2007-07-20: You Make Me Sick

Starring:

Taine_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif

Summary: Erin brings Taine home to meet her roommate. There's some awkwardness, a scene rehearsal, then everything goes really bad.

Date It Happened: 20 JULY 2007

You Make Me Sick


Erin and Ali's Apartment

Ah. Apartment living.

TWO DAYS IN A ROW Ali's been home - sort of. Gone in the morning back in the evening; apparently, catching up on sleep has been something of a priority. Tonight, though, she's destroying the kitchen.

Well, not literally.

There's a pan on the stove in which butter's rapidly burning, the DJ chopping at an onion with a knife merrily, but with absolutely no artistry. There's a battered cookbook open on the counter to something with a very pretty picture of chicken. There are zucchini near at hand. The smoke alarm hasn't gone off. So far, things are in a state of equilibrium.

The TV is actually playing today's episode of One Life To Live. Seriously - apparently, someone recorded it and is using it as the backdrop for burning dinner.

—-

The choice of day might just be because Erin's not sure she's comfortable alone in the apartment with Ali, though that's not actually the case. She thinks. At least, that's what she's telling herself as she drags Taine back there. She's managed to keep her roommate's secret, and will continue to do so, considering the absurdity of it. Erin's almost thinking that she must have imagined the whole thing, except for the particularly nasty scrape on her elbow, which she has completely wrapped in a bandage now. The official story is that she fell while cleaning cobwebs off the balcony.

Opening the door to her apartment, she notes two things. First, an episode of One Life taped several weeks prior has finally made it to the channel lineup, and second, that something is cooking. Uh.

"Hi?" she says, stepping toward the kitchen, where she's hearing the sizzling of something on the stove. No smoke yet, but that doesn't mean everything smells quite right. "Ali?"

—-

The reaction to her rather nasty scrape might have been amusing. Taine might play a doctor on television, and he might have some kind of exotic outback-ness of being from Australia, but— apparently he can't stand the sight of a real injury. Even some of the make up injuries seemed to have caused him to pale. But they're never very bad. Still, there'd been some moments when he first saw it that may have made her tease him about it. Because she's mean like that.

But he does go back to her apartment with her. The bandage covers what makes him pale and look a little yellowed, so he doesn't have to worry about that. And he's meeting her roommate. Which is a plus. He'd been planning to stop by and meet this notorious woman one day— but it never happened. He's been distracted.

Dressed casually, though this time with a tucked and mostly buttoned up shirt, he steps into the apartment and makes a mild face. It doesn't smell right. "You didn't ask her to cook— oh look, our scene's coming up."

It's not ADD. It's ego.

—-

Ali calls, brightly - "Hey, Erin! Sorry - just trying to, you know - I know it's late, but-" There's distinct Jersey in that.. but she's being distracted by the TV. ".. you don't like him. Stop it." A sigh - and she points her knife at the set, having not yet even remotely come /close/ to looking at the door.

"What is /that/? I mean - she hated him for /months/." A grin is flashed at nothing in particular as onion is piled on very brown butter. "I'm gonna have to get myself together for work in a minute, but I figured I'd at least get dinner done, right?"

The addition of the ego to the room has apparently gone unnoticed, right along with its owner. For now. Did we mention, by the by, that gorilla-foot slippers are much in evidence on the chef? Jeans. Shirt. Gorilla feet. It's a /fashion statement/ - namely, "what?"

Curious, much more seriously, the DJ asks - "How'd it go?" There's something eager there. Chatty. Hopeful. We're making /friends/ out of insecurity. Honest.

—-

The thing about soap operas is that mortal enemies could very well be best friends in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days. It comes from the necessity of having to do something with characters almost every day for fifty two weeks of a year, minus weekends. Also, the Christmas special where everyone miraculously gets along. They'll be filming that soon. Scary.

"She's really sweet," she mutters to Taine, smiling at the commentary about the show. Indeed, their scene is coming up. One of them, at any rate. Either Erin's good at acting, or she doesn't seem to be the least bit uncomfortable in a house with someone who could potentially kill her. It could be both. After all, it wasn't intentional, and Ali's really been trying hard for weeks not to mess things up. Or, days, or. Something. Erin's trying to think if she ever did anything she didn't really mean to do now, and she honestly can't think of anything. "Ali, I brought someone here to meet you."

