Past Tense


leland_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Past Tense
Synopsis A stay in the hospital conjures dreaming memories of a previous.
Date 3-18-2009

St. Luke's Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital is known for its high-quality care and its contributions to medical research. Its staff place an emphasis on compassion for and sensitivity to the needs of their patients and the communities they serve. In addition to nearby Columbia University, the hospital collaborates with several community groups, churches, and programs at local high schools. The associated Roosevelt Hospital offers a special wing of rooms and suites with more amenities than the standard hospital environment; they wouldn't seem out of place in a top-rated hotel. That said, a hospital is a hospital — every corridor and room still smells faintly of antiseptic.

He's spent too many nights in the hospital, really. Especially this last year. And despite Abby's work, the doc's insisting on keeping him until the next morning, so it's another night dozing under the starchy white sheets, more or less dreaming away the last remnants of the painkillers. Memory gets elastic and vague in those circumstances, confusing past and present. Lee's visit doesn't help, either….and when he wakes, in the morning, whole if weary, it'll be a few moments before he realizes it's 2009, and not 2005.

It's going to be a big raid, teams from Organized Crime, Vice, and Narco working together to clear a known mob safehouse. Things've been kept very quiet, lest news of what's coming leak to their prey and all the rats scatter from the nest before the trap can be sprung. But detectives who are usually in suits, tailored or not, are geared up almost like SWAT members, in bulletproof vests, dark pants. Fel is all but vibrating with impatience, like it's Christmas morning and he's waiting to go downstairs and see what Saint Nick left under the tree, rather than preparing for the sort of pitched battle not really seen since the late seventies. AT the moment, he's checking his pistol, trying to get used to packing at the hip, rather than under the shoulder.

And right beside him is Leland Daubrey. His hair's longer and there's a few less lines on his face. Whether that's how he actually was that night back in 2005 or whether it's just Felix's memory, only photos from that time could tell. He's cradling a shotgun and there's a look of tightly coiled anticipation in his eyes.
His entire body is tense. It's excitement mingled with fear mingled with impatience. He shifts his weight, re-grips the shotgun. His eyes twitch, his head turns towards the source of any sound or movement.

"Fuck it," Fel says, irritably, as he settles his pistol offset. He's in his glasses - the tear gas that might come in to play if things go really pearshaped ruins contact lenses. "I feel like a goddamn cowboy," he says, as the truck rattles towards the apartment building. He retrieves his own shotgun, checks it over for the umpteenth time. The leader, one of the chiefs of Narco, eyes them lazily from where he sits near the front. "'Don't get any ideas," he says, drily. "They've been using the bottom floor as a brothel, and the last thing we need is one of you bastards shooting a hooker."

"Don't worry. It's your job to shoot your load at hookers, Malton." says Leland with a sneer. He glances to Felix and murmurs, "Yippie fucking kay yay." Which sounds entirely wrong in his Bostonian accent. There's a long scratch down the line of his neck from an injury sustained a week before. Serial killer. Crazy fucker who liked to slice his victims into little bitty pieces. But they got him. And they'll get these guys too.

Apparently he knows that look - because Malton gives Felix and Lee a long, warning look. Fel looks utterly bland, a little bored. "Keep it clean, Daubrey. You been kinda jumpy since you had that little spat." As if the fight with the serial killer were just a lovers' quarrel. With that, Malton turns back to the driver, signals him to stop. The actual SWAT van is there before them, the black-armored officers lunging out, a team with the battering ram at the front door. "Around the back," Malton reminds, before he's out the door and into the alley leading to the rear of the building. Whatever his flaws, cowardice is evidently not among them. Fel eels out of the back of the truck, moving with that gliding smoothness that indicates he's only barely keeping the reins on his own ability. Not that outing yourself as a speed freak of another flavor entirely would play all that well here.

Leland is not a creature of grace, but he still knows how to stay light on his feet. It takes some effort for him to keep up with Felix, even though the other has a rein on his ability.

Once they reach the back, he turns and flattens his back against the wall, shoulder to shoulder with Felix. His breath is ragged, but in anticipation rather than exhaustion. His fingers flex around the barrel of the shotgun.

Really, they're supposed to stay out back, let the SWAT guys drive out those who try to escape. Who are foolish enough to attempt it. There's the boom of doors being broken in by ram, or foot, shouts, feminine squeals of shock and dismay. "Looks like he wasn't kidding about the brothel," Fel observes, drily under his breath. And then there's gunfire - the rattle of an AK-variant, the pop of pistols. "Shit," says one of the others with them. A moment's breathless silence with the howl of distant sirens approaching, and then the call that no one there wants to hear. "Officer down!"

