The Plague Den


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Scene Title The Plague Den
Synopsis Megan brings 4 sick kids to the Den. Melissa tries something new.
Date March 5, 2010

The Den

Getting them here has been a bit of a challenge. The redheaded nurse gets through the doors and she's got a little girl of about nine following her, holding the hand of a sobbing child who is perhaps six. Megan herself has a three-year old on each hip, a set of twins by the looks of them. And all of them are flushed hot with fever and unhappy. "C'mon, babies, hang in there," Megan cajoles gently. "Keep moving forward we're almost there. And then we'll get all settled in with juice and blankets and stories, okay?" She keeps her tone gentle and encouraging, but her face holds weariness as she herds the children in front of her.

Melissa is apparently doing an inventory of supplies when Megan arrives. Marking down what she needs, making sure stuff she thinks she'll use more is easily accessible. And there's a black medical mask hanging around her neck, just waiting to be pulled up to hide from evil GERMS. The unknown voice has her looking up, and when she sees the kids, her brows shoot up. "Ah…hi," she says, caught a little off guard.

"Hey," Meg greets the younger woman calmly. "Hangar said to head here when I reported that I had kids showing flu symptoms. They were all given the vaccine some time ago; part of the recalled batches." She stops moving as the two walking children huddle in behind her. "I'm Megan Young. Roving medical personnel. You're Melissa?"

Melissa gives the kids sympathetic looks, then nods as she tugs her mask up. Nope, no way is she getting sick. She can hardly run the Plague Den if she's got the plague. "Yep, that's me. Got some rooms set up on the second floor. You want 'em all in the same room, or in two rooms?" she asks, glancing over the kids.

"The same room will be fine," Megan replies. "They're used to each other." And they'll be able to keep the smaller kids calm that way. The redhead nudges the eldest child and says, "Hannah, take Jimmy and follow the nice lady, okay? I've got the girls." The two little ones in her arms both look beyond miserable, heads tucked on either of Megan's shoulders and thumbs in mouths. "This is Lila and Lori," she gestures with an arm toward each. "And Scott thought I might be of more use to you here than anywhere else right now. Can you use the extra hands?" She smiles a bit.

Melissa laughs softly as she gathers up a pile of blankets and starts leading the way into the tenement building and up to the second floor. "Oh, with four kids here? Yes, I definitely could use the extra hands. I'm afraid I've not dealt too much with kids," she admits. She opens the door into one of the rooms, one with two beds, and moves inside, dropping blankets on each of the beds, then starting to spread them out. "I've got plenty of soup, crackers, over the counter flu meds, vitamins…And lots of tissues downstairs. Oh, and juice, water and gatorade too."

There's a slight nod as Megan herds her charges to follow Melissa and she murmurs softly, "There are at least three more that I suspect we'll be bringing in over the next couple of days." She pauses. "I assume you're Evo, yes?"

Melissa nods and taps the mask covering her face. "That's why this. And why I won't be touching anyone without gloves and sanitizer on hand. I'm guessing you're not, though?"

"No," Megan says with a faint smile. "And I had all my innoculations and what have you for this season, so I should be in the clear. I'm trying to avoid the masks around the small ones. The two doctors who've been treating my kids, though, are both Evolved as well."

"I'd avoid the masks if I could, but I won't be much good here if I get sick too," Melissa says, sounding genuinely apologetic. She looks at the kids thoughtfully. "I didn't even think that I'd be getting kids here. I don't have any toys or anything. I'll get some later today though. Or books? I don't know. What do they like?"

"I'll talk to Scott about getting some televisions and kids' DVDs and such in here. Coloring books. Storybooks." Megan considers as she moves to set the small girls on her hips down. They're getting really heavy. Then she settles down onto their bed — they'll clearly be sharing one — and holds both while Jimmy climbs in her lap and Hannah stands nervously by.

"I can help too," the child volunteers, though she looks exhausted. The illness is taking its toll on all the little ones.

Megan says, "Anything that keeps them from moving around too much is good. They need rest, but it's hard with such small ones."

Melissa nods. "I'll see what I can find. Maybe, for the older kids, I can pick up one of those handheld video games or something. Anyway…Wanna get them settled, and I'll pop downstairs to bring some more things up for them?"

"Absolutely," Megan replies calmly. There will be time for herself and Melissa to talk more a bit later. Right now, she's got her hands full with the small ones, though truth be told, they'll probably be asleep by the time Melissa gets back.

Melissa smiles, though it's hard to tell with the mask covering so much of her face, then she slips quietly out of the room. While Megan deals with the kiddos, Mel is getting some saltines and juice, a few more blankets, and a couple boxes of kleenex, bringing them all back up to the room, somehow managing not to drop it all.

When the other woman comes back in, Hannah is curled up on a cot with Jimmy. She's simply sitting quietly while he lays there, almost asleep. Megan herself is lying down with her head on one arm while she curls her body around the two smallest children, who are both crashed out and fretful even in their sleep. Each has a tiny hand curled into Meg's clothes as if to make sure she doesn't leave them. When Melissa comes back, Megan looks up and smiles a little. "Their parents were killed at Beach Street," she murmurs softly of the two littlest ones. She's got a special place in her heart for these two, though all of her kids are special.