—-

Yes, that is the funny thing with soap operas. Sometimes chemistry works, sometimes it doesn't. A lot of the plotlines are written after the actors have a chance to interact with each other. If it's there, then they end up getting thrust together a lot more quickly. And sometimes it just helps if they're damn pretty to look at, which most of them are.

Case in point. Taine runs a hand through his blond hair as they get further into the apartment, higher standards than some, but he'll keep his. Even if it is in Brooklyn. A one bedroom pad is all he needs. Better to bring company over without interuptions, right? "Maybe you should have called ahead," he says with a smirk, before he steps in far enough to see this roommate— who seems to be a fan of gorillas. Oddly cute, that.

It's like the beauty in King Kong wearing his little brothers in revenge. "Good evening. Hope I'm not intruding." It's the accent. He's definitely got it, and he's not even trying to hide it. "Erin said you were a fan, and I see she wasn't exaggerating." He glances towards the screen.

—-

"Someone to.." Erin apparently intrigues the DJ, who leans back to see around that column that blocks her view. And, for a moment? She just - well.

Stares. And then she looks down at herself - a bit of a mess, no makeup, and gorilla-feet? And - ever seen a bit of a hopless expression? that's it. Yeah. She's a fan. And now she's been seen by the /cute doctor guy/ with the /accent/ in her /slippers/ and a /mess/.

She points the knife at Erin (with a wry, lopsided, embarrassed smile) - "this is your revenge, isn't it."

—-

"Nah," she says to Taine. This is much more amusing, especially the gorilla feet slippers. It's perfect! Sure, she wouldn't have done it if she thought Ali would be too mortified, but… Unexpected company from Taine Whitaker? Too good an opportunity to pass up.

And… It's not for revenge, but Ali's insinuation that it could be takes her aback. For telling her to jump off her balcony? And while the nervousness doesn't show on her face when she's staring at the tip of that knife, she's certainly feeling it. So— "For the cat that I don't want, yes." Or the cats, Erin doesn't know yet. Doesn't want to know. They're going to be the other woman's responsibility, anyway. "So we're even."

Introductions suck. They always seem so… Rehearsed. So she takes a couple steps back, before shoving Taine in Ali's direction. "Introduce yourself." Doesn't quite carry the same weight as it would were it coming from Ali, but whatever. Erin heads into the kitchen proper to fetch something out of the fridge. One of those little individual chocolate milk bottles.

—-

"You're getting a cat?" Taine responds with a smirk, looking around for tails of fuzzy house guests that might rub up against his leg while he wanders around the apartment. No sign of them yet! But it still could be hiding somewhere, curled up or asleep. "Taine Whitaker," he handles the introduction, looking away from the screen for the few moments remaining that his handsome face won't be on it. "It's good to meet you, really."

Stepping a little closer, he doesn't seem to be disgusted by her state of attire and lack of make up, so there is that at least. "You like gorillas? My sister has a set of wombat slippers that she loves to wear, but I guess you probably don't see much of that over here." Wombats are not exactly well known in this part of the world. Pity, too.

—-

With great aplomb and vast amounts of maturity… Ali sticks her tongue out at Erin. Pointedly. But.. the knife is set aside, as she wipes her hands on her jeans, then.. selfconscious indeed. "I know. You're - yeah. Taine Whitaker." A wince. "Dr. Pryce, right? Or. Yeah. The guides make you out to be shorter." BRILLIANT conversation. Just brilliant.

The onions are turning black. Ali, at least, seems not to notice.

—-

Cat is a sore spot. Erin isn't going to dare argue against it again. Maybe one day, she won't be so damn scared of Ali, though she's at least trying to hide it well. "Yes. We're. Getting a cat," she says, looking at the floor. Not her choice. NOT HER CHOICE. But she'll put up with it.

Erin might be a bit of a better cook than her roommate, but she isn't paying attention to the fact that the onions are carmelising and slowly (and potentialy) meandering on their path toward inedibility. The one thing she does notice, though, is the fact that Ali's managed to introduce Taine to herself, but hasn't yet given her own name. "Alyssa McAlister," Erin fills in dutifully, finally turning her attention toward the stove. Something's burning.

