Power Strain


brennan_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Power Strain
Synopsis Peyton visits Dr. Brennan after passing out from using her power, who gives the clairvoyant the obvious RX of rest and moderation, along with a dire warning of what might happen if she doesn't.
Date October 17, 2009

Suresh Center Second Floor

The second floor is an idiosyncratic combination of small medical center and psychiatric hospital. In the back of the building are several lab rooms, equipped with everything from blood-test equipment to an MRI; despite its size, the facility is competitive in a features sense with many larger and more mainstream hospitals. The core is dominated by a multipurpose room, usually serving as a cafeteria but sometimes transformed into a game hall or ad-hoc movie theater; on either side of it are the two permanently-staffed nurse stations, the balcony at the front offering a view of Roosevelt Island and the opportunity for plenty of sunlight.

One wing of this floor has been given over to a medium-term ward, intended to house medical or psychiatric patients for only a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks at most. Most rooms are double-occupancy, particularly for medical patients, but in some cases they may be allocated as singles; all have large exterior windows and are surprisingly not painted in generic institutional shades. Rather, they each have their own personal theme, from ascetic to modern, oceanic blues to autumn reds and browns. Rooms are allocated primarily by what environment a patient feels comfortable in. The opposite wing is the Suresh Center's juvenile ward, designated for the care of Evolved children and teenagers coming to terms with their abilities. It has its own rec room, several single-occupancy rooms, and at the end of the hall a larger shared room for siblings, friends, and children who do better in company. As for the adult ward, the decor is engaging and inviting rather than blandly uniform.

Visitors are required to check in at one of the stations before going anywhere else on this floor, and in some cases may be provided with an escort for the duration of their visit.

Those working the lobby of the Suresh Center of course recognized Peyton Whitney when she signed in. After all, they were threatened to close the center if they wanted the young kidnap victim to live, just a couple of months back. Aside from that, Wendy Hunter, who worked at the Center, was her friend, and the Center volunteers and employees are worried about the quirky artist. But they treat her like "any one else," and take down her name and have her wait to see if a doctor is free to see the clairvoyant, who vaguely murmurs something about "headaches." She certainly looks like crap — pale to the point her usually honey-kissed complexion is sallow in color; dark circles look like smudges of purple chalk beneath her bloodshot eyes. There is a cut high one one cheek.

Soon she is escorted up to the waiting area of the medical floor, flipping through People magazine. There are several pictures of people she used to associate with, none of whom she has seen since her public "Evolution." There's been some phone calls and emails and Facebook "How ya doin's" but nothing of substance. She knows her true friends now: Wendy and Aaron and Gillian, even Brian and Shard, though they are using her as well. She sighs and shuts the magazine, tossing it on to the coffee table.

The tall man, short short brown hair and stubble, wearing a white coat that seperates him from others is coming out of one of the rooms left for purposes unknown. A blonde woman follows with a rounded belly, a child on her hip who can't be much older than three and her identical sibling on the man's hip. There's lip to lip kisses exchanged, a pat on the ass as she passes before Brennan's heading to the desk to take up his pick of the patient lottery.

"Peyton?" He calls out, fingers lifting the first few pages to the chart one by one and looking over to the series of folks waiting.

The slim girl stands and picks up her purse. She's dressed nicely today — too much time on Staten lately has left her with a need for some style: Knee-high gray suede boots and a drapy royal blue sweater dress make her feel like a girl after running around in jeans and tennis shoes last night. "That's me," she says with a smile, giving a little finger wave to the twins that look back at their daddy. "Cute munchkins," she says pleasantly, preparing to follow him wherever he leads her.

"Aren't they? Driving their mother nuts. Walk with me Ms. Whitney, tell me your woes and how I can fix them?" He waits for Peyton to fall in beside him before starting to walk, not heading directly for a room but instead, flipping through the chart, reading, listening and just … walking? Walking.

She drops her eyes. It's hard to know when to trust people, but the fact he works at the Suresh Center means he should be trustable, right? Her M.O. with official people is to give them the party line — her power is just a strange collage of visions that don't make any sense to her, that hit her at random moments, that she has no control over. But she knows that won't fly here, not if she actually wants any help.

"I've… used probably a bottle and a half of Extra Strength Tylenol in the past week to try to help my headache. It's from using my power," she says quietly. "And last night, I got scared by something and my power kicked in without me trying to use it, and I passed out." She wipes her nose, as if the blood is still seeping from there. "And had a nose bleed at the same time, I guess."

