Probably Not A Ghost


dumortier_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Probably Not A Ghost
Synopsis Nurse, there's a gremlin in my room- -
Date April 30, 2021

Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital

"…must be something in the moon and stars, keepin' it together when we're fallin' apart…"

The room didn't smell so nice when he'd fallen asleep earlier. It was only the passively stale Get Well corner store flowers by the window, the sterility of metal, plastic, and universally stiff sheets. It's a familiar and tiresome aura interrupted by an idling intruder and the sudden presence of sweet florals in the air.

"Lately I've been thinkin' the heavens would be relieved- -" The tinny bells of a gentle ringtone rudely interrupts, followed by an answer. Quiet, though still certain. "Yeah? …Mmm. Yeah, I am. …Yeah, sure. We'll get to it." The twilight outside glows through the window and across the thick bushel of flowers now sitting where used to be that paltry vase. Dumortier still has a leaf between his fingers as he disconnects the call, its flesh deep green under the touch.

This is a bit familiar too.

The rise and fall of breathing under the stiff sheets and bandaging has been steady, if a little quick. The ringtone proves an alien enough sound for that to change, the next breath leaving the bed-ridden Zachery in a groggy sigh.

Because why the fuck is he awake. Sleeping was nice. And also, they've been dialing back his painkillers.

He continues to lie in near corpse-like stillness, but opens his eye to find the source of the noise with lazy imprecision. "Mh," leaves the back of his throat before he clears it, his face wrenched into a pained grimace as a result.

Before something more eloquent manages to be summoned, he rasps, simply and unimpressed, "… What the fuck."

Leaf still between his fingers, the old flowers don't look so old anymore, which is perhaps the one thing that does make sense here. Logic dictates that the person there absolutely doesn't. You don't get to traipse into recovery rooms if you're a corpse. You only traipse out.

The stirring draws Rene's attention before the idle exclamation does, and so what it gets is simply a stifled smile, tampered down by the seriousness of what he knows.

"I could put it back like it was." Dumortier looks from the renewed plants in their plastic vase to the man in the bed, blue eyes peering over a shoulder. "But I do like them better this way." As he drops his hand he turns towards the bed, other limb pocketed leisurely against the hike of his sportcoat.

With unflattering movements and heavy placements of his hands against the mattress, Zachery drags himself slightly more upright, kicking once at the tucked sheet. He peers right back, blinking a few times before opening his eye properly, leaving the hollow of the other mostly shut under a brow knitting with obvious confusion.

"Now, I know my— memory's been…" He trails off, and shifts his weight so as to motion toward the trail of a scar still showing through the current mess of his hair. He looks away, finally, slowly scanning the rest of the room as though the water on his stand or the walls might bear any clues as to what is going on. "But… weren't you supposed to be… a little fucking wilted yourself."

A fleeting temptation to play into it and pretend that he is still wilted is tampered down by the sad state of affairs; as playful as they both know Rene is, there are still places to contain oneself. Such as now, amidst the sad state of affairs of

everything, really.

Heh. Dumortier edges out a half-smile, a half-light in the set of his features.

"Supposed to be." Eyes stick to inspecting the physical state of his friend as he sidles up alongside the hospital bed. Part of this is a passive effort to keep Zach from squirming around more than is necessary- - the other half is to present himself for closer inspection without vocally doing so. Real and unwilted enough, down to the ambient warmth of existing nearby.

"I, ah," He's told this story a hundred times, though somehow this is just as difficult as explaining the very first in the back of an ambulance. Dumortier's expression tenses, taking a moment to let himself be glad for the both of them being at least… sort of upright.

"I got better." As if turned from a person to a newt and back again. "It was kinda gross, actually. You would have fucking loved it." If you'd been around.

"… I bet," Zachery replies with conviction, if a little slow. Then, the same hand that had gestured before floats slowly upward again. "Pardon, one moment."

He smacks himself across the face hard enough to turn his head sideways, but— starts laughing almost immediately after he's righted it again, every breath of it short and pained, but sincere and bordering on gleeful. His attention snaps back to Dumortier with a lopsided grin still present. "Right! Still awake, then. Let me— get this straight. You died and got better, I see, I see. and you're not even… the first to—"

He cuts himself off, then sinks back into the bed and starts a new sentence with a dry chuckle. "Dying, killing," this word is said almost fondly, as though it's some treasured thing, some favoured meal, "Staying, leaving, action or inaction, none of it truly means anything or has consequences, not really. I'm starting to understand now. Why do we even bother processing?"

There will always be something that gets a laugh out of him, it seems, despite the context; comical self-flagellation seems to fall into that. Dumortier stifles a laugh, eyes creased and mouth tuning to a half smile, the sound of his response catching with a small snort.

