Aldrich gives Cate some advice on coping after her fight with Jacob.
Related Scenes: 2237-11-19 - Who We've Become
Scene Number: 1586
It may have taken some switching around, but Al and Lyn managed to finagle a room together. It's very clear that Lyn is the one with more worldly possessions, though just at the moment, only Al is at 'home.' His towel is on the floor serving as a kind of mat for him to sit on while he meditates.
There's a tentative knock on the door, as Cate's loathe to disturb Aldrich if he's sleeping (or meditating). The medic looks more tired than usual, dressed for off-duty in her sweatpants and sweatshirt hoodie.
Aldrich rouses fairly easily. Apparently it wasn't a very serious round of meditating! Anyway, he comes to the door, puzzled, then pleased when he sees it's Cate, and then a little more cautious when he sees how tired she looks. "Hey Cate... Come in," he invites, stepping back out of the doorway so she can enter. He'll shut the door behind her, assuming she comes in, before asking, "How're you?"
Cate offers a weak smile when he opens the door. "Hey," she greets, and does indeed come in. The towel on the floor gets a curious look but she doesn't remark on it directly, saying only, "Hope I didn't wake you up or anything." There's a pause after his question, before she shrugs and admits. "Not so good I guess."
Aldrich gestures toward the desk chair for Cate to sit, and then takes his own seat on the edge of a bed. Concern darkens his expression, but he shakes his head. "No, you didn't wake me up. What's wrong?"
Cate sits down on the desk chair, folding her arms across her chest and slouching slightly. The simple question causes her brow to crease uncertainly, and there's another pause before she answers with a plaintive question of her own. "Do you think I'm not trying enough to be happy?"
Aldrich blinks at Cate, obviously startled by that question. "Happiness is not something that you try or don't try to be. You feel what you feel," he points out, slowly. "And some people don't value happiness at all..." His brow furrows as he tries to puzzle it out. "Why?"
Cate looks a little befuddled by his answer. "Just... some things people have said. Like." She chews over the words before giving voice to them. "Like maybe I shouldn't be so unhappy. Maybe I don't have a right to be. I'm alive. I'm healthy. More or less," she qualifies. "I help people. Maybe that should be enough."
Aldrich tilts his head a little. He nods, as though considering this very seriously, and then he wonders, "Does hearing that make you feel happier?"
Cate shakes her head, chewing her bottom lip a little. "No," she admits.
Aldrich nods a little, and his brow furrows again. "So I don't see how thinking that way is helpful. And to be honest? I wonder at the mental health of those among us who claim to be perfectly happy after going through the sort of things we've been through..." He leans forward, "Who have you been talking to, and what have they been saying, anyway?"
Cate lets out a short, bitter and pained chuckle when he asks who she's been talking to. "The shrink. I had to go see him, because of that shit on Sag. He acted like..." Her face twists, struggling for the words. "Like... it surprised him why I'd be stressed out about being shot so many times. You know what he said? He said 'well, you haven't been hurt more often than average'." She lets her voice dip in snarky imitation. "And that most of them hadn't been that bad anyway." Despite the snark, though, it's clear the words hurt. "And then Jake..." That was a whole other can of worms that just has her trailing off with a pained expression on her face and a vague motion with her hand. She rubs her face.
"I see..." Aldrich seems a little confused about the Kamran stuff, but when she mentions Jake's name, he almost scowls. He's clearly trying to control it, but he's not doing a very good job. "Jake?" he echoes, prompting her to continue. "What did he do?"
Cate doesn't look at Aldrich, her eyes fixed on a point on the doorframe as she tries very hard not to cry. "He said he didn't know what I'd become. That I used to be so full of life and now..." She bites down on her lip again, voice cracking. "Everyone's suffered, so I guess I should just get over it."
"That man..." Aldrich mutters, then takes a deep breath and shakes his head. "Cate," he says, in his best no-nonsense voice. "That man is a fool. Do you really think you should be taking life advice from someone who thinks the correct course of action while bleeding from a gut wound is to ignore the medic and try to charge back into battle?" Apparently his opinion of Jacob is pretty darn low.
"He doesn't care if he dies. Long as he goes down fighting. It's his 'right' apparently," Cate recounts with bitter and angry airquotes. As for the rest, though... "But the things is - he's right. Compared to who I was... I don't know what I've become either. And I used to think... it was okay to be miserable, after all the frakked-up shit that's happened. That I wasn't doing so bad, considering. But now... I dunno. Maybe they're right. Maybe it isn't any worse than anybody else. Maybe there's just something wrong with me."
Aldrich lifts a shoulder. "If there's something wrong with you, there's something wrong with me," he points out, mildly. "And with Geoff. And Lyn. To be honest, of all of us, I think you might be handling things the /best/. What he said... that is the sort of thing people say to wound, not to help." There's a return of that anger that's been brewing with him for awhile, bubbling just under the surface. "I don't want you to be miserable. I would love it if you could be happy... but thinking that way? You're only going to make yourself /more/ miserable."
Cate slants him a grateful look, albeit one that's still pained. "I don't want to be miserable either. I frakking hate it." She wipes away a tear that snuck out. "And I hate seeing him that way. Giving up on life. Pushing everyone away." She sniffs. "I see him, and it's just, like, this constant reminder of the life I lost."
Aldrich shakes his head and scoots over on the bed slightly to be close enough to put a hand on her arm. "Look, you can't control the way that he copes with things. All you can do is cope with your own mess. That's really all anyone can do, unless someone has directly asked for our help." He frowns, thoughtfully, and then offers, "Maybe we should talk to Geoff next time we're off duty at the same time? He's pretty good at distractions."
"I know I can't," Cate agrees dully. "But I don't know how to stop caring, wanting to help." She shakes her head, searching his face. She just nods to the suggestion of enlisting Geoff. "He's good at that, yeah."
Aldrich nods a little and pats Cate's arm, before pulling his hand away again. "We never stop caring," he admits, gently. "We just... keep moving."
Cate nods her head a little, sniffling again and giving him another grateful look. "Yeah. Thanks Al," she says softly.
Aldrich pushes up to his feet to dig around the belongings in the room until he comes up with a packet of tissues that he passes to Cate. They may or may not be Lyn's, but who's counting at this point? "These things... It's like with any of your patients. You can't save everyone. If you try, you'll harm yourself, and probably them in the process."
Cate takes the tissues with a mumbled thanks. She makes use of one and hunts around for a second until she spies the trash can under the desk and disposes of it. She gives Al a sad smile. "I know. But he's not a patient, Al. He's the man I wanted to marry. However much of it was just an act for him... for me it was real."
Aldrich lifts a shoulder. "I know. I mean..." He frowns, apologetically. "Obviously I don't know what it's like to be in your particular situation. So far. But I do know how it feels when someone you loved hurts you... I'm sorry you're having to go through that."
"I know you do," Cate says with a look of sympathy. "And I know what you mean. It's just hard." She shrugs helplessly and puts the rest of the tissue pack on the desk. "I should probably get out of your hair. But thanks," she repeats, particularly heartfelt.
Aldrich smiles crookedly. "You can come by anytime you need to," he offers, gently. "And stay as long as you need to."