Slightly Hostile Acquaintances


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Scene Title Slightly Hostile Acquaintances
Synopsis Nick finds himself under the care of one Doctor Brennan, then trades barbs with the other.
Date July 5, 2011

Medical Clinic

Not everyone can afford insurance, much less to pay for the costs of going to a private medical practice. It's a sad fact, but in this world, there are people who can only afford to go to a free clinic. Where the waits are long, you get there early and hope that you're in the group of people that get accepted.

Doctors still need to staff these places, but funding generally doesn't allow for many full time physicians here and it relies on the generosity of time by those who are willing to come in and help out with the community. The Doctors Brennan are upstanding forthright citizens. They understand that life has been good to them, and try to give back to the community that they live in, that sustains them and to teach their children by example how to be good people.

It's a little sickening at times.

But so are the people here. So far, there's been a potentially broken arm on a blubbery 7 year old. Three cases of strep, one case of Mono, half a dozen stitches, four pregnancy tests, a couple rashes of indeterminate nature, three potential evo-flu/non-evo evo flu's. It's been a busy day and it's not over yet.

The waiting room is stuffed, light from the overcast day coming in through the venetian blinds, a TV in the corner lists and emphasises the importance of updating your pertussis vaccination - Won't anyone think of the poor babies who can't get vaccinated yet and could catch it from their adult parents? - while a chorus of coughs and other ailments filter through the room. A door - The door that everyone looks to when it opens with either diappointment when it's a patient or hope when it's a pinks crubbed nurse - Opens up, a nurse walking out, consulting a clipboard. "Nick York?" Looking at the clipboard, lifting the top sheet then out expectantly.

Sunglasses on his eyes to keep from scaring small children (and their mothers) and a respiratory mask to keep from infecting them (more important), Nick glances up from his cell phone where he'd been scrolling through the latest news.

He stands from where he's planted himself as far away from everyone else in the room, giving a nod to the nurse and letting her lead him into the clinic's interior. The reason had been given upon signing in — he had been sick with the flu for the past several weeks, was looking for a clean bill of health so he could report back to the world of the living.

"Busy place," he says lightly, hand slipping the cell phone back into his pocket. He's too thin, his hair's shaggy, and he's wearing the typical "uniform" from his days of smuggling: jeans, t-shirt, and black Docs. He looks like he needs the free clinic, even if in reality he makes quite enough for more expensive care. Nick, however, never planned to be in New York this long: he has no "Primary Care Physician."

"Always busy. Not enough doctors, not enough time, too many people sick" The nurse clucks her tongue, bringing him to the triage area to get vitals, scribble down Nicks basics and find out what he's there for. Pretty obvious though, what with the mask. "You're lucky, We had to turn away about seventy people. If the doc's don't stay a little late, we may be able to take in some walk ins" But sometimes, they're not that lucky.

THermometer, bloo pressure, weight, height, he's run through the gamut and satisfied, Nick's passing down hallways again to an empty room. Four other doors seem to be closed, some with patient folders in them, waiting, others empty and murmuring behind the doors. She opens a door, his chart thunking down into it's holder and she smiles at nick, waiting till he's in the room.

"Dr. Brennan will be with you in just a moment" And the door shuts, leaving him alone in the room with it's exam table, counters and cupboards bearing all manner of medical equiptment, magazines from three years ago in a variety of subjects and that //name. Dr. Brennan will be with you.

Normally, Michelle Brennan works with children, but considering the path of her career as a doctor, never exclusively so. So it isn't too much of a surprise to have a fully grown, if somewhat deflated man waiting for her when she enters.

And it is a she, which might make her name an amazing coincidence when one isn't totally aware that the more well-known Doctor Brennan is married to another. She breezes in wearing the standard white coat with her name embroidered over the pocket, somewhat obstructed by a pair of pens sitting there. It might be noticed that she is a rather good looking woman with poise and a kind smile.

"Mister York, yes? I am Doctor Brennan." Oh yes, and also pretty French, if that accent is anything t judge by. "What can I help you with today?" It is something of a moot question, as she does have his paperwork in hand, but she asks it anyway.

It takes a moment before that name sinks in, and Nick sits on the exam table a bit nervously, looking around for any diplomas or certificates; it was just a few months ago that he last heard that last name, but it feels like lifetimes. In some ways it has been. By the time the door opens and reveals someone much shorter and curvy than the Institute doctor, he relaxes a little — as much as he is able, given his surroundings.

The French accent makes him smile; his training in France constituted a few good months of his life, after all, but he bites back the urge to reply in French. He's supposed to be a lowly dock worker or something, after all, and a native New Yorker. Sunglasses are tugged down from his face so she can see the red sclera around his weary blue eyes. "Hiya, doc. Just trying to make sure I'm not contagious. It's been about two weeks since my last fever," Nick says, his voice a bit hoarse yet from weeks and weeks of coughing.
ORDER: Brennan has skipped their turn.

