lancaster_icon.gif rue2_icon.gif

Scene Title FML
Synopsis They're the initials of the spy's wayward terrorist relative, and they've never been more apt.
Date May 12, 2011

Siann Hall: #302

It's midday when Rue Lancaster finally opens her eyes to the muted sun filtering in through the slitted blinds over her bedroom window. She groans and rolls over onto her side. Her bedding smells of sweat. Thought hasn't completely come around fully to conscious or deliberate, but she's aware that she's still running a temperature. And when she takes a deep breath, it's a wheezing one that ends in a rattling cough and has her reaching for the bottle of syrup on her nightstand, shaking it up as she waits for her lungs to cooperate and allow her to get a full breath again. Sitting up, she uncaps the bottle and takes an unmeasured swallow of the thick orange medicine, pulling a face as she sets it and cap aside. Then she reaches for her cell phone to call the clinic. She's informed she can't get in until Monday, and if her symptoms worsen she should go to urgent care or the ER. Yeah, right.

She doesn't want to get out of bed, because every muscle aches. But she doesn't want to keep laying there, either. Compromise: She'll lay on the couch instead. She slides out of bed, feet slipped into fuzzy red slippers and a matching robe pulled on over a grey tee shirt with a silhouette of Che Guevara and orange flannel pajamas pants that are too warm for the season. Except that they help ward off the chills.

Makes the ice pack she retrieves from her freezer make less sense, but she is still feverish. It's slid beween her neck and the collar of her robe and she curls up on the couch instead with a blanket and a cup of coffee that's been on the warmer since the automatic maker brewed it at nine that morning.

It trembles in her hands and Rue watches the ripples in dark liquid in bright teal porcelain. Her own distorted reflection. Even in such a small pool, choppy as it is, she can tell she looks like shit.

Which would be a bad time for someone to knock on the door.

So someone does.

The door jumps a little on its hinges and in its frame beneath the command of Adrianne Lancaster's bludgeonings, three sharp pounds of her knuckles before hands plant on her waist as she waits. It's true that she has access to technology that could probably take photographs of every entry point and window to Rooster's building via satellite, but there's nothing like a personal visit. That, or she did exactly this or at least scope it out from two blocks away through her snipe rifle and decided to show up anyhow. Either way, she won't be readily explaining her presence, but there's a stern set to her hard jaw and a squint behind aviator sunglasses.

"Hey, skinny. Open up. It's me."

Oh no. "Just a minute!" Rue calls weakly as she works to untangle herself from the blanket and pushes to her feet again, setting her coffee and ice pack aside on an end table before she moves to the door.

What Rue couldn't see in her own muddled reflection is the way that her right eye is blood red. Because there is blood. A subconjunctival haemorrhage for those who like medical terms. Coughing too hard in the night burst a blood vessel and she isn't even aware of it, because she didn't bother to once look in a proper mirror.

So, she maybe looks a little worse than shit when she unlocks and opens the door for her hopefully well-meaning relative. "Hey," Rue offers tiredly and steps out of the way. She knows that there isn't anything she could say that would turn the super-spy away, so she doesn't try. And in fact, "It's good to see you. I've got coffee." She gestures toward the tiny kitchen and the small pot sitting out on the counter. Help yourself.

There are several places to get coffee in New York City. Maybe even several hundred, from the machine at work, through to the vendor on the corner, one of the three Starbucks Lancaster walked by on her way here, and now, Rue's kitchen. For this reason, Adrianne is not so easily distracted, her attention snagging on Rue's round face in hawkish glare behind tinted glass as she stalks on in, long-legged and meandering. Still, she does drift for the caffeine, moving to grab herself appropriate porcelain vessel and splash black coffee into it without adding anything else.

"It's interesting to see you. Has a doctor?"

