First Friday


dumortier_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title First Friday
Synopsis Checking in and checking out.
Date January 3, 2020

Miller Residence, Providence

The year is new, the air is cool, a flock of birds sounds off in the distance. It's the afternoon of the first Friday of the year, and the dark house with the weatherbeaten Physician sign swinging gently out front is still.

Except for that generator.

Always that generator, at the back of the house, running despite no lights showing inside. Despite a fireplace providing the home and workspaces with heat, and gas used for cooking. A tarp lies useless and abandoned against the side of the home, tire tracks still scraped into the dirt nearby, but the car they belong to is missing. Maybe no one is home. That would make sense.

Except for that generator.

Energy in Providence is a premium. Of course, this is a doctor's abode. He is used to hearing that generator going.

"Oh yeah, he crashed that fucking thing." Dumortier sits astride his horse at the outskirts of the Miller house's front property, quietly observing before shoeing his way up and dismounting off of Arrius' bent elbow, head down. "Hang out, alright? You know the drill, ami." The horse ambles into the yard, nosing around at the crispy winter grass while Rene considers the house ahread.

"What a waste…" You know what? He's going to do that cheesehead a favor.

The tiny troublemaker wanders around back, finds the switch, and turns it off.

Several minutes of blessed silence pass, a breeze carrying the lovely rustle of leaves into the newly hushed area that is the small excuse for a yard which lines the wide window looking into the kitchen.

Except then, the kitchen door right next to it opens so suddenly and with such force that it almost seems impossible someone doesn't immediately come storming out of it in a fit of rage.

Instead, from around the corner and out of the darkness, a bird appears.

A magpie that hops over the threshold, cants its head to look around, spots Dumortier near the generator, and bursts forth its wings and fanned tail to flit immediately up into the branches of a few-years-old tree that overlooks the area.

Following the bird out the open door is not a person, but a decidedly groundbound and annoyed and quiet exclamation of just, simply… "Fuck."

There lies a Zachery, in the dark and on his back, staring dryly up at the ceiling. The light only just cascades past his shoulders and face - which has no bruises on it for the first time in maybe a month and a half, but is still dreadfully unshaven and showing the signs of extremely poor sleep. But what else is new.

Investigating the backyard out of habit takes up a little time before Rene startles when the door opens. He stops in his tracks, blinking once at the bird that comes darting outside, brow lowering as he follows its path with his eyes.

Suspicion and confusion wins for just a second, and the hissed exclamation brings Dumortier's attention back down.

"What the hell?" Zachery's visitor hops forward and into the open door, a regular sight of blonde halo overhead Zach on the floor. Rene's features, on the other hand- - there's a bruise on his cheekbone, more noticable for the fact he typically never has them. "Are you okay? I didn't think anyone was home- -" He offers no explanation for his lurking, instead crouching down to sit the other man up on the floor.

"How does this… keep happening." It's not really a question. Because that would imply there's an answer, and Zachery does not necessarily have the will to hear one right now.

As more light floods in, it becomes apparent that aside from apparently not sleeping, he's a little paler than usual, but that might not be quite as much of note as the fact that he's not wearing socks or shoes, and that one of his feet is almost less foot and more of a bloated, purple-swirled lump.

He rolls onto his side and plants a palm down into the pocked wood of the kitchen floor. Once he's half-righted, putting all of his weight onto one leg and none on the other, he visibly hesitates before reluctantly reaching an arm forward and toward his visitor. Not particularly looking at said visitor.

"I fell into the door," he admits, albeit a little weakly, "like an old man."

"The door?" Rene looks mostly- - confused, until he stands up and actually looks up and down. "The fuck happened to your foot?!" Cue slightly disturbed, and absently depositing his shoulders under the other's vaguely grasping arm. He's not the best crutch, but it's something. Crutch height.

"No Life-Alert these days, old goat." Not one to pass up a moment to tease, though still holding onto a disgusted tone. Dumortier scans him again, only to, of course, hone back in on the foot. "Did you find snakes in your basement or something? Gross."

