With All Urgency


des_icon.gif lynette3_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

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Scene Title With All Urgency
Synopsis After a fight for his life, Mateo fights for it all over again. With help.
Date April 24, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

The electricity in the building falters, emergency power takes over within seconds, but then that surges as well, causing the lights to flicker. The front door to the lobby opens, whether it had been locked or not— the power surges might have had something to do with it. The outer gate remains closed, the region around them has plunged into darkness.

The moon looks down from overhead, watching, as a man in dark clothes falters and falls to the floor, blood pooling where he lands. A man who happens to have visited this building a few weeks ago for a birthday party.

Mateo Ruiz.

An alarm klaxon blared through the Raytech building, shrill and unmistakable in its call for alert. Standing by the open door of that is clearly a broom closet, Sera Lang has one arm outstretched, hand pressed to a wall-mounted panic button. The interior lights dim, only for the exterior floodlights to snap on, throwing the outside of the building into a stark contrast of illumination. A moment later, there's a guttering and a whirring from the lights and the entire building is thrown into silent darkness as the backup power fails.

Though the klaxons have stopped, there is still movement in the lobby. Through double doors leading toward conference rooms a Raytech security officer comes rushing in, calling over his shoulder-mounted radio. “We've got an intruder in the lobby, power’s out across the building.”

Sera Lang is nowhere to be seen when the security guard gets to her line of sight. Instead, he has clear view of Ruiz’s body laying on the tile floor. Not recognizing the figure in the dark, the security officer calls out. “Hands in the air!” a flashlight is clicked on in one hand, crossed under a Banshee in the other.

The alarms go off and the world around Des Desjardins. She holds things suspended in a moment before the lights go out entirely. As she makes her way through the facility, it gets dimmer and dimmer as she passes beyond her field of influence and has to release and renew her hold. It's dark when she reaches the lobby, time in full swing as her booted feet slap against the floor.

She recognizes the shape on the floor for what it is. Who it is. She can feel it inside of her. "Wait," she cries out to the guard, but doesn't try to come between them. "Wait, stop! I know him!" The sight of Mateo makes sense of the screams reverberating in her bones.

The request to put his hands up isn’t met with hands moving. Or much of anything at all. But the arms are away from the body, at least, so it might make the security guard hesitate. Mateo’s not sure how much he can move, or if he even hears anything over everything going on inside his head. He’d never opened portals so recklessly before. Only when the woman who might be his long lost sister speaks and he hears her voice over all the other sounds does he finally move, shifting, rolling until he rolls onto his back.

The blood has come from a spot near his collarbone that ripped through his coat and shirt. But that rip had not happened in the back, so one can gather the bullet got lodged in something. He has blood on his mouth, a cough pulls up more. His lung could be damaged, or blood in his esophagus. Not too much, thankfully, but perhaps any might seem too much to someone who had watched this same man die from similar wounds six years ago.

“Lynette— “ he sputters through the blood, though he knows he’s not talking to her. “Call— get Lynette. Get me— “ he coughs and can’t finish what he wanted to say— Not that he probably needs to.

Shit,” the security officer spits as he gets back on the radio. “Negative. No hostile confirmed in the building. I need a team outside to sweep the perimeter. Power is out building-wide, someone call a— ” Suddenly, the security officer realizes that without power they won't be calling anyone.

Fuck,” the guard hisses as he approaches the front door, peering out into the moonlit night. “Bring a car around— I don't care what the fuck it is. We’ve a…” he eyes Mateo, “Hispanic male, late 30s early 40s with multiple wounds. Possibly gunshot.”

It's only a fifteen minute drive to Elmhurst Hospital from this part of Jackson Heights. He'd rather not have to explain to Mr. Ray how he let someone bleed out on the floor while waiting for an ambulance.

Odessa's heart stops in her chest. That's the way it feels, at any rate. Not quite in an instant - she doesn't use that ability she's not supposed to have where the guard can see it - she's at Mateo's side, kneeling on the floor next to him and tugging his shirt away from the wound. "Shhh. Sssshhhhhhh." The sound is stuttery, betraying how terrified this moment has made her. "I know. I've got you, okay? I'm going to take care of you until she can get here."

