doyle_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif

Scene Title Trauma
Synopsis An outbreak of scarlet fever at a Ferryhouse on Staten Island leads to complications of many different kinds.
Date November 15, 2009

Staten Island — A Ferryhouse

As temperatures plummet, illnesses spike — it's an ancient correlation responsible for old wives' tales about children catching pneumonia if they linger in the cold and damp for too long. In reality, cold, wet air does nothing to promote or bring on a case of pneumonia; complications that arise from scarlet fever, however, do. Outbreaks of sickness in Ferryhouses where room is limited and the accommodations cramped are not uncommon, and most of the time these outbreaks pass without incident, but a recent spate of the disease on Staten Island has left one child dead and several others in critical condition as they battle rheumatic fever, pneumonia and infections of the middle ear.

A drizzle tinkles against the safehouse's second-story windows in the room where the patients are housed, two to a bed and bundled in layers of thick quilts and blankets to protect them from the chill. A steam radiator positioned under the sill distributes just enough warmth for their caretakers to move between them dressed in heavy clothes and facemasks designed to prevent the spread of infection. They're in desperate need of antibiotics that the network currently does not have on hand, which means there's not much anyone can do except make them comfortable and hope the serious symptoms abate before their lives do.

Bundled up in her leather jacket still, a beanie pulled down over her ears, long blonde hair sticking out at odd angles from under it, Kaylee sits on the edge of a bed, looking concerned as she help one of the children with a bland soup, thankful for the masks that at least helps somewhat against the sick smell in the room. "I know your tummy isn't too happy with you, but we have to get this down you." A hand reaches to brush at dark hair clinging to a sweat slick forehead of the child. She came to help, to distract her from the worry and guilt tearing at her own gut. It's hard to think about everything else when children are very ill.

In one of those heavy clothes and face masks is Meredith. Though she isn't what one would call 'motherly' or even good at caring for children, the Ferryhouses is a little lacking in help at the moment and she needs a few things to keep her mind off of current events. So, that's why she finds herself helping sick kids in Staten Island. Fluffing pillows and airing out blankets, the blonde frowns behind her mask to see the children with such high fevers and in such discomfort. While she may not be the best at taking care of others, she's doing her best. "This is ridiculous," she mutters to no one in particular. "We need to get these kids medicine."

"We sent a runner to St. Luke's to ask after Megan," says Eileen from behind her mask as she helps one of the older boys peel off his sweatshirt over his head. A red rash with the texture of sandpaper covers his chest and abdomen, rubbed raw by the garment's woolen fibers, and gives his torso the appearance of a malformed strawberry with peeling skin. "Humanis hit us hard when they took Sonny." Because took is a kinder word than killed in the company of tiny pink ears straining to eavesdrop on the adults' hushed conversation. "There aren't enough doctors to go around, and not everyone's as willing as you two to come all the way out here. Some of our operatives won't even set foot on the island."

A pale mask covers the lower face of a man who comes up from the ground floor, the eyes above it heavy-lidded and uncertain. A duffle bag loaded, presumably, with medical supplies rests in Eric Doyle's arms, the weight of it slowing him down as he lumbers along into the room of the infirm and ill. "I've got some more… uh, stuff," he announces, the fat man hesitating in the doorway, "I'm not sure what it is, they just asked me to carry it over, ah— where should I put it?"

Glancing up from her patient, Eileen can't see the sad smile behind Kaylee's mask. "I'm already living out here… sorta… Until McRae decides I wore out my welcome." Not to mention it's a relief to get away from the depressing thoughts of the others, since the trial certain people have been thinking much louder then others. "Plus… It's… you know.. kids." She murmurs, glancing over at some of the others little ones. "Sucks they gotta go through this sorta thing." Doyle's arrive gets another mask blocked grin. "Hey you.. glad to see you show up.. kids could probably use a story."

"Hmph." Obviously, Meredith thinks that runner should hurry the hell up as kids are dying here. "Staten Island doesn't scare me any." After being a part of the criminal element, it's easier to keep out of it's way. Plus, she has a pretty useful ability to scare people away from her. At the mention of Humanis killing Sonny, the already annoyed blonde woman just barely bites back a fresh string of swears. The thought of turning Danko over to the authorities isn't exactly what she wants to do. "And soon they'll get back one more of their own," she huffs. Even after her talk with Joseph, she still feels the way she does. Seeing as this is the third time Meredith and Kaylee have found themselves in the same company in a short amount of time, the firestarter gives her a studying glance. "That's right, I remember you sayin' something about that sometime." Doyle's arrival is masked by pulling the covers up around a coughing child. A good thing, too, because if she recognized Doyle immediately, she would have run out the door without bothering to explain.

