Last Moments


vf_aislinn_icon.gif vf_bowie_icon.gif vf_doyle_icon.gif vf_elspeth_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon.gif

Scene Title Last Moments
Synopsis A different sort of tragedy unfolds in the Hub Quarantine Room.
Date January 13, 2012

The Hub: Quarantine

The quarentine room is quiet, finally. Not for lack of occupants, though. One still sits, quietly on the floor, arms wrapped around knees pulled up to her chest. Aislinn Graves would like to be asleep. Desperately so. But, her eyes are wide and trembling. Too exhausted to sleep. Too nauseous to lay down. The memory of Ruiz and Lynette, too fresh in her mind even now. She shivers as she lays her forehead against her knees, lacking the energy to do much else.

And yet, she can't bring herself to rest.

So she sits, silent, sweating, and chilled. And waits.

On the other side of the airlock that quarantines the others and separates the outside world from the carefully contained environment of the Hub, a woman races down the halls. Short hair and a faded blue sweater and jeans blur down hallways as Elspeth Graves makes her way towards the airlock. She had been unable to sleep herself, even before the teams that went out to face the Vanguard came back.

Missing several people. But- but Aislinn was still with them, she'd been told. And she knew that she'd have to wait for the quarantine to lift. That'd been just about a day ago, and she still hadn't slept. But that didn't matter now. She just wanted to go greet her sister. She wants to be there, and time is almost up.

The hours tick away. Ruiz had left earlier, to take Lynette outside, to spare the others. After all, he was in charge of disposal. That often meant bodies. He didn't return for a few hours, and when he did he was dirty. Not with soot from a fire, but actual dirt. Almost no one got buried anymore, but it seems he took the time to find a place to bury his wife. After that, he washed up in the area they have designated for it and joined the others. He'd taken his injection, so odds were on his side, but he might have to stay in the quarantine a little longer than them.

He doesn't seem to care. He barely even seems to be looking at anything or anyone.

"Twenty four hours is up. Step away from the door," comes the voice of Eric Doyle, one of the men who'd long been in charge of security within the Hub. Woods and him and not exactly gotten along, but the large man proved useful. Elspeth can see he's taking no chances, though, due to the fact he's wearing a suit.

The door starts to screech, the sound of metal on on metal, opening, him and a few others stepping out, but he's the first one. He looks around the room, counting, then focuses his eyes on the two medics who had been out. The third one, Dr. Goode, stands behind him, looking anxious and ready. Even under her suit. "You know the drills. We have to check for symptoms. One at a time."

There were some quick words passed between Doyle and another man, then he nods and waves Kaylee through first. She barely even gets a glance over, even with her wounds, that had been dressed. "Your father said he would see you, go," he gestures, before continuing on, clearing them one and a time.

Bowie sits against a wall, hair fallen from it's braid down his back and expression haunted. Nothing about today is right. None of it will ever be forgotten. His hands shake. But his gaze— is on Aislinn.

He's a medic. He knows what the sweating means. The chills. He's been watching her since the symptoms started to show. Silently. There was no need to explain it to any of them.

The voice gets his attention, but Bowie doesn't get up to get himself cleared. He waits, like he wants to go last for some reason. Of course, the reason is twofold. One— clearly sick, the other— clearly broken.

"Eric," he says to get the man's attention. Once he has it, there's a nod toward Aislinn.

AIslinn hasn't looked up in sometime. At Bowie, at Doyle, at anyone. But it's Bowie that finally draws her attention, looking up with a shaky sigh when she hears him speak up, get Eric's attention. Her gaze is slightly uneven, more for being tired than from anything else. She looks up to Eric, and then over to Bowie, confused.

Slowly, she rises up to her feet with a groan. "Not like you t' be so eager t' go last, Lin," she offers quietly, a forced grin on her face as she begins to trudge her way over to Doyle. Feet draw, joints stiff and achy as she crosses the distance. There's a hesitance with each step though.

As if deep down, she knows what she doesn't want to admit.

