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Scene Title Clean
Synopsis Kaylee gets checked out by one of the Ferry's associates.
Date May 4, 2010

Pleasant View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Brooklyn

A mild urine smell is a common odor in most nursing homes, but it's uncommonly strong in the one Eileen has brought Kaylee to. Floral-scented deodorizers exacerbate the situation instead of alleviating it and choke the halls with a sickening amalgamation of human waste and perfumed flower petals made worse by mildew-infested heaters pumping warmth through the building's ventilation system. This is a place where people are sent to die, and even the cheerful yellow walls, checkered linoleum floor and gospel music wafting out of the dining hall — punctuated by the tentative tinkle and clatter of silverware — fail to ease Kaylee's worries as the other woman stops in front of one of the many numbered doors and glances at the nameplate affixed to its front.


"He doesn't speak English," she says, closing gloved fingers around the door's handle. "Do as I say and we'll get this sorted."

There is a short nod to what Eileen says, but the telepath doesn't really say anything. There are so many comments she could make about this place, but considering the situation… she says not one. The place was a sad sight and the humming in her head could attest to that. Where she dared peek, it was disheartening. Her eyes settle on the nameplate, her expression mostly unreadable. Worried or not, Kaylee would do whatever it takes to learn what needed to be found out.

Long blonde locks are pulls back loosely at the back of her head, arms are wrapped around her stomach to hold all those nervous butterflies from exploding from her stomach like some alien. She has had way too much time to think about what has happened and what was done to her… and it has brought up a lot of questions and some regret. "Alright."

Eileen presses down on the handle, popping the lock, and swings the door open to admit Kaylee inside a small room with a window with a view of a brick wall belonging to the neighboring building with only a few feet space between it and the glass pane. No curtains, only a set of Venetian blinds with dusty slats that match the sterile plastic of the empty bedpan on the floor beside a cot on which an old man with a face and hands covered in liver spots is laying, a heavy quilt drawn halfway up his body, legs visible beneath the patchwork material as twin sticks ending in small mounds for feet.

A. Borkowski is all bones, wrinkled skin hanging off a frame that's wasted away and left him bedridden. Although there's a walker in one corner and a wheelchair propped up against the wall beside that tiny, bleak window, it hasn't seen use for some time. Neither have the slippers tucked under the bed.

The photographs taped to the walls are yellowed with age, some missing corners, others faded by what little sunlight shines in through the window in summer and mottled with sallow water stains that blot out faces, making many of them unrecognizable. Judging from the way people are dressed in the pictures, they all date back to the seventies and eighties with nothing recent except for a vase of withered flowers on the nightstand, which Eileen moves to empty in the sink as she greets him in a language that Kaylee doesn't recognize. "Dzień dobry, Anastazy," she says, followed by a smattering of something faster. The only word Kaylee can pick out is her own name.

Borkowski makes a low, strangled grunt of affirmation at the back of his throat, runs his tongue over shriveled lips and gestures the blonde closer.

A glance in before Kaylee slips into the room, standing to the side so that Eileen can talk to the little old man. She can't help to see him and there is a bit of sadness that flits across her own features. She had a grandfather once that withered away due to cancer. It was rough and he had looked nothing like himself in the end.

As Eileen speaks to the man, the telepath is completely clueless. One of Kaylee's embarrassing failings is at languages, she could never wrap her brain around other languages… though she did try. Really, really tried.

When she's motioned forward, the young blonde glances at Eileen first, before she offers him a polite smile, stepping forward to close the distance to his bedside, head ducking slightly in a vague gesture of respect. She doesn't invade his mind, just listens to the unique mumbled hum of his thoughts from behind her own mental shield, not that she'd understand them if she did.

Borkowski's mindvoice is as rough as it is quiet, a deep baritone with frayed edges and a texture like heavy grains of sand or sea salt rubbed raw between Kaylee's fingers. It also goes abruptly silent when she approaches, and wordlessly he lifts a trembling hand to reach out and take the young woman's, his thumb hooking into her palm as his lifts his eyes to her face and squints. They might have been brown at one point, but cataracts have tinted them gray, opaque.