No one wants to hear it, but everyone knows it's a possibility. Leland cocks the shotgun, grits his teeth, then swings around to the door. "Fuck this." SWAT guys don't order him around. "Felix. Come on." A dark look is given to Malton. Gonna stop them, or join them?

Malton does hesitate. Just long enough for scorn to appear on some of the faces around them. "In we go," says Felix. He doesn't sound all that reluctant, really, before he more or less slinks around the battered wooden door, having opened it with an impatient wrench of his hands.

Leland darts across the threshold to position himself on the far side of the door. He crouches low, then doesn't hesitate as he charges inwards and aims at the first likely targets. Perhaps this isn't how it really happened. Maybe there were more cops with them. Maybe he wasn't the one who charged in first. But this is how Felix remembers it, so that's the way the dream plays out.

Talk about caught red-handed. It is, or was, a kitchen. But what's on the scarred table is far from a family dinner. Neatly packaged bricks of no doubt highly illegal chemicals, a lab-quality scale….and pale faces momentarily frozen in a moment of shock, before one of them goes for his gun. It's a futile gesture, with a cop already having gotten the drop on them.
And then everything happens in that strange slow motion that can't be blamed on any Evolved power, but sheer purely human adrenaline. Fel's a strange blur out of the corner of Lee's eye, there's the crack of steel meeting the bone of a jaw, and the one unwise enough to go for his gun is abruptly clutching at a broken jaw as he topples out of his seat. But there are three more left….and none of them are unarmed.

Leland pulls the trigger only after he knows the man is going to fire.
A shotgun isn't a neat and clean weapon. He cocks the hammer again and aims at the next man. Bullets whizz by his head and force him to drop behind a large crate. He checks for signs of Felix, of Malton and whoever else has come through the open door. This is the kind of situation where you let training and adrenaline take over.

There's a reason they tried to ban shotguns in the Geneva Convention. Messy isn't even the word. There's another thud, and the third man drops. The fourth drops his weapon, and flings his hands up, too terrified to stammer out a coherent surrender. And then Fel's no longer just a trick of vision, but his usual self, albeit one panting, and holding the still unfired shotgun he was issued.

Leland keeps the barrel of his shotgun poised on the man. There's no doubt that he can and will use it if the thug gives him a reason. "Get DOWN. Keep your hands where I can see them and get on floor!" He's a soft-spoken guy, but he can boom when the situation warrants it.

Clearly. There's a hole blown right through the man foolish enough to try and draw on the cops. Shivering in terror, the man goes to his knees, and then prone. Fel zipties him as Lee keeps the gun on him, then does the same for the two unconscious. He whistles at the mess that's been made of the fourth. "Talk about the paperwork, " he murmurs, even as another spate of gunfire crackles on the floor above them.

"Paperwork," Leland mutters. "C'mon." He shoves Felix's shoulders, nods to a pair of cops charged with watching the apprehended man. He doesn't hesitate as he goes towards the staircase. He glances around to check for signs of movement, jaw clenched, body tightly coiled.

Fel's pale and tense himself. He creeps up the stairwell, and signals it clear, waiting for Lee to rejoin him. There's an armored cop on the floor, choking, a couple more prone and bound thugs but the waves them on, down the hall. "Clear here." Again, one of those moments of silence, and Fel's again heading for the stairwell, before what sounds like a running battle breaks out, again just above.

Leland thunders up the stairs. It's all he can do to keep protocol and not go charging in. He moves strategically, shotgun in hand, eyes peeled for signs of movement, friendly or otherwise. He keeps an eye on Felix, to make sure he's within his field of view. He moves like some big, stalking animal.

It's cloudy - something is burning. Something chemical and acrid, by the way it burns the back of the throat. There are figures moving - cops, by the helmets and the figures blazoned on the vests. Lee and Fel are behind the main front, it seems. The rooms they pass are empty, for the most part. One has a couple of young women, elaborate and overdone makeup smeared with tears and sweat, being comforted by one of the female officers in halting Russian. But it's all cleared, safe, and they're waved on. Down and around a couple of corners, until they come to the next stairwell up. Fel's standing in front of one of the open doorways, pausing to wipe at his eye with a finger - Lee's still in front of him. He opens his mouth, and by the set of his mouth, it'll be something sarcastic. He turns, as if at a faint noise, that smile turning to puzzlement.

And then there's two sharp cracks, oddly muffled, and Felix jerks twice, looking down in shock at the apparent rips in his vest.