—-

"Yes, Dr. Pryce. Or I'll let you in on a little secret— it won't be revealed for a month or so still, so just don't blog about it or I'll get in trouble…" Taine doesn't mind sharing these little snippits with people, though even Erin hasn't found this out yet. It's not in the script their working on. "His first name is Kenneth."

It's a secret, and the only just told him today anyway. Until now, he's always been Pryce or Dr. Pryce. Now he has a first name, which means someone is probably going to be saying it in a compromizing position soon. Yes. He's looking forward to that script.

If she's looking, Erin even gets a wink. "Alyssa McAlister— do you prefer to go by Ali?" That's what her roommate was calling her, after all. "It's a pretty name. No one would know which one your nickname came from. AliAli."

—-

ERIN IS IMMUNE TO TAINE'S CHARM. This has become abundantly clear by now. She kind of has to be, in order to have a professional working relationship with a guy who might just think he's God's gift to— Well, everyone. "Ah— Kenneth?" she asks, arching an eyebrow. "Kenny? Dude, you're getting killed off, and I want to be there to yell 'Oh my God, they killed Kenny!' I call it."

Erin is not looking forward to that script. Because she'll probably be the one in a compromising position.

As her roomate stumbles all over herself verbally, Erin manages to get to the stove in order to see that there's nothing left at the bottom of the pan, and the onions are, indeed, a millisecond from catching fire. "Jesus, Ali!" she mutters, pulling the cooking off the stove before that can happen, and, despite the fact that the handle is wooden, it's still hot. Not scalding hot, but enough so that she throws it into the sink!

—-

Not immune, just better at pretending she's resistant. That's the way Taine sees it. She's acting. "I didn't pick it. Morgan Starr isn't much better, cutie," he says with a grin. Yes, this is a nickname she's probably still wanting to kill him for, but he turns his attention back to Ali. Her joke, for example, makes him laugh. It's a nice laugh, one he uses fairly often, but Erin should know it's his 'off-set' laugh, and not his on-set one. He sometimes does the on-set one off-set too— so that shows it's actually genuine!

"You do strike me as a butterfly— but I hope you don't sting…" Her roommate stings enough for the both of them. Again, case in point.

At Erin's yelling and tossing of things into the sink, he can't help but step to investigate, eyebrows raising. Yes. He knew the food was burning. But it's no reason to yell at the little butterfly.

—-

As soon as the pan hits the ceramic, Erin's eyes fix downward into the mess that used to be cooking onion and butter. Funny… She could swear she— It's a feeling. Like there's something else in the room with them, only she knows there's not. When she turns, blue eyes search, looking for whatever it was, but… The feeling passes, she blinks, and mumbles, "Thought I smelled smoke."

But Ali's right there next to her at the sink, and Erin can't recall how she got there.

"Uh— No, no, just leave it." Seeming to collect herself, she reaches around and turns on the hot water, waiting until it's steaming. When the pan is full, the water goes off, and she adds, "We'll just let it soak for a bit. So… Here's the truth, Ali. I actually invited Taine over here to rehearse a scene we're doing next week. Since you're here… Do you want to watch?" It might not be as elegant as they have on screen, but Erin's taking full advantage of the fact that they got this script early. "'Jane Doe' is gonna break Pryce in half."

—-

Oh, right. Taine had somehow forgotten all about the rehersal if she even mentioned it, because he blinks and looks a little worried. "Sure this is a good idea— she won't know exactly what's going on in the episode— it's at least a month away." And look, he's on the screen there, treating his injured amnesia-having client. She has amnesia, Captain! And he's not really a doctor, but he does look really good in a doctor's lab coat. There's his accent in the background— and his hair looked really good at that day.

But anyway, he does also add, "And you'd have to keep it a secret, too." If he gets fired, he might get deported. At least Erin can stay in her apartment with her roommate and look for a different job.

"I'm okay with it if you two are. Not dressed the part, so you'll have to forgive." But he can do this scene cold— it isn't as if he failed to memorize his lines. He doesn't even need the script.

