What Grows


francois_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title What Grows
Synopsis Megan and Francois cultivate an organic approach to medicine.
Date May 2, 2011

Pollepel Island

It’s another cloudy morning outside the castle, but Megan is taking the opportunity to finish putting in the last of her flat of strawberry plants. The knees of her jeans are damp and dirty, the gray sweatshirt she’s wearing just enough to keep her warm without making her overheated in the overcast weather. She sent word to Francois Allegre that she was going to be scouting some locations this afternoon for herbs, and asked if he had the time to meet her near the south side of the structure that she’s been calling home for months now.

It's his first day back since he left not so long ago, one of those rarities who has family outside the bounds of Pollepel Island. Since the twin attacks to reclaim their own, only to return with their hands empty or variously bloodied. On both counts, the plans would have worked. They would have been successful. And Francois has had the right amount of weed, wine and marriage proposal to try and stop thinking about the soldiers who died, since then.

Moving down the uneven ground of rural New York island, a hand dips beneath the fold of his coat as if light pressure could soothe the twinge of still healing ribs, but he's mobile, more so than when he was last here. Face clean of his bruises. Healthy, in denim and leather and light wools.

He makes his presence known to her, though, with a few seed packets tossed onto the ground just by her knees. Goldenrod, black cohosh, wild indigo, milkweed — specifically asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, which is important, seeing as there are other kinds that are poisonous. "These are seasonal, to be planted. They treat flu symptoms, mainly coughs, fevers. I believe I can obtain some fresh plants for planting, as well. How are you today?"

Megan looks up as the packets drop next to her, a smile slipping across her face as she sees him. “Francois,” she greets easily. “It’s good to see you.” She moves to wipe her dirty hands on her jeans and picks up the packets of seeds, looking them over. She’s curious. “I’m afraid I don’t know a thing about treating illnesses with homeopathic and herbal remedies. Are they all to be brewed into teas?” she asks. She levers herself to her feet with a soft groan. A lot of bending down this week has given her a few aches and pains in her back. “I wish now I’d gone into friggin’ acupuncture or Native American medicine or something,” she admits.

"Tea is a good idea," Francois says, a hand going out to help her to stand. "And simple to make. Or we can use steam, depending on the symptoms. We can otherwise make tinctures for topical use, if we have any ethanol lying around. We will have to exercise caution for allergies and dosages, but that is the same way for real medicine, oui? I have some notes written, for reference."

Hands tucking back into his pockets, he gives a shrug. "It is not my field, but there is a man on the mainland who sells— alternative things, and has literature on it. He is also a doctor, so. I thought it a reliable source. Otherwise, we could rob a pharmacy. That maybe be an extreme measure."

Megan allows him to help her get upright, bending backward a bit to stretch out protesting lower back muscles. She nods to his information, replying quietly, “We can manage both teas and tinctures. I’m glad you found someone who is also a doctor, that makes me feel better.” She grimaces faintly. “Wish we had a couple of surgeons, but … we’ll make do. I’d rather not rob pharmacies too terribly often — it’s a move that they will anticipate if we do it too often.” Offering the man a quick smile suddenly, the redhead asks, “How’re you feeling? You’re moving pretty well all in all. Still sore, or has it mostly passed?”

"Sore, still," Francois says. "But only because I am used to healing swifter. You know I am a surgeon?"

A crooked smile for her, then, pacing a step leftwise. "I am without certificates, but I do have education. A few educations. If you need my help, I can be here as soon as I can. And— " He tips his head a little, a wince reading across his face. "I was joking, a little, about the pharmacies, but there are things herbs cannot do, that we will need. I have some surgical tools, at my home, but— " But he's not giving those up easily. "They come with me.

"But plasma and red blood, a system to keep them. Anaesthesia that does not need to be brewed. These are measures that are occasional but when they are necessary, they are very, and sometimes, there will be no choice but to come here."

“I didn’t know that,” Megan replies, surprised. “I’m sorry, Francois. I knew you were talented. I didn’t realize that you were actually trained as a surgeon.” She actually looks relieved by that information. “It’ll be good to have that available — I feel as if I’ve done a little butchering work, if you want the honest truth,” she admits, her smile rueful. But she’s done the best she can, and most seem happy enough with it.

She continues to hold the seeds, and then says, “I appreciate that you did the research on this. I didn’t want to just go sit in the library without having someone else check the work, you know? And that you found a doctor who knows for sure what the herbs do eases my mind considerably.” Megan pauses. “Are you doing well personally?” she asks curiously. She hasn’t been to the mainland in ages.

If he felt worse about lying in general, he might hastily correct her — as it stands, her statement is truth enough that Francois only smiles and splays his hand against apology. Being trained in a thing is not the same as an injection of psychic knowledge, but his time at St. Luke's will have to qualify enough. "His name is Constantine — he's helped me before, and Eileen knows him as well. I do not quite know if he is aware of the network, but I told him it was just a project I was exploring.

"As for myself? I am well. Healthy. Engaged." When he told Teo he would tell everyone, he didn't picture that the head of a terrorist medical branch would be first in line, but it seems more deceptive towards him than to Megan to omit this detail when asked how he's doing personally.

It's nice, also, when the truth is easy.

Megan looks surprised. “Engaged?” She seems… flummoxed for a moment, and then grins at him. “Well, hell, Francois…. that’s the best news I’ve heard in months,” she tells him warmly. God knows, it’s been a hell of a few months out on the island, and it might be the first bit of truly good news the redhead’s actually been privy to aside from the recovery of the people who had the deadly flu this year. “I’m very happy for you. Both of you. Congratulations.” She looks down and her smile remains. “Life finds a way,” she murmurs appreciatively.