Des lifts her head and looks at the guard. The horror of the situation slowly comes to her as she realizes what a lack of power means for them. Means for their ability to call emergency services. The wound isn't through and through and it makes her stomach drop. It's like it's all happening again. Tears prick at Odessa's eyes, but she doesn't shed them. Not yet.

No no no.

"You're going to be okay. I'm going to take care of you and you're going to be okay. You're okay." She presses a hand to his cheek, tries to make eye contact. She knows how dangerous his ability can be, and that she needs to help him keep calm. "What happened?"

“No, no,” Mateo mutters, but what he’s saying no to might be left to the imagination as he closes his eyes and leans his head back. Breathing seems to be more difficult with each moment, and at her touch it seems his heartbeat feels wrong, the way the vein shows on his forehead, the way his pupils are— He’s not quite having a near heart attack like he had been when their abilities clashed, but he’s definitely having issues, likely due to a combination of…

Many things.

“No hospital. No police,” he manages when his eyes meet Des’ as if she’ll understand why he’s saying that. The security guard won’t. He’s not sure even Des will. But if he went to the hospital, he’d have to be questioned. Gunshots don’t go unquestioned. They may not have actual police yet— but the MPs would be on it. No, he can’t explain what happened, why it happened. He can’t tell them.

“‘Nette— get Lynette,” the way he says it makes it sound like almost a last request.

Though his wounds are nowhere near as bad as the ones she’d seen in the Ark, when he’d been shot three times, all together—

“Sir, you’ve been shot,” the security officer helpfully points out, taking a knee by Mateo’s side as two more armed security sweep into the room from adjacent doorways, one of them with a trauma kit that he swiftly sets down and opens beside the injured man. “Raytech protocol is to take you to a hospital immediately.”

Another security officer is on his radio a few feet away. “Can anyone get in touch with Ms. Thatcher? Is she in the building? I can’t access anything with the power down!” Four more security personnel come in from the doors to the second floor stairs, flashlights sweeping through the hall.

“Second floor is clear, no sign of hostiles.” It’s rapidly becoming a zoo.

What’s Raytech protocol if she gets shot, Des wonders. “Send a car to Benchmark to pick up Lynette Ruiz. I’m a surgeon. I can stabilize him. Mrs. Sumter trusts me.” She hopes. In matters like this, she believes that she would trust her judgement. “I need a gurney. We need to be able to move him. Get someone to get one down here.

Once she has that, she can move him. For now, she resists the urge to start digging into the trauma kit herself. “I need gloves. Please.” Again, Des looks down to her brother. Instinct is taking over and allowing her to more effectively mask the panic. “Tete, you’re okay. You trust me, right?” That is going to be important in about a minute here. “Everything’s going to be okay. I’m going to take care of you. We’ll get Lynette here.”

Christ, she wishes Richard was here. Kaylee. Val. Hell, even — No, Warren would probably start suggesting bionic limb replacements.

Attending physician, employee, only senior employee on site. It checks enough boxes. The security officer closest to Odessa reaches up to his shoulder and clicks the receiver. “Cancel the car. Put a call in to Lynette Rowan, she's on the emergency contact list. If she can't drive down here herself tell her we’ll send a truck by to pick her up. No details.

Instead of words, Mateo nods at his sister’s question. Yes, he trusts her. The fact that the security guard seems to have agreed with her has helped, allowing him to relax and close his eyes for the moment. That bird might still be outside, waiting to pluck his eyes out, but they would not be calling the authorities. They would not make him answer questions. And maybe this could still end up— not as bad as if he would have just bled out in the street.

And if all else failed, at least he might hang on long enough to say goodbye.

When he does try to speak again, though, it doesn’t end up well. His body jerks upward, he coughs, and blood splatters out of his mouth and down his chin, eyes opening again. Something that had been tucked into his coat falls out, a bag that looks like something small and oval shaped covered with chocolate.

The chocolate covered espresso beans he’d bought at the market. He has no idea when he’d dropped the glass jar of unground coffee beans… Probably right after he got shot in the pop-up market. But hopefully, that wouldn’t be the only thing he’s lost.

