In The Absence Of Faith


brennan_icon.gif colette_icon.gif doyle_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif

Scene Title In the Absence of Faith
Synopsis While Colette Nichols may have survived her rescue from the clutches of Doctor Bella Sheridan, it was not without some measure of casualty.
Date February 15, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

Were it not for the concrete walls and old subway placards, Grand Central Terminal would look like a battlefield triage center. This sprawling subterranean subway system has been turned into a temporary shelter for thirteen recovered victims of Dr.Bella Sheridan's terrifying research and experiments. The main concourse of the terminal remains open, while service and maintenance rooms have been converted to "sick bays" for the rescued victims of her madness.

The sounds of discomfort and in some cases simple pain are given amplification from the acoustics of the Terminal's layout. The sounds are somewhat muted in one of the Transit Authority ticket booths, a windowed room adjacent to the rail platform, one that has been temporarily converted into living quarters for one of the two Ferrymen rescued from the clutches of Dr.Sheridan. Here, an old desk still stacked with some paperwork from the NTA is now also cluttered with a first aid box, a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol, and a few clean washcloths. A mattress and coarse emergency blanket have been laid out on the floor, and a simple chemical lamp sits perched on a rolling chair in the corner of the room.

Here, back against the wall and barely illuminated by the blue glow of the lamp, Colette Nichols-Demsky has refused to move since being retrieved from Bella's company. Jeans a size too large for her hang loose on her frame, an old and oversized gray hooded sweatshirt bearing NYU across the chest covers what little else of her there is to cover. She hasn't done much aside from get out of those institution clothes she was forced into by Bella's research team.

Green eyes are unfocused, distant, and seem to stare thorugh the walls. Pale fingers wind around a plastic squeeze bottle of water, her jaw trembles as she mouths words to herself, dark hair swept down over one eye more so than the other.

Colette had been one of the lucky ones, only injected once with Refrain, but the scar under her chin fromt he neuro-toxin injection and the secret she keeps about what happened that day are more damaging to her mind than a few more doses of Refrain would have been.

Seated there alone in that dark, she's taking care of herself for the time being. There's people who need the doctors more than she does. No medicine is going to cure the damage she's sustained.

There was still a small ache throbbing through her skull, when Kaylee finally woke from where ever the hell she passed out after the raid. It was like once the last of the prisoners had been settled she just… passed out, letting the mental and physical exhaustion from the past several days take over.

While most of the armor is shed, Kaylee still has on the black clothing from the night before. Her blonde hair is a total mess from being under that cap and her bullet-grazed cheek is flecked with browned and dried blood. None of that really bothers her, she doesn't really care. There is only one thought in the telepath's head.

Find Colette. See for herself that the young girl is safe and sound. Eyes squinted against her headache and still hazy with sleep she checks each bed. Finally, frustrated, the telepath actually searches mentally, grimacing against the fresh pain of her headache. She really pushed herself yesterday.

Finally, Colette's first warning would be a mental brush before a familiar figure fills the doorway. There is relief, and so many more emotions in a single asked question, "Colette?" But mostly her voice sounds strained and rough still from the night before.

Looking up to the door, Colette's tiny frame is illuminated in stark contrast by the chemical lamp, green eyes seeming more gray in this light, dark streaks of mascara still staining the front of her cheeks. There's splotches of blood on her face still, around her chin and neck, and smudges of it near her mouth. She hadn't wiped it all off yet, but none of it looks like it's hers. She doesn't say anything to Kaylee, not at first, there's just the look of glassy eyes welling with tears, a tight swallow and then coarse, sharp words.

"What?" Colette's throat tightens when she talks, making the sound strangled in tone. The look in her eyes isn't one Kaylee's familiar with, it's like a wounded animal back into a corner, a mixture of fear and aggression. The blonde can see that water bottle in her hands trembling with the shake of her hands.

Something in the demeanor of the small girl, makes Kaylee unable to move from the door. A part of her wanted to run and hug the small girl when she saw her… but Colette's body language makes her rethink that. The blonde glances over her shoulder at the room behind her, swallowing, before she takes a hesitant step into the room, unblocking the door.

Her mouth opens like she wants to say something, but there is hesitation… something is very off and it's confusing the tall blonde. Her leg bumps against the table, making the stuff on it rattle a bit, blue eyes dropping to it for a moment.

"We… we got everyone…" She offers softly, looking for anything to talk about, to give the girl time. Kaylee watches Colette out of the corner of her eye, "Joseph is safe… " Even if he's bad off.