In fact, he immediately turns to Erin, face changing expressions pretty fast— whatever this scene is, he's mad. And not about her bullying the butterfly. But it's her line first, he's just getting into it ahead of time.

—-

Ali just backs off - blinking. "I don't mind - and hey, who am I gonna tell?" A faint smile - but she's fretting over the pan.

So it goes. Nevermind that, though - when the Dr. Pryce actor, there, he mentions a lack of costuming and his expression changes? She just moves out of the way, leaning on a nearby counter, self-consciously wiping her hands on her jeans again, curious and watching. /intrigued/. As if they could even think about /making/ her leave - no-sir!

—-

No one's getting fired. Hell, Ali probably knows more about the show than anyone else who's not on set every day, because Erin's got a temper, and she often gripes about Things She Doesn't Like. Taine, for example, on occasion… Except for the fact that somehow, they've become friends of sorts, with a sort of antagonistic relationship.

Taine looks at her, and there's that feeling again.

So she hesitates, but only for a moment. While working on the set, she's often got time to page through her lines, memorise the important ones. This scene is short-ish, but important. A glance is given to Ali, a smile, before she looks back to Pryce, and it is on.

"I requested another doctor. I'll be leaving the state immediately." This is where her tenure was supposed to end - with her leaving the show - but she got a contract. The entire scene changed, and it's one of the reasons she needs to rehearse it. Jane Doe is staying.

—-

And the best way to keep her there? "You're not fit to travel right now!" Taine yells at her, actually raising his voice. So far in his scenes on the show he's been mostly calm, occassionally annoyed, so this is actual a real change in his usual behavior, as far as Ali would be aware. Even in the scenes he's done with Erin, this is the first time Pryce really flies off the handle about anything. What makes keeping her here so important, besides, of course, that her actress just got a shiny new contract.

"I'm the only specialist in the city, and the only one who can sign off that you're fit to leave. You're staying until you show some improvement!" And there's no ifs ands or buts about it from all appearances. He's doing a good job appearing stubborn and angry, with a hint of something else under the surface. And he can't help but remember to pause, extending the expression for his close up. It's a habit that's hard to break.

—-

Ali is /riveted/. Well, not literally - rivets are steel, and somewhat permanant. She's just staring and - if she had popcorn? - she'd be devouring it. Instead, for right now? She's just leaning forward, watching, almost unblinking, a huge grin on her face. Who /wouldn't/ want to see this kind of thing? Honestly.

—-

It's possibly the shock of hearing Taine actually yell that really shoves Erin into the role. Insulted, that's how she feels! You can't just tell her she has to stay! There's also the added annoyance of that whatever-it-is she's been feeling since she threw the pan down in the sink, and this all added together—

"I'm not getting any better, you said so yourself. Let me live my own life!" Cheesy dialogue is cheesy, but their viewers eat this stuff up. "Improvement? As far as anyone knows, I'm never getting my memory back. And what if I don't want to!?" At this point, she starts to shove her way past Taine. This is when he's supposed to grab her arm and kiss her again, except as soon as she touches his chest—

Her eyes become painfully bright, brighter than the light that's already in the room. A shocking blue colour, glowing, staring straight into Taine's eyes. She can see it, too, since the light is pretty much consuming her vision, like a bright halo that she can only just see through. And the feeling—

Erin can feel more.

She has no idea what they are, but they're increasing in number, and with each passing second, there are dozens more than there were the moment before.

—-

Grab her arm. Kiss her. On a set, this is easy. In the woman's apartment in front of her cute roommate? This actually makes him pause for a moment, so when her hand pounds into his chest, Taine doesn't reach up immediately to pull her against him. That might be his first error. But it won't be his last because almost as soon as he sees her eyes, he can't help but lose character. What the—? That's not normal!

And then he suddenly turns pale. Paler than pale. Like all the color drained right out of his face. Hands raise up to touch her arm, and she'll feel him shaking rather uncontrollably, like a severe sudden onset of flu-like symptoms. Way too fast to be anything natural.