Being forced to put on a suit is an absolute pain. Elspeth hates them so much. She hates how they look, how they feel, how they smell, what they represent. But still, when asked to don one, she doesn't hesitate to comply. It takes time, but it creates a sense of timing when she can finally make her way to the airlock doors, where she finds Eric Doyle waiting at the door.

Her hands clasp in front of her, and she waits impatiently. Her feelings are clear, worn across her face as she watches for Aislinn.

"In one piece, Bowie? Good— it looks like Kaylee might need you." Eric might have a small protective streak for some people within the Hub, but most the time he seems ready to do what needs to be done. Including exerting his ability when required to control the crowds. He glances past the former military nurse to look at Aislinn and then his expression hardens. He'd been waving people through after a quick check. No sign of fever, no coughing. They got their band to clear them and sent onward. Even the President and his wife, who had seemed rather shaken and like she hadn't wanted to leave.

Ruiz doesn't move from where he sits, leaning his head back against the steel walls. He's humming a soft song under his breath. Most no one is in a hurry to get him to move. He doesn't appear sick, though.

Not like Aislinn. "Stay right there, Graves."

For the moment it might be ambiguous which one he's talking to, but he hasn't noticed the one in the suit yet.

The fact that she looks confused brings Bowie's blank expression into a frown and he looks away from her. "Yeah, well," he says to her tease, "I'm feeling gentlemanly today." His joke falls flat. Because that's how he feels. Flat. Hollowed out. But his gaze falls upon Elspeth coming up on the doors, too.

"I'll see Kaylee when we're done here," he says. Not when I'm cleared, not right away. "Elspeth. You stay where you are, too." He doesn't spare a glance for Ruiz just now. Not because he doesn't care, but because he's bracing for a different tragedy to unfold here.

In any other situation, it might be humorous what plays out. Both Aislinn and Elspeth's brows stitch together in unison, but stopping in their tracks at about the same time. Aislinn looks to Doyle, while Elspeth looks to Bowie, and both tremble. "W-what?" is a shaky word spoken by both at the same time, prompting them to look towards the other.

"But- I have a suit," Elspeth pouts, standing by the door, just behind Doyle. She doesn't see any deeper meaning in the request to stay back - just caution. Which, really, is the whole reason she's decked out in this thing.

"Bowie…" is a quiet protest from Aislinn, though she doesn't look at him. Instead, her eyes are on Elspeth. "Ellie… what're y' doing here?" Her eyes look off to the side, the pace of her breathing quickening just enough to be noticable.

"What-" Elspeth cocks her head slightly to the side. "I- wanted to be here when you got back, Ash." An innocuous enough desire.

So many got waved through that they had had hope that they'd all managed to come away with just the dead. Not the walking dead. Doyle frowns behind his face mask, eyes shifting to the sister with a shake of his head. No, she should not be here. "Ray's orders. Anyone who shows signs has to be put out. You know this." He doesn't like the orders anymore than they do, but it kept them alive. And they had just lost a dozen, at least.

He raises his hand, as if waiting for the situation to escalate. "Put her outside."

They won't all choose their exile like Thompson had, they won't all turn around and take it. And almost none of them had family who had to be there to watch. "You both know the rules."

They all do.

As he starts to realize what's happening, Ruiz looks up from where he's quietly humming. Fly Me To The Moon. The same song he'd sung, briefly. While he watched his wife die.

"Elspeth, please." Bowie pleads with her, almost like he doesn't want her to hear what's coming. "Dr. Goode. Please." He, too, expects things to go sideways. He knows he wouldn't take it if he was in Elspeth's place. None of them would.

He turns back to Aislinn, though, his expression crumbling. She's a colleague. A friend. "I'm sorry," he says to her, quietly. He doesn't like the orders any more than anyone else, but he knows it's important for their survival. A survival that they just fought and died for. He steps over to put a hand on her arm. "I'm so sorry."

