Kinda Sick


nora2_icon.gif rue2_icon.gif

Scene Title Kinda Sick
Synopsis Rue gives Nora something different to focus on to distract her from her angst. Different, but not necessarily better.
Date May 11, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

The name Bannerman's Castle is as deceiving as its appearance; built stone by stone more than a century ago, the now crumbling fortress, seemingly derelict, was in its glory days used as a military surplus warehouse and still carries the faded words Bannerman's Island Arsenal on one of its walls. Time and neglect have since taken a hefty toll on the property, which belongs to the Maxwell Development Corporation in name, but is in reality much more than a prized relic.

On the outside, ivy creeps up its walls, some stripped down to skeletal supports and others as strong and stalwart as the day they were erected. In the decades that Pollepel Island has been abandoned, nature has reclaimed a large portion of the castle where its roof has caved in, creating courtyards of stone and saplings, thorny bushes and wire fences put up to section the most tangled hollows off. A few have been cleaned up, exposing worn stone floors that serve as gathering places for the people who live inside the ruins, and where the walls are tallest, shielding one open cavern from the mainland's view, there is a metal drum to burn fires in and large chunks of stone arranged around them in a circle.

Inside, Bannerman's Castle has been repurposed by the Ferrymen network as northern stronghold with its own electrical grid powered by basement generators, though most of the castle is lit by gas lanterns and candles to conserve fuel. Tall ceilings reinforced with wooden rafters are a feature in almost every room, including the castle's dining hall and the basement kitchen where food is prepared on outdated stoves and ovens taken from restaurants on Staten Island that were abandoned in the wake of the bomb and later repaired and refinished for installation in the kitchen.

Also in the basement are the fortress' supply rooms, which are kept under lock and key and contain everything from cured meats to additional linens, firearms, ammunition and fuel for the generators that power Bannerman. The living quarters and infirmary are located on the ground floor in the corner of the castle that's most intact, and while the narrow corridors are drafty, a lot of time and effort has gone into insulating the rooms themselves as best they can be insulated with what supplies were available and fit the budged allocated to the network's reconstruction efforts.

The day is picturesque — warm enough for t-shirts and jeans, sunny enough that sitting in black clothing in the sun can even burn a little. The skies are blue but for small and wispy white clouds here and there, the surrounding woods green and lush with recent rain fall.

The lovely day doesn't seem to be helping the mood of one cloudy soul. Scarcely seen since the bombshell dropped by Benji Ryans earlier in the week, Nora Rosenthal — Noa Gitelman — has found a solitary spot in the woods to do whatever she's been doing since that day.

Mostly brooding.

She perches on a flat sun-warmed rock, legs dangling a foot off the ground. Next to her is a radio that she's staring at, but all it seems to emit is static. She reaches over to turn the dial to off with exasperation, then knocks it off the rock onto the moss and brush below with a swat of her hand.

Nora's solitary position isn't nearly as solitary as she may have hoped, for it's being invaded by a well-intentioned girl with dark hair and a heavy orange sweater and skinny jeans tucked into worn-in black boots. There's sweat on her brow that likely has a lot to do with being far too overdressed for the warmth of the day.

Rue Lancaster is trying to jog. Except that she can't will her body to do anything that jars it with impact. Like walking terribly swiftly, let alone at a pace bordering on a proper run. But she can still walk. And she's conscious of how much exercise she gets. She has a figure to think about and all. Realistically, her figure is far higher on her list of priorities than it ought to be. Walking through the woods really should rank far lower.

Tiredly, blue eyes that are dull from a lack of sleep as well as a lack of energy blink blearily at the sound of the radio falling, and then to the source that sent it downward to gravity's mercy. It takes a moment before her friend registers in Rue's addled brain. "Bestie," she greets softly. "Bestie-from-the-future. What the fuck, eh? So, like, am I fuckin' old and shit where you come from? Please tell me I haven't got wrinkles."

A chuckle gives way to a rattling cough which the young woman brings her up arm to block, muffling against the crook of her elbow.

Nora's head is turning as soon as she hears the footfalls on the path, and her brows furrow in a scowl at the sight of company — regardless of who it is. She plants her hands on the "ledge" of the rock, and hops down, grabbing the radio from where its fallen in a quick crouch and then straightens again, all in one fluid motion.

"Leave m-" the rest is interrupted by the cough, and Nora stops only half a step into the stalking away she was planning on doing.

Her head turns back to look at Rue, a brow arching at the heavy sweater — Rue, who wears tank tops when it's 60 degrees out — and then appraises the rest of Rue's appearance. "How long have you been sick?" is demanded of the other, the tone insisting and terse though there's something softer in Nora's brown eyes.