"Going to need Death-Alert at this rate," Zachery replies hoarsely, hoisting himself up and grabbing for the doorframe in order to lighten the load a little on the way up, his movements stilted. Once he's standing back on his good leg, he starts to pull away from Dumortier again. This is fine thank you.

The magpie in the tree shifts, keeping a close eye as it changes positions to a slightly sturdier perch near the base of the tree.

"I, ah- several, actually. Winter," Zachery adds as if that explains anything, following it up immediately with, "Did you turn the generator off?"

It's all a wordless process, helping Zach at least get to the wall so he can hold himself up. Nothing doing, no problem.

"Well, no shit Winter." It's why he asked about snakes. Dumortier practically vibrates at the question, realizing his error and promptly stomping his way back out into the frost. "Yes, I did- -" He's going back to it now, "You didn't get a new car, or a horse, and there wasn't a fire on, and you leave this thing on all the time like power and gas is on a surplus out here- -" It's the blonde's way of grumbling about Zachery 'leaving the lights on' or 'stop touching the thermostat', et cetera. The doc doesn't have anything worth spoiling, as far as he's aware?

"Unless you magically fixed the furnace?" Rene steps up to the generator, glancing back before getting to turning the machine back on. Turning it off is easier. "I didn't pull dead animals out of your chimney for you to freeze your balls off."

"There's medication downstairs that I have to keep at a controlled temperature. Insulin, vaccines, antibiotics, interferon…" Zachery mumbles off a few more things on the list, but apparently, it either doesn't matter or speaking clearly is too much of a fucking waste of energy right now.

Something he's not saying besides all of that has his jaw setting for a moment, but at the mention of the cold, his eyebrows twitch upward. Oh. Uncomfortably pushing himself into standing up straight, swollen foot only just barely touching the ground, he breathes a sudden and slightly bitter chuckle before blearily asking - "Have you ever… gone through alcohol withdrawal?"

"Oh, shit." That's right. Dumortier looks briefly like he's going to smack himself in the face; the temptation and twitch is there. "Right, the doctoring part of doctor. God, sorry."

At least he owns it.

The humming drone of the generator turning on is rather soothing.

"Uhh… can't say that I have? Maybe a small time? No idea…" Rene steps back to the door, angling himself just inside and motioning for Zach to shut the cold air out. Look who has a visitor. The small victory is that it is him and not someone riding around in his meat suit. "You're not hallucinating are you?" They have other stuff for that. "Is withdrawal why you look like the ass-end of an old cow?" It's a very loving comparison.

"Just a fever, I think. Nausea. Not hallucinating," Zachery replies, leaving an answer unspoken to that last question, "not unless you don't also see this little piece of shit."

Because does he have one visitor - or two?

As soon as he hobbles awkwardly back to let Dumortier pass, the magpie outside sharply rasps a note and swoops back down, gliding inside and skidding over the floorboards in a flurry of feathers before hopping up onto the back of a chair, and then flapping its wings once more to claim a spot up atop a kitchen cupboard.

Zachery - still unstable even with one hand flat on a kitchen counter - shuts the door while he glares down the length of the kitchen rather than looking at the bird itself. "I hate that fucking thing."

It was going to have to be addressed eventually, even if this is maybe not the most Informative way to do it.

If there is one thing Providence gets used to, it's the wildlife. Dumortier ducks his head unnecessarily as the bird moves inside, giving it a perplexed squint.

"Oh, so he's not your roommate?" Rene saw it come outside, but he hardly thinks anything of nosy birds anymore. "'S it Eileen?" Does Zach even know her? He laughs quietly, stepping across the kitchen and standing on his toes to look over the magpie. "If you told me it just happened to move in one day, I'd believe that too." Magpies.

"So- -" Blondie switches tracks, arching a brow to the older man, cheeks red in the warmer space of the indoors. Still cold, just not as bad. "Why the withdrawal? Not quitting on me, are you? There's no way you can't get your claws on something…" Zach has ways.

