Something Good in Our Lives


abby_icon.gif caliban_icon.gif

Scene Title Something Good in Our Lives
Synopsis Caliban spends the night at Abigail's bedside during her brief stay at St. Luke's.
Date September 15, 2010

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.

Air pushes through vents, people occasionally walk along the halls, the white soles of nurses shoes squeaking along the linoleum that coats the floors and monitor's beep away in their respective rooms in the early hours of the day. Outside the window, the world moves on, the moon slinking towards the horizon in preparation of giving up the ghost to the sun even as Abigail's laying on her side in the hospital bed, sheets and cotton blanket covering up to her waist, hospital gown loose and drab about her, blue eyes settled on Caliban like they've been for the last few minutes, watching him silently.

It's not every day that someone gets electrocuted by a 'Homeland' Agent, and with the admission to the hospital, there would be possibly grave consequences. The light behind the bed is turned on, a private room fought for when she'd woken up. There will be cops to talk to when dawn comes and they see fit to send someone, and a great fear of possibly stuck in jail, or darkholed. She's very much afraid of being dark holed and never heard from again. Which could and likely accounts for why Caliban was allowed to stay the night despite the status of their relationship only being significant other and not husband.

The monitor beeps away, the blonde uncomfortable but not so much as to hit a button and ask for drugs. Not yet. "I could just get up. I could just walk out. I could sneak out and I could just… go to the Ferry" She's been mulling over what she's going to do. "He said it was always an option. Go underground" But even she knows it's not an option. Not one that she would take other than a last resort.

"You'd lose everything," Caliban feels compelled to remind her, though his voice is strangely soft when he says it. Draped over the back of his chair next to Abby's bedside is his suit jacket, cellphone off in one of its pockets. The sleeves of his dress shirt are rolled all the way up to his elbows, his collar and tie loose, topmost buttons undone to reveal a sliver of downy blond chest hair that hasn't gone as gray as his beard or temples but is starting to get there.

"For what it's worth," he adds, leaning back in his seat, "I've seen the registry, and there people on it with more dangerous abilities than what you have." He scrubs his hand along his jaw. "You're not going anywhere except home. You're too high profile."
"You've seen the registry?"

But then again, look who he is. Robert Caliban and the very act is named after his boss. He'd seen the police file on her post staten Island. Would she be too public to up and snatch. It's really quite possible, but Parkman's words still haunt her from the last time she was in a hospital. "You're right though. I don't want to loose everything. I don't think I could take loosing everything."

That he came out, and sat here with her through the night meant a great more than maybe he could imagine, and that she appreciated, knowing full well that he was busy. The fine art of making time in two different worlds for each other is a dance they have at least managed the last half year. "It's not what I do, but how I came around to being able to do it Robert" A little vial with red liquid. "I need a lawyer, won't I. Shouldn't I. I should call Cat unless you know someone better suited" It's his world that lawyers swim around in. "Detective Nash is going to just… I feel bad for him"

"Chesterfield's a good lawyer," Caliban agrees, letting his hand fall back to his thigh, the tips of his fingers loosely curled. "And course I have. Enough times to know that there aren't any other documented cases of someone manifesting an ability, losing it, and then manifesting something else. No precedent. Play dumb, Abigail — tell them about the formula and no one's going to believe you."

Except, maybe, the Institute. He doesn't say this, not out loud, but his solemn expression and the tired creases around his pale blue eyes are a reminder of what's possible. If he thought she was completely safe, he wouldn't be here. "Nash can take care of himself. He knew what he was getting into."

"No, they won't believe me" Play dumb. She could do that. She's got the accent and the blonde hair. A history of co-operating with the authorities to the degree that she's not even paying income tax. "Play dumb, that I don't know why it's showing up evolved? That I haven't felt anything different? play it off like I've not even re-manifested?" To pull it off… she may frankly truly need Cat to help her. Speak for her even. Cat was better at flat out lying than Abigail was.

"How's Mister Linderman?" Changing the subject. "Is he going to be okay? Is there anything that I can do for him, for you, when this mess is all over?" Abigail's fingers creep forward to come to a rest on the edge of the bed, not daring to touch him because of the clash of abilities but the intention and meaning behind it clear. Shoulders are rolled, a wince at the tightness of skin and scrunching up of her nose. "You know what? My wings are damaged now. That's really what I hate about this all. My poor wings!"

