yi-min_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Whoop
Synopsis Yi-Min swings by to check that Zachery isn't fucking dead, and they manage to have one whole conversation that is not a complete trainwreck.
Date May 12, 2019

Backroom of the Dirty Pool Pub

Entering this space from the pub almost feels like stepping into a different building entirely, though the unapologetically barebones concrete floor remains a throughline. The room is separated from the pub by an extraordinarily thick layer of white drywall, which extends several inches past the doorway. Entering, it gives off the impression of of a smallish doctor's office, if a doctor's office could be very, very tired.

A ceiling light bathes a hard steel and teal operating table in the middle of the room in cold, fluorescent light. It is the newest looking thing in here; Everything else seems to have taken a beating at some point, even if it does look, generally, spotless. A long, grey leather couch stands in the far end of the room, next to a stainless (but not scratchless) countertop with a large, embedded sink. Four white metal cabinets, all of different build and make, stand sandwiching a small fridge that drones a quiet thrum out into the rest of the room. A small, portable radio stands atop it, its even smaller LCD display showing the time.

With no windows to open, and only a small vent up over a bathroom door for airflow, the smell in here is overwhelmingly one of bleach and disinfectant.

If anyone needs DOCTOR Zachery Miller today, then that's TOO BAD. All three of his phones are off, still in the pockets of the coat that's been slung over the operating table. He, himself, is standing just beside it, staring up at a wall that's been covered in pieces of paper that seem to have been ripped from a notebook that lies on the far counter.

He's looked better, but let's be honest, considering the last few months of his life — he has also looked worse. Today's episode of Dr. Z features bare feet on concrete floor, a still partially wet (though clean) mess of hair that hasn't been slicked back as it usually is, pajama pants that hang a little loosely around his waist, and a T-shirt that states in proud, bold letters '2008 Harlem Soup Kitchen Helper Extraordinaire'. It may also bear the marks of… a good amount of blood that didn't properly wash out, right near the collar, dotting down all the way to the hem at the bottom.

From his right hand, a cheap and mostly empty whisky bottle hangs between index and middle finger. The pinky, ring and middle finger of his left hand are sticking straight where others are not, wrapped together with a splint in white bandage that hugs his knuckles just above. It's an old-fashioned solution to some broken fingers, but any port in a storm, as they say.

Speaking of storms, the notes that cover almost the entirety of the wall almost look like they've been stuck there through means of a whirlwind that knew how to work a tape dispenser. They look to be in three distinct sections, separated by a line of nothingness into left, middle and right side. The words written on them vary in how messily scrawled down they are, but three of them are clear as day - probably the ones he started with - denoting the category of each jumble: 'GOOD', 'BAD', and 'SOLUTION', in that order.

The middle section is… well-populated. The right side, too, has claimed its fair space in a disorderly placed pieces of paper sort of way.

The left? Three pieces of paper. It's something. And it's what he's staring at, a little slackjawed.

Three unanswered text messages, two missed phone calls later, and one(1) Yi-Min is now here.

The notes that had been left on one of Zachery's abandoned phones are short, businesslike affairs— requests for one or two newer pharmaceutical brands, a simple addendum to an order that had been made previously. One for spare drug denaturing kits. Nothing especially urgent, and nothing that had contained even vague references to any events of the past few days. The fact remains that everything she had sent had gone unanswered thus far in time, which is a flagrant inconsistency in 'Doctor Z's (more) usual behavior that bears looking into for reasons.

Mostly reasons to do with the wisdom of checking to see if a new supplier may be called for, just in case this one happens to have died or otherwise somehow self-destructed.

It is best to keep abreast of these things.

No matter how many times she visits, Yi-Min has never really fit in with the normal scenery of the Dirty Pool Pub; something definitely to do with presence, but hard to qualify in more exact words or concrete physical detail, such as attire. Nonetheless, she is now technically a familiar face at least in terms of her association with the resident doctor and her usual pattern of heading straight to the back to find him, and she does not expect to be bothered by anyone as she does so now.