“Okay, Mateo. I’m going to… Just relax. I’m going to take care of you.” Inside of her head, Des is screaming and remembering too well what happened to Ruiz before. His blood is on her clothes and pooling on the ground. This will not be a repeat.

“I have a bag in my locker. Brown. Leather. A satchel.” Traditional leanings to this day. Des tugs her lanyard over her head and tosses it over to the guard. There’s a silver key on it. “I need you to bring it to me.” Then she addresses her brother again. “No more words. I have to dig the bullet out. And it’s gonna suck. But I’ve got the right tools here, and I’m going to do what I can to make it suck less.” She swallows hard and ignores a tear that slides down her cheek. “You’re not going to die tonight.”

Tearing open a package, she produces a large wad of gauze and presses it to the flow of blood and starts mentally listing off all the things she’s going to need from her bag.

Not talking— Mateo can do that much, but he still can’t hide the expression on his face, the one that has him looking around every few moments as if hoping to see something that’s not there. The assurance that he won’t die brings his hand up, the one opposite of the shoulder he’d been shot in, touching her hand for a moment.

That touch is the best way he can manage right now to give his thanks, to show that he trusts her. Even as his breathing sounds worse, even as blood seeps into the gauze that she presses against him.

It hurts, based on the way he grimaces, the way body shifts under her touch, but he clenches his jaw, tasting the blood on his tongue, feeling the warmth there.

“Okay. Here we go.”

There’s no wave of her hand to signal the cessation of time. There’s no physical sensation of it for anyone caught in the grasp of her ability. One moment, Mateo is in danger of bleeding out right there in the lobby, and the next, he’s been stitched up and his sister is laying on the floor next to him, blood on her hands and her clothes, a bullet held loosely in her fist. She’s shaking and breathing hard, but she’s in better shape than he is.

She wants to make sure he gets a transfusion, for starters.

Des coughs once against a sensation like the aftermath of a lack of oxygen and pushes up to half sit, propped on one elbow so she can look at Mateo with a critical eye, now that he’s no longer in stasis. “Lynette should be here very soon,” she promises. This took a while, and she can’t stop the entire world, after all.

That had been a strange experience. One moment he’d been clenching his jaw and feeling blood rolling down his arm and shoulder— in the time it took him to breathe in through his nose and release it from his mouth, all that seemed to change. Mateo had heard some of what she could do, but to feel it was another story all together. The sewed up wound still throbbed, his blood pressure still fluctuated. There were certain things a quick bullet removal surgery outside of time could not stop, but he started to look a little better the longer that time ticked by.

His face wasn’t quite as pale, he no longer coughed up fresh blood when he did cough, which he did. That alone showed a major improvement. The internal bleeding had been stopped as well as the external.

“Sorry— “ he mutters after a moment. “Didn’t know where else to go— “ He couldn’t run toward the Benchmark— he’d been too far away and the last thing he would ever do would be to take danger to the place that he called home, to his wife and daughter.

He didn’t try to talk anymore than that, though, even if he wanted to. The phone in his pocket was dead, drained of all its power just like this whole area of the safe zone, and more than that, too. But they’d said they would call her— that she would come.

No details given probably caused the driver some distress on their errand, as convincing Lynette to come and then dealing with her on the drive over was… challenging. But she's made it, pushing hair out of her face as she comes in through the door. It's clear that she has no idea what she's walking into, although by her pace she knows that it's important. Plus, the power is out. She can guess what that means.

She stops about three steps into the lobby.

She takes in a sharp breath.

"No. No no no," Lynette says, her words echoing the last time she saw this happening. Blood blossoming on his chest. Falling to the floor. A weak smile. Never would she have imagined a worse moment. But she's found one. The panic is enough to keep her frozen in place, to keep her breathing shallow, her hands shaking. For a moment it looks like she might pass out, but instead, she puts her hands into her hair and whispers to herself. "Cahuenga Boulevard. Selma Avenue. Wilcox. Lexington. Highland—"

Lifting her chin, letting out a breath, Lynette makes her way over to Mateo's side, kneeling down to take his hand.

