Logs:Waiting In The Rain
|Waiting In The Rain|
"I mean, it sounds like a comic book supervillain, but they're always really smart and stuff, right? So they'd make good doctors."
<NYC> Langone Medical Center - Kips Bay
It's not a pleasant evening. The rain has been drubbing the city for hours -- now, at least, it's settled for only soaking the streets in a steady (but at least not driving) shower. It makes the already pleasant and enjoyable task of dealing with doctor's visits, checkups, medical tests, hearing bad news about sick loved ones, only that much more cheerful. Not a lot of people are choosing to linger on the sidewalk outside of Tisch Hospital, then. For the most part, just hastening out the doors and on their way.
For the most part! Then there's Ryan, recently freed from long confinement in a hospital bed and enjoying the use of his legs once more. Maybe, perhaps, enjoying the fact that between miserable weather and the paparazzi not yet having caught on that he's out and about (the latest tabloid updates have, still, been speculating wildly about how close to death he might be) he is getting soaked in relative peace.
Hair slicked to his forehead, round dark glasses perched on his nose, in dark jeans that have grown much darker with the rain and a grey t-shirt (that would be slightly loose-fit, if it weren't currently plastered to him) reads WRATH in large capital rainbow letters across the chest, right now he isn't bothering with any kind of umbrella or raincoat. Just leaning up against the wall of the building to one side of the entrance, a black and silver plasma lighter in one hand that he is flicking at restlessly without igniting it. His other hand rests lightly on the head of a rainbow mosaic-patterned walking cane.
A dark skinned young woman is standing beside Ryan beneath her own umbrella, which looks like a dark blue dome dotted with white stars. Alma's not actively sharing her shelter, but has left him room to step into it if he feels so moved. As usual, she is dressed on the dapper side, in a fitted blue brocade vest, white spread-collar shirt (the button undone), lightweight black jacket cut to her curves, and black trousers likewise tailored. Her long dreadlocks are gathered back into an elaborate five-strand braid, and a concentric rainbow-striped kippah is clipped securely to the crown of her head. A particularly keen or nosy observer may glimpse a number of throwing knives sheathed in a chest harness beneath her jacket.
The last time Ted went to a dentist was over a year ago, before he left home for college. He hasn't been paying much attention to his dental hygiene since then, honestly... especially not these last few weeks. But the Student Medical Center emailed him a coupon for a free dental checkup at the College of Dentistry, and he decided to take advantage of it.
Which mostly worked out to be a free teeth cleaning, since his teeth are perfect. So now he's wandering somewhat aimlessly down First Avenue, looking for a decent coffee shop or something to kill half an hour or so before meeting some friends downtown later in the evening. He's soaking wet, but he's OK with that... the rain never really bothers him much.
There aren't many people on the street, but Ted notices a couple near the hospital entrance. The guy is about as soaked as he is, flicking a lighter for no reason Ted can make out, and there's something familiar about him but Ted can't place it just yet; the woman with him is much better-dressed. Ted himself is wearing faded jeans and a worn green sweater that doesn't fit him astonishingly well; he's started buying clothes at Dollar-a-Pound in anticipation of tearing outfits to shreds.
He approaches the couple amiably, and when he gets within discussion range asks "Hey, can either of you recommend a good coffee shop in the area?"
Ryan flicks again at the lighter -- once more to no effect. His other hand tightens on the head of the cane, and he settles for snapping the lighter cap open. Closed. Open. Closed. As Ted approaches his grip tightens on his cane again -- momentarily. The smile that follows, though, is bright and wide, and comes with a quick laugh that doesn't just sound warm -- it feels warm, too. A contagious sort of good mood, an brief ripple of cheerful effervescence. "A good one? Around here? Sorry, man, you're really in the wrong part of town for good. There's about a million Starbucks, though, if you just need a fix. Just up the block. How bad are you needing this, 'cause, you need to go all the way down by Madison if you want to start finding good." His head rolls to the side -- he looks to Alma, brows lifting. Snapping the cap of the lighter again. "What about passable? Is there somewhere around here you'd call passable?" About this he also sounds dubious.
