2007-11-25: Fake Doctor

Starring:

Erin_icon.gif Taine_icon.gif

Summary: After she heals someone else, Taine gets her home. She needs a doctor, and he just plays one on TV.

Date It Happened: November 25th, 2007

Fake Doctor


Erin's Apartment

Either everything is too cold, or everything is too hot. The temperature varies too much for Erin to really remember. The time it takes between leaving the Petrelli house and returning to her own apartment seems to take forever. It's full of nightmares - or hallucinations, she's not sure - and pain. It wasn't quite like this last time, mostly because she was unconscious through most of her recovery. This time, she can't sleep.

It feels like she's strained every fiber of herself, and has become a pile of contradictions. She's starving, but too sick to eat. Exhausted, but so restless, she can't stop moving. There's anger, too, for her own predicament, but there's a certain contentness that comes with doing the right thing.

Blackouts occured with regularity for the first century or so after she helped Elena, and her first real moment of consciousness leads to the realisation that she's on her own couch, in her apartment. Squeezing her eyes shut does nothing to shut out the feeling that the room is spinning - in fact, it makes things worse, so she opens them again.

The whites are almost completely shot red, the irises still a shimmering, ethereal blue. If she focuses on the framed picture just across from her, the room wobbles more than it spins, which is a lot easier on her stomach.

Usually, this would warrant a hospital trip, but with the eyes, and with the non-sensical stuff about viruses she was spouting in her half-awake state all the way home, that wouldn't have been a good idea.

—-

Meanwhile, there's a wallaby in the kitchen. Or a kangaroo. Or a dingo. Either way there's a guy from Australia in the kitchen of this woman's apartment, and he is, honest to God, boiling water. And there's towels too. Some of them have been soaked in the boiling water, rung out in the sink. Some of them are soaking in a second bowl, this one with ice in it, also rung out in the sink. Taine's not a doctor, he just plays one on TV, so there's only so much he can do.

With the wet cold and hot towels on a tray, and a bundle of dry towels under his arm, he returns to the couch and looks down at her. "I'm honestly not sure what to do in this situation, Erin," he admits in his accent, but he takes one of the towels— the hot one, and starts to dab at her face.

"I'm sure you did a good thing, so I'm not going to act like you didn't— but you need to take care of yourself, too."

—-

It takes her a moment to figure out why Taine is here - Erin asked Elena to call him. She stares blankly for a moment, before he touches the hot towel to her face. For the first couple seconds, it feels comforting, and then suddenly, she's burning up again and pulls away, her brows drawing down and furrowing as if she's been hit.

Deep breath.

"Taine," she says, relief creeping into her voice. Somehow, she's wound up half-sitting, propped between the back of the couch and one of the arms. Everywhere her skin is touching everything, it burns. Then it suddenly doesn't, then she moves and the pain is back. Gone. Back. Repeat.

Her hand reaches to her forehead. It's slick with sweat, her eyes hurt, her throat is dry. Eventually, after what seems like an hour to her, she nods. For the moment, she's completely unguarded - but really, she can't even think straight enough to put up those barriers between herself and her costar.

"I think— I…" she starts, fighting for the words. "I think I deserve it." Think of all the people she's hurt already! "I had to do something."

—-

"I guess you did make me sick for a while," Taine says with a lopsided smile, as he continues to dab at the sweat and get rid of some of it. Not much, but some. It isn't helping all that much, though, and he doesn't know what to do. He tosses aside the hot towel and grabs a cold one instead. Repeat! Rinse!

"It'd make more sense if you had backlash this bad if you were doing something like making people sick— and be normal when you're doing something good with it, don't you think? More fair that way." But this doesn't seem to be fair at all, and he understands that. "Maybe I should get you some medicine from the store— over-the-counter stuff. Treat the symptoms not the disease kind of thing."

Her symptoms are so erratic he's not even sure what to ask for, though.

—-

Blue eyes stare when he mentions the whole sick thing - as if she hadn't just brought it up a moment before. "I'm sorry," she says helplessly, slumping down into the cushion and just breathing quietly.

The cold towel feels better right now, and even despite the occasional chill she gets now and then, it's much more comfortable than the hot towel… For now, at least.

Fortunately for Taine, Erin McCarty isn't near as bad a patient as Morgan Starr is. Either she's too tired to protest, or she's enjoying the attention, or possibly both. Her neck arches forward and into the towel as it cools her, and she allows her eyes to close as the room stops turning over and over on itself. Reaching up, she pushes wet hair back against her already slicked ponytail. She feels gross.