"Monday," Rue assures with a quiet groan, leaning heavily against the door and allowing her own weight and gravity to push it closed. She turns the deadbolt then, and decides it makes as good a place to converse as any for the moment. "I got vaccinated," she offers before that can come into question. "Regular flu, five-ten. Shit, I even had to get tetanus and hep boosters this year." Which causes her to pull a face, but it's not like getting poked with needles makes her squeamish. She's a Lancaster, after all. Made of sterner stuff.

Except right now. "What brings you by? Whatever it is," Rue decides, pushing off of the door and trudging toward her bathroom, "I think I want to brush my teeth for it." She leaves the door open and turns on the tap, an audible gasp followed by a whoa as she apparently gets a look at herself. "Fuck me. What the fuck. I look like a goddamned zombie."

Grabbing the fame, Rue leans out the doorway and bids Adrianne, "Sorry. Go ahead."

Slurping a sip of coffee, Lancaster's brow furrows as she looks across at Rue and her reappearing act, leaning on counter and stony silent for a second. "You didn't feel an eyeball blood vessel pop? Or what, you used to headaches, now? How long've you been sick? And don't be ridiculous, you don't look like a zombie. Just like you've had a rough ride in an F-22." Her coffee cup lifts again to imbibe, hesitates, and she relents with, "Or half a zombie, I'll give you that one."

Rue grimaces at her own reflection when she's called on not even noticing the condition of her eye without having seen it. "Yeah, I guess I'm kind of used to the headaches by now. But it's only been like three days. I'm sure I'll feel better by the time my appointment rolls around. That's how these things work, right?" Putting mint paste on her toothbrush, she then falls quiet again so she can brush up.

She also meanders back to where she can see that stony look, as much as it should (and make no mistake, it does) intimidate her. She feels like she probably deserves it. Or at least that her beloved auntie deserves to be looked at when she's speaking. She lifts her brows in tandem with a shrug of her shoulders. Rue will accept half-zombie status.

Unmoving from her lean, talons gripping her coffee cup, Lancaster regards lanky relative across the room. The intensity breaks easy under the pressure of casual conversation, Adrianne sweeping some blonde out of her eyes as she continues with, "Off-season sickness seems to be the new thing. I'd say you should probably cash in your Reg card but it's probably that little nasty crossover flu that's been buzzing around. Not unless you like to hang out at Staten Island, but I doubt a nice girl like you would wanna hang out with criminals clinging to that place like fleas on a dog's ass so it's probably nothing to worry about.

"I'd say 'except for the soldiers', but, you know. That's splitting hairs." Sllrrp. Her eyes are steel coloured points of steady stare over porcelain coffee mug rim.

Rue holds stark still, save for the back and forth and circular motions of the toothbrush in her mouth. This is a ridiculous activity to be engaged in for this conversation. The girl feels her stomach drop. Or maybe that's just nausea on its own. She removes the toothbrush from her mouth long enough to scoff, "Cash in my Reg card," and roll her eyes. Right.

But she's suddenly giving merit to the idea of the crossover flu. And it's that flu-y feeling that has her ducking back into the bathroom to spit and rinse her mouth out sooner than she might otherwise. If she's gonna vomit, she's not gonna do it with mint foam on her lips, damn it. Another violent round of coughing had her hunched over the white porcelain of the bathroom sink, long fingers turning white around its edges. She rinses once more and stares down at the pink hue, then up into the mirror where she curls her lip to get a look at her teeth. Are my fucking gums bleeding? What is this? Gingivitus on top of everything else?

Spitting blood into the sink two or three more times, Rue wanders out again with her hand pressed against her mouth as though it might staunch the bleeding that she's relegated to nothing more than another fucking annoyance on top of all this feeling ill. "No, I don't want to live in the E-Blocks," she confirms for the woman in her kitchen, words slightly muffled against her palm. "The combination and ratio of soldier to criminal is off-putting."

