Day 043: You Are My Hero
Summary: Grant comes in to check in on Madelyn and during the course of the conversation explains why she's his hero.
Date: 07/11/2016
Related: Bringing the Outside In
Grant Madelyn 

Infirmary - Mount Weather
This is a long room, accessible in various points along the level four corridor. It has an arched, buttressed ceiling like much of the compound. Circular white lights are embedded on the wall, following up the arch to create a bright, luminous space. The floors are in the same polished concrete as much of the compound, and these are well-cleaned to keep a sterile environment. Rows of beds line the walls, and there are mazes of flexible tubing running up from each bed, along the wall, and then back toward the secured medical labs.
Day 43

It's evening in the infirmary and Grant is covering for one of the other techs because they're sick. He comes walking over to where Madelyn is laying down and looks at her chart for a moment to see what the last readings are, "Hello…" He finds her name on the chart, "Madelyn. It's a pleasure you to meet you." He looks up and smiles at her with his athletic blonde charm, "I'm Grant Merriweather and I'm going to do some blood tests tonight to make sure your body is naturally filtering out the radiation that you took on for Georgia." He pauses and then asks, "Do you have any questions before we begin?"

The small girl is curled up on her side, half-asleep with a book in her hand. She looks up, blinking a few times. "Oh. Hi," she says, slowly sitting up. She still looks a little pale and weak, her neck bandaged where the large IV catheter had been inserted during the procedure. A smaller IV is hooked up to the back of her hand. "You're new," she remarks.

"Not new…but taking blood from patients isn't something I usually do," Grant tells her he starts to put on his gloves, "Usually one of the other lab techs do that but he's out tonight sick so I'm drawing your blood and analyzing it." He then picks up a syringe so he can flush the line and make sure it's still viable before he tries to draw blood, "So Madelyn, what are you reading this evening?" He nods over to the book.

"It's called… um…" Madelyn checks the cover. "'An Artificial Night'. It's book number three in a series," she explains. "It's kind of weird, but I like it. There are fairies and stuff in a city called San Frankisko." She wrinkles her nose when he does the saline flush. "That tastes weird. I hate it."

"It perfectly normal…" He then pulls a lollypop and hands it over to her, "Here…try this. It's cherry and will help cut some of the taste from your mouth." He then switches out his gloves because now they're not sterile. It looks like her IV is still good so then he grabs one of the vials and puts it up to the IV to draw blood, "It's much better to keep the IV in so we don't have to stick you every time we need to draw blood."

Madelyn looks at the lollipop. "Why's there a stick on it?" she asks, before putting it in her mouth and crunching away. She covers her mouth with one hand before asking a follow-up questions, "Why do you people here eat food that is so so so so sweet?" There's no judgment there at all, just genuine curiosity.

"You're supposed to lick it," Grant tells her with a laugh and then finishes up with taking her blood, labels it and takes off his gloves before grabbing one of his own, "Here…let me show you." He takes out another cherry lollypop and pulls off the wrapper then he licks it so she can see what he means, "And it's sweet because…well many of my patients like sweet."

"I don't get it," Madelyn replies, furrowing her brow. "I mean, it just looks… rude. You know?" She crunches the remaining bits off of the lollipop stick. "Yeah, people here seem to like their food really… strong. Really sweet, really sour, really salty. It's been hard to get used to it."

Grant picks up the vials and then moves them over to the fridge so he can store it and test it later when he has a batch, "It's all matter of perspective Madelyn. Maybe to us, your food would not have enough flavor." He glances at his watch, sees that he has a bit of time and then grabs a chair and pulls it up, "Just keep an open mind…about our differences. Food can sometimes be an acquired taste."

"Just seems… I dunno… kind of wasteful. Using all those resources to grow and make all those different foods. You know?" Madelyn lays back against the propped-up back of the hospital bed. "I'm not trying to be all, you know, judgy. I just don't get it."

