Cate and a surprisingly-chatty Eli talk rumours and wounded.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1052
Cate was the medic that brought in the heap of seriously wounded marines after the mission last night. Despite the sickbay crew's running joke about the size of her medical chart, she was miraculously unscathed this time around. She stayed until everyone was out of surgery, assisting with some of the minor cases, before finally being shooed out to get cleaned up and get some rest. Now she's back. She did get cleaned up. Whether there was any rest involved is debateable, judging by the dark circles under her eyes. She's at the sickbay coffee machine, pouring herself a cup.
Eli is...asleep, in a chair. He's barely upright. One move any way and he's going to fall on the floor. This was the biggest night of their little clinic, and the surgeon's skills were put to good use. From the looks of things, he hasn't been off-duty yet.
Cate pours a bunch of sugar in her coffee and takes a sip, scowling when it's still too hot. She notices Eli over there. Normally she'd let him be - surely he's earned the sleep more than anyone. But given his precarious position, she sets down her cup and goes over to nudge him on the shoulder, ready to catch him should he slip off the chair.
Eli couldn't have been very deep asleep, because he jolts awake and grabs for Cate's arm. He ends up needing that hand to stop from sliding down. He blinks, then slowly releases the grip. "Cate. Shit, sorry." He pulls himself the rest of the way back onto the chair.
There's a mild wince when Eli grabs that arm, but Cate steadies him and shakes her head. "Don't worry about it. Would've let you sleep but you were about to fall out of the chair. Figured we didn't need our trauma surgeon giving himself a concussion." She makes sure he's situated and then takes a step back, retrieving her coffee. "Long night."
"Mhmm," says Eli. "I thought this gig would be boring because the complicated cases get shipped off." He stifles a yawn. "I forgot about these bursts of injuries when there's no time to shuttle anyone off."
Cate nods. "Yeah. Cort and Barley were borderline for redlining to the Navy hospital -" The planetside facility where they've been offloading the sickest patients to. "But I didn't think they had the time. Vanguard was closer." Sgt Jayne, sadly, was black-tagged in the Raptor, beyond help even at the scene.
Eli looks down at his hands and flexes his fingers. He presses a thumb into the muscles which ache a bit from surgery. "Hello hand cramps, my old friend."
Cate sips the coffee. "Nothing like all-nighters and hand cramps to remind you of the surgical rotation in residency," she remarks dryly. She watches him over the rim of the cup, probably debating saying something more.
"Mhmm. And my tour with the ICJPK. Doing surgery in tents during a monsoon. At least..." Eli leans over and looks towards the surgical suite, "...it's dry here."
"Yeah, that's something. Got to work a bit in the rainstorms during the disaster relief." Cate takes another sip of her coffee then ventures. "Hey, listen...." There's a pause, and a crease of her brow as if reconsidering her words. But she presses on anyway. "I hope you know all that scuttlebutt about me and Kovac was bullshit."
Eli flexes his hand again, then reaches for a bottle of water that he was apparently drinking from before things got chaotic. He has a mouthful of it when Cate speaks. He snorts it a little and dabs his wrist to his mouth. He coughs. "Mhmm, yeah. I know. This ship just likes to gossip."
Cate arches her eyebrows at the sputtering, then says, "Good. 'Cause I'm not someone who goes after someone else's boyfriend. Or cheats on my guy. So.. the whole thing's ridiculous and insulting." She frowns a touch, then her expression shifts to one of concern. "I just didn't want some BS rumour to get between you two."
"The BS rumour bothered Miko more than it bothered me," says Eli. He rubs his face. "He exhausted himself for two days trying to avoid me."
"Because he thought you'd believe it. Think he'd fallen back on his old ways, I guess, and think he wasn't good enough for you." Cate takes another sip of coffee. You'd think she'd have learned not to butt into things like this, but sometimes she just can't help herself. "Look, I don't know him that well. But I saw him before you two got involved, and after. Even I can see you got to him. In a good way."
"He's an idiot. I've been in the military long enough to know that gossip is just gossip. I trust him." Eli grunts softly and takes another pull from his water. "Sometimes I wonder if I've just stressed him out. You know he was upset that he didn't want to sleep with you? I worry he might resent me one day for stealing his mojo."
Cate snorts a little when Eli calls him an idiot, but doesn't agree nor disagree. But then she arches her eyebrows. "He was upset that..." From her expression that clearly doesn't seem to compute. "Well, look, I dunno what the deal is, but it seemed to me that he was way more worried about losing you than losing his mojo." She shrugs. "Wish you luck, though, either way."
Eli chuckles. It's a tired sound that probably goes on longer than normal because he's exhausted. "I really don't pay attention to the gossip on this ship. What do people think of us?" He sounds genuinely curious.
Cate shakes her head. "Asking the wrong person. I don't pay much attention to gossip unless it's causing me grief. But from what little I've seen back on Edson, and after - seems like you guys have a good thing." She shrugs again. "Guess that's probably not too helpful."
"I'm just nosy. I realize we're kind of an odd couple. And we didn't really come together in the best way." Eli scrubs his hand over his face and up through his hair. "It's...fraught. And war is not exactly the best time for this sort of thing."
Cate shrugs. "War's as good a time as any. Might as well live while we can," she says with a bleak press of her lips.
Eli closes his eyes again. It might seem for a moment like he's drifted off to sleep, until he says, "Which is why I've been giving it a chance with someone ten years younger than me. Non-wartime Eli wouldn't have done that."
Cate gives a non-committal mmm to that, then says, "Actually didn't realize you were that far apart." She squints at him for a minute then says, "Y'know... Kovac may kick my ass for saying this, but - given how much he was kicking himself the other day, I got the impression you guys were on the outs. But you talk about you two in present tense. I dunno if you kissed and made up since I saw him, or if there's some crossed wires there or what..."
"I didn't realize it either until I was already knee deep in this thing." Eli is really not editing his thoughts right now. He's so tired that words are just sort of tumbling out. "Crossed wires. Among other things." He exhales through his nostrils, then just mumbles, "Complicated. But we're working through it."
Cate ahs softly. "Well, I'm glad. Nice when things work out now and again." She glances to the infirmary. "Seems we get precious little of that these days." She studies him for a moment, then says, "You look beat. Why don't you go rack out in the on-call room for a bit. I'll wake you up if there's anything major. Like a good little intern." A wan smirk there, from the girl who stopped being an intern quite awhile ago.
"There was a nurse in there earlier. He'd already been on a full shift when things hit the fan." Eli leans over and looks that way. "Looks like he may have gone off duty." With great effort, he manages to get himself to his feet. He weaves a little, then says, seemingly apropos of nothing, "Do I seem like someone who would get married to you?"
"Oh yeah, forgot about that," Cate says when Eli mentions the napping nurse. The other question catches her off guard, but she doesn't hesitate before answering. "Sure. Why not? Don't believe in it?"
Eli tugs on his scrubs to straighten them and then waves a hand. "Complicated," he mumbles again. He opens his mouth to provide more explanation, but instead yawns expansively. "I'm gonna go lie down. Wake me if you need to." He starts to shuffle towards the room.
Cate nods, unsurprised at the vague answer. "Will do. Get some rest." Then she's going back to finishing off her coffee.