"Good." That response from Colette is quieter than the first. The teen averts her eyes from Kaylee, staring down at the water bottle in her hands, brows tensed and throat moving up and down from a dry swallow. "Thanks for letting me know…" she adds dismissively, popping up the top of her squeeze bottle and clicking it back down with her thumb anxiously. "I'm fine, go help somebody else…" That much is added in stark clarification, in case the dismissive tone of Colette's voice didn't make it abundantly clear from the beginning that she's done with the conversation.

The chemical lamp flickers once, and Colette finally lifts that bottle up to her lips, popping the top up with her teeth this time, squeezine the plastic with a crinkle and a swish of the water, a dribbled line drooling down her chin before she catches it with her sleeve, shoulders still tense and back rigid as she exhales a shaky breath, staring at the cluttered desk opposite of where she's cornered herself in the room.

The dim light from the hallway outside the room is blocked, then, by the presence of a broad silhouette that steps slowly over the threshold, details filled in by the chemical lamp's flickering light. A pair of mud-spattered sneakers, loose pants, suspenders stretching up over a white button-up shirt, a Yankees jacket stained with dark splotches along the edges and a ball-cap set atop his head.

Crisp paper rustles as Eric Doyle steps inside, raising up a bag in one hand and a drink carrier with two cups in the other. "Hey," he calls out cheerfully, trying a big smile to brush away the dark mood in the room, "I got McDonalds!"

There is a blink from the telepath and then another. Did… she hear that right? Kaylee looks completely stunned, her mind going totally numb at that dismissal. The ache in her skull, just doesn't seem to exist at the moment. She can only stare at the teenage.

Her mouth opens, but there is no sound, her eyes seem to suddenly burn, blurring slightly at the edges. It's a hell of a thing to be rejected by someone you care about. Someone that she has fretted over, worried over.. spent so many sleepless nights over… even crying over.

Her lip quivers a bit and she has to bite it hard when Doyle steps into the room. Gaze cast down to the floor, so that he can't see the tears shining in her eyes and she has to make an effort to clear her throat. "Hey Eric." Despite her best effort the hurt is still there.

"Not hungry." Colette offers to the door, dully, "close the door." Wrapping her arms around herself, she scoots back just a little in the ticket office, narrowing her shoulders so she can squeeze between the stand up filing cabinet and the side of the desk. Her legs are draped across that mattress, bare feet tucked beneath the emergency blanket, bottle of water popping in her hand as she squeezes it between her thumbs, dimpling the hard plastic with each depression.

There's no look spared to Doyle or Kaylee, just the silent cold shoulder of the teen bathed in the glow of the chemical lamp. Somewhere else in the terminal's station, a man lets out a whining scream, and without context it just sounds even more harrowing in the way it echoes over the concrete walls and down the subterranean corridors.

"Uh huh." The chemical light casts Eric's shadow huge across the wall behind him, a vast amorphous shape that swells and swings across the room as he crosses the room. A slight nod to Kaylee, the ghost of a smile reassuring, and then he steps past and hunkers down to a fat man's crouch, setting the bag and drink carrier down on the floor, "Your brain isn't hungry, but your stomach is."

As that harrowing scream echoes through the corridor, his head raises, the smile fading as he listens to it. It stirs memories of worse days, and that shows in haunted eyes as he looks back to Colette, "Eat your burger, kiddo. You're gonna be okay."

The blonde telepath doesn't move from where she is, she ventures to back up the puppeteer. "He's right. You need to eat, Colette." Fingers move to scratch at her cheek, only to wince as she drags nails over the wound on her cheek. Pressing fingers to the graze on her cheek, she watches the young woman.

Her mind struggles to find something to say that would reassure the teenager, but she can't think of anything that wouldn't make the whole thing worse.

Colette's legs shift some, drawing up closer to her chest as the sound of a dry swallow comes next. Setting down the water bottle at her side on the concrete floor beside the mattress, Colette doesn't answer right away. "Not hungry…" is the inevitable reiteration of an answer, and she actually goes as far as to kick the rolled up paper bag aside with one bare foot. "Just— le'mmie alone, a'right?" Her words are mumbled, voice tight at the edges, she's trying to keep a deferential presence up but it's obvious that eight or nine hours since the pickup hasn't been nearly long enough for her to either sleep or mentally parse what happened.

"Do something useful and call my sister," Colette offers in a mumbling tone, "I lost my phone." She doesn't lean out from between the filing cabinet and the desk, trying to keep herself squeezed between those two pieces of furniture.

