PHD #135: Don't Let Go
Don't Let Go
Summary: Coll tells Constin about the extent of her injuries.
Date: 11 July 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Constin Coll 
Recovery Ward
A much more quiet area of Medical, this elongated room is also lined with beds. Each is similarly outfitted with privacy curtains as necessary and even the paint on the walls has been lightened in an attempt to help lift spirits. Chairs are readily available all over the place so that visitors can pull one up to talk to the patients during their recovery. Near the entrance, visiting hours are posted with a very conspicuous 'No Smoking' sign.
Post-Holocaust Day: #135

Early morning the next day, everyone has been moved out of the HAZMAT area. Outside the normal recovery ward, the whole thing is being taken down. Apparently Coll hasn't been able to sleep through it all. She's got herself propped against a pillow on her bed and probably had to fight a few nurses and Doctors about. LEAVE IT. With her neck completely immobilized, Lauren has herself sitting up just enough to either fall asleep or be able to get a good look around. There's a notebook on the bed beside her that has quite a few lines scrawled across it, but nothing legible from a distance. At this point, VERY early in the morning, she seems fairly alert. Everyone dashing around her, though, she seems isolated on her island of bleach-washed cotton and thoughts that are kept to herself. Its a lonely island.

The change of shifts is an hour in the past. This has left Constin enough time to get changed, wolf down a bit of food, and settle in to sleep. The success of this plan can be gauged by his presence in the Recovery Room, entering from the main sickbay. A short look around takes in the room, centering quickly on the lonely island of Coll. "So. You can nod, and you can't shake your head. You pretty much gotta agree with everything by default, yeah?" The words aren't given with a smile, but the big man's manner isn't as angry as it had been prior.

Seeing the man approach, Coll's eyes lift to look towards that familiar form. She can smile and she doesn't hide it. But something else happens. Lauren darts her eyes back towards that notebook that she can FINALLY use. That right hand flips madly to try and turn the other page over and fails before it looks too obvious, half the words on it folded under - other others left exposed. Just hope and pray he does see them. She looks back up, though, and gives one of those smiles. At least she's gotten back her expressions. There's a roll of her eyes at his remark but at least she is in higher spirits. Coll doesn't look like she has moved since he last saw her except for the notepad, her right arm, and sitting up a little more.

"S'all right. Ah learned some 'sign language', awhile back.." Constin drawls as he steps up alongside Lauren's bed to demonstrate. "This means 'yes'-" he gives a thumbs up. "This means 'no'-" Thumbs down. "And this means 'Constin, you're a frakking genius'-" Middle finger extended. He regards Coll's situation a moment before commenting, "All things considered, you should probably look a lot worse."

Something like that is exactly what she needed and it shows. There's something awful hidden below the surface but she gives him the middle finger anyway, the pen in her hand acting as the thumb. She wants so horribly to laugh but its evident that would hurt FAR too much. She mouths the words 'Thank you' and that's about it. She takes her time, trying to be non-chalant about it, folding the other piece of paper behind the notebook and staring anew on a different sheet. She begins writing quickly.

'U R an asshole. <3 it. Talked to Doc. Have bad news.' She pauses before that last line, serious final thoughts given to it before she puts it to paper. Its evident that she's had to consider the ramifications of this.

Constin cracks a tight grin when he gets the middle finger. "You are *too* kind," the big man snickers with a tip of a non existent hat. Closing calloused fingers around the rails running lengthwise down the side of Coll's bed, he leans a measure of his weight on the thing to peer down and read the words. "Shit, girl.. your writing's worse than mine. What's the word, then?"

Coll looks to those hands on the side of her bed. She stares at them for a solid few seconds as if taking a mental snapshot. How will he react to this? Finally her eyes lift to him and its suddenly harder to face him. Her jaw clenches, lips pursing. She's doing her damnedest to hold this together. Lauren looks suddenly like she's going to explode into a ball of tears but is doing everything inside herself to kick that notion to the curb. It hurts. Bad. Reluctantly, her blues look back to the paper and she puts it down. Its harder to cry if you physically force a smile. She does.

'Nerve damage. I'll never fly wing again.'

Constin keeps his narrow blue eyes fixed on Lauren's throughout her difficulty. When the words are written, and he lowers his head to read the words, there's a short breath let out through his nose. "Well then," he mutters, bringing his eye from the page to meet Coll's once again. "Makes it that much more important to get your missile slinger out in the air, don't it?"

Lauren is watching that reaction carefully. Emotions flash across her face quickly. Shock. Relief. Happiness. It hurts like hell, but she swallows. Its a rough moment fore her. She's still trying to hold it. He knows what she thinks of him. Hero. Idol. She just wants to measure up. This has to be the hardest thing she's ever done: Fail. Its just not going to happen. He might not mention it but it can't be missed. Its all reflected on her face, the emotion and hurt is impossible to miss, even though she gives it her all to power through it. Finally, she looks back to the notepad.