Aislinn swallows, an action that causes her to cough. She's a nurse, so she's kind enough to at least turn away from the others when she does. But when she looks back up it's not at Bowie. She was scared of this, but she understood the possibility. She hadn't wanted to admit but when her shakes had started, she had started to wonder. Was it just fatigue? It seemed likely for the first few hours. Even the fever seemed like a likely culprit of exhaustion. But the chills, the shaking mixed with it? She purses her lips, trying to find words and failing. She'd hoped she'd get one thing, one thing.

But not like this.

She stares at Elspeth instead, her sister so decked out in protective gear against the Virus… and now, still trapped behind Eric Doyle. She trembles. Steve had always asked her not to do these things. And it had finally caught up with her.

But it takes a few moments to really process for Elspeth. "Bullshit!" she suddenly yells, trying futilly to push past Eric. "She's just tired, you idiots went out an' blew up the Vanguard, for Christsake!" She looks askance to Aislinn, expectant, trying to offer a hand out her sister.

"Aislinn! Come on, tell them you're just tired! God, y' look like y' haven't slept in days! Please!" she pleads, a tear falling down her cheek.

At the sounds, Ruiz presses his hand against his chest. Not from pain, but to feel the cool ring that he put around his neck against his chest. Lynette's ring. The one he'd taken off her after he buried her. He could wear it, if he really wanted to, but he wanted to keep it close to his heart. As well as the folded up drawing of him and her and a house. Somewhere. Somewhen. But not here. Not then.

"Elspeth…" he starts to say, but the words don't carry far, and Doyle moves to put himself between her and the door.

If nothing else, Doyle had always been a good physical barrier, even without his ability to control someone who got out of control. It had been one of the main reasons Edward had invited him in. If needed, he could make someone do what needed to be done. He won't pull a gun, but he never has needed to. "We let her in, she could infect everyone. Your sister's already dead."

Bowie winces at the words from Doyle, but he's not wrong. Doyle has her, so Bowie turns his attention to Aislinn. He tries to ignore her trembling. His hands take a firmer hold of her as she starts to move them toward the door. The door out. "Aislinn, we're going to the door," he explains to her, not sure how far gone she is or isn't. But also to make this a fact. We are going to the door. "We'll see what supplies we can spare. I'll leave them outside for you." He shouldn't. She is already dead. But. He will anyway.

A glance is sent to Ruiz. Normally, Bowie would have the utmost faith in the man. Or would have already ushered him along. Neither of those things are true this time. Having just suffered a loss of his own, he's something of an unknown quantity.

"Fuck you, Eric." The words are practically spat out by Aislinn, and any sense of being collected, of acceptance crumbles. "I'm right here!" She chokes back a cough, stumbling to the side a bit, enough that Bowie can take ahold of her without much recourse.

"W-w-wha-" Elspeth's eyes, wide, she tries to move to the other side of Eric Doyle, but finds herself unable to do so. Inside her suit, tears stream down her cheeks, trying to stand tall and see over his shoulder, at the very least. "Ash- please!"

The other sister sister swallows, trying to pull herself free from Bowie's grip. "Lin, w-what the-" She looks at him with water welling in the corners of her eyes - a sight before unseen. Elspeth is the crier of the two, not Aislinn. "What th' hell, man?" she says weakly, pulling back on him. "I just- I just want t' say-" she looks back at Elspeth as she looks over Doylse's shoulder, helplessness in her eyes.

"I just want want t' say goodbye!" she wails. She's having none of this "be lead out of the room" nonsense. Not yet.

At the word goodbye, Elspeth breaks into sobs, again trying to reach a hand out to her sister. She can't manage any other words through her choked out sob, fingers flexing as she tries her hardest to reach sister, but to no avail - not that she could have even if Eric wasn't blocking her way.

From the look that crosses Eric Doyle's face, he has doubts that she's just going to say goodbye. He keeps his hand up, tries to keep some space between them, until they all hear a tight voice from the wall. "Let her say goodbye."

Ruiz didn't tend to speak out often, but this was something he could understand. A sister. One who was dead, is dead, will be dead. All at once. All because of a virus. Would he have tried to say goodbye to Dess, if he'd had the chance? He knows he would have.