"Two weeks," Michelle says, a bit to herself, as she jots it down. "Are you feeling any discomfort? Have you been able to keep down any food?" The doctor in her has to ask, the mother in her has to lift an eyebrow at his current state of gauntness. She steps over to wash her hands, getting on a fresh pair of gloves before she comes to his side to pluck up his wrist between a thumb and two fingers. Her gaze flicks to the clock up on the wall to keep time. "And when did you start showing the symptoms, if you remember."

He nods. "I've been eating," he says quietly. He picks up his cell phone to look at the calendar, fingers brushing the screen before he shakes his head in some disbelief at how much time has slipped through his fingers.. "I got sick mid-May. The 15th was when I knew. I guess I probably had some symptoms earlier, but headaches, tiredness…" Nick shrugs. Those are easy enough to pass off as something else, especially since he's damaged his health in a myriad of ways in the past few months, years, decade.

His reddened eyes moves back to her face, watching her work. "You seen many people with it?" he asks quietly. He knows that most people don't survive it; he's in the minority so far, statistically speaking, and probably an anomaly in the clinic for that reason.

Michelle writes down his answer and her own numbers after she lets go of his wrist, "You know, it is recommended that you come see a doctor when symptoms begin, instead of when they are starting to fade." It's a gentle chiding, but firm nonetheless. She pulls her stethoscope from around her neck next, and he can feel the circular disc pressed against his back. "Deep breath, breathe out slowly."

At the question, there's a small silence, though, before she answers. "I have seen more than I would like to have seen." She doesn't add that in her personal case, it's been mostly children, but that's unnecessary information at the moment. "I would doubt there is a doctor in the city who has not seen at least a few. Not all are as lucky as you, to be able to come to see a doctor about getting better."

Nick's lips curve into a smile at her reprimand. "I had people to care for me. Keep me in fluids, try to keep the fever down, keep me from killing myself when the nightmares got too scary. Anything worse than that, requiring doctors? Organ failure, seizures? I'd have been a goner at that point anyway," he says, cynical in a flippant sort of way.

He takes the breath, then releases it. There's still congestion, though on its way out from the sound of it. He shakes his head at the rest of her words. "Sorry about that. Your other patients, I mean," he offers, more serious than a moment ago, eyes lifting up to hers again before sliding away, looking almost guilty at surviving. Again.

Speaking of docs. And getting better. There's a knock on the door, quick as you may please then the door is opening, a dark head of hair, silver at the temple, poking his head in and glancing around. "Mish? I need a consult on this woman over in room thr-" Michelle he means and Nicks fear is suddenly very. Very. Founded. Worse yet, Brennan recognizes Nick and he's sudden the woman in whatever room is forgotten about and Brennan's easing all the way in, shutting the door firmly behind him. "Well. You look like shit"

"How very optimistic of you," Michelle notes, but it's slightly teasing, and not at all judgmental, given that he's not… exactly wrong. She checks the other lung, too, before she moves over to lean against the counter. There's a certain sadness in her smile at the condolences, but it's something only hinted at. "It is very kind of you, to say so."

Of course, there's no time to get sentimental, as her handsome doctor husband comes in. She is about to make introductions when Brennan greets her patient in his own, special way. "You'll have to excuse my husband, Mister York, he has terrible bedside manner." And even though it's directed at Nick, her words carry a familiar chiding for her husband this time. "I do hope you've met," she says, to Harve this time, "Or I will have to insist you take the rest of the night off, my love."

The knock brings up Nick's head; he has a wariness about him, even in a place that should be safe, such as this. When he recognizes the man entering, he is already hopping from the exam table to his feet. "You," he growls in his hoarse voice to the other Dr. Brennan.

Normally Nick has an agile and speedy sort of restlessness that some might deign to call grace, but today everything is just a touch weighed down, as if he's moving in slo-mo. The sudden jump to his feet is too much for the recuperating flu victim. His eyelids flutter and he grabs the bed behind him for balance. A deep breath is taken, and then his jaw twitches with tension. Turning those red eyes to Michelle, he says coolly, "Can you let me know if I'm contagious? Do you need a culture? The nurse took blood. And I'll be out of your way as soon as possible."

"Me. You still look like shit there" Brennan beams a cocky grin at his wife. "Remember when I was trying to help an oniermancer, lost from her body, wandering, was trying to get her some help and I ended up in the hospital and the car trashed?" The one where his shoulder had been dislocated, protecting Delia. "This was one of the men with her"

But lo, Nick is about to swoon at his wife's feet and he's stepping forward as if to put out a hand and steady him. But doesn't.