Eric's gaze drops to the bag, and his shoulders fall in a heavy sigh… and he reaches out to take hold of the bag, picking it back up and reaching in to draw out a cheeseburger. "I don't have one," he admits, unwrapping the burger, the scent of meat and cheese wafting up from it as he takes a bite, chewing and swallowing, "And being alone doesn't solve anything, kiddo. Trust me… I spent years locked up by the same people."

A wan, wistful half-smile, "…being alone never helped."

"You know maybe I don't give a shit what you think right now okay?" Colette sits forward out from behind the filing cabinet, those dark stains from her makeup still smudged all across her face, she hasn't taken any serious time to clean up at all, blood still spattered across her jaw and neck. "Just leave me the fuck alone and take your goddamned fucking," she swats one hand at the McDonald's bag, "ff— fucking food with you!" Green eyes are wide, and this close Doyle can hear her shuddering breathing, see the redness around her eyes, the puffyness and dark circles not a part of her makeup; it all looks worse under the glow of the chemical lamp.

"Just— Just go— go fucking bother someone else! I don't need your— just go fucking— " Colette's lower jaw trembles, and she breathes in a sharp breath, hitching in the back of her throat as she hides one hand in the sleeve of her sweater and covers her eyes with it, hiccuping out the sound of a strangled back sob, "just fucking go away!"

Gaze drops to her feet and Kaylee is at a loss, but one thing she does have is a phone. However… She fishes it out the pocket of the black tactical pants she's wearing. Leaning over Eric's shoulder she tosses the iphone on the mattress at Colette's feet. "There… now you can call your sister." It's almost too hard for her to force the words out. "It'll be better if you talk to her.. she'll probably demand to hear from you anyhow."

Her hand rests on Eric's shoulder giving his fleshy shoulder a squeeze, needing the support, he can feel a slight tremor there. Her chin comes up suddenly, her eyes determined. "No…" The word is said firmly, without hesitation. ".. I'm not letting you throw me out of here." There is a prickling at the back of her eyes, it's hard for her, a part of her wants to run.

"Why would I?" The bag's caught and tugged away by Eric's free hand, getting it out of swatting reach. No point in spoiling perfectly good food! "I don't give a shit about any of those people," he points out with a half-smile, brows raising, "The only one've them I care what happens to is you. So, yeah, you're pretty much stuck with us."

A bite of burger, chew, chew, swallow. Mm. "Sure you're not hungry, kiddo? Heh. You know, I talked to that Doctor— Harve Brennan? You actually talked him into giving me another chance. Came and helped take care of me and everything."

"Yeah, whatever." Colette spits out sharply, brows furrowed and green eyes leveled up angrily at Doyle as she pushes herself up to bare feet, wobbling enough that she needs to brace herself with a clang against the filing cabinet. There's a distinct lack of metal clink from a very important ring when her hand hits the cabinet, and Colette lets out a sharp sound when she notices the bareness of that finger splayed against the front of the cabinet. "I— said leave me alone!" She shoulders past Eric, stpping because Kaylee's in the way.

Jaw trembling, staring up at the blonde, Colette huffs out a half breath and then tries to swallow back an emotional noise in her throat. "Ll— Get— " she sicks in another sharp breath, "get out of my way." Because apparently if the people in the room won't leave, she will.

"No." The telepath whispers, her voice soft. The first tears finds it's way out of the corner of Kaylee's eye, sliding into the brown flecks of dried blood. "No… " She says again with more confidence. "Damn it Colette… I'm sorry…" her eyes burning with those unshed tears. ".. I'm sorry that bitch got to you.. I'm sorry.. so so sorry she took your ring… " She saw it too… and she knows how much it meant to the teen, "And I can't tell you how much it killed me each day that went by and I couldn't get to you."

Taking a deep shaky breath, fingers tighten on the puppeteer's shoulder. "Don't push everyone away, Colette. We're here for you." Kaylee swallows and wipes at her cheek, fingers coming away tinged with blood, but it's ignored. "Don't run from your friends." Only then does she try to reach out and touch the girl's arm.