Doyle's arrival sees a stir of life rustle through some of the smaller children, packaged like Matryoshka dolls in layer after layer of clothes, necks stiff with the effort required to move them as they crane eager faces to get a look at the "puppet man". Just a few weeks ago, some of them were running wild through the Lighthouse the night before Halloween, wiping snot-streaked noses on costume sleeves and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They're glad for Doyle's presence, and Kaylee's too — here are people they recognize, adults in positions of authority who are probably the closest thing they have to parental figures in the perturbing absence of their mothers and fathers.

It's not that Meredith and Eileen go ignored, but the promise of a story — an honest to God story that doesn't involve piteous looks or a whitewashed retelling of events happening outside the safehouse walls — is worth squeezing open their eyes for.

"Over here," Eileen says to Doyle. "I'll take a look."

A smile manages to curve to Doyle's lips, visible only due to the mask by the subtle wrinkles that dig into the flesh about his eyes as muscles draw to the unfamiliar expression. "Sure, sure," he allows, shuffling over along towards the slender woman that's practically the exact opposite of him in every physical way, shifting the weight of the heavy bag in his arms and reaching over to thump it onto one of the tables near the bed, stepping back and rubbing his hands together once he's free of the weight. "Whew," he jokes, "Talk about a work…"

"…out." His head's already turning with a sudden furrowing of his high browline, having heard a familiar voice, albeit one that he hasn't heard in a long time, stirring the parts of his memory he's been doing his best to ignore in more recent days. No. She couldn't be here, or now. Right?

Making sure the kid is sipping soup well on his own Kaylee gets up from her spot and moves to pull the covers up on another child, who has been thrashing around. Tucking it in gently so as not to wake the child, she moves to join Eileen and Doyle, glancing at the supplies. "Anything good? Maybe at least some more kids Tylenol and such? Helps with the fevers at least." She leans over to nudges Doyle with an elbow. "You'll live.. The exercise will do you good, big guy. You've been holed up in the house way too long."

As the children start to rustle and bustle themselves up to catch a look at Doyle, Meredith stands up from the bed she was sitting on the edge of to put a hand on her hip. "What's got ya'll in such a twitter?" Glancing about, she catches the puppet master's ample form and her face turns white. The voice, the figure, the face. That's Eric Doyle all right. And she's trapped on the opposite side of the room. The questions start to rush through her head, ironically very similar to the same questions going through Doyle's. He couldn't be here, not now, not at a Ferryhouse. She can already feel her hands heating up in anticipation and she quickly grasps them in front of her in an attempt to keep them out of the way of the already fever-ridden children. She needs to calm down; there are children here and people trying to help them. Doyle is not the only person in the room.

Oh. It is her. Doyle's eyes widen into pale circles above the edge of the surgical mask that he's wearing during that half-moment that he meets the eyes of the blonde across the room. "…Meredith?" It's a whisper against the papery fabric of the mask, quiet and relatively startled, the hand resting against the duffle bag's fabric that he just set down trembles momentarily, fingers crawling upwards of their own accord as he resists his initial impulse. There's other people here— well, honestly deep down he doesn't care about Kaylee and Eileen being witness to anything, but the kids are here. They don't deserve to be traumatized, they're already sick!

Glancing up from looking over Eileen's shoulder Kaylee's brows lift. "You two know each other?" She asks curiously, straightening. It's hard not to notice some reactions between the two, her eyes narrowing slightly. "And somehow…. I don't think that's a good thing." She murmurs softly, where only Eileen and maybe Doyle and hear the softly spoken words.

"You stay away from me." It's out before she can stop herself. That should answer the question posed by Kaylee. Her eyes take in the movement of his fingers and hand - knowing full well what he can do with those - and she takes an involuntary step backward. The last time the two of them met, she was held captive by him until the Company took him and saved her. That is not a situation she wants to find herself in ever again. The other woman is quite right in thinking this is not a good thing. Not a good thing at all as far as Meredith is concerned. She regains her composure, but the hot hands have yet to abate. Not yet, not until she's sure she's completely out of danger. "I gotta get outta here."

To say that Eileen is entirely oblivious to the impending conflagration in her peripheral would be inaccurate. Her brow knits faintly at the tone of Doyle's voice, muffled though it is by his mask. Any doubts she might've had about the situation's potential to swing south are banished when Kaylee makes her astute observation. As she unzips the duffle and begins categorizing its contents — ointment, salve, additional bottles of child's aspirin, soothing lotion and ibuprofen — she glances over at Meredith, regarding the other woman with quiet scrutiny.

