Losing Faith, Gaining Hope


brennan2_icon.gif delia_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Losing Faith, Gaining Hope
Synopsis The loss of one of the most important people in her life has one woman giving up her beliefs in exchange for more mortal help for the rest of her family.
Date July 17, 2011

Jaiden's Basement Apartment

The television is quiet enough that the labored breathing of three people can be heard above it. It's been on non-stop, serving as background noise to keep anyone who happens to be the only one awake company, which is often the case as the three Martells slip in and out of slumber and something deeper, something more like unconsciousness.

The two children lie curled together on one cot, now pulled out to the living room, while their mother rests, eyes closed, on the sofa. Mitch is sleeping with his head on Jamie's shoulder, his fingers coiled in his brother's collar, but Jamie's eyes are on the television watching Aladdin. The funny dialogue gets not even the smallest smile from the little boy. It's simply something to watch, to pass the time, to keep away the thoughts about their illness. About their father. About how they might be next.

After moving the body, Delia made sure the rest of the little family was settled before cleaning the rest of the apartment. Bleach has replaced the iron scent of blood and stale smell of death, something she can't handle regularly. She can't let the doctor see the apartment without giving it a good scrubdown. He should be by any moment now, which is the reason for her hurry.

The redhead's features are neutral, only a little crinkle at the corner of her eyes is given to Jamie each time she passes by. It's a sincere smile but she's not callous enough to feign happiness when his little heart is so weighted by grief.

"Jamie, do you want a popscicle or anything?" The gentle question has the alternative motive of trying to keep his fever down. Ice pops are king.

The first warning, if they can hear over the TV and breathing and the din of the world around them, is the quiet purr of a perfectly running vehicle. A few minutes later, it's a rap of knuckles on the back of some surface and the good Dr. Brennan's voice calling out. "Delia?" It reverberates and bounces as the physician makes his way in like he was told to, playing by the rules of propriety being followed, calling out till someone, anyone answers. Sneakers, short sleeved shirt that shows tattoo's hedging out from under the hems and muscle normally hidden by button downs and physicians coats. Jeans, old fashioned leather Drs. Bag, there's still silver at his temples, well maintained scruff at his jaw and lines at the corner of his eyes that dictate restless nights and little sleep.

Blue and red eyes lift up at Delia's words, and then the sweat-damp head shakes solemnly. Jamie squirms a little under the hot furnace that is Mitch curled against him, but he's a good enough big brother not to shove the younger one away.

"Is that the doctor?" Ann asks, eyes opening as she lifts her head. "I … I was thinking as long as he's here…" she whispers, her voice hoarse from coughing and crying. She grimaces as she looks at her boys on the other cot, then up to Delia.

Her eyes fill with tears, and her hand reaches for the gold cross at her throat, curling around it gently for a moment. Then, with a sudden flash, she jerks it off, tossing it onto the table in front of her.

It's a dramatic gesture, but it's a dramatic moment, to shake off what you thought you believed in, all in an instant.

A gloved hand runs over the little boy's sweaty brow before she glances toward the stairs. Rising slowly as to not jostle the smaller boy from his slumber, Delia makes her way toward the entrance to point the way to spare gloves and masks. "Doctor Brennan, thanks for coming." Her voice is quiet, much lower than the doctor's call.

After pausing a moment to let him either gather the items and put them on or decline them, she leads the way toward the sofa and the reclining woman. "There's uhm… This is Mrs. Martell, Ann." A worried look is given toward the discarded religious item and she nods toward the woman in silent acceptance before she continues. "On the cot is Jamie and Mitch."

"Hey Delia" He has his own gloves, mask for now declined. Brennan stops at the threshold, to look over the trio of sick indivduals, having caught the tail end of the tossing of religious artifacts which makes him tighten his lips a fraction. "Mrs. Martell, I'm Dr. Brennan, friend of Delia's. Call me Harve though" His steps are sure, striding over to offer his hand to the person obviously the mother of the brood, grip firm, polite, even friendly. "Looks like the three of you are going through a rough time."