Alma's smile is more reserved, but still polite. There's a certain subtle stiffness to her posture that does not ease despite Ryan's chattiness. She does seem to give the question a moment's serious consideration, though. "Well, it's not a coffee shop, but the deli at the corner of 34th has pretty decent coffee." She tips her head toward the intersection just north of them. "Pretty decent everything, to be honest."
At the sound of Ryan's voice, Ted's eyes go wide with recognition, though it takes a beat or two before the connection completes. "Holy shit," he blurts out, obviously delighted and pretty much ignoring everything either of them said about coffee shops, "you're that guy, aren't you? The singer, the mutant who came out at the Grammys, right," he snaps his fingers a few times trying to remember the name before he finally gets it, "Black, Ryan Black, right? Wow!" He looks around incredulously, expecting to see cameras and reporters and mobs of adoring fans, but the street is as deserted as it has been all along. The empath's projected cheerfulness has its effect on Ted, though he doesn't notice it, already awash in his own natural enthusiasm at the meeting. Not that he's especially a fan, but he's been paying more attention to celebrity mutants these last couple of weeks, and Ryan is one he'd at least heard of before. "You're awesome!"
The door to the hospital opens. Thumps closed again behind Flicker. He's traded up from his standard khakis and polo shirts! Today he's in khakis and a pale green button down, his arm a plain matte black, holding a folded white coat that he's currently folding smaller to tuck into his backpack. Then, stiffly, sling the pack back onto his shoulder. He freezes, raccoon-shadowed eyes widening quickly, when he sees the others outside. It's such a quick blip of expression it's easy to miss, though, just a split instant before his scarred face relaxes back into -- well, mostly tired, honestly. He gets an umbrella of his own from his backpack's side pocket. Doesn't open it. Just lets it dangle from a strap around his wrist, trudging toward the others and lifting his chin in silent greeting.
Ryan's smile curls just a little wider. He ducks his head, one foot resting back against the wall and his weight shifting. More heavily against the cane, fingers clenched on it hard. He takes a slow breath through Ted's enthusiastic recognition, lets it out slow as well before answering -- just as bright! Though less infectiously so, this time, the warmth contained to his tone of voice: "Yeah, I was that guy. Thanks. Awesome's a big step up from a lot of things folks were saying after the Grammys -- I'll take it." He lifts his hand when Flicker appears, waggling the lighter in a wave. "You survived."
Alma's polite smile remains firmly in place as Ted gushes, growing only a touch more fey at Ryan's commentary, which she answer with a quiet bemused snort. If she was going to add her own take, though, she's sidetracked by Flicker's arrival, which earns a brighter smile. "Do we get to call you 'Doctor', yet?" She rises up onto the balls of her feet and slowly settles back down again, as if merely stretching. "I'm sure lots of people already do, now that you're dressing the part in an actual hospital."
Ted doesn't notice Flicker initially, his attention entirely consumed by Ryan's presence. But he looks over when the singer calls attention to the new arrival and grins even wider with recognition. "Oh hey, I remember you from the --" he aborts the sentence, looks around furtively, and continues "from the vigil." At Alma's comment, he seems to notice Flicker's garb for the first time. "You're a doctor?"
Flicker looks from Alma to Ryan. Tries to summon a smile -- it gets halfway there before fading back into Tired. "I -- guess I did." He's looking down at himself, though. Hand curling against his stomach like he's checking to make sure everything is working, still. "You can call me whatever you like," he allows Alma graciously, "but I don't think I get to call myself one for. The next hundred years at least." When Ted speaks he looks -- briefly startled, like he's noticing the young man for the first time. "Oh. Oh yeah, hey, you were --" A deep blush fills his pale cheeks. "Right. The vigil. Sorry. I'm -- not actually a doctor." Curious, now, gesturing between Ted and the others: "You know each other?"
