ladyfirestarter: (watchful)
[personal profile] ladyfirestarter
The call from Tet came about five hours ago. Sitting on a folding chair outside the infirmary, Charlie watches the road -- one of the few roads on the campus itself, around the perimeter from the main gate.

They should be here any minute.

She's been to Milliways in the interim, and spoken with Dr. Tam, briefly: something's happened, Kaylee is on her way to Taos with Rose, they've both been injured but they're all right. He took it well -- at least until she refused to bring him back to Taos with her.

The last time I tried to bring someone through that door from Milliways, she finally had to tell him, it was Susannah Toren. And she disappeared. I'm not bringing anyone through from this side until I find out what went wrong. Not till I'm damn sure it won't happen again.

He apologized after that, controlled and courteous again, and said he would wait there. And I'm holding you personally responsible for bringing my wife back here safely, added everything except his actual words.

She can't blame him, not really.

There-- Charlie rises to her feet at the sound of the motor, and in the next second the car trundles into view, moving with what seems excruciating slowness. Eric's driving, with Ted Brautigan next to him, and -- yes, there, that's Rose in the back seat and the one next to her must be Kaylee --

The car pulls to a stop right by the infirmary doors, and Charlie starts forward.

Date: 2008-07-27 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The last time, Rose never got outside two floors of the same administrative building. There was a window, though, and even by the strained light of early morning it looks about the same.

She gets out of the car and looks around, hugging her own elbows.

Date: 2008-07-27 03:10 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (so much less to this than you think)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Kaylee's face twists as she edges her way out of the car. Her back's still torn up, and there's only so much something like aspirin's going to do in a situation like this.


Perhaps it's understandable that Kaylee isn't smiling. "'S been a while."

Date: 2008-07-27 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I think Kaylee hurt her back," Rose says. Her voice is low; in fact, it's perfectly audible, but it gives the impression she's raising it to be heard that way. "I'm pretty much okay I think. Just knocked around."

Date: 2008-07-27 04:01 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (so much less to this than you think)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
"But let's have her look at Rose first anyway." Mostly because she thinks that's the right thing to do, but also because she's playing the part of the adult in charge.

And she figures Charlie will want some answers.

The thought makes her feel twice as exhausted as previous.

Date: 2008-07-27 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Rose, it has been noted, doesn't like CAT scans.

It's something about the walls, closing in, and holding perfectly still. It's like a dress rehearsal for a funeral.

She tries to find something--a bright memory, something fine--and turns her mind back to Coney Island. Not today, with Kaylee, but years ago; a last turn on a roller coaster, as night fell and a storm rolled in. The lights of the ferris wheel on one side, and the forking lightning over the water on the other, rushing to meet the rain.

It comes clear and easy; easier than she would have thought. Salt and ozone; rain and wind and speed.

Date: 2008-07-27 04:18 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (and I will be a stone)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Without feeling: "And I reckon you ain't heard nothin' from Susannah." As though picking up from a natural lull in a conversation, which never happened.

Date: 2008-07-27 04:37 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (and I will be a stone)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Kaylee nods a little.

"Is it gonna be a problem for us to stay here till the two weeks is up, and she gets in?"

She won't lie: it crossed her mind to leave Rose here. But Susannah wouldn't forgive that. And Kaylee wouldn't forgive herself.

Date: 2008-07-27 04:51 am (UTC)
gonna_live: ([Mrs. Tam] political)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Kaylee looks over at Charlie. Doesn't quite meet her eyes, but looks over.

"If it was your kid, and you was Susannah, wouldn't you be a little kind of furious if I left her?"

Date: 2008-07-27 05:14 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (bleak)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Kaylee quashes a sudden bit of temper -- inexplicable temper -- and looks away.

"Rose'd be hurt." Tired. "And you can't tell me that ain't the case." Beat. "And you funnelled those messages through to Si-- to my husband. So it's -- you know I want to get back, it's just -- "

"Job ain't done. Is all."

Date: 2008-07-27 05:33 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (and I will be a stone)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
"Got jumped in a diner. Somewhere in Manhattan. By a couple of the -- with the -- the cars. Dress all flash." The exhaustion's still leaking through in her voice. "But they was after me, you know? Not Rose. And Rose went to the bathroom, and that's when they pulled me out, only Rose was dumb enough to run after. So they dump us out in front of this restaurant -- "

The pertinent bits Charlie gets: what the vampire Eddie said about being real in this world, about them separating Kaylee and Rose, a mechanical recitation of what she did with her knife to the vampire's hand.

"So then I get tossed in this pit, and I land on a dead body. Been there a couple days." If what she's saying is terrible, it's more the lack of feeling in her voice than the content. "And there's this vampire in it. And I killed her. And then I got myself out, found Rose, and we went to the Tet building. And then we flew out here."

It's a very bare-bones, just-the-facts-ma'am recitation that fairly screams that the important things -- the things that have Kaylee near shut down -- aren't things she's saying.

Date: 2008-07-27 05:53 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (so much less to this than you think)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
"Didn't seem like a good idea." Kaylee gingerly scrubs at her face. "I don't -- I reckon you'd know this better'n I would. I don't suppose I'm likely to get all... teethy. With the -- " She points at her neck, and at the gauze and band-aids where her neck and shoulder join. "Though I guess I would've already."

Date: 2008-07-27 06:26 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (if hairs be wires)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
She shrugs, unthinking, and winces for it.

(She didn't show any sign of relief at the assurance she wouldn't become a vampire.)

Still unfeeling: "I figure if I was gonna die I would have already."



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