"Yeeeah. It's… not a great place to get stuck, is it? It's got me fucked up too." Eventually Rene settles on this, a drawl in his voice. He likes to let people think it doesn't bother him, but if there's anyone who Gets It, he's sitting in the bed distracted by the sound of himself. Stepping aside, he pulls one of the annuals from the flowers he'd been fussing with; in the next moment he is swiveling a seat around to straddle it, arms resting on the back.

"My action directly contributed to the consequences, though. That's for sure." From what the news held back during the Providence blaze, it was absolutely his own fault. Welp. "Was definitely disappointed when I emerged from the bog to find you'd up and gone…"

The flower in his hand, an innocent blue, twines new green sprouts between his fingers and begins to seamlessly blend into the surface of his skin. That's new.

As such, it earns a keen eye from Zachery, despite him having otherwise leaned fully back into the slack from his sleeping form before. Amusement or not, he still bears the striking resemblance of someone reserving energy against his will.

The liveliness in his voice, too, dulls somewhat when he asks, "What is it with plants and refusing to stay down? You and Emily both," he grates offhand, rolling a shoulder in idle discomfort. "Do you and those flowers need your own room, or— what's happening."

"Tch, no." The surface of his skin prickles green as the plant ventures up his arm, and a touch to his own face sends a fresh smear of lime color over his cheekbone and temple. Rene's eyes shine silvery behind the blue. It is a look that stays fleeting, lingering long enough to travel back to his limb and collect again at fingertips. Just a taste, of a kind. "It's how I'm not worm food."

Dumortier removes the plant from his affected hand with his other, flimsy new roots still dangling from it. "I remember getting burnt…" It's not a great time, from the look given. "Woke up crawling out of the muck. A lot of mushrooms and bog plants instead of blood and muscle. Luckily, the area was still cordoned off by SESA. Heard a bit about what the hell you were up to, too- - sounded a little more exciting."

For as fascinating as it should be, Zachery's eye stays on Dumortier's display of new skills with withering focus. "Huh," he breathes out a response, some errant preoccupation still pulling at a corner of his mouth. His attention drifts back up to his visitor's face. "That… truly is remarkable. I don't think I understand even a little bit."

A rare bit of sincerity, maybe. And yet, his expression levels out to… something calmer. His breathing remains shallow, but steady. The comment is followed shortly by an almost sing-song curious question of, "What have you heard, Sunshine?"

The lack of understanding is met with a shrugging gesture and a helpless little look; he doesn't quite understand either, but a blessing is a blessing, even if he has no clue why. It's a stunning turn of events even so, especially for someone who hit heads with a robotic arachnid.

Dumortier tucks the flower into his front jacket pocket, its bloom stark against the fabric.

"Hmm. I heard a rumor that my Handsome friend was part of some incident." The chair he's perched on scoots closer to the bedside, and both arms cross over the back to play second perch to chin. Rene is focused as much as he can be, eyes clear. "But I'm not sure how much of that I'm supposed to know. There is a lot of gossip. I've only got rookie clearance, though." His smile is a little too sharp, but in all the right spots.

Pieces fall into place, but slowly, and a silence follows.

But not for too long. Can't let the semblance of comfort in company settle in, after all. Zachery stirs again, turning his head to find eye contact again— and to search. For what, he doesn't look quite sure. "I wasn't even supposed to be there…" he pauses, glancing briefly off to the side. "I think."

This is all he gets in before his attention shifts again, a hand lifting to get scrubbed over his face. "Rookie clearance of what."

"I joined the spook club. Ain't that some shit?" As if to remind himself too. More seriously, he leans back to draw out a temporary ID notarized by SESA's stamp. "They wouldn't let me in here and I wouldn't have even heard anything otherwise…"

"I'd been a little at a loss even before all of this. Feeling that aimless feeling. It wasn't the dying part that made me." Rene peers at the poor image on the temp card. Once his probation is over he'll get a nicer one, at least. "It did give me a lot to consider. I felt useful when I was helping them. I helped the people who actually needed it. Now that I'm there I realize there are a lot more of those people than I ever imagined." Victims of abilities. People struggling with gifts. The lost and listless and sometimes even the forgotten.

"If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out." Until then- -

"Is this a fucking joke?" Zachery shoots back with a distinct lack of energy, another laugh just barely bubbling up before the discomfort of the movement cuts it short. With one hand against the plentiful gauze around his chest, he continues to rasp, "Nicole, Emily, and now you? Who's next, ah—…"

He stops, mouth still open but failing to find whatever is supposed to come out of it.