Because he likes his hand and doesn't want it bit off. "Sit. I'm not going to bite. This is my wife. Michelle, meet Nick. But you've already met" and he's trying to steal a peek at the file even though he knows what is likely wrong. He'll let michelle answer Nick's questions.

"I have a very clear memory," Michelle answers, painfully honest there. Very very clear, no doubt. But where Brennan stops short of helping, Michelle steps forward to steady him, guiding him to sit. It's a little like good cop, bad cop, the two of them. "We have met, we were just discussing his condition and no peeking, Doctor Brennan," she says, although her crooked smile is a playful compliment to his cocky grin.

To Nick, she gives a nod, "A culture, a test on your blood sample and then we will be able to tell you your status. And you will sit here until we do, if only to catch your breath."

The younger man looks like he would argue and would like to stalk out of the room and leave both Brennan's behind, but instead he nods to Michelle, obediently enough, before narrowing his eyes up at the new arrival. "She was safe enough 'til your colleague took her away from my head," he says, rough voice dripping with disdain in the American accent he's been using all day.

He reaches up to rake through his too-long hair, then his hand comes back down on his knee to tap out a nervous rhythm. He hasn't had a cigarette in almost two months, but his fingers twitch for one now. He nods his head toward Brennan. "You work here now, or is this just the cover?"

"Ooh, cover, no. No. Actually this is all pro bono. Mish and I try to do at least a few hours here a week, help out when we can. Good to give the commmunity" Brennan looks over to his wife, a dopey smile on his face, chastised about looking at the file and behaving himself, opting instead to sit on a low counter, prop a butt cheek up there and regard the sick man across from them. "last I heard, she was doing fine. Following my instructions for physical therapy. Last I saw her. Beyond that. I was hoping actually to track her down, see how she's doing"

speaking of that though, institute. 'You can ask Mish though, Institute, not very high on my want to get into bed with list. Sometimes though, you have very little choice in who you work for. I work for the DoEA as well." He looks back to his wife, nodding his head. "I concur. Catch your breath. You don't look strong enough to even throw a punch at me there Mr. York"

"You are implying that now she is not safe?" Michelle grabs one of the swabs, instructing Nick to open his mouth after he's asked his question. "It's true, his get into bed with list is remarkably short," she says, crooked grin returning for a moment as she slides the swab into it's little protective tube. "And there will be no fighting in my clinic, boys. And no baiting, either. Also, no one gets to punch my husband until I know why, at least."

That muscle in Nick's jaw twitches, and his fingers curl for a moment into the fist Brennan seems to expect before he turns away from Brennan again to look at Michelle, arching a brow. "She was safe enough after we got away from them, Doctor. And she's doing all right now, though she's in that little pet project of the DoEA's right now. I think you call it Eltingville, Doctor?" This is addressed back to the masculine of the doctors Brennan.

He lifts his left shoulder in a shrug. "Me, I call it a ghetto."

Returning his red-blue gaze on Michelle, Nick smiles almost sweetly. "If you were my wife, my get-into-bed-with list would be short, too." Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. "That'd be all that was short, though."

"See. And you worried about your figure after Henri" Okay, that's a cocky grin on his face flashing to life and he looks back to Nick with one eyebrow raised. "Too bad she married mine and likes it better" He reaches over, getting a pen from the pocket of his wife's jacket, starting to scribble a number on his notepad pulled out of his pocket - why yes NIck, that was just a notepad, but he is still happy to see you - and rips it off, passing it over. "Tell her to call, if she can. I don't know that I can get her out, but we can at least try to make her more comfortable… there"

Michelle doesn't much like the Eltingville news, either, and it brings a frown to her face. But the compliment from Nick does get a smile. At first. But his follow up turns her face into a rollercoaster of expressions as she not only frowns again, but furrows her brow on top of it. And then Brennan joins in and her hands go to her hips as she glances between the two. "That warning included baiting me, you two, and you — " That's Nick " — are too sick to be bragging and you — " That's to Brennan, even as he steals her notepad and starts scribbing, " — owe me a nice night out for that." And then she heads for the door, not to leave, but to pass along the swab to a nurse for testing, muttering in French the whole way about her troublesome husband and men in general.

The paper is glanced at for a long moment before Nick's nervous fingers finally snatch it out of Brennan's grip. "She put herself there, and she's in plenty of comfort, from what I gather, being John Logan's guest." It's not like Brennan couldn't find that out easily enough. "But I'll pass it on. God knows she doesn't listen to me about what company she keeps."