Maybe a 'who the fuck is Eileen' would leave Zachery if he wasn't momentarily preoccupied with just standing upright, staring distractedly off at nothing in particular before he lifts his gaze to Dumortier again.

"Nh? Oh-" He pushes himself away from the counter, only just managing to put enough weight on his swollen foot to hop to one of the mismatched kitchen chairs, pulling it out and whomfing himself into it. Better. Both of his hands get placed just above his knee, fingers wrapping around his leg as if the pain radiates further than just what can be seen.

"No, uh." He forcibly exhales, slumping forward a little while fingertips press into pantleg. "I… with the pain medication, for the ribs, still - and now this," he nods down to his leg and foot, but maintains eye contact. Staunchly. Unblinking. "Hell of a time to choose to do it. But here I am." A willing participant in this, his clenched jaw totally helps him convey.

The bird is regarded one last time, before Dumortier pulls out a second chair to set it across from the other. It seems more hawkish now that Zachery is giving attention to his injured leg, and somehow he refrains from manhandling his buddy's pantleg. Instead, he just seems- - alert.

"Got it." More seriously now, Rene peels off his gloves to cram them into his pockets, eyes set sympathetically on the swollen foot. When his eyes flick back up, it is to the still present stare, a glimmer of steady sobriety that he finds is not totally unwelcome- - from the outside. It may be a good thing…? In the interest of this, Dumortier lays off the talk about withdrawal and context completely.

"How do I help with," vague gestures to foot. "This?" Doctor he may be, a person still only has two arms and one angle to do it themselves. "You really should have let me check the seals on your basement."

"You-" should be able to, is the answer Zachery has in his mind, but isn't saying, and frustration shows in the twitch of a shoulder and a stifled sigh. "- … Can't. You can't. It's an allergic reaction. It will take weeks."

There's no confidence in his voice, despite the statement being an absolute. The magpie on the cupboard sharpens its beak on unpolished wood, krrt'ing idly between scrapes and headturns. Zachery flinches at the call, then closes both real and fake eye as if the unplanned movement caused more discomfort //still/.

When he speaks again, it's slowly, and with exasperation and exhaustion in equal measures. "Did you need anything? I hope you didn't come here for the company."

Disappointment at not being able to really do anything shows rather plainly on the visitor's face. The lack of fire- - both kinds- - doesn't help. Not that Zachery is peppy all the time, but usually there's at least something bubbling around.

The hope gets a grimacey smile. Yeah, no, he came over just because.

"I could say 'sugar', but we both know I won't get either kind here." Probably. Dumortier's brows lift at the same time he does; as if he also owns the place, he starts wandering- - though Zach can tell the sounds of firewood from mischief. At least he can make something proper while he's here.

He comes back smelling a bit like ash and charcoal, and he's put handprints on his own jeans, but nonetheless looks pleased with himself. There's a smile after that, not nearly as disturbing the smile Isis had when she borrowed him. Definitely just him.

"Shouldn't you have a wheelchair stashed around somewhere? I guess I can always slide you in there. It's fucking cold in here, and that won't help anything." Both small hands move against an invisible wall of 'everything'. "Ever seen the Sorcerer's Apprentice?" What. No.

The question of a wheelchair is not answered. If there is one around, Zachery does not seem awfully motivated to go get it.

This normal chair will do just fine for now, swollen foot and attached leg stretched forward in some failed attempt to get it to be somehow more comfortable as he slumps further forward and sliiides elbows onto the table. His attention floats slowly over to a clock on the far wall, as if watching the hands will make the time move faster.

Or slower.

"I don't know what that is," by the time Dumortier comes back, Zachery's already slumped all the way down to thunk his forehead into the table, "I probably haven't watched anything but parts of news broadcast since… 2009." As if the mention of sliding reaches him later than anything else, he mutters into a forearm, "I'll walk myself, thank you."