He commiserates with the woman. "We just put my eldest in the hospital, she came down with it. Marlena. She's about.. Jamie's age I'd put her" It. That thing that's going around. Harve looks over his shoulder to Delia, raised brows. The fuck are they doing here in what seems to be an abandoned… garage? No verbalization, just him looking back to the mother. "How have you three been faring through it so far?"

The moving of Mr. Martell's body took a bit longer than Jaiden wanted, with Delia taking his feet and Jaiden taking his head and upper body, they managed to get him upstairs and locked into one of the heavy steel chests used for storing tools on various job sites. Truth be told, if it had a pillow and a blanket, it could be used as a coffin, so technically, Jaiden was telling the truth about not having one. Still, a little red BIOHAZARD sticker was placed prominently on the outside, and each edge was covered with duct tape to keep it sealed as best they could from anything escaping too easily. And then back into the basement, to continue their duties, Delia her caretaking, Jaiden his packing.

At the sound of the motor, Jaiden freezes. At the sound of the voice, Jaiden draws his gun and goes to hide in the back of the safehouse, behind the sliding bookcase, watching through a cleverly adjusted set of mirrors that lets him look out from behind a picture frame to see who exactly is outside. Boy ain't coming out until Delia says it's okay.

The woman offers a weary and sad smile to Dr. Brennan. "Ann," she says in her raspy voice, sitting up a little straighter now that there is another visitor in the apartment.

She nods, looking sadly at her two young children, then to the cross. Jaime is staring at it, then peering up at Brennan curiously. His cheeks are still tear-stained, though there are no tears just now.

"We… our neighbors set fire to our house, and Miss Delia saved us, brought us here, because our f-faith…" she begins to explain before a sob breaks up her words, and she shakes her head. "My husband died… he might have lived if we went to a hospital. I'm not… I'm not going to let them die, too."

The woman has reached her breaking point; until now she has managed to keep herself from crumbling in front of Mitch and Jamie. "It was foolish and wrong of us," she adds in a whisper.

Lowering her head at Ann's story, Delia turns a little toward the doctor and shrugs one shoulder. Unable to keep her own eyes from watering, she raises her arm to wipe them on her sleeve and nods. "I did the best I could, Doctor Brennan, I was trying…" she manages in a small voice, knowing that whatever she did, she just didn't do enough.

She knows she should have called him, or anyone, sooner.

Taking a deep but shaky breath to control herself, she moves away to beside the bookcase and knocks on it quietly. "It's alright, Doctor Brennan's a friend." It's all the consolation she can give the hidden man but she doesn't use his name, just in case. She can't give any guarantees that he won't report her except that he gave the message through Nick.

"Ahh, I'd heard about that. From someone else I know" The Doctor isn't long in starting to move in to the couch and sitting area where the small group has made their current sick bed, his hand closing on the cross - his bag set down first - and taking Ann's hand, places it in her hand, closing fingers over it.

"Maybe, he might have. The only thing that they can do at a hospital, for this particular illness is make you comfortable, try the ease the symptoms and help you ride through it till your body can fight it off. Even for those who become severe enough that death take them, there's not much that they can do but keep them comfortable Ann." grim a thought as that is, that for this particular illness, there really is little to be done medically.

A sympathetic smile for Delia, he waves off her words. "Better to have you Delia, than no one. I'm sure you've done everything you can and you'd do it all over again" Short of trying to get them to the hospital. But religious belief. "We all do the best that we can. Was I called here to look at people?" He assumes that's why he was called here. "Would you object Ann, if I just took a look. No other interventions unless you agree, I promise"

The knock, the terminology of 'Doctor,' and the lack of his name puts Jaiden a bit more at ease. The bookcase, spring loaded, clicks a few times before sliding on well-oiled, if a bit dusty, hinges, the man standing there in the clothes he came in not a few hours prior. The gun that was in his hand has returned to it's holster, and a new pair of nitrile gloves has been pulled over his hands, along with a new surgical mask. "Afternoon, Doc." Jaiden says softly as he emerges from the safe house in the back. "If'n you don't got something in your bag, I might have it back there. Power never went, and stocks are still cold, so…." He shrugs, looking down at the discarded cross on the table for a moment with a motion of his eyes, not turning his head or his body. "Take what you can use. Please."

