Hospital Corners


brynn_icon.gif reeves_icon.gif toussaint_icon.gif

Scene Title Hospital Corners
Synopsis A pair of DOE agents check on one of the victims of the most recent round of strokes, and find her disturbingly pragmatic.
Date January 18, 2021

Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital

Brynn’s room in the hospital is more of a fish bowl, with a clear front wall and clear door so that the ICU nurses can see her clearly from their hub in the middle. While those in the rooms may sleep now and then — or only sleep in some cases — there is always excitement somewhere on the unit, and none of the staff gets much rest.

The view also allows her to see those coming and going, or at least those who walk past her. If she isn’t sleeping, she sees the two dark-suited agents speaking to the nurse before they turn to head into her fish bowl. Agent Toussaint, she’s met before, though the slim brunette at his side is a new face for Brynn.

Much like the rest of the crash survivors who've been through a similar event, Brynn is suffering the aftereffects of stroke. Her right side has loss of sensation and although she can use her right-hand appendages, the loss of sensation is expected to affect her ability to walk and a lot of other things.

Unlike the other victims, Brynn had something even more surprising show up. The nurses inform them that based on all of their tests, the young woman — deaf since birth — appears to have regained full hearing on her right side. Though they warn the agents to make sure to write or sign, since the spoken words mean nothing to her as yet. It's going to require a long time of occupational therapy to help her connect what she sees to the sounds of words.

The petite brunette is propped on pillows, partially upright, dressed in what appear to be her own pajamas — fleecy pants and short-sleeved shirt that her siblings probably brought in — against the usual chill of a hospital room. She's not attached full-time to wires anymore, so there's no annoying beeping or whooshing of various things nor any IV stands. She's got a sketch pad in her lap that she seems to be concentrating on very closely , although there are only a few lines of … an unrecognizable something on the page… until they walk in and she looks up at them with pensive gray eyes.

Their greeting is a wave with her left hand and her curiosity as her right drops the pencil atop the sketch paper.

Toussaint enters first, given he’s the one who can speak ASL, and he signs as well as speaks. “Good morning, Brynn. I’m glad to see you are feeling better.” Most likely the agents had made the rounds the other day, when she was still unconscious.

He reaches out to indicate Reeves, who smiles and offers a small wave of her own. “This is my colleague Agent Reeves.” He spells out her name. “Sadly, she doesn’t know how to speak ASL.” In sign alone, he adds not smart enough with a wink since Reeves can’t understand it. His speaking voice is low, slow, and has an accent that the New York nurses and doctors don’t, not that Brynn is able to identify it, with her new ability to hear.

“I’m sorry this happened to you,” Reeves says, her expression perhaps a little exaggeratedly sympathetic, to help convey her emotions. Toussaint translates for her as she speaks.

Brynn's attention remains on Toussaint while he speaks and signs, her attention less on his hands than watching his mouth form words — although the not smart enough earns him a soft snort of laughter that seems to actually startle the girl. Her hands come up and she has to focus on her right one really hard to make her signs with it — they are lackadaisical, not entirely formed at times or modified. It almost looks like lazy signing, except that it's really an effect of not being able to feel that her hand is doing what she wants it to and having to watch that the right signals are going there. Muscle memory is a great thing, although she has to work a little harder at it.

Nice to see you, Brynn signs back. She acknowledges Reeves' sympathy with a tired smile. It seems like she feels tired all the time right now. Here for follow-up? she asks the agent. Can tell you it was no fun. That's about all she can really tell him, honestly. You have to ask Lance if you want details, though. How many this time? Last time there was a decent number.

Her right hand drops into her lap, and it looks like she might be resting it, letting them do most of the talking, perhaps.

“I imagine.” Toussaint’s signs come with a sympathetic smile of his own, but it fades at the question of ‘how many this time?’

“Almost everyone who didn’t the first time. Seven, so far by our count,” he says, speaking slower than usual more for his sake than hers — his signing is hardly perfect and lacking the fluid transitions from one sign to the next that a more fluent speaker would have.

“We understand some people had hallucinations or the like, often relatable to their abilities. Aside from your hearing returning, did you have anything occur that seemed connected to your…” Toussaint looks to Reeves, apparently having forgotten Brynn’s lost ability.

“Chromakinesis,” Reeves supplies quietly.

Toussaint smiles. He doesn’t know that sign. “Ability?” he chooses instead. “Colors?”

