Aldrich is back with the gang, but Geoff is pissed and Cate is worried about his head injury.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1665
It was a struggle for a lot of people getting back to the ranch. Aldrich is among that number, though he's trying to keep it on the down low (with not a great degree of success... hard to hide when you need to lean on people to stay upright). The moment they're finally within the walls of the ranch, instead of helping to settle in the new refugees, he sags with his back against the nearest wall and digs his thumbs into his eyes, frowning deeply.
Geoff has been lagging behind as rear guard, making sure there is no pursuit from any additional Cylons. He looks sullen, jaw set to one side.
It was a rough journey emotionally as well as physically - not knowing what happened to the topside prisoners, having to split up the group to send half off with the partisans to a different location, trying to tend to wounded on the run. But they made it. Cate and Deb went off to take some of the wounded to the makeshift infirmary room.
With Cate and Deb off in the emergency room, Aldrich is uncharacteristically slow to follow and try to help. He stays put exactly where he landed, braced upright with his back against the wall, though he soon goes from rubbing his eyes to rubbing his temples.
Geoff is the last one into the house, and he sets his rifle down on the floor. "You motherfrakker," he says to Aldrich. And it's not a playful tone.
Aldrich doesn't even seem to notice Geoff until he speaks. Then, he jumps a little, blinking owlishly without really making eye contact. He looks kind of glassy-eyed and lost. "Geoff?"
"Stand up," Geoff demands, "I'm gonna frakkin' kill you. Motherfrakker. You lied to my motherfrakkin' face. To all of us."
Having realized that one of her intended patients didn't make it into the infirmary, Cate emerges from the back room. Rubbing her face tiredly, she's fairly oblivious to the brewing tension between her two friends. But after a quick scan of the room in search of Aldrich, she does start heading their way.
Aldrich's brow furrows a little, and he presses his lips together. It takes a visible effort of will for him to push away from the wall, and stand up as straight as he can. His expression is solemn and his gaze is focused somewhere behind Geoff. "People are alive because I lied to you," he says, quietly. Apparently that's all he has to say about that.
"Frak you," Geoff says, aiming a body blow at Aldrich. Which is /probably/ medically safer than a punch to the face. For Geoff's hand as much as Al's brain.
Aldrich clearly didn't see that coming. He's not even tensed in anticipation, and he crumples to his knees with the wind knocked out of him. You'd have thought he and Geoff had sparred enough for him to at least /try/ to dodge. Apparently not.
Cate may have missed the tension, but a gut punch is kinda hard to miss. "Hey!" she hollers, surprised outrage in her voice. She quickens her pace to cover the last bit of distance between them. She can't exactly get between them given how close they're standing, but she does come in from the side with an arm outstretched to try to steer Geoff back. "What the hell are you doing?"
There's a little resistance from Geoff, but not that much. He watches Aldrich crumple over Cate's shoulder, then lets her push him back. "I'm sick of him frakking the rest of us over to play frakking hero, doesn't give a shit what any of us think or how we feel," he says. Then he walks over, grabs his rifle, and heads for one of the side rooms where people sleep.
Aldrich doesn't bother trying to get back to his feet. He flails an arm out until it encounters the wall, then falls back to sit there, still trying to catch his breath. "Well, congratulations," he grumbles, passing a hand over his face. "I'm not going to be playing /frakking/ hero anymore." It's a weary comment, tossed at Geoff's back.
Cate doesn't argue with Geoff. In fact, she says nothing at all, too focused on cooling down the situation. The frown on her lips shows her displeasure, though, as she watches him stalk off. Aldrich's comment gets a confused glance back, then she's crouching down beside him. "Are you okay?" she asks in soft concern.
Aldrich shakes his head, and reaches out clumsily for Cate. "No," he replies, shakily. "But it's nothing you can do anything about. You should be taking care of the others..."
"Hey," Cate says, a more gentler version than the one leveled at Geoff. "I'm the doctor - you let me be the judge of that. Where are you hurt?" The question seems to be 'where' and not 'if' given his behavior on the trip back.
Aldrich sinks back against the wall, almost resigned. "It's my head. Concussion... maybe? Probably?" He pauses for a moment, then pulls her closer, lowering his voice (as though any of this is going to stay a secret for long). "Something's frakked with my eyes. I thought it would get better, but it's getting worse."
Cate leans in, listening intently. "Where'd you get hit?" She asks, squinting for signs of injury. "And what do you mean frakked? Blurred vision?"
Aldrich grimaces and just slightly lifts a shoulder, but then touches his head, vaguely indicating the left side of his head. "You could say blurred," he agrees, with a touch of a bleak tone. "It started with double vision. Now it's... Everything's just shapes. And my head is killing me."
Gentle fingers probe around the injury site. "No obvious skull fracture, that's good." She seems concerned, but not panicked. "Can you follow my finger?" She goes through the usual tests - visual tracking, counting fingers, touching his nose, touching her finger, that sort of thing.
Aldrich grimaces as she pokes at him, obviously trying to resist the urge to flinch away. "What finger?" comes his dry response. He can touch his own nose and finds her finger with some trial and error. His pupils are reacting poorly to light, but there's no obvious sign of damage to his eyes themselves. "What's the point of all this?" he finally asks, in a fit of frustration. "Whatever's going on, you can't fix it."
"No, I can't," Cate agrees, trying to keep her voice calm and patient. "But there might be some things I can do depending on what's wrong." She sighs, rocking back on her heels. "It's not uncommon to have visual changes after a head injury. Usually it's temporary."
Aldrich crosses his arms over his chest, to go back to leaning against the wall once she's done with her poking. He perks a little at the word 'temporary' though. Just slightly. "You think it might clear up?" he asks, tentatively.
"It's possible. It hasn't even been twenty-four hours yet. Too soon to say anything for sure." He probably can't see her face well enough to see her chewing her lip, wrestling with next part. But duty wins out and Cate says, "But Al..." Her tone softens and becomes more serious at the same time. "It could be bad. You could be bleeding into your brain." She reaches over to grasp his arm lightly before sharing some more medical mumbo-jumbo about what could be going on.
Aldrich retreats into himself a bit, though he doesn't go so far as to shake off her hand. He just looks fairly grim. "That's in the gods' hands." He does that thing where he looks like he has something more he's not saying, and sure enough, he eventually goes on. "Maybe we shouldn't tell Lyn or Geoff."
"That's for you to decide," Cate says somberly. She releases his arm. "I should be mad at you too." She lets that sit for a second. "But I'm just glad you're alive." And there she moves in to try to hug him, tightly.
Aldrich retreats further at that comment, but then she hugs him. At first he tenses, but then he just relaxes into the hug and wraps an arm around her to return it. "I'm sorry," he murmurs into her shoulder, slightly muffled. "I just had to..."
"I know," Cate mumbles back, tearfully. "But you scared the shit out of me, you know." She doesn't seem to want to let him go. Clinging, really.
Aldrich doesn't seem to mind so much about the clinging. "I'm sorry," he repeats, and then silently hugs her tightly. He doesn't seem to be in any more of a hurry than she is to cut off that contact.
Cate hugs him for a bit longer before finally releasing him. "I'm gonna make you some tea. It may help a little." And then she's getting up to do that.