As he's shoved past, Doyle's shoulders draw up in tension, his hand half-raising as he twists to look after her… and then he sighs, hand falling back to slap against his thigh as he deflates, reaching over to gather up french fries that got scattered from one of Colette's pushes. He remains quiet for the moment, other than to point out, "S'a phone right there, Kaylee just tossed it to you…"

Mention of the ring causes Colette to curl her thumb over the finger it should be on. There's a heated look in her eyes as it's mentioned, as if something incredibly sore had been brought up by that. "Don't," Colette hisses out, shaking her head from side to side as she swallows tightly, staring up at Kaylee with wide eyes. This close, both Kaylee and Doyle can see she's trembling from head to toe; it's not cold down here right now. "Just don't."

Speaking through clenched teeth, Colette stares up at Kaylee with a mixture of fear and something more inscrutable. "I don't need your— I don't need any of you, stop— stop fucking treating me like a kid." Vitriol in her words and in her expression, Colette looks back over her shoulder to Doyle, to the phone, then down to the floor.

"I didn't say I wanted to call her." Clarification made, Colette angles her shoulders sideways and slips a little bit of the ways past Kaylee, trying to force her way out of the room, hastily bumping in to a stack of old NTA papers in a stack, sending them messily to the floor in a fanned out heap. She lets out a strangled noise, pushes a hand up against Kaylee's shoulder and squirms out of the doorway as a ragged near-sob threatens to be heard. Embarrassed and frustrated she stumbles once out of the doorway, covering her face with one sleeve-shrouded hand, bare feet flat against the cold concrete floor.

The fear hurts the most and it shows as she looks down at Colette. "I'm not treating you like a kid…" The words are so soft, eyes close and she steps out of Colette's way. "I'm treating you like my friend.. Some one I care about." Her eyes going to Doyle, though he's a blur in her tear filled sight. I don't know what to do… Eric.

Rejection has never been easy for her, maybe that's why she forced all those men to like her. It hurts so bad. I'm always here Colette. It's all she can think to offer, before turning slightly to let her go.

"Uh uh." A hand presses to the mattress, and Doyle rises up to his feet— his other hand reaching out, fingers dangling, as his power uncoils with a silent twist of command to bring shuffling feet to a pause on the concrete floor. Those heavy-lidded eyes remain settled on the girl as he straightens, and then walks slowly out past Kaylee, briefly clasping her shoulder in passing, and then steps around Colette.

"Now I'm treating you like a kid," he states bluntly, looking to her, "Because when your friends come by to make sure you're okay, when they're afraid for you, and you go running the fuck away whining? Then you're damn straight I'm gonna treat you like a kid. Do you— do you have any idea how hard this is on me?" The last a hiss as he leans in, sweeping his hand down the hallway, "All the memories all this brought back? I went up against— against the thing I was most terrified of, for you, kiddo, and you can't even say hello?"

The moment Colette's legs don't respond, she legs out this faint and weak keening sound like a wounded animal with its leg caught in a bear trap. Her arms wrap around herself and she just tenses up, a hitch of breaht in the back of her throat and both sleeve-covered hands cupping over her mouth so those pathetic noises don't further embarrass her. Swallowing tightly, Colette tries to crouch forward into a little ball, but she only manages to bend at the waist from the control put forth on her motor skills by Doyle's ability.

"Let me go please," she hastily breathes out with a whimpering whine, arms trembling and fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. Her posture has completely changed from something sharp and stern to absolutely helpless and pathetic. "P— Please let me go— please." She's covering her eyes with those dirtied sleeves now, that weak sound in the back of her throat creaking again. "Please." That last bit is just a whispered hiss, and it looks like some emotional light-switch just got flipped in the exact opposite direction.

There is a wavering smile for the big guy as he passes, her lips pressing tight they start to tremble again. She turns to follow, intent on distancing herself from them. When Colette starts making that noise. "Shit… Eric…. let her go.." She moves to grab his arm, her soft voice pain. "Let her go.." More then ever in that moment, Kaylee wishes that Company bitch hadn't gotten away. "That isn't going to work.. I don't know what Sheridan did to her…."

Slipping past Doyle, the young woman, moves to touch Colette's arm. It's a hesitant touch, fingers also move to try and touch her cheek to try and get the suddenly frightened girl's attention. "Colette… It's okay. It's okay." It's okay, Colette… She's trying everything to get the young woman to calm down. Please, I'm here for you.

Teeth clench, looking at Doyle, a flash of something dangerous. There is a fresh cut of pain behind her eyes as she simply tells the puppeteer. I swear.. if that woman gets in my sights.. I'm going to kill her.

That's the one problem you run into when you're dealing with Doyle. When push comes to shove, he instinctively reaches for his ability to try and fix the situation. Sometimes, he just gets frustrated that the people around him don't behave like proper puppets should. Sometimes, he forgets they're people.