"Things are progressing quickly," is all Caliban has to say about Linderman. At first. His lips go thin, mouth flat, and he shifts his gaze past Abigail to the hospital window and her reflection in the glass. "I'm worried about November and what the visions mean, but I've done all that I can do, am taking all the steps there are to be taken — I only need you to know that if anything happens between then and now, I want you to keep your head down. Stay safe. You and your wings.

"Do you remember when I disappeared to Nevada?"

"Pretty hard to forget" Caliban saw something? She hadn't thought to ask him if he had or not. "You went out, bodies had surfaced in the desert, and shortly after, you went out. I'm not stupid, I know Mister Linderman has a facade that he shows. He's a mobster, you're his left hand and right hand."

Abigail shifts again, bringing legs up so she can turn, sit up carefully, stringing leads and lines around so she can slide her pale legs over the side. Not an invalid, only here for overnight observation, she's careful in her actions. "I'll be parked with Delilah, near a hospital, so that she's not giving birth to Walter in a broken store front and I told Trevor to go away, take vacation so that he won't break his neck. Do I need to be somewhere else Robert?"

"I didn't see anything," Caliban clarifies. "Everything I've heard is second hand, but it's not something that just happens overnight, is it? Political climates change. The balance of power shifts. Listen to me." And he keeps his eyes on Abigail's reflection rather than risk glancing back at Abigail herself. "I have investments in Las Vegas. Personal ones. When I left, it wasn't only for Linderman. I was trying to protect myself as well."

He watches the show of her back in the glass, the patches of gauze taped over skin where Elle's ability came in contact, feathers from wings, the image imbedded in her skin by unconventional means that will grow back and the same pigmentation that was there before, show again. The flare of hips that give way to low thread count sheets and blankets. She watches him back, resting her hands on her knee's, fingers toying with the hem of the blanket and listening like he asks.

"A few weeks before Thomas— my son—" Caliban falters, then. His voice suddenly going tight, strangled by a fatty lump of something in his throat. A deep breath steadies him and he leans further forward in his seat by the bed, hands locked with long fingers interlaced. "Mr. Linderman made me an offer. I wasn't interested at the time, but the man he sent persisted. I told him to leave, threatened the police. He harassed my wife. Waited outside my son's school so he could speak with me when I came to pick him up after his classes.

"The stress was too much for her. I offered to leave for a few weeks, use my work as an excuse to travel. There was an opportunity in Paris, just a quick hop across the water. I assumed he'd follow, but my assumption was wrong."

"There was an accident with the car. It was my fault. If I'd been there, or accepted the offer sooner—" Caliban's mouth splits around a shaky smile. "We separated a few months after the funeral, and a few months after that she had another child. Wouldn't say whether or not he was mine, so. I left. It wasn't until years later that Linderman sought me out again. Personally offered me the job of the man who'd broken apart my family on the condition I saw to it that he disappeared. He'd been robbing the old man behind his back.

"The bodies in Vegas, Abigail. My work."

"Well Robert" Abigail speaks after sitting a moment in silence after the confession. There's another minute of silence. "I sure as sin didn't think that you were innocent, when you offered to help me bury a skeleton, and then proceeded to instruct me on the where's and how's" She points out, voice low. "Nor when I came to you for help in finding Tyler Case and there is not a person in this town who thinks that you are a shining saint" If she wasn't sure how bad it would be, there'd be a hand cupping the side of his jaw, making him look at her. "You're hands aren't clean. I knew that already. I'm sorry, about your son, I really am, no one should outlive their child. It's unnatural"

Caliban pries his hands apart and drags fingers through his hair, head bowed until Abigail is tilting his head up with her hand. Although he isn't crying, his eyes are bloodshot, and their rims very pink. His hands find her wrists and close fingers around the thinnest point of her arms. "I'm not the man you think I am," he croaks out hoarsely, his grip tightening to the point of trembling. "I'm not clean. I haven't been clean. I'm breaking into pieces and no one knows."

"None of us are clean anymore Robert, been a long time since even I felt clean" Free hand helps to gather up lines and leads, so she can awkwardly slip off the bed, and ease down onto his lap as gently as she can, fuck that it hurts. "You're not alone Robert, I know. You're not disappearing, you're not going to fade away and I will sit with a barrel of super glue and I will put the pieces back together even if the cracks show Robert, I won't care, not in the least."

Saline brims in her's, glimmering in the dim light of the room even as breath hitches. "I won't let you fade away, you're telling me now, right here in this hospital room. You have a witness to your existence Robert. I know what you do, what I only wish I could have done to Logan, but couldn't and wouldn't let others do it and I know that you are Robert, my Robert, flaws and past and… You're his right hand and you are dangerous and you are everything that my friends tell me to run away from and.."

