winter layers are tight.

Zachery throws a quick glance down the hall as he starts stalking toward patient rooms again, just to make sure there's no one listening. Another patient who just happens to pass by gets a sharp look on their way past as if he suspects they might snitch.

"Back door?" He asks perfectly pleasantly over his shoulder before almost immediately adding, "-Yes, back door, sure. It is cold, isn't it. I should dress warmly, too. I'll take my bag, for when I slip out to take a piss and escape through the window and then catch a cab home and leave you to pay."

Dumortier does no leering on the way to Zach's room, though he will take up leaning by the door while the other man gathers his things. What little is here, anyway.

"The sweats make you look more like an escapee than anything." Rene asides, arms folded. "And I can run faster than you, so I hope you remembered to bring your wallet." Something tells him that Zachery would have a Time squirming his way out of a restroom window, besides. Telling him to remember something just reminds Dumortier of the situation, though. The sour angle of the blonde's mouth sits just so on his face, stubborn.

"Even then, if someone wants you here that badly, they'll find you wherever you are." The mysterious 'They'. "But for now I'll cover for your dain bramaged ass." And stick around, though it goes unsaid.

"My wh— oh. Yes." Pleasant tone dropped like a brick, Zachery swipes a bottle of painkillers next to the bed and considers the insides of a backpack on the floor - change of clothes might be nice. But. Getting out of here would be nicer. He shoves the painkillers into a backpack, then sits his ass down in a chair fold-out to start putting his shoes on. Escapee fashion it is.

"I have somewhere to be tomorrow. Either I leave now and come back tomorrow afternoon, which means I'd be gone for more than 24 hours, or— or I can… "

Unease creeps into his posture, pulling his shoulders up and freezing his hands with shoe laces still between his fingers. "Either I leave now and come back tomorrow," he tries again, with less certainty despite the focus that knits his brow. "Or I leave tomorrow, and come back in less time, which could mean they might actually take me back." One last conclusion leaves him less steady still, with a wrinkling of his nose in annoyance and a careful glance toward Dumortier. "I didn't think I'd come to hate hospitals."

Not that they are, strictly, at fault.

While Zachery goes rooting around his suite for the various things to shove in his bag, Rene sticks to watching and listening; noting any physical manifestations of the injury, the rest of that damaged acuity, the pauses in speech. It'll be important later, he figures- - maybe worth saving the baseline. For the rest, Dumortier stays quiet up against the wall waiting for the thoughts to finish verbalizing.

"I'm sure they'd take you back either way. If you needed it." Rene answers, almost a hum. His guardian angels more than his doctors. "Come on, then, Handsome, tie your shoes- -" The blonde crosses over to zip up the pack and toss it over a shoulder, smiling thinly. "Time for a jailbreak."

On his way up and out, Zachery swipes his coat, big enough to cover most of his figurative prison stripes, and shrugs it on just as he turns to make for the door - with more energy now that he's somewhat presentable, his back a little straighter, even if his expression's stuck on dead tired when he turns his eye on Dumortier.

"Alright, Sunshine." Irritability at being hurried is clear on his voice. "Maybe we can spend a whole minute on what's going on in your life, too. I've been working on my 'What? No, I'm listening,' face."

"You never had much of one to begin with," Dumortier arches one brow Zach's way as they wander onward and spend some time stretching legs on the stairwell. "So I believe it. Mine's not quite as bracing lately, though, no world-ending catasrophes or time bubbles or anything fucking crazy- -"

"Yet." Rene corrects, the small of his back pressing down on the door handle to the ground floor hall, and down that, the one to the outside world. Which looks terribly like a delivery dock. "I'm open to a little chaos, I think. As long as it stays out of my woods. I wasn't the biggest fan of the fucking chimeras." There's a pause in his thoughts when they get away from the dock. "…I did bury one. Wonder if it's still there." There you go. Some excitement.

"This'll have to do for today." Sunshine turns his grin up instead, toothier than it ought to be. For whatever it's worth, they can go make a tiny ruckus. A little one. A smidgen. Probably in a diner down the road.

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