There is a series of officious-sounding knocks on his door, interrupting whatever it is he is focusing on inside. Light in hand, from the sounds of it, but emphatically loud.

Only the very faintest of noises makes it back through the door, by virtue of its material and the sound-insulated drywall separating the room from the pub. A voice does not travel as well as the physical rap against solid material.

About 30 seconds later, the owner seems to have realised this, and the door swings inward on its hinges— but only a crack, enough to let the sound through. "Are you DYING?" Zachery's voice comes a little too loudly from inside of the room, though he remains hidden, leaning heavily on the lightly swaying door from his side, while trying to keep it just open enough, "Becaaauuzze… iff y're not— slappa bandaid onnit 'msureit'llbefiiine."

So, confirmed: Zachery isn't dead.

This may or may not be an actual improvement on what he sounds like at the moment.

With the forbearance of a saint, but not quite the patience of one, Yi-Min curls her hand against the door once she sees it go wobbly in order to encourage it the rest of the way open with a modest but robust little nudge. "Isn't it normal business hours for you right now?" is inquired very mildly afterwards regardless of the success of this action— a rather sobering answer to both the question he had asked, and that of who had come calling for him.

It does not really sound like a rebuke, at least. Just a question.

A nudge is all that is needed.

There's a choked back noise that could roughly be described as, "Hrhkghle," followed shortly by a clank of mostly empty bottle hitting a wall, and then the flump of body hitting floor with very minimal attempt to keep it from happening.

"Normal—??" Zachery is on his ass now, next to a newly freed door. How'd he get there? Nobody knows. He looks a little confused about it, bottle loosely held still. His left eye is empty, it should be noted, save for the healed muscle behind droopy, unsupported eyelid. "Who'ssaid anything'bout normal…?"

Certainly not you, Zach. Yi-Min's gaze sharpens a little, and as she stands there in front of the cleared space before the door she just— calmly surveys everything there is to currently see about Zachery. The nearly-emptied bottle clutched in his hand, the old T-shirt, the splint holding together his fingers. There is a gloss of recognition in her face, if not much else.

Many questions are immediately answered in that first half second of a glance, but she allows it to linger on him rather longer than necessary.

Her arms cross loosely. She steps right over his fallen body and further into the office with that exact same, airy impassivity with which she had moved off from his painfully crumpled form outside of Providence, her attention having now been caught by the pandemonium of papers obscuring the back wall.

"…What even is all of this?"

"Doc'r Yhh?" The zero-effort, confused noise that leaves Zachery's mouth as he sluggishly tracks her movements around the room is one of which the meaning is hard to identify. At least until he drags himself in a slightly straighter-up position to say, "C'rrecshun— Doctor Nnoooooo."

He chuckles, before… the gravity of who this visitor is seems to hit him all at once and he slings the sloshy bottle up onto the operating table to hoist himself up onto his feet again, eyebrows angling toward each other over widening eye. Waitwaitfuck.

"Noo," he says again, in an echo of his last noise, though this time with a note of panic while stumbling toward that wall, footfalls heavy and dragging as he rushes to reach it before Yi-Min sees more than she should. The thumb and palm of his bandaged hand is swiped clumsily at the 'GOOD' section, managing to knock a note reading 'still alive' to the floor in a flutter of paper, while he tries to block as much of the middle column with his body as he can.

It is too late, sort of. By the time Zachery is belatedly back up on his feet and swaggering towards Yi-Min's new position, she is already standing in front of the treasure trove of mad scribbles on the wall and squinting somewhat curiously at what she can see of it, arms still folded.

Her quick eyes manage to pick out a decent number of the messy scrawls before he successfully body blocks her view. Even with his much larger frame in the way however, her gaze just sticks on those labels further on the sides that she can still make out; especially with the way he is staggering around, he can't block all of it.

"An attempt to get yourself organized?" she directs past him in more or less the same mild manner she had used to greet him initially, more a statement than a question. The way it sounds implies that she does not necessarily think it a bad thing, though ultimately this kind of thing is hard to tell with her.

The 'nooo's of both varieties go utterly ignored. Of course.

