Just This Once


kain2_icon.gif tess_icon.gif

Scene Title Just This Once
Synopsis Kain visits Tess while she's in the hospital, acting like a father, sort of.
Date November 7, 2010

St. Luke's Hospital

It's her third day in the hospital, and Tess Winslow is going crazy.

She's an active girl, being cooped up in one room isn't normal for her. But the lovely gunshot wound to her stomach does a lot for keeping her from complaining, as do the pain killers she's been given for it. By now she's taken pictures of absolutely everything in her hospital room, and napped more than she has in the past year. She's also watched more TV than she has in the past two years.

And the entire time she glances to the door, hoping for a visitor. Any visitor who isn't wearing hospital white or pastel. And certainly any visitor who doesn't come bearing sharp needles.

Sometimes Kain Zarek comes bearing needles, usually they're full of the kinds of drugs you can't get in a hospital though.

"Knock, knock," comes with a drawl through the door without an actual knock. Striding into the hospital room, Kain Zarek doesn't bring flowers or a get-well card. He just brings his own anxious smile and a sense for pinstriped suits.

"Doc says yer good enough t'get outta' here t'day, unless yer' hankerin' fer another round've Jell-O an' tapioca puddin'." Flashing a smile to cover his awkwardness, Kain walks slowly into the room, glancing towards the windows letting morning light in.

Company! Better yet, dad-shaped company! Tess sits up a little more in the bed and beams at him. "I can? Really? Can I go now? I really hate hospitals. Like, more than I hate anything." A glance towards the door, then to Kain, and she stage whispers, "Except maybe tapioca pudding."

There's a moment's thought, then she grimaces. "Don't suppose they washed my clothes, huh? Since they were covered in that glue stuff. On another note though…" One foot is stuck out from the covers and she wiggles it a little. "My ankle's all better. That's a plus."

Kain diverts from his way to Tess' bedside to the hospital room's closet. Pulling open the sliding door, he looks up and around and then slowly shakes his head. "Figure they must've had t'cut you outta' those clothes, girl."

Sliding the closet shut, Kain walks slowly over to Tess' bedside, hands tucking into the pockets of his slacks. "Didn't tell me that, so guess you get t'stay here a little longer while Ah' get Manny t'go back t'wherever it is you live an' grab you some cover-up for your unmentionables."

While the big, bald bodyguard isn't in the room, it doesn't mean he's very far from Kain's side. After what happened the other night with Walsh, Manny has no intentions of taking another day off any time soon.

The thought of staying in the hospital longer is clearly not appealing to Tess, but she nods. "Yeah…That works. I'm stayin' at the Speakeasy, clothes are in the suitcase I left on the bed. Sure Manny won't mind though? He didn't really strike me as errand boy. More hulkin' scary guy to bash some heads in."

She sits up a little more, cautiously still, since she's getting used to an injury that doesn't involve pulled muscles or sprained joints. "Thanks for comin' too. Hospitals are bad enough. Hospitals with nothin' but doctors are worse. I know every girl wants to marry a rich doctor, but not me."

"Manny's what y'might call a gangster with a heart a'gold. Feller's done more errands for people that needed his help than Ah'd ever profess t'thinkin' about." Lifting up one hand, Kain raises a single finger to Tess to indicate that he'll be right back, before slipping away from her bedside and pening the door to the hall. Leaning out, he speaks in quiet tone to someone — presumably Manny — waiting outside, then leans back in to the room and shuts the door.

Looking back over his shoulder to Tess, Kain slowly makes his way back to her bedside, hands tucked back into the pockets of his slacks. "Had me a talk with the DoEA yesterday. They're gonna' let'cha off on a technicality f'not rightly knowin' what you were capable of when y'registered. They're updatin' yer entry, gonna' need you t'show up at a police station within a week for a demonstration, jus' so they have stuff on record."

Kain's blue eyes track up and down Tess' prone form laid up in the bed, as he moves to the chair at her bedside, settling down in and folding his hands in his lap. "Things ain't th' way they should be, Kid. Ah'… wasn't lyin' when Ah' said th' world's goin' t'hell in a hand basket. Got a lotta' people tellin' me that t'morrow might be th' end'a th' world. Can't say I don't believe them…"

"Let me off on a technicality? I had no idea that I wasn't really an empath," Tess says, grimacing faintly, but she does squirm a little. Part of her had to know, she just suppressed it. "I'll show up though, no biggie. I registered before, no problem doin' it again. Though it is a little embarrassin' to have been so damn wrong."

She's quiet for a moment, before her head tilts. "The world sucks, I know that. Just 'cause I'm all optimistic doesn't mean I don't see what's right in front of me. And even if I didn't, well, big eye opener. Hope the world doesn't end tomorrow though." And from the look she gives him, it's clear why she hopes that. Her father's actually been fatherly. It's a big fucking deal for her.

"What's supposed to happen tomorrow though that's so bad? And…you're not gonna just…we're not gonna go back to how it was a week ago, are we? I get why you acted the way you did, now, but I like you better like this."