His eyes dart back to Michelle's retreating back, and he smirks crookedly at the French mutterings. It doesn't do much for his cover, but who's to say Nick York, fictional as he is, didn't have French grandparents on his maternal side? "«Don't let him taint your opinion of the rest of us»" he tosses to her back with a jut of his chin. Apparently, one half of the couple meets his approval.

«Taint» Brennan folds his arms, a pointed look to Nick. «I think highly of you actually. Given that Delia does. As for John Logan, I don't know who he is. Do I need to worry?» Do they need to worry. He's pushing away from the counter, turning and opening cupboards, dragging down a bottle of ibuprofen, turning out some tablets and passing them over to Michelle while getting some water poured. Clearly, Nicks getting dosed up. «And if you keep this up, I'm going to owe her rubies or pearls»

"«You are not so innocent, Mister York,»" Michelle says as she looks back to the two to them, shutting the door behind her. "«You speak very well,»" she adds, her expression appreciative of the fact, rather than accusatory. Which probably means his cover isn't in danger at the moment.

She takes the pills in her gloved hand before crossing over to Nick to pass them to him. "«He isn't kidding. Although, you seem to have dealt with my husband before, no doubt you can imagine how grand my jewelry collection is,»" she says with a quick wink. Her temper seemingly gone after the momentary flare. "Take these. We will send you home with something to take to help you heal without complications. But whatever the tests say about how contagious you are, you still have to rest. Getting better does not mean better."

Brennan's comments and seemingly sincere worry for Delia seem to subdue the younger man, as Nick shrugs his left shoulder, brows knitting. "I donno. I've been sick too long. I'll pass on the message, though," he says quietly, taking the pills and tossing them down without waiting for any water.

"Yes, Ma'am," Nick murmurs to Michelle. "Thank you. I'll pay for anything I leave with, and for the visit. The mortality rate — it's really 90 percent for this thing? Are your numbers about the same?"

"Don't be ridiculous," Michelle says to Nick's insistence, "We call it a free clinic for a reason." She's nice about it, but she's not budging, either. Her expression falls some, though, at the question. "That is about right. Most of the patients we see, if they show the symptoms, we pass along to a hospital. There are better chances with care. As you have seen in yourself."

Ignoring the Frenchwoman, Nick pulls his wallet out, tossing an ATM-fresh stack of eight twenties onto the counter. "Call it a donation, then, all right? You're doing good work here, and it's not your fault I'm too lazy to call up Blue Shield or Red Caduceus or Green Stethoscope or whatever the fuck my insurance is, yeah?" There's another genuine smile for Michelle, and then a more wary look at Brennan as Nick replaces the cash in his wallet with the sheet of paper he promised to pass on to Delia.

"It's not a big donation, but maybe it'll help someone other than me," he says quietly, dark brows knitting together.

"maybe" Brennan - The male one - looks to Michelle, before reaching over for the money, squaring it away in his pocket to be slipped into the pockets of some needy family that will inevitably come through here to help pay for the drugs that will inevitably be needed and expensive. "Anything changes, whether it's your health, or our mutual friends… Call" It's offered quietly, no shit eating grin or pointed barb. It's serious.

Oh. She dislikes being ignored. And ignored by both! There's a huff, and a stare that takes in the both of them for just a moment before she picks up Nick's file and starts to write her notes. There will, no dobt, be some interesting things in there, such as stubborn, thick headed and the like. She's unorthodox. But she looks up at Harve's offer, to nod her agreement. "Please do. Anything for my husband's slightly hostile acquaintances," she says, adding in the barb Brennan lacked, although with good natured playfulness.

"Madame," Nick says, with a bow and a grin, "«Slightly hostile is absolutely charming and well mannered coming from me»." All too true.

Once more he sobers, and nods to both. "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind. Should I head out to the waiting room to await the verdict? And if I'm still contagious, I promise to go back into self quarantine like a good boy, like I did the last time. No need to lock me up in a hospital."

Like he did last time. Brennan will leave that to Michelle, he's her patient. He's got - oh that's right - He's got his own. "When you're done here, I need you in three." Poor patient, probably thinks she was forgotten. He knocks off a lazy two finger salute to Nick and is ambling out, away from the pair. "Salut!" He calls back and is off, presumably, to deal with his abandoned patient. Bad Harve

"«And you are also charming, if a bit lacking in the manners,»" Michelle says, giving him a smile as Harve makes his way out. He knows she'll be there in a moment. "I hope he did not make an entirely bad impression on you. He's a good man. Just somewhat like a bulldozer where a nudge would suffice, yes? Yes. And you stay here. Your results will only be a bit longer. And I want to make sure you get your medication before you leave."

There's just a gentle pat to his shoulder before she's moving out of the room as well. Lucky for him, it isn't long before the good news will get him a free pass out of the clinic. And no hospitals this time.

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