When she looks back up at him, Megan gestures. “Want to help put some of these in the ground?” There’s room in the patch she was using for the last of the strawberries she had with her to put some of the herbs. And they’ll look more ‘natural’ placed around the place.

Hey he knows that line. If there's any trace of pop culture that Francois has at his fingertips in immediate recollection, it would be the films he missed and caught up on, Jurassic Park being one. And other silly, adventure movies. He doesn't have too much imagination, in that sense, so it's nice when it's played out in front of him in HD. These tangents and more when he's pleased, and he is — one can tell from crooked grin getting suppressed, pinched at the corners. "Thank you," he says, simply. Weirdly proud.

It's an accomplishment, probably, to find something good and honest. Or Francois will take it as one. "Sure. I am not good at gardening. Things that involve maintenance, that you cannot carry with you, but how hard can it be?

"Are you married?" He says this as he goes to take one of the seed packets, flipping it around because maybe it has instructions? Like pot noodles. He also doesn't note whether or not she has a ring, when he asks this — if she doesn't, it could easily be because she took it off in preparation to get her hands dirty.

“It’s not too hard,” Megan replies with a grin. “I’m not much of a gardener myself, but the directions on the back of that one — ” she points to the envelope in his hands, “ — say that it’ll do well in the same kind of sunlight that Ryans had me putting the berries in, so hey… we’ll try it.” She looks around the patch of newly planted strawberries and points to the left. “There. That should be a big enough spot. I’ll dig, you can drop the seeds in.” Because he’s not already grungy and that’s the clean part!

As she takes her trowel over to the indicated area, Megan shrugs just a hint. There’s a flash of sadness to her expression as she replies, though her tone is even. The loss was long enough now that it merely brings a pang. “I’m not. Thought I might finally take the plunge a couple of years ago, but… he was killed out on Staten.” She lowers herself to her knees and uses the trowel to start breaking up the damp ground. There’s genuine curiosity in her tone when she speaks again. “Leaving aside the fact that you’ve found love and happiness in the current time, which I think would make anyone happy… are you glad that you were pulled out of your own time, Francois?” She doesn’t know a lot about his story except that he once hosted the same power that Abby had and that he’s from the past somehow.

Shredding open the packet along the helpful dotted line, Francois tips the little seeds into his palm, watching them gather along the lines and dips of his hand as he listens to her. He waits for her to turn up enough earth with which he can sow the herbs, before crouching down, unsure about parking a knee into the black soil to balance and littering the seeds along the trench as the packet instructs those of no green thumb.

"I'm sorry for your loss," he says, a sidelong glance to her. "When you live long, or at all, it is inevitable to experience. I didn't as much as some expect, in my time — I moved a lot, left people behind. Except for a couple of times." His head tilts, dismissive. He hasn't talked about those things with anyone outside of Teodoro. Not even his rescuers, Eileen and Abby, or his factions.

He leans, patting down the soil, his hands clean enough that the dirt tumbles off when he lifts them again. "I like it here. I left home myself, in the late forties, and since then, no time or place has been mine. There are people here who have made this my home now. Besides, I got all the way into the nineties before I went time traveling, so it is not so different."

“Thank you,” Megan says quietly of his condolence. She smiles faintly. “I’ve buried a good number of friends and colleagues. The more recent ones are… harder in many ways,” she admits as her hands continue the work in front of them. She seems to be settling into a rhythm with him. Stab, stab to loosen the earth, dig the trench a good few inches down, move on to let him plant while she goes to the next spot. “The military and the ER are quite alike. Being here is… I’m more connected to them. So when I can’t help them, I feel… like I’m failing them.” But she’s pretty sure he understands that thought quite well.

Glancing up at him, Megan offers with a casual grace. “I’m glad that you’re here. It’s a far more complicated world, but mostly I find the same things are still important. The people. And the ones that I’ve met here, the ones I’ve met through working with the Ferry? They’re pretty damn amazing ones. Yourself included.”

"Well, I am only here for the flattery," Francois says, the smile more evident in his voice than his expression as he sprinkles the next handful of seeds into the ground. "I used to think there would be no time quite like the decades that I saw, and so far, that is still the case. But." He crabs to the side to gargoyle crouch over the next little plot of earth, ruptured with Megan's spade, and dusts it with the last of the seeds of blooming herbs. "It is trying hard."

Smoothing the earth back over where the woman hasn't already with her tools.

Meg snorts a soft laugh. “Considering the world you saw? I’m thinking that is just plain not a compliment, Francois,” she retorts mildly. As the last of the seeds go in the ground, though, she sits back on her heels and looks at him. “And yet, for all the darkness, there’s hope. There are still children, there are still people out there who are just… doing the best they can with what they have. There are still people getting engaged. I think we’ll be okay,” she says quietly. Her eyes study him for a long moment. He seems as alone as she feels most of the time; somehow set apart even in the crowd around them. But of all of the people she sees, he is the one who brought hope. “Thank you for sharing your good news with me. I really needed it, Francois.”

"Then you are welcome. Thank you for not making it a selfish thing to say." Dusting his hands of both seed fibres and crumbled dirt, he pushes himself back up onto his feet, and any twinge his ribs give him is veiled or at least, something he's grown accustomed to enough to not grunt, wince, hesitate. He goes to help her up as well, a hand circled on her wrist so as to avoid the dirt that clings to gardening gloves, and Francois offers her a smile once they're standing.

He tilts his head to the castle. "Come, let me walk you back."

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