"You don't know? It's so fucking old, how have you not?" Dumortier is going somewhere with this, promise. "It's a cartoon. Mickey Mouse doesn't want to do all the chores at the wizard's tower by himself," Rene puts his hands on the back of Zachery's chair, leaning over to peek at the jumble of arms and elbows and face. "Sooo," Those tiny hands are still on the chair when it wobbles under his grip. "He enchants the broomsticks to do it for him. Course… that fucks up big time, and they all go nuts."

Whether this is his plan or a tactic is unclear. "There's an old wingback in there with your name on it- -"

Speaking of wings, the nip of the end of one only just brushes past Rene's back, signaling the magpie gliding past. It lands in the adjacent living room, on a stack of books piled on a coffee table, before nimbly darting a few jumps over and into a birdcage in a corner. The cage's door has been taken off of its hinges, removed entirely.

NnNNGH wobbling. "We weren't really allowed cartoons growing up, either." Zachery drags himself upright, exhaling a sigh as he pushes himself up onto his feet - or foot and a bit - and starts limping his way over to said wingback. It IS a nice old wingback.

Though his expression stays largely one of preoccupied distraction, he glances to Dumortier with - just for a moment - something else. Something conflicted that lies in waiting, the right words lost in the proverbial couch cushions.

In the absence of a less unkind sounding way to put it, he simply says, "You have to go soon."

Rene hadn't even noticed the old cage in the corner until the magpie draws his eye to it. If Zach has a pet, why does he seem to hate it?

At least he doesn't need to try and magick the chair around either; Dumortier doesn't assist directly with the hobbling, but he does linger where it would be easier to catch a fall. In the room he sits himself onto the coffee table like a heathen. What, it's short.

"Yeah? Bad time then?" It's not the first- - or last time- - he has shown up like a house mouse. Just. There. Somehow. If he'd known about the 'snakebite' maybe he'd have not come. "I guess you should be resting. Sorry about fucking with your generator. And I maaay have jumped your redhead."

Just. Tacking that on. For you, buddy.

Once tiredly crashed into the chair, Zachery leans his back into it, puts both hands back on his leg in the vague hope that pressure will somehow do anything good, and and only then eyes the cretin sitting on the table like an animal. What, is he starting a collection now?

"Up." The word leaves him humourlessly, with a tired upward nudge of his head. Maybe he IS settling into the role of Old Man. He'll be sitting in a lawn chair next to Carver and yelling at youngens in no time. As for the redhead, this is the first thing that finally manages to get a grin out of him. "She jumped you first, didn't she." Fair's fair. "How did you even find her again?"

His monocular gaze drifts over to the magpie, then back to Dumortier, his head kept still against the cushioning.

Dumortier answers the command with a wiggle of butt against his seat- - so comfy!- -, a silent 'come over and make me'. His face manages to stay mostly neutral. Mostly.

"After I helped her out of a pit she jumped me, yes." Did Isis tell him that part?! He squares his jaw, brushing hair behind ear. "We- - At Cat's Cradle. That Eve Mas woman had- -" Rene is suddenly unsure of how to elaborate.

"Some of us in Providence had the realest shared dream. Apparently other people had it too. We heard something about meeting up and went there. I don't even remember what happened with that, I was too busy punching her in the face." Only now, blessedly, that he chooses, Rene picks himself off of the table with a hop, sliding on over towards the magpie in its cage.

"Anyway, the dream thing was fucked up. A lot of - - death." It's the safest way to put it, back to Zachery so he can't quite see the pressure of distress in his eyes. It's in his body though. "Some kind of monster. Turned a girl into slop after it was ranting about people with powers. I don't think the girl was one of us, so it just."

Rene makes a vague explosion noise, miming it for his own benefit.

Blam, slop.

There's lots of people named Eve, right. And I'm sure many of them frequent places called Cat's Cradle. Zachery's fingers push a little deeper into his leg.

But that's only just the surface of everything that's been laid out. There's a lot there, enough to have him stare cluelessly at the nearby table while he tries to piece it all together. Tries to make the pieces work.

But there is limited time before Dumortier has to leave again, and the silence proves too long for Zachery not to interject with an idle comment while the gears turn. "What, I wasn't invited to this- dream party?" He doesn't have the energy to sound truly insulted, even if the facetious implication is there. "That's what I get for choosing work over sleep."