"Power went out and I don't know if the genny kicked on in time to keep whatever needed to be kept cool cool, but there should be something you can use back in there….." He shrugs, looking down at the discarded cross with a flick of his eyes, not turning his head or body. "Take anything you can use. Please."

It's not like he's coming back here after today.

The mother turns to smile at Delia, nodding in agreement to Brennan's words. "You did what you could. Like he said, a hospital probably couldn't stop it from happening, but just in case…"

Tired eyes sweep back to the children, and she swallows, wiping her eyes with her free hand. "Just in case… please." She nods to Brennan. "Please do."

Again, she looks over to Delia, and then Jaiden. "These nice people have been wonderful, taking care of us, but I think… I think it's too much of a burden. We shouldn't have accepted it, but we were … Dave was so sick, and I… he made all the decisions for us."

Jamie sits up curious, having never been to the doctor, to peer at the bag. "Do you give lollipops? They do in the movies," he says wisely. Mitch murmurs in his sleep, having been shuffled to the side by his older brother.

"There's one more thing, Doctor Brennan, after you make sure they're alright." Delia stalks toward the edge of the sofa and there's another crinkle to the corner of her eyes, this time toward Jaiden. Perhaps it's another apology but she doesn't vocalize it, preferring to divert her attention back to Ann and her little family.

Fidgeting slightly, she glances toward the bedroom and then to Brennan and then upstairs. "I've been using herbs and cold baths to try to keep their fevers down— " She hesitates before taking a breath to give a full report. "Jamie seems to be doing the best, he's still alert most of the time and able to move on his own. Ann can walk but she's weak. Mitch is losing weight, I think… he's asleep a lot."

The run down from Delia is appreciated, saves questions and time. A glance to Jaiden results in a shake of his head. "Everything I need will be in my bag and if I don't have it, odds are you won't and I'll have to stop by my practice to get it. But thank you for the offer none the less" He'll leave Ann for last, Brennan kneeling on the floor digging around in his bags. "You know, I might. My girls, they always get scrapes, bumps, bruises, want a bandaid, but they want a bandaid from my bag right, not from the medicine cabinet because they know I have suckers in my bag…." Which, he produces two. One for Jamie, one for Mitch. "Tell you what, you suck on this, tuck the other one away for your brother and lemme take a look at you and I'll see if I can't dig up a few more, if your mother says it's okay, deal?" Hand stuck out to shake on it.

And with that, the permission granted from Ann, Brennan's got the few non-invasive instruments out, explaining them to the kids as he uses them, letting them explore them. The same with Ann, though less explore and more politeness and ensuring the woman's comfort level so he can gauge their state, ask how long they've been sick, get as much history as he can from them. This leave Delia to help if she wants, and Jaiden to do what Jaiden will do.

The offer was made, and that's all Jaiden can do. He heads back into the 'safe house' and continues loading his duffels with thinks he may be able to use. Food, blankets….things that are always useful. He never thought he'd have to strip his safe house, but here he is, with a dead man upstairs and his family below.

Ann smiles at the doctor's bedside manner as Jamie's eyes light up at the lollipop. "Wow, you really are a doctor!" he says reverently. Unlike most children, he's not afraid of them — he has never been given reason to be.

Ann reaches for Delia's hand and catches it, then turns to look over her shoulder for Jaiden. "Thank you both. I'm so sorry… Araceli was right. You are angels." A tear slides down her cheek. "But I think I have to ask for a ride into town… and… and my husband?"

Her eyes dart to Delia, unable to ask what she needs to ask. "We … we need to… I can't just leave him," she explains.