"Javi, I'm here," she says, more clearly. And while she still looks distressed, she's able to give him a softer look. Her free hand moves to his forehead first, then brushes back through his hair. "I'm here." Her gaze flicks to Des, though, holding the question she can't bring herself to speak.

How long do I have?

“It looks worse than it is now,” Des tells Lynette. She knows what it must feel like for her sister-in-law. “I got the bullet out. The bleeding has stopped. I need to give him a transfusion. Do you know his-” She shakes her head quickly. “It doesn’t matter. I can do it.” She’s weak now, she’ll be weaker later. It’ll be worth it.

“You did the right thing, Mateo. I’m glad you came here.” She wouldn’t trust anyone else with his life. She may have to someday, but it will be difficult. Des finally pulls herself up to draw her knees up to her chest, her long skirt draping over the peak of her knees. She looks at the bullet in her hand, appearing slightly in shock. The one she dug out of Ruiz is still in a keepsake box - which might be a bit morbid, but it’s a reminder of her fallibility, one that she needs - but she has no intention of keeping this one.

So focused on breathing, it takes Mateo a few seconds to see Lynette standing there a few steps into the lobby. A lobby that happens to still have no power, just some flashlights that had been laid down, and his blood all over it. He, unfortunately, attempts to sit up, but he doesn’t get much more than an inch upward before he realizes how bad that hurt to try and he leans his head back down to the floor.

There’s blood on his lips, but it’s no longer fresh. He’s not coughing anymore up, and the wound has been sewn shut where the bullet entered fairly close to his collarbone. His hand responds under hers, even as his eyes close when she runs another hand through his hair. His skin warm, not cold, a good sign, but there’s sweat in his hair as he often would get when he would run along the beach with her before they left Mexico.

“‘Nette,” he whispers quietly, relieved and grateful that they went and got her. Nothing else seems to register for a few moments. He doesn’t even realize that he should be answering that question Des asked.

She’s tired, he’s tired— but he does look more stable by the moment, color slowly returning to his cheeks. The transfusion would definitely help, though, in speeding that process up. Cause a lot of his blood was on the floor.

Even though— or maybe because— Des' words are reassuring, tears fall down Lynette's cheeks. She doesn't bother trying to stop them they way she normally would. She leans over to press a kiss to Mateo's forehead, lingering there a long moment before she sits up again. Looking over at Des, she takes in her state and lets go of Mateo long enough to pull her jacket off.

"He can take mine," she says with a certainty that speaks to them having done this before, although she doesn't clarify how she knows, nor does she clarify if they're the same blood type or if he can take any blood type. "You look like you're about to pass out. And I can't let you do that. Not until I figure out how to— properly thank you." Which is a more rigid sentence than she means it to be, but it's the best she can do while she's trying to keep it together.

Her hand takes his again, her fingers squeezing his gently.

"I'm here. Des is here. You're going to be okay. You have to be okay." The last is spoken in a desperate whisper, as if she were petitioning some ancient and distant deity to intervene.

“It’s fine. I’m fine.” She’s not, really, but she will be after a long rest and something to eat. Both of which can wait until after she’s certain Mateo is out of the woods. “I didn’t see what happened. And you can tell us later. Right now, I need you to be still and save your energy, Tete.”

Des pulls her glasses off her face and hooks them into her skirt pocket to hang at her hip. “I’m a universal donor,” she explains. “I don’t mind doing it for him.” The lights from the handheld torches cast deep shadows across her face, and she smiles wryly. “The power’s completely out. I’m going to need you alert in case we need to call for someone else.” Especially because neither she nor her brother wants to call the authorities for it. Des trusts Lynette’s got better contacts.

The open satchel is dragged toward her and Des digs through it, retrieving three sealed plastic bags. One for tubing and two for IV needles for either end. She starts rolling up Mateo’s sleeve. Even if she’s not the one who’ll donate, he still needs to be prepped.

Half due to being shot and weak already, Mateo doesn’t protest or try to move away as they talk about him, talk to him. As she starts to roll up his sleeve to prepare his arm with an IV. Never a pleasant situation, that, but he would rationally know it’s necessary. And the needle required for a blood IV is much thicker than some others, so it won’t be painless. And it requires a very good vein. She might even need to go all the way up his arm.