It takes the puppeteer a few moments before he realizes just how upset the young woman is… and that half-angry, half-pleading look on his face bleeds into startlement, and then regret and confusion even as he releases her, hand dropping back to his side. "I'm— I'm sorry, I didn't mean… Colette…"

Choking out a frightful sob, Colette flinches back and away from the touch of Kaylee's hand against her cheek— just like in the Nightmare— and she stumbles on finding her legs working, backpedaling with bare, dirty feet over the concrete floor. Her back comes up against the wall of the ticket office shelter beside the open doorway. Her covered hands come up over her face, back slides down the wall and knees bend, and she just breaks down, unable to put up a tough act to try and spare herself what little semblance of dignity she might have had left. The sounds of her sobbing comes muffled through the sleeves, and it's clear she's just trying to cover her face out of shame and embarrassment at not being strong enough to handle this. It's not just a matter of trauma, it's a matter of pride and self-worth.

Curled up into a ball beside the door, the ragged sounds of her crying is exactly what Doyle had heard when he freed her from the back of the van, when she tried to throw handcuffed arms around him and hide herself away against the first familiar face she saw. The girl's not firing on all cylinders; she's sleep-deprived, traumatized, and worst of all sucking down heaping mouthfuls of self-destructive thoughts that rattle around inside of her head like loose garbage at the bottom of a waste basket.

"Col —" Eyes widen, Kaylee takes a step back from Colette, face whitening some. "Leave… leave her alone Doyle. Whatever you do, don't restrain her. " Clearly meaning his ability. The words are barely above a whisper. "Something… happened to her in there. Something really, really bad." Her hand grips Doyle's arm, fingers curling tightly. "It's… it's almost like… " No, that doesn't seem right. Teeth bite into her lip, hard. "Oh god… just… don't touch her."

Glancing around, Kaylee looks for one of the actual medical people wandering the Terminal. Someone to help the young girl. "I can't… even say what it sounds like in her head." Eyes going back to Doyle.

"I didn't, I… I just…" Doyle's gaze flickers between the two, teenager and telepath, as if desperate for them to understand— pulling away after amoment from the grip on his arm, he grimaces, ducking his head as he moves to head back down the hallway in the other direction, shuffling a sudden and hasty retreat.

That'd be Brennan, fresh from a nap, an hour or two sucked up in la-la land. Probably all the sleep he'll get for a long stretch. Michelle was ordered to rest after him, and eventually she'll wake up and Megan will be slated for sleep. Juice in hand, Muffin from someone thoughtful enough to think of the workers down here tending to patients, brows lift as Doyle's beating a hasty retreat from the room that he knows holds Colette. Well what the hell… proceeds the physician as he ambles to a stop and peers into the room with a questioning look and then surprise.

Curled up with her knees to her chest, forehead pressed against them and arms wrapped around herself, the quiet sounds of Colette's emotional breakdown is enough to give some merit to the terrible notions drifting through her mind. A sea of unresolved trauma brough tot the surface thanks to Dr.Sheridan's experiments come alive in her mind, everything she tries to keep bottled up and pinned down and tied up in the back of her subconscious clawing out from beneath the surface like the Boogeyman incarnate. She swallows, tightly, fingers curling into both the fabric of her long sleeves and those too loose jeans.

Back pressed up against the wall beside the door, Colette lets out a hiccuped sob, trying to curl into a small enough ball that no one can see her. She wants to just disappear, but the dull ache of the ability suppressing neuro-toxin flowing through her veins is saving her the dignity of that much of an escape. Even with just one look, it's clear to Brennan the bed he'd arranged for her hasn't been slept in, and she hasn't spent any of those eight hours of wakedness cleaning herself up like she should have. The Isopropyl rubbing alcohol and the washcloths to clean off the blood remain untouched inside the ticket office she'd been assigned as a shelter.

Physically, Colette may have survived the extraction from Bella's captivity, but emotionally there were casualties.

"I know that, Eric." Kaylee calls after his retreating form, only to spot Brennan. She motions to the doctor. "I don't know what to do for her, Dr Brennan.." Kaylee murmurs, stepping further away from the girl. "She… acts like…" She moves to where she can say for only his ears. ".. like she was…." She still can't say it. After a beat, she just simply asks, "Do what you can for her?" The telepath pleads with Brennan, fingers curled tight into fists, trembling slightly. One fist lifts to swipe tears from the bloodied cheek.