Leland's breathing has become rough and ragged, hissed and pulled past his lips. He cradles the shotgun, moves with as much grace as a man with his build can have. Each sign of movement is met with a flinch and the barrel of the shotgun.
That's when his guard drops, ever so slightly. When it seems like all is clear. And that is usually when it happens. Then the cracks. This may be Felix's dream, but the sound of those two bullets are as ingrained in his memory as they are in the mind of the Fed.
What happens next is a faded blur, not only because of Felix's jagged memory, but because Leland himself never could articulate exactly what happened next. There's his finger on the trigger. There's blood. There's a man's skull exploding with a shotgun shell. And then there's no more shells in the shotgun. It's tossed aside and a pistol pulled out, smooth and quick. He drops to one knee, hand on Felix's shoulder. "Stay down, stay still buddy. Just stay…"
Another series of shots. There's a curse and a spray of blood across Felix's cheek as a bullet cuts through Leland's shoulder. He barely seems to feel it. Shots fire, ears ring. The stench of discharged tear gas stings eyes. It's chaos and pain and blood.

That room was apparently supposed to be clear, by the panicked reaction of the cops that come pounding down from both sides, and fire is poured past Lee's kneeling body. One of the team drops to her knee at Fel's side, while another tries to figure out just exactly how that particular ex-thug got there. By dropping through the floor of one closet to that of the story beneath, apparently. Not quite a trap door, but a few layers of plywood over the joist.
Felix doesn't seem to be so much in pain as startled, at least thus far. He's on his back, lifting his hand over the larger of the hole in his vest. The upper wound is just under the collarbone - unpleasant, but nothing serious. The same cannot be said for the second - there's an odd and uneven quality to his breathing, as scarlet starts to appear on his lips. "Shit, that got a lung," says the female officer under her breath. "Sounds like it collapsed it." Felix is trying to say something, but can't get the air to finish it.

There's blood leaking from Leland's arm from where the bullet clipped him, but he doesn't seem to notice. He scoops up Felix's dropped shotgun, checks the barrel and lifts it to scan for movement in the room. He's angry now, not just keyed up. The fuckers shot a cop, a cop.
"The bastard that shot you ain't got a head no more, Felix. You get to do the paperwork on that one. Hold on buddy. Keep breathing." His tone is oddly calm, conversational. His gun stays trained on the room past. He's on one knee near Felix, like the personal guard by a fallen king. He'll let the others search out the house. His job is to make sure no more of those bastards get the jump on them.

"Jesus Christ, what a mess. Where'd those bastards come from?" says one of the team, coming down from the stairs, and eyeing what Lee did. And then his gaze lights on Felix, and he hisses in dismay. "Shit." He's on the radio, calling for an ambulance. The female cop brushes hair out of her eyes, impatiently. "Help me get his vest off, Lee," she says, peremptorily. "We've got Mackenzie here to cover that fucking wardrobe. Apparently that was their extra escape hatch - the closets are all one over the other, so they knocked holes in the flooring to get all the way down to the basement."

"Clever fucking bastards. Fucking pricks." Leland grits his teeth and reaches out to tug at the velcro that holds Felix's vest on. He looks down at him and then reaches out to pat his cheeks. "Ay, ay. Keep awake. No sleepin' on the job, Ivanov. You want me to write you up?"

Mackenzie mutters something under his breath about the irony of a closet being implicated in the death of that particular officer. The female cop, a young woman named Ramirez, has produced from some pocket in her gear what looks like….a ziplock baggie? Perhaps intended to hold evidence. "When I tell you, slap this over the wound and hold it there until I tell you to stop," she directs, trying to blow her hair out of her face with the sort of puffed lip gesture usually seen on a six year old concentrating on a caterpillar. There's blood spreading across the worn floorboards, and Felix abruptly latches on to Lee's free arm with a nearly hysterical strength, hands already slippery. Whatever he's trying to say isn't English.

Leland leans down towards Felix. He's breathing hard, but because of adrenaline rather than a punctured lung. There's a splatter of blood across the side of his face, though the closest wound is is shoulder. It's Felix's blood from one of the two shots. "Hold on, buddy, hold on. Just calm down, all right. I'm not filling out all this paperwork by myself, uh? So don't even think about being out more than a week, tops." He tries to smile, but he's not good at those even when he feels like it. He glances to Ramirez, takes the baggie and nods.

"Now," she says, once she's wiped it as clean as she can. There's the wail of ambulance sirens on their way, longer than the whoop of police cars. Mackenzie flicks a look at Ramirez, then down at Fel, then at Lee, and looks to her again, aghast and clearly trying to hide it. "What's he saying?" he mutters. ""Don't leave me'," she replies, flatly, before shooting him a dirty look. "Can the questions, will you?" And then she directs Lee, "Turn him on his side. I need to get at the exit wound." It's a bloody process, and Fel is that awful translucent gray by the time the actual EMTs arrive with a stretcher, no longer pleading in his native tongue.

It's a blessedly short ride to the hospital, where Fel is whisked away into the operating room. And Lee is momentarily left standing, bloodied and quiet, in the ER, before one of the triage nurses realizes that the blood on him is not all his partner's. Then it's his turn, too, to be worked on.