Hesitating but seeing no reason to prevaricate, Brynn nods. Flashes, she replies laboriously. World has looked faded — like old photo — since crash. Doctor thought it was in my head mostly — ability affected solid objects, not my eyes that we knew. But now flashes of brilliant color.

It takes a long time with the choppy signing, Brynn gets across her meaning as clearly as she can. She pauses and then adds, Hearing isn't returned — have never had it until now. Born deaf.

After translating for his partner, Toussaint smiles a little ruefully, and shakes his head. “I apologize,” he says, signing it as well. Reeves gives him a look like he might be the one who’s a little bit of an idiot for the small detail, but she smiles as she looks back to Brynn, again with that small sympathetic smile.

“That must be strange. How are you holding up?” she asks, then looks to him to sign it back to her.

Toussaint does, but adds in sign only for Brynn’s sake, She is so nosy!

This time Reeves narrows her eyes at him, maybe catching on that he’s saying more to Brynn than he is to her. “If you don’t think I can find out what you said later, you’d be wrong,” she murmurs to him, but there’s amusement in her eyes like she might know he’s just trying to cheer up the patient. She moves to a nearby seat to drop into it, leaving Toussaint to do most of the talking.

Brynn doesn't need to be able to hear to understand the byplay between them, although it's kind of cool to hear the tone that comes with it. She files that away for later, shooting Toussaint another grin.

Very strange, she agrees. Don't know how I feel about it. Too many emotions to count is probably the most honest answer she can offer. The longer she signs, the smoother it seems to be, although it's clear she's remaining more succinct than she might otherwise be — it's difficult to pay such close attention to something that's as instinctive as breathing. Of course, if she let it be as instinctive as it is, it might actually be easier. Maybe.

For Toussaint, she adds with amusement in her tired features, She has a nice sound. It sounds different than you … and you sound different from everyone else. Why? Brynn hasn't missed the way his vowels don't have the same cadence… but she's never known there were regional accents. The words are formed pretty much the same way by the mouth.

“I’m sure it’ll take a little bit of getting used to,” Reeves says, and Toussaint signs it for her, then smiles at the question Brynn asks.

“You’re already picking up on things,” he says, his hands moving a little slower than his mouth as he thinks of how to sign. He’s clearly practiced a little since the last time she saw him, in the waiting room of the same hospital two months before.

“I’m from Louisiana. Not everyone in Louisiana has a deep accent, but a lot of us do,” he explains, then tips his head to indicate Reeves. “She’s from England, so she talks even funnier than I do. The word schedule,” he spells that one out, “is like someone eating noodles and talking with their mouth full.”

Reeves scoffs and rolls her eyes. “Rude. Yankee Boor.”

Brynn has no idea why she's calling him a bore — she finds it rather funny. Rude is perfectly clear though! She stifles the laughter and considers the information she's been given. It's all shaped the same, she points out. Well, not all — she actually sees the difference between what he's spelling out and how his jaw manipulates the word in the British way. But it's subtle and she doesn't think she'll ever pick up those differences, really. Just noise. Hard to tell some voices apart from others. Maybe theirs will be easier to identify because of accents. It's something to ponder.

Leaning her head back into the pillow, she looks at them both, resting her hand before signing. Still have no leads, do you? There is no tone to the question to give away her mindset, but there's a kind of resignation to her tired gray eyes that says she's not expecting a positive answer. It feels like they're running out of time — Dr. Pride's briefings have brought home to her that there's little being learned. The one group stroked and now the rest of them have. It's a bad pattern.

Pulling in a breath, she asks, Can you bring papers next time? I want to give permission for Dr. Pride and team. In case I die earlier. If she does, maybe an autopsy will give the clues they need.

But Jesus, what a thing for a 21-year-old girl to think about.

If Toussaint was going to comment on the nature of voices and sound, it’s cut off by the questions bringing the conversation back to the case, to whatever’s happening to them. “I wouldn’t say we have no leads, but nothing that has proven… nothing that’s been proven. Yet.” The signing, again, is slower, more careful, so as not to misspeak. “Nothing we can share at this point.”

As to the other question, he looks to Reeves, his expression a little grim. She speaks instead, though he signs for her.

“Because what has been done to you is part of a criminal investigation, there would be a chain of custody and a protocol that has to be followed. What happens after the investigation is completed would be up to you, of course,” she says softly. “Does that make sense?”