He mumbles something under his breath at Eileen, who pauses at the sink but does not turn her head to regard Kaylee by the bed. Addresses her reflection in the mirror instead. "Kneel down," she says, placing the vase aside. "He needs to be able to touch you."

There is no resistance as his hand grabs on to her own, her fingers curl slightly as if she's grip his, but she holds off. Her free hand moves to push stray hair behind her ear when it slides into her face from leaning over like that.

Glancing from the old man to Eileen, when she speaks, Kaylee looks a touch uncertain for a moment before she does as she's asked. Sinking to her knees next to the cot, Kaylee take a deep breath to calm her jumbled nerves, since she doesn't know what to expect. Her tongue wets her lips as she readies herself for whatever this guy plans to do.

The hand not clutching feebly at Kaylee's reaches up to brush fingers through her hair when she pushes it behind her ear before wandering along the curve of her jaw and chin. He's cold to the touch, fingers hard and angular in spite of their brittle condition, twig-like with the delicate frailty of bird toes exploring the contours of her face. Knuckles stroke her cheeks and a thumb traces the shape of her lips. He coaxes her eyes shut with a shaky downward sweep of his palm, which he then holds over them, speaking lowly to Eileen at the same time.

Kaylee doesn't feel anything happening to her at first, but after a few moments of stilted silence, she senses a tug at the back of her mind and images begin to bleed through her eyelids as her own ability involuntarily kicks in. Gaunt men in striped uniform, skinny, shrunken and emaciated as he is now, their eyes sunken in their skulls, heads shaved. The words Arbeit Macht Frei hung in metal over a tall gate with shafts of cold sunlight streaming between them. Somewhere in the distance, smoke rises from fat stacks in smothering black plumes that blacken the sky and turn the clouds to ash. A bronze eagle perched atop a stone archway, swastika clutched in its talons. Small snippets of memory as faded as the photographs on the wall.

"He says you're clean," Eileen's voice whispers from somewhere, breaking the spell. Borkowski's hand falls away and when Kaylee opens her eyes again she's back in the room. "The Institute didn't pull anything out of your head."

Perfectly still, her eyes drift close at his gesture, Kaylee is totally at the mercy of the old man. As the images swim though her head, Kaylee's heart does a flip as it goes out to the figures in that memory. She can't help but wonder who he is, was he one of those gaunt figures… or the men on the other side. In fact, as her eyes open they are shiny with tears and she has to swallow past a knot in her throat. It's the first time she's really spoken since Eileen picked her up. Her voice is kept low and soft in it's own right. "Thank god…" She manages to say without out her emotions clouding it, "Cause I wouldn't have given it willingly… father or not." Eyes shut in pure relief. "But the not knowing was killing me."

Kaylee's youthful hand reaches out to briefly touch the old man's in thanks, "Make sure he knows I'm thankful for his help." Her hand falls away so that she can use the edge of the cot to keep her balance as she moves to get to her feet.

"Serdecznie dziękuję," Eileen says, removing a solitary and stemless amaryllis flower from silk-lined sleeve of her coat, which she sets on the nightstand where the vase had been. Its vibrant red petals contrast with the black leather of her gloves and the walls' white wash, lending the room a much needed splash of colour, but it — like Borkowski — is already dying, its edges curling and bruised. That even one florist's remains open in this weather is a testament to how resilient the people of New York City really are, and if the old man is anything like the one who sold the Englishwoman the flower, then he'll still be around for awhile yet.

Eileen places a hand at the small of Kaylee's back. "Come on. I've a job for you."

One more glance to the man on the cot, Kaylee turns as she feels the hand on her back. Her gaze studies Eileen briefly, before moving for the door, "You know I'm willing to do what needs doing." Her tone still carrying that note of relief. Peter wouldn't like to hear her say those words, but it is what she's been doing since she joined the Ferrymen.