There's a shaky intake of breath. "I know I'm overusing my power, but it's important. And I wanted to know if I'm doing any," she pauses, shivering slightly, "permanent damage when I use it."

"You might stroke out" Comes an answer, another flip of the paper while he listens. Is he serious, kidding? Neither? Brennan looks over to Peyton, studying her before he stops. Penlight out and a hushed "follow the pen" issued. He starts moving it side to side, up, down, doing the whole gamut and gauging her. "Your ability is?"

Her eyes follow the pen, her brows knitting together at his words. "Clairvoyant," she murmurs, quietly, as if someone might be listening to write it down. "I can see from other people's perspective." She frowns again. "I don't normally use it this often but people are missing. My friends. And I'm trying to find out where people are, so they can be found."

"So, you went from driving in first gear, to Third gear with the pedal sunk all the way to the floor huh?" Things seem okay, fine, dandy. "Pretty new ability I take it right?" THe light is actually turned on, flicked at her right eye, left eye, right eye again with a wrinkling of his brow.

The light turning on causes her to wince, a hissing sound through gritted teeth. "I guess that's one way of putting it. I've never driven a car, let alone a shift stick," yes, Peyton's mixing up her words again, "but I get the idea." Never mind she was allegedly guilty of drunk driving at the age of seventeen, if he recalls the story or knows her storied past. "Since August," she adds, regarding her manifestation.

"Not long, and not enough practice" He murmurs. "Brain strain. You need to give it a break there Peyton. Can't help your friends if you can't do what you need to do. I see too many people who just use it and use it and use it. Might not be so bad a year down the road, but it's like, using a muscle you never quite used before till you take that Yoga class and suddenly, muscles that never hurt before, hurt. But over time, and use, they won't hurt so much when you do that move again and again"

He scribbles something down while smiling. "Wasn't joking about that stroke thing. Got another who did, stroked out from using his ability beyond what he was capable of. He's better now, and needing to rest his own ability. but, these gifts, they're so new, there's not much knowledge about how pushing beyond individual limits effect the body. I'd say this. if you feel the need to do it, limit the duration. Take a painkiller before you do, help ward off how bad it'll feel if you do strain it. But above all, just spend a few days not doing it."

Brennan watches, eye contact with the other woman. "But I get the feeling you can't just stop, as you've said why, so just limit how long will you?"

Peyton frowns again as the stroke thing is explained, and indeed, true. She nods at his words, her tired-looking eyes locking on his. He seems like he cares, like he understands. But that's why he's here, right?

"I'll try. Too many people out there trying to hurt other people. Not many people know what I can do — I would appreciate if you didn't tell anyone, even though it's supposed to be known. The news media — they know I'm evolved, but not exactly what. The cops, too. My registration, it's a little vaguer than what I can actually do. I managed to fool them." She winces a little at the thought of them finding out her true power. "But the people who do know — they ask me to find these people, to see what they're up to, so that bad things can be stopped from happening." Her eyes flicker away, looking at some poster on the wall. "I can't sleep at night either. I've seen horrible things… they keep me from sleeping, or if I finally sleep, I have nightmares and they wake me up." Her voice is small, shy, like a child admitting they are afraid of the dark.

"We have a psychiatrist on staff" A hand comes up, placating gesture. "Before you lynch me and go, oh shit, a shrink. Dr. Sheridan is not evolved, but she does work with us, specializing in evolved. Maybe, you need to go and talk to someone. You'd be surprised how much that might help, particular since it seems that the stress from your ability is taking it's toll on you"

"I think she's missing too," Peyton says with a frown. Aaron hasn't asked her to look in on Bella, probably knowing she's tasked as it is trying to spy on White and Doc and Helena and Wendy and Dean and Danko and the Irishman and David Legrime. Add Shard to that, since he's missing too. Not that she'd be able to see Bella anyway, not having met her, but she hasn't completely explained the ins and outs of her power to Aaron. "So I'm not sure that'd be much of a help, but thanks for the suggestion. I actually have to seek a shrink to get my trust fund money every few months." Not that she'd tell that shrink anything important.

Brennan frowns at the news about Bella. Okay, fair enough, not like he's been reading his memo's again. So he's not going to comment about Sheridan, he'll go look that up later. "Do you want something for help you sleep? Did you have any other questions, need me to check out anything?"

