Back in Havison, Isolde and Cate talk about kids while tending to Isolde's ruined finger.
Location: Havison, Picon
Related Scenes: 2237-07-17 - Pass The Can
Scene Number: 316
It is just about pre-dawn with the starts of morning just feathering the horizon. Isolde is in the kitchen, worrying at her hand. She keeps poking her fingers through the bandage, and each test to the digits sends another worrying furrow through her brow. She has a cup of water at her elbow and a half-eaten ration bar twisted up in its wrapper. She looks tired, but they all look tired. It's totally in fashion while in a warzone.
Cate is up. Actually it's questionable whether she ever went to sleep. Her little shadow, at least, is snoozing in the other room, and Cate makes her way into the kitchen, rubbing at her face tiredly. "Hey Iz," she greets quietly, heading over to the table. She sets the rifle down in the corner, never letting it be far from reach. "How's your hand?"
Isolde hears Cate coming in, but she still jumps just a touch when the greeting comes. Dark eyes look up, tracking Cate's movements into the kitchen until she sits, and then the small ECO breathes out a heavy sigh, "Hey." Her worried gaze drops to her hand. "I don't know. I can't feel those two fingers, and can only move my pinkie." Despite the coolness of the house, she also looks a bit pale with a fine film of sweat on her brow.
Cate notices Isolde's pallor, and frowns immediately. Infection's been her primary concern for all of them. Damn hard to fight it with limited clean water, the danger of smoke from a fire to boil stuff, and no antibiotics. She comes over and places a hand to Isolde's forehead. "You've got a fever. Let me see the hand." Assuming no complaint, she starts undoing bandages. "How're you holding up, otherwise?" she asks with a note of concern.
The touch to her forehead startles her a bit, perhaps because of how cool Cate's hand feels. "Fever?" Isolde sounds surprised. "I don't feel hot. In fact, I feel kinda cold." She lets the woman do her job though, easing back a bit so she has some light to see her hand as she works the bandages free. Her hand looks swollen, but its the fingers that have the worst of it, the ring finger in particular. The follow-up question has her breathing out a slow sigh. "Okay, I guess... trying to stay, you know, upbeat and hopeful." Her shoulders droop. "Even if I don't really feel that way." She casts a glance toward the living room beyond the kitchen, and then back to Cate. "How about you?"
"Chills are common with a fever," Cate says, serious as she examines Isolde's hand. She's usually pretty adept with her poker face, but this is her friend and they're in a pretty dire situation right now, so some of her worry shines through. "I know what you mean," she says when Isolde describes her attempts to stay positive. "Can't be all doom and gloom when there's a scared little girl following you around all day."
The ECO pales a bit more at the look on Cate's face. She glances down at her hand, and while her middle and point finger flex and wiggle, the other two are fairly stationary save for a twitch in her pinkie. She glances once more to the living room before she looks back at Cate, and she swallows down some of her worries. "She's a really sweet kid, Cate. I think she likes you a lot." She frowns. "We haven't found her parents yet. What... what do you think will happen to her?"
Cate continues to examine the hand, longer than she has the last few times she's checked it. "I think they were killed," Cate reports with a grim frown. "We were talking about it yesterday. Well. I was talking, she was listening. If we get out of here -" Cate is still in the 'if', not 'when' phase of her outlook. "I guess she'll end up in foster care, or whatever system the Picons have." That saddens her, and she frowns sadly without lifting her eyes off Isolde's hand.
Isolde keeps a close eye on Cate as she talks about the kiddo, and then Isolde grimaces. "No way. I wouldn't let that happen." She slips into quiet for a few moments, and then she frowns. "What about... finding someone here on Picon you know and trust to take care of her, and then you can adopt her when we're done with this whole thing? I mean... Cate... you do so well with her, and you love kids." She slips into thoughtful silence, looking at her hand. "I think she's going to miss you."
Cate looks up in surprise at the suggestion. "Me?" She shakes her head, a frown settling on her mouth. "Even if by some miracle I did live that long, she deserves a real family. Not being stuck with a single workaholoic doctor from another planet." The frown deepens. "I'll miss her too though." After a sigh, Cate decides to break the bad news. "Izzy, your finger's gotten infected. The fever is it trying to work its way into your bloodstream."