"It's not like there was a guest list when it happened." Dumortier snorts, angling back away from the cage to go make sure that the fire is going to be steady. Props an iron poke against Zach's chair. Grabs a dustpan, shoves a good clump of ash into the bin.. "God, it was horrid. Too many bodies…" He mumbles, still puttering around. May as well do something helpful before he goes. Passive helpfulness.

"Been running into some really fucking weird shit lately. Dreams, tip of that iceberg." Hands dusted off, Rene tugs his gloves back on and gives a crooked little smile. "Speaking of sleep, you really should. Before I get out of your hair, you need anything from town?"

The magpie sits atop a perch in its cage, spindly talons tight around a secured bit of wood. It watches the movements outside of its new home with a bright curiosity that its new 'owner' seems to lack entirely.

It's almost as if Zachery's not even hearing Dumortier at this point. Bodies. Death. A non-evolved girl turning to slop. He quietly runs his tongue over his molars some time before he realises he's been asked a question. "Ah-…? Oh. Oh, uh. Actually, yes." he pushes himself forward a little, something pulling wryly at the corners of his mouth, energy suddenly returned below the veil of exhausted mess. "Whiskey, please and thank you. Actually- some rum wouldn't go amiss, might as well get some vodka while you're there?"


A little energy is better than none at all. Rene looks mildly pleased when he gets a field of requests; his first response is a laugh, small but reminding enough of his nickname.

"Sooo, should I go ahead and just rob the liquor store?" Arms cross smartly, and he certainly doesn't say no. Hard to tell if he's serious about the robbery. He has every tool he'd need and the potential to actually do it. Don't tempt him.

"I'll get something for you, don't worry your pretty little head." Dumortier raises a brow and slinks backwards towards the doorway, lingering as he always does. "I like your bird, it's cute." The bird, or Zach with a bird?

The smarm has Zachery sink back in his chair, even if the mention of the liquor store robbery helps him retain some amount of attentiveness. If he wasn't pretending to be doing this thing voluntarily…

But then the bird comes up. "It's not mine," leaves Zachery in a low voice dripping with disgust, "and it's not cute. Its name is Alf. Asshole Littleshit Fuckbird. The first of its lineage. And," he slowly turns his head to aim his one eye at Dumortier again, "I'm hoping - the last."

As if it hears him, the magpie hops onto the empty place in its cage where a door should be with a tink of nails hitting metal bars and a quiet, "Wheh heh heh."

Alf? Oh. Dumortier tosses his head back and laughs, looking up at the interjection of the bird.

"Yes it is. Listen to that little laugh." There's zero chance of convincing him it's not cute. Not yet, anyhow. Zach and his menacing one eye don't seem to phase him either. "It doesn't cost anything to be nice to animals. Maybe he'll bring you some treasure."

"I'll call you later." Rene lifts his hand to wave, "Don't fuck yourself up more than you have to. Maybe being stuck here can keep you out of trouble. " then promptly blows a kiss. See ya.

"Sure," Zachery breathes, just in time for it to still be within earshot, "call me." On the phone that he does not currently have access to. The kiss is sneered at, as many of Dumortier's habits have been in the past.

The magpie's feathers scrape noisily up against the cage as it starts a skitter downward and then launches into a wing-aided series of hops out into the hallway as if to make sure the guest is well and truly gone.

A little while after everything goes silent over the gentle crackle and pop of a slowly warming room, there is a long sigh. Zachery props both elbows onto his knees and buries his face in his hands, sits frozen for a few more solid minutes, and then pushes himself up from his seat with an immediate and involuntary hiss of an exhale in pain.

There can be no sleep just yet. He limps past the magpie in the hallway, which readjusts its wings and angles its head to watch Zachery undo the latches on the cellar door. At least it doesn't watch his awkward and agonisingly slow descent back into the makeshift lab below, wishing for a handrail but having to make due with the bare wall for support.

"… Back to work."

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