"Taste is not a waste Madelyn…at least not to me," Grant tells her as he listens to her argument, "Having your food be a pleasure to eat, rather than just food is called epicureanism. You can just eat to survive but then what life is there if you are not enjoying it." He motions to the music that's playing over the speaker, "Or the electricity that powers the player that gives the music. It's not needed but having the soft tones makes life a little better."

Madelyn chews on her lower lip, feeling even more like some kind of dumb hick than she does normally around the mountain people. "I guess this is your home and I really don't have the right to criticize how you do things. I'm sorry," she says softly.

"Madelyn, there is nothing wrong with how you feel…or even what your people have had to do to survive," Grant tells her softly and reaches out to gently give her hand a squeeze, "But please…be open to new experiences. See what we have to offer. Take what makes sense and what doesn't, then just accept the differences." He gives her hand a squeeze, "I don't want you to feel like you have to conform to our way of life."

"I… I kind of do, don't I? If I'm going to live here and be a functioning part of this community, I kind of have to conform and try and fit in." Madelyn lets Grant take her hand. "Life here is easier, but… I kind of miss being outside. I know it's dangerous. But… I… I felt…" She thinks for a moment. "I don't know. Like… like I was free."

"Madelyn…have you talked to many residences here? We're a rather eccentric bunch," Grant tells her with a smile, "Look at me. By day I'm a lab tech. By night…I play the violin, even repair them when they break. I'm not just a tech or just a violinist, I am many things that make up me. Just like you Madelyn are many things." He puts his hand over hers, "And if anyone here tells you that you have to act or think a certain way, let me know."

Madelyn gives a small smile. "I know, it's just… I really don't know if I have a place here. You folks seem to have all the clothes you'll ever need for the next million years. You don't need a trainee tailor. The stuff you wear is nicer than anything I could ever make, anyway."

Grant gives her an understanding look, "Well those clothes are old and perhaps your ideas are new. While I am not someone that claims any fashion sense…" Although the man does dress well, "Maybe you could explore how to alter the clothes into something new. Madelyn, have you always wanted to be a tailor or is there something else you'd like to explore. When I was growing up, I was encouraged to try a lot of different things before finding out what I liked."

"I'm too old to start learning something," Madelyn replies, shaking her head. "I should be finished my apprenticeship and working now, but… but I was in the box for a year and a half and I missed out on that much practice and learning. My father is a tailor. He was teaching me."

Grant picks up Madelyn's chart and looks at her age, cracking a smile while he looks at it, "Madelyn…when I was eighteen, I was still figuring out what I wanted to be. It took a few classes and some different instruction in different areas for me to figure out what I wanted to do. If you want I could talk to Dr. K. about giving you a placement exam to help you explore some different vocations that you might have a talent for."

Madelyn blinks. "Really? What do people do when they're teenagers, then, if not apprenticeships and stuff?" She tries to sit up, but gets dizzy and stays put.

Grant notices the dizziness and cautions, "Hey there…easy now." He helps her lay back down and makes sure that her pillow is there for her head, "You're still recovering Madelyn…no sudden movements." He pauses and then notes, "I took classes, read books and explored my world around me. Sometimes I would follow my dad to the lab and watch him. But I also shadowed a few other folks in things that I was interested in."

"You mean people just pick what they want to do? What if everyone wants to do the same thing and you don't have enough people to… to clean or to cook or fix things?" Madelyn squeezes her eyes shut to wait out the dizziness.

"Hmmm, I don't know. I don't think we've ever run into that problem," Grant admits to her, smiling as she tries to get her mind around what he's saying, "I suppose if that was the case, we'd pitch in, work together so not one person would have to shoulder the job that nobody wanted." He stands up and walks to her temples and starts to give a soothing massage, "Try to just let it pass…I'll try to make this better for you."

The girl exhales slowly, eyes still closed. "Thank you," she says, earnest and genuine. "I really appreciate it. I hope… I hope the bunch of us hasn't messed things up too much for you guys."