"Maybe Van's sister could take her in while the war is going on... and then you could become Auntie Cate. You'd at least know where to find her then." The compromising offer is provided in a soft voice of genuine concern for both the kiddo and her friend. She hesitates. "Think about it, okay?" Then her expression goes a bit grim and she stares at her hand. Her expression is a bit more... thoughtful maybe. "Well, could we... um... we could wrap it tighter, maybe? Constrict the blood flow? Maybe there's some antibiotics or something in the house..."
"I thought his sister died?" Cate looks confused by that. There's a flicker of doubt on her face and she shakes her head. She sits down in the chair next to Isolde, her face serious. "There are some things I can try, yeah, to slow down the progress. And if we get back to Vanguard in the next couple days they can probably patch up your finger and you'll be fine. But if we don't... it could get worse, and you could get septic and die." She relays the words with a gentle calmness to her voice. "The alternative... I could take the finger here." She gestures to a spot. "Stop the infection before it spreads."
"He has two." Isolde offers a small smile at that. "Granted, she's only eighteen, so this is probably a bad idea." She hesitates then. "What about my parents? Or Jia?" She's scrambling for ideas, but it is all to avoid what Cate just put on the table as an alternative to waiting it out and hoping for the best. She sinks into her seat then, looking at her finger for a few heartbeats before looking back up at Cate. "I could die?" The question is offered quietly, and then she frowns. It takes her several more heartbeats to close her eyes and nod. "Okay. Take it. I'm going to be useless if I start getting sick."
Cate ahs softly at the revelation that Van has another sister, but then snorts softly. "Yeah, that's not something I would ask of some eighteen year old I've never even met. And anyway - what am I going to do? Turn up Gods-knows-how-many-more-years later and take the kid away from her new home to go back to Hibernia?" That draws a sad frown, which doesn't ease any when talking about Isolde's finger. "I'm sorry, Izzy. If I had better gear - antibiotics - maybe it'd be different but..."
"Not your fault," Isolde offers her friend gently. "I'm the one who got shot in the hand." She offers Cate a small, sad smile. "But, to be honest... I'm really okay with you being the one who does this. You'll at least do it with love." She wrinkles her nose slightly. "Just..." She looks around. "Make it really quick if you can, okay? Um. I don't even know how this works. In the holos, you just put a stick in your mouth and close your eyes, right?" She will come back to the kid talk soon enough, but there's a bigger issue in Isolde's mind.
Cate meets Isolde's eyes with a sad look. She stares down at the hand for several long seconds, wracking her brain for a better way. In the end though she just gives Isolde's good hand a squeeze. "I've got morpha, at least." Which she's been rationing pretty heavily lately. "It'll still hurt, but it shouldn't be too awful. Let me get my bag." She goes to retrieve it from the other room. She settles down at the table and starts getting some stuff prepared.
The Tauron accepts the squeeze with a returned one. "Gotta love morpha," she says, her tone attempting to remain upbeat, even while it quavers just on the edges. There's nothing else to say while Cate is gone, but Isolde stares at her hand in a heartbroken way. She stretches out her fingers, and a little pit in her stomach opens up. When Cate returns, she looks a touch paler. She clears her throat then, and nods. "Okay. But... if we cut th-the finger, then the infection should go away?" Part of her sounds worried. "What if it spreads?"
"It should, yeah." Cate pauses in her medical preparation to squeeze Isolde's shoulder. "And if it doesn't, I'll take care of you. Even if it means scouring every house in this damn city for antibiotics." It's a solemn promise, then she decides to distract Isolde by asking. "So you and Van - you planning on having kids when this is all over?"
The promise from her friend draws a small smile from Isolde. It relaxes her a bit, and she tries to let her worries subside. She then gives into the distraction, and the question draws a deep breath from her. "Dunno... maybe." She hesitates. "I never really gave it much thought... you know... kids. Until the Uprising, I guess I kinda felt like a kid still." She looks thoughtful, brows furrowed. "But, I think so..."
"Well you also weren't planning on getting married then. The whole family idea wasn't really on your DRADIS." Cate manages a brief smirk there, then it fades to a more preoccupied look. She gets out one of her few remaining vials of morpha and goes about injecting it in the vein by Isolde's wrist. "We'll give that a minute to work." She frowns, a pensive expression on her face, then says softly. "I was pregnant once."
