2007-02-10: Unexpected House Call



Guest Starring: Dr. Eames and Psych Student

Summary: In an attempt to hide from the world, Ben cancels his therapy appointment. Only for it to come to him unexpectedly.

Date It Happened: February 10th, 2007

Unexpected House Call

Winters Apartment

After sleeping for quite some time, nothing seems any clearer the following day for Benjamin. He hurts like hell from the accident, and now there's a new pain. From a pair of minute scratches towards the back of his neck. It's those scratches he's now trying to examine in the bathroom mirror best he can manage. "Where in the world.. guess I better call maintenance and have them spray.. but doesn't really look like a spider bite," he says aloud and to himself. He doesn't connect their appearance to Angie's little 'visit' the night before. When he came to, there was no sign the woman had even been there. Save for the business card that is. One he's torn between calling the number on or throwing away. Digesting what the strange woman had to say is hard, to say the least. It's not something he's anywhere near ready to accept. Of course it would put some sense into events around him. But that would mean accepting the fantastic, and that he's at fault for a number of not so nice things.

There's a knock on the door. It's nothing like the knock Benjamin heard last night, however - it's firm, but respectful. Business-like. Three short raps.

On the front steps, waiting calmly, is a tall, square-shouldered black man with small round glasses. It's Benjamin's psychologist, Dr. Eames. A light snow falls outside, flurries hitting his coat and melting as soon as they touch. On the street behind him, a figure is moving around in his parked Lexus which is lilac-coloured. Don't judge him.

Benjamin jumps at the knock on the door, easily startled and with good reason. Using his good arm, he flips his collar up, adjusting it to hide those marks. He walks out of the bathroom, but pauses in the hallway, unsure if he wants to answer the door. He's still more than a little freaked out and would just rather not talk to people. It's too bad that there's only one other way out of the apartment and that's the fire escape. It's also too bad he's not really the sort to rabbit.. or shimmy down the fire escape without there being a fire.

"Mr. Winters?" Dr. Eames calls out in his even tone, just loud enough to carry, should Benjamin be near the door by any chance. He knocks three more times on the door.

Benjamin stays put in the hallway and his brows knit when he hears Dr. Eames on the other side of the front door. What the.. He didn't ask for a house call, he only phoned earlier to cancel the upcoming appointment.. While unexpected, Dr. Eames's visit does start to put the man at ease. Taking in a deep breath and a slow exhale, he goes to unlock and open the door. It's just a little awkward and takes a moment or two longer than normal, what with his dominant arm in a sling and all. "Dr. Eames?," he greets, sounding just a little questioning.

"Good day Benjamin." Dr Eames is terse as always. Before saying another word, he eyes the sling on the man's arm. "I was concerned after you cancelled our appointment. I decided it was time for a house call." There's no 'may I come in?'. He just stands there waiting for Benjamin to move so he can step instead. It's not a question or an offer. Meanwhile, there's a muffled, complaining voice drifting from the Lexus as a young woman steps backwards out of the back seat, trying to haul something out. A bag?

Benjamin steps back from the door, allowing room for Eames to enter. "Well.. there's nothing to get concerned about. Really. I just need to take a few days to rest." And stay inside, away from people, to think, digest.. maybe do a crossword puzzle or two! Or not. "It's just been a bad weekend. I'm fine.. uh, well I will be." Trying to evade subjects is so not his forte.

Dr. Eames steps in, succinctly brushing invisible snow off of his shoulders. He looks around Benjamin's apartment, taking it in without expression. Wiping his shoes off once on the mat, he strolls slowly toward the television with his large hands clasped behind his back, observing the picture of Benjamin's graduation. "That's precisely why I thought a house call was in order, Benjamin. A bad weekend is all the more reason to keep our appointment… don't you think?" He turns around to face his patient.

Outside, the car door closes and the young woman, tossing a messenger bag over her shoulder (that's all she was trying to pull out of the backseat; it's weighed down with its contents, books, by the shape of it), makes a run for the apartment before it shuts her out. "I'm coming!"

"…Oh. Also… I have a student with me. She's working on her degree. I'd like for her to sit in, as a learning tactic. If you don't mind. She's a good student. She won't interfere. She's signed a confidentiality waver. For you, I have this permission form…" Dr. Eames procures a folded piece of paper from his coat's breast pocket.

Benjamin sighs and would slump his shoulders, if one wasn't hurting like the dickens. "It could have waited, really. But.. you're already taking up part of your weekend coming here." About to say more, he looks towards the doctor and the door, more than a little nervous at his announcement. "I don't know how I feel about that. I already feel crazy enough just talking to you. I understand the confidentiality but.."