"You need t'stop livin' in a bubble," Kain admits with a dismissive wave of one hand to Tess. "S'all over th' news. People'r sayin' that the riots that people saw happenin' in that big mass hallucination'r gonna come t'pass. Everyone's on edge, government's gettin' ready t'take care'f things if it gets outta' hand. Ah' don't plan on goin' outside…"

Leaning back into the chair, Kain breathes out a deep sigh and rubs his hands over his face. "You need t'get outta' th' Speakeasy. Heard stories 'bout fires in Queens in the visions, that ain't all that far from Red Hook. You can stay at mah' place fer a little while, least 'till th' world's done endin'…"

Kain looks down to his lap, brows furrowed. "Ah'm gonna' be at the office, we got some stuff happenin' that day, business." Kain's blue eyes flick back up to Tess, then down to his lap. "As fer' what things go back to, Ah' dunno kid. Ah' don't wanna be nobody's father. Ah' didn't know yer mum all that well, an' like y'saw…" Blue eyes lift back up to his daughter. "Mah life ain't 'xactly safe t'be round."

"Oh, that, yeah," Tess murmurs, nodding. Then she frowns a little. "I'd love to get outta the Speakeasy. Can't afford it." There's a pause, then she nods again. "I could stay at your place for a bit though." She smiles a bit sheepishly. "You'll have to tell the people downstairs not to kick me out though. The guy down there really didn't like me."

She reaches for her water, sipping at it before she continues. "I know you didn't, don't, wanna be a dad. And I remember you said you only knew mom for a weekend. But you are still my dad. And…well, I'm not a kid. I don't expect kid type stuff. Though I could really go for some ice cream right now." It's the sugar in it, really. "I just wanna know you, that's all. And I want you to know me."

There's another long pause, and when she continues, it's more hesitant. "Doesn't seem like you don't care 'bout me at all, either. You did try to protect me the other day. You stayed with me. You're here now. An' I know you're not the safest guy in the world, but…Way I figure it, I've only got one life. I can either spend it in fear, in which case I do nothin' and waste my life, or I can live it to the fullest. Really live. Part a' that means knowin' you."

"Ah' got a soft spot for kids," which is to say, you're still a kid, damnit. "We'll see if there's a world left t'figure things out in after t'morrow. But… y'can stay at mah place till' y'get back on yer feet. Just make sure t'stay away from people Ah' work with— which includes Richard Cardinal." Kain's dark brows go up slowly. "Especially Richard Cardinal."

Breathing in deeply and then exhaling a sigh, Kain leans forward and folds his hands together. "Ah' ain't never really had parents…" he suddenly admits, "Mah daddy wasn't really no daddy t'me, 'cept for when he was tannin' mah hide when he was drunk off'a his ass. Your gramma died when Ah' was born. So…"


Kain goes quiet.

Mention of Cardinal has Tess blinking, then frowning. "Why especially Richard? He's nice. Fun. He took me home after John ditched me at that party of d'Sarthe's. Thought you'n him were friends. Even if you aren't romantically involved like John tried to tell me. Which, by the way I totally believe now."

Then she's falling silent, then offering a hand out to him. "You don't gotta talk about it. I read 'bout your mom. And…your dad." And the look on her face is entirely too knowing. It's clear she knows exactly who the blonde and the bald men were. But rather than dwelling on that, she changes the subject. "Would it be alright if I got one of my friends to come'n visit at your place? She's not dangerous or anything. Name's Quinn."

"Cardinal's got himself a spot'a trouble. Guns pointed at him from all sorts'a ways. He's dangerous an' Ah' think he's lost his goddamned mind. Use dt'think he had a plan, now Ah'm pretty sure he's jus' makin' up shit as he goes along. Can't have a man like that in charge a'things, can't let someone worse than Danny take over everything…"

Kain levers himself up out of his chair with a tired grunt. "Just… stay 'way from ol' Dickie. Ah' won't be goin' back t'mah apartment, but Ah've already cleaned up th' mess. Ain't no sofa yet, but everythin' else is good. You'n your friend can hang out there's long as you need. Ah' told security not t'hassle ya."

Kain's blue eyes flick over to Tess as he circles the foot of her bed. "Ah' gotta head down t'th' office, get some shit lined up. But when Manny gets back with yer clothes, he'll take you back t'mah place." Then, with a lopsided smile, Kain adds:

"Don't drink me dry."

"Dangerous? Damn. He was cute too," Tess grumbles, softly. "But okay. Just…you don't gotta avoid your place while I'm there. Honest." But then she grins. "I make no promises about your alcohol though." She sobers a bit, grin downshifting to a smile. "But thanks. For everything. Daddy."

Hesitating at the hospital door, Kain's blue eyes narrow as he looks over his shoulder, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown. He doesn't say anything, even if his look communicates his displeasure more than enough. For today, and after all that Tess has had to go through in the days prior, Kain lets her get away with calling him Daddy just this once.

Just this once and never again.

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