He keeps his hand on her for a few moments, before he stumbles away and ends up sitting on the floor. There's definitely something wrong, but at least he's not running for the bathroom to empty his lunch (not McDonalds, for the record). "Bloody— hell— what?" So eloquent.

This was definitely not in the script.

—-

Eager anticipation gives way to a sudden stare at Erin - Ali's own eyes go wide. And then? Her hands shake.

It's so subtle, that - the sudden flushing, the trembling hands, legs that suddenly won't hold her up. Her voice is a startled squeak, choked tight, "Erin, st.." And she gags, holding herself up on the counter by main will alone, likely.

No. Something is very much Not Right. She's having trouble breathing, from the look of things.

—-

Erin blinks, rubbing fitfully at her eyes, but when she opens them again, she can still see that bright light in front of them, almost blind. She doesn't realise that what's happening to Taine is her own doing - that she's the cause of all this, but as she looks at him as he falls to the ground, she can feel them multiplying, she could feel him shaking. Somehow, she knows what she's feeling, but she can't put it to words.

Millions of them.

"I don't— " Know? A sound reaches her, and since all she can really do is focus on noise right now, since she can't really see, she turns to face Ali as the girl gags. The vague outline of a dark shape! Erin can at least make that out, and it's her roommate she heads for instead of Taine, trying to hold her up, afraid. Something's happening.

Unfortunately, it's the fear that perpetuates the entire thing, the viruses continues to multiply, eating away at healthy cells in order to create more of themselves. Hundreds, and as her hand contacts Ali— more.

She turns toward Taine now, unable to stay in one place, terrified, the need to help both of them. At the moment, she's feeling fine, so she crouches down, putting an arm around his shoulders, looking around— she felt something— It—

Her mind is all over the place.

—-

Those horror movies about the flu? Okay— so the flu isn't too horrible. But Taine's laying back on the floor staring up at the ceiling by the time she gets back to him and touches him— and makes things worse. He's clamming up, his skin scortches to the touch, and his insides? Now they're starting to curl up on him. That fortune that kept him from running to the bathroom may well be short lived.

Reddened hands raise to his face and cover his mouth, rolling over onto his side. Tremors, shakes, fever, weakness— and now nausea. His ego and pride alone keep him from throwing up right there on the carpet, but there's strong hints he's keeping it held back by sheer will alone.

What the hell is happening? The whole script has fallen out of his brain, and it really feels like every cold he ever had, amplified a thousand times.

—-

Behind the pair, Ali crumples to the floor, chest working for air that isn't coming at all in sufficient quantity. In that brief contact, she too was burning to the touch; now, she curls into a ball, there, gasping, eyes going unseeing; it is as though her throat is closing, her shivering far more violent than mere cold should cause.

She mouths.. something. But who can say? One gorilla-foot has come off, lying cheerily to the side.

—-

What a way to introduce your co-star to your roommate. She's starting to feel the effects of whatever's happening to the other two, and somewhere in the back of her mind, she's starting to feel as if she's no longer able to hold on. She blinks again, still trying to pull Taine back up into a sitting position so she can get him to his feet, help him to the bathroom, something.

Then she realises that she's not nearly as bad as the others. She's not gasping for breath, she's not fighting back nausea. Looking up, she happens to catch her own scary reflection in the T.V. screen. Oh. No. What!?

Breathing quickly now, she pulls away from Taine, scrambling to her feet, looking again toward the other person in the room, but… She's terrified now. And the moreso she gets, the worse the symptoms will be. The only problem is, this is starting to take its toll on her, too, and it's not long before the exhaustion starts to really catch up with her. There's a loud thud as she falls on her knees. One hand goes down to steady her, but it's not enough. Limbs feeling like jello now, she falls face-first onto the floor.

A second later, her eyes are back to normal, if not slightly dull. She's breathing heavily, shallow, too tired to do much else. She can't even move. It's like she's frozen in place there on the floor.

As soon as this happens, the effects felt by Taine and Ali will start to fade - almost immediately, in fact. Unstable viral particles return to functining live cells, leaving their bearers weak, but otherwise okay.

—-

Oh God.

