2007-12-08: We Can't Change the Past


DrAldric_icon.gif Meryl_icon.gif

Summary: Meryl is back from Australia. She seriously needs to see a head doctor. So, of course, she goes to the wrong guy. Francie has candy!

Date It Happened: 8 DECEMBER 2007

We Can't Change the Past

Aldric's office

Afternoon at Aldric's Family Practice finds Dr. Aldric a busy man. He has a surplus of patients these days, but finds time to take them all now that the business with the virus has died down — business which he was sure to keep away from his own practice. Safe and cozy, situated in a converted house full of old-fashioned design, but with hints of the modern medical world everywhere, the main lobby is separate from the waiting area — half its chairs occupied, currently — which sits ahead behind a glass wall. The front desk, off to the left, is manned by an elderly assistant with cat's eye glasses. Behind her, the door to Aldric's office is ajar and he has a massive floor-to-ceiling filing cabinet open. "Francie, did you move my red-flagged files?"


When is a door not a door? When it's ajar!

"You really have an assistant named Francie?" Meryl asks as she pushes open the office door, slides in, then pushes it shut again. "You know, you really need better security around the back door of your office. I mean, I just parked and walked in, after picking the locks and disabling the alarm - which was off anyway, since you're open, but— I think you're going to need a new box, sorry. Here." She drops some brightly coloured, obviously cut wires on the desk. Wasn't there something— "Oh, Francie - is that her name? I told her I could take over for awhile. This won't take long, I promise. I don't think she believed me anyway. But, Phyllis, I really need to talk to a P-Sychiatrist, and you're the only one who knows about all the— stuff. By the way, we're back from Australia. Hi. How're things around here?"


As is usual when forced to communicate with the being known as Meryl Wolfe, Dr. Aldric freezes every movement and stares dumbfoundedly throughout her spiel, coming to life only to blink incredulously through his glasses and to blindly take the chunk of electronic equipment when it thuds onto his desk. "Francie has been with me for— for ten… twelve years, she-she prefers to Francine, welcome back. A lot's happened. I think you've gotten your…" The man looks down at the mess of wires in his hands, frowns thoughtfully, and puts it back on the desk. "…wires crossed, so to speak. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I can uh, certainly refer you to the one the Company does have on staff."


And Meryl, having realised her mistake, turns around and walks out of Aldric's office, in order to pursue a real head-doctor elsewhere.

Well, no, that doesn't happen, but she does think about it briefly. "Great, thanks!" Climbing up on the desk, she lays down across it. This is the couch, after all, for all intent and purpose. Because there's stuff on it, though, this is rather difficult, so she bunches some file folders up to use as a pillow, then turns onto her side. Then, something amazing happens.

Meryl's silent. For more than three seconds. In fact, this silence stretches for a full quarter minute before she speaks again, and it's quiet! "…Please? Can't I just stay here? I mean, I'm already here, and I know you." Kind of.


Dr. Aldric swivels to watch Meryl make herself get comfortable. At first, his expression starts out as abject horror, thinking she's going to break something, or send important files sailing onto the floor — but that expression soon melts into something akin to concern, although there's a heap of hesitancy that goes along with it. He absently shuts the file drawer behind him, the one he was pawing through before Meryl barged in. "Ah, well…" He tucks his hands into the deep pockets of his white doctor's coat. "I have patients to see, you understand. Psychiatry is out of my scope of practice, if you want to talk, it'll be off-hours— I'd appreciate it if you'd uh, remove yourself from my desk, if you would."

Remove herself from the desk. "No - I get it, I understand," she says, though the effort of saying as much seems to cause more of a downturn in her mood. At least she does sit up, though she remains sitting on the desk. There's less of a chance she'll break things now, though. "I understand, that's the whole thing. I…" There's another pause, she furrows her brow, narrowing her eyes. Keeping on-topic isn't Meryl's strong point, but she's trying. Besides, she just spent a whole month and a half staying on-topic in Australia. She should be able to keep that up for a little while, at least.

She chuckles, allowing the worry on her face to disappear. "…I was actually planning to come home normal, but there were hitches in the plan. This guy— I don't know if you read the whole mission… thing or not. Did you?"


"The mission in Australia— no, no, I'm not up-to-date," Dr. Aldric admits. There's a twinge of guilt in his voice, of all things. "It uh, wasn't on my list of need-to-knows, I guess. I know there was a man involved with the ability to— " He instinctively lowers his New York accented voice. "Manipulate memories." The man's hands shuffle about in his coat pockets as he regards Meryl with a deeper set frown. "Most plans have hitches, in my experience."


Meryl doesn't really read that guilt. It's more because she doesn't want to than because she can't, or maybe she's a little too naive to realise that he feels bad about not looking at said file. She certainly doesn't feel offended. In fact, the idea that this could be 'Story Time' is fairly appealing.

So, she tells him. It probably takes a little longer than planned to explain what happened to her and her parents when she was fairly young, and that the same guy who messed up her parents' minds - and hers, to a lesser extent - was the guy they were supposed to capture and bring back, but Meryl does eventually get through the background part of it.

