Rock Bottom


aaron_icon.gif brennan_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Rock Bottom
Synopsis Brennan is surprised when Aaron returns to the Suresh Center so soon.
Date November 7, 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.

Gillian was kind enough to drop Peyton and Aaron off at the Suresh Center before heading off to the bookstore she mentioned. They need only call her and she'll come and pick them back up.

The ride wasn't particularly enjoyable for Aaron. His headache-turned migraine in addition to the tremors made him quite sick to his stomach, and he was more than happy to finally come a stop at the Center. It means, quite gloriously to him, that he can finally stop moving. Well, with some steps, anyway. He's grateful for the soft guitar case he can sling over his back, since it means he can carry it without embarrassing himself by asking Peyton to. The fact that it was unbearable to be in the car without being held by her was really bad enough. "Just remember. Until I fix this, don't let me talk," he says to her, as he helps him to the elevator. "Seriously. Like, cover my mouth if you have to. I'd like to actually get this over with. I'll apologize to him after. I just, you know, snap pretty badly when I'm not feeling like a red hot railroad spike is trying to bore its way out of my head, I don't want to know what I can do when I'm feeling like this."

Peyton nods somberly, letting him lean on her as they walk into the center. She called ahead — they were expecting them, and a wheelchair already sits with an orderly ready to wheel him to the elevator and to the medical ward. "Thank you," Peyton says to the receptionist and the orderly. Soon they're in the elevator and when the doors open, out into the familiar waiting area. Once more, Peyton goes to the receptionist, an already apologetic look on her face when she sees it's the very same girl who was there the last time they were here. "Aaron Michaels… I called ahead… he's really badly off. He hasn't used his power since we were here, and … well, you can see…" she gestures at Aaron, who looks like any junkie who hasn't had a fix in far too many hours.

Aaron Michaels. For Dr. Brennan. Who's in but not really in. But she calls him up anyways with a finger held up to indicate that they should wait a moment. There's hushed conversation on the other side of the desk back and forth till eventually the woman hangs up. "He'll be with you in a few minutes. Someone will show you to the room" Which, someone does, back to the room that Aaron had first visited.

Hushed conversation. Aaron assumes it's about him because he invariably assumes the worst in every scenario. When will it stop? He hangs his head, which he realizes after a moment hurts more than it helps, so he slowly raises it back up. Since he was at the Lighthouse, his eyes have become even more bloodshot and they have begun to tear up almost constantly. Whether or not it's a symptom of his withdrawal or because he feels like crying, even he's not entirely certain.

Peyton squeezes Aaron's hand after they get placed in the room. "I'll be right back," she says quietly, and slips out before he can protest. There she finds Dr. Brennan speaking to the nurse, and steps up to politely interrupt. "Dr. Brennan — I just want to say, I appreciate you seeing him. He's actually sorry and he's going to tell you so himself, and he came of his own velocity," she means volition, of course, "but he's going to just … be really quiet and maybe not even talk unless you ask a question because he's afraid of offending you again and doesn't want to. He wants help, so much he'll probably literally be biting his tongue if he gets upset." Her eyes are full of tears for her friend, as she stares up with pleading eyes at the doctor.

Brennan was grabbing the file from the nurse, frankly not even having expected Aaron to return after the other day. So when Peyton comes over, the Physician listens while flipping through the pages to re-acquaint himself. "He doesn't deserve you Ms. Whitney. He doesn't deserve your tears. The word you want is Volition. Velocity is a measurement of speed" He coaches her, not so she'll feel stupid, but so she'll realize not to use the word in that situation again.

There's a glance to the door where Aaron's sequestered and then to socialite in front of him. "Depending on his behavior today decides whether I still treat him or whether I send him to someone else. Last I need is some lawsuit happy person decides to sue me because he didn't like how I went about evaluating him. Consent Ms. Peyton, is what he gave when he asked me, and you asked me, to find a solution to his problem. Are you coming in with me?" There's a gesture to the nurse to follow on his heels as well. Witness, don't you know.

By the time the doctor, nurse, and Peyton arrive, Aaron's closed his eyes. The lights of the examination room were making his migraine worse. He even manages to not jump when he hears footsteps. He does open his eyes again, squinting them almost entirely closed when he hears them enter. He silently berates himself for having not brought his sunglasses, only to realize that they're in his inner coat pocket.