Swaying back and forth a little after his abrupt hurdle of a rushing over, Zachery's mind is almost visibly racing. Why is she here? How'd she get in? … When? The hole where his eye used to be is shut tight for a second, while he tries to get his swimming vision focus on his visitor. She still looking at the wall? Oh no she is.

He steps to the side in an attempt to put himself in between her and her studying, stumbling maybe a little closer to Yi-Min than he'd intended. "'Sss— nno," he starts an answer, raising his arms by his sides like it'll help him cover more of the area behind him, bottle clankaCLACKbumping against the wall as he steadies himself, "… yes," a chuckle sneaks in through an exhale, as if simply at the fact that he just contradicted himself, "but, do not need your'elp. Got it all— figg'rd. Jus'like when I c'see it ALL. Knewitall."

When Yi-Min lets her gaze slide squarely back onto Zachery's face after another few seconds of looking, it is fairly stolid. Tolerant, in the face of whatever unknowable questions he is flailing towards her in the haze of his brain.

"I'm sure you have everything figured out," she agrees with a cursory sort of peaceableness that suggests she wasn't going to offer her help even if he had wanted it. In the meantime, she catches the gist of yet a few more notes through the gaps created by the ill-advised lift of Zachery's arms. Good job.

A very lightly inquiring quality evolves into her voice as she turns her eyes in the direction of one of these. Still only just making conversation. "Who are you meant to apologize to?"

"You…!" Zachery POINTS at Yi-Min, except there's a bottle in his hand, so it gets swung in her direction. Just short of close enough to hit, fortunately. "Ohhhssshit," comes immediately, as he pulls the bottle up to his body again, rasping out a laugh that sits somewhere between amused and concerned, "Sorry— see!" GONE is the concern, grin growing wide, lopsided, "LIKE THAT. Pr'cisely like that: 'sorry'. Said it, didn't I? Yeah."

With the bottle pulled close, it seems to move toward his mouth as if by magic. Or by a hand moving it there. One of the two. He loses his balance again while taking a swig, staggering backwards only for the wall to catch him, a 'SOLUTION' note over his one shoulder, 'GOOD' over another.

'raytech???' and 'nicole?', the latter in very small writing, respectively.

Apologies don't work quite so simply in the real world, Zachery. They have to be met and accepted first; luckily for him to start, she seems to be unperturbed by the intrusive pointing and the near miss of the bottle. Yi-Min's dark eyes flicker back to him instantly after he says this, and there is some of that inquisitive sharpness within them again from before. "Is that so? So what are you apologizing for?" she asks neutrally, as though she does not know.

In somewhat uncertain terms, she doesn't. At this point in what amounts to the relationship between them, Zachery could be apologizing for any number of blunders.

It's obvious, and Zachery knows it's obvious. Even in this state. But he'll indulge her. Because that's JUST the KIND of NICE person he IS.

The bottle comes back down and is set temporarily onto the ground. 'Set' being a generous word to describe it, because it immediately falls over, spilling a small puddle of cheap liquor onto the concrete before it draws level with the neck. None of this seems to be noticed by Zachery, who is too busy turning on a heel and grabbing at the wall with a the rustle of paper and scratchy noise of tape detaching, gathering 'BAD' notes in his hands like he's a CHILD and they're fresh autumn leaves.

"Okay okaay, okay. Lessee. Th's… there's," he muses, holding his bandaged hand up near his stomach as he deposits crumpled notes into it, "tHEse."

Two separate pieces of paper upon which 'temper' and 'trust general???' are written are thrust toward Yi-Min, between bandage and thumb, though in a way where he can continue to stare at the wall while he does it. Both notes quite hastily scrawled. Take it. "Those probably li'lbit, aye?"

Although she does not grant it a direct look, Yi-Min shifts the position of her feet very slightly to ensure they are well out of reach of the puddle taking shape from the ensuing spillage, a tiny touch of disdain on her face as she does so. Finally, she gives Zachery a slight arch of a brow and reaches out to slowly enfold those two notes between her fingertips, expression largely undecipherable as she first reads them over.