"So we went to Australia, and he did to Nova what he did to me. I guess she got used to it after awhile. You'd have to." Biting her lip, she leans forward, holding onto the edge of Phyllis' desk. "We couldn't fine him after that, so we took turns tracking him, 'til we got him to this old warehouse in a shipyard just outside of Cairnes.

"Took awhile to get everyone together. A couple days - we had to make sure we had everything together. Megan…" At this point, it's revealed that Meryl actually does have volume control, as she starts speaking more quietly. "Got into Dorsey's head and fixed Nova. But this guy… I guess he was— you know. He came back. And he was gonna shoot Megan. Kill her. She goes unconscious when she does that thing, you know? So she couldn't move. Benji was shot, Nova didn't have a weapon - I wouldn't let her carry one since her brain was all messed up." Pause. "Come to think of it, I dunno why they let me have one. But that's beside the point now, I guess. I."

Another long pause. "I killed him. I killed Dorsey."


Although Dr. Aldric does, once or twice, eye the door to his office, knowing he has things to do - people to see, patients to take care of — he lets it all wait. This unique woman on his desk obviously feels that this is important, and he can't quite bring himself to usher her out, and-well, the point is, he leans back against his largest filing cabinet (one of three), folds his arms and he listens. When the end of the story rolls around, with its hefty finale, he doesn't speak at first: the man's mouth is a firm line, neutral, non-judgemental.

"Your superiors would say 'mission accomplished'," he ventures, drably, almost cynically, after a spell. "Or was he supposed to be brought back alive? That's a-a shame about Agent Armstrong… I'm sure I'll be seeing Winters shortly if he's been injured…" Cutting off his thinking aloud, he lifts a pair of slightly shaggy, greying brows. "Are you holding up, Ms. Wolfe?"


"I think they'd say 'Mission Accomplished.' Nova's fine, Bingo's fine. I'm sure Megan's okay, though I think I killed Dorsey while she was still in his head, so I dunno. I guess you'd have to ask her."

She smiles, though there's something lss vacant about it than there'd been before. It seems cliche to seem that there's sadness there, but there is now. Where she'd had hope before, it's pretty much gone. "There was this research indicating that my parents would actually dream when they were asleep. And they were so calm while they— They didn't relive the same few seconds of their lives over and over when they dreamed. I asked Ben to put them to sleep so they wouldn't wake up anymore, and he did.

"That's not… really the happy ending I was hoping for."


"But it's an ending," Dr. Aldric replies - while his tone is not exactly optimistic, it's encouraging. Gruff, but all the same… "It's all in the past now. You can move on. That's all anyone can do is move on. Plans rarely go without hitches, endings aren't happy a large percentage of the time but a person just has to use what they're given and make something of it— I'm not saying the whole lemons-lemonade spiel here, I'm just saying… what's done is done," he says, then repeats again, "You can move on."


There's a lot Meryl's not saying. Heavy stuff, like you hear on TV - she killed her hope, there's no way for her to get better now, et cetera. Thankfully, it's something that'll pass, because it has to. She can't dwell on things like this for very long, but for now, she can be sad. "I know," she answers, finally pushing her way off the desk, and watching the doctor for the moment. "Maybe if I'd done something different…" … "You mentioned there's a head-doctor I could talk to."


"I think about that— sometimes I think about that," Dr. Aldric admits quietly. He clears his throat in a low cough. "But me and you, we can't change the past. So we do what we can." A hint of a smile lightens his expression and flickers his moustache. "Ah, that's right, Dr. Eames. He takes patients at his office in Greenwich, predominantly, now, until the new offices are accessible. I think he's in the phonebook— but uh, I have his card around here somewhere…" He wanders around the desk and starts rummaging in a drawer.


"Ah, yeah, think I've heard of him before." She scratches the back of her head, momentarily embarrassed, but the moment passes. Serious stuff is boring. SERIOUSLY. Picking up the wires, she says, "I was just kidding, I didn't mess up your security system. It's still fine." But. There's always a but. "You're gonna need a new lock on your door. Sorry about that, Doctor Aldric." For now, she can refrain from that nickname that he must just love. Only for now, though. It's like a temporary truce, like old enemies throwing food over into their rivals' trenches, so they didn't starve to death while waiting for orders. Of course, that's just so they can be shot at and kill later. Poor Aldric.


Dr. Aldric! Not Phyllis! The man actually double-takes, staring as if he thinks, if he stares long enough, he'll be able to rewind the moment (so soon after saying they can't change the past) to make sure he heard correctly. "I, uh, need to install a new system anyway." He looks down into the drawer. "Oh, here it is." He hands a business card to Meryl. "So… best of luck, there. Meryl. You, uh— you get Francie to give you a candy on your way out, she keeps them— " This is dangerous information to give out, he realizes. "She has a stash for the good patients." That is, kids.


CANDY!? See, if he'd said this to start with, he wouldn't have even had to listen to Meryl's story at all. "Thanks!" she exclaims, taking the card and tucking it into her pants pocket. Where it will probably stay for the next several weeks before she remembers it's there and re-discovers it. For now… Candy. On her way out, she will designate that Francie's new name is now Star-Crosser, the Magnificent.

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