Jaiden's passing through back to the safehouse is met with yet another lowering of Delia's head, this time in guilt. She laces her fingers together and squeezes her palms against each other. Underneath the blue gloves, her hands are turning a blotchy mixture of red and white. Outside, her biceps are trembling a little under the strain.

Ann's plea snaps her out of her little pity party and she looks up suddenly, her eyes meeting the bloodshot ones of the other woman. "Oh, no… no no… we're not going to leave him. I was going to ask Dr. Brennan to write his certificate, you know.. so you have it. Then we can call a mortuary or the morgue or.. whatever you want. We can do it. Don't worry." The young nurse's nervous chatter stops suddenly before her blue eyes dart toward Brennan. Another silent apology, she was going to tell him.

"Your Husband is here?" Hold up. Brennan looks over to Delia then to where Jaiden disappeared off to. There's a dead body here? His opinions about the woman and her family's state of health on the back burner for now, he rises to rub his palms and regard the read headed nurse as she spills ye olde proverbial beans. Scrape a gloved palm across his jaw. "I need to contact the coroners office to come. In this circumstance. He's not at home, he wasn't terminal and arrangement made with a funeral home and under current medical care at the time." Despite that it's obvious how he died and a coroner will be able to determine such. "But I can't sign off on him" He looks to Ann. "I can't sign off on your husband. But I can help you make the arrangements. I can also help get the three of you, or at least-" He gestures to the youngest one. "your son settled in the hospital. You and Jamie here, you'll be fine, but Mitch, in my professional opinion, could use a little help, just a little. I can offer my own home, my wife is a pediatrician, I can get him under her service or mine"

Even with the door open, as Jaiden packs his duffels, he listens to the conversations going on in the background. The startled exclamation from the Doctor causes him to wince, his head hanging as he buckles the bag closed and throws it over with the other two. First aid kits….what little cash he had here….all inside those bags, along with a few changes of clothes.

He emerges from the safe room after a few moments and sits at the end of the bar, resting his elbows on the dusty surface, watching the family, watching the doctor. "If you need a car, I can get one of the ones upstairs running enough to get you where you need to go. And Mr. Martell….we took him upstairs." he doesn't elaborate on what was done with the body, or where it is - that's not to be done in front of the mother or her children. He turns slightly to Mrs. Martell, giving her a smile that, sadly, can't be seen through the mask. "Ma'am? You can stay here as long as you like. Genny's on natural gas, water's on a well, and heat…well, it's summer, so I don't think you'll need it. Keys are behind the door, too." He reaches up to remove his mask, showing her his face. "Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and repeat to yourself this mantra. This, too, shall pass."

The woman looks from face to face, and nods. "Thank you all," she whispers, moving to the cot by the boys to pick up Mitch and pull her into her lap. "I would like not to be separated from him… if that's possible… I'll stay, for the ambulance, for the coroner. I don't want him to be in the hospital by himself, without me or Jamie there to help him feel safe."

Her teary eyes seek Brennan's and then Delia's and Jaiden's. "I can say I called the doctor myself. If any of you need to go, go. Thank you for your help. We'll be okay from now on in."

Jamie sucks his lollipop and then hands Mitch the other, when he sees his little brother's eyes opening.

"I can stay for the ambulance and the coroner too," Delia says, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. She gives Jaiden a quick glance and then turns back to focus on everyone else in the room. Lifting her right foot, she pulls up her pantleg a little to show the rest of them her anklet. "They know where I am anyway, if they're paying attention. It'd be better since I was the one trying to take care of all of you anyway."

She just failed.

Brennan nods to Ann, reaching over to ruffle Jamie's head before he's bringing out his cell. Time to dial some numbers that will take him a short amount of time to find because it's not necessarily one that he's normally calling. Get someone to show him where the body is and start to help make the rudimentary arrangements for Ann and her children. See to a bed in the hospital for Mitch, let social services see to helping them find a place to settle down and take care, get back on the road to a life. A life with one less family member. But hopefully, just less one family member.

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