It's so tempting. She's mostly been off drugs since she's had her power. But part of her knows if she took something like a sleep medicine, it would bring her unwanted visions, perhaps ones she cannot control. "I… no. I don't think it would be a good idea," she says, surprising herself a little bit. It's amazing what the past two months have done to change her outlook on life and her attitude toward controlled substances. "Thanks. You've been really nice." She tilts her head curiously at him. "Do you have a power?"

"I hope i've been nice. Lest I loose my trophy for best bedside manner and my kids decide to pummel me." There's a muted laugh from him. "I'd miss that trophy" A few more notes scribbled on the file ebfore he's putting it down in favor of taking up Peyton's wrist and taking her pulse. "Negation. That was my genetic lottery ticket. My wife is an atmokinetic and we haven't decided to test our children. Not yet. They're too young to understand."

Peyton frowns a little. He sounds like Wendy, throwing out the proper names for Evolved people, when she barely remembers to use the proper term for her own. "Atmo… kinetic…" Despite passing her classes with a barely C average, she remembers some of her latin. Atmosphere. Kinetic means motion. "Oh, she controls the weather?" she says, looking pleased with herself. "And Negation — that means… what?" She hasn't met a negator before, nor did she know that they existed.

"Controls the weather. It's great the for the electricity bill. Always a nice balmy temperature in the house" There's a fond smile, quirking up to the left at thinking of Michelle. "Negator. Ability Negation. Means I can keep you from using it. Comes in handy now and then" He focuses on her then motions with his forefinger in a 'go on' gesture. "Try using yours"

She raises her brows. "Well, there's an interesting question — would HF hate you for being Evolved, or love you because you can keep everyone else from doing their abilities?" she muses. She tries to focus on someone, something — idly choosing the security guard at the front doors, rather than something of more dire importance like Dean or Wendy or anyone in danger.

And there's nothing. Not even the notion of Peyton's ability turning on. Like she was just average joe. "They'd hate me regadless, Ms. Whitney. Because i'm genetically different just enough. Funny though, wonder if they're had someone who has downs syndrome or other genetic diseases. Hows that clairvoyance coming along?"

<insert smirk here>

"To be honest," Peyton begins, "I haven't tried to use it since last night, and I couldn't, not after I fainted. But I'll take your word for it that it's you." She smirks and winks. "But you think my power will come back?" Funny she hadn't mentioned that part before.

"Give it a day or two. Try it again, if it doens't, com eon back, we'll send you through the MRI and see what's up" He drops his focus. "THough, try it again, right now, see fi it works?"

This time, as she focuses, the pupils of her eyes widen until only a thin ring of brown remains of the iris. She can see the security guard's perspective — he seems to have a particular fondness for the Chinese girl manning the front desk at the moment, as his vision returns to her after making his cursory scans of the lobby and the front of the building outside.

"Okay, it works," she says, wincing a little as the short vision causes her pulse to thrum painfully in her temples.

WIth the wince comes the turning on his Brennans own ability again, effectively cutting off the surrogate vision she was having is snatched away and the young woman's own sight returned. "I surmise that worked?"

"Yes," Peyton says, eyes immediately returning to normal as she looks at the doctor. "That's impressive. You'd make a good body guard," she says with a smirk. "Last night, you'd have come in really handy." She smiles. "I guess I've just strained my brain or something, huh? Sorry to waste your time… like that joke, 'it hurts when I do this' and the doctor says, 'so don't do that', right?"

He'd ask about last night, but he has the feeling, maybe he doesn't want to know. "Well, if you need a negator again, just call" A business card is tugged from out of his pocket, numbers written in black typeface across the front, and an address that is not for here, but down in the financial district. "And yes, so very much like that. Give it a rest, don't use it so often. And when you're rested, start building on it. the more you use it, at increasing increment, a bit at a time, slowly, key word slowly you'll soon get no headaches. Hopefully"

She takes the card, and nods. "Thanks. I'll try." If only people would stop getting kidnapped. If only people would quit conspiring to blow things up. "Thanks, Doctor Brennan," she adds, reading the name on the business card, then tucks it into her purse. "If I can't stop using it, I'll come in here for rehab an you can keep me from using it." She winks. It's not like she's addicted to her power like Aaron; she simply needs to find her friends.

"Put you to work, carrying my clipboard" he jokes. "Get on with you Ms. Whitney. Heed my words. Lest you stroke out and can't help your friends" He signs off something at the bottom of her file before turning away to complete the circle and go back to the check in station.

"Anderson! Lucky day! Come on over and lets see whats the problem. walk with me"

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