2010-02-20: In Silence

Starring:

Janet_V4icon.pngErin_V4icon.png

Guest Starring:

Morris_V4icon.png

Date: January 20, 2010

Summary:

How can sisters reconnect when they can't speak?


"In Silence"

Erin's Cell, Building 27

"One million… Five-hundred-thousand… Three hundred thirteen… bottles of beer on the wall…" Erin mutters, continuing the tune she'd begun much earlier in the day. She started at two million, and has been steadily counting down since. It's partially to alleviate her own boredom, and partially to annoy the people who have to listen to her sing it. Still pumped full of sedatives, though, the strain has taken its toll. She's slowly rocking back and forth; shadowed eyes are mostly closed.

The bruises on her wrists are visible around the chains, as she's never really stopped pulling at them. It's almost a mark of insanity - performing the same activity over and over, expecting a different result every time. But the chains are still firmly cemented into the floor, holding her to the chair.

"One million… Five hundred thousand… Three-hundred— Three— Shit. I lost count.

"Two million bottles of beer on the wall…"

She could use a beer right now. The nice trauma to her head the day before is still giving her a headache. The small cut is bandaged with steri-strips to keep it closed, and doesn't look particularly bad at the moment.

In the middle of the verse, Erin coughs. It sounds painful, despite the fact that she was only just showing signs of a cold the day before. It's progressing pretty quickly… But it makes sense though. She doesn't even have to guess as to why. Her dream told her that.

—-

"No, Timmy, we need to make sure all of the new captures are okay. I don't care what Agent Yang said. You're with me, and I swear I won't talk. I won't utter a word. Besides, she might need a doctor and many of my colleagues are too intimidated to really take care of their patients," Janet's voice echoes down the hall.

"Dr. McCarty. Call me Agent Morris." And then with a sigh he nods, "Fine. But no speaking. The rule must be upheld. If you speak, I will have you removed from the project entirely."

"I won't utter a word. Not even a hello."

That said, Janet opens the door of the cell and steps inside. She purses her lips at the chains and winces at the bruising, but doesn't even utter a greeting. No, she's trying to follow the rules.

—-

She hasn't gotten many visitors today. Erin wonders if starting the song over was just too much for them, and now they're coming to silence her. Maybe they'll up the dose of sedatives so she can actually get a good sleep.

With her face still angled toward the floor, she rolls her eyes upward. And there's Janet. Clear blue eyes remain on her sister for a moment, and despite the fact that the rest of her looks pretty bad, there's still fire in her stare, as always. She just didn't want to deal with the embarrassment of Janet coming here.

The chill from the open door makes her shiver. Erin takes the opportunity to look away. Maybe if she ignores everyone, they'll just go away.

Reflexively, she pulls on one of the chains, which slides against the floor with the dull sound of metal on stone. The only sound Erin makes is a raspy breathing, through her mouth, because her nose is completely stuffed now.

—-

Janet sideglances Morris who shakes his head as he stands in the doorway. Pressing her lips together she approaches the patient. She's oddly not afraid of being hit, instead, she walks right up to Erin before plugging her stethocsope in her ears. She reaches forward to press it to Erin's chest.

She presses her lips together disapprovingly, but her eyes speak a different story. Her eyes are soft… scared even. Her ever-present smile is erased for now as she silently reaches over to touch her sister's skin.

—-

The cold metal against her chest brings on another fit of coughing, which she tries to quiet so that Jan can listen to her heart. At the moment, that sounds fine. It's her lungs that don't sound so great. With nothing to fight off disease, a simple cold is very rapidly developing into secondary infections.

When she's through coughing, Erin relaxes enough so that the exam is even possible.

She's not really warm just yet, though she's pale, and a little clammy. Unable to help herself, she looks up to meet Janet's eyes again, expecting to find some sort of victorious smirk there. What she sees clearly surprises her.

Janet's hand feels so warm compared to the chill Erin's feeling, so she leans into the touch, letting her eyes close. Perhaps Janet's having the same thoughts as Erin… Their dream was a picture of things to come. In that case, they both know what the doctor has to do.

—-

Silently Janet presses her lips together. Her expression clearly apologetic. She knows where the cameras are — they're behind her. She reaches into her bag and pulls out some antibiotics and then a syringe which she promptly fills with the antibiotic. She proceeds to give Erin a dose. Her expression says it all, she remembers the dream. She thinks she knows where this is heading.

She silently tilts her head, her eyes questioning what she can do; how she can help, but she knows Erin can't answer. With a giant sigh shakes her head, but still says nothing. Her frown is evidence enough of her emotions. She reaches for Erin's wrist to examine the bruising carefully.

—-

Hkh. Kh.

The sound of Erin holding back the coughing, as well as biting back something she'd been about to say. One eye opens to look at the syringe, but she knows that's not enough to end this nightmare. It'd be nice if she could just tell Janet to finish it, but she really doesn't want her sister getting in trouble.

She can't even feel the sting of the needle.

There's the tiniest shake of her head when Janet asks the wordless question. Apparently, despite the fact that they haven't really talked in years, they still have the ability to communicate with each other without even speaking.

If Janet could talk, Erin knows she'd tell her to stop pulling on the chains; she's damaging her beautiful wrists! The thought draws the briefest of smiles, before something amazing happens.