She isn't the only one. The boy with the chest rash, sans sweatshirt, looks between firestarter and puppeteer with a quizzical expression on his face, eyes rimmed in pink, rumpled nose caked with crusty discharge. "Is something wrong?" he wants to know, his voice a croak.

"Meredith," Eileen cuts in, meanwhile. "There aren't any antibiotics here. If I give you a list of medicine, would you and Kaylee visit Dr. Filatov in the Rookery for me? I'd go myself, but I have other errands that I need to run."

Those curt words actually cause Doyle to flinch, as if the syllables alone had struck across his cheek as surely as an open hand. "Meredith," he says quickly, almost desperately as one hand raises in the direction of the woman as she takes a step back, those fingers crooking in their tell-tale manner, "Meredith, wait, don't— "

It's not Eileen's words, but those of the little boy that cause him to halt, an uncertain glance led to his face, where those crusty stains mark his upper lip and his expression confused. The tip of his tongue moves over his lips for a moment in silence, and then he steps over with a shake of his head, "No, no, it's, uh. It's alright! So! Who, uh, who wants to hear a story, hm?"

"Sounds like a great idea to me." Kaylee states backing up Eileen's suggestion, a glance to her she adds for only Eileen. I'll see if I can get her to talk about it. See if I can get an idea what's up. Does no good to have problems within the group. Blue eyes glance to Meredith, then to Doyle.. Her tone is bright as she agrees with Doyle. "That's right.. Nothing wrong." She rests a hand on Doyle's shoulder and leans there for a moment as she addresses the kids. Course, Kaylee had mentioned a buddy of her's the first time they met. "Yes! I think it's story time. I'm jealous.. I get to miss it." She makes sure there is a pout in her voice.

The last thing that Meredith wants to do is to placate the kids that have brought her into contact with Eric Doyle again, but she realizes that these are sick kids that are already scared. Keeping her hands tucked against herself, she doesn't touch anyone or anything in fear that it will hurt or burn someone or something up. Her eyes narrow at the touch that Kaylee gives to Doyle and realizes that this woman isn't someone she can trust. "No, nothing is wrong," she hisses at Eileen, softer, but not convincingly. Louder, she adds, as brightly as she can, which isn't very bright, "Be good kids." That's all she can manage.

Then comes the awkward stride past Doyle. She doesn't look at him and she attempts to stay as far away from him as she passes. Without waiting for Kaylee, she's out the door. She knows where the Rookery is and if Kaylee wants to hold up and stay behind with her creepy buddy, then she can do that. As for Meredith? She's out of there.

Eileen scratches the tip of a ballpoint pen against a pad of paper, rips off the topmost sheet, folds it between two of her fingers and offers it to Kaylee as Meredith is excising herself from the situation. And just in case the blonde can't read her handwriting: Orelox and Cefzil, she says, skimming her thoughts across the surface of Kaylee's consciousness. They're second-generation cephalosporins used to treat pneumonia. If you can get him to come down here and take a look at the children himself, I'd appreciate it. We used to work together.

As for whatever relationship exists between Doyle and Meredith, she gives an affirmative tip of her chin. Please.

In their beds, the children who are capable work themselves into sitting positions. Those who aren't have their heads propped up by their bedmates, matchstick thin bodies pulled against each other, pillows wedged between necks and headboards to provide support. Others are too sick to even roll over and curl fingers in their bedsheets instead, content to listen and snuggle against the warmth of cotton quilts as though the patchwork fabric might soak some of their discomfort away.

She walks past, and Eric's head turns ever so slightly to watch her go over the round of his shoulder, his gaze trailing in her wake with a look that's a mingling of yearning, guilt— and a hint of smoldering anger in the twitch of his cheek. Just a heartbeat, before he turns away with a grimace hidden only by the mask. The touch of Kaylee's hand is acknowledged, but he says nothing, merely pulling himself away from the bed and shuffling an uneven step into the midst of the room, hands clapping together sharply.

"So, kids," he calls out, forcing his voice cheery, "What sort of story do you want to hear, hm? Or should it be a surprise?"

"Shit.." Kaylee murmurs as the other woman speeds out of the room, giving a heavy sigh she lets her hand drop and she gives Doyle a look. "You and I.. are gonna have a talk later." That's a promise. She glanced around Doyle to Eileen and moves to take the list a nod to what is mentally stated. Got it. A salute is given with the paper, before she rips off the mask and hurries after the blonde firestarter. "Meredith.. Hold up." Can be heard shouted as she works to catch up.

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