On the floor next to him the bag of chocolate covered espresso beans lies, thankfully out of the blood puddle that had pooled around him. “Might still be there,” he mutters, eyes worriedly darting around for a moment— but he can’t see the glass doors, can’t see if there might be anyone on the other side of them.

While they might not want him to talk about it now, he’s still concerned.

Cause the crow of memory might just be lurking, waiting, to swoop down and steal away everything he’d tried to run from.

"I can call someone while I'm groggy. If he takes a turn and you're passed out? All I can do is watch him die," Lynette says, bluntly. Flatly. No apologetic glances go to either of them, not yet. It's easy to see, in this moment, the version of her that bulldozed her way through a war. "And I'm not particularly fond of that idea, so set us up and take a break. Get a snack."

Her gaze flicks back to Mateo when he speaks, then back over to Des. "Is security sweeping the grounds?" One hopes. She turns back to her husband, though. "Nothing can get to you now, my darling. I won't let anyone hurt you." My darling is certainly an affectionate term, but she hasn't shaken her tone back into anything normal. Hard. Tense. Ready. Her armor is up, because without it, she might just crumble away.

"Des will let us know when we can move you. We'll get you to a more secure room. But for now, you've got us here and Richard's security," she says to him, a series of facts that are reassuring only in that Lynette seems sure of them. "You're safe now."

“All right,” sounds like you win. Des doesn’t have the desire or the need to argue with Lynette’s sound logic. “Richard’s people are sweeping the grounds. So far, it seems quiet.” But she honestly has no idea what lies beyond the secure boundaries of the building. That raven could still be circling.

The doctor frowns thoughtfully. “Both of you just relax for a moment. I’ll get this started in a bit.” She smiles reassuringly at Mateo, setting her equipment aside for now to take his hand. Truthfully, she’s grateful for the moment to gather her own strength that Lynette’s granted to her. “Between Lynette and I, nobody stands a chance. You’re absolutely safe here. Once you’re a little more stable, I’ll get you moved to one of my secure rooms.” Hopefully the power to the backup generators at least will be up by then, or it’s going to be very dark.

With these two ladies at his side, Mateo nods, eyes sliding shut as he continues to squeeze his wife’s hand. He’s safe. They will keep him that way. But for some reason he feels the sudden need to say something in a tired voice. “I think I lost your coffee beans.”

It’s so soft he could be delirious. But at least he’s relaxing, breathing. His heart thumbs in his chest, his hand is still warm. All good signs that he’s doing much better than he could be. But at the same time, when his eyes open slightly the pupils are off a little, and he almost doesn’t seem to actually focus enough to see them.

Lynette nods to Des, swallowing hard against emotions the push against her chest. She has to keep a lid on them, though, before she starts sparking. That would help no one. Luckily, Mateo always seems to be able to calm her, even if he doesn't exactly mean to this time.

The comment about the coffee gets a laugh, a bit of a wild sound. It makes her cry a little more, but she smiles down at him. "Just pull through this and I'll forgive you," she says, teasing through an unsteady voice. But when he opens his eyes, her worry kicks up again and she squeezes his hand tighter. "My darling," she says, doing her best to sound conversational, "do you remember the first song you ever sang to me? I was trying to think of the words earlier and they seem to have slipped away." This is likely a lie, but she is trying to give him something to keep his brain focused on, to keep him from drifting off. She hums a little of the opening, a memory of the day they first met tuck away in a song, but stops after a few bars. "And then? I swear it's on the tip of my tongue."

That’s good, what Lynette is doing. Des listens to the exchange for a few moments, steadying and preparing herself for another burst of use of her ability. She spares them the dread and anxiety that comes with setting up for transfusion. It’s simply done in a blink. They’re both sore, but it’s set and it can begin.

Des is staring up at the ceiling after she resumes time, waving a hand in Lynette’s direction preemptively, warding off questions about her well-being. She’ll be fine after that snack. But first, she needs to gather enough strength to get up. For now, laying here is just fine by her. A tremor runs through her limbs, not unlike she’s felt a chill, but she raises no complaint. Convinced that she’ll be fine.