Peyton blushes a little, despite the gentle correction, but nods. "He … I guess it's like he was blinded for a moment — he's so used to seeing with his power that it was like you took away half of his sight. It scared him, and he reacted out of fear. You probably can understand that, as a doctor, right?" she says softly, then quiets as they open the door, following on their coat tails.

Brennan doesn't quite reply to Peyton. He's uncomfortable enough as it is. When he enters the room, Aaron looking over, Brennan just studies him from the door. He does look like a junkie needing a fix, but he'd pegged that the first visit and it was why he'd asked him to refrain from using his ability.

"You look like shit Michaels. And not even warmed over. Nurse is gonna come in, and take more blood" He's not even going near the other guy. "After that, I want you to go home, wherever home is, and come back again tomorrow. Don't use your ability. Take some painkillers and try and tough it out one more day"

Probably not what Aaron wanted to hear.

True to Peyton's earlier statement, there is a bit of tongue biting. More blood? They never took any blood, so how can he take more? And seriously, come back tomorrow? Aaron thankfully can't quite shoot Dr. Brennan a look on account of squinting so bad in the lights that he finally just closes them again. Then he offers a nod, and doesn't bother mentioning that he's tried every non-prescription painkiller in existence to their maximum dosages with no success on his headaches in the past— well, not no success. But by now he has such a resistance to them that they don't do diddly squat.

There is a frown on Peyton's part. "Can he stay here? It might be too hard for him to come back tomorrow, without an ambulance or something, and I can't carry him by myself," Peyton says softly, though just a little bit of a smile, a little joke to try to charm the doctor. "I know it's mostly free care, and I know you can't probably okay giving up a bed at the Suresh Center's bill, but it's not close and I think if something bad happens… it'd be better for him to be here, right? I will pay for him to stay, and I can go get him food and stuff so it won't cost anything, but just have him here for safety's sake."

No charming the doctor. Not tonight, not with regards to Aaron. But Peyton seems to be Aaron's advocate. "I can see, about getting him admitted. I'll see who's service he can be transferred to for the reasons I told you outside. The fact is, You're friend here has an issue with addiction. While others are addicted to drugs, alcohol, smoking and what not, from the looks of it, he's addicted to his own ability. You Mr. Michaels, are addicted to your ability. you're going through withdrawal and from the sounds of it before, you hit rock bottom and ended up getting a hit, so to speak. I'll see what I can do"

Brennan digs a pen from his suit pocket and starts scribbling, a gesture for the nurse to look and regard the instructions. "Apologies or not, from your friends. I understand you have a problem, we're just trying to help you. It's going to get worse, before it gets better. Might as well get prepared for it. Because I'm about to call my wife and cancel dinner and sit in your room for the rest of the night"

Brennan looks over to Peyton then with a frown, he's heading out the door to see about arranging stuff.

Aaron opens his eyes again the minute Dr. Brennan says he's going to sit in the room with him for the rest of the night. "You don't have to do that if Peyton can stay." Oops, he opened his mouth again. Of course, he's not even thinking about negation— the thought never crossed his mind, which of course explains the look of confusion on his face. Why would the doctor want to stay in his room for the rest of the night?

With Brennan out of the room, Peyton glances at Aaron. "I think he's going to negate you, so that you can sleep… so that you're not in pain," she says softly. "Let him, okay? I know it's scary to not see things the way you're used to seeing them." She laughs a little, humorlessly, at her words. "I mean… who understands that better than me?" She shakes her head, and reaches over to push his hair out of his eyes. Boy needs a hair cut. "Please let him. You'll be able to sleep… without any pain. I think. If it's your power that's making you feel like this, you should be able to rest, for real, for once." She goes to sit in the less comfortable of the two chairs, leaving the other for Brennan. "I'll stay too."

Aaron probably could use a haircut, but he's rather liking longish hair. Then again, right now he probably looks dishevelled. He lets out and sigh and nods his head very slowly, "Yeah, I think I can manage to not to snap at him if he does it this time." And hopefully he'll actually be able to sleep, to boot. The idea is a very attractive one, despite the means. "I guess Gillian doesn't need to pick us up, huh?" He shakes his head and then winces. "This sucks."

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