Because time is moving so slowly, it seems as if she has forever to think about what Taine said. Looking at him - defeated, slouched, Erin asks, "Normal? What about any of this is normal? This isn't what I wanted to do with my life, Taine. Maybe I should just— " She hits the nearest pillow - at least it's not him - "sell myself to the circus or something. The amazing death-defying… Death." The pout that follows is almost cute, and would be, if she wasn't so ill-looking.

The pout turns into a lip-quiver.

—-

"Don't be silly. You're not 'Death'. And you don't belong in a circus," Taine says, using this cold towel more freely since she doesn't wince away from it. The shivers don't detract him— yet. "And by normal, you know what I meant. You didn't get sick after you made me and the crew of the show sick, but you get ill when you fix it instead? There's something weird about that, don't you think? If it were really karma, it would be the other way around."

He doesn't really know what else to do, other than do what he's been doing, rubbing the towel across her face. But the lip-quiver— the pout— that draws a cool pair of fingers over to touch her lips.

"You're too pretty to be in a freak show part of the circus." Though, honestly, she's pretty like this? No, not really— but he's being nice and part of being nice is seeing someone at their best— even when they're at their worst.

"You helped someone and that's a good thing. Don't sell yourself short."

—-

"I don't even know what I can really do yet," she says, the redness in her eyes slowly becoming a puffyness around them as she works her way toward tears. It's the pain, the stress. Tomorrow, she might even deny that this conversation ever happened.

"This thing was different. It wasn't like the others." It's something she told Cass before, and proceeds to explain to Taine, as well. It was tough. Resistant. It didn't want to die, and she had to work harder to kill it. She even uses the ant/cockroach analogy again, because that's how she sees the little cells, and really, this is the only one that's hard to kill in significant quantities. Because of that, she wants it gone — maybe not for entirely selfish reasons. She's just afraid of what could happen if she doesn't do something, and this is kind of like paying everyone back for what she did before.

Slowly - even if she's trying to be fast - she reaches up to take Taine's wrist. It's gentle, though that might just be because she's currently got no strength.

"I don't understand you," she says, meeting his eyes, the remaining faint blue glow in her own serving to make her already pale features look colder. There's a lot she's not saying there, namely, the memory of her whole life swirling around in her memory. Erin doesn't deserve a friend like Taine, and she knows it.

—-

"No one does, sweet," Taine says in that accent of his, smiling a little. More often she's sour than sweet, but as before— the nicest traits should be emphasized at a time like this. It's good that she's a good patient, because if she was sour right now he'd have a harder time coming up with something nice to say. "Well we know what you do in terms of— you make people sick, you can tell when people are sick and you can make people better. If this is different, then maybe if you want to do something good with it… you could try to find something easier to fix."

He can't think of any examples off the top of his head, though, so he just shifts his hand to lay over the one on his wrist and smiles at her fully.

"You'll be fine, and you'll figure out what to do with this. Though I'd prefer you not make me sick every time I piss you off a little."

—-

She opens her mouth to argue - that's not really what she meant - but getting into this now is a bad idea. Erin can already tell. It won't be an argument so much as the whole thing about how she did her best to tell him to hit the road, made it clear that she wasn't going to allow him into her life - she had no time - and yet here he is. Maybe the clouds are clearing a little. Maybe his reaction when she first made him sick isn't as important as it was a little while ago.

Of course, it'd be better if he'd never had the opportunity to have that reaction at all - either she would have been better able to control what she could do, or this would have ideally happened to someone else. Even if she has the potential to cure a whole lot of diseases, it's not normal, it's a point of stress that Erin has to live with and worry about constantly. One little slip in public, and the cat's out of the bag.

Still holding Taine's hand, she allows her eyes to close. The room's starting to wobble again, and soon it'll start spinning. "…Will you stay tonight?"

—-

It's true, his reaction could have been better. But her own reaction to her power is about on par with what his was. Taine was afraid, she's afraid. It only happened that he tried to accept it because of how pissed off she got at him— and now he's pretty much accepted it. Helps that he had to dress up as a freak for a few months. And she knows what's in store for him on Afterlife— it's even worse than what they put him through in the Halloween plot.

"Yeah, I'll stay tonight," he says with a smile, shifting to squeeze her hand back. Nothing will happen except him waiting on her a little. This won't be the night the tabloids already think they're having. "Did I ever tell you my mom's a nurse?"

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