"Madelyn, all of you are the most exciting thing that has happened in my generation," Grant tells her with a smile as he eases her tension, "We didn't think that anyone was like us…" He doesn't say the Outsiders but it's clear he means them, "And having new people is very exciting for most of us. I know there's going to be some adjustments but I do hope we can all get along."

She opens her eyes, considering him for a long moment. "What if some of us don't want to stay?" she asks, maybe a little too quickly, as if she's afraid that this is something she shouldn't have said at all.

"I don't know Madelyn…" Grant tells her softly as he works, "I don't know if I'd feel comfortable just letting you kids walk out there…with no protection to get hunted by Outsiders." He says Outsiders with a dark tone that clearly speaks to his dislike of them, "They're beasts Madelyn, little better than animals. I would hate if they go ahold…" He stops rubbing her temples and runs his fingers through his hair, "I'm sorry Madelyn…this isn't a subject that I'm impartial to…my partner, James, was killed by Outsiders. And it's just…I don't know how anyone could survive on their own out there."

"I'm… I'm so sorry," Madelyn apologizes, hunching her shoulders. "I… I didn't mean to… I mean…" She takes a deep breath. "I… I saw them kill people. But they're people, just… I don't know. Scared of us? That's the only reason I can think of for them to… to…" She tenses and freezes, reliving that moment in the cave, kneeling on the ground, that boy's head in her lap as she tries to keep him calm while he bleeds out, an arrow through his throat.

Grant notices her panicking, "Madelyn…focus…focus on me." He takes a moment to get her attention and make sure she's looking at him, "I've never talked to an Outsider…I've only heard stories of their brutality. And they took James…" He can't see them for anything more than monsters after that. He doesn't try to press his opinion on her, but it's clear he has issues with them, "Do you get these often Madelyn? The PSTD episodes?"

"I'm fine," Madelyn says, maybe a touch too loudly, flinching. "I'm fine. I swear," she says, trying to breathe slowly and bring her heart rate back down.

"You're not fine Madelyn…take it from someone that gets 'episodes' whenever I think about James not being here," Grant tells her softly, "Look…you should really talk to Dr. K. She can help you…with the adjustment. I'm not saying that you have to take anything but Madelyn, you need help. It's okay to ask for help when you need it."

"I'm okay," the girl protests. "I don't like… too much attention. There are people who need it and deserve it more than I do, you know? I do my thing and I'm fine." She clasps her hands together to keep them from shaking.

Grant takes her hands in his and gives them a squeeze, "Who's standing in line right now? The only person I see right now in the room is you. So…take the help where you can." He definitely feels for the young girl and moves to get her something to drink, some iced chamomile tea.

Madelyn grumbles a bit, shifting her weight a little in her bed. "Maybe. I'll think about it," she concedes.

Grant gives her a glass of tea that really is for himself but he doesn't mind sharing, "Do that…" He glances at the time, "Madelyn, I'm going to need to jump over to the lab…" He nods to the doors, "So relax, read a book and try to get some sleep." He gives her a smile, "And in case no one has said this to you…you're my hero because you did a miracle, you saved a life with your sacrifice. So don't discount yourself.

"I didn't… really /do/ anything. But…" Madelyn looks over at the man, pressing her lips together. "Your… your hero?"

"Yes, my hero," Grant tells her, "If you had been here a year ago…I would still have James. He died of radiation poisoning when an Outsider compromised his suit by slashing it with a sword. The wound was minor but the exposure…the exposure killed him and I did everything I could for three days to save him and it failed." And the guilt kills Grant, "But you…you saved her. That makes you a hero."

Tears well up in Madelyn's eyes. "I'm so sorry. I wish… I wish I could have helped him," she says softly, wiping her eyes on the sleeve of her hospital gown. "I'm glad I could help."

Grant gives a nod and doesn't trust himself to speak. He goes back to the fridge, grabs her samples and a few others and then steps out of the lab to go test them. Focusing on the work makes it easier for Grant. Then he doesn't have to think about other things.

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