Keep him awake. Keep him thinking. Keep him talking. All of it seemed to be a good decision, really. And Mateo nods at her question. His response is hoarse, not really sung so much as whispered in a fashion that follows the melody, even if it doesn’t sound as good as it had that first night they’d met, when he’d auditioned with a song he’d chosen specifically for the last verses, not really the opening…

But since she started with the opening, so does he continue it. “To breathe the name of your savior in your hour of need…” That seemed far more fitting to the situation than the one they had thought they were in when they first met.

Even if, in many ways, he definitely thinks of Lynette as a savior of sorts. She certainly saved him, whether she realized it or not. And Des as well, with what she’d just done for the bullet wound, for what she’s still doing for him.

Lynette blinks when the tubing is suddenly just there and she looks over to Des. The wave keeps her from saying anything, but it's clear she's keeping an eye on both their conditions. Her arm might be sore, but she doesn't mind.

When Mateo recalls the words, she looks back down at him again. "Right, of course," she says, her voice gentle. She continues to hum the tune, slower than it really went, to keep him reciting the words for her. The sound only hitches when they get to a certain line.

Without your love my life is nothing but a carnival of rust

But she tries to recover, smiling down at him in a way she hopes is encouraging. She doesn't want him to know she's scared, and that is at least part of why she leans over to kiss his forehead.

A tear runs down Des’ cheek. The way Mateo and Lynette speak to one another is bittersweet to her. It will remain sweeter than bitter so long as this all works and Mateo survives his injuries. He has to, because she can’t have that failure a second time.

Shakily, she sits up again and watches the flow of blood in the tubing. “Everything’s going to be okay,” Des assures Lynette out loud. “We know our Mateo doesn’t give up.” And this time, she had access to better supplies. “Besides, he promised to do movie night with me.”

“I did…” Mateo whispers quietly, breaking on the half whispered song to glance briefly at the woman who happened to be saving his life right this moment. He already had movie nights of a sort with his wife and daughter, but these would be different. Something to share with the woman that might have been his sister, if certain people had not separated them. The blood flowing through the tubing seems to confuse him for a moment.

He did not even recall getting poked. But he can feel the warmth. After a moment, he continues the lyrics, quietly, “I lust for after no disaster can touch— Touch us anymore…” It’s pointed, in a way. Mostly because that hadn’t been the next lyric. But he goes back to continuing, slowly, with those lyrics having been shared.

Cause he does.

Hope for the time when disasters would no longer try to take them from each other.

Lynette sits up and looks over at Des at her reassurance, her free hand coming to wipe at her cheeks. She nods, because she has to believe it, herself. It would be too soon if she lost him now. This would be a cruel world, to give him to her only to take him away again. But there is one thing she has to acknowledge.

"You made it okay," she says softly to her, "You saved his life." Or… are in the process of saving. But she's speaking in certainties.

When Mateo cuts in that lyric early, she looks back down at him. And she tries very hard not to cry. But tears slip out anyway. Her lip quivers, even. But she steadies herself by reaching out to touch his hair, shifting pieces around as if something were a touch out of place. As if it were only his hair that were out of place.

In order to avoid looking grim, Des focuses on instead looking as tired as she feels. “I wish I could sing like you can,” she says softly. “You must have gotten all that talent and left none for me.” She’s hoping the teasing will keep him alert, engaged.

A grateful smile and a glance are flashed to Lynette. “Just doing what they taught me to do. For good this time.” Des doesn’t consider every life saved a good cause. She includes her own in that, even if there’s an argument to be made about if she hadn’t lived, she wouldn’t be here to save him.

But save him she did. This time.

“Hopefully I’ll still be able to play the guitar when this is over,” Mateo mutters, flexing his hand in a painful fashion cause it sends shooting pain out from the bullet wound. Yeah he will probably need to lay off the guitar. And even possibly the piano for a while. Lulling his head to the side and against his wife, he still looks aware, just exhausted. As are the two of them, likely. “Thank you.”

It still hurts. Everything hurts. But he can feel the warmth in his arm that spreads everywhere else and— he knows. He owes her a thanks. Both of them.

For saving his life.

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