"She's one of the best friend I have…" She did say she had a lot vested in the raid. "…but she doesn't want me right now." Kaylee glances at the teenager curled there and does the only thing she can think of… she gives Colette her space and turns to leave.

'She's acting like a kid who got caught and was forcefully held is what" He'd seen it before out in the world that wasn't America. "She's acting like she's had serious trauma." BRennan lifts a hand, grabbing gently onto Kaylee's shoulder so she can't flee. "She's not the only one. Do you see now why the place you gave us wouldn't work? You saved them yeah, but now it's a whole other way of saving. Joan is down the hall, tell her we need some haldol, should be some ready for in case something like this happened." I might need your help too, if your listening, on getting near her to sedate her. He's nice enough to let go of her shoulder, but there's a look given to her that means he expects her to follow through with his request.

But into the ticket room more, getting down to his knee's and making himself smaller. "Hey kid" To Colette obviously. "So. I see, that we have a situation and I don't mean that smart ass from jersey shore. What's the deal?"

Folding her arms over the tops of her legs and burying her face in them, Colette uses the sides of her sleeves to wipe her eyes dry, as if she could somehow hide the fact that she was just bawling her eyes out. Swallowing thickly, the girl looks up through the ragged mess of her bangs to Doctor Brennan, her expression one of overwrought emotional duress. "I'm fine," she dismissively murmurs, hiding her face back down in her arms. "I— I'm fine I just— just leave me alone." She strangles back a swallow, head shaking again. "I just… need some time alone," her voice is a tiny, pathetic thing, but somehow of all people, Doctor Brennan is the one to draw her just a little bit out of her shell. His voice, after all resonates with the only other period in her life as dark as this one.

"M'sorry," Colette says with a swallow, breathily adding an addendum, "I just— I don't want anyone coming to see me right now…" her voice is a weak, vulnerable timbre, "not like this."

"The place was only suppose to be till we figured out the next step, without compromising the network. I'm just glad you got something else." The words hold nothing in them.. no contempt or anything for what happened that day. When he lets go of her shoulder, she just nods stiffly, but what she says next is only for his head. Gentle doctor.. her thoughts are //not like the others…. // Feet scuff slightly on the floor as she turns to look at her friend, curled up in a tight little ball. It's like…. it's like she was… raped. That horrible word is full of disgust, even in the tinny hollow sound of her mental voice.

She then turns and shuffles in the direction indicated by Brennan, her mental reach only goes so far. She's in desperate need of mental rest, but she still does what's asked of her. It's not long before Joan shows up, giving Kaylee an odd look as she passes the telepath, who continues to keep her distance just in case.

He can agree with that. The not wanting anyone to see them in the state they're in. Don't you worry. She's a fighter. Just sometimes… we need to break before we can be rebuilt.

"Does it help to think, that about a couple years ago.. I probably saw you naked? That this is nothing. I mean I thiiiink that there was this birthmark, on the back of your thiiiiigh" There's a simple shrug from the physician and a smile. He's joking, and hoping that by making light of something other than the current situation, it might negate the need for the sedative.

"Now, I'm no expert, I mean, I've never really been in the situation that you've been in and I'm pretty sure, given the state your in, and the state it's put Kaylee in.. not to mention that I have never seen a guy with Doyle's heft run so darn fast, that you are having one really shitty morning.

There's a hunkering down, trying to get a look in her eyes. "Can I take your pulse? Would go a long way towards helping you. If you don't to, that's fine, that's totally fine. I can appreciate not wanting to be touched. But you know me, you and me, we go back and you know that whatever I do, it's to help you. Not whatever that woman did"

There's a rueful laugh from Colette at the joke, she doesn't want to laugh but it bubbles up anyway, mixed with another hiccup of a sob and an awkward tremble of her lips. The girl's face is a messg now from hiding in her sleeves, black makeup smeared across her face mixed with blood stains past her chin. Her jaw trembles, and tear-filled green eyes open to look up at Brennan, offering him a weak and hesitant smile. Swallowing, Colette exhales a breath and just nods her head in silence, unwinding one arm and using shaking fingers to roll back her sleeve, swallowing awkwardly once it's bunched up at her elbow and she can offer out that matchstick thin, bare arm to him.

Wetting her lips, Colette breathes out a sigh that comes with a murmured apology again. "M'sorry…" The words are tiny things, rasped from a throat parched from so much screaming. "M're— " she almost loses her voice when her throat tightens and she sniffles back a bubbled up emotion, "M'really sorry for bothering you…" because she obviously thinks she's not important enough to be tended to.