She does, however, spend a noticeably longer time studying them than is probably warranted for the simple words that are written on them. That second one in particular.

From the light lift in her tone, it is possible to gather that he has managed to instill some amount of surprise in her, and for a second she just continues to look at them distantly.

"…So I will be honest, I wouldn't have expected you to actually have felt bad for these things." Curiosity.

Zachery isn't looking at her face, already busy looking at the wall again, picking the bottle back up to bring it to his mouth again. Why's there less in it? Oh well. SWIG.

With his injured hand, he reeaaches toward another middle-column note, this one spelling out 'drinking', and crumples it as well as he can without the use of most of his fingers. Then, he just lets it fall onto the floor, right into that puddle.

"'S not really bad feeling…" He's audibly straining with effort to try and not to slur, now, lifting the bottle up to his face only to wrinkle his nose at the fact that it's empty. "… It's jusst… facts. Spindly small truths tha' go - whoop - off inna direction, changing 'pending on whatcha do."

And he's off— shoving a hand into the wall as he makes his way over to the cupboards near the sink. Fortunately managing to stumble around the puddle rather than through. "G'ing mad at you was… you know." Vague handwave. "Backwards direction."

There is a drier, friendlier look in her curvature of Yi-Min's eyes when she narrows them in response— not at Zachery either, but also back at the wall, patchy as it now is with the haphazard strips of notes missing from its framework. Without turning around to do it, she extends her forearm and lets the two notes Zachery had given her drift free over the surface of the operating table behind her, returning her arms to being folded across her chest right afterwards.

"A practical road to take, even if you don't feel bad," she judges, tone still light as before, but now creeping more towards the vein of being cordial. There is certainly no disagreement from her about his last assessment.

Another moment as he bumbles away from her, and she laughs, though it is definitely not an apologetic sound. "I probably don't help things, with the way that I am."

"What, a HARPY?!" For all his drunken stupor, this answer comes fast and with an unapologetic bark of a laugh to match. Zachery makes it to the cupboards, swings one near the floor open and lowers himself to stick his head and arm in both. There's a rummaging noise of bottles, plastic and glass both.

Yi-Min appears to stop to well and truly think about this, expression halfway between quietly thoughtful and blatantly skeptical. Insult though it is, had there been something about their interactions which had actually reflected some warped cut of this?

Straightforwardness aside: nah, bro.

"Sorry about that," she offers over the sounds of Zachery ransacking through items inside his cupboard, still no ire in her voice. "I'll make sure to calmly sit through any jabs to me and my body, next time." How ungracious of her.

"Your apology is going really well, by the way."

There's a strangled noise of a laugh that never properly happens at the mention of those jabs, but it's the comment about the apology that sends Zachery tumbling halfway in the cupboard he's reaching into, breathing out a laugh that has him wheezing to recover from it afterward.

"Ooohh — aaa, oww. Ow." He slides sideways to sit on the floor, pulling out his injured hand that he used to catch himself, and holding it close to his chest as he peers at Yi-Min from over a cupboard door. "See thissis why I write'm first." There is a grin on his face, toothy and well and truly amused.

But it's not… just that. Over the hollow and functional eye both, there's a creasing of something more pained. A knitting of his brow that looks more like a wince than anything else, and more than just at his hand. The whiskey's taken the edge off of most of that, for better or worse.

For all that said comment about the apology had sounded serious, there is a tug of a smile on Yi-Min's face— evidence of how much she had actually cared before saying it, even as she watches the impact it apparently has on Zachery now.

She seats herself on the end of the operating table after Zach goes down in a jumble, the end of one of her legs flipping up to cross the other in a gesture of delicate audacity. There is still a drastic difference in height between their heads, but the next time she stares downwards at Zachery, it's at least from a more equal position to match his new one on the floor.

"Yes, definitely a good idea," she agrees bluntly, studying him with a thoughtfulness that contrasts somewhat with her tone. "But if I can give you some advice. Relax a little, maybe."

"'M on the floor, how much more relaxed d'you want me?"