So much worrying had been done in that small hotel room and she had plenty of time to let it gnaw on her, now it was like a huge weight lift off her shoulders. Even her back seems a little straighter as she walked, and the smell of the place doesn't seem as bad.

The door shuts behind the two women, and in the hall outside Eileen makes sure that none of the nursing home's orderlies are within earshot as she leads Kaylee back the way they came, their booted feet squeaking shrilly across the linoleum. "We've been keeping Brennan in the Garden's basement," she says. "Joseph's already been down to see him, but I need someone to make sure he won't turn on us if we let him go back to his family. I want you to ask him if he'd be amenable to letting you take a look at what's going on between his ears. Don't force it if he says no."

Of all the things to ask… Kaylee's brows tip up in worry. "I don't think he will even want to see me at the moment." The telepath admits that worry leaking into her words, coloring them a little. "My fault for just stepping over to them, but… it was that or get shot… either way I was going." Her tone flattens at the end of the sentence. The telepath goes silent for a long moment before she glances at Eileen out of the corner of her eyes.

"I am sorry about what I did… but… not at the same time. Now or later we'd be right here, doing the same thing." Kaylee is convinced of that. "The timing was crappy though.."

"Either way, I'll see what I can do. I owe him a chance to yell at me at least." Her lip tugs up at one corner, but it drops away quickly enough. "He deserves the chance." She repeats softly, her gaze on the checkered tiles.

Eileen keeps her gaze focused straight ahead. There's a sudden absence of pressure at Kaylee's back; her hands tuck into her coat pockets as she passes the home's dining hall and game room, not even a glance shot toward the front desk when they arrive at the lobby. Visitors are required to sign in but not out, and Eileen did not put down her real name when she introduced herself and Kaylee to the receptionist manning the phone as Borkowski's granddaughters upon arrival. She's so busy filing her nails that she doesn't notice them on their way toward the front door where a taxi is waiting and has been for the last ten minutes, its windshield wipers ticking back and forth at a harried pace to keep the falling snow from sticking to the glass.

"Check in with Harkness when you're done," Eileen says, pushing open the front door and turning her head away from the blast of cold air that slams into them head-on. Roaring wind creates a deafening howl in Kaylee's ears, making it difficult but not impossible to hear what she says next, her own voice raised to counteract the blizzard's deathly wail. "Tell him what you find."

The sting of the cold slaps Kaylee in the face, about taking her breath away. In her time in New York, she's never known it to get this bad. Pulling her scarf up, the telepath tightens it around her face, eyes squinting against the biting cold. Her breath plumes out, but is swept away in the wind.

There is a large nod — so that Eileen can see it — at the mention of talking to Scott, though the idea of poking at that sleeping bear scares her a little, especially all the times he's talked out against her. You wanted to talk to him. She reminds herself.

"I will." Kaylee calls out over the buffeting cold, trying to hurry carefully for the taxi.

Eileen's fingers curl under the rear passenger side handle and pop it open, ushering Kaylee into the cab. She speaks a few words to the driver behind the wheel in that same, strange language she'd used with Borkowski in the nursing home, and he gives her a nod in the rear view mirror. "Zgoda," he says. "Nie przejmuj się. For the Ferry, anything."

"He'll take you as far as Red Hook," Eileen explains. "Raith's waiting at the pier with a boat and can see you across the water. Stay at the safehouse tonight. I'll settle your debt with the Speakeasy while I'm out there."

There is some relief as she settles into the taxi, loosening the scarf some to breath in the warmer air of the vehicle. Once Eileen is done talking to the driver, Kaylee turns to the woman who is so much younger then her physically, but far older then her mentally… She gives the Avian telepath a small smile. "Thanks Eileen… for everything, as always." The last said with a small amount of amusement, probably won't be the last time the thinner woman helps her out.

There is a deep breath and Keylee turns her attention to the cab driver, who in her mind is clearly insane and smart for still working. "Alright. Lets get on the road."

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