Once she's able to breathe again, Rue shakes her head. "Barbara asked me the same question. It's just a cold. I was too lucky to escape the winter unscathed." Dismissive, flippant. But she shivers exactly once and wraps her arms around herself. "It's not so bad. If I could just get rid of this cough. I'm gonna head back to the mainland tonight so I can get a bunch of Ricola and some Delsym. That'll help."

A weak smile is flashed in Nora's direction, "Sorry. I would be wearing a mask, but… I didn't expect to run into anyone out here." Rue does look genuinely apologetic about it, too. "I won't cough in your direction or breathe on you or anything. I'd feel like such a bitch if I gave you a cold."

Sometimes a cold is just a cold. Nora fiddles with the radio in her hands, looking down. Her cheeks color a bit. If anyone's being bitchy, it's her.

"You should go to the infirmary just in case. They might have something there that'll help without a trip to the mainland. You also shouldn't be jogging if you're sick. Not with a cough, Rue," she says quietly. "I'm not worried about you getting me sick."

The radio is set down on the rock. "I might head back mainland, too." Indecision colors her words. "I'm kinda sick of everyone looking at me weird."

This time it's a shudder, accompanied by a dreadful sound. "That's almost as bad as going to a hospital. And hospitals creep me out. I don't mind helping out in the infirmary or anything, but I sure don't want to check in." Even though it's not like she won't check out.

"And what do you mean looking at you weird? You mean like this?" Rue hooks her fingers at the corners of her mouth and pulls a face, cross-eyed and all. It only last a moment, because she starts laughing at herself, and then she starts coughing again. This time, she doubles over, both hands over her mouth, wheezing pathetically when it's over.

With her head bowed the way it is, her long hair obscuring her face, Nora can't see that Rue stares at her cupped hands as she brings them away from her mouth. That doesn't mean the surreptitious way Rue wipes her palms off on the inner hem of her sweater will go unnoticed, however.

Nora offers a weak smile to the attempt at humor, but then she frowns as soon as the coughing begins and ends with that swipe of hands across sweater hem. Not the daintiest sort herself, she doesn't seem to mind the breach in manners. "That sounds more like bronchitis than a cold," the teen replies, moving to grab her radio and then moving to grab Rue by the upper arm.

"No more jogging. It's not good for your lungs if you're coughing up phlegm." If there was anything worse, she didn't notice, perhaps thanks to the color of the sweater. "You had your vaccine, right?" she asks. "I forget if you're a fugitive or just like to hang out with us here for fun. Can you go to a real doctor on the mainland?"

"It feels more like bronchitis than a cold," Rue admits sullenly. "Don't tell anybody, okay? I don't want anybody fussing over me. The last thing anyone needs around here is to be worrying about another sick person. And Barbara's li'ble to lock me up in the infirmary and that'll just make me feel worse."

When Nora grabs for her arm, Rue whines. "Not so hard, She-Ra." Even though the grip isn't vice-like by any means. "Yeah, I got my vaccine. It's just something run of the mill. If I feel worse tomorrow, I'll make an appointment to see someone." Which means she'll put it off another day or two, at least. Miserably, she sniffles. "This is so unfair. The weather's just getting nice and everything. Stupid cold."

Not wanting to be fussed over is something Nora empathizes and she nods, relaxing her grip but tugging all the same toward the castle. "All right. You're a grown woman so I will not coddle you. Not that I know how. I don't have that gene." The quip is slightly bitter, but spoken with a smirk.

"You should rest, though, in your room, and I'll bring you lunch later, all right? Probably better not to be around a messhall full of people," she adds as she leads the way. At least worrying about Rue gives her a brief respite from her other worries.

"Lies," is a weak rebuttal, but good-natured. "You're trying desperately to coddle me. But it's okay. I'll let you do it, because you won't make a big deal. And I'd do the same for you." Might be a threat.

Rue stares off in the direction of Bannerman Castle and groans. "Why couldn't I have been given a useful ability like instant teleportation? The castle's so far awayyyy." The sigh she heaves still has that wet sound to it, and she holds her breath a moment to deter the urge to cough again.

"Don't let me oversleep and miss the boat, okay? Because if you make me go back to my room, I'm gonna fall asleep. Fair warning." But for all her complaints, she knows it's the smartest thing to do. She just tucks her chin down and watches her feet which feel too heavy to lift very high as she walks.

"Teleportation would be cool," Nora agrees, her own ability feeling useless at the moment. What's the point of a communication power if you can't communicate with the people you care about?

"Better than mine, anyway," she adds. More bitterness.

"I won't let you oversleep." The last is said more softly, a reassuring squeeze given to Rue's arms as they trudge toward the castle slowly.

Rue dips down to nudge the top of her head against her friend's shoulder gently. Which leaves her feeling dizzy, but focusing on the ground beneath her keeps her from weaving or missing a step. "Thanks, Nora."

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