Only for it to be followed by a flat, "Actually, no, that's about all the friends I have, isn't it. Nebulous a concept as it is. Unless old men and children count. Would SESA take an ei… nn" He blinks, then narrows his eye at Dumortier. "Ten… year old…?"

"Nicole and Emily were practically born that way." Dumortier can't bring himself to arguing, but grousing back with a smile is good enough. "We both know that I'm not a boy scout, give me a Liiittle credit here."

Just a bit.

"I don't think Pippa is old enough to chase down evildoers yet, if that is what you mean." As amusing as it may be. "Glad to hear you equate me to a child though." A tease, obviously. "Maybe this just is fates way of giving you a spot to get me back for all the shit I used to give you."

There's a bitter chuckle from Zachery, who shrugs one shoulder upward against a pillow and then glances toward the door while muttering, "You'd think maybe that bullet wouldn't have been able to make it all the way through me with how fate's been on my fucking back and—"

He looks back at Dumortier, blankfaced. "What were we talking about?" Immediately, his attention slips again, with an uneasy roll of his head back into his pillow. "I need a fucking drink. Right— you at SESA. Back to life," he grins, even if it's an empty thing aimed up at the ceiling. "And with a new job. And not dead."

From his seat nearby, Dumortier lifts a hand and lets it sit atop Zachery's arm, a lightweight anchor despite however long it lasts.

"I'll get you a drink once you're out of the woods." No pun intended. At least things look up from where he's sitting, even if for Miller it's just as much of a mess as it ever was. "I think you earned that much, honestly." The hand at his arm lifts a little further and with the upward lean of its owner gives the ball of grinning cheek a weak pinch.

"And I think I earned one too. I'll wait for you though, I'm not cruel to my friends. Not on purpose." How kind.

Slow reflexes draw Zachery's head away from the pinch, if a little too late, and Dumortier earns himself an unimpressed and half-lidded half-stare.

"Little girls do have a knack for cruelty, don't they." Before that point can be argued, he adds, "Go ahead and have a few for me, either way. I'd be disappointed if you let good manners stop you now."

Puh. It's sorely tempting to give just one more pinch, but he's been through well enough, somehow. Dumortier just rolls his shoulders in a shrug as he pops off of his seat, tugging the chair back as he leans over the edge of the bed.

"For what it's worth, Zach," A name is a pointed thing from him, in this case. Something to be heard. "I'm glad you didn't die before I got to see you again. I mean, couldn't very well rub my own Christlike nature in if you did." A lot of wiseacre words to mean just a few serious ones.

A quietude creeps back into the room, machine noises and voices from outside the door continuing their din. Zachery's gaze rests on Dumorter's face almost passively, his face relaxing in a way that it doesn't often.

The words spoken earn little more than a blink, before Zachery asks finally, "You know I'm not actually here, right? Don't you? That you're talking to… a new thing? A creation?"

"Lâme reste." is all that Zachery gets in regards to what his friend may or may not know- - which is supremely unhelpful and at the same time offering his own kind of comfort. There's never been a question that Dumortier puts a lot of stock in spirit, much to some doubtless dismay to a man of science.

"You are still a reflection, and what person would I be if I didn't care even for that?" Though he does have his moments of heedlessness and selfishness, Rene keeps a code. Even if not the one spiritualism would hope. "Don't tempt me to pray over you." As if he somehow hadn't, at some point.

It's a comment very much taken as a threat, if Zachery's now scrunched up face is any indication. He turns his head away, a bitter chuckle beginning to make its way out before it's swallowed back down. "Fucking hell, like that's helped in the past. 'S got better odds of turning my head a full three-sixty than…"

What would be the goal? He moves quickly on, with the world's slowest, monocular eye roll. "I think I may have some, ah— internal hemorrhaging to sleep off."

Lifting a hand in an uncoordinated movement, he waves toward the door, then levels a tired look back at Dumortier again, his words slowing. "If I'm not just imagining you living, still— do me a favour and don't die again? Christlike or not, even the guy with the big fanclub only shoved that rock aside the once."

"It'll be a special one for Saint Jude." Dumorter murmurs at the expression he gets, smile twisted to one side. Threats aside, there's little else to keep him from letting this particular reflection get rest. That smile widens some, though at the same time his expression coils around something sad.

"Alright, I think I can do that. For you." Rene sidles his way towards the door as more or less directed, lingering just a few moments longer to look over his friend once more. "Good luck with that bleeding, Handsome."

Zachery's eyelids have fallen already, breathing slowing, exhaustion visible in the near immediate fall of his expression. Nearly dying is hard work.

But. Just in case, he grates as a goodbye, "If you end up not being real after this, and I've been talking to myself, I am pissing on your grave."

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