With the help to his feet, Taine's still shaking, and doing his best to keep it all down. As soon as she lets go of him, though, he almost ends up flat on his back again — or face — whichever lands on the bottom. It doesn't really matter because she got him close enough to the wall, so he leans against it— and starts to slide down. Right up until the effects fade. Or they're supposed to be fading, right? They do go away, for the most part, but besides weakness, his stomach is still twisting, the bile that made it up into his mouth doing the job even if the viruses have died.

In his weakness, he makes a mad dash for the toilet, getting the bathroom door closed just in time to empty the contents of lunch (oh he's so regretting that pork cutlet now) into the toilet. Loudly.

Yeah. What a way to bring your costar home. You make me sick, Morgan Starr!

—-

Ali doesn't dare move from the floor. Even as the shivering fades and gasping for breath becomes slowly less labored, the woman just.. lays there. Perhaps not trusting herself to stand. In fact - it's not until the retching in the bathroom reaches an unfortunate crescendo that she slowly uncurls, still weak and wide-eyed, looking across to Erin.

She doesn't bother standing - she /crawls/ that way, voice hoarse and quiet, ".. Erin? C'mon - you gotta be alright. Erin?" Terror? Yeah, maybe. But a reckless streak a mile wide sometimes comes in handy - there's more important stuff than abject fear. At least for now.

—-

Her ears are ringing, but she can still hear that distinct sound coming from the bathroom. She'd like to do the same, but she's too tired to even lift her head. In fact, the only acknowledgement she gives that she can even hear Ali is that her eyes glance upward toward the girl. She blinks.

Her heart's pounding so fast, she's shaking, she's got a headache, and all she wants to do is sleep. She's scared, though. She's scared that she doesn't know what just happened, that she can no longer feel whatever she was feeling before, except in very trace amounts that she somehow knows aren't dangerous.

"Can't," she says, almost too quietly to hear, still looking up at Ali as best she can. Her hand twitches, but that's just about all she can make herself do at the moment. Her eyes start to close.

—-

There's more sounds in the bathroom. More regrets of things Taine wishes he hadn't ate. And when he's done, all that will follow is the sound of flushing. He is not stepping out just yet. No way, no how.

—-

Give the DJ a little credit, at least. She .. sighs. Taking a shuddering breath, she draws herself to her feet… then leans over to work at lifting the slightly smaller woman. Or trying, anyway - she's at least got the arm-over-shoulder-and-pull thing going. No, she has no idea what she's doing.

This isn't precisely like pouring the inebriated into bed.

Rather, she coughs out, hoarsely - "No. You gotta get to bed - can't .. can't sleep in the floor. Just totally thrash your hair." The continuing shivers - from reaction, likely - indicate that the joke, as lame as it is, is likely a coping mechanism. Default settings. Operating by instinct.

—-

Erin would help, but she's kind of completely dead weight at the moment. Doesn't even move to get her feet under her, which is kind of comedic, given the fact that neither of them feel very good right about now. Sure, maybe she wasn't just infected from a Virus from Hell, but, well… Being the one who caused it isn't exactly a picnic, either.

She grunts something as Ali picks her up, finally managing to move enough so that her foot is planted on the floor, but… that's really about all the help she can offer.

Meanwhile, her mind is still working overtime. What the hell just happened? It can't have been her, she's never done anything like that in her life! Maybe it was something her roommate did, except why would she make herself so sick? Also, Ali's eyes weren't lit up like Christmas tree lights! No, this can't be happening. She has a career. She actually has to film this scene next week!

Another indistinct syllable. She tries to make herseld stand, but that's useless.

—-

A little running water later, some spitting, and another flush, and Taine appears from the bathroom, hair dishelved. It look like he ran water over his face, and he's holding a dampened towel. A hand towel. Decorative probably! "What— what the bloody hell was that?" he asks hoarsely, that the only thing keeping him from yelling. He's not mad so much as horrified. Did she poison him!? Is it ANTHRAX? Oh god, it's totally anthrax, isn't it. Or Bird Flu. It's that one. Or the West Nile Virus! He's heard about that.

But— it did go away. That's good, isn't it?

Before he says anything else, he moves towards the kitchen and goes searching for glasses and something to drink. Oh god, must get taste out of mouth. WHERE ARE THE GLASSES IN THIS PLACE? Crazy American girls.