Aaand Zachery pushes an elbow into the wall and goes sprawling, bandaged hand still on his stomach but the rest of him now down on the roughly textured floor in all of his decade old stained soup kitchen shirt and pajama pants glory. The only movement that follows is him turning his head ever so slightly in order for him to draaag his attention back over to Yi-Min so he can ask, with a lopsided grin, "Better?"

There is a beat, one in which Yi-Min's offhanded smile becomes less offhanded, and more actually entertained.

"Much better." She cants her head slightly to meet the angle of Zach's from where he's sprawled down even further onto the floor, casually resting her chin inside the curve of her palm, elbow-to-knee. It sounds as though she is letting whatever else she had been about to say dissolve into the simplicity of those two words.

"You do overthink things, you know," she muses at last, considering him with that same, straight, relaxed hint of a look. "You are so much better when you are like this."

Crippling alcoholism doesn’t have to be a problem!

"I think thinks- -" Zachery starts, very skillfully from down where he lies, bracing himself to do some more of that good pronouncing things right. Accent a little thicker, as a result. " … Think things the exact right amount, I think you'll find."

The dumb grin on his face suggests that maybe he does not find this, either. Or that he doesn't care, this very moment. He got a COMPLIMENT, after all! He's better. Improvement has been achieved. "Hey." He meets Yi-Min's gaze from whatever angle not moving allows him. "Y'know what'd make me even better?"

Spoken quietly, then: "… More booze."

There is a simple unvoiced shrug in Yi-Min's tone that suggests he will find no argument from her. "I do, in fact, find that many people's temperaments improve with alcohol," she comments with an effortlessness that sounds almost too innocent. It is just a fact of life, is what it is.

Although the rest of her does not move, her eyes trail back towards the mess that is currently covering the wall of Zachery's office. "You could consider moving 'drinking' into the left column," she observes. "That column is looking a little lonely. Right there. Under 'Nicole,' whoever she is."

"She's very good." Three little words that leave Zachery without any thought whatsoever, and when he hears them back and realises he's said them, his grin pulls lazily to one side. "Too good maybe."

He's looking pretty comfortable. Ill-inclined to move, staring at the wobbly image that is Yi-Min as he sing-songs decidedly off-key, "Tell y'who sh'is if you get me some beeeer…"

From the look on his face, he seems to think this is a very good deal.

In answer, Yi-Min reaches into the inner pocket of her half-open overcoat and retrieves a sleek, silken clutch purse. Out of it comes a five-dollar bill, which she gives a little midair waggle to in a way that will be seen even by Zach where he is on the ground.

"One beer for you," she intones, inclining her face sideways to look mindfully right at the center of the bill. "But you have to come and get it."

In other words: this is a deal she is perfectly willing to take with some minor stipulations.

She’s not walking anywhere.

Awww, come on. A groan escapes Zachery from down on the floor, but it's not too entirely long until he's got himself rolling sideways and pushing himself back up — careful not to use his bandaged hand only AFTER shoving it into the floor and giving the smallest of whines in pain. Ouch.

"Okayokay gimme." He lifts his uninjured hand as if he's about to SWIPE for the bill, but— pauses. Tongue running contemplatively past his molars before he swallows back whatever thoughts surface. Up comes his hand again, but this time palm up. To wait! Very patiently for the bill to be deposited. Gimme gimme. "Y'want anything?"

Before doing so, Yi-Min slides her sleeve up just enough to check the face of the silver-edged wristwatch peeking out from underneath it. Apparently satisfied with what she perceives, she releases her sleeve and delves into her purse for a second five-dollar bill, which she plonks into Zachery's waiting hand right alongside the first.

"Yes. Get me a Guinness, please. Keep the change."

Is Zachery in a state where he ought to be having more drinks? Probably not. Is Yi-Min his keeper? Also no.

Ignoring the physical side, however, this entire decision-making tree may just turn out to be a decent idea after all: honest drunken ramblings from him may just do for their relationship what all of their attempts at interactions had completely failed to manage in the past.

The next third of an hour or so, if Zachery even manages to cling to consciousness for that long, will tell.

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