Dr. Eames gestures to the couch with a vaguely questioning expression as if to ask permission to sit down, but he sits down regardless afterward. "Aspen takes her studies seriously. She won't be a problem. But if you're uncomfortable… it's entirely up to you, Benjamin." Pause. "And you're not crazy, Benjamin. Don't say that."

The student all but tumbles into the apartment, catching herself by grabbing onto the doorframe. She's bright-eyed, an eager, hopeful expression lighting up her features. It says: academia in the FIELD! Learning! A real patient! A house call! EXCITEMENT. Her wavy brown hair is shoved into a messy bun; glasses are propped on her head, slightly off-kilter. She's wearing a trim black peacoat. "I won't be a bother," she blurts out. She has a crisp British accent. "I'll just-I'll sit and watch. Quiet as a mouse." Pleeease? How can anyone resist her?!

Benjamin is visibly conflicted, but relents after a brief mental battle. He nods his consent to both the doctor and student. "Alright.. please have a seat, both of you." He'll remain standing, in the mood to pace some. "Why not say it? It's got to be true. I'm crazy.. no I got it, I'm cursed. Some weird curse, that is, if curses existed.. or some twisted, cosmic screw-up where people are told they cause things to happen, and people get hurt." Clearly agitated, the man rambles, not making much sense at all. Just running off at the mouth. "There's no such thing as secret organizations, or people with someone's sick idea of abilities."

The psych student squeals with joy and scampers into the apartment. She looks like she may hug Benjamin, as a matter of fact, but thankfully avoids it. She sits down at the opposite end of the couch from Dr. Eames and unloads a thick notebook from her bag, as well as a pen that has a highlighter at one end.

Dr. Eames lays the paper slip on the arm of the couch, flattening it safely for the time being, since Benjamin didn't take it. He listens patiently (while the student takes frantic notes, trying to keep up with the rambling). "Let's start from the beginning. What happened to you?" A light gesture to the sling. "Were you in an accident of some kind, Benjamin?"

Benjamin would probably put people into a nasty coma if hugged suddenly, so yeah, it's good that Aspen doesn't do such a thing. He looks down at the waiver and picks it up, looking at it without really reading it. "This is stupid," he exhales. He falls quiet and has a moment of reluctance before pacing and telling the good doctor what happened yesterday. The bus driver falling asleep. The accident. He'll get to Angie in a bit.

Dr. Eames folds his hands around one knee. He's silent for a moment. It's a thing he does regularly, the considering silences. "What an unfortunate accident. I read about it in the newspaper. I wasn't aware you were involved." Involved. Not just present at the time. /Involved/. Leaning forward slightly, he sighs thoughtfully at Benjamin. "Now… Benjamin. Tell me about how you came to the conclusion about secret organizations."

"Excuse me," Benjamin utters distractedly as he slips into the tiny kitchen off the living room. He can be heard rummaging through cabinets, then the running of a faucet. Some ibuprofen is downed and he stands at the counter a little longer than necessary before stepping back into a view. His left hand raises to rub at his temple, a wince accompanying the movement. Refusing to meet the gaze of his guests, he remains standing. "I wish I hadn't of been there," he says about the accident. Not quite fleeting, the thought that the accident wouldn't have happened if he hadn't of been there crosses his mind. He presses the heel of his hand to his forehead as he drops into the chair Angie put him in the night before. "This woman, practically barged her way into my apartment last night. Said she was with an organization that monitors people with abilities, gifts. She said I was a danger to myself and others and that I caused the accident yesterday. Me. /I/ caused it. One person dead, others hurt." There's a distinct note of defeat in his voice, maybe even a plea that it's not true.

The student has stopped her note-taking, instead watching Benjamin intently, eyes widening at appropriate times - such as when he describes a woman barging into his apartment. Despite her apparent surprise, there's a fait smile skirting her lips, like it's an exciting story, a fun tale.

"It's important that you're not too overwhelmed," Dr. Eames begins slowly. But what track is he going on, here? "Have you ever heard of… evolutionary psychology, Benjamin?"

Benjamin groans and throws his head back. None of this is making him feel any better. "Is that anything like what's in /that/ book over there?" He doesn't exactly gesture to the hardbound book sitting on his coffeetable, but it is the only one in sight that he could be referring to. It's easy to see that he is overwhelmed. "I don't want to be responsible for hurting people. I don't even like killing bugs! I just.." He exhales loudly, heel of hand still pressed to his forehead. "/None/ of this can be real, but, say theoretically.. that I do have an assinine ability to make people go to sleep.. /how/ is it even possible?"