Just like he ran around from the other door out all the way here when he saw his wife had not been among those in the quarantine room.

"Let her say goodbye."

He repeats, still not moving. Then Doyle's hand falls. "Keep your suit on, or you'll spend a day in here," he warns, moving aside so that she can get in there. "Get inside, Bowie. You too, Ruiz. Ray wants a meeting." To talk about this mess that had been their mission, no doubt. "You have a few minutes. Then she's getting put outside."
It's pretty clear that Bowie doesn't think this is a good idea. His grip tightens on Aislinn, but it's only for a moment. Because the voice from the wall surprises him. So Aislinn pulls free and he doesn't try to grab her again.

He can understand wanting to say goodbye. He can also understand the lengths people go to for the people they love. The lengths they go to when they're in pain. He casts a glance over to Elspeth when Doyle gives his warning. His expression— doubtful. But he moves to the door, the inside one, when Doyle tells him to. There's doubt on his face then, too, like he assumes the meeting is an excuse to get the extra bodies out of the room.

But he goes.

As Doyle steps away, Elspeth practically flies into quarantine room, past Bowie, past Ruiz, past the mess of red curls that is fleeting in the corner of her vision. She has no intention of taking her suit off, but that doesn't mean she wastes any time in closing the distance between her and her sister, embracing her as tightly as she can, practically wailing the entire time.

Aislinn staggers back a bit as her sister collides into her, unable to keep her own tears back any longer. An appreciative look is given to Ruiz, to Bowie, even to Doyle - it was ultimately his decision to let this happen, after all.

"Sshh," Aislinn says quietly, a hand placed against the back of her sister's covered head. "We both knew t-this could h-happen," she says quietly, shuddering out a sigh. She tries to turn her coughs away from her sister - the suits are precious, better to avoid contaminating them as much as possible. She tries to hold herself back, only partially successful, as she finds her next words trapped in her throat, a sob escaping instead.

"You're so stupid!" Elspeth wails. "I asked ya' not t' go! Steve asked you not to go! Everyone asked y' not to go!" But Elspeth's request is clearly the only one that matters. "How could you?" she chokes out, words marred by quiet sobs that quickly climb in volume, drowning out the following repetition, "how could you?"

Aislinn tenses. She knows it's not meant how it sounds, but it still stings. She tightens her grip on Elspeth as best as she can. "Had t', sis. Couldn't… not." Her entire frame shakes. She's not about to tell Elspeth that they didn't actually get much out of it besides some dead Vanguard assholes. The close contact makes she slight burns she has ache, but she puses through it. "It was going t' happen, someday," is her quiet assurance.

"Bullshit," is Elspeth sobbed reply, but it lacks any sort of bite. "We could've waited.. Could've left!" Even with her suit on, Elspeth buries her head against her sister's shoulder. "I can't- I can't do this, Ash. I can't do it without you."

Aislinn can practically feel her heart break at those words, leaning back so that she can place her hand on Elspeth cheek, even with the suit in the way. "Shut up. D-Don't- Don't talk l-like that. I know you, sis. You're s-stronger than t-t-that…"

"Take me with you."

The sound of a hand smacking gently against plastic echoes for a moment.

"Don't be fuckin' stupid, Ellie."

Elspeth wails, pulling her sister back close. "I love you, Ash."

"I love you too, Ellie."

But no more words. Quiet crying, tight embrace. Until neither of them can manage either anymore.

Until finally, Aislinn swallows back a sob and leans back. "Goodbye, Ellie."

With a sigh, Ruiz stands from his position on the floor. He needs to talk to Edward. Needs to— do something. Because he has a promise to keep. And he can't do it if they are all stuck in the Hub. "Thank you, Aislinn," he responds after a moment as he walks by. For little things. For yelling at him. For listening to his heart. For— doing what needed to be done. Even if they failed. He'd seen the prisoner. They had brought something back.

Just not what they wanted.

With a nod, he passes by the door, getting his bracelet and into the Hub, leaving the sisters alone.

For their last few moments together.

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