Lancaster's mouth twists at the mention of the Blocks, her disdain made clear without putting words to it, and she drops her attention into her coffee cup, sloshing it around with a twitch of her hand as if to. Observe its quality. Or something. "There's more life on Staten Island than the ghettos," she says, that word coming too easy. "I didn't mean them. Refugee clusters, mostly squatters. Enough crime to be a pain in the colonel's butt. Oh, and terrorists. Those're everywhere, like cockroaches. You wonder why I'm not in Pakistan or some other -stan right now, just take a look around."

"I thought it was just because you liked keeping an eye on me and playing pregnancy-related pranks." Rue pulls a face that's mostly hidden by her raised hand, shuffling into the kitchen to pull a glass down from the cupboard and fill it with water. She rinses her mouth out again, this time spitting into stainless steel and running the tap to hide the hue of saliva. "Sorry," she mumbles, "brushed my teeth too hard apparently." Another wet cough is muffled in the crook of her elbow, water sloshing in the glass from the jerky movement of her body, spilling over the side and over her hand. Droplets on the counter.

She looks up then, blue eyes too dull from restless sleep and malady. "Do you have something you want to say to me? You're doing that thing that Dad does when he thinks I've done something wrong." Though Rue will be the first to admit that her father's cousin is way better at it.

Weeell— that too!! says a conceding tip of Lancaster's head, her mouth compulsively curling into smile at the memory. Good times, good times.

But there are more important things at stake, such as, cousin's spawn is breaking the ice of confrontation where Lancaster had expected more squirming. It's not necessarily a bad surprise, interest piqued, but it solidifes into something harder, sterner, smile waning— a process begun at the rattling sound of wet coughs— and focus drifting right back to Rue. The coffee cup is set down. "What, passive aggressively make insinuations to see whether you 'fess the hell up yourself or if we gotta clock you over the head with a clue by four? I think you're just reading into things."

"Yeah, that's a Lancast-" Snark is cut off by more rattling from within her chest and Rue's quick to set her glass down this time and lean over the sink while she waits for it to subside. It takes about ten seconds longer than she'd like, but eventually she's able to get a full breath of air in her lungs again. The urge to whine is cut off. "If you want to know," she mutters more into the sink than to who she's speaking to, "ask."

There's a lengthy beat, wherein Lancaster is watching the curve of Rue's back and the tension of her shoulders, before the younger woman hears the disdainful snort from the other.

"This isn't about what I want to know, toots. It's about what I already know. You think I got through spy school just asking people?" The coffee is picked up again and drained, set down with a heavy but not unnecessarily hard clink of porcelain to wood. "If you want to talk about it, you know where to find me. Usually. Until then, if I catch word of you doing anything stupid— more so than usual— I'm pulling you out and dragging you back to Chicago so fast you'll catch fire. You hear me?"

"Your concern is touching." She lifts her head, then straightens her back. Rue wants to be standing tall when she asks this question, "You know, but do others in the government know? Have I been compromised?" Her gaze roams the elder Lancaster's face, searching for signs of… She isn't sure what she's looking for. If she's lied to, she'll never know it. After all, she is staring down a spy. A damn good one. There's a reason she's Rue's role model.

Even if she got things a little backward, crossed her wires, skewed the message, wound up fighting on the wrong side for the right reasons. "There are people who count on me. You understand that better than anyone." She's scared. Not for herself, but for those people. Have I led the government straight to them? But fear is tempered by fatigue. She can't even hold that emotion in her eyes for very long before her lids start to droop and she just looks weary.

"God damn. I hope it's worth it. Christ."

Lancaster does not sound especially mad when she hisses these words, but confirmation over blurry images or even conversations with Vincent Lazzaro aren't quite the same as Rue's frankness. "No, you're not compromised. Sightings on Staten Island but they haven't identified you, but maybe it'll only be a matter of time before they do. But I'll arrest you myself before you get killed, and if you get sarcastic about it again, you should be warned that I do hit children." This is frankly and fairly delivered, before Adrianne is stalking for the door again.

She has no jacket to collect up, is wearing no coat to sweep, but she moves thuggish, with all the subtlety of a baby rhinoceros. "Stick by Vincent Lazzaro, if you need to stick by anyone. And see a doctor. And eat your veggies!"