Ryan snaps his lighter closed again, tucking it into a sodden pocket. "How's that even going to work, though? Is it really going to be Doctor Flicker? Will they even allow that? Would that inspire confidence in your patients?" His head has tipped, just a little, following the motion of Flicker's hand to his midsection. "He's not a doctor yet," he informs Ted, the amusement in his voice offset by the sudden flutter of worry that accompanies his words. "But he's going to be great. I'd trust him, Doctor Flicker or not." He drops one hand to rest atop the other, rocking forward onto his toes. Away from the wall, weight resting more solidly on the cane for a moment. "We know each other now. We were bonding over the lack of proper coffee options in the area."
"My vote's for Doctor Flicker," Alma says primly. "He sounds real trustworthy, and I don't trust doctors, as a general rule, so take that how you will." She shrugs. "But you know each other." Her eyes skip back and forth between the two men, expectant.
"We just met," Ted agrees, indicating Ryan, then nods agreement with Alma's surprise that Flicker and Ryan know each other. Though now that he thinks about it, it's not really as strange as all that... Ryan famously went to jail for punching a Nazi once, and Flicker was clearly well-acquainted with people going to jail for... well, for activism-type stuff, though Ted is still uncomfortable with that word. Still, he's curious about the details.
"I don't -- I haven't. Given it much thought," Flicker admits with a small frown. "I mean, I didn't think I'd --" He gives a quick hard shake of his head. Presses his hand a little more firmly against his stomach. "If I ever have patients, I'll. Figure it out."
He looks up at the sky, eyes squinting shut against the steady rain. "No good cafes? I guess it's a good thing you had nice weather to wait in." A sudden pang of worry deepens his frown. "You haven't been waiting long, have you?" His weight shifts restlessly; his hand taps lightly against the side of his leg, the (still folded) umbrella bapping against his knee. "No," he says to Alma, and then, "I mean, yeah. I mean, we just. Recently. There was a vigil for a guy from school. It hasn't been long."
"I'd trust him." Ryan starts to gesture towards Flicker -- frowns when this shifts his weight from the cane. Peels just one hand off of the other to wave it -- up, down, towards all of Flicker. "He's just got an honest face. But the name is going to be important. People will see that long before they know you're great." He turns to Ted, his hand now tipping up and out in a wider-flung gesture. "He looks like a doctor you can trust, though, right? What would you call him." Open-ended, apparently!
"The one for Ben Wells?" Alma asks quietly. "May their memories be for blessing." Her eyes are downcast for a brief moment. "That was messed up, my friends. Hope you didn't get hurt." This seems to mostly have been directed at Ted, though she darts a very quick glance at Flicker's stomach.
"Doctor Flicker sounds good to me, actually," Ted agrees. "I mean, it sounds like a comic book supervillain, but they're always really smart and stuff, right? So they'd make good doctors." He's pretty sure he just made a fool out of himself there, so he's glad that Alma changes the subject. "Yeah, we met at Ben's. And don't worry, I --" he stops short, then looks at Ryan and Flicker, and gives a small shrug before continuing "I, um, turn out to be kind of bulletproof."
There wasn't much color in Flicker's face to begin with, but what was there drains further. His hand curls against his damp shirt, then drops away. "Comes in handy, sometimes." He's looking more at the ground than at any of the others. "Maybe I'll go with Doctor Allred."
"Anyway, it was really good to see you again," Ted tells Flicker, seemingly embarrassed by his own admission, "and it was so cool to actually meet you," to Ryan, "and I'm really sorry I didn't catch your name I'm Ted," to Alma "but I'm meeting some friends downtown later and should probably get going or I'll be late but it was really good to meet you all and bye!" The last is delivered over his shoulder as he half-walks, half-runs away, skidding a little on the rain-slick sidewalk.
"This is Alma," Ryan introduces -- kind of apologetic! "And it was great to meet you. Stay stafe." Only now, thoroughly soaked, does he -- not actually bother to get under Alma's umbrella. Reach, instead, to take Flicker's off his friend's wrist. Fumble with it a moment to open it and hold it above Flicker's head. "I think you're going to do a lot of good. Whatever name you do it under. Come on, man. Let's get you home."