Without wrapping his arms around her, her hands still clasped in his, Caliban rests the top of his head against Abigail's shoulder and squeezes his eyes shut. His face buries itself in her neck, the heat of his breath rippling over her skin, and when he breathes in again he fills himself with the smell of her. "Every day," he mutters against her collarbone, "I look in the mirror and my face isn't my face."

"What do you want to do then?" She rests her chin against his crown, when she breaths out it ruffles hair and she's inhaling deep of him too. She doesn't shut her eyes though, just looks at the wall and the shadows cast there by the light from in and outside the room. "We can go away, we can walk away Robert. We can pull up stakes, go to England. Go the UK, or Italy, or some place where they don't register people, and we can… you can find yourself again, find Robert. I can teach you Italian we can open a bakery in some little hovel town and no one will know us, we'll just be Abigail and Robert, and we can.. we can be.." What could they be.

"We could be happy Robert"

Caliban's blunt fingernails bite into the softer skin on the inside of Abigail's wrists. His breathing grows hard and haggard. Wet. Wordlessly, he lifts his head and captures her mouth with his in a rough kiss that doesn't last any longer than the short amount of time it takes to taste what he can smell. Lips seek out her chin, jaw, nose. "I love you," he breathes into her hair. "I love you, but I can't."

Soft beeping in the background increases, nary a hitch to the beat, just the increased pace that maybe in a while, someone might come investigate if it stays like that. Feet anchor around one of his legs, one of the chair legs, fingers clinging to the back of his neck when she moves her hands there, not trying to shake off his touch. "I love you too" Murmured into scruff, returning fever ant kisses each one a fraction warmer than it's previous, against whatever skin it is that is exposed to her lips. "I love you no matter Robert. Whether here, Vegas, Some little hovel, or my couch or sitting beside my hospital bed or… or in my bar and telling me I don't deserve my privacy" SHe's going to join him in crying, or whatever passes for Caliban weeping over what he's become and children buried six feet under and how they came to be who they are today. "Then, we'll stay here and we'll try to be happy here. We'll carve it out where we can and steal it where we can and I'll, we'll survive what's coming, even if we have to hunker down in the wine vault in twenty-one and live off cans of caviar and bottles of wine and double malt whiskey that's twenty years old, till november eighth passes"

Unable to speak, Caliban can only duck his head in a sharp nod at Abigail's heartfelt words. What part of her decree he's agreeing with isn't clear, or if he even agrees at all — it's impossible for her to tell with his face angled away from her and his cheek pressing against her cheek. He raises both his knees to rock her forward, releases his hold on her wrist and encircles her tiny waist in her arms, pulling her into him.

The only audible response he has is a husky sound he makes at the back of his throat, close to her ear, as though there's more he means to say but isn't physically capable of.

Her body pressing against his is enough reassurance for now.

She's going to get comfortable, find a spot where back and chest don't hurt or protest too much. Swing her legs carefully over the arm of the chair so that they dangle and let him hold her. Something he needs, something she's been craving for ages now. No shushing sounds or attempts to smother whatever lingers in his throat and in his chest. On palm curled at the back of his head, using the hair as cushion, barrier between skin, resting her head on his shoulder.

"Marry me Robert. We can go get a licence, and we can get married by a justice of the peace. All quiet like and no fuss. For once, something in our lives with no fuss. You won't fade away or break apart, you'll have me to stay clung to. I'll buy you a ring and I'll make you an honest man"

Silence settles over the room, broken by the intermittent rasp of Caliban's breathing, shaky and thin. He is suddenly very still. Abigail will feel the fingers at the base of her spine tense and his arms become rigid, muscules taut. When he swallows, the lump in his throat moves against her chin.

"No," he groans, voice low and crackling, "I will."

Buy the ring, he means.

"Nothing big. I don't like big. I like… I like simple, and sensible and … You'll pick right, I'm sure" She's sure. Very sure. "This weekend, this week, just quiet, I'll go buy something white, and simple and… we'll have something good in our lives, each other, no matter what we do, no matter how the days and months turn out, we'll have something good. I promise" A glance up skyward.

No clouds, no cleansing rain, no vast blue emptiness to reaffirm that promise.

Fluorescent lights instead. A flat ceiling. Caliban's arms constrict around Abigail's middle, crushing her to him.

If he promises too, he does it with a hard groan.

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