—-

And the Crazy American Girls are currently .. well. See? Ali's not exactly a /linebacker/. She's more like.. uh. No, look past the cheerleaders. She's like the /towel girl/. At best. And, frankly? Dead weight's just a bit much.

So, even as Taine comes in - it's sort of a squeak and a slow fall, Ali doing what she can to keep Erin from falling completely, and really just sort of ending up sprawled with the actress in a vague pile of 'not standing up right now, kthanx?'

"Christ." Hoarse and soft, that about sums everything up.

—-

This? Isn't going to be easy to control. As soon as Taine speaks, her eyes light up again, though it's short-lived this time, because she just doesn't have the energy to keep it up. There's not even anything significant that she can sense from it. Even though it's really not showing at all right now, she's very, very angry. And scared. Terrified, in fact.

And then they're back on the floor.

Really, she'd be content to lie there for the rest of the night, and does, in fact, spend several more minutes completely motionless on the ground. Eventually, she's able to turn her hand over, pushing against the floor enough for her to get to the nearest wall, where she props herself up in as close to sitting as she can achieve. But she slumping, dull eyes focused on Ali.

Now? Now they're even?

"Water?" she says, almost too soft to hear.

—-

WHERE ARE THE BLOODY GLASSES? Taine's not too happy either, but that's because he almost wants to throw up again. He opens a cabinet and suddenly two (luckily plastic) cups fall out and land in front of him. Indeed, the glasses really did find him before he found them. Running water, he fills one of them, looks towards Erin— hesitates a moment, and then pours a second one. He still feels week, but he can move. He was stronger than them both to begin with. He keeps in shape.

"Here," he says, holding the glass out for her. Once she has it, he takes his back over to the sink and rinses and spits a few times until he can down a mouthful.

"Think I've had enough practice for today…" Did she really expect him to stick around after he threw up in the bathroom? It does look like she needs to lay down, and he might want to pretend the whole thing never happened.

—-

Trust Ali to be the one to say it, "Can you be less of an ass and help her up?" Even hoarse, her voice sounds irritated. Looking better all the time, at least, she drags herself up to 'upright', if not 'standing', addressing the rest to Erin, "You should.." A pause, a moment of frustration… and then she lets it go. Instead? She concentrates on getting to her feet herself.

—-

Her hand is shakey as it reaches for the cup, but she manages to get it and hold onto it long enough to drink. She's thirsty. Incredibly so, and when there's no water left, she's disappointed. Only thing she can do, though, is let the cup fall from her hand as her arm flops back down to her side.

She tries to push herself up more, but…

Her chin quivers.

Her eyes are suddenly bright again, but at least they're not glowing. They're just teary, but it's even difficult to cry, she's so tired. There's a couple gasps, a choked sob, and, leaning her head back against the wall, she closes her eyes. "I don't want to— to— " she says. She still can't make any sense whatsoever of what happened. All she knows is that, somehow, she caused it.

—-

All it takes is a pretty girl to look at him like he's scum and Taine seems to break a little— or maybe he's listening a little too closely. It doesn't matter if she'd been using her ability or not, because he moves forward and takes the glass back and puts it down. That's the only warning she has before he moves in closer and picks her up. She's really too weak to stop him, he assumes. And she doesn't weight too much. And he's holding her like a prince might hold a damsel in distress. Even though he's hardly that. "Where do you want her to go, butterfly?"

The roomie has a nickname. And so does the cutie in his arms, but… God. Does he even want to know what just happened? But the last thing he wants to do is see her— wait, her eyes flashed. And it wasn't a special effect. …

He'll just get her in bed and try to figure this out later, but he looks rather pale again, but not in a sick, I'm gonna keel over way.

—-

She's got the big bedroom - " Musical glasses - Ali snags that plastic thing, refilling it. "Thanks." Worriedly - she drains that one. Then? refilling.

—-

Her shoulders shake with quiet rhythm as he carries her to her room. She's not too heavy, but she's also not helping by holding on, either. Even when her eyes open, she won't meet Taine's. Why this? Why now? Sure, she might have felt something before - in the park when Ali was being attacked - but that… was just a passing feeling. Fear! Right?