Erin sobs.

Tears flood her eyes, but they don't fall. She's stubbornly not allowing Janet to see her cry. Painfully gritting her teeth, she bites back the emotion, and in true practiced form, it's gone just as soon as it appeared.

—-

Janet's eyebrows furrow as she too begins to choke back tears in utter silence. If she cries, Morris will know. So she shoots Erin another apologetic look as she reaches into her bag and extracts a couple of chemically activated ice packs which she proceeds to activate and put on Erin's bruised wrists.

She bites her bottom lip as she looks at the wound on Erin's head. Janet's own head is tilted as she examines it carefully, snapping on a pair of blue disposable doctor's gloves before she removes it gently. Her touch is soft, affectionate perhaps. She reaches into her bag and extracts a fresh bandage which she uses to patch up her sister, the frown still playing on her lips. Her apology remains unuttered, but it's all over her face. Janet is sorry, there's no denying that.

—-

There's a hiss of pain when Janet touches her forehead. That was fun. She did a whole improv act with the double agent, and, just for the record, Cody is a fantastic actor. Made it look very real. So real that it hurt.

Despite the fact that she's freezing, the ice packs serve to alleviate the pain, which is almost literally a godsend. Inhaling deeply, she lets out the breath slowly. Relief.

Hn. There are so many questions to be asked. Ducking her head so she can look right into Janet's eyes, they take on an accusatory look, the bottom lid twitching just once as she silently questions what part her sister had in this. Any? All? The apologetic look on Janet's face suggests she didn't even know. Forget that for now. It's not even important.

Reconnect. It could be the last time you ever see your sister.

Her eyes glance toward Agent Morris, then back at Janet. Erin's lip curls into a half-smile, and she waggles her eyebrows a couple times. Little sis finally find a man?

—-

The accusatory look is met with another frown; it wasn't Janet. Janet said nothing to them. Nothing about Erin, and only mentioned Tracy's blonde hair when questioned later, even though she totally remembered the other woman's name. Her eyes question how long Erin has been here; she doesn't even know. She just knows when Agent Yang questioned her and sought information.

Her cheeks flush as Erin's gaze flits to Agent Morris and she shrugs a little. Yes, she has a schoolgirl crush on the agent who accompanies her anywhere. However, she winces just a little afterwards to indicate that he either doesn't like working with her, doesn't enjoy her company, or is desperate to off her in some way. Of course, he did let her come in here regardless of the ramifications it might have for him. Despite this, he's still got nothing on Anderson Cooper. One day Anderson will whisk Janet away… when he knows she exists.

Her eyes ask virtually the same question. Is there an Agent Morris-like person in Erin's life?

—-

Not Janet. Not Janet. That she's even here, having this silent conversation and gently doctoring is really all Erin needs to see to know it couldn't have been her sister. There's no triumphant look in those greenish eyes, and, unlike Erin, Janet has never been a very good actor.

So Erin thinks. She doesn't know about that interrogation earlier. Still, genuine sincerity is hard to fake.

The reciprocal question earns a smile. Sure, they could play a game of twenty questions, but it'd be hard when neither of them can talk. It'll just have to be Erin's secret, unfortunately. If Janet picks up any newspaper, she'll probably be able to guess pretty easily, though.

Why couldn't they have been like this years ago? Really, Erin's proud of Janet; the almost mischievous smile regarding her own love life becomes wistful, more subtle. Thankful. At least when Erin dies in here, they'll be back on decent terms. It means a lot, considering the fact that she now has absolutely no one.

Except for a woman she hasn't spoken to in far too long.

It's probably going to result in an ending to their time together, but Erin leans forward to gently bump her newly-bandaged forehead against Janet's shoulder. Hang in there, kid. It'll be all right. The motion causes the chains to scrape against the floor again, and the shackles shift the ice packs on her wrists. It draws another shiver.

—-

Janet now sniffles. She has wasted too much time avoiding her family. And now she has Erin back, only to lose her again. Blinking back her own tears she issues Erin a soft smile before pressing her lips together. She needs to go. If she lingers any longer they'll get suspicious. But she shoots her sister a half smile, she'll be back.

She makes eye contact again, her own signal for Erin to hang in there, determination edging her eyes; she won't let Erin suffer in here, she can't.

Agent Morris clears his throat, indicating his female partner should get a move on. With one last fleeting glance, Janet steps back towards the door and shoots Erin one last glance, one easily identifiable, I love you. But once again the camera missed it.

And as the pair exit the cell Morris' voice echoes through the hall, "I'm impressed you managed it Dr. McCarty." He shoots her a small smile of approval. But Janet doesn't respond, she's now distracted. "Dr. McCarty?"

"What? Oh I'm sorry Timmy. Just… thinking…"

That said, the pair walks down the hall to finish rounds.

—-

It doesn't seem like they got more than a couple minutes together, but Erin's still grateful for the time. Even if there's nothing Janet can do in the end other than… Well. end it, At least she knows there's someone in this place who loves her. It makes it easier.

Just before the door closes, Erin's voice, hoarse, though unmistakably cheery, resumes her song. "Two million bottles of beer on the wall…"

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