'I'm sorry. No way. Doc told me 15 ago. Don't know when I will be out.' Lauren stops there for a moment, the ink bleeding on the paper while the pen sits. Yeah, she's afraid to ask the next. 'Do you still want to?' She can't look at him.

When Lauren looks away, and it becomes clear she's not wanting or willing to look back at him, Constin drops his own eye to the hand with which Coll holds the pen. He reaches a thick fingered hand to take the pen for a moment, to spare the paper, and free her hand. "You always said it didn't matter if you flew the bird. Even if you won't be in the cockpit, there ain't gonna be a prouder momma in the Colonies when that bird scores it's first cap kill, yeah?" A short sniff and tight grin, which doesn't last long. Adjusting the pen in his fingers, Constin scratches, in his small heavy scrawl, underneath her last line: 'You'd better frakking believe I do'.

She still won't look up to him, even as he speaks. She's expecting him to shut it down. Use logic. Be the Marine. Hoo-ah for the mission and the mission alone. Those eyes wrench shut. But as he finishes talking the pen is already gone and she looks back up to him. Those eyes can't hold it. The raw emotion, Lauren lain bare with her soul.. He asks that question and its a fight between military bearing and personal feelings. You want that mission. That dedication. That goal to kill, and to have it nearly stripped away. She might have wanted to at some point but now its impossible. He takes the pen, though and she doesn't look anywhere nearby until a few seconds after he finishes. Take the plunge and When Lauren does, she can't fight it anymore. She looks towards ceiling overhead and draws it out with her finger over the paper - no ink to be had while she cries. Its one large heart. Lauren feels deep and holds on. It can fade, but she can't deny that dedication. All for what little they've had..

"So ah'm guessing whatever nerve got shot up wasn't the same one ah'd been working on with the dumb-ass jokes," Constin mutters dryly. When Coll's tears start coming, the sergeant takes a firm hold of her empty hand- the same palm to palm grip he'd use to arm wrestle, but simply squeezing tight. "Like we said, Lauren: when you got something good, you hold onto it as long as you can, yeah?"

'No.' is what she mouths with the reaction to his first comment. But when he takes up that empty hand, it hurts more. And he'll know why. Thumb and pointer hold a tight grip. The other three try but just can't hold a solid grip - like a very weak handshake. That's part of where her damage is. But Gods if she doesn't hold on for dear life. The last words just get her harder, though. It has to hurt like all godsdamn hell.. The strength to fight through that pain and hurt to say it. Those miles of bandages round her neck. The slight depression where that trach tube used to be.. Damn its gotta hurt. "Thank you, El." It comes out scratchy like a person crawling through the desert. When she finally looks back up to him, she bites her lower lip and tries to squeeze that hand as tight as she can. Lauren mouths the rest, her throat too hurt for any more: 'I believe in you.'.

"Lauren, you try to talk like that again, and ah *will* smack you one.." Constin warns, with a short chuckle. It's an emotional moment when the lack of grip in half her hand registers for what it is and the big man swallows tightly once. It's either make light, or risk more emotion boiling up. "Shit, the fact you can't talk right now damn near makes you the perfect woman- don't spoil it." The pen is set down to allow El to take Coll's hand between both of his. With a small shake of his head, the man muses, "They really don't make 'em tougher than you, ya know that?"

Coll coughs out a laugh, doing her best to choke it back with his threat. That hurts too, but she doesn't let it register as much as it might have. Its too welcome. Grasp on and hold. Don't let that feeling inside escape. The remark about her being unable to talk just makes a more expressive and faux-angry face cross her. She wants to be mad, but right now its just impossible. Especially when he takes her hand in both. That unspoken support for her broken self - that part of her that will never heal.. Make light or lose it. Make light or lose it. Once again, she bites down on her lip to try and keep herself from thinking too hard about it. She looks up at him from her immobile place on the bed. She can't help it. Those tears are still falling. Its so incredibly evident what this means to her with one simple look to those blue eyes. There is nothing else. In the end, she takes up the pen and does her best to scrawl it out in rough words that shake with her hand. 'They do. But I can't pronounce their 1st name w/o sucking. All have the last name Constin, tho.'

"You're lucky as a sinner on monday that ah've got a thing for scars, girl," Constin drawls with another shake of his head as the marine regards Coll's heavily wounded state. Her shaking handwritten words get a light snort and upward curl to his lip. "Kiss ass," he grins. "Shit, it *ain't* that hard to say- Elef-ther-ios. Eleftherios." A moment's pause. "Well.. normally not hard, but don't go trying right now. Cause remember. Ah'll do it," he threatens, with a wink.

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