Maybe it wasn't her. Maybe.

And because it might not be her, she doesn't immediately apologise to Taine. Instead, she stubbornly continues looking away, breath coming ragged as she tries to stop the tears. No easy task, even for an actress. In fact, she completely fails, but she's still not admitting to anyone else that it was her fault. Maybe she'll … She'll. Do. Something.

—-

"I feel better now," Taine says, almost absently. Assurances are actually something he's good at, now that the panic has subsided. His last character, before Pryce, the one in the Australian soap opera, had been very sensetive. He learned a lot about how to talk to women from that script writer. "It'll be okay." And he can pretend it is— because he's good at pretending.

Setting her down on the bed, he takes a few steps back, and flexes his fingers. No more shaking. The weakness is fading. He really does feel better. It's just— what does he say beyond that? He doesn't even know what happened.

"I'll— go home now… we have to be on set tomorrow." Right?

—-

… Ali's phone ringer is 'Everybody Wants Some', by Halen. This is a bit of trivia that comes as it rings - loud on the counter - the DJ dragging herself over to pick it up.

She's catching up to the two in the bedroom, just slowly. Very slowly - her expression distant, and mind obviously not really /here/ right now.

—-

As soon as she's on the bed - comfortable - her eyes close.

She'll feel fine after sleep, most likely, and has no protests to Taine leaving. In fact, she doesn't even catch that whole thing about being on set tomorrow, but… She'll be there. She has to be. The ringer on Ali's phone is an annoyance, causing her to squeeze her eyes shut for as long as it takes her to answer it.

She reaches out for Taine's hand as he withdraws, brushing his fingers, but that's all she can really accomplish at the moment. As she contacts him, she can feel the dying viruses inside him. If there was any doubt before…

"I'm sorry."

—-

The fingers brushing his hand slow his possible exit and Taine looks down at her. There's a pause, and then he pulls his hand back quickly. Touch made it worse before. But he doesn't understand what's going on— what is this? Who is this? HOW did she make him so sick— and how is it gone so fast? "I don't know what's going on here." He really doesn't. The ringtone is heard, but he's going to be leaving anyway. "I'll see you on set tomorrow."

Dealing with on set tensions happens— it's something he can handle. But this— whatever this is— the longer he tries to think about it, the less sense it makes. It sounds like something in a… …

In a soap opera. Mysterious appearing disappearing diseases. He's sure the story has been done.

"Bye," is the last thing he says, before he starts to leave the bedroom, planning to breeze right out the door and to the street before either of them can stop him.

—-

Ali chatters - tiredly - into that phone for a moment. "Yeah? Hey George - uh.. how's it going?" A pause - "Sort of roommate troubles. Yeah. That'll work.. roommate troubles. Uh. One sec." Taine's leaving, you see.

And… protective and rash wins out over morality, this once. "Taine - " It's hoarse, but raised to get his attention - she doesn't move to stop him. Instead, she just simply says, earnestly, "You shouldn't tell anybody at all about this, at least until we can talk, you and me. And her." Blunt - and focused.

—-

It hurts when he pulls away, but she's too tired to agonise over that right now. Maybe when she wakes up and can think more clearly, but… Eyes finally rolling back, she gives up on being awake, and she'll sleep as long as she possibly can afterward.

—-

Taine is leaving. He pulled away. He's an asshole. And he's leaving. But he's afraid and worried and confused. Really, did anyone expect him to react better right now? "What?" he says, stopping as Ali addresses him. He hears what she says, and isn't about to argue. "I'm not saying a word about this to anyone." Possibly even the two who were here for it. "As far as I'm concerned, it never happened and it's better that way." Whatever it was.

To the door! To the street! And then, to Brooklyn!

—-

Ali relaxes - only as the door closes - and takes a moment to check in on Erin, biting her lip. "… Damnit." Into the phone -"Yeah. Roommate troubles. Look - I need to call in. I'll call you back." And it's hung up.

For a moment, the DJ watches, and then she dials; arrangements being made, apparently, to stay put. To stand guard. Or - if nothing else, to be sure somebody's /here/. Some things are just more important.

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