Melissa's face, what can be seen of it anyway, softens and she nods as she looks over the twins. "Poor kids. What about the older two?" she asks softly, trying not to wake the younger two. A box of kleenex is set by each bed, blankets set on the foot of the beds, and the juice is poured into a plastic cup and offered to Hannah with a gloved hand.

Hannah pipes up, "My mom's just waiting on the next ride out — she's not Evo, but she's got a job that she doesn't want to leave til the last minute. We'll need the money to avoid my dad — if he figures out we're going before we're gone, it could be trouble." The elder child is wise far beyond her years, clearly having been on the streets before this. "Jimmy's parents are at the last safe house, and they're Evo so they can't come here."

Melissa nods to Hannah. "I hope your mom manages to avoid your dad. And that Jimmy's parents don't get sick. I don't want to see them until you're both all better," she says in a kind voice. She glances to Megan, then back to the girl. "How are you feeling?"

Megan strokes the back of one of the littler girls and she watches the interplay between Melissa and Hannah. The child doesn't trust easily, so she stays out of this to let Melissa build her own rapport.

Hannah hesitates and then shrugs. "Not as bad as Jimmy. Or Lila. But I ache a bit," she admits with a sigh. "And I'm really hot."

Melissa hesitates as well. "I'll get you some medicine, that'll make you feel cooler. And I'm going to try to make the ache go away, okay? I'll need to touch you though. Is that okay?" she asks, studying the girl intently.

The child hesitates, brown eyes on Melissa cautiously. She slants a look toward Megan, whose nod is simply encouraging. Hannah can choose to trust or not, either way Meg won't force it. But when the nurse does it, the child looks back at Melissa and nods slightly. "Okay."

Melissa nods, smiling again behind that mask of hers. Really, she needs to rethink the color since her first patients are all under the age of 10. "Tell me when it starts feeling better, okay?" she asks, and Megan, being an adult, might notice that Melissa is a little nervous herself. But surely she wouldn't do anything to risk a child, right? She draws in a slow, deep breath, and focuses on Hannah. When nothing happens after a minute, she slowly reaches one latex covered hand out, resting it lightly on the girl's forehead.

Melissa's brow is furrowed with concentration, since this is a new aspect of her power, not something she's practiced with as thoroughly as the other, and it takes effort. Even with the physical contact it takes a minute before the ache starts to subside, as if being drawn out of the girl slowly. But given the effort it takes, it also causes a small trickle of blood from Mel's nose, something that goes unnoticed for the moment.

Megan is watching carefully — not just Hannah, but Melissa as well. And the strain is telling, though the bloody nose is not. Meg slips off the bed where the twins sleep and moves over. When it appears that Melissa might be close to done, Megan says quietly, "I think you should go ahead and stop now." She narrows her blue eyes on Mel slightly, trying to determine whether Melissa's actually okay.

Melissa's eyes close for a moment, and she sways a touch before she steps back and nods. "Yeah…yeah, I think you're right," she murmurs. Those blue eyes open and settle on Hannah. "Feel better?"

Hannah looks surprised and then nods. "Yeah. Thanks," she offers. With the aches finally easing, she lays down next to Jimmy and snuggles up with the little boy. Megan, meanwhile, gently nudges Melissa backward toward the hall. There's concern in her gaze. "What kind of toll is that taking on you?" she asks in a calm tone. Because there clearly is one.

Melissa lets herself be nudged after she takes off the gloves and tosses them in the trash, grabbing a bottle of hand sanitizer as she explains. "It's…hard. This is a new thing for me," she admits. "Was only suggested to me earlier this week that I could reverse my ability to take pain from people. It's like trying to breathe water when you're used to breathing nothing but air," she says, voice soft, wiping the back of her hand over the blood on her upper lip. She leans against the wall, eyes closing. "But if it makes those kids in there feel a little better, I'll do it. It should get easier with more practice though." And apparently it was enough effort that she's forgetting to be closed-mouthed about things!

Megan studies her closely and nods. "Let me know if it doesn't get easier. We'll save that talent for the people who are worst off, okay?" She looks around and sighs. "While they're sleeping, I'm going to take the opportunity to head home and catch a shower and a nap, okay? Hannah will be able to calm the girls if they panic when they wake. I'll be back as quick as I can. I just… haven't slept much." Catnaps here and there. She needs a solid couple of hours. "Can you handle them til I get back with some things for them? I'll stop by the Hangar on my way and let them know what we need."

Melissa glances towards the room and nods. "Yeah, I can take care of them. Though for their sakes, I hope they sleep right through it," she says with a faint smile. "You go do what you need. And if you want, you're welcome to take a room for yourself for as long as you need. So you can be close to the kids."

The redhead nods. "I will. I'll bring back my gear for the long haul when I come back." She smiles at Melissa. "Nice to meet you, Melissa. And thanks." She turns on a heel and heads out, her phone already in her hand as she starts making calls to the Hangar.

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