Good thing I'm not a kid, huh is bit back before she can earn herself a smack like she was just warned about. Any thoughts she might have had about being a smartass are abandoned when another wave of nausea rolls over her (maybe it was the thought of eating anything, veggie or otherwise) and has her turning swiftly back to the kitchen sink to retch into it. It's not pretty (unless one somehow regurgitates glitter and rainbows, vomiting generally isn't pretty), and it's even less so when Rue opens her eyes and finds more blood than green-yellow bile contrasting the stainless steel.

Blood is thick on her lips, too, when she lifts her head and shoots a panicked look to the retreating woman. "Adrianne." She never calls her just Adrianne. "I think I need to go to the hospital." Tears well up in her eyes - now Rue is terrified for herself. It's that and chills and weakness in equal measure that have her trembling like a leaf in a storm. "Don't leave me. Please don't leave me," she begs.

The sound of retching is what stayed Lancaster first, a hand resting on the doorframe, and she glances back at the sound of her name. With the red painting Rue's mouth uneven, hospital seems like a given thing, now, stepping back from the door and a hand tucking into a pocket, coiling around her car keys. Brow drawn tense, Lancaster sweeps a look up and down the younger woman, before she nods, once. Really, Rue's parents should be here.

But Rue is an adult and they aren't here anyway. Adrianne is.

"I have a car parked outside," she says, her voice quieter. "Get dressed. Don't pack anything — I can come back and do that."

Rue nods her head quickly. Between miserable crying and the threat of another round of coughing, she doesn't trust her voice. What she does is flip on the tap to rinse the sink while she moves off to her bedroom to shed her robe and flannel pants, pulling on jeans and snatching the first hoodie off the laundry pile and sliding her feet into a pair of flip flops. She grabs the empty ice cream bucket beside her bed and her phone as almost an afterthought.

"I want my mom," she whimpers when she steps back into sight. She immediately regrets the weakness, but it's too late to take it back now. "Can- Can you call her for me?" She stops long enough to look for her keys, grabbing them off the kitchen counter and shutting off the tap again. She passes them off to the blonde before she forgets.

"Sure. She loves calls from me. She'll love this one the best."

A long, strong arm is swift to curl around Rue's shoulders as she takes the keys with her other hand, Lancaster guiding the young woman for the door and allowing her to be trapped in half squeeze that is the closest thing to an embrace that Lancaster is comfortable with in moments less facetious than usual. She casts a look back to the swiftly emptying apartment room as the keys are slipped into her pocket, sizing up the prospect of packing and whatever searching she may feel the need to do as a responsible family member and CIA agent. "Head up, watch your feet. Shout if you feel faceplanty."

"I'm sorry," Rue groans. Her head feels like a heavy weight on the stalk of her neck, and her limbs feel similarly leaden, but she manages the three flights of stairs - only stopping once on the second floor landing to decide if she's going to puke again - and they get to the car without the girl fainting.

And as she watches the world go by the windows of the vehicle, which makes her head feel more swimmy than anything, pressing a tissue under her nose to staunch the flow of blood that began somewhere between the staircase to the first floor and the lobby, she obviously has some thought about her own mortality. Rue reaches over with her free hand, bucket balanced on her knees, and grabs onto the other woman's forearm while they're stopped at an intersection. "If I fucking die," she begins - she's always had a bit of a flair for the dramatic, "this is important." As things often are when a young adult finds themselves in what they perceive as mortal peril.

"Don't let Mom put February on my headstone," she demands, then relinquishes her grip and strains against the seatbelt across her torso so she can lean over her bucket, giving in to another round of coughs. "If anyone can stop her," she rasps, "it's you. I swear I'll come back to haunt you if you don't. And I'll be annoying about it, too." And the threat might sound more impressive if she didn't succumb to frightened and miserable tears once more. She cries the rest of the ride to the hospital.

Like when she was five.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License