Dr. Eames waves his hand slightly before it returns calmly to his knee. "Evolution," he says simply. "Science. Science works in mysterious ways. These ways are… predictable, patterned, if you accept that they exist in the first place. Dr. Suresh was a pioneer in this way of thinking." He gestures again, this time to the student and then to the coffee table.

With a quiet 'oh!', the young woman reaches forward to claim Benjamin's copy of Activating Evolution. She hands it helpfully to Dr. Eames, watching the exchange between therapist and patient with wide eyes.

The psychologist turns the book over to reveal the photograph of Chandra Suresh. "Dr. Suresh is no longer with us." A regretful sigh escapes Dr. Eames, something rarely heard from a man like himself. As he regards Benjamin, his tone of voice becomes even more serious. "He was killed by a man who went out of control due to his… abilities. A man who did not, could not be helped."

Maybe Eames is making sense, or something's beginning to sink in. Perhaps the man has no more argument left in him. Either way, Benjamin finally looks up at the doctor. "I know about.. evolution. Apes to human.. but.. that's completely different." His gaze fall to the book in Eames's hands, "You're basically telling me that comic book authors were onto something with their work? It goes against conventional thinking. When I was a kid, I'd wrap a bedsheet around me and pretend to be Superman.. more Clark Kent really.. that kind of thing isn't supposed to exist."

"I've never been one for fantastic ideas," Dr. Eames says blandly. Surprise, surprise. "I do not believe in 'comicbook superheroes'; I think that's a damaging belief, from a psychological perspective. However… for some time, I have been monitoring my patients for signs of abilities above and beyond the norm on behalf of a company dedicated to helping these individuals. And I provide therapy for people in these positions. Like always, Benjamin, I'm here for you."

It's a delayed reaction really, but it finally hits Benjamin upside the skull. His head snaps sharply in Dr. Eames's direction, "You KNOW all of this.. You /humored/ me with the whole 'so you think you can put people to sleep' business?" His tone is needless to say, quite accusatory, with sarcasm next on the list. He throws his hand up in the air, "Great. This is just.. great. So next, you're going to tell me you know this Angie character and I should call her? Or what? No.. wait, let me guess, you've got a special hospital for people to check into, right? Like some little vacation spa that's not advertised yet people who know people know about it?" Ooookay. He's gone clearly raving now with a slightly manic look about his eyes and a grin that can't mean he's finding something humorous. It's time to break out the pep pills and caffeine, the man is completely not in control of himself.

Dr. Eames gives on of his signature moments of calm silence, even in the face of Benjamin's manic behaviour. He's used to this. "Something like that." He may not be entirely comforting in his approach, but his tactics are certainly gentler than Angie's. Right? This is the next step, it would seem, urging Benjamin along. He just sits and waits to see how the man's reaction will progress.

The student, with the same intrigued, slightly surprised look on her face - as if this is all unexpected to her, too - starts taking notes again.

Benjamin just.. stops talking finally and looks from both Aspen to Eames. An expression of incredulity spreads across his face. "You're serious.. you're both.. serious.." His left hand rubs across his face, albeit none too steadily. "I.. really caused someone to.." he breathes out shakily as he tears his gaze ceilingwards, as if looking for guidance from some other source. "I don't have much of a choice.. wh.. when do I need to go?"

The student? She shakes her head adamantly, her blue eyes huge. "This is all fascinatingly new to me!"

"When you're ready… use the contact information you have," Dr. Eames says, slowly standing up. "I'm familiar with your case, Benjamin; I knew you would need some encouraging. But make no mistake… take Ms. Alvarez and her visit seriously." He nods deeply to the man, makes a gesture to the student, who scrambles to follow him as he starts to head for the door.

When he's ready? What kind of a response is that? How does someone know when they're ready for something like this?? Benjamin looks up as Eames and student rise. "I.. have some things to tend to.. and.. a business trip to cancel." Which would be most wise. "I'm not really the sort to be let on a plane now," he says in a weak tone. He looks like a kid told he was responsible for killing the family pet.

"No. You're not. Take care of yourself, Benjamin." With those words of… wisdom, Dr. Eames and his eager student leave the residence, leaving only that piece of paperwork in their wake. As it turns out, it's not a permission form at all: it's an admittance form for a hospital in Hartsdale, New York.

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