The wail of sirens is a welcome sound. "No one's leaving anyone. We're all here, Ivanov. Keep breathing, ya Commie bastard." Lee has a way of making insults into endearments. He follows Ramirez' instructions, but he's more than happy to back away, to let the paramedics do their work. Only after it's all over does the steel fall from his eyes. The next twenty four hours would be tough ones.

Once the rush of adrenaline has faded, yes. There are a couple of other officers injured, but none slain….and Fel is apparently the worst off. Lee's wound is cleaned and bandaged, stitched….it'll leave a scar, but not as bad of one as might be expected. There's no news for a little if Fel is expected to survive, or not.

Which is why Leland has taken up a vigil in Felix's room. His injury's minor, so he could easily be discharged. However, a loyalty of cop partners is something the hospital staff have seen before. They've wheeled in a cot, but he's not made use of it. Instead, he dozes off and on in an awkward armchair. Occasionally he's ushered out so that the Fed's dressing could be changed or they could wheel him away for surgery. But as soon as he's able, Lee's back in again.

"Like a goddamn dog," mutters one of the ICU nurses, though her grumbling is more tired than really irritable. Fel's bound about with monitoring equipment, too many tubes and wires and electrodes. His eyes are sunken, body oddly frail covered only with a hospital gown and a sheet. Ramirez appears, the next morning, dark hair caught back in a loose ponytail. "Go home, Daubrey," she urges, in a rasp. "You've done more than enough, and if there's a crisis, you sitting there staring at him like a pit bull puppy isn't going to help him."

"He didn't want to be left alone," says Leland, simply. His lip curls into a grimace. "I'm not going anywhere." And there's no arguing with him once he makes a statement like that. At least, no ne smart would try to argue.

She rolls her eyes. "Lee, he doesn't know what planet he's on even when he -is- conscious. The drugs they have him on would make you forget your own name. He'll never know," But by her tone, she's well aware she's arguing with a stone wall.

A stone wall. That's a good way to put it. Lee doesn't even acknowledge that she's spoken. He just sits there, shoulders resting on knees for several long moments. Then, "You want me out of here, you're going to have to get the fuckin' chief to order me. And if she tries to, I'll just remind her of '99." He has a steely look in his eyes as he looks up to look at Ramirez. "So. I think you should go get some rest."

By the look on her face, she is considering harassing the chief. But she thinks the better of it, and exhales whatever argument she was about to launch into with a slow sigh. "On your head be it, Lee," she says, with the air of one washing her hands of a bad deal. "Jesus, when he wakes up, he better buy you a ring and make an honest man of you," And with that, Soledad Ramirez is swaggering out into the hall, without a backwards glance.

Even if she doesn't look back, Ramirez should feel the steely, deathly stare of Leland Daubrey burning into her back. His jaw grits. His fists clench. But then he returns slowly to staring at a spot on the wall, coincidentally not far from the EKG machine.

It's nearly thirtysix hours before he wakes. At least he wasn't in a coma. She was right, in that he's clearly only vaguely tracking on his surroundings, blue eyes as hazy as a newborn's. There's a questioning squeak from behind the oxygen mask. Where am I?

Leland fell asleep at some point. But like a man on guard duty, the slightest sound out of the ordinary snaps him to bleary attention. Exhaustion has made him weak, not to mention the painkillers he has in his system. He stands and half-sleepwalks over to Felix's bedside and leans into his field of vision. He looks like shit, but not half as bad as Felix himself. "Wake up, you commie bastard."

FEl really can't talk. There's a mutter made incoherent by drugs, oxygen mask, and a slipping grasp on even his basic English. But clearly, he's pleased to see Lee beside him.

"We cleaned that fuckin' den up good. They're talking commendations. No cop casualties either." Leland would make that sound more bravado-filled if he wasn't ready to fall over from exhaustion. "So. You better heal up real good so you can get your ego stroked. I know how you like shiny medals."

Felix just snorts at him. He can't talk, but he can, slowly, laboriously, extend the middle finger of his butterflied left hand.

"Oh, don't fuckin' strain yourself with a real clever response there, hero." Leland looks down at the finger, then up at Felix. "You better rest up for all the champagne receptions and socialites draping off your arms."

Memory is layered over perception, when he wakes again. This time without a shunt in his chest. Fel startles awake, rather than swimming smoothly up from beneath the layers of drugs - he can sit up, rather than being bound down with wires and tubes. "Morning, Lee," he says, after saying that in his native tongue. "Glad to see you."

Leland hasn't been injured, and he doesn't look nearly so worse for wear. However, there are a few more lines at the corners of his eyes. "It's three in the afternoon. Doc says you need to get your ass out of bed by five. They need this bed for actual sick people. Your little blonde fixed you up just fine."

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