"Catherine Rhodes, you just made an ECO joke." Isolde actually starts to laugh a moment, but it fades off as quickly as it comes, and she twitches a bit at the injection. She seems ready to wait, but then the news is delivered and she blinks owlishly at her friend. "Cate... you... you were? When?" She hesitates. "Jake's?"
"So I did," Cate admits, a blink-and-you'd-miss-it smirk showing that her sense of humor isn't entirely dead and buried. Though the other subject does put quite a damper on it. She bobs her head a tiny bit. "Yeah," to the question about Jacob. "Almost four years ago now." There's a soft sigh, and she disposes of the needle in a little box in her medic kit. "I collapsed at work a couple weeks after he'd gone. Thought it was appendicitis, but then they did an ultrasound." Her face twitches a little at the memory, pain and regret. "It was ectopic so... wasn't anything they could do." She tries to shrug it off. "Sometimes I wonder... how things might've been."
Isolde looks a bit saddened by this news, experiencing some kind of sorrow with her friend. "I'm real sorry, Cate..." She grimaces. "Jake's done so much to your life. If I ever see the guy again, good chance I'm gonna punch him." Beat pause. "Hope that's okay." Then she reaches for her friend's hand with her good one, and she squeezes gently. "You're going to make a great mom, Cate."
Cate has had several years to deal with it, but there's still a pinched look on her face. Her throat bobs, and she nods to acknowledge Isodle's squeeze. "Yeah. He did. But what he did tore him up too, so... I dunno. Doesn't make it right, what he did, but... I forgave him. You can still punch him if you want. I almost did." The latter comment causes her throat to bob again. "I don't know about that. But thanks." She clears her throat. Medicine is a welcome distraction. "How's that finger feeling? Numbed up a bit?"
"Oh, I will definitely punch him." Isolde will also probably break her hand in the process, because Jacob's got a jaw on him. Then she looks down at her hand, starting to wriggle her fingers. They weakly reply, and she nods a bit to Cate. "Yeah. Fingertips a bit.... zingy?" Which is as close as she can describe that small electrical zing of her nerves still trying to pick up sensation, but not being able to get that signal very far. "Wh-what next?"
"Only reason I didn't is because he wanted me to. Not much satisfaction in punching someone who's begging you to do it." Cate frowns. "But after tall that... the lies, him leaving, the baby... it was hard to let anybody else in. Tucker got the short end of the stick there." She nods when Isolde describes her fingers, and hands over a folded-up piece of cloth made out of neckerchief-like material. "Bite down on this. Close your eyes. I'll go as fast as I can."
"Yeah," is all Isolde can manage for her friend, finding it impossible to really find the right words for it all. She just smiles as best she can, squeeze Cate's hand again, and then follows the instructions. She takes the folded up cloth, and then breathes out a slow breath before she sets it between her teeth. The dry fabric only tastes drier in her dehydrated mouth. She closes her eyes, tries to relax her shoulders, and gives her friend a sharp nod. Closing her eyes probably makes it worse for her imagination as she has no idea what to expect, but she doesn't dare open them either.
There's really no way for Cate to describe it that wouldn't sound horrifying, nor does she figure that it's something anyone should have to watch. Frankly it's not something she really wants to watch either. A tourniquet over Isolde's wrist keeps it from being too messy, and the morpha plus some quick injections of local anesthetic make it more of a pressure than pain. Cate works quickly and efficiently, and soon enough has the offending finger off and the stump covered over with a flap of skin and a few stitches. As she releases the tourniquet, she lets out a shaky breath and says, "OK, all done." Now it's her turn to look pale.
Isolde does release a sharp noise when it starts, and then with there's a sudden relief. Her face is constrained, and she's almost ducked into her arm. She remains turned in on herself for several long moments after the final cut is done, and her shoulders are trembling with the after effects. She doesn't look up even when Cate says they are all done, but she does spit out the folded cloth so she can breathe a bit more deeply. She peeks then, and the sight of her own blood turns her stomach. Too bad there's not much in there to hurl, and Isolde just swallows it all down. "Th-th-thanks," she finally manages, looking whoozy.
Cate had the finger tucked away out of sight in a gauze pad, at least. Otherwise that would be creepy. She carefully dresses the wound and murmurs. "I'm sorry Izzy." Sounding pained herself. "Let's get you somewhere you can lie down for a little bit." She slides her arm around Isolde's back and will try to help her up and to a couch or bed.