From her position as a casual eavesdropper, Kaylee's privy to that much. The value of self that has been trod on by her inability — once again — to save anyone or anything that matters to her, and now the mortifying embarrassment of not only being out of control of her own emotions, but needing to be rescued, on top of whatever trauma put her in this condition to begin with.

"Not a bother. I tell you, best birthday ever. Seriously. The worst? I was stuck in the middle of teh god damned Congo's right? We got bot fly's everywhere, Mish is like, having to cut one out of my arm where it's mother laid it as an egg. We got guys with guns stealing our supplies. This is just, this is the Hilton, I'm telling you. I got to perform surgery. You know how long it's been since I did surgery? Too long. It's actually pretty cool. I was getting kinda complacent with just sniffly nosed brats running through my office and their parents who can't tell the difference between a mild case of a cold and something serious. We'll get you back on your two feet, and you and Kaylee can come over and Mish'll have the girls and we'll have a big dinner huh? Celebrate my birthday in style"

Through it all, he's careful with the touching. Nothing fleeting and light, but nothing heavy handed. Just fingers to her wrist and his own wrist tilted so he can see the numbers and do the mental counting/math.

"Gotta tell you kid. You got a knack though, for getting in sticky situations. But you know what? You're here aren't you? You got both your eyes, you got ten fingers, ten toes, and you can sure tug a heart string, lemme tell you. Little skinny though, but you always have needed a bit more meat on you. If Kaylee gets you some soup, think you can eat some for me? Cuase I know i'm gonan be elbow deep in some detoxing pretty soon and if you ate, maybe got some rest, it'd make it a lot easier for me to concentrate on others instead of wondering when your gonna come out of your little cave"

There's a pause as he lets go of her wrist, satisfied. "PLus, hate to tell you this, but you reek kid. The blood smell? It's not your scent. Might want to try something with a more citrus undernote hmm?" coooming back yet?

There's another sniffle, the threat of a laugh, and Colette is slowly shaking her head. Tears still rubble down her cheeks, but her lips keep quivering between a smile and something less. Green eyes divert from Brennan, down to her wrist, then back to the doctor again. When teeth still the motions of her mouth with a little pressure, Colette swallows anxiously, fingers flexing on her hand. "Both eyes…" she echoes back with a slow nod, hesitant smile creeping up again, but it's still not what she used to display, might never be.

Colette's eyes wander over to where Doyle had been with the bag of food earlier, brows furrow and the corners of her lips downturn into a frown. For a moment, her jaw trembles, and Colette offers a look back to Brennan with a bit more sadness than before. "I— I'm… I could eat," she murmurs, "maybe— maybe in a little while. I— I feel sick," it's with a touch of shame she offers that explanation up. "I'm so sorry…" she can't keep her jaw still, it starts trembling again, and Brennan can feel her arm begins to give a little shake. "I— I'm so sorry." She tries to smile, but her lips keep moving up and down into some pained mixture of a smile and a frown.

"I just— " Sucking back a sob, Colette closes her eyes and clenches her free hand tightly closed, growing silent for a moment as she sniffles back another emotional burble. "I'll be okay…" Green eyes tell those words with more untruth than truth behind them. "Sorry you had t'put me back t'gether again…"

From her spot just off to the side, Kaylee's brows lift a bit. Leaning against the wall, she seems hesitant, the rejection and fear were hard enough to first time. She may close down again. She's afraid to say anything out loud, despite the throbbing in her head, she doesn't want Colette aware of her. Joan is behind you if you need her. But she doesn't want Colette to close up again, if she sees the telepath.

Her head is pounding, Kaylee is pushing it too hard, she hasn't rested enough. Fingers pince at her nose testing, relieved the blood hasn't started yet.

"Good. Cause I need you. You started this, you and Kaylee, so it's time to finish it." //Come in/. "You need to pull yourself together because there are ten other people out there who are hooked on stuff pretty nasty and I need every hand that I can get mine on, to help. They're going to need someone to cover them with blankets when they feel hot, and take em off when they feel cold. I know you know how to take a pulse, and hold a bowl while they throw up. It's going to be horrible and dirty, and probably the thing of nightmares" Brennan clasps his hands together, still crouching.

"But I'm pretty sure, that once you actually get some sleep, and some food in you, you're not gonna disappoint me by staying in this room. You're gonna need to help Kaylee, and Me and Mish. Megan too. Think I can trust you not to touch the Refrain either? I don't know whether she hit you with it or not, but, there's folks who are gonna be getting it, because we don't want to deal with weaning them off it yet."