Gray eyes look to Reeves and she signs slowly and very deliberately, forcing her signs to be both complete and concise. The people who raised us saved the world a couple times over. I trust them to know what to do more than I trust in your government and protocols. Toussaint, perhaps by virtue of being a little more familiar to her, is getting conditional trust in this matter. But the overarching entity of 'The Government' is still clearly highly suspect in the young woman's world despite the fact that her brother and many of her "aunts and uncles" are even working for them.

A faint smile quirks Brynn's lips upward at the corners and her gaze flickers back to Toussaint and her signs lapse into less complete forms again. It seems it's going to take a little while to get the hang of this whole no-sensation use of her right side, but there is determination aplenty in that petite frame. I didn't really expect a different answer. We're just evidence. Heaven forbid the targets of the attack should be told things. Although to be fair, they've at least tried to tell them some things. You make sure after Dr. Pride learns everything she can that my brothers get to have ashes. She's not trying to tug on their emotions. Rather, she is genuinely a young woman raised in almost nothing but war and its aftermath. She's being practical. Who knows if they all stroke out again next week?!

Her left hand absently plucks at the blanket while she studies her visitors. Then she asks, If nothing else goes wrong… will it be like Aunt Abby? Getting around, I mean?

Toussaint’s brow creases, and he shakes his head slightly in response to the sentiments as he puts them into spoken words for Reeves’ benefit. When she’s done, Reeves’ expression is soft, sympathetic, and she looks to her partner for a moment, to gauge who speaks first. He’ll have to speak, no matter what, but translating her and putting his own words into sign are two different things.

She apparently is the chosen one, so she talks, quietly, usual crisp accent a little softer. “We understand your frustration, Brynn. It isn’t up to us but others — the DOE, yes, but also SESA and also the coroner’s office. It’s all very complicated.” Too complicated, really, and she sighs in her own frustration. “We are sharing what we know and we are working with Dr. Pride and Mr. Ray. We unfortunately just don’t know as much as any of us would like, and are not as willing to conduct experiments on you as you and your friends are on yourselves.”

Toussaint waits until Reeves finishes, and shakes his head at Brynn’s last question. “Everyone recovers slightly differently, so it’s hard to say. Some might recover quicker than others. We’re not doctors, so your doctors will have to tell you what to expect. People can and do recover from strokes with time — hopefully we can figure out what’s causing them and keep another one from happening.”

Reeves looks over at him, to be sure he can sign for her, then back at Brynn. “Please don’t try to remove anything from your brain like others have. That seems to be more dangerous than what is happening with you, the side effects more drastic.”

Yeeeaaaaahhhh. Brynn's expression definitely takes on the look of no way in hell. Saw what happened to Miss Nicole. Not doing that. Or brain surgery, she assures them both. She doesn't have a death wish and if she were going to be that insane, she's pretty sure one of her brothers would hogtie her while the other sat on her to keep her from escaping and then they'd chuck her in the basement bunker of the Lanthorn. Or send her home to Brian… she's not sure which would be worse.

The information that they are working with Pride and even Mr. Ray — who she doesn't know but knows Joe and Jac have stuff with him, and she knows many of the adults of her life seem to hold the man as someone they'll work with — seems to ease her.

I know you're doing all you can. The acknowledgment is sincere. Just really … Well… scared is the obvious word. And understandably so, given her condition. I really hope you can stop it. She looks much younger than her 21 years right now, a young woman just barely out of adolescence. And she's utterly terrified, despite the brave face she's putting on.

Reeves doesn’t even try to smile this time, but just nods, sadly, and Toussaint reaches out to tap the bed twice down by Brynn’s foot, though without touching her.

He lifts his hands again to sign. “Trust me when I say that we know our best hasn’t been good enough, but it hasn’t been because we are not trying.” He looks to the door, then back to her. “You should rest. This much talking I’m sure is tiring for you.”

Toussaint’s smile returns, though a little less bright than before. “I know it is for me.”

She hadn't wanted to admit it but Toussaint's graceful exit gives her the excuse she needed. Brynn's smile fades, and the exhaustion that seems her constant companion right now is evident in the way she simply nods. Her left hand offers a small wave of farewell to them both with a simple 'thank you' — she does know they're all doing their best. Her gray eyes watch them take their leave before closing to catch one of those naps that just sneak up on her.

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