Brennan offers out his hand to the teenager, palm up and unthreatening, the nurse juuust outside the door and waiting in case he needs the drugs. "You survived midtown Colette. Some red haired bitch isn't gonna break you now and you know it. So dig in deep, fine that rod of steel I know's in you that's the source of all your stubborness and you shimmy that sucker up your spine."

"Maybe." Colette whispers to Brennan's request of her aid, a distant look in her eyes as she stares down at her sleeves. "I— My— my old psychiatrist used to— to tell me not to try and take care of somebody, if you can't take care of yourself first." There's a tight swallow and a nervous look up to the doctor. "I— I had a— I've had a lot of problems in my life. She said I used to project… like, problems on people, try'n fix them because I couldn't fix myself. Just…" Colette's head shakes as she trails off. "I don't know— I don't know if I can be responsible for somebody right now."

Resting her forehead down against her arms, Colette exhales a weary sigh. She breathes in another slowly drawn, but shuddering, breath before exhaling it through her nose. "I've got a lot've problems… emotional and— " Colette shakes her head slowly, looking down at the floor. "I dunno if— I can help."

Closing her eyes, for a moment at the command form the doctor, Kaylee concentrates on the painful pulsing in her head. Silently giving herself a peptalk. Finally, her eyes slowly open and there is a weak, Yes, sir. and the young telepath slowly moves into view, a worried glance going to Colette. She only hopes the man knows what he's doing, but she braces herself for the teenagers reaction.

"How about…you start with taking care of Kaylee? Cause she looked dead on her feet when I came in here" A glance back shows that it seems to be true. "Scratch that, She looks like death warmed over. So. Prove to me, that you can take care of yourself, by getting some sleep, and getting something to eat. Let Kaylee curl up on the bed with you, cause I don't have a lot of room down here and that mattress is big enough for the both of you. Mish will bring you some food when you wake up. And we'll go from there? I thinkt hat's pretty reasonable goals yes?" She's yours to care for. Don't molly coddle. Be firm, but not too firm. Get some sleep yourself. You got a long week ahead of you and a lot of bowls to empty.

There's a look to the nurse and then to Colette. "I'm going to give you something to sleep. You need it, I don't think you're going to sleep otherwise. It's just something that is gonna kick start it, that's all. Give your brain enough of a foothold to stop running it's hamster wheels. If you sleep, you sleep, if you stay awake, it'll at least help you stay calm okay? Can I give it to you Colette? It'd make me feel better knowing that you had this. Put my mind at rest so I can focus on the others until you need me again. I'm sure it'd make Kaylee feel better too. I bet your a screamer"

"Nn— No needles…" Colette murmurs quietly, any— anything but— just— God, no needles." Green eyes lift up to stare through the ragged fringe of her bangs, watching Kaylee's entrance through the door with a nervous smile. She sniffles back another quiet sound of emotion, smiling faintly to the young blonde, even if her jaw trembles from the expression of guilt on her face for how she initially reacted to her. Sucking in another breath to try and hold back a sob, Colette's neck muscles tighten, her eyes tear up, and she just pushes up to her feet and runs past Brennan, throwing her arms around Kaylee's shoulders and burying her face into the blonde's neck.

For all that she didn't want to be seen as a child, or as a kid, or as someone's responsibility, Brennan's remarkable bedside manner has managed to pull her even just a little out of that cloud of doubt, and back into the arms of a friend. She doesn't keep her composure, not once she's flung herself at Kaylee. The young girl just hides her face away, breaking down into quiet sobs as her fingers curl into the back of the blonde's shirt, a little weight leaned against the taller woman for support.

In a way, this is exactly what doctors are supposed to do— heal people. While Brennan's a physician tendencies lean towards the healing of people's bodies, there is something to be said for healing their minds as well. While the relationship between both is often times an inscrutable one, you cannot have a healthy one without the other.

From his position on the floor, looking up to Colette now in the arms of a friend, it's clear he's done one of those jobs well enough for now. Whatever damage had been done in Bella's laboratory won't take just a single night to heal from her, but Brennan was right when he said she is a survivor. She survived Midtown, she survived Pinehearst, she survived this. While the wounds left behind may take a long time to heal, while the faith in herself may take a long time to rebuild, the foundation has at least been started